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Discipline a problem at Jefferson High

May 05, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson High School, where the principal plans to bring in a sheriff's deputy to control conduct problems, has witnessed 812 disciplinary offenses in the last six weeks.

Principal Richard A. "Doc" Keeler said 276 of the offenses were for tardiness and 260 were for skipping class.

Among the rest of the disciplinary problems were 131 instances of disobeying class rules, 35 instances of profanity use, 35 cases of being disrespectful to a teacher and 39 tobacco violations, said Keeler.

Keeler said one of his biggest concerns is the 260 instances of skipping class.

There are exit doors all over the building from which students can leave, and he hopes having a deputy stationed in the school will reduce the problem.

Keeler went before the Jefferson County Board of Education Tuesday night to make his plea for a deputy to control discipline problems at the school, located about 2 miles north of Charles Town.

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Keeler also told the board he is worried about an increasing level of anger among students.

On Wednesday, Keeler said there are several factors that seem to be causing the anger, including breakup of students' families.

Some kids are kicked out of their houses and forced to live on their own, which can be a tough transition for a 17- or 18-year-old, Keeler said.

Instead of the student focusing on school, the focus turns to a job for a means of support.

Then students come to school tired or angry over the increasing pressures on them, according to Keeler.

"I tell them school is their job, too, but they don't see it that way," he said.

There have been various problems at the school this year, including vandalism in the parking lot, a bomb threat last week and fighting, including an incident in which a student was stabbed in the face with a pen.

Two sheriff's deputies were stationed at the school Wednesday during a talent show after it was rumored there would be problems, Keeler said. Nothing materialized.

There also are rumors there will be violence at the school's Saturday night prom at Shepherd College. "We'll probably have more security there than we do people going to the prom," Keeler said.

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