Watch Now: Student Tells Decatur School Board: ‘With so much fighting, it can be chaotic at times’ | Education


DECATUR – The student ambassadors to the Decatur School Board again voiced concerns on Tuesday over the brawls and violence at Eisenhower and MacArthur High Schools.

Daniel Flores, who attends MacArthur, at the board meeting also mentioned issues at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

“There is still fighting over there (at MacArthur),” Daniel said. “Students and teachers are concerned about the violence there. I asked them what they would like to see changed, and they said more safety and that you do all you can to try to quell this disruption.

At Eisenhower, said student ambassador Sciler Treacy, students find it difficult to move around the halls and get to class.

“With so much fighting, it can be chaotic at times,” said Sciler.

Students need to take responsibility for their contributions to the issues, Sciler said, but students who are grateful to be back in school after months of distance learning are “at the mercy” of students who don’t want to. not be in school.

“Under no circumstances can we take education away from anyone, it’s not fair, but these people should be held accountable,” Sciler said. “Children who want to be there shouldn’t be at the mercy of those who don’t. Some students do not want to go to school for fear of their safety. Teachers are honestly concerned for their safety in their work.

Recent random bag security checks and the use of metal detection rods on students entering the building are welcome, added Elizabeth Palagi, who also frequents Eisenhower. Clear communication from the board and administration about plans to tackle violence is what students are asking for.

District legal counsel Brian Braun told the student ambassadors there are legal barriers to giving them details, which the students said they understood. They just ask for a central location to find general information.

Henry Walker, director of operations, said a committee is working on solutions and hopes to have some progress to report soon.

In other cases, the board has given verbal consent for the Shield program, of COVID-19 tests performed on saliva, to be implemented immediately at MacArthur High School, where a higher number of cases have occurred, before formal approval of the program which is expected to be voted on at the October 26 meeting. Shield is a cooperative program with the University of Illinois and is used at Millikin University and Richland Community College. It allows close contacts to be tested on Days 1, 3, 5 and 7 after exposure and if the test is negative, to avoid quarantine and stay in class, district health coordinator Angie Wetzel said.

Walker also reported on transportation, which has been a problem since school started in August. Alltown Bus Service, which meets the district’s transportation needs, is short of drivers and several bus lines are unavailable each week. Schools follow a staggered three-tier start and end schedule to allow fewer buses to service the district, and the board has discussed adding a fourth tier, but Walker said it would interfere with the schedules. sport. Instead, the plan is to move some of the elementary schools to different grades after the winter break, which would increase the number of buses available for elementary buildings. The reason for waiting until then is to give Alltown drivers time to bid on the routes they want and to rearrange the schedules in those buildings, he said.

Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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