By Mary O’KEEFE
Parents be warned: If your child leaves Crescenta Valley High School campus during lunch without their identification card and the appropriate sticker attached, they will receive ATS (alternative to suspension).
According to Principal Michele Doll, 101 students received ATS during lunch last week.
“We had tables in the quad where kids could come by and get the stickers on their cards,” Doll said.
Students whose parent or guardian signed a form allowing them to leave campus during lunch were given a sticker to place on their identification card.
Dr. John Garcia, deputy superintendent of Glendale Unified School District, said that parents knew about the rule since last year and can’t be surprised that the rule is enforced.
However, several parents were surprised, or at the very least concerned, about the way ATS was handed out. Parents who contacted CVW said that they understood that “rules are rules” and that identification cards are needed if their children leave campus during lunch, however it is the definition of where the campus begins and ends that has them concerned.
Many of the students who received ATS were in front of the school, either on the steps or on the benches in front of the school.
“The guard was out there with us,” said one of the students who wished to remain anonymous.
According to this student, and others interviewed, the guard did not mention the need for the identification card or that they were off campus.
“The students were told off campus was the same for lunch as it for break,” Doll said. During break, students are not allowed to go out any of the doors that lead to the exterior of the school.
But that seems to be confusing to many parents who look at the Code of Conduct information for campus perimeters that is posted online and is sent to every parent at the beginning of the school year.
CVHS Code of Conduct reads, “Off-Campus Regulations 1. Students are not permitted to leave campus at any time without prior approval (off campus includes being on the sidewalks around the perimeter of the school and beyond).”
In addition to the confusion of what qualifies as “off campus,” both students and parents shared that they felt caught off guard with the implementation of the identification rules since they had not been enforced since the beginning of the school year.
There was not a notification of the enforcement of the rules included in any of the parent ebulletins, and although Doll said the kids were told of the enforcement it does not appear the perimeter of the school was explained clearly.
The concern of parents and students stems not only from ATS but also the negative perception of the school by the 101 students cited.
Last year the district and school board had recommended changing the open lunch policy at CVHS, which is the only high school in GUSD that has an open lunch policy. Several parents, students and businesses objected to the closure in part due to the question of where almost 3,000 students would find room to eat on campus. The students took an active role and spoke to Garcia about their concerns. It was decided the district would leave the campus open, however a permission form signed by parents allowing their student off campus would be required.
Last year, the school board used statistics on the number of tardies, truancies and arrests as a basis for closing the campus. In a recent school board meeting, Garcia announced that the school had considerably less offenses during lunch.
Garcia praised the students for listening to the district’s concerns and taking action to make changes.
Some parents and students now are worried that with this new batch of ATS slips, the negative impact will fuel the closure of the campus during lunch.
But Doll said ATS is not what the district or school looks at in determining the lunch policy.
“We look at suspensions,” Doll said.
Still, when it comes to open lunch, rules are rules. For students to avoid ATS, whether walking up to Foothill Boulevard or sitting on the bench just outside the school’s front door, they should always have their identification card with proper sticker.
“We will always accept [the forms] and apply the stickers,” Doll said.
Forms allowing a student the option of leaving campus at lunch are available at the school.