By Brandon HENSLEY
Finally, a resolution. It took months of talks and years going back to when the board began to think about making changes, but Tuesday night’s GUSD school board meeting gave parents and students of CV High an answer at last regarding the open campus policy during lunch.
You can leave, with written permission.
Deputy Supt. John Garcia discussed the board’s adopted policy, which will begin at the start of second semester. Starting then, any student who wishes to leave campus during lunch must show written permission from their parent or guardian allowing them to do so. It turns the previous policy on its head: parents who did not want their child to leave campus had to sign a form previously.
Garcia said the board worked with CV Principal Michele Doll in coming up with the policy. He also said signed forms keep the school district from any liability “should something happen at lunch to a student who chooses to be off campus when a parent has signed that student can go off campus.”
The school has a right to revoke the allowance if the student violates behavior policy. Students must also show an identification sticker on their ID card indicating they have turned in the form.
The policy comes after months of discussions and forums where district officials, including Garcia and board member Mary Boger, appeared at CV Town Council meetings and at the school’s auditorium. Lunchtime incidents including truancies, drug arrests and traffic collisions prompted GUSD to look into closing the campus. CVHS is currently the only school in the district to have an open campus.
“I started in the position of thinking that absolutely the campus should be closed,” said board Vice President Christine Walters. “And I’ve shared that with many of the parents I’ve talked to. Through a lot of conversations and listening to not only parents but students, I have come to appreciate how much a part of the culture this is, how much parents really value this as an opportunity for their children to exercise some independence and learn some responsibility. So I’m satisfied with where we’ve come … I actually changed my mind based on what people said to me.”
“I’d like to see the onus on the kids now,” said board member Greg Krikorian. “They know this is out there. I’m curious to see the results six months from now .. are our numbers going down? Are we still getting hit with tardies? Are we still getting hit with expulsions?”
Krikorian also mentioned his desire for the community to work together on this and not turn this into an “I told you so” lesson for the students.
“I just don’t want to initiate programs where we’re going to say, ‘Hey, good, the onus is on them, they failed, ha ha, now we’re going to go with a closed campus,’” he said. “I want to help them too. I want to look at what the staff is going to do to facilitate this.”