Parents of students in the Waterville Central School District expressed a number of concerns at last week’s WCS Board of Education meeting.
Among those were bullying by bus drivers and teachers, headaches with several students at the Junior-Senior High and the temperature in classrooms in that building during the winter.
Another matter brought before the Board in January and again last week was resolved by Board members, although not the way parents, students and alumni had requested. Bob Clendennen was replaced after 14 years as the WCS varsity softball coach.
The almost three-hour meeting opened with a public comment section specifically for the recent issue of numerous false alarms at the Junior-Senior High.
Parent Mary Kate Ruane, who is also a member of the North Brookfield Fire Department, asked why, if it was such a high priority to fix the alarms, it took public shame to get attention. She said she was disappointed in a letter put out by the District that seemed to put the blame elsewhere.
Her main concern, Ruane said, is that adults and students at the Junior-Senior High are becoming desensitized to a fire alarm going off, and not giving it proper attention. “It’s just here we go again,’’ she said.
She asked if OHM BOCES could provide safety training for secondary students because such training ends when students leave Memorial Park School.
Parent Jenny Woods said it took learning about the false alarms for parents to compare notes on children having headaches. WCS administrators said the automatic alarms were triggered by dust and debris from the construction project going on in the building. Fire alarms were replaced.
“What is this doing to our kids’ respiratory systems,’’ Woods asked.
She also said that on the morning of Jan. 3 she and other parents took their kids out of school after learning it was 53 degrees in a classroom. Parents were also not notified when a fight at the Junior-Senior High led to a student being taken to the hospital, she said.
“Kids are afraid to speak up,’’ Woods said. “Put our kids first.’’
Board member Russell Stewart asked Project Manager Ben Heintz how to respond to questions brought by the community. Stewart also thanked Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Don Neff and the construction crew for getting the new alarms installed.
Heintz said at no time was the building unprotected. Some smoke detectors had outlived their useful life and they have been replaced, he said.
Since then there have been no problems, he said. He acknowledged the matter took longer…