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Recess incident prompts more training for Blue Ridge Elementary lunch monitors

Thursday, August 28, 2014 | 8:24 p.m. CDT; updated 12:06 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 29, 2014

COLUMBIA — Lunch monitors at Blue Ridge Elementary School will receive additional training after a recess incident Friday, said Michelle Baumstark, spokeswoman for Columbia Public Schools.

Seventy-two fourth-graders were forced to stand in place in 89-degree heat for the duration of their 20-minute recess period instead of getting to play. The students had been yelling, misbehaving and talking over the lunch room monitors for several days, Baumstark said.

Letter to Blue Ridge

Dear Parents and Guardians,

You may hear from your student about an incident that took place at our school on Friday. I want to make sure you are aware of the incident and dispel any rumors you may hear.

On Friday, our fourth graders were having some behavior issues during lunch time. The students were not demonstrating appropriate behavior nor were they following instructions from the lunch room monitors after repeated reminders. As a result, the lunch room monitors provided a consequence that neither the school nor the school district would consider appropriate. Rather than allowing students free time during recess, the students were asked to stand for the duration of the 20-minute recess. Both myself and district administrators have addressed the incident with the employees and have identified and implemented several solutions so that it does not occur again.

I take this incident seriously and I also ask your help in addressing the important issue of appropriate student behavior. Please take a moment to discuss this incident with your student.

Blue Ridge is a safe place for your children. We share your desire to keep all children in a safe and productive learning atmosphere. We must work together to ensure that the educational process continues for all students in a safe, encouraging and supportive environment.

Thank you for your help and support. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about Friday’s incident.

Sincerely,

Kristen Palmer



The monitors will be required to take part in a series of classes, including disciplinary practices and student behavior management training, Baumstark said. The lunch monitors will also receive additional discipline, but Baumstark would not say what that discipline would be. 

Blue Ridge principal Kristen Palmer sent a letter home with students Tuesday to parents, explaining the circumstances that caused the fourth-grade class to be punished.

"The students were not demonstrating appropriate behavior nor were they following instructions from the lunch room monitors after repeated reminders," Palmer wrote. "As a result, the lunch room monitors provided a consequence that neither the school nor the school district would consider appropriate."

Baumstark said reports that second-graders received the same punishment were not true. She added thatthe incident involved more than a few unruly students.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.


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