By Mary O’KEEFE
On Nov. 15, the Crescenta Valley Town Youth Council held its monthly meeting at the La Crescenta Library where the main topics were Rosemont Middle School, Ralphs Market and the recent ATS [Alternative to Suspension] notices that were given to 101 students at CVHS.
Council President Cooper Iven opened the discussion with the Rosemont/Ralphs issue. For the last few weeks, Ralphs has had incidents of vandalism and thefts immediately after school and on Thursday mornings, during the time Rosemont has its late-start days. Incidents included students taking electric carts and racing them through the store to destruction of decorations outside the store and even thefts.
Once Rosemont Middle School staff was made aware of the incidents, teachers came to the store after school to monitor the site. This system worked for a while, but was not a permanent solution.
“We would like to work with [Rosemont principal] Dr. [Cynthia] Livingston to find a solution,” Iven said.
The council suggested speaking with Livingston and talking to students as mentors.
Those in the audience, however, were primarily at the meeting to discuss the ATS at the high school. Recently, 101 ATS notices were given to students who did not have their student identification with the proper lunch sticker on their person when returning to school from lunch.
CVHS has an open lunch policy, but to receive the privilege of leaving campus students are required to have a form filled out and signed by parents. After the paperwork is turned in, the students are then given a sticker which is supposed to be affixed to their school identification card. There were several issues with the policy, according to the council. These included that there was not proper warning that this rule would be enforced; it had not been made clear when the deadline was to have the stickers; and the location at which some students received the ATS notice was also in question. Before the notices, the campus parameters – what was defined as on and off school property – were defined one way, but after the notices, they were defined differently.
Students present at the meeting said they were concerned about the ATS and thought the punishment was extreme, especially for those students who received notices while sitting outside the school on front lawn benches.
“I think we need to work with the school,” said one of the students.
According to the rules, it appeared students must have their student ID on their person at all times.
Mona Johnson, PTSA president at CV High School, was at the meeting and offered her support. She said she understood the school’s point of view by enforcing the rules, but agreed it appeared to be a lack of communication between students and administration.
“So students need to know that they must have their identification with them whether they are off campus during lunch or in the [school] hallways?” Johnson asked.
“Yes,” said Owen Solis, councilmember.
“Parents and students need to know that,” she said.
The council listened to the students, some who had received ATS and others who were concerned about the policy. The rule of signing forms was not in dispute, only the way the rule was enforced and the lack of communication between the school and parents and students.