On November 9th, 2021, St. Gabriel Communications, 88.5 mhz, Adel, IA, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for authority to construct a new noncommercial educational FM broadcast station to operate on 89.9 mhz, at Mason City, IA. Members of the public wishing to view this application or obtain information about how to file comments and petitions on the application can visit https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/views/public/nceDraftCopy?displayType=html&appKey=25076f917ce2e04b017d002e8c140a22&id=25076f917ce2e04b017d002e8c140a22&goBack=N#sect-chanFacility

On November 9th, 2021, St. Gabriel Communications, 88.5 FM, Adel, IA, filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for authority to construct a new noncommercial educational FM broadcast station to operate on 89.9 FM, at Spencer, IA. Members of the public wishing to view this application or obtain information about how to file comments and petitions on the application can visit https://enterpriseefiling.fcc.gov/dataentry/views/public/nceDraftCopy?displayType=html&appKey=25076f917ce2e04b017ce708493e0cfb&id=25076f917ce2e04b017ce708493e0cfb&goBack=N
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School district spending millions on bricks and mortar, but what is end product?



This news story was published on September 17, 2012.
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Person in homecoming parade standing on a van with a t-shirt that says “Vagina” on the front.

Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – As the Mason City School District completes a multi-year upgrade of school facilities in Mason City, tearing down landmark schools and replacing them with shiny new ones, have school leaders taken their eyes off the real prize, the students?

Of course, as they do year after year, our schools graduate some great kids.  Some might say many of these kids are winners who would succeed no matter what the schools do.

Other kids need more help to succeed, and that’s where one would hope that attention and direction from their mentors at school would step in and help make these students the successes they should be.

Right now, and for the last few years, our school district leaders (administrators, teachers and coaches) have been preoccupied, many say, with the logistics of coordinating the building of new schools and moving kids around, changing bus routes, lunch routines, opening and closing school buildings, and countless other details.

Some are saying the focus hasn’t been on the kids, that perhaps they have been overlooked.

Some are pointing to the dress code, for example, that the schools are now (finally) enforcing, perhaps at random.

A couple weeks ago, the High School one day decided to strictly enforce the code.  Some students at the High School were placed on in-school suspension until their clothing, which school administrators said violated their dress code policy, could be changed.  Some parents brought a change of clothes to the school so their students could change.  There were some upset kids.  But, it seemed the school would strictly enforce the policy.

However, at the homecoming parade, youngsters that appeared to be students were wearing shirts that may have clearly violated the dress code (see photo), defined as: “Students who wear attire advertising products which are illegal or hazardous to one’s health or which display messages containing sexual innuendos or create a hostile learning environment will be removed from school until appropriate clothing is displayed.”

(Question: Why would any teacher, coach or administrator (or parent, for that matter) allow a kid to attend a school function with a shirt that says “enjoy vagina” on it?)

Later, after the Mohawk football team fell to 0-5 Friday night, it was said that students were roaming the parks and back yards all over the city, as they have for years, engaging in nocturnal activities.

Today, parents informed NIT that dozens of students abruptly left the homecoming dance last night after being told that they could not “grind” while dancing at the school function.

Now, it is great to see the school stepping up in these small ways to set an example and show leadership (enforcing dress code, albeit at random, and banning of “grinding” at the dance) but is it enough?

One would like to see the school leadership stepping up in bigger ways to make the school kids of Mason City a success at all levels and all areas, including academics, the arts and athletics.  Are the administrators, teachers, and coaches doing all they can to make our kids winners, or are they only now putting an emphasis on being the leaders and mentors they ought (and are paid) to be?

When will our school district leaders realize that better, more long-term programs need to be implemented, for example in football, to make our student-athletes competitive?

Now that the end of the school reconstruction projects is nearing, perhaps our school district administrators, teachers and coaches can get together and start formulating plans to bring the focus back on the students so more of them can become successful while they are students and later as adult citizens.

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39 Responses to School district spending millions on bricks and mortar, but what is end product?

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 29, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I’m the kid that wore that shirt!

  2. Rahmbo Reply Report comment

    September 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Money should be used for instructional purposes. For example, I think a foreign language immersion program would be great.

    Only if the costs of refurbishing an old building outweigh the costs of a new building should funds be directed to a new building. Perhaps that’s the standard that MCCS uses, perhaps not.

  3. Melissa Reply Report comment

    September 18, 2012 at 12:39 am

    If the kid was brought up with respect and manners, if the school would/could look beyond all the new shiny bricks, if the parents were there for their child and didn’t enable him, if the parents said “No” and taught the meaning of that word to their child, if school officials really cared and enforced the rules for ALL kids, this probably wouldn’t of happened. That’s a lot of IF’s !!!

  4. matt Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I tend to agree….ENJOY VAGINA! It’s a wonderful thing.

  5. Ben Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I highly doubt that fool wearing that shirt is part of the football team. He’d be wearing a jersey if he was part of the team. You would probably only have to go as far as his house or his trailer to find out why he is the way he is.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    mason city. 2nd class town, 2nd class kids.

