BEDFORD, Ohio — After recent incidents of violent activity, Bedford High School will remain on remote instruction until November 29.
The decision will allow school and district officials to finalize plans to bolster both safety and social-emotional learning, Bedford City Schools explained in a release issued on Monday.
“Obviously, none of this is ideal,” Superintendent Dr. Andrea Celico said in a statement. “As we’ve said, the decision to return temporarily to remote learning for high school students wasn’t easy and it wasn’t made lightly. However, we have to address safety issues. We want our students to feel safe so they can concentrate on learning and we want our teachers and staff to feel secure so they can do their best work too.”
According to the district, fights among Bedford High School students have resulted in injuries to both students and to staff members who got involved to break up the fights. School leaders want to remind the public that this is the first time many students have been in school full time in more than a year
"They are adjusting and many of them are struggling,” Dr. Celico said. “We’ll also be emphasizing our social emotional programs even more when students return to the building to try to help those who are having a hard time.”
The Bedford City School District does not plan to hire outside security to work in the schools. Security personnel will be district employees. The district says it plans to involve parents, staff and students and will use that input to finalize plans. The plan will then be shared with those stakeholders before students return to the building.
Officials did not specify the exact events that occurred, but they stated that “several students” are currently facing disciplinary actions.
Bedford High School freshman, Yandeliz Rosario, has spent a chunk of her first high school semester learning from home.
“I don't like it,” Rosario said.
The district first announced last week that Rosario and the rest of the student body would go to remote learning at Bedford High School for two days, then moved the date of return back to November 3 before Monday's update.
“That’s really not going to solve underlying issues,” says President of National School Safety and Security Services, Ken Trump.
Trump argues that remote learning doesn't fix issues, such as violence related to socio-emotional responses, and is a contributing factor to the rise in violence.
“It makes no sense to push them back into remote learning, which causes those anxieties and social-emotional concerns in the first place,” Trump said. “We asked schools administrators one question: What did you do two year ago, five years ago, ten years ago? You didn't shut down schools for days or weeks, you continued on.
The rise in violence isn't unique to Bedford or Northeast Ohio.
“Safety concerns that are greater than any that we've seen from California to Cleveland,” Trump said.
Rosario and her family told 3News they’re frustrated with all the back and forth.
“It throws you off because, like, you just get confused with the work,” Rosario said. “When you go virtual for a long time you get, like, really depressed or you lose motivation.”
“If you could have it your way, how soon would you like your daughter back in school?” 3News reporter Marisa Saenz asked Rosario’s mom, Jennifer Rosario.
“As soon as possible, please,” she said. “They need it. All of the kids need it.”
A spokesperson for the school district confirmed “equipment” is being installed but wouldn't elaborate on what kind of equipment it will be or a time frame of when.