Behavioral issues persist at Youngstown schools

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — There are a lot of issues facing Youngstown City School leaders as the school year comes to a close.

The Youngstown Board of Education held a workshop Tuesday evening to discuss some of those issues, including policies, hiring principals and teachers, curriculum and discipline. In fact, behavioral issues are cropping up more as students count down the days until summer vacation.

Chaney High School acting principal Edna Douglas briefed the school board and superintendent on why she decided to cancel an eighth-grade promotion assembly scheduled for Wednesday morning. She said teachers couldn’t control the students during a rehearsal on Tuesday for their graduation from 8th to 9th grade.

“It didn’t go the way the staff expected. We had some students acting out and misbehaving and the principal made a decision, along with her staff and the teachers, to cancel that program,” said Youngstown Superintendent Dr. Connie Hathorn.

Hathorn said he supports Douglas’s decision.

He still invites parents to come to Chaney Wednesday morning to take pictures with their students, when certificates are handed out in their classrooms.

“We’re trying to teach the kids how to behave, how to be respectful, so we’re going to have a program tomorrow. We didn’t want it to be all out of control,” Hathorn said.

During the workshop, other incidents and examples of out of control environments were discussed at East and Wilson. Board of Education president Richard Atkinson said he is looking forward to end of the year reports from all buildings and departments.

“We have been putting in programs and now we will get an idea, a chance to see if those programs are really working. You know, every system has some problems, our system has some problems, but we are tweaking them, we are working on them and we work as a group,” Atkinson said.

Dr. Hathorn said students are clearly counting down the days until school ends Friday.

“You have a week of school left, three or four days left, students are going to misbehave. They are going to be a little bit different, a little antsy. They’re read to get out of school. It’s been a long year, so students are going to be students and that is something we just have to deal with,” Hathorn said.

Also on Tuesday, board members said they did follow up on an issue brought up during a Board of Education meeting last week by former board member Andrea Mahone.

She brought with her a 9th-grade student, who told the board there were only 12 textbooks in his history class of at least 24 students. Mahone used it as a reason why the board should continue to reject any proposed pay increases for school principals.

Current board members did some research, and found most core curriculum class work is assigned and completed online, not from a textbook.

“All of the courses and the work that goes with our courses are on our website. A parent, any community person, could go online and look at exactly what a student should be doing any month of the year,” said Youngstown Board of Education member Marcia Haire-Ellis.

Other board members talked directly to the student Mahone brought with her. They said the young man didn’t know he was coming to a board meeting that night and he admitted it’s his fault he is failing history, not because of a lack of books or resources in the classroom.

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