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Jumper: “Moving forward” in aftermath of homecoming dance

Mason City High School

From MCHS Principal TJ Jumper –

In a leadership position there are times when tough decisions must be made. Sometimes, these decisions are debated by others. People offer his or her opinion based on his/her perspective. As a school, we have to take the perspective of the whole. Sometimes this leads to decisions that a group may feel is not in their best interest or they may not agree with. The school must look at all students and their well-being. This last Saturday’s dance is unfortunately overshadowing a great homecoming week, we should be emphasizing the outstanding school assembly and the student participation. We have wonderful kids and sometimes as kids they will make mistakes or poor decisions.

When this occurs it is vital for us as adults to assist them in learning from those mistakes. As adults we also must model this idea of learning from mistakes and always trying to improve as an individual or in the school’s case as an organization. For those wondering, the administrative team has reviewed the occurrence several times to reflect on how this could have resulted in a better ending. For instance, during the week leading up an announcement could have been made reviewing the rules of the dance (especially since it was the first dance for freshman), the sequencing of events could have gone better, we could have had the check-in table closer to the cafeteria so that the administration could respond quicker, and an administrator could have been on the microphone to inform the students of expectations.

The lessons that students can take away are that if a staff member or adult asks you to do something you should comply, there is a proper way to form a complaint before reacting, mob-like mentality is inappropriate in the school setting, and destroying property is not acceptable. All of these fall under the category of respect.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that not all students who left were disrespectful or destructive. Some left quietly. Also, we have heard from multiple students who stayed that they had an awesome time and cannot wait for the next dance.

Deep down, I know that if I would have had the opportunity to talk with students before they reacted angrily and left the situation it would not have escalated. In further reflection we as adults will not be around for all the situations that our young people are confronted with. It is the hope of all of us that we have taught them how to respond appropriately in those situations and they apply it. Hopefully, we can use this situation as a learning lesson.

Furthermore, the school having a dance or extra-curricular event for students is a privilege. This privilege is created by adults and student volunteers so that students can have a fun safe gathering and build school spirit. When an event is school- sponsored all school rules apply. Grinding is against the rules and will be enforced at all dances. From the school’s perspective it is inappropriate as private body parts are being rubbed up against another person. In order to move from inappropriate to appropriate we are only asking for there to be a little space between the two people or group.  Plus it is a major safety concern when multiple students are compacted tight in a ball. If an emergency would occur it would be nearly impossible to respond too and for supervision purposes an adult cannot see what is going on in the middle of that group. This is a standard the school district has set and will be followed. Students have the right to decide to attend or not attend, or leave. Our next dance is Friday, October 12 after the varsity football game. If students decide to grind those particular students will be asked to leave. The students have been informed that is a probationary dance to determine if future dances will be held. We are in hopes that they will.

Again, there are many of us spending a great deal of time and energy on this one topic. There are many great things our students do every day and we have an outstanding school. One that has been recognized multiple times over for athletics, music, and academics. We need to be spending the time uplifting our students and giving our time and energy to those positives and not debating the one negative situation. It would also be great for us to come together with our time and energy to continue to support students in their path of learning. As a community we can have a major influence on our children, we can decide to be divided, or we can choose to unite with a focus on academic achievement.

Sincerely,

T.J. Jumper
Director of Secondary Programs

 

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Related stories:

UPDATED: Sources say MCHS homecoming dance went bad

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