It was a decision many years in coming. The Governing Board of Winslow Unified School District No. 1 approved a recommendation to close the junior high school campus effective the 2001-02 school year at the May 2 meeting.
The recommendation was the result of the concerns aired by parents, teachers, council members and Principal Jim MacLean. MacLean sees the measure as a positive move towards protecting the junior high students. “Nothing good can happen to these students when they are out on their own during the lunch hour. There are a hundred different scenarios that can happen. It’s better if we can protect them.”
The campus has been open during lunch as long as MacLean can remember—and he was once a student of WJHS himself. “Winslow was traditionally a railroading town,” the principal explained. “Mothers used to be home with a hot meal ready and would spend quality time with their children, who would then return to school. That’s not the way it is anymore.”
Many students, MacLean said, walk to the root beer stand to have their lunch. But many students disappear into alleys, mingle with high school students in the park where there is no supervision.
“We have kids, 11, 12, and 13 years old, facing situations and temptations. The decision to close the campus was for the good of these students, and for their safety.”
Officer Foster and Lt. Sepi attended the meeting to represent the Winslow Police Department. According to Foster, the police department supports this decision.
“We are in no way trying to rob families of quality time with their children,” MacLean said. “I think it’s great if someone is picking their child up and having lunch with them.” Parents who wish to have their children with them for lunch have that option.
“Parents can fill out a form requesting an exemption for their child. A conference will be scheduled between the parent and the school. Exemptions will be decided on an individual basis.” MacLean added that the process would be simple.
A survey of WJHS students regarding the closure of the campus revealed that 57% of students are in support of the measure.
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