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Protest Sparks Policy Post Falls Board Adopts Resolution To Prevent Disruption, Harassment

A resolution aimed at preventing school disruptions won the unanimous approval of the Post Falls School Board on Friday.

The resolution was in reaction to a two-day student walkout at Post Falls Junior High School two weeks ago.

“Students have a right to be heard,” said Superintendent Dick Harris. “They do not have a right to disrupt the educational process of others or form a safety problem.”

The resolution also pledges that racism and harassment will not be tolerated in the schools.

The recent protest was prompted by a racist remark overheard in the school. Administrators said that before they had a chance to finish investigating the slur, the students held a sit-in demonstration that turned into a two-day protest on the school lawn.

“It was also unfortunate that a few adults and non-students were influencing the behavior and actions of the students in relation to the walkout,” school officials said in a press release Friday.

Parent Inez Anderson, who was at the protest both days, has been charged with enticing children to leave school.

Anderson said Friday she was concerned the district’s actions might violate the students’ right to peaceably protest.

“Mr. Harris is saying that the situation was volatile and disruptive. That’s not true,” she said.

Pat Johnson, the regional director of the Idaho Education Association, said the resolution would be welcomed by Post Falls Junior High teachers who were “nervous and skittish” following the walkout.

“They really have to take back the power,” Johnson said. “Teachers were starting to feel like no one was taking charge. That will reassure them that the administration is on top of it.”

xxxx WHAT IT SAYS: All school visitors must enter school buildings at the main entrance and notify the principal of their presence. No loitering or trespassing will be allowed. Entrance to schools and school grounds will be prohibited to anyone who disrupts the educational process or “whose presence is detrimental to the morals, health, safety, academic learning or discipline of the students.” Each school will post a sign advising visitors of the rules, which include getting the principal’s permission to visit classrooms. The administration will inform students of the district’s zero-tolerance policy on racism and harassment.