Parents get no time to speak to Girard school board

GIRARD — About two dozen parents attended tonight's board of educaton meeting, but not much was said about student drinking problems, recent drug arrest or bullets found on school grounds.

The board went into an executive session about a half-hour after the meeting started and had not come out three hours later. An agenda provided by the school board said the executive session was for “the investigation of charges or complaints against a student(s).”

The board had set aside time on the agenda for citizens to address the board after the executive session. As the length of the executive session grew longer, however, the number of people in attendance began to dwindle.

Superintendent Joseph Jeswald, before the board entered executive session, did briefly address the drug and alcohol issues being discussed throughout the community. He directed parents to a compiled list of support groups, curriculum and activities designed to help students with various issues and concerns.

“I want to assure you that the school district is continuing its efforts to address these issues,” he said.

Jeswald said the majority of the kids in the district do not have any problems with drugs or alcohol and the district, he said, is aggressively working to address any issues some students may have.

Mike Kolic, a drug recovery specialist who works with kids around the country, had planned to address the board. Kolic spoke to students at Girard High School earlier this month, but has since been told his services are not needed.

Kolic said he is still working with three students at the request of their parents. One of those parents also attended the meeting in support of Kolic.

Wendi Parker said her 16-year-old daughter benefited from Kolic’s assistance. She said she liked the fact the Kolic, who once had a drug problem, comes from the perspective of someone who has “been there,” and did not judge her daughter.

A week ago, Girard police announced the arrests of 10 young people, including six Girard High School students, on charges of selling marijuana. They were arrested with assistance from agents of the U.S. Marshals Service. They have been released on bonds ranging from $2,500 to $12,500.

A Girard High School student also passed out at a New Year’s Eve party held at the home of a school board member after consuming alcohol. The school does have a policy on alcohol and drug use that prohibits students involved in such activity from attending or participating in extracurricular events.

One man who attended the meeting, but did not wish to give his name, said the policy prohibiting students from attending extracurricular activities is not being properly applied.

The man said he gave his daughter permission to attend the party and she has since been banned from extracurricular activities. He said the pledge signed by students calls for a ban from such activities if the party is attended by primarily students and alcohol is served. He said the party at the board member’s home was supervised and not attended by primarily students.

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