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The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
This blog covers the events and conversations from the January agenda meeting and board meeting. Items within this blog are sorted by topic, rather than by meeting, as the topics covered at each meeting were very similar.
International Field Trips:
With all the things going on within the world, a few of the board members found the thought of International field trips a little disturbing. Hesitant about sending students on field trips within the country, Rhonda felt it was out of the question to send any student outside of the country. I personally have been on an international trip with school and it was a very safe and organized trip. I think that the students attending the three trips that have been approved will be satisfied.
One of the more hot button topics during our most previous board meetings have been the security of schools. One of the more controversial topics has been whether or not teachers should carry a firearm or have one in the classroom for the students’ safety. As a student I can safely say that bringing a gun (the weapon that has been causing the problems in our schools) in the classroom does not make me feel any safer. I feel like I’ll be waiting a couple more years for effective gun policies so the question is, what do we do in the meantime? Some other proposals have been hiring retired policeman or security guards, focusing on other alternatives such as “Stop The Bleed” and/or hiring SSO’s which are essentially part time SRO’s. The argument against these solutions are that a security officer who as been brought out of retirement of any sort may be a little “rusty” to say the least. Some other concerns are that focusing especially on stopping the bleed is defensive and we want to prevent the student from being brought in that circumstance and finally part time security officers on duty leaves times when the school may not fully be protected. It’s a complicated issue with many factors to consider, but one thing is true. Staying informed about what’s going on in your schools helps you do your part as a parent and student!
MGT was back at the end of the Agenda session, asking for the forgiveness of the community. The facilities plan has now “evolved” into what is known as Option C. In this new version, MGT has supposedly changed the previous Option B into a new and improved version based upon the community feedback they received during the month of December. Many of these changes seem to legitimately fix the concerns of the community; however, some seem to simply restate what they are doing with more emphasis on words that may sway the community. For example, the conundrum around thee Lookout Valley k-12 was solved, but the concerns about CCA’s new facilities seem to just have just received the banner “state of the art” for their new or “gently” used facility.
The board seemed to react negatively to this new and “improved” plan. I’m quite glad that Rhonda pointed out the impacts for parents trying to drive their kids to school. Dr. Highlander brought up the vague plan around some of the magnet schools to which the MGT representative responded with something along the lines of ‘I know, but you all can’t know’. It’s my opinion that if you are going to put out a plan to get feedback from the community on it, you should put out the full plan. Especially when that plan could cost upwards of 800 million dollars. Tiffanie and Joe both brought up amazing points about how the MGT community feedback process is not a good way to receive accurate feedback about how to fix our community schools. The board is once again in turmoil with different views about the effectiveness of MGT, communication, and the general facilities plan. It seems that the variance of views from the board significantly mirrors the variance seen in the views of the community. In the end, the board is going to have to realize that not everyone is going to be happy with whatever plan they pick and they are just going to have to choose the plan with the greatest benefits for the greatest number. People generally don’t agree with change, but in order to create a new, improved future we have to change the present.