Ardmore High School looks to crack down on violence, verbal abuse, drugs with new fines program

Published: Feb. 21, 2020 at 6:43 PM CST
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Ardmore High School is raising the stakes for discipline when it comes to fighting at school, among other disruptive behaviors.

The school board adopted the School Violence Prevention program on Tuesday in an effort to stop violence, verbal abuse and marijuana use at the high school.

Citations may be issued by an Ardmore police officer when a student is involved in a fight...curses or swears at school personnel or has drugs on school property.

Principal James Meece said imposing fines has worked in the past to cut down on fights.

When he was principal in the 1990s and gangs in the city were prominent, there would be fights three or four times a week.

After fines of $400 were put in place, there were only three.

Meece said he hopes to see similar success this time around.

"If we have an altercation during the day, then it messes up the rest of the school day because the kids are all talking about it and wanting to do something else about it," Meece said.

When a students are involved in a fight that is not self-defense, they can get a "disturbing the peace" citation with a fine of $260.

When students swear or curse at school personnel or interfere with the school process, they can get a "public nuisance" citation with a fine of $260.

When students are in possession of marijuana on school property, they can get a "possession of CDS" citation of $460 or $520 depending if the marijuana has THC.

Meece says this is all in an effort to make the school safer for learning.

"We want to provide an environment so that they can feel safe," Meece said. "We want to provide them an environment so that they know, when they come to school, this is what's expected of them and there are people that are going to hold them accountable."

Janet Batson is an educator and had a granddaughter graduate from Ardmore last year.

"We need to own up to our actions," Batson said. "I think it might help prepare students that make mistakes to prepare for adult life after high school."

Despite the new rules, Meece said most of his students are well-behaved.

"95 percent of your kids go to school to learn and to be able to move on," Meece said. "Five percent are who you deal with."

Ardmore City Schools said if it sees success with this program at the high school, it will expand the program to lower grades in the future.