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12-12-02: St. Marys parents complain of inequality
The Daily Standard
    ST. MARYS - A small group of parents questioned the St. Marys school board about fair implementation of the high school athletic policy at Wednesday's meeting.
    The athletic policy came under fire earlier this year from the same group of parents after a girls' soccer player was disciplined in October of 2001. Following the complaint, the policy was restructured after a series of meetings by the board's athletic committee.
    Several parents expressed concern Wednesday over alleged favoritism shown to selected students after several unnamed students and student-athletes were caught drinking during the weekend of the Ohio State-Michigan football game Nov. 23.
    "I have questions concerning the administration of this policy," Pam Fox said. "I think it is unfair when students are doing something and being punished, the elite athletes are doing the same thing and not being punished."
    While the board could not discuss details of the incident in question, superintendent Paul Blaine answered the complaint carefully.
    "I think it is being taken for granted that these things are black and white," Blaine said. "The truth is that it is not that simple. Every situation is different. Every case is investigated carefully and hours have been put in." Discipline questioned
    Resident Bill Kellermeyer questioned the disciplinary action of the students and student-athletes in the Nov. 23 incident, and questioned why an athlete on her second offense had not been punished according to athletic policy guidelines.
    "There are facts we have about the case," Blaine said. "Everything heard out on the street is just talk. We have to evaluate according to the facts we have. I think it is better to let five kids get away with something rather than one child be wrongly punished. These cases are difficult to deal with. We talk to the people involved and react to it. I feel the policy is being administered fairly."
    When the school board was asked why the students were punished at all if they did not have the facts to administer the policy as written, Blaine responded simply by saying the cases are resolved with the facts given.     "It shouldn't be any other parents' concern if their child was not involved," Blaine said.
    In other business, board members learned the high school is currently evaluating going to an eight-period day, according to high school principal Mike Makely.
    Makely said the school is looking into possibly providing a chance for students to take more classes, pointing out the state has an additional credit requirement for graduation in English, mathematics, social studies or science. He added that an additional period could give some students an extra study hall for tutoring in problem subjects.
    "We hopefully will have a proposal for the board in January," Makely said.
    Business manager Kurt Kuffner said the building/grounds committee has narrowed the choices down to eight potential sites for the location of the proposed new school.
    Kuffner said locations could not be revealed due to negotiations and requests of some of the property owners.
    Blaine announced the school district received an $85,000 grant for reading assessment and intervention from the Center for Students, Families and Communities Office for Exceptional Children.
    Director of special education Lisa Elson said the grant will be used for assessment and intervention at the kindergarten level in five criteria. The evaluations will be used to help the child improve reading skills at the first-and second-grade levels. Personnel hired
    In other business, the board:
    - Approved personnel to five various positions.
    - Appointed DeWayne Marsee to the St. Marys Community Public Library Board.
    - Continued membership to the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) at $3,537 and the OSBA legal assistance fund at $250.
    - Approved a request for up to $16,000 matching funds for new playground equipment at East Elementary School. The East PTO is raising the funds.
    - Accepted a $200 donation from Tompary's Diagnostic Center for enhancement of the high school math program.
    - Reported that the school district received an excellent report from a state assessor for school nutrition services.


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