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Two BHS parents say more discipline needed at school
5/2/2013 By: Carole McWilliams
Student behavior this year at Bayfield High School belies the wholesome image residents like to have of their school, two mothers told the Bayfield School Board Tuesday evening.
They cited a proliferation of thefts, possession and use of tobacco and marijuana, and inappropriate dress.
They attributed problems to failure of school staff to enforce rules laid out in the BHS student handbook.
“Over the last year, talking to my girls, some things in the handbook that aren’t being enforced at the high school,” Aimee Whitmer said. “More recently, marijuana. A student next to my son was smoking pot on the bus to Forest Lakes and blowing smoke in his face.” She said she works with kids who “say they can name everybody that has pot on them.”
“The high school is getting out of control” on student behavior, she said. “This needs to change before school starts” in August.
She said that on April 19, three students were chewing tobacco and spitting it on the floor at BHS. A teacher approached one of them and sent him out, but the kid is still in school.
Kids are “grinding” in the halls, Click continued. They are showing up in inappropriate clothes, especially the girls.
Students are fighting in the lunchroom and bathrooms, she said, and other students are videoing those.
“The school smells like marijuana. The bathrooms are full of graffiti. There’s profanity, stealing,” Click said. “Someone needs to stop kids with inappropriate clothing, send home kids with marijuana and tobacco. It needs to be consistent, three strikes and you’re out.”
She said the Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying program and the recent Every 15 Minutes car crash re-enactment were good (although families didn’t get enough advance notice of the very realistic re-enactment, she said), “but if the handbook isn’t enforced, everything goes downhill.”
She continued, “Misbehavior breeds more misbehavior. There are consequences. Students need to learn that.”
Whitmer agreed. “We need to have consequences. The sooner our children realize that… The consequences haven’t been enforced.”
Click asked if law enforcement is called when kids are caught with tobacco or marijuana. “We have such a wonderful community, and we are losing ground,” she said. “We used to be one of the best schools, and I don’t think we are any more. Durango used to be the drug school. Now we are. Our kids are our most important asset. I can’t believe the changes in two years. … There have been some awful things happen this year.”
She volunteered to come monitor behavior in the halls and bathrooms.
Board president Barb Wickman acknowledged, “We’ve heard about these issues.”
Superintendent Troy Zabel added, “I understand your concern. We don’t disagree with your concern.” The district is applying for a grant to pay for a school resource officer, he said.
“The marijuana smell is being addressed,” Zabel said. “There will be protocols for how soon (citizen) e-mails must be answered” by staff, he said.
Wickman agreed the handbook needs to be enforced. She asked the moms to talk to the principal as part of the chain of command. “It’s important for him to hear from you,” she said.
BHS Principal Scott Story was not at the meeting. Click said she thought he would be.
Another mother said her daughter reports that recently the dress code has been enforced. Kids were sent home and returned wearing appropriate clothing, she said.
In February, town trustees unanimously approved Marshal Joe McIntyre’s request to apply for a grant to pay for a school resource officer.
In his written memo to the board, McIntyre said, “During the past year, I have seen a real need to have a deputy in the schools. The incidents that we have been involved in at the school have increased not only in volume but in severity.”
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