School board responds to violence at John Adams

(ABC 6 News) – According to some students and parents in the Rochester school district, a fight broke out Monday at John Adams middle school resulting in an ambulance being called to the school.

One parent spoke to the board about the issue Tuesday evening.

"We wanna teach our children to stand up for themselves, to step in when somebody is being bullied, to help someone. But do you know what you become at JA? A target."

At the RPS school board meeting, Superintendent Kent Pekel responded by announcing a strategy to mitigate the increased tension within schools.

The plan addresses two main disciplinary issues, defiance of adult direction and fighting.

Pekel says teachers and staff will work together to identify students and behaviors that need help and will then agree on shared disciplinary practices to be more consistent.

"After positive dialogue has occurred with students after parents have been engaged, the option of suspension is a rare but available tool. I want to be clear this is a small subset of students in our middle schools and our high schools." Rochester uperintendent Kent Pekel said.

The district will also use federal COVID money to add new positions within schools to help with discipline and overall well-being. We don’t know exactly what these positions are yet but some have called for more equity advisors.

RPS has been working on the plan for about six weeks and will implement some aspects immediately.

The school district also learned about RPS online and how it has been going for students. The online school says out of its more than 500 students, more than half of its online student population are minority students.

The board also approved a substitute pay increase, going from $165 a day to $200 a day.

Also approved — a payment of more than 770 thousand dollars to RCTC for the fall semester of post-secondary enrollment option courses, or PSEO.

The board also approved – HEPA filers, air purifier systems for COVID, and the school board approved a feasibility study for a telemedicine program in Rochester Public Schools.