  7. Faye Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Words are just words, the word Bloody in England is considered a foul word…….

  8. Publius Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    If you wear a shirt that says “Enjoy Vagina” you have probably never enjoyed vagina.

  9. sad but true Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    The picture says it all. The future of Mason City!
    Every school system should be privately owned. Able to set the social and academic standards they wish.
    Kids like these could choose to change, or not go at all, but as is, they are a embarrassment to all.
    Education needs to become a business, we are spending over 11.000 dollars a child, and this is what we get. USA ranks 17th in the world while spending the most. Thank the large teacher unions for that accomplishment. It all has to change or we are going to continue to slide further and further down the list. Very sad

  10. jimmy Smithe Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Help> We need Peter Children to come to the rescue. That man has an answer for everything and he would take the moral high road too.

  11. Tina Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 9:55 am

    agree with poster above: This is about bad parenting not school enforcement.This child, and I will call him a child, who’s wearing this shirt, doesn’t take into account the numerous young children that are present during a PARADE. I played football for Barry Alvarez, he would NEVER allow this shirt to be worn by one of his players, in fact he made us nice polo shirts and we were required to wear them at ANY football related event.Barry preached, “for the town to respect us, we must give the town respect”…our current coach must not agree with this quote..but then again were 0-5, hummmm

    • Tina Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 9:58 am

      apologize..wife tine signed me in..oops

    • Dave K Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

      ..Barry was a class act.Taught respect at all levels.Obviously, this team doesn’t even respect itself, to allow a fellow player to wear such trash.
      GEERS to this boys parents.

      • 1978 stae champs Reply Report comment

        September 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

        ditto

      • Poor Memory Reply Report comment

        September 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        Barry was not a class act, I was there and I know teachers who taught in the building. He was very successful coach, he had twice as many students back then, he didn’t teach (don’t say he did, he mostly had PE with FB Players). He was giving the day of games off with a couple of his assistance. They received subs. I have never met one person who talked about Barry’s teaching ability. We need to stop comparing everyone to Barry.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      No where does it say this person is a football player. Don’t put down a team or its coach when he or they have no part of the problem.

  12. TheRealFred Reply Report comment

    September 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Yeah, but look at those new buildings! BTW, we need more tax money.

  13. Yowzer Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Matt…The school can dictate dress on school grounds and in buildings, which has been upheld by courts time and time again. Off school property they have no jurisdiction what so ever. This also has been held up in courts. The second the student steps off school grounds the 1st Amendment takes over whether we like it or not.

    As far as building goes, funds for that, teacher pay, general fund, special ed etc. Are closely monitored and controlled by the legislature. Funds cannot be transferred from one to another.

    Teachers day in day out are working diligently to better students in every way. They are playing against a stacked deck. The number of declining teachers is greater than that of students. The admin may publish that class size is 18-20, but what they don’t tell you is they average in ALL classes. There are many special ed classes that have 3-5 students. 35-40 is becoming common in regular ed.

    The inability to remove disruptive and dangerous student is a major strain. But lack of parent involvement and monitoring their child’s behaviors and school preparedness trumps them all. Imho

    • John Reply Report comment

      September 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Dad, why in the world would you let your kid own that shirt?

    • Katie Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      I don’t know the law, but wouldn’t a school float still be school property?

      • Yowzer Reply Report comment

        September 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        No Katie, Unfortunately the floats are constructed off school property by private individuals. If the float enters school grounds then school personal could ask the young man to change/remove shirt. If he refuses he can be sited for trespass.

        @ John, I do not understand why you came at me with that sophomoric rant. I mentioned nothing about defending this crude young man, and feel as much disgust as you. I was simply pointed out how the School is handcuffed by law when off school property. If you wish to make a valid point and get your point across with merit, you need to do it in a mature respectful manner. Glibness seldom is received as intelligence.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        September 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Yowzer, it’s a shame the parade isn’t considered to be a sanctioned school activity and covered in that way.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Yowzer, Although I agree with what you say, I think the float is in a school sponsored activity, therefore, the school has the right to subject the people on the float to school rules. The school must ok the float before it is allowed to participate in the parade, and if this float was built by a school-related group, then perhaps next year that group should not be allowed to participate. I know other schools around the area regulate what the float can and cannot say.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        September 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        “I don’t know the law, but wouldn’t a school float still be school property?”

        That is a sticky problem. There are two cases that came to mind, both relate to the First Amendment rights to free speech in schools.

        One, a Landmark decision was Tinker v. Des Moines, where the Court found for the students. However it was closely refined in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier where they stated: “The Court concluded that “educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns”.

        However, in the Tinker decision, the Court also held that students’ free speech rights, while they are in school, may be curtailed due to the “special characteristics of the school environment.” The key test, according to the Court, is whether student expression would “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”

        So with that you can conclude, and the courts may as well, that such things such as floats and vulgar t-shirts may be restricted by School Officials.

