Don't lower expectations
By Vicki Harsha
February 28, 2006
I have been reading the letters to SitNews regarding our high
school, our school spirit, and now, drugs and young people in
our community, along with the newest letter regarding the High
School Administrators closing the school doors at 4:00, and students
required to leave at 3:15 unless working with staff or coaches.
I would like to try to make a correlation between what I see
happening in our community and our students, school spirit, drug
use and how we, as parents, a community, or as administrators,
are allowing it, condoning it and expecting it.
First, our children need to be treated with respect and integrity
if we expect them to respond with the same. The comment that
"they cannot be trusted with monies at the door" needs
to be looked at with great disdain and realize that whoever made
this comment does not work with our local students on a volunteer
basis. All our athletes fundraise for their sports, and they
know the importance of accountability and being responsible.
We have to demand that our children be treated with the same
respect and integrity we demand from each other, and most important,
adults working in our schools.
Second, the decisions the board and the borough have made regarding
Schoenbar has dampened school spirit and a sense of belonging,
and we are seeing these results today. Both my freshman and
8th grader have not attended a "normal" middle school.
You only need to talk to a Schoenbar teacher to see what the
repercussions of not having a middle school have done to these
students. We need to find ways to get these groups of students
together, not separate them, by closing the doors at the high
school at 4:00. Students need a school to practice their sporting
event, practice new dance for drill team, cheerleading practice,
form pep clubs, make posters, student body meetings, practice
debate, band, culinary, have after school dances, or just simply,
cheer their friends on who are practicing their talents. Our
children also need time to be social, productive and busy in
a safe environment, not the streets of Ketchikan. They need
the doors open at their school, and it needs to accommodate both
Schoenbar and Kayhi. We haven't had a middle school for 3 years,
and now, the students are losing their high school!
Last, the change to the drug policy for both Schoenbar and Kayhi.
The new drug policy is no longer Zero Tolerance. Why? Why
can a student athlete, who as such is in a leadership position,
be required to take random drug test but not required to pass
them? How can an athlete, whether in their own home town or
visiting another Alaska team, be found to have been drinking
or smoking, or tested positive for drugs, then be allowed to
suit up with their team? Why are they not either dismissed from
the team or sent home immediately? Why aren't we telling our
athletes, if you test positive, if you get caught, by action
or deed, then you will not represent your sport, your school,
your community and you will be accountable!
I was not aware of this change until the Clarke Cochrane Christmas
Classic. I assumed this change took place recently, only because
I was not aware nor had I heard of any infractions by students
until this year. I was told by two different school board members
this change was actually put into place 3 years ago. Do the
results of these changes reflect the problems that have been
voiced on SitNews? If our students are allowed to make poor
choices, is it affecting other areas of behavior? Is this administration
really allowing not only high school students, but 12 and 13
year old middle school students, to even consider poor choices
regarding drugs and alcohol? These students know they can still
play their sport, whether or not they get caught "with
that poor choice!" I am appalled!
The new policy has specific punishments for the first offense,
the second offense and the third offense. Excuse me? What are
we telling our kids? The only thing we should be telling our
children is that if you do drugs, if you do alcohol, if you smoke,
if you do not show the respect and integrity that we demand of
you for yourselves, that we demand of our student athletes for
the privilege of representing Kayhi or Schoenbar schools, then
you will no longer have the privilege of representing your school,
your sport and your community. That privilege will only go to
a student that takes pride in themselves, their sport, their
school and their community.
Dinah Pearson's letter said it perfectly. We need to hold up
the youth that make good choices, hold accountable those that
do not make good choices. If there are athletes that are making
poor choices, they should not be allowed to represent their sport,
their school or Ketchikan. Give that privilege to a student
who expects to be drug free, demand their teammates to be, and
knows they have to be! Give that responsibility back to the
I see the message being sent with the changes being implemented
as saying to our students: We believe you have no respect or
integrity, you are not capable of being trusted, we can't allow
you to be at school after hours without worrying you will destroy
property, we expect you to make poor choices, you will no longer
have to say NO when a drug, alcohol or tobacco choice is presented
to you, it will not affect the privilege of representing your
school, and we don't believe you care about your school, your
community or yourself.
We cannot lower the expectations we have for all our students,
or the expectations they have for themselves and each other.
Our students need positive messages, high expectations and a
community behind them to correct the changes that have been and
will be detrimental to our schools, our youth and our community.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
About: Vicki Harsha attended Ketchikan elementary schools, Schoenbar
and is a graduate of Kayhi. She's married, with 5 children,
2 of whom are still in the school district. She volunteers for
many sports, both school and community sponsored.
school doors open By Charles Edwardson - Ketchikan, AK -
those school doors open By Linda Koons Auger - Ketchikan,
AK - USA
million choices wouldn't fix the problem By Dinah Pearson
- Ketchikan, AK - USA
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