No punishment for staffer in incident with Springboro 8th grader

Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 3:22 PM
Updated: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 4:28 PM

Investigation underway into Springboro student's treatment after sitting for pledge

Springboro school officials decided Friday that no disciplinary action would be taken against a class monitor involved in an incident with a junior high student during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The eighth-grade girl remained seated for the Pledge, her father said Friday, prompting a reaction from the class monitor. Before school officials announced Friday afternoon that no discipline would be taken against the monitor, the father said school officials did a “very credible job” in their handling of the incident.

FIRST REPORT: Springboro student’s choice to sit during Pledge of Allegiance sparks investigation

“For her to stand for what she believes in, I totally support that as her father,” he added during a phone interview.

The father, who did not want to be identified, said he and his wife had discussed with their children the issue surrounding athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.

MORE: Local players join anthem protest

The issue stems from reactions around the nation and at NFL games since Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012, took a knee in protest of what he called police brutality involving black men and women killed by police.

Kaepernick is not playing this year, prompting other players to kneel in support.

“I guess she felt strongly about that,” the father said, adding the girl had been seated all year during the pledge at the beginning of each day at Springboro Junior High School.

In neighboring Lebanon, the school board emerged from an executive session last month to announce it would take no action after the school superintendent kept both football teams off the field during the National Anthem before a game to avoid problems, inciting a community debate.

RELATED: No discipline for Lebanon superintendent

The Springboro father said this was not the first time the school employee “had made comments to her for not standing.”

MORE: Fans react to report that Bengals players want Kaepernick

Scott Marshall, the Springboro schools communications director, said the study-hall monitor is a classified employee, not a teacher, and has worked for the district eight months.

On Thursday, the father said the monitor tapped his daughter on the shoulder as she sat during the pledge and tried to pull her to her feet.

The monitor “proceeded to try and grab her by the arm to have her to stand,” he said.

Marshall said officials had not heard that account.

The school principal walked by and the girl caught his attention, prompting him to take her to the school office and call her parents to tell them “my daughter had not done anything wrong at all,” the father said.

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“At a minimum,” he said his family hoped the monitor would be reprimanded.

“This is a country that is established on freedom of speech,” he said.

On Friday, no students were at school, but the monitor was called in for a “formal discussion” with school officials, Marshall said.

Marshall said the class monitor touched the girl on the shoulder or back.

A relative of another eighth-grader contacted Cox Ohio Media about a claim of a physical altercation involving the monitor and an African-American student.

But the father said he did not know if the problem was racially based.

A Springboro police official said the department is not involved.

Jennifer Balduf contributed to this report.

Here are the big things happening with Hamilton schools in 2018

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 1:00 PM


            Brian Pendergest, Principal of Badin High School, speaks during a State of the Schools event Thursday, Jan. 18 at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Brian Pendergest, Principal of Badin High School, speaks during a State of the Schools event Thursday, Jan. 18 at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The state of education in Hamilton-area schools is strong and getting stronger, local public and private school officials said Thursday.

The annual State of Hamilton Schools event at the Courtyard Marriott in the Butler County city is a pep rally of sorts for school officials, business and community organization leaders.

And this year there was plenty to be cheery about.

Badin High School, which is the only Catholic high school in the county, put forward news of its first expansion of its campus since 2006.

The coming summer will see the launching of a $1.8 million construction project that will add a “student development center” to its West Hamilton campus, Badin Principal Brian Pendergest said.

MORE: Badin renews ties with Sisters of Notre Dame

“We are excited to expand our building to better serve our students,” he told the crowd of more than 200 enjoying lunch at the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Rotary Club sponsored event.

Badin has grown from a 449-student enrollment in 2009 to 575 students this school year. Officials anticipate more than 600 students at the school for the 2018-19 school year.

MORE: Badin celebrates 50th year anniversary

The additional 8,000-square-foot building “will allow us to regain two classrooms that are being used for office space,” Pendergest said.

Jon Graft, superintendent of Butler Tech, showed off the career school system’s recently unveiled logo and said there will be a new campus for the growing district, which is now one of the largest in Ohio.

“Adult education is growing … and we are investing $3 million for 23 classrooms at (former) Americana Amusement Park. That campus of 27 acres will be opened in August 2018,” Graft said.

STORY & VIDEO: Butler Tech buys former Americana Amusement Park

“We are in transformative times, and Butler Tech wants to be a part of them,” said Graft of the new campus expansion in Monroe.

He also said Butler Tech plans to add a second floor – scheduled to open in 2019 — to the Bioscience Center in West Chester Twp. and is actively seeking developers to add more buildings to the campus overlooking the Interstate 75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange.

Hamilton Schools leader Tony Orr touted the 10,000-student district’s continued academic improvement.

“Our focus is on quantitative data that allows us to improve student performance, (and) our data clearly supports that we are improving significantly,” Orr said, citing the most recent measurements required annually by state education officials.

“We are proud of our recent academic accomplishments, improving in an incredible 18 out of 23 tested areas, some by more than 10 percent,” he said.

And Cathy Bishop-Clark, Interim Dean at Miami Regionals — which includes both the Miami University Hamilton and Miami University Middletown campuses and the Miami Learning Center in West Chester — summed up both her school’s stance and those of many at the event.

“This is a community that is moving in the same direction and the right direction,” she said.

Badin High School plans $1.8M expansion as enrollment grows

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:47 AM
Updated: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:13 PM


            Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment. This week officials at Badin High School released more details about its first campus expansion since 2006 including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”(Provided illustration)
Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment. This week officials at Badin High School released more details about its first campus expansion since 2006 including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”(Provided illustration)

Butler County’s only Catholic high school is expanding this year to better handle its growing enrollment.

