Tucumcari reverses in-school suspension policy

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

TUCUMCARI — Tucumcari High School has reversed its in-school suspension meal plan after a student’s mother complained.

“A child is already being punished by being placed in ISS,” said Peggy Brown, the parent of a student placed in ISS.

Brown said food should not be used a punishment, noting tax dollars are used to pay for student meals.

Brown said her son was in ISS on Monday and was given what one school official called a less then desirable meal.

The student was served a cheese sandwich, celery stick, orange and milk.

That same day, high school students not in ISS were served a baked potato with chili, garden salad, bread sticks, grapes, Goldfish cheese crackers and juice.

Assistant Superintendent Dennis Roch said Friday high school staff was directed to reverse the school’s policy on serving the substitute meals to students in ISS.

“This policy was one of many steps being used by the district to deter students from making choices that led to ISS,” Roch said. “The idea was well intended just not well advised.”

In-School Suspension is a punishment program school officials says is an alternative to out-of-schools suspension.

Roch said school officials checked with the state to ensure the meals met the state’s nutritional guidelines.

Roch said concerns from the community and parents led the district to reconsider this policy.

“We wanted to be fair to the community and the parents,” Roch said. “We looked in to this issue and after reviewing the policy we decided to stop it effective Monday.”

Roch said the school officials still want to deter students from ISS.

He said they are currently looking at supplementing the curriculum to add to the course work the student already gets from their teachers.