POMEROY — About 20 parents turned out at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Meigs Local Board of Education to protest the way teachers handled an assembly of female students at Meigs High School last week.
The assembly was apparently to have been a general discussion on the school dress code.
However, according to the parents at the Board meeting, the students were “belittled” by the teachers. Teachers allegedly told told students that “by dressing a certain way, boys act out a certain way,” made comments on the students’ figures and compared the way some were dressed to “Las Vegas street walkers.” One of the parents described the action which took place in the assembly as “bullying” while another alluded to the teacher being on a “power trip.” It was reported by the parents that the girls were lined up, and upon leaving the auditorium were evaluated one by one as to their attire.
In response, Superintendent Rusty Bookman said he would talk to Steve Ohlinger, high school principal, about the issue which he described as probably being just “an agenda which got out of control.” He said he felt the “intent of the assembly was positive,” and that the apparent purpose of the assembly was to review the current dress code and get the students to abide by the code in dressing for school.
The school code which applies to dress and grooming, says, in part, that “any fashion, manner of dress, accessory, hairstyle, etc. considered to be disruptive of the educational process, presents a safety risk, or violates any rule, regulation or policy contained within the handbook, will not be permitted. Parents and students maintain responsibility for appropriate student dress and personal appearance.” The dress code lists 14 guidelines on what is permitted and what is not permitted.
Board member Ryan Mahr spoke briefly commending the parents for bringing their issues to the Board where they could be addressed. He said that while the situation may have gotten out of control, he felt the intent on the teachers’ part was just to get the students to follow the policy.
In other news, reports were given by Crissy Musser on the school lunch program, and Dean Harris on bus operations. Harris noted that the three new 72-passenger buses are in and are expected to be put in operation next week. He noted that currently 62 percent of the students ride the 23 buses to their respective schools. The total daily mileage of the buses is 1,922.
During the meeting the Board voted to enter into a contract with McGuire and Associates for professional outside evaluation and technical assistance services for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant in the amount of 12 percent of the approved annual project budget for each year the grant is funded.
Personnel hired included Jenni Durst as a substitute personal assistant to be used on an as needed basis, Lindsay Smith as a tutor for a health handicapped student, and Mary Sue Bauer, Cynthia Civale, Jessica Marcum, Sarah Martindale, Mary Price, Mary Stewart, Alyssa Webb as substitute teachers to be used on an as needed basis.
The Board approved an overnight field trip to Washington DC for the 8th grade class, May 15-17, and an overnight field trip to Columbus for Skills USA students to attend the Skills USA fall conference, Nov. 1 and 2.
Board members attending were Ryan Mahr, Larry Tucker, Roger Abbott, Todd Snowden, and Ron Logan, along with Superintendent Rusty Bookman, and Treasurer/CFO Mark E. Rhonemus.