As Superintendent, Erica Kludt-Painter said during Tuesday night’s school board meeting, “it’s been a rough week in our community and a rough week for some of our students.”
Two local teenagers are being charged for driving into deer with their truck. Days later a few other teens ended up at the hospital after drinking at the homecoming dance.
There were also on-line threats circulating, allegedly from teens, warning others to stay quiet about the deer.
So what’s the school’s roll in all of this?
Kludt-Painter says, for one, there’s a lot of conversation happening at the school and elsewhere.
“A lot of people, of course, are concerned and rightfully so,” Kludt-Painter said. “And I think a lot of people are having good conversations with their kids about the dangers that are out there.”
She was speaking on KFSK’s live radio show Campus Connection.
School workers can’t discuss specific details about who was drinking at the school dance because they are minors.
The homecoming dance takes place in different venues from year to year. This year it was at the ANB hall. Kludt-Painter says the drinking at the dance will trigger discussions about future procedures.
“There’s a lot of factors that play into things and kids make decisions that are not good at times and adults respond and react and then we make adjustments moving forward, looking at future dances as well,” Kludt-Painter said. “You know, we don’t want to disallow….or the easiest thing to do is say, ‘We’re not doing any more dances. That’s it, that’s the answer.’ And, that’s not the answer.”
Although the alleged deer crime happened off campus, Kludt-Painter says school staff has been talking to some students about it. A video of the incident was shared on social media.
“There were kids in the school who certainly had access to the video who came forward, which is good,” Kludt-Painter said. “They did report it. It had already been brought to the Troopers attention.”
The Superintendent says the school will continue to discuss the issues with the students. She also encourages parents to talk to their children at home about it. She says kids make mistakes and it’s an opportunity for growth.
“It’s an opportunity to learn,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to reinforce lessons with kids. It’s an opportunity to have really good conversations at times when it’s really fresh in kids’ minds. It’s real, so those opportunities, we’re going to take advantage of those.”
At the school board meeting Tuesday night, Middle and High School Principal Rick Dormer echoed what the Superintendent said. He says there is a lot of experienced staff at the middle and high schools working with the students everyday and he encourages parents to come in and talk to them about their concerns.
“I just really encourage folks, community members, or anyone, just come in and talk to us,” Dormer said. “I hear a lot of people talking about a lot of things and there’s fears, a lot of things going on, but mostly we just want to talk about things.”
The Petersburg School District has a new telephone number, (877) 526-7656.