BEDFORD, Ohio — Bedford High School administrators met with parents Wednesday evening to discuss their plan to address an uptick in fights and threats of violence at the school.
The high school extended its online learning until Nov. 29 to implement the changes.
Principal Chris Thompson said things will be different for students the moment they walk back into the building. They’ll be implementing metal detectors, hiring more security guards, fixing blind spots in surveillance cameras, hiring a director of security, creating a concentrating focus on social and emotional learning courses, and creating a student ambassador program. Students will also be required to wear an ID badge that's visible during the day.
Additionally, dismissal times for bus riders will be earlier than students who walk, driver or ride in another vehicle.
“It’s something that, probably, the majority of our students have never been through,” he said. “We really looked at all the things that we needed to be able to complete and be able to accomplish, so we did extend it out until the 29th of November.”
He said it was not a decision school leaders made lightly.
Enid Thomas is the mom of a junior. She said the sweeping changes should’ve been implemented a long time ago.
“Kids fight. They will always fight. This is never going to stop that,” said Thomas. “Now, the problem arises which was evident that it would happen. This is a reactive leadership, yet again, and our kids are suffering from it.”
Thomas said the problems created by a few students have impacted the majority of well-behaved students.
“Right now, all of these setbacks, they’re not good. They’re not good for our children. Get control of those bad seeds, get them out of here and let those kids continue to thrive.”
James Hudson’s son is a freshman. He said the parents at Wednesday’s meeting are not the ones that the administrators need to be communicating with.
“What needs to happen, it needs to be a communication line between that student, that family, and the administration team,” said Hudson. “We need every parent here that cares about the Bedford community and the school.”
His sister, Nakia Hudson, agrees.
“Don’t punish everyone else and don’t minimize the great things the other students are doing because of these few incidents that have occurred,” she said.
Hudson said her daughter is struggling with online schooling.
“My daughter is, literally, at home frustrated because she does not like being online,” she said. “She has too much going for her and she has a future she has to think about and it is unfair.”
Parents who spoke to News 5 said their children never felt unsafe at school.
But Thompson said it’s not about punishment for everyone, it’s about safety for everyone.
“We are really trying to do our best to have some solutions for the students that are coming in and causing a lot of problems and disrupting the learning environment for the majority of our students here at the high school,” he said.
The high school will have a staggered start date prior to Nov. 29 and then on that date, every student will be back in the building. Juniors and seniors will return Nov. 22 and freshmen and sophomores will return Nov. 23.