The Clintonville Board of Education held a regular meeting last night, addressing a number of items, including further discussion about creating a new policy on memorials and school facilities, to which no conclusion was reached.
Much of the research thus far presented to the board indicates scholarly studies that conclude memorializing the deaths of past students is not recommended.
Board President Jim Dins read an excerpt from the conclusions from another Board of Education that faced similar situation about six years ago. “The board recognizes the importance of remembering accidental or natural deaths of students or staff, but recommends the memorials take the form of scholarships,” Dins read. “The board does not support permanent memorials, including but not limited to the use of memorial plaques or makers, which are displayed on district buildings or grounds…When there is a student suicide, the board is concerned that the tragic death not be glorified, or severe as incentive for self-inflictive acts by others.”
So far Dins said most people he’s talked with agree with the findings in these other studies, however there’s resistance among students and parents.
“Every EMT or law enforcement person that deals with accidents and things like that a lot, definitely said not to have memorials,” Dins claimed. “A lot of the parents and students said we want them, but everything we’ve read that’s been written, and it’s been written by therapists and psychiatrists and I’m sure they’re well scholared, agrees that we should probably take them down.”
Some in attendance questioned the bo ard if they reached out to any other districts that may have similar policies, however reactions are mixed. Some districts forbid memorials, while others like Marion allow for them. Overall Dins says he wants what’s best for students.
“We just want all students to be in the best state of mind for learning, and we don’t think the plaques are helping that at all,” said Dins. “If there’s one person that it might affect, and they might not even commit suicide, they might just think about it, I don’t want that plaque up.”
Dins says he’s open to any and all information the public may present, however, it needs to be written and credible. More discussions are scheduled to take place at the next Board of Education meeting.