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Dedham residents share concerns about police-school pact

Posted by Natalie Feulner  August 15, 2012 09:32 PM

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About 20 Dedham parents and residents filled the conference room at Town Hall Wednesday evening to share concerns about a proposed Memorandum of Understanding designed to hold high school students accountable during the school year. 

In March, the committee approved a memorandum that called for year-round mandatory reporting of illegal incidents such as drinking, using illegal drugs, hazing, and domestic violence. However, in May, after opposition from several residents and officials, the document was rescinded and decisions about it were put on hold until it was reviewed by a subcommittee.

Several changes have been made to the document since then, including the elimination of language that mandated reporting year-round. 

However, several parents still had concerns particularly about a section requiring the reporting of names of both crime victims and perpetrators. 

"I feel as though it is my perogative as a parent whether I choose to share deeply personal information about my minor child," resident Ann Mercer said. "Unless that is absolutely a legal neccessity, I do not want to see that in this document. The privacy of my daughters is exactly that - their privacy." 

Concerns brought up Wednesday will be discussed at upcoming meetings held by the subcommittee, which includes school committee members, police, and selectmen. 

The subcommittee will then forward recommendations back to the school committee which will vote on the document at it's next meeting Sept. 5. 

If the revised MOU is approved at that time, copies will be sent home to all high school students and their families. 

In other news: 

Dedham High School Principal Ron McCarthy gave the board an update of new courses starting this year, including several single-semester courses. Some of the new courses include a Spanish for native speakers class and advanced anatomy and physiology classes. 

Superintendent June Doe told the committee that the semester courses were part of the district's initiative to offer more options to students. 

"All departments have a mandate to develop semester courses (by next year)," she said. "We want to give kids more chances to study a variety of things. 

Natalie Feulner can be reached at natalie.feulner@gmail.com.

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