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Fight prompts concern

JOHN GARDNERGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Administration and staff from Garfield School District Re-2 had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the violence and safety issues brought to light at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting.”We wanted to address the concerns that were brought up at that meeting,” said Re-2 Superintendent Gary Pack.Those present at the meeting discussed concerns about violence, threats against students, gang activity and negligence of school administration to handle critical situations.Re-2 school board president Jay Rickstrew assured parents Tuesday night that the school board would look into the concerns.Pack said that the school district discussed specific issues within the schools such as lack of supervision, sexual misconduct, racial problems and inappropriate dress-code.”There are policies and procedures in place to address all of these issues,” Pack said. He also addressed the student “code of conduct” that outlines what are considered inappropriate actions by students and said that if a student is in violation of the code, “it will be dealt with in a strict manner.””Any violation will not be tolerated,” he said, adding that if the supervision in the schools has been “lackadaisical” then the school administration will address those issues immediately and do whatever needs to be done. He said it could mean more supervision in the halls or in the classroom, but that the supervision issue was being addressed.The district underwent a National Safety Assessment through the Colorado Department of Education in February and is awaiting the report that should come back sometime this month to determine possible problem areas within the school district and how they should be addressed. But Pack indicated that the school district is already addressing the issues.Pack said that the school board has already contacted Interwest Equity Assistant Center in Denver as an outside consultant to assess the condition of the schools in the district. Interwest is an educational equity center providing training and technical assistance within the larger context of school improvement to public school personnel, school board members, students, parents, and other community members, according to the center’s Web site.The district has also requested the help of the Public Relations division of the U.S. Department of Justice to do a community assessment to address the issues in the community along with the district. Additionally, a third outside party has been asked to contribute – the Colorado Mediation Coalition, an agency that works with schools and kids on issues of how to get along with each other in the community. The school board anticipates that this multiple approach will help to determine the best course of action in making the schools a safer place.However, the issue is not for the school district alone.”This is a community issue,” Pack said. “It starts at the home and spills into the schools.”Pack said that the school district was already working on these steps prior to the recent assault that occurred at Rifle High School and that the district has been “aggressive in getting this in place.”Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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