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Fort High administration looking to work out students’ concerns

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In the aftermath of Friday’s walkout at Fort Frances High School, administration is working to get students with concerns about their school to make use of its “open door” policy.

An ombudsman office also may be formed for students to air issues they may have.

“We’re discussing things with students. We’ve invited them in to talk about any issues they may have,” FFHS principal Terry Ellwood said Monday.

“That’s the policy we’ve had since the beginning of the school year and one we’ve always had at the old high school,” he noted.

The three student co-ordinators of the walkout refused to comment on the situation.

While the roughly 150 students who were gathered in the school parking lot had grievances about everything from hall passes to security cameras to the dress code, Ellwood did not mention any of the problems brought to his attention specifically.

“The issues at hand are under consideration,” he said. “[The three co-ordinators of the walkout] have acknowledged the challenge of trying to pursue solving any concerns they may have brought up, and that involves talking with the student council and possibly handling an ombudsman office.

“We hope that with this option, which we are currently exploring, we’ll be able to address some of the concerns brought up by students,” Ellwood added.

The office, which most likely would be run by students, hopefully could alleviate any discomfort students may have going directly to the administration with any complaint, Ellwood said.

Ellwood also noted no unusual punishments will be handed out to students who decided to walk out around 10 a.m. on Friday. “Students who missed classes will suffer the same as they always have for being truant,” he remarked.

The gathering started to disperse during the lunch hour and students returned to their regular third-period classes at 12:35 p.m., he added.

Minor vandalism was reported, including a wall clock that was damaged around 11 a.m., but Ellwood said he did not know of any further problems that may have stemmed from the walkout.

Although some grade nine students took part in the rally, most of the gripes came from seniors, who talked about perceived differences between policies at the old and new schools.

Overall, Ellwood said he believed administration and students would be able to work things out in all parties’ best interests.

“Everyone wants this to turn out happily,” he noted.

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