Wake Ed

Rolesville High video to draw speakers to Wake school board meeting

Wake County school board members will try to conduct business Tuesday amid the national controversy over a viral video showing a police officer slamming a Rolesville High School student to the floor.

The school board will deal with topics Tuesday such as new themes for magnet schools, long-range planning projections, the future of summer camps at Cary schools, school names and this year’s legislative lobbying agenda. But also Tuesday, local activists will be holding a press conference and speaking at the board meeting about the state of student discipline in light of the Rolesville High incident.

The activists say they’ll ask the school system to remove police officers from schools. The school districts contracts with local law enforcement agencies to provided school resource officers at every high school and most middle schools.

Rolesville police say they’re still investigating the circumstances around a Jan. 3 video showing Officer Ruben De Los Santos lifting Jasmine Darwin into the air and dropping her to the floor, which the family’s attorney says has led to a concussion and other health