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Opposition voiced for changing of music times at Eden Schools

Planned changes to the elementary music program were largely rebuked by public comment at the Monday (June 18) meeting of the Eden Central School District Board of Education.

Earlier in the meeting, the board heard statements by Richard Schaefer, principal of Eden Elementary School, about upcoming changes to the school’s music program. Starting in September 2012, rehearsal times for chorus, orchestra and band will be moved to the homeroom period before classes start.

These changes are intended to increase student time spent studying core subjects, particularly science and social studies. After Schaefer’s statements, some board members noted their appreciation of his work in the face of backlash from faculty and parents.

Shortly after the principal’s presentation, 10 attendees spoke during the public comment session against the decision to move the school’s music program times. Karen Hall, mother of an Eden Elementary student, said that the decision placed unneeded stress on children who want to play music. “A 10-year old is going to decide not to play an instrument because the parents can’t get them to school,” she said.

Multiple parents brought up concerns about the fact that the school nurse wouldn’t arrive by the time elementary students would begin arriving at 7:15 a.m. “Who will be supervising our children?” asked Jeremy Krempa, another school parent.

In other business, the board:

• Heard a presentation on updates to the district’s code of conduct policy. Pat Menkiena, assistant principal of Eden Junior/Senior High School, informed the board about required changes to the code of conduct policy to reflect passage of the Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA. She said that new legislation, introduced as late as 4 PM that day, included significant new mandates on cyberbullying and other issues. Incidents involving texting, Facebook or other digital harassment happening off school grounds or outside the school day will now be the school’s responsibility instead of local police.

Eden teachers will be trained in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, with one employee at each school appointed to be the Dignity Act Coordinator.

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