Tucumcari High School reverses in-school suspension policy

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

Tucumcari High School has reversed its in-school suspension meal plan after a student’s mother complained.

“A child is already being punished by being placed in ISS,” said Peggy Brown, the parent of a student placed in ISS.

Brown said food should not be used as a punishment, noting tax dollars are used to pay for student meals.

Brown said her son was in ISS on April 19 and served a cheese sandwich, celery stick, orange and milk.

That same day, high school students not in ISS were served a baked potato with chili, garden salad, bread sticks, grapes, Goldfish cheese crackers and juice.

Assistant Superintendent Dennis Roch said Friday high school staff was directed to reverse the school’s policy on serving the substitute meals to students in ISS.

“This policy was one of many steps being used by the district to deter students from making choices that led to ISS,” Roch said. “The idea was well intended just not well advised.”

In-school suspension is a punishment program school officials say is an alternative to out-of-school suspension.

Roch said school officials checked with the state to ensure the meals met the state’s nutritional guidelines.

Roch said concerns from the community and parents led the district to reconsider the policy.

“We wanted to be fair to the community and the parents,” Roch said. “We looked into this issue and after reviewing the policy we decided to stop it.”

Roch said the school officials still want to deter students from ISS.

He said they are currently looking at supplementing the curriculum to add to the course work the student already gets from their teachers.