MHS Newsletter - Special Edition

April 14, 2022

From the Principal's Desk...

Dear MHS Students and Families,


I am sending out a special edition of the Newsletter this week to address recent concerns about the bathrooms at Mansfield High School. Over the past several weeks, we have received feedback from individual students, student leadership groups, and parents about their experience in our bathrooms. Students are reporting they don’t feel comfortable accessing the bathrooms because of the behavior of other students in those spaces. I am writing to assure you that this is something that we have been aware of and have been taking seriously for the entirety of the school year. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure that all students feel safe and comfortable throughout their entire school day.


Since the Tik Tok challenges at the start of the year, schools across the country have been struggling to keep vandalism and substance use out of their bathrooms. This is something our administrators and teachers have been aware of and actively trying to prevent since September. I have included some of the steps we have taken so far this year below…


What Have We Tried So Far?

Posting/Recruiting Hall Monitors: There are currently 3 hall monitor positions available at the high school. The position was originally posted last spring, then adjusted to make it more desirable and then reposted again to increase visibility. At this point in time, we have not been able to fill those positions.


Increased Supervision: Assistant Principal McGuire is working with a group of teachers who have volunteered to help with bathroom and hallway supervision.


Stall Lock Replacement and Graffiti Removal: Our facilities department has worked diligently to replace broken stall locks and remove graffiti as soon as they are made aware that it has happened.


Vaping/Substance Use Prevention: Over the past several years, both the MHS and QMS Wellness Departments have embedded robust vaping/substance prevention programs into their curriculum.


Discipline: All students who have violated our handbook based on the choices they have made in the bathrooms have been subject to progressive discipline as laid out in the MHS Student Handbook.


Next Steps:

As you can see, we have made an effort to address the issue without disrupting the school experience for the large percentage of students who are making the right choices. Unfortunately, it appears that we have reached a point where we will need to make some changes that will impact all students in the building in some way. In my opinion, the minor inconveniences that come with these changes will be worth it if it allows us to keep our school environment safe and clean.


Updated Hall Pass System: In the coming days, students will receive information about an updated hall pass system. Each classroom will be outfitted with bathroom passes and nurse passes. The number of students allowed to use the bathroom at any given time will be limited and students will be required to stay on the floor their classroom is on. If a student wishes to go somewhere other than the bathroom or nurse, the teacher will provide them with a paper pass.


Increased Supervision 2.0: Over the past two weeks, the group of teachers who are helping monitor the hallways has grown in size. There has been a noticeable decrease in the number of students in the hallways and discipline referrals for class cuts and bathroom behavior.


A Look to the Future:

More Significant Supervision Measures: At this point in time, we do not believe it is necessary to shut down specific bathrooms or significantly limit the number of occupants in bathrooms. We will continue to monitor the situation and make determinations about whether or not more significant steps need to be taken.


Exploring Electronic Hall Pass Systems: Over the next several weeks, I will be working with various stakeholder groups to explore options for electronic hall passes at Mansfield High School. This is something we explored three years ago, but we could not find a system that suited what we were looking for. We will continue to explore options and connect with districts that have had success with electronic systems.


Education/Nicotine Cessation Programs: As we develop the 2022-2023 MHS Student Handbook, we will explore options for cessation programs to support students who are addicted to nicotine or other substances. We will also continue to provide resources to families that can help them make decisions to support their


How to Help at Home

We have worked very hard at MHS to establish a culture of caring. Students, families and staff members are expected to take good care of themselves and each other. This means we all play a role in supporting the well-being of everyone who enters our doors. As we continue to address the challenges we are having here at MHS, we ask families to continue to play their part at home as well. There are several simple steps you can take to support our efforts here at school.


  • Educate Yourselves- It is very difficult for parents to stay on top of trends that happen in schools. Social media trends and vaping products/technology change on an almost daily basis. Do what you can to stay informed about the topics that are impacting our school community. Our district Health and Wellness Advisory Council has some excellent resources on our district website. Local pediatricians' offices are also a fantastic resource for information about vaping, substance use and the impact of social media on the adolescent brain.


  • Talk About It- Take the time to sit with your family and talk about what is happening in school. Ask them about their experiences and intervene if you feel they need support.


  • Encourage Advocacy- Encourage your children to advocate for themselves and their classmates. We encourage a “see something, say something” mentality here at MHS. It would certainly help if this notion can be reinforced at home. If something concerning is reported to you, please let us know so we can address the situation as quickly as possible.


  • Look for Signs at Home: According to the CDC and FDA, 11.3% of high school students reported current use of vaping devices in 2021. This data shows a clear trend toward young adults becoming addicted to nicotine at an early age. Do what you can to learn what these devices look like and find out if they are in your home and/or being brought to school.


We are encouraged by the noticeable improvement in the bathrooms over the past few weeks. However, we are certainly aware that this is a challenge that has always been and will always be difficult for schools to manage. We are committed to keeping our students safe in our school and we look forward to working with our entire community to support our efforts.



Sincerely,


Tim Tichacek


Principal