This week, officials at Badin High School released more details about the school’s first campus expansion since 2006, including a $1.8 million construction project that will add a new “Student Development Center.”

MORE: Badin High School celebrates 50th anniversary

“The new Student Development Center is another example of Badin making effective strides to enhance our facilities,” said Dirk Allen, spokesman for Badin High School.

“We’re very excited about it. Classes, facilities, opportunities for students, all of that comes together to create an outstanding educational experience for the Badin student body,” said Allen.

MORE: Badin High School renews ties with Sister of Notre Dame

Construction on the new, one-story, 8,000-square-foot center will begin this summer and is projected to be done by Christmas.

Allen said the new center “will feature a student commons for use before, during and after school meetings, group projects and a much needed study space. The guidance office will vacate a classroom in the school building and will move to the new Hamilton Community Foundation College and Career Center – a state-of-the-art facility with computer work stations and a meeting space for colleges to meet with students.”

“Our enrollment continues to grow. We were at 449 students in 2009-2010, (and) our enrollment has grown every year since then. We are at 575 this year and expect to be over 600 next year,” he said.

MORE: Looking back on Badin’s historic, perfect basketball season

“The building project will be very helpful (and) students will no longer have to walk outside between the main building and the Pfirman Center in inclement weather.”

The new center will also allow two former classrooms - converted into office space - to return to instructional spaces.

Mason Middle School hit by another racial incident

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:12 AM


            A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents. The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.(Provided photo)
A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents. The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.(Provided photo)

A racist, social media message sent to some African-American students at Mason Middle School prompted school officials to send a notice to school parents.

The Snapchat message was received this week by a handful of black students in the Warren County school and it comes in the wake of a recent racial incident where a Mason teacher at the same school was suspended for telling a black student his classmates “lynch” him if he didn’t complete his class work.

MORE: Mason teacher now suspended after racial incident

In a notice sent Tuesday to Mason Middle School (MMS) parents, Principal Tonya McCall wrote: “Today, we received a tip that several African-American students received an offensive Snapchat message. We reported the message to our School Resource Officer, and will continue to investigate who might have sent it.”

“As many of you may be aware, an MMS teacher recently made an offensive remark to an African-American student. We know that there is no explanation or defense that would make such a comment appropriate. We are working to do what is right — apologize, make amends, and take steps to be better.”

McCall continued and wrote: “We know that racial incidents don’t just hurt the students of color in our schools — they hurt all of our students and staff. We believe that our diversity strengthens our school and community.”

On Saturday Mason school officials announced Middle School teacher Renee Thole would be suspended for her December remark to the black student in addition to being reprimanded and ordered to take cultural sensitivity training.

MORE: Mason and neighboring Kings schools dealing with racial incidents, national attention

The incident drew national attention and Mason district officials have responded with promises to re-new its exiting efforts and programs to improve racial sensitivity in the predominately white school system of 11,000-students.

Mason Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline sent a message to “Mason City Schools Families” on Saturday with the subject line “Mason Schools Response to Teacher’s Comment” after the story about the teacher gained national attention.

“Racism is real in America, and we all have an obligation to fight it,” Kist-Kline wrote.

Now, live on Facebook! Lakota connecting with parents in a new way

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:30 AM


            Southwest Ohio’s largest suburban school system, led by superintendent Matt Miller, has launched a new Facebook Live series designed to better connect Lakota School teachers with parents, who can use the social media forum to ask real-time questions.
Southwest Ohio’s largest suburban school system, led by superintendent Matt Miller, has launched a new Facebook Live series designed to better connect Lakota School teachers with parents, who can use the social media forum to ask real-time questions.

A new social media outreach by Lakota Schools delivers education experts directly into local homes via Facebook.

Earlier this month, the Butler County school system kicked off its new Facebook Live parent learning series.

The first session focused on helping parents encourage and guide their children to read more outside of school.

Three Lakota reading teachers were presented on Facebook Live starting at 7 p.m. for a half-hour session that allowed viewers to ask questions in real time. A recording of the first session remains available online long after it’s first shared and can be seen here.

It saves school parents time and effort while giving them access to expert opinions on a variety of educational subjects.

The new social media series is the latest outreach pushed by Lakota’s first-year Superintendent Matt Miller, who has stressed the importance of making digital and social media connections with school parents and non-school residents interested in the 16,500-student district.

MORE: New Lakota Superintendent expands district’s digital outreach

“Our new Facebook Live parent learning series is another example of the innovation that is happening at Lakota. I’m excited to see the coming sessions continue to grow in popularity and success,” said Miller, who also launched Laktoa’s first Twitter account .

Betsy Fuller, spokesperson for Lakota Schools, said, “parents engage with their children in a variety of ways. At Lakota, we are committed to providing parents with different opportunities to encourage being involved with their child’s learning. Parents are busy and don’t always have time to run to another meeting. Our Facebook Live learning series is a great option for people who are unable to make an evening event.”

MORE: Lakota student hosts first online chat with teachers

Andrea Davis, teaching & learning consultant for Lakota Schools, created the new program.

“The idea came from a conversation Keith Koehne, executive director of curriculum & instruction, and I had about ways to help parents feel involved in their child’s education,” Davis said. “We talked about different platforms for offering these sessions, but settled on Facebook because we thought we would reach a greater number of families and community members.

“This platform also enables families to gain useful techniques without having to leave their home or find childcare.

“I have always believed that children are most successful when there is a strong connection between home and school. After watching the sessions, I hope parents walk away empowered. It is my desire that the sessions will answer their questions and give them strategies they can use right away.

“I think the first session went really well and I am greatly looking forward to future sessions.”