Northern Lebanon proposes mixed classes, lunches

Lebanon

The Northern Lebanon School District is proposing a campus model that would mix middle and high schoolers.

Seventh through eleventh graders could be together in some classes and lunch. Kids wouldn’t eat in the cafeteria but rather inside classrooms. Students were told they would be split into small groups of people with similar interests, so there can be mentoring sessions. 

“What business does a 14-year-old, a 13-year-old kid have to do with being in a class with a 17, 18-year-old kid,” said Arlo Miller, a parent in the district. 

Many parents and students aren’t thrilled with the idea.  

“I’m very nervous for my younger daughter being in an environment like that and they obviously don’t care,” said Shannon Miller, of Jonestown.

“I’ve only probably heard like one kid out of all my classes think it was cool and that it may be okay,” said one student. “All the rest think it’s stupid and it’s just going to hurt us.”

ABC27 heard from multiple staff members who are against this idea but did not want to speak on camera because they are afraid of getting in trouble with the school.

A big concern is bullying. 

“It’s a tough adjustment in order for kids to go from elementary to go over to the high school,” said Donna Gibson, who has multiple grandchildren in the district. “That’s the reason they have the middle. So now you’re going to take and put them all together, with all the bullies that they have?”

Another question is who would supervise and keep classrooms clean during lunch?

“I would be thinking are there peanuts right here? Are there peanuts right there?” said another student who is allergic to peanuts.

The superintendent declined our request for an interview.

ABC27 left messages with every school board member, but only one said he would rather weigh in after getting more information. 

“Give it some time,” said Arlo Miller. “Introduce a class here or there. Why do it all at once?”

There is a petition against the proposal online with hundreds of signatures. 

One high schooler wrote a letter to the school board, saying in part, “You cannot throw together people and expect them to click. At this point, there are students that would rather transfer out of our school district than go through the changes that would be taking place for next year.”

The district scheduled a meeting for Tuesday to answer questions about the campus model. The board is scheduled to vote on it in May.

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