Fallout from texting, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media is to blame for several fights and altercations at Frontier Central High School, administrators told the School Board Tuesday night.
And some parents are to blame for spreading misinformation over social media, School Board President Janet MacGregor Plarr said.
"I have to ask the parents, instead of spreading mistruths and half-truths, that they take the time, instead of going online and passing rumors, to call the high school administration," she said. "I was appalled and aghast that grown adults would take part in this type of rumor spreading and innuendo. If you want to know it, call and get it from the horse's mouth."
Newly appointed Superintendent Richard Hughes said a fight in the cafeteria and a couple in the halls last week resulted in superintendent's disciplinary hearings. The students involved were mainly freshmen and sophomores, he said.
"Let's hit this head-on, instead of trying to say there's no issue," Hughes said.
Hughes asked interim high school Principal James P. Newton and two assistant principals to present plans to the School Board on how the school is dealing with the problems.
"Social media issues are with some of these students 24-7," Newton said.
To cut down on the number of students in the halls and restrooms during classes, every student needs a pass and, for now, an adult escort to go to the bathroom, Newton said. Administrators held meetings with the senior class Tuesday, and with the three other classes Wednesday to review rules as well as bullying prevention strategies, social media issues and the reintroduction of Rachel's Challenge, an anti-bullying initiative.
Newton said of the 1,500 students in the school, only about 30 are what he calls "intentional non-learners" – students who are capable of learning but, for whatever reason, do not participate in learning. He also laid out some other stipulations: Students should have only one earbud in when walking in the hallways, should not be insubordinate to any teacher, and should be polite to staff, such as cafeteria workers.
The administration is working on social media presentations for parents, and digital etiquette for ninth-graders, he said. His "No Nonsense Non-Verbal Intervention Program" is being implemented to help reduce low-level violent behaviors such as hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping and congregating with nonverbal means of deescalating situations.
The superintendent said he wanted to get information out to the board and community.
"I'm a big proponent of let the kids use the technology," Hughes said. "Let them make mistakes where they have guidance available."