As a former Key Peninsula Middle School employee and a parent that sent two kids through KPMS, the issue of bullying has nothing to do with the current administration: specifically, Principal Jeri Goebel. After working there for eight years directly under her, I can tell you she isn’t the problem. KPMS isn’t alone in issues of bullying. Take any generation, any school, different economic levels, the issue has always been there.
I do believe however there are multiple challenges KPMS, along with other schools, have faced in recent years. One being laws from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction regarding discipline that took effect in 2018. Simply put, OSPI changed an administrator’s ability to suspend immediately, offered fewer suspension days for bigger offenses, and even limited how long a student can be removed from a classroom. So, when parents were citing an offending child back in school the next day, it wasn’t necessarily an option for the administrator depending on how many offenses the child had committed.
The second issue specific to KPMS is the high number of vice principals the school has had in the last six years. After a well-established VP left, there were two vice principals that came and went, only lasting about two school years each. This is a big deal when you are talking about establishing a rapport with kids, parents and staff, and getting a handle on the middle school as a whole. Yes, the principal is responsible for the overall well-being of the school, but it is a well-known fact that the vice principal oversees discipline. If you don’t have a strong vice principal, the school discipline suffers, and in turn the kids suffer. I believe that this is what happened at KPMS.
When you look at the contributing factors mentioned above, not even going into what the pandemic has done to our kids socially, there are so many more factors here than a principal who cares deeply for our kids.
Alisha Beesinger, Lakebay
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