School Committee Says Community Must Move On From Homecoming Incident
Superintendent Kraeger said the school can learn from the incident but it is time for the community to move on
The Middletown School Committee said the community and school must move forward, after a statewide media frenzy that surrounded Saturday night’s homecoming dance, which was cut short after students protested the school’s no grinding policy.
First reported by Middletown Patch on Saturday night, parents and students were strongly divided about the decision, as well as the school’s handling of the event. Many parents said they were not notified until after the students had been released. The school did not provide transportation for the students.
“It’s unfortunate that the students and the community have been defined by this incident,” said Superintendent Rosemarie Kraeger.
“You know, it has taken a life onto itself,” she said. Kraeger said the most important role of the school is to keep students safe.
“We act as parents,” said Kraeger. “We need to keep them safe in every situation.”
Speaking in front of the committee, parent Michele Luther said she was embarrassed by the incident and frustrated by the school’s poor communication to parents, during the incident as well as this week.
Luther said her daugher had already returned home from the dance when she received the first message that the students had been released early. She asked the committee why parents have not heard about the incident since this weekend.
“We did our best in this situation.” said Kraeger. The superintendent said they might hold parent meeting to discuss the incident. A meeting has not been scheduled.
Luther asked if the school would refund the money for the dance or if the school could hold another dance.
The committee stood by the decision to cut the dance short, and said students violated the school policies.
The policy, according to the Middletown High School handbook states that "sexually explicit dancing will not be tolerated."
In an interview with WPRO on Monday, Kraeger said although there were isolated incidents of grinding at the dance, the issue was the student protests.
“In the handbook it states the students can not be released with parent’s written permission,” Luther pointed out.
Luther said student council held a meeting this week that left her children with more questions than answers.
“The kids left without understanding what the meeting was about, even blaming them,” she said.
Kraeger said the school can learn from the experience, but the school and community must move on.
“Let’s keep an eye on the mark, let’s keep the focus. Let’s keep students safe and adhere to the policies,“ she said.
What do you think are the next steps? Some have said both students and school have lost, and the right thing to do is hold another dance. Others have asked if students will receive a refund for the dance. Or do you believe it is an unfortunate consequence of the student's behavior and the students should learn and move on?