By Principal Allan Gee
As we have recently gone through the process of providing consequences to a few of our student athletes who violated athletic association rules, I wanted you to be aware of our response in terms of the communication and support being offered to our students while also protecting the confidentiality of all Homer High students to the best extent possible.
Last week, two of our teachers, Mr. Campbell and Mr. Putney, took all of their students (almost half of the student body) to see the documentary film, “Bully,” at the Homer Theatre. Although this film addressed the specific topic of bullying, I am certain it will also open up the opportunity for students to talk through other issues that have surfaced recently. I will be asking our counselors to work with Mr. Campbell and Mr. Putney (as needed) should students wish to talk through their concerns and we will provide a safe environment for this to happen.
I am working with Mr. Perk, Health/PE teacher, to engage all freshmen students in conversations (as a component of the substance abuse/safety curriculum in his health classes) where students will discuss the impact of substance abuse on self, family, school and community.
I will also be asking all of our coaches to not only talk with their players again regarding the tobacco, alcohol and drug policies, as well as talking with parents of their athletes to work together and communicate with each other to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.
Finally, I met with a few coaches last week and we are looking at creating some form of an advisory group (similar to a Board of Control for athletic events) to assist our head coaches when they are faced with addressing a major incident on their team. This is only at the conceptual stage, but hopefully will provide a mechanism to support our coaches, especially new coaches, so they do not feel isolated as they deal with these types of difficult, unpleasant decisions.
Please know I am not only a school administrator, I am a parent of two high school students. I am often torn between my emotional responses in wanting to address an incident no differently than most parents when faced with the misconduct of their child. However, I must also remind myself and others that I am only the school administrator, which limits my jurisdiction only to school activities, with the exception being the TAD policy for student athletes. Fortunately, we have dedicated law enforcement officers within our community to address reported misconduct and I trust they will follow through, when necessary, with appropriate action.
As you know, we have great kids at Homer High School focused on their academics, actively involved in our community, and participating in numerous extra-curricular activities. When negative incidents of this type surface, it tends to be the only topic of conversation. However, I will continue to share our story of the positive things that are happening at Homer High. Our kids deserve this.
This past weekend, Homer High School suffered the loss of one of our former students. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and close friends during this time.
Our Homer High students and staff are all mourning this unexpected loss. Counselors are available on our campus for the next few days to provide support for students and staff. If your child needs to talk with someone, she or he will be encouraged to do so as we respond to the situation with sensitivity to attend to our students’ emotional needs.
As parents, I would encourage you to communicate with your child during this emotional time. We will work through this as a school community but will need your support.
Please feel free to call any of our counselors with your questions or concerns. They can be reached at 235-4600. Our counselors can also direct you to other community resources if needed.
Thank you for your continued support of Homer High School.
Dr. Allan Gee is the principal of Homer High School.
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