Principal overturns gender specific lunch time

By: Ashley Prchal Email
By: Ashley Prchal Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - One day after 11 News broke the story boys and girls were being separated during lunch time at Grand Mesa Middle School, the principal of the middle school calls off the new separation policy.

The plan to separate boys and girls during the lunch hour was quickly thrown to the curb after parents swamped the principal of Grand Mesa Middle School with phone calls and office visits, concerned about why they weren't informed about this new procedure.

“I thought it was absolutely insane. I didn't understand why they had to have the boys versus the girls,” says concerned parent Lacie Stout.

“I was shocked. It was wrong on so many levels,” says Jamie Remey, another concerned parent.

Both Stout and Remey have 7th graders at Grand Mesa Middle School. They say the school should have sent home a letter or held a parent conference before enforcing a separation of boys and girls during the lunch time and recess.

“Our son came home and said it was sexist and didn't understand why he had to eat after the girls,” says Stout.

“They were shocked! They both have friends, really close friends of the opposite sex and they were complaining,” says Remey.

District 51 officials say Grand Mesa Middle School made the move based on “positive behavior support data."

“This is a program in our district that really is intended to monitor student discipline and student behavior,” says Jeff Kirtland, District 51 spokesperson.

With the goal of making changes to better students.

“This was an experiment or trial for the school to look at,” says Kirtland.

But it was an experiment parents didn't like finding out their kids were guinea pigs for without their approval.

“I think the learning from us, the learning from the school’s perspective, is to ensure that parents who have concerns are a part of this,” says Kirtland.

The principal of Grand Mesa Middle School released a statement Wednesday withdrawing his decision. A move much appreciated by many parents, who say they just hope that with future policies, they’re consulted first.

“Well, I'm glad. I hope they think twice before enacting another legislative move like this in the schools, without involving the parents and the students,” says Remey.

Some parents were wondering whether the lack of resources had anything to do with putting this separation policy into practice. Their thoughts were that maybe there weren't enough teachers to watch the kids.

District 51 officials say teacher supervision is not an issue and student safety is of top priority. However, officials say parents are always welcome to volunteer during those hours.


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