School board talks health class, remodeling

Russell Anglin

Tucumcari School Board members discussed health curriculum and school renovations, received a petition from a student and recognized employees for their service to the school district at Monday night’s regular meeting.

Sam Dunlap, Dianne Morrow and Lorinda Martinez received pins for 10 years of work at Tucumcari Public Schools. Bernadette Moya received her five-year pin at the meeting.

Pam Husted, who teaches health at Tucumcari High School, presented her health education plan for the 2011-2012 school year. She explained that human sexuality is an important section of the course and reviewed with board members how parents can choose not to have their student cover the material on sexuality in class.

Under the education plan, parents can opt for their child to undergo a “process of alternative assignment.” The parent must meet with Husted and agree on an independent assignment that covers the material taught in class.

“They still have to meet the standards and benchmarks of that course,” Husted said.

The student is then evaluated for the assignment and the principal, Nicole Bright-Lesly in this case, has to give final approval for the student to receive credit. Husted said she has taught health since 1999 and has never had a parent remove a child from the regular classroom discussion.

Board Vice President Marty Garcia asked how much of the course deals with sexuality.

“Curriculum wise, probably 15 to 20 percent. Probably not a large part of it. But because of how our culture really plays into this class … a lot of times it can be pulled in pretty heavily, do you know what I mean? When you’re talking about peers, you’re talking about peer pressure and sexuality is going to come into it,” Husted said.

“This is probably the one class that’s a required class, that kids can have that opportunity to kind of say ‘I have a question. What about this?’” she said.

She said her class is a half-credit course which deals with a wide variety of issues including goal setting, nutrition and peer and family interaction.

Anna Maestas, a Tucumcari High School senior, presented a petition for board members to reconsider the school’s policy on facial piercings. Assistant Superintendent Dave Johnson said Maestas was suspended toward the end of the school year for refusing to remove her lip piercing.

“The solution I propose is the use of clear retainers,” Maestas said. “By enforcing the current policy, faculty time and resources are being used.”

School Superintendent Aaron McKinney gave an update on school renovations.

“We think the Rhodes gym will be finished … and the parking lot in front of the high school (before school starts). Of course they’re going to tear C-hall down. They’re going to do parking lots and landscaping there,” Johnson said by phone Tuesday. He said the school’s agriculture building will also be finished by the beginning of the school year while Rattler Gym is set for completion before next basketball season.

“At this point we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have all of it done. Rattler’s probably going to take a little longer,” McKinney said.

McKinney said the school has employed two crews to work six days a week on renovations.