SOllthington High School 720 Pleasant Street. Southington, CT 06489 Phone: (860)628-3229 Fax: (860) 628-3397 Home Page: www.southingtonschools.org
Principal Martin 1. Semmel, Ed.D Assistant Principals Andrew S. Bayer Helen A. Crowley David S. Germano Brian R. Stranieri
April 14, 2011 Dear SHS Parents and Students,
I have now had the absolute pleasure of being the Principal of Southington High School for over 9 months\\ . During this time I have had the opportunity to observe many of our current practices and to engagdn!m'-Ytiple conversations with students, teachers, parents, and community members. What I have learned is thatSHS is a wonderful school, but there is room for improvement. \\(:IL~~'rt' One such improvement concerns student identification. Students have been wearing SHS identificatiun:-aridund their necks since 2002. It is my understanding that this practice came about because of the ColumbinershOdting that occurred in Colorado in 1999. Over the past 11 years, Southington High School has taken many practical and successful steps to increase the safety of our students and our staff. These measures include three security guards that monitor the school grounds and front door of our building, exterior doors that are locked afutr the first bell and remain locked throughout the day, security cameras throughout the building, a full-tirrie'School resource officer (Southington Police Department), fire and lock-down drills. In addition, there are a number. of school initiatives that address school climate like Rachel's Challenge, STEPS, and our mediation programjust to name a few. Although we have these items in place, we will continue to review and improve upon'our: practices regarding student safety. It is the position of the Southington High School administration and the Principal's Advisory Council that
students should no longer be required to wear student ID's around their necks. However, it is still our position that students must possess their student identification. In fact, we believe that possessing student identification is a civic expectation that demonstrates responsibility. As adults we are all required to carry identification. Starting on Monday, Apri12S th we will pilot this new practice. Students will be required to possess SHS student identification. In general, students will only need to present their ID's when requested by staff or to scan for books. This may occur if a student is in a hallway without a pass, causing a disturbance, or involved in a disciplinary matter. To reinforce the need for students to possess SHS issued identification, we will also conduct random checks in homerooms. If a student does not possess an ID, then the following consequences will follow: First offense - student receives a purple pass and a 2 hour detention; Second offense - 2 hour detention and the ID issue must be resolved; Third offense - In-school suspension and the ID issue must be resolved. When we say that the ID issue must be resolved, we mean that a student without an ID will remain in our in-school suspension room or in the main office until an ID is brought into school or a new one is made for the student. The cost to produce a new ID is $2.00. In addition, the resolution may require the presence of a parent. We ask that you check with your son/daughter to see if they have school identification. Ifthey do not have school issued identification, your child should stop by the main office to request a new one (there is a cost). Office staff will be available to help with ID's over April break between 8:00am and 2:30pm.
On another important note, I would like to remind parents and students that cell phones/Smart Phones should not be visible from 7:37am - 2:15pm. In addition, these items should be powered off during that time. We have no problem with students possessing cell phones in order to contact family and friends before and after school. However, cell phones are disruptive to the educational process and may increase the potential for poor behavior (i.e. cyber bullying, skipping class, etc.). If you need to get a message to your child during the school day please call 860-628-3229. We will be happy to get a message to your son/daughter. Students also have access to the phone in the main office to make quick phone calls to parents/guardians during study hall or lunch periods. Finally, with the warmer weather coming I feel the need to discuss the dress code. The Board of Education "requires students to dress in clothing appropriate to the school setting and which is conducive to learning. Restriction on freedom of student dress may be applied whenever the mode of dress in question: 1)'is unsafe for the student and those around the student; 2) is disruptive to school operations and the education process, in general; 3) is contrary to law." As teachers and administrators of high school students, we see no need for students to come dressed wearing clothing that is distracting or disruptive to the educational environment. The high school is a place to learn and grow as individuals, not argue about whether shorts are too short or pants are sagging below the waist. We recognize that many parents are doing their best to provide appropriate clothing for their kids. We also recognize that students may alter their outfit between home and school. Although the weather will be warmer I must remind parents and students that the high school is air-conditioned. I ask that you please work with your son/daughter regarding the dress code at home. If students are violating our BOE dress code policy, we will ask that you bring a change of clothes to school before we allow individuals to re足 enter class. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and discussing it with your child. I understand that we are all after the same goal for our kids. We want to see our kids receive an excellent education in a safe learning environment. As a father of three, this is not only a professional goal, it is a personal one. I also recognize that many parents reading this letter understand the importance of these issues and work hard to support their kids and their school. Together we can make SHS the best high school in Connecticut. Sincerely,
Martin J. Semmel, Ed.D.