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Lewes, Delaware
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June 2, 1995     Cape Gazette
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June 2, 1995
 

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14 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 2 - June 8, 1995 Student pranksters will march By Kerry Kester Cape Herdopen High School se- niors initiated a walk-out protest on Wednesday, May 28 after learning two of their classmates had been told they would not par- ticipate in graduation exercises. Joan Tylecki, 17, said that all of the seniors who were at a gradua- tion rehearsal Wednesday morn- ing left the rehearsal in support of Jeb Lee, 17, and Jeremy Brock- way, 17. Principal Ron Burrows said only about 50 or 60 students participated in the protest. The problem began on Tuesday, May 27, when Lee Brockway said they decided to help 12 to 15 other pranksters get a head start on this year's senior class prank. "The idea was that we were going to re- move the tables and chairs from the cafeteria and set them up out- side on the back lawn of the school," said Lee. Plans backfired when, after hav- ing lined up only six tables, the boys spotted Confidential Ser- vices, a private security agency, approaching the school. The boys fled to their car, and then sped down Savannah Road. Lee said a security officer from the service followed them. When a wrong turn led them down a dead end street, the boys said they thought they still could escape by driving through a yard. "We tried to go around a house, but there was a fence there," said Brockway. Shortly after they were forced to stop, police arrived and took them to theLewes police station. Students banned from ceremo- ny Later in the afternoon, Brock- way and Lee said, Burrows called them at home and told them they would not be able to march during graduation exercises on Tuesday, June 8. "The decision was made with Dr. Skeen," Burrows said. "Basi- cally, I think we both felt that breaking and entering is a fairly serious crime. We don't see that as a 'prank'. It's not something to be taken lightly." During Wednesday's rehearsal, after word circulated to the senior class that administrators were for- bidding the boys from participat- ing in graduation ceremonies, stu- dents left the building and asked Burrows to arrange an immediate meeting with District Superinten- dent Suellen Skeen. Burrows said he called the district office to make the request but she said she was in a meeting and could not meet with the students. When students learned that she would not meet with them, ap- proximately 20 students walked to the district office, intent on push- ing their cause. "Mr. Smith [di- rector of secondary education] came and told us she'd only meet with three representatives," said Tracy Hudson, a senior. "We don't even know what she looks like," said Hudson. "We've had problems before, and she al- ways seems to hide out from us. If she's going to be head of the school, she should know the stu- dents." Later, Hudson was one of four student representatives, in ad- dition to Lee and Brockway, who met with Skeen. Meeting with Skeen positive "I had a real good meeting with the kids," said Skeen. "They wanted to be heard. They had some other options that they want- ed to discuss, and they did. We solved a student personnel prob- lem. We came up with a reason- able solution as far as the boys are concerned. "Unfortunately, they caused some of their classmates some re- al discomfort." She said that the students told her their classmates "were rather angry about" having to schedule another rehearsal. Tylecki denied Skeen's asser- tion. "It was said by Dr. Burrows that it might be a problem or a shame if some students couldn't attend Friday's rehearsal because of work schedules," she said. "Students in that meeting voiced no opposition whatsoever that graduation rehearsal would be rescheduled. We were just pulling for Jet) and Jeremy at all costs." Burrows said that students told him while they waited for Wednesday's rehearsal to begin that they were angry. "Probably 60 or 70 were angry," he said. "They were working jobs and it was a great inconvenience to them." The boys said they wrote letters of apology to administrators indi- cating they were willing to as- sume full responsibility for their behavior. However, they said, they asked that they be able to Kerry Kester photo Cape Henlopen High School seniors studied peaceful protest when they fought to keep graduation privileges for seniors whose class prank ran afoul. Joan Tylecki, along with a mass of other students, was instrumental in helping Jeb Lee O.) and Jeremy Brockway negotiate an alternative punish- ment with Superintendent Suellen Skeen. The boys will par- tieipate in the ceremony on Tuesday, June 6. march in the ceremony because it was an important event for their families. "It was hurting them more than it was us," Brockway said. Skeen agreed during the meet- ing to rescind the boys' gradua- tion expulsion punishment, but substituted another consequence. "Basically, we're going to be working with the custodians for the next couple of days," Lee said. Parents' judgment questioned Katie Rickards, one of the stu- dent representatives who met with Skeen, said many of the seniors were determined