School board hears concerns

Parents of two students voice concerns at the May 21 school board meeting on a situation they felt goes beyond bullying. 

Josh Clark said he believed there were some school policies that were not followed correctly. 

Clark said on a bus ride from the elementary school to the high school, another student threatened to shoot his son, giving details on what took place and what was said. 

After the incident, Clark said his son told his mom, Stacy Clark, who immediately reported it to Superintendent Phillip Picquet and emailed Elementary Principal Nicole Long. 

The next morning, Clark said as far as he knew Mrs. Long met with the two students. Clark went and spoke with Perkins County Sheriff Jim Brueggeman to find out what could be done. 

Clark’s son called late morning to request he be picked up from school because he was not comfortable being there. He missed the music concert that evening and school the following day. Clark took his son to the sheriff’s office to provide a statement. 

“I understand that there’s privacy laws and that’s fine. But I don’t know what to do. I can’t take a scared student to school, and rightfully, in my own peace of mind, take him in there, and subject him to the person that threatened him,” said Clark. 

Clark read from Article 8 of the K-6 Parent/Student Handbook, “Student Conduct Rules”, which states the school district reserves the right to refer to the appropriate non-school agency any act or conduct of its students which may constitute a crime under federal, state, county, or local law. 

Clark said this was not the first incident his son had with this student, one that included being punched in the stomach, another being pushed down and jumped on.

Clark said according to the school’s policy, the punishment should be more appropriate to the crime. 

“As far as I’m concerned I think the student should be expelled after all this but I don’t make the rules, I don’t make the policy, I can’t make that decision. That’s just my opinion,” he said.

Clark again read from the handbook, which states “cases of law violations or suspected law violations by students will be reported to the police and to the student’s parents or guardian as soon as possible.” 

Clark said the school never called the police, and a threat to life is against the law. 

“I understand there’s privacy policies. I just need to know whether or not it’s safe for my son to come to school,” he said. 

Clark presented a stack of papers listing school shootings, again sharing his concerns that the threat to his son was not reported to police and reiterating that school policy was not followed. 

Dustin Dolezal said his daughter has had problems with this student since kindergarten. 

“It takes a lot to scare me. When you and I were in school, we fought, we had incidents. This is not that,” said Dolezal.

He said the student beat his daughter up, and the only reason he was called was because she had a concussion from the night before. He said he was told it was going to be handled in house, but that if they didn’t call the cops he would, and he did. 

He said he doesn’t know who makes the judgement call on what’s considered a viable threat. “I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t want to do it.”

He said he doesn’t think anyone isn’t trying or burying their heads in the sand, but with a record like this student’s, something else needs to be considered.

Girls golf stays

The board took no action on the girls’ golf program, leaving it as is after several spoke on its behalf. 

Peyton Woodmancy, who will be a senior in the fall, addressed three topics in keeping girls golf separate from boys which included the low numbers, the financing and the repercussions of cutting the program.

Krista McClain, whose daughter will be a freshman and plans on playing golf, spoke of the great impact golf had on her life when she played in high school and the disadvantages that would come with combining it with the boys’ program. 

Jorje Geisert also came to support the program, sharing how Pheasant Run Golf Club and its board are working to help Coach Shawn Cole and the team. In addition to not charging any green fees, they will provide any available equipment and member support to the team. 

The course is also starting a junior golf camp this year to spark interest. Geisert said they hope to have the girls help or participate in the camp. 

After a 24-minute discussion, the board chose to keep the program as is for the fall, and revisit it in September if participation is below four.

Resignations and contracts approved

The board accepted the resignations of Ashley Vlasin, second grade teacher; and Diana Tate.

Contracts were approved for Taren Hendricks, Les Reinke and Alyssa Yapp.

Hendricks will be teaching fourth grade. She will be replacing Dana Freiberg, who will be teaching Title I. Shelly Pollard, who taught Title I, will be teaching special education at the high school.

Reinke, who has served as a long-term substitute teacher this past year, will replace Vlasin as a second-grade teacher. 

Yapp was hired as the K-12 vocal music teacher, graduating from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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