Parent speaks out on CHHS vandalism

Published 10:12 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

The final decision on the fate of the 15 Charles Henderson High School Seniors who allegedly vandalized the high school earlier this month is still unknown.

There is a possibility though, that those students will not have the privilege of walking across the stage for graduation revoked as part of the disciplinary action against them.

“I think the punishment should be different,” said Deborah Nixon, a spokesperson for at least one of the students’ parents.

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Nixon didn’t argue the virtues of the students’ acts.

“The seniors should have known better,” she said. “We don’t condone what they did.”

But Nixon said preventing the students from walking across the graduation stage is not an appropriate punishment.

“That’s something that they only do once in life. This is a milestone. If you kick the brick out from under them, you never know how they’re going to take it.”

Nixon further contended that the delinquent behavior may not have been an accurate representation of the students demeanor as a whole.

“They have been in school 12 to 13 years, some of the students never got in trouble, some had a high G.P.A.,” she said.

And she said the punishment affected other parties, as well.

“Not only are they hurting the students,” she said. “They’re hurting the parents and the grandparents and family members visiting from out of town.”

Nixon recommended options such as community service or a tour of the county jail as possible alternate forms of punishment stressing the importance of sending a message.

“Let them know the choices they make not only affect them but they affect those around them.”

School administrators said they were not prepared to make a statement on disciplinary decisions yet.

“I am reviewing what took place and what the status of that is,” said Superintendent Linda Felton-Smith.

“Once I review that information, Mr. Helms (CHHS principal) and I will have a statement.”

David Helms also didn’t wish to make a statement.

Nixon said she too shared dialogue with the superintendent.

“We had a very good conversation,” Nixon said.

“She hasn’t made a decision, she’s still reviewing different things.”

Nixon said she hoped the administration would consider the fact that this may not have been the first time such an incident occurred, when they make their final decision.

“My understanding is that this has been going on for awhile,” she said.

“If this has been going on all these years why would you punish these students?”

Nixon suggested implementing a future policy without taking away the current students’ right to walk.

“After this make a statement,” she said. “Put it in writing. Make the law plain. Make a statement, stand on it and stay firm.”

Graduation ceremonies for CHHS will take place Thursday.