to boycott the boys' expulsion from the ceremo- ny if the punishment had not been rescinded. "I think they were committed," she said. "Half of the class probably wouldn't have marched." She said that parents knew of the prank before it occurred. "There was parent support be- cause the prank wasn't going to be destructive or harm anyone," she said. Tylecki said she believed most parents would also have sup- ported the graduation boycott. Burrows said, "I think there was poor judgment. There are a num- ber of parents who knew about this and didn't really give the kids very good guidance." Lee and Brockway said they at- tribute the protest with the success of getting Skeen to rescind her ini- tial decision to ban them from the ceremony. "We appreciate the support from the students, the teachers and parents," he said. 'q'he students all behaved in an adult and forthright manner," Skeen said. "I would have been very proud of any of them if they had been my child." Cape School Board upholds attendance deviation policy By Kerry Kester The Cape Henlopen Board of Education has voted to grant at- tendance deviations for students from the northern part of the Cape Henlopen School District for one more year. During a board meeting on Thursday, May 25 board members wrestled with the decision, weigh- ing parents' desire to have their children attend Milford schools against a loss of district revenue if the children attended Cape schools. Parents from four housing de- velopments attended the meeting to voice their concern that the dis- trict was considering requiring the students to attend Cape schools. Most of the parents indicated that their children have always attend- ed the schools in the Milford dis- trict and were part of Milford community life. The developments in question are South Shores, Cedar Creek Es- tates, Cedar Village and Meadows at Cubbage Pond. In most situations, a Milford el- ementary school is from two to four miles from the housing de- velopments. The nearest. Cape el- ementary school is five or six miles away. According to Nick Delcampo, the developer of two of the hous- ing areas, Cape Henlopen High School is approximately 20 miles from the developments. Milford High School is approximately five miles away. At stake for the district was whether the 24 students who would attend H. O. Brittingham Elementary School would be enough to qualify the school for an assistant principal. "What we're concerned about is the qual- ity of education at H. O. B. for our students," said Dave Baker, hoard member. Delcampo said the problem originated in 1989 when he met with a board member and the transportation supervisors from both districts. After evaluating maps drawn in 1973, confusion arose as to where the district boundaries were. He said adding to the confusion was that both dis- tricts, the Department of Public Instruction and a surveying com- pany all had different fines drawn on their maps. "That's four different interpre.- tations," Delcampo said. In the fall of 1992, Delcampo said he met with the transportation super- visors from both districts and they formed a "gentleman's agree- ment" that the western side of Meadows at Cubbage Pond would be in the Milford district and the eastern side would be in the Cape district. Delcampo said he then sold properties in the area "under that accord." In the following school year there were no problems, he said. Now, as the issue of attendance deviations again becomes a prob- lem for some families, Delcampo is attempting to get the issue set- tled for both Meadows at Cubbage Pond and Cedar Village. He said all of the residents have signed letters, addressed to both districts, requesting their lots be permanently changed to the Mil- ford district. "Our taxes were paid to the Milford School District and bus transportation was provided to the Milford schools," the letter states. Delcampo saidthat according to his. understanding of the law, if everyone in the development is in Cape Henlopen School District Tax Rate Fiscal Year '96 FY95 FY95 Current Expense Tax 1.28 1.325 Debt Service Tax .085 .04 Tuition Tax .215 .18 Minor Capital Improvements Tax .02 .04 Total 1.60 1.585 The Cape Henlopen Board of Education voted on Thursday, May 25 to lower the tax rate for d/strict residents.. The total tax rate per $100 of assessed property value in 1995 was $1.60. In 1996 it will drop to $1.59. Current expense tax rates can be increased only by referendum. Debt service tax rates are for voter approved projects. Tuition tax rates are determined by the number of special needs students whose educational plans require special school services. School beards deter- mine those based on projected need and adjust annually as needed. Minor capital improvement tax rates are those taxes needed to offset the state share and are determined by formu- la. full agreement and both districts its existing attendance deviation agree, their request can be grant- policy and grant deviations for ed. He said he is not aware of any this school year. It decided at the efforts from residents in either the hoard meeting to discuss the poli- Cedar Creek Estates or South cy further at a June meeting. It Shores developments to make a has not yet received the letters similar reqnest, from parents requesting the - The board has agreed to follow houndm'y changes. .........