  14. Howie Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    What is going on at the school which this article hits upon is inconsistency. When rules, conduct, grades, goals, performance expectations are not consistent…things like what you have seen lately happen. All of a sudden the dress code is enforced? Why not last year, why not in years before. Kids walked out cuz the dance didn’t allow grinding??? Is this new apparently? Grinding should never have been allowed to begin with. I think Anita is too out of touch with this community and the students to address the issues. I think the school board is a rubber stamp. And I think not enough “good” parents are stepping up and voicing their concerns. But hey, we’ve got new buildings.

  15. John Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    One thing that I can say about Mason City schools is that they are causing a lot of the problems that everyone complains about in this town. This effects athletics as well and I am sure that I am not the only one that knows this.

    It starts in JR High, if you don’t have the GPA, you are not eligible to play in sports. Since the kids are not paid attention to in school as far as their needs for learning, they have to drop out of sports.

    All sporting activities teach disapline and hone learning skills. (just as Millatary service does.)
    By making these students non eligible to participate in sports because the teachers can not connect with their needs starts the downward spirial in these kids.

    Very good athletic kids give up at the Jr. High level because of thier teachers that don’t care and use this as a weapon because they are poor teachers. I know plenty of parents will agree with me on this.

    I have lived it first hand and I know this to be true. This is the problem with the graduation rate and the athletic program in this town in a nutshell.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      If they don’t care enough about sports to work harder in the class room how hard do you think they will work on the field. If kids want to succeed they will no matter if they have one or two crappy teachers every year. You want to blame the teachers and the teachers say they don’t care because most of the parents don’t care. So there we go life in America now its always someone elses fault.

  16. Matt Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Good thing he was not wearing a shirt that said pancreas on it i would be really offended

  17. Me Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Solution: Parenting classes that are mandatory for those recieving public assistance.

    MCHS parent, I don’t think it would have helped your child cope in the real world by homeschooling them and sheltering them from their peers.

    The young man in the t-shirt could have changed into it specifically for the parade. On Friday they had all sorts of activities going on, so it would be easy for the shirt to go unnoticed. Also its sometimes hard to spot what a t-shirt says when students are sitting in a desk.

    MCHS was in much need of the remodeling. Prior to the remodeling the building was run-down. MCHS was behind all the other schools in North Iowa when it came to technology.

    • John Reply Report comment

      September 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      All I can say to this comment is Barbra S. B as in B, S as in S.

    • anonymous Reply Report comment

      September 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      What does that have to do with parenting. Some of the most arrogant, disrespectful and just plain mean kids come from wealthy or middle class families. Instead of picking on the poor parents have all the teachers make a list of the trouble makers and have those parents take classes and make going to conferences and all school events mandatory for both parents. If they have to spend all that time on school functions things will change real fast at home and then in the classroom.

      • Katie Reply Report comment

        September 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        You’re right. Bullies come from all economic levels and are often created at home by parents or siblings. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people had to pass parenting classes prior to the act of conception? 😉

  18. John Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    This shirt that this kid is wearing would not go through the wash cycle if it was found in my house. I would never let my kid leave the house with that shirt going to school or anywhere else for that matter.

  19. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Why are you folks disgusted with this dudes tee shirt? This is Mason City at it’s finest and it should be worn proudly!!! Its typical backwater garbage for a typical backwater town!!! Look who is running the town!!! This behavior should surprise no one!!! STAY CLASSY MASON CITY!!! STAY CLASSY!!!

  20. MCHS Parent Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    To the best of my knowledge several young ladies had to get new clothes to wear during the school day a few weeks ago because they were too short. This young man should not be wearing a shirt like this- Where is an Administrator? I am disgusted and it goes to show that our school system needs help. Home schooling parents (My kids attend and have went to MCCSD) you have the right idea! What a horrible thing for our school. If I were to start over (My youngest is a senior) I would homeschool my kids.

    • JDM Reply Report comment

      September 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      I never would have let my son out of the hoise with a shirt like this on. If I were to see it in the dirty laundry, it would become trash. Children do not need to be wearing clothes like this. As much as I may find humor in it and others I’ve seen, I think there are certain places for this kind of display… and a school float is not one of them. A biker rally, yes. Now, if the parents knew nothing of this shirt, I sure hope they do now and take appropriate action.

  21. Joe Dirt Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    One thing you forgot to mention is that with the faltering economy and many layoffs the board has been handing out excessive raises in pay and benefits to teachers and administrators. It’s the only job that has virtually no accountability and is controlled by a board of high rollers that care nothing about the people flipping the bill. They can’t get enough of our money to spend.

  22. LVS Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Parenting is right. Most of the parents just want to be friends, not parents. It is much easier to just let them do as they please. What ever happened to personal responsibility. The schools have let these kids down by sending them mixed signals. So, now they get no parenting and home and mixed signals at school so they just destroy everything they can and have no respect for anything. Yes, there are some success story’s but there are a lot more failures. Of course after spending all that money the school system will want to raise taxes again. No tax increases without results and no more teacher raises.

  23. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    September 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    One word…parenting! The schools can’t teach kids respect, values, or morals, especially with the laws these days. Only parents can, and many of them have punched out of the job a long time ago.