by Dennis Sullivan
Feb. 19, 2014
Crete-Monee School Board President Nakia Hall on Monday promised “a full investigation is taking place regarding all occurrences and issues” related to the series of social media-related fights that disrupted Crete-Monee High School on Feb. 3.
Acknowledging an absence of clear communications during and immediately after the incidents, Hall said, “As board of education president, I apologize for the confusion and distress that has been felt over the last couple of weeks.”
Reading from a prepared statement at the start of the regularly scheduled School District 201U board meeting, Hall said, “Please be assured that we are doing all we can to help ensure that our buildings have climates that are conducive to learning and success for all students.”
The series of violent inter-student episodes at Crete-Monee High School produced a felony weapons charge against an 18-year-old honor-roll student/cheerleader, and an aggravated battery charge against a 15-year-old.
Hall told the approximately 120 persons attending Monday’s meeting the administration is reviewing security video to determine the actual number of fights and identify participants that day.
‘Lapse in board policy’
She said the board believes a “lapse in following board policy” on electronic communications devices contributed to the disorder.
“It has come to our attention that, at a certain point in the 2012-2013 school year, it was decided by the high school administration to allow students to carry cell phones and other mobile devices, as well as use them during the day during designated times,” Hall said.
Board members, she said, were unaware the administration had deviated from a policy that had outlawed portable electronic communication devices on school property during school hours or at school functions.
Parental, student confusion understandable
Hall said re-establishing board policy on cell phone use added to the confusion.
She acknowledged “that parents feel that they were not properly informed of the incidents that occurred at the high school, as well as the lack of clarity given regarding the mobile device usage.
“We are aware that many feel the information was not timely and clear, or simply not given at all,” she said.
“The board does not support ineffective communication,” Hall continued, adding elected officials are “working with the district and high school administration to help ensure that information is disseminated clearly, accurately and timely.”
Consistent with other school districts
Hall defended the school district’s portable communication media policy, saying it is consistent with those of school districts to the north and west.
“Students needing to contact parents need to request to use one of the telephones in every classroom,” she said. “Parents needing to get messages to students should contact the school office.”
Hall said the school board is “planning a future workshop concerning school safety and school climate.
“This information will be forthcoming,” she said.
Original material copyright 2014 Eastern Will County News; all rights reserved.
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