By Julian Gutierrez and Nicholas Wallsinger
The way Umatilla High School handles its off-campus rule is changing for the better. Many new opportunities come from better off campus rules and the better supervision.
The Umatilla high school is getting one of their long time rules to be enforced more than ever this year. The off-campus rules have stayed the same throughout the years but are now being enforced rather than just a rule that was unsupervised. It is part of a point of emphasis from new Principal Bob Lorence and his staff to improve attendance.
“I never changed the rule, I just enforced it.” said Mr. Lorence.
When the rule was not being enforced, many students would skip classes and would leave campus. Some of these students were able to avoid the consequences because many of the teachers had no idea they were even in school that day. This was a big problem for the school because people would not be in class, grades would suffer and it would lead to high class fail rates.
Mr. Lorence is new to the high school but has been in the Umatilla school district for many years. He says the first thing he noticed that needed to be looked at was the off campus rule, which was “in bad shape”.
The rule has stayed the same but now it’s being enforced so that students cannot leave during school hours. Mr. Lorence has gotten the Umatilla community to get involved to help report any students that are off-campus during school hours. Mr. Lorence has involved the police to escort any students found off-campus back to school.
Some UHS students have found the rule to be unfair, claiming to have had their rights taken away. Mr. Lorence points out he has not taken away off-campus lunch or any of the off-campus freedoms during lunch time, but he did make it so that those kids that are leaving school grounds during school hours are not able to skip school without consequences.
Mrs. April Dirksen, the new Dean of Students at Umatilla High School, has stated how she does not like the idea of having an open campus during lunch time.
“Open campus rules lead to many problems around the school, and community, and if it was up to me I would not want to have an open campus,” Mrs. Dirksen said.
She came from a school where the lunch was on school grounds, and transferring to Umatilla was scary for her because as an administrator, she had to go through the experience of losing a student to a fatal car accident when they left school grounds to eat lunch.
Mrs. Dirksen and Mr. Lorence want to help make Umatilla High School a safe learning environment for all the students. Enforcing the off campus rule will help the students stay on track in school so that they can go to class and be there to listen to their teachers when they are teaching.