Newspaper Archive of
The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
May 17, 2012     The Perkins Journal
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May 17, 2012

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i i: i A4 - THE PERKINS JOURNAL, Thursday, May 17, 2012 Opinions [. r; | ; "  " ! : By Representative Lee Denneyi As many educators know, sometimes students suffer academi- cally because of problems that have very little to do with learn- ing. A bill I authored and that awaits Governor Mary Fallin's signature would implement improved intervention efforts when students are identified as in need of counseling. House Bill 2641 creates the Twenty-first Century Successful Living Act. The legislation would require the Office of Juvenile Affairs and the Oklahoma Association of Youth Services to identify an evidence-based counseling curriculum for schools. The legislation will allow schools to be more proactive deal- ing with students who are in need of counseling to help them resolve the issues that may prevent these kids from succeeding in school and becoming productive citizens. I think the Office of Juvenile Affairs and youth service groups will be excellent partners as they have studied troubled youth and have worked on ways to help them get back on the path to being model stu- dents and citizens. Under the bill, the Office of Juvenile Affairs would make the counseling available to students and school districts through designated youth service agencies. Each of the existing 41 youth services agencies would Wain two staff and deliver services to approximately 75 students, for a total of 6,150 students served in the coming fiscal year. During the second year ofthe program, the number of students served would double to 12,300. During the third year of the program, the agency expects to serve 18,450 students. Senate Bill 1797 has been signed into law. It merges the Okla- homa Commission for Teacher Preparation and the Office of Accountability, creating the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. A new oversight commission will replace the Education Oversight Board and will take over the implementa- tion of the provisions of House Bill 1017 and the Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Act, make recommendations to lawmakers and the governor on how to achieve a seamless system from preschool to postsecondary education, oversee the state test- ing program, take over the Oklahoma Educational Indicators Program and assume duties of the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation. The commission must demonstrate a 15 percent savings from the merger. As always, feel free to contact me at (405) 557-7304 or at leedenney @ okhouse.gov. LEAKS " - Continued from Page A1 one intersection at a time," Seikel said. "We will have water outages. It will disrupt water service, not only on the west side of town, but in what I call the 'original townsite,' which consists of three blocks on either side of Main Street. "Water may be out for three- to-fourhours at a time. We will try to minimize it," Also, some residents will not have access to their driveways during certain parts of the day. The contractor, and city and public safety staff will try to notify residents when that will be. "It should only be for brief periods of time," Seikel emphasized. Seikel said Perkins residents should consider storing water for temporary use during shut-offs. Information about any planned water interruptions or street and driveway closings will be posted on the city web- site (www.cityofperkins.net) and Facebook page. Seikel said a sewer lift sta- tion that supplied the recently- demolished OnCue station will be relocated and the line will move over to the west in preparation for the mad widen- ing project, which is planned for to begin in late 2012 or earty 2013. The lift station will be situ- ated at Knipe and West First Street. Seikel said all of this work must be completed by July 30. i::i:!ili000000i!iliiii00iiii!!00 !iiiiiii!i!i!iii00i! i:::::::!::ii.i:i!:!i!i ::iiiiii!i!i!i!iii!ii::?iiii:i:.i!ii::i:. 7:::: :: ::::::::::::::::::::::: ................................ iiN iNiN0000 i]ii ii00!00i ::00ili 00,,iii!00,ii',iiily00i!ii,,ii,,!i!iiii,,i !ilil} TO gUBSCRIBE BY MAll fill out this form and mail with :iiiiiii  :00:iii!l remi00an00e to: the Pe00ios Jouroa00, P.O. 667, [i!iill ::::!i::i!!:: Perk ns OK 74059-0667 iiii!, iili, 00OOre/C---- 00i)ii!i 00::il ! State Zip iiiiiiiiii ;!!i::iiil :;:::::,,i Rates: One year in Oklahoma.. S30 [ii!!i!i : One year out of state ...... $35 ::::: ii!!iiiil BE A FRIEND, BUYA FRIEND a subscription and deduct $4 liiiiiiiiili i;;ii,  oIfoftheratesliste6aboveffyouareacurrentpaidsubscdr, iiii:!!iiii! i Use above for yoor'00e00' yoor oame here: tiiiiii!i Intimidation Last Wednesday I received a phone call from my oldest son who is in 6th grade at Perkins-Tryon Intermediate School. At the onset of the conversation, it was apparent he was extremely upset. I was able to hear several voices in the background including children and adults. My son began by saying, "Mom, I'm calling to tell you I have violated school policy by not turning my cell phone into the office this morning". My first thought was that this sounded scripted and not the usual manner in which my son communicates with me. My immediate response was. "Ok. we knew this might happen since I have told you not to turn it into the office". At this point I hear a female, adult voice in the background saying, "'Now you tell her you lied to the principal". I asked him exactly what he lied about, and at this point I could hear panic and agitation in his voice. I asked aim to take a breath and explain what happened. He began wi'h, "Mom, I didn't", and he was interrupted by the same adult who said, "No, you tell her you lied to the principal". He repeated this exactly. I hesitated for a moment in complete disbelief that I was hearing my 12 year old son being coerced into admitting to something without being given the opportunity to explain himseff to his parent: At this Doint it dawned on me I could hear another child in the bad(ground repeating the same sentences while being told what to say by another adult. I talked to him in an attempt to calm him and explained to him that everything would be fine. I told him I would contact the office and find out what had happened. He then told me he had been issued 6 hours detention and told to hang up the phone. I was left standing with the phone in my hand trying to figure out how a child who has served one recess detention in his entire school career for wearing shorts after October ended up in the middle of this chaos. I was also trying to reason how a school administrator justified having my son make a phone call regarding punishment at school, allowed office staff to intimidate him into a confession he was not comfortable with, and never once speak to me directly concerning the matter. In light of the phone call, I decided to pick my boys up at school that day instead of ride the bus home as usual. My youngest son who is in 4th grade, climbed into the back seat and immediately began relating a story that was unintelligible due to his panic and inability to take a breath. After I calmed him down, he explained that a teacher had entered his class- room and announced that it is illegal to send pictures over your phone and on the intemet and they could go to jail for this. He could not remember if she told them what type of pictures. She told them that if they had a phone that had not been turned in prior to classes starting that day, they should do so now. My son said no one in the classroom raised their hand, so the teacher told them that if they did not produce their phones their personal belongings and lockers would be searched. He raised his hand indicating he had his phone and was sent to the office. It was approximately 2:45 at this point because I had seen my son walking from the office to his building at 2:55 with his phone in his hand. I have sat in two meetings with Mr. Ramsey and one with Mrs. Boles regding this incident with both my children, and I still do not have the explanations I have asked for. I understand my boys broke school policy by not turning in their phones. They did this at the direction of my husband and me, and I do net have a problem with them being handed punishment that suits the offense and their referral record. This is how it is outiined in the school handbook. I do have an issue with my children being coerced by office staff, being threatened to go to jail and being threatened to have their personal belongings earched by school faculty and staff. These people are in a position of authority that should be taken seriously, and their actions scared and intimidated the students that day. I have received no explanation regarding the goal of con- fiscating every student's cell phone. I am fully aware that inappropriate material had been exchanged via text messag- ing between three to four 6th grade students. Perhaps she thought she was preventing the inappropriate material from being sent to any additional students, but her actions could not have prevented this. The school has no right to search personal property. This is a protection of the 4th amendment that extends to minors and students. An invasive search of backpacks and/or cell phones would have violated this pro- tected right opening the school to lawsuits. Therefore, any student who had received the message would still be able to retrieve it from his/her phone at the end of the school day, and now they had a heightened interest in checking their phones since the entire school had been alerted that inappropriate material had been circulated. It stands to xeason that Mrs. Boles' actions created a risk for a much larger population to be exposed to the inappropriate material. In add1. "tion, the punishments issued were inconsistent and unfounded. Some students received 3 hours detention for a first offense, some received 45 minutes, some had theirs revoked, one of my sons received 6 hours and I know of at least one student who received 9 hours. Mrs. Boles has not been able to explain to me the reasoning for such a wide range of punishment. Currently, my boys are serving suspension for not completing their detention. I refuse to make them serve detention for something that has not been explained sufficiently and has no basis or guideline for the severity. I also refuse to allow Austin to serve an extra 3 hours detention for lying to Mrs. Boles when she admitted to me that he did not verbally lie to her. He failed to turn in his phone just like my younger son who received 3 hours detention. My reasons for allowing my children to keep their phones in their lockers while at school are varied. The school quits answering the phone at 2:45 each day because "there is too much activity at the end of the day". This means I am not able to get end of day instructions to my children when necessary. When they have their phones, they can check for messages immediately and know if they are to get on the bus or ride with another parent. In addition, I know of several instances when students have requested to call their parents, and the office has not allowed them to call. Specifically, my godson was in an altercation during econd hour in which he received several blows and kicks to the head and face. The police were called in and questioned the two boys without contact of the parents. My godson requested to call his room three times due to pain and a headache, but his mother was not called until the end of the day. The State Department of Education outlines and defines bullying and harassment as: "(1) "Harassment. Intimidation, and Bullying" means any gesture, written or verbal expression, electronic communi- cation, or physical act that a reasonable person should know will: (D) Insult or demean any student or group of students," (3) "Threatening Behavior" means any pattern of behavior or isolated action, whether or not it is directed at another person, that a reasonable person would believe indicates potential or future harm to students, school personnel, or school property" My oldest son was intimidated by office staff by being forced to confess to an offense he did not commit. This was demeaning to him and caused him mental and emotional anguish. In addition, the students who were threatened to mm intheir cell phones and have their belongings searched were threatened by school administration and personnel. I spoke with several parents who reported their children were scared tc go to school the next day for fear of what might happen next. It appears to me this entire situation could have been handled effectively with a note sent home with each child explaining that inappropriate material may have been circulated and parents should check all cell phones. This would have isolated the gossip instead of allowing it to circulate through the entire community and jeopardizing the reputation of the students directly involved. In addition, this could have been used as a learning oppommity instead of a school wide threat to the students. An assembly could have been held in exchange for a game and candy filled day to teach the students what is and isn't appropriate and what steps to take to protect themselves. It is my opinion that Mrs. Boles is not capable of making a sound decision that is not based upon emotions not only in this instance, but in many instances dating back to her first year as administrator. Parents need to pay attention to what is happening in their child's school even if their child is not directly involved, because the day may come that incompe- tence, lack of leadership skill and poor decision making affects your child. Your child has protected rights, and they deserve a voice to help them stand up for those rights. I encourage all parents to educate themselves about students' rights, school policy and the ability of school administration and personnel. I also encourage parents to inform their children of these rights and how to voice them. Our children learn through our actions and the actions of other adults. If you don't teach your child to stand up for themselves and ask questions, your child will continue the pattern of apathy. Apathy prevents progress and allows injustice to remain. Missy Green Perkins