We have nearly 1400 students enrolled at the school, of which better than 95% come ready to learn each day. They have demonstrated numerous times all of the good things they are capable of doing. From the high level art work in the main hallway, to the SkillsUSA participation for our Career and Technical Education students, to the stage where our students put on fantastic performances through plays, musicals and concerts, to the global engagement of our students with the world we live in, to the playing fields and courts of our athletes, to the day-to-day demonstration of competencies in the classroom, our students and our school are full of successes.
Unfortunately, roughly 5% of the students have and continue to cause significant disruptions in the building that compromises the overall well-being and safety of everyone in the building.
That 5% of the students continually participate in disruptive behaviors including fighting, vaping, vandalism, skipping class, and blatant disregard, defiance and disrespect to fellow students, school personnel and school rules. We have attempted multiple interventions to get these students back on the right track. The entire staff at the school, including the administration, teachers, school counselors, paraprofessionals, tutors, office staff, related service providers, librarian, nurses, substitutes and our building, grounds and cafeteria employees have all tried to positively influence the students into making good decisions. Unfortunately and sadly, this has not worked.
The behaviors which cause our school community to feel unsafe are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated! We will be moving forward swiftly with appropriate consequences for the students who are not attending school for the purposes of learning, up to and including expulsion in compliance with our policies and the laws of New Hampshire. Keene High School, The Keene Board of Education and SAU 29 stand committed to bringing this to an end.
In the coming days, we will be notifying the public of community forums that will be held to collect additional input from our families, staff, the community and our students. The times, dates and locations of the forums will be shared broadly so that all voices can be heard. We do not have to accept that schools elsewhere are experiencing the same behaviors. This is our school and we will hold ourselves and our students to expectations that will provide a quality education in an environment that is supportive and safe.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
Robert Malay, Superintendent of Schools
George Downing, Keene Board of Education Chair
Cindy Gallagher, Principal Keene High School