RED WING, Minn. — Discipline issues, particularly at Burnside Elementary, were again a hot topic at the Red Wing School Board meeting Tuesday. During public comment, parents shared their concerns about students not feeling safe at school, impacts on victims of harassment and lack of discipline within the school.
Although most agreed the climate at Burnside is flawed, there was some disagreement on the pace for implementation of actions to combat the harassment, bullying and discipline issues. Parents and some board members expressed a sense of urgency to deal with the problems now, rather than later.
“I am going to push for more immediate things, that are going to help people out to make the place safer today,” board member Jim Bryant said.
Some board members were concerned about taking care of the victims and keeping students safe.
“What are we doing to support the victims here?” Chair Pam Roe asked.
Other board members pointed out the value in the long-term plan and explained that the problem will not be a quick and easy fix.
“It’s not an overnight thing, it really isn't,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said.
Anderson revisited some of the short-term plans he shared at the last school board meeting, such as creating a recovery room and hiring emergency substitute teachers.
“I think these are logical first steps, I am not going to say that they are sufficient, because it is not true. I think they are a reasonable response at this time and I think you will love the long-range plan,” Anderson said.
He also announced a group of parents, board members and staff would convene in the spring to review the schools discipline policy, review data and come up with some short- and long-term plans.
Anderson shared some tips he received from Rochester schools that have dealt with similar issues:
Looking into hiring more administrative support for Red Wing schools, including an assistant principal for Red Wing High School and Burnside Elementary
Review and better develop the behavioral program — the procedures to follow in various behavioral situations
Add alternative classrooms at the elementary schools which would provide students (who are not already in special education services) with the same curriculum
Anderson says some of these actions are best to wait until the next school year, such as hiring new staff.
“We would want to find the right person instead of just the quickest way to fill the spot,” Anderson said.
- Jess Whitcomb presented the Wonders 2020 curriculum to the board and explained the benefits of the program. Multiple curriculum options had been looked into and the material was piloted with fifth grade teachers. The board voted to purchase the Wonders 2020 curriculum and implement it in the fall.
- A bid for the Burnside Elementary parking lot was accepted. Three contractors submitted sealed bids. The job will go to Monarch Paving Company for a construction cost of $442,900.