ESTEVAN - The Estevan Comprehensive School is taking a number of measures due to what it says is an increase in violent incidents at the school to start 2023.
In a letter sent out to parents on Monday, principal Nathan Johnson said the school has been in consultation with outside agencies, including the Estevan Police Service, its South East Cornerstone Public School Division superintendent, deputy directors and director of education Keith Keating.
It calls for students to attend their assigned classes.
If a student is excused from their class, the school asks that this is communicated by all parents using Edsby.
If a student is excused from class by their parent, this means the student must be out of the building and not on school property for the excused period of time.
Staff will allow only one student out of their class at a time.
If a student needs to leave class, they will complete the sign-out sheet that will be in every room. This will allow staff to review trends in student absences and behaviour.
Students will stay in a supervised area for the duration of the period.
“We do not need any incidents because students left their class before the bell at the end of their class,” the letter stated.
Students working outside of the room, such as for photography, completing science experiments, and other reasons, will stay in an area that the teacher can supervise.
Students who refuse to attend class and follow school expectations will be sent home and their parents/guardians will be contacted.
“The focus of the school day needs to be on academics and positive behaviours,” the letter stated.
If a student has a spare, they have multiple options: work in the library, work in the office or leave the school.
Lunch options include the cafeteria, courtyard, library, gymnasium or outside of the school. All areas will be supervised, the letter states. Students are asked to keep the food from the cafeteria in the cafeteria.
If students are in a classroom at lunch time, it must be supervised.
“Students will be asked to move from the hallways to a supervised area. There have been too many incidents in the hallways where there is not direct supervision,” the letter states.
Outer bathroom doors have been removed to ensure student safety. Privacy remains a top priority and is available in bathroom stalls. Video surveillance allows for monitoring who enters and leaves bathrooms but the school says it does not infringe upon student privacy when using the bathroom.
Bathroom supervision has increased during the day and during breaks.
The letter states that for most students, there will be very little change in their current day-to-day practices.
“They will come to school, strive to succeed academically and continue to build positive relationships with other students and staff. But for all students, we need to prioritize safety and these measures will help to achieve this.
“We need all students to follow the school expectations while they are in the building. As for the recent violence incidents, students must not allow this behaviour to become normalized. We need students to stop encouraging others to fight and stop taking video of these events to post on social media. Students found to be involved in these events will be addressed accordingly.
“ECS is fortunate to have so many caring adults that are available to help students resolve conflicts. Students are encouraged to talk with an adult that they trust if they feel they or someone else is in danger.
“ECS is a great school, and our students and staff have the right to attend a safe school with a positive culture and we should not tolerate anything less. We want to work together to maintain our positive school culture and the safe and inclusive environment that our students deserve.”