The Monroe County Community School Corporation board approved a preliminary bond resolution Tuesday night and heard from community members opposed to former IU basketball coach Bob Knight’s upcoming appearance at Bloomington High School South.
“By having him speak on behalf of our athletes and the school system, there’s an inherent acceptance and support of his behavior, his words and his actions,” said Cecilia Maron-Puntarelli, a community member. “How can Monroe County schools expect and even require their students to act civilly to one other, to refrain from bullying physically, verbally and emotionally, when they are holding up this man as an example of success and honor?”
The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the BHS South gym. All proceeds from ticket sales will go toward BHS South student and faculty groups, according to an Eventbrite page for the the event. Tickets are $25.
Jenny Robinson, a parent in the district, said bringing Knight to speak and accepting the funds raised is “disrespectful” to students and teachers, especially given current anti-bullying campaigns by the school district.
“Our schools should not host him under any circumstances,” Robinson said.
The school board had no business on their agenda related to Knight’s appearance, and the three people opposed spoke during open public comments.
The board’s new business for the meeting centered on bonds.
The preliminary bond resolution approved Tuesday covers $7.5 million of renovations in the district. Proposed renovations include adding LED lighting and solar panels at Templeton Elementary School.
John Kenny, director of business operations for the district, said the bonds are the first part of a $120 million plan approved last summer.
He saidd an official bond resolution on the $7.5 million will be discussed at the next regular meeting of the school board at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at the MCCSC Administration Building, 315 E. North Drive.
BHS South Principal Mark Fletcher also spoke at the meeting, giving the board some updates on the school. He spoke about how the school in five years doubled the number of Advanced Placement exams taken without seeing a decrease in scores and about increases in the amount of scholarship money students earn.
He added that the school has also seen an increase in the number of calls the school makes to the Department of Child Services and the school has increasingly had to address student homelessness.
Fletcher said the school used to call DCS about once a month, but now calls almost once a day. The school also had to start a food pantry and a clothing donation program.
The school has also had to increase school discussions on anxiety and depression.
“Social work, mental health — those types of things are growing exponentially,” Fletcher said.
School board member Keith Klein commented that the board and other people in the district have discussed whether it is their responsibility to clothe, feed and make sure kids are healthy.
He said the answer is no, but the responsibility often falls to schools anyway.
“If we don’t — who does?” Klein said.
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