Starting next week, Central Valley School District students who get in trouble at school have an alternative to suspension.
An evening program for suspended students and their parents is opening. It includes sessions on interpersonal skills, family relations, alcohol and other drugs, and youth crime.
Students may choose the program as an alternative to suspension, said organizer Laurie Sheffler. Students may be asked to attend one or more sessions.
The program will run Thursdays, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at North Pines Junior High. The four sessions will run in rotation until May. Each session will be divided into groups for sixth- through eighth-graders, and ninth- through 12th-graders.
The idea emerged from a brainstorming session in September among school counselors and other staffers.
“We asked ‘What can we do that we really need to have happen?”’ said Sheffler, coordinator of vocational/secondary education.
Some students fall through the cracks in junior high, as well as in high school, she said. Until now, the district had no program to bridge from one age group to the next.
Parents or another relative must attend, along with the student. “We want parents to buy in.”
Other students and parents will be able to attend the sessions eventually, Sheffler said. “But first, we want to get it rolling.”
Participation is currently through referrals from a school counselor.
“Say a couple of kids are harassing each other in the halls. A counselor would say, ‘Hey, instead of kicking you out of school for three days, there’s an evening program.”’
The sessions on interpersonal skills, to be taught by counselors Kitty Brudos and Judy Polley, include these topics: fair fighting, conflict resolution, behavior management, refusal skills, harassment and how to gain support in these areas through outside agencies.
The sessions on family relations, scheduled for Nov. 14, include these topics: family meetings, family intervention techniques, Love and Logic, preparing for drug-free years and how to gain support for these areas through outside agencies. Brudos and Polley will teach these sessions, as well.
Alcohol and drug sessions, scheduled for Nov. 21, include these topics: addictions to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and hard drugs, as well as the relationship between addiction and violence. Instructors will be drug and alcohol counselors Larry Bernbum and Darcy Banta.
The sessions on crime in the community, on Dec. 5, will focus on gang affiliations and trouble spots in the Spokane Valley. Instructors will be Randey Thompson, life skills teacher at North Pines, and Charlie Hollen, security officer at Central Valley High School.