Parents take violence concerns to USD 450 board meeting, some walk out

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 11:10 PM CST
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Parents took concerns over bullying and hallway fights to the Shawnee Heights School board Monday night, and several walked out over one board member's comments.

13 NEWS first brought these concerns to light last week.

It started out as a normal meeting at Tecumseh South Elementary, but then shifted tone as parents discussed what they view as a violence problem in the district.

Dozens of parents, staff, and students showed up to voice their concern.

One by one they came up to speak their minds about what they believe is an ongoing problem with the culture of the schools.

They believe Shawnee Heights should be a pioneer in changing it.

One parent said, "What happened to it being an immediate three day suspension for physical violence?"

Another followed, saying, ''What message does that send to the rest of the school?"

A student got up to speak at the meeting, saying these fights represent only a small portion of students.

"About two percent of population are those who are causing the fights and that overshadows the rest of the 98 percent," he said.

After well over an hour of testimony, things were wrapping up when board president Eric Dietcher took the time to give his own prepared statement in response to the parents.

He started off thanking people for raising concerns and sharing with district but the comments took a turn.

He said, "For the parents that have taken those videos and put them out on their own social media, for the local media to see those as well, I say shame on you for what you've done."

That comment didn't sit well with many of the parents - several decided to get up and leave.

After the meeting Dietcher clarified, saying he wish he would've been able to finish he statement before the crowd walked out.

He says people film the fights for notoriety. Therefore no matter who shows them, it effectually only increases the video's infamy.

He would rather people stop paying attention to the videos themselves, while simultaneously continuing the discussion on reducing violence.

USD posted a statement on Facebook after the meeting saying, "Thank you, parents and guardians, for attending the board meeting tonight. Your attendance proves that we are all in this together and want to find solutions for our students. We will keep you updated on any decisions the BOE makes."

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