The Bellingham School Board voted to close Larrabee Elementary School Thursday, May 9, and it was an upsetting decision for some in the Larrabee community.
Four Larrabee supporters spoke at that meeting, and a few of them hinted that if Larrabee was closed, the school’s supporters might be unwilling to vote for an upcoming bond to support updating and rebuilding at a variety of schools in the district. Included in that bond would be rebuilding nearby Happy Valley Elementary and doing some updates at Lowell.
Happy Valley Neighborhood Association board member and Larrabee volunteer Wendy Scherrer told the board she thought a lot of people would be against the bond if Larrabee closed and described the closure as a total betrayal of the community.
Community member Hue Beattie told the board that the closure would be a waste, and that instead, they should add an elevator to the school and revisit the subject in 10 years.
“You’re going to make a lot of enemies in this district if you do it,” he said of the closure.
Board member Scott Stockburger, who was the sole vote against the closure, said that he worried that the district runs the risk of alienating the Larrabee community before the bond comes up to vote.
When asked by board member Steve Smith what will happen if the board votes to close Larrabee and then the bond fails, Superintendent Greg Baker said that Larrabee would still close. He said that Happy Valley and Lowell would still have room to take Larrabee’s students without the rebuild and updates the bond would cover.
Read the full story from the board meeting here.
Is the Larrabee closure going to affect how you’ll vote on the bond when it’s on the ballot?
A Mount Baker School District bus went partially into a ditch on Mount Baker Highway at about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, but no one was injured in the crash, Superintendent Charlie Burleigh said.
Burleigh was still collecting information about the crash but said it sounded like a wheel of the bus may have gone into a ditch. He thought it happened near Everson-Goshen Road, but dispatches on the police scanner listed it as near Noon Road.
Another bus was sent out to pick up the students and take them home, and Burleigh said the goal is to just tow the bus out of the ditch. The bus was partially blocking the highway.
A meeting of a teachers at Pine Eagle Charter School in rural Oregon was interrupted by masked gunmen who opened fire on the group Friday, April 26, according to an article in The Oregonian.
Unbeknownst to the teachers, the gunmen were firing blanks and the shooting was all part of a drill to test the school’s active shooter preparedness during an in-service day when students were at home.
According to the Oregonian, Principal Cammie DeCastro said not many of the teachers would have survived if the drill were real.
The surprised staff had received training from the Union County Sheriff’s Office on active shooter scenarios. They had been told they had some options, such as not rushing out of their classrooms when gunfire erupted, and locking and barricading their doors.
They weren’t expecting a drill like this, and they were caught by surprise when the two men entered and began firing.
DeCastro said some people in the town were upset about the drill, but she thought it was valuable. The school board will now consider safety policies, including whether to allow armed teachers or to get armed and trained volunteers from the community to watch the school in shifts.
Read the full story in The Oregonian here.
What do you think of this extreme shooter drill? Does getting fake shot during a meeting really help teachers keep students any safer?
Bellingham Superintendent Greg Baker has endorsed the closure of Larrabee Elementary School, but the school board will have to vote to approve the closure before it’s official.
The board could vote at its meeting Thursday, May 9, the day after a school board public hearing about the potential closure.
Read the full article about the hearing here.
For the district’s rationale and analysis of the closure, click here.
What are your thoughts about the potential closure of Larrabee?
American Legion Post 7 is hosting an informational meeting Sunday, April 28, about the Legion’s Junior Shooting Sports Program.
The program is open to kids 12 through 18 and combines a gun safety and basic marksmanship course with a qualification awards course and an air rifle competition course.
The informational meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the post, 1688 W. Bakerview Road. Registration for the course starts Sunday. Adults interested in volunteering to coach can also attend the meeting.
People can start voting today for a Sehome High School senior’s cow creation in the Lucerne Art of Dairy contest.
Rachel Roberts created a factory out of a life-sized cow form for her “Moochanical Moochine” entry. She’s one of nine finalists in the running for $20,000 for her school’s art department, $5,000 for herself and $5,000 for her teacher.
It’s a pretty cool sculpture.
Read the full story about her entry here.
Vote for her entry here.
In Rochelle, Ga., segregation still exists when it comes to prom night.
Wilcox County High School students can either go to an integrated prom or a white prom, according to local news station WSAV. A group of students had to fight to create an integrated prom.
According to the article:
Neither proms are financed by or allowed to take place at Wilcox County High School. The students said that when they pushed for one prom, the school offered a resolution to permit an integrated prom that would allow all students to attend but not stop segregated proms.
You can read the full article here.
Can you believe this town has a whites-only prom?
More than a dozen Whatcom County schools have received 2012 Washington Achievement Awards, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The awards were announced Wednesday, April 3, with 381 winners selected using the state’s Achievement Index and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver.
Here are the local winners:
For overall excellence: Columbia, Cascadia, Sunnyland and Nooksack elementaries and Nooksack Valley High School.
For language arts: Cascadia and Nooksack elementaries.
For math: Sehome and Squalicum high schools.
For science: Alderwood, Carl Cozier, Central, Columbia, Nooksack, Silver Beach and Sunnyland elementaries.
For extended graduation rates: Lynden High School.
For closing achievement gaps: Isom and Bernice Vossbeck elementaries and Lynden High School.
A report sponsored by the National Rifle Association has recommended that schools allow select staffers to train to carry weapons at school.
The study, called the National School Shield report, was headed by a former Republican congressman and was released as a response to school safety concern’s following December’s Sandy Hook shooting.
The study – unveiled at a news conference watched over by several burly, NRA-provided guards – made eight recommendations, including easing state laws that might bar a trained school staff member from carrying firearms and improving school coordination with law enforcement agencies. But drawing the most attention was its suggested 40- to 60-hour training for school employees who pass background checks to also provide armed protection while at work.
Read the full NRA-sponsored report here.
What do you think of the suggestions in the study?
Two seats on the Blaine School Board are up for election this November for any district residents interested in running.
One of the seats is for District 3, currently held by Susan Holmes and including a large portion of Birch Bay. The other seat is for District 5, represented by Mike Dodd and including property in the city of Blaine and outside city limits.
People can see which director district they live in here. The filing period for the positions is May 13-17. Filing can be done online or in person at the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office or online.