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January 26, 2007     Cape Gazette
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January 26, 2007
 

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CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, January 26 - Monday, January 29, 2007 - 17 Cape teachers, parents raise discipline issues By C, eora Leon/tan t3 G-aze staff Cape Henlopen School District officials and parents are review- ing district discipline after a fight erupted in the Cape Henlopen High School involving 10 stu- dents and three teachers, followed several days later by complaints about discipline at Mariner Middle School. Several teachers at Mariner Middle School said some substi- tutes refuse to teach at Mariner, and complaints also surfaced on the Cape Henlopen Education Association website that students are verbally abusive at Mariner, and that the administration failed to respond to referrals and follow the district's discipline policy. While officials are concerned, among the 19 school districts in Delaware, state Department of Education data show Cape ranked sixth, with a combined total of 6.2 percent of students having been suspended or expelled for one day or longer during the 2004-05 • school year. Of the eight school districts in Sussex County, Cape ranked fourth. State officials acquire informa- tion from each school annually. In the area of school safety and discipline, schools are rated based on the number of students sus- Miller Continued from page • 9 of 34 potential jurors were minorities for Miller's 2005 trial, and only two of those made it to the jury. Federal Judge Sue Robinson granted a new trial in March 2006, based on her deci- sion of numerous errors in the case. Robinson agreed to a stay for the new trial in a Jan. 24-decision in which she said no new_trial date will be set until the Third District Cotirt of Appeals hands down its decision about the jury plan. "We can't try John's case until we get a system that works," said Martin. Norm Brooks, who is defend- ing the Town of Milton, said this new development - at this point -• will not change how he approach- es Milton's defense. "We have no particular strategy in mind," he said. "The plaintiff has taken a very unique stance in filing an appeal before the trial jury was even picked. "It looks like we're going to be placed in an unusual position of essentially defending the federal court's jury selection process. Once we get [Martin's] opening brief in support of the appeal, we'll see if it contains anything new that was not already consid- ered by the chief judge in her pre- vious decision to deny the motion." pended or expelled for at least one day each year compared with the school's total enrollment. At Beacon Middle School, 2.1 percent of students were reported as suspended or expelled for more than a day, while during the same time period, 12.6 percent of stu- dents at Mariner were disciplined. Still, Mariner was squarely in the middle of the heap for all Sussex County high schools and middle • schools, ranking ninth out of 18. Actions to improve ''here is no public high school or middle school that doesn't have an occasional fight," said Superintendent George Stone. As for Mariner, Stone said he previ- ously served as a middle school principal, and that collectively middle school students can be in another world. "'It's a challenging time, partly due to hormones, growth and development," he said. Robert Fulton, director of accountability and school improvement, attended a meeting with parents and school adminis- trators at Mariner on Wednesday Jan. 24. "There were seven par- ents who were concerned about things they were heating. They wanted to know what was fact and what was fiction. They wanted to know what they could do to help," Fulton said. Mariner is taking several steps to improve its situation, Fulton said. Communication is to be improved among the principal, assistant principal, teachers, staff, and parents. Adjustments are being made to the cooperative dis- cipline program, which is based on recognizing and rewarding good behavior. "Research shows that the program works. What we're doing is trying to find ways to make it work better for us," Fulton said. Mariner Education association represen- tative Kathy Cofrancesco said teachers are sharply divided on school discipline issues. She said some teachers avoid discussing discipline .problems at school meetings because they are afraid of retaliation. But other teachers say the con- terns have been exaggerated. Substitute teacher Christina King Hastings said that she has been working on and off in Mariner Middle School for more than a yea!? and has not experienced problems. Instead, Hastings said she has not found a student in Mariner who does not respect her or other faculty, and commends both the teachers and administra- Continued on page 20 Welcom e to a traditional ndghborhood with an old-fashioned feeling. Where porches come front and center. Garages sit back.You can see it in the tree-lined streets. The well-manicured Governor's Green. The manor-style Clubhouse. And in the faces of families and friends enjoying swimming, tennis, bike/fitness trails, sport fields, horseshoe pits, athletic courts, and more- all just a stone's throw from the beach, not the traffic. • Two-story and single-level models with first-floor owner's suite • 3 to 4 bedrooms, 2 to YA baths, 2-car rear garages with alley access • Spacious designer kitchens with center islands and recessed lighting • Expansive great rooms with standard fireplaces and lots of windows • Owner's suites With walk-in closets and luxury baths with soaking tubs • Carefree, maintained yards, no mowing or watering required From Route 1: Turn west onto Route 88/Cave Neck Road (just north of Lewes) an d the community will be the first left. The newest community in Bethany Beach is also one of the last to offer true waterfront living. North Beach overlooks the Salt Pond just a short bike-ride from the beaches and boardwalk. Nestled in a tranquil oasis with a private pool and magnificent water views, the luxury residences of North Beach usher in a new level of prestige and sophistication. Capture a life: rich with the rewards you have come to deserve. • Nearly 3,500 square feet of living space • Four:story luxury townhomes featuring 5 private decks • 4 to 5 bedrooms, 3 to 4 baths • Community pool and cabarxa house with private changing rooms • Only 40 waterfront and water-view residences available From the North: Go south on Route { over the Indian River Bridge. FoLlow Route 1 South 3 miles. Fred Hudson is the first traffic light after the Bridge. Turn right (west) onto Fred Hudson/Route 360 going west (traffic light). Community is a ½ mile dd"wn on left. Hours: Open daily Contact Kerry Kester kester@capegazette.com.