Board hears prom issues
After listening to more than an hour of public comments about the prom, the Carson City School Board sent the students and the administration back to the drawing board.
“These are issues that don’t need to be addressed at this level,” said Board President Jean Kvam. “They should be addressed at the school level.”
Tuesday marked the sixth board meeting that high school seniors have attended in an attempt to change a new policy that requires seniors to choose their prom dates from only Carson High students.
Senior Ryan Costella, 18, who called himself the “unelected representative of my class” regarding prom, said the rule is too limiting.
“The world is a lot bigger than Carson High,” he said. “We’ve been taught that at school.”
Costella said he first approached Principal Glen Adair about the rule in November.
“He told us that he couldn’t budge on the issue,” Costella said. “He sent us to the school board.”
However, board member Gary Ailes said the purpose of the board is to set policy, not to take over the decisions of the administration.
“I would like to see the administration revisit it but I will not override their decision,” he said.
Vice Principal Harvie Walker, who is acting as principal while Adair recuperates from heart surgery, said the policy was enacted for safety.
“In a lot of ways, Carson High School has been on the forefront of school safety,” Walker said. “I can tell you that we can handle the crowd better with people we know rather than with people we don’t have in school.”
He said the administration decided to limit the prom to Carson High students only last year.
Prom fell just one week after the shootings at Columbine High School and Walker said the administration wanted to be cautious. He said that a week after the Columbine shooting, the high school almost had to be shut down one day because of rumors of violence.
He said that although other schools allow outsiders to attend the prom, Carson High will not change the policy.
“We have never been a follower,” he said. “We’ve always been a leader as far as safety is concerned.”
“Are we always popular?” he asked. “No.”
Junior Megan Reeder said she supported the administration but said the shootings at Columbine were a result of the students from that school and not from outsiders.
Araceli Madera, senior, said the administration cannot expect to suffocate all risks.
“There’s a lot of risks we face in life,” Madera said. “I’m not going to live my life in fear.”
However, Marcia Funk, mother of a Carson High student said she opposed the students’ protest.
“Whether or not the students have a good argument is not the point,” she said. “The point is, there should be no argument.”
She said if her child was put in danger at any school function, she would hold the administration responsible.
“I would be highly active in pursuing action against you as a board and against the administration,” Funk said.
Safety was not the only concern.
Walker said that the capacity for the prom was limited and that allowing outside students to attend would limit space for Carson High School students.
Costella said he was told that there was no capacity limitations.
“It’s blatantly apparent to me that the students and the administration have not gotten together to detail this out,” Kvam said.
She recommended that a select committee of students, administration and a board member meet to work out the logistics.
Costella said he was pleased with the recommendation.
“There’s going to be parent input, student input and school board input and that’s what was missing when they first made the rule,” he said. “It seems like they’re much more willing to work with us now.”
Walker said he also felt like progress had been made.
“There’s a spirit of compromise,” he said. “We’ll make it work out.”