More face to face interaction needs to happen according to the Superintendent for School District 27 following a town hall meeting on grad camp-outs.
Mark Wintjes says he believes Thursday’s noon hour discussion in which more than 200 Lake City Secondary school students, parents, teachers, and community leaders attended went well.
“To have the whole community come together and have a discussion I think enlightened a number of people so that they could understand the concerns of the community as well as the students what they would like to see because interacting together is huge in how you develop as an adult,” he said.
“We want to encourage that talking to take place rather than just strictly the internet pieces.”
Wintjes adds that he will be in touch with Principal Gregg Gaylord to see if there will be other discussions.
“I opened myself up to the leadership group at Lake City to have further discussions not just on that topic, but any topic that they would like to talk about,” he said.
“I’m hoping that some of those conversations will start and continue. We can’t let this be a one-off meeting-the conservation has to continue.”
While it is not clear if any other town halls meetings will be taking place at other schools, Wintjes said he will be talking to Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School Principal Jeff Butcher to see where his group is thinking and if it is impacting his school.
“I was very impressed even with how they spoke and were willing to speak in front of some dignitaries that were sitting at the table. I thought they did a fantastic job,” Wintjes said of the students who shared their concerns and thoughts.
We Want to Work With Our Youth
That was one of the messages shared at the meeting by RCMP Inspector Jeff Pelley who confirmed there were off-site sanctions issued following a September 12th party at Chimney Lake including impaired driving, intoxication, mischief, and disregard for property and the property that they are on.
“The youth are our future. We know that you’ll be having functions but we can not turn a blind eye to criminal acts,” he said.
“I’ve been at seven posts and grad parties always surface each grad year, and we don’t want any of these events leading to horrific ordeals. We’ve all heard past stories, we all think that it may not happen in the future but they do happen and we need to work together to make sure that these sites are safe and where these events that are occurring are non-alcoholic planned events that really support youth being engaged with each and celebrating their moments.”
Students Want to Work With the Community
“Instead of seeing articles on social media and lots of issues that parents have with the grad class because of the things that have happened, I think we want to move past that and see what the different groups are willing to work with us to produce a better grad year,” said one student.
“We want to be able to know the way you’re willing to help us or be involved with us so that these things can happen somewhere else or they can happen in a safer place around there.”