Board expels student for bringing gun to Greenville Middle School

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2006

A student caught with a handgun at Greenville Middle School was expelled by the Board of Education on Thursday night and Superintendent Mike Looney urged students and parents to consider of the consequences of bringing weapons on school grounds.

&#8220It's a travesty when the Board of Education has to expel a student,” said Looney. &#8220But we have no tolerance for students bringing weapons to school. We're doing everything we can to re-educate our students and we will do whatever it takes to ensure our kids' safety.”

Last Monday a middle school administrator noticed the student passing a book bag containing the weapon - a .22 caliber pistol - among his classmates. The student was transferred off the GMS campus by police and released into the custody of his parents.

Looney said administrators have committed to increased searches in lockers and vehicles in order to enforce this regulation. With hunting season started, Looney said some recreational hunters might be tempted to just leave their rifles or bows inside their vehicles when coming to school.

He warned against it.

&#8220When I was in school it seemed like everyone who had a truck had a rifle in the back windshield,” he said. &#8220But in this day in age, you can't do that.”

In other business:

Technology Director Matthew Shell presented board members with an update on how STIHome, the system's new web portal available on the board's website where parents can review their student's grades, classroom assignments, discipline records, and attendance. This is the first year of the web portal and Shell said parents are logging on to view their children's grades more than anything else.

&#8220You're going to see parents who have students in the upper level schools using this more than the lower grades,” said Shell.

Looney said the data indicates parents in Butler County are concerned about how their children are performing in school.

&#8220We're really excited about being able to offer this,” said Looney. &#8220It shows the parents are following up on the students - looking at attendance, grades, discipline - and really care about what their children are doing in school.”

Shell also presented a cost savings analysis based on the school system switching phone service from CenturyTel to Camellia Communications. Shell said the system would save an estimated $3,071.76 due to the change.

Rita Wright, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, reported on the percent of students receiving A through F through the first nine weeks of school. Ninth grade students have the most failing grades, according to Wright, with almost 18 percent receiving an F in class work. Wright said students in the middle school grades start to see their work suffer as the curriculum becomes more advanced.

&#8220It is hard motivating students in those middle grades,” she said. &#8220Then they hit high school and it's hard to get them back.”

Wright said this is a situation educators are dealing with on a national level.

The board approved the retirement of Janice Dunn, an elementary teacher at R.L. Austin Elementary in Georgiana; approved the resignation of Henry Mitchell as a bus driver for the transportation department; and authorized leaves of absences for Stephanie Grayson (maternity leave) and Chanda McNaughton (maternity leave).

Board member Billy Jones was elected to serve as president of the board for the upcoming year, while board member Joanne Peak will serve as vice-president.