Social media was in an uproar recently as rumors of a homecoming dance at Mecklenburg County High School began circulating. There was some confusion about whether the dance was ever really considered and if it was, why it was cancelled.
Mecklenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Paul Nichols says, “It is my understanding that Dr. Wilkerson and the administration at Mecklenburg High School have asked a few of the teachers to put some thought into the development of ideas that would strengthen student enthusiasm about the new school. One of the ideas that came up, among many others, was to consider having a homecoming dance as a part of the homecoming week activities. Apparently, the ideas about homecoming options leaked out to some students and was interpreted as a reality. The ideas didn't get to the Administration in time for approval before some students purchased their dresses, etc. This is a great example of the speed of inappropriate social media communication. In the meantime, there was a fight at school. The Administration heard from angry parents about canceling the dance "because of the fight" before they had even heard about the idea of the dance. They were quite surprised. I can relate to that because I too received an email from a concerned parent about canceling a dance that I was totally unaware of. I called Dr. Wilkerson immediately to get the information that I'm sharing with you. Planning for social events is a school function, not a Central Office function. Dr. Wilkerson and her staff will make the ultimate decision about what will take place around homecoming and what will not.”
Rumors of “gang related” fights in the school started making their way into the social media situation.
Nichols says the school is “actively engaged in the discipline issues related to all inappropriate student activity within our schools”.
“There have been fights in schools ever since there have been schools. However, some of what we are seeing that is different today is a result of student engagement in unhealthy social interactions outside of school that they attempt to bring with them onto the school grounds. We are very blessed and thankful that our local law enforcement agencies work closely with us to manage the problems that this causes in our schools. When issues arise there is school discipline and, sometimes, legal discipline that is taken to Social Services and the court system for adjudication. Often the school system is not notified about Social Services or court actions due to state and federal privacy laws, but we find the students returned to school with the understanding that the student will prove themselves as behaving better by acting more responsibly in school. School discipline issues are also subject to very strict privacy laws. We are also very limited by state guidelines in the severity of discipline that can be given to students. We are expected to provide educational opportunities to all students that meet high school graduation guidelines.”
The administration and school board will be reviewing the discipline and educational guidelines along with the disciplinary procedures that the staff is following as they deal with the recent fights at a special called meeting on Tuesday, October 11th at 5:30 p.m.