Solutions offered at ‘On the Table’

Published 10:50 am Monday, April 2, 2018

Almost 100 people shared their thoughts at the Clark County Community Foundation’s “On the Table” event Thursday evening.

Bluegrass Community Foundation launched “On the Table” events in Lexington last year and expanded it to Clark County this year.

On The Table is a national initiative supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, according to a press release. Conversations took place in Fayette, Clark, Franklin and Woodford counties.

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Community members talked for about two hours about issues such as school safety, violence prevention, bullying and more.

Halee Cunningham, gift planning officer and deputy counsel at BGCF, said the feedback would help guide CCCF’s grant-making decisions to implement positive change.

The evening started with results of a few other On the Tabl’ events. More than 250 George Rogers Clark High School and Baker Intermediate School students also discussed the issues and identified possible solutions.

GRC students identified bullying, racism, religious intolerance, disrespect, no consistent discipline, unavailable counselors and no relationships or empathy from teachers and administrators as their top issues.

Their possible solutions included more counselors, more consistent discipline, more training for teachers focused on and dealing with students with mental illness as well as more teacher training for shooter situations, anonymous reporting options and less separation between grades.

Baker students identified school safety, bullying, teacher and student relationships and disrespect as their top issues. Their possible solutions included metal detectors, more cameras, police presence in the school, better security outside and a “bully box.”

CCCF also had a couple of poll questions for the students. About 72.5 percent of the students asked said they were more worried and concerned when thinking about what the future holds for their community over the next five years. About 85.5 percent said they believe youth in their community can bring about real change on the issues that are important to them.

Blanton Coates, vice chair on CCCF’s board, said Thursday’s event was meant to open the conversation about violence and safety in the community because of incidents that have happened nationwide, statewide and even in the town.

“Students were creative and precise,” Coates said of the students’ discussions.

Coates shared some of the students’ responses during the school discussions. A GRC student said teachers and administrators should see empathy with students as part of their job description.

A Baker student said, “We don’t need $100 to solve bullying. Be kind; it’s free.”

Students from Campbell Junior High will have their discussions April 12 after spring break.

“After that, we will further aggregate all of the data collected from the community events and schools and will begin working with the school system to identify the next steps to implementing some of the proposed solutions,” Cunningham said.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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