Tag: Superintendent Michael Richards
As communities across the nation began more closely scrutinizing their police departments last year, so too is the city school district reevaluating Harrisonburg’s SROs – whether they should stay in the schools and, if so, what their roles and responsibilities should be. The officers — and data regarding incidents at schools — offer a glimpse into how Harrisonburg’s program operates.
After discussing the addition of more mobile units in Harrisonburg High School’s parking lot to ease overcrowding, several school board members on Tuesday called on the city council to more fully commit to re-starting the new high school’s construction.
The Harrisonburg City Public Schools district could hire additional teachers, elementary school counselors and a division-wide equity coordinator with an expected increase in state and federal funding for fiscal year 2022, according to Superintendent Michael Richards’ proposed budget he presented Tuesday.
The role of school resource officers in Harrisonburg City Public Schools will soon be up for debate in the public sphere, as a task force the district established to examine its contract with the Harrisonburg Police Department is planning a “listening tour” to gather community input. After providing opportunities for public input, the group will present a recommendation to the school board in May.
Almost six months since construction on Harrisonburg’s second high school was suspended, the project remains in limbo, with no timeline yet established to resume work. COVID-19, though, has prompted competing takeaways about the wisdom of moving forward.
About one tenth of Harrisonburg city students started in-person classes on Monday, as a very new sort of fall semester begins. The division moved almost entirely to virtual learning for the start of the school year, while still allowing a fraction of families the option to send their children into school buildings – those with kids who would be most disadvantaged by distance learning, such as English language learners and students with special education needs.
The five police officers stationed in Harrisonburg City Public Schools will be charged with focusing only on protecting schools and the people in them as opposed to monitoring student culture or “morality” this academic year, as the division works to revise its memorandum of understanding with the Harrisonburg Police Department.
Instead of requiring students to attend school a couple days a week this fall, the latest plan for the Harrisonburg City Public Schools will be to require most students to learn from home virtually five days a week, as a result of the discussion during Tuesday’s school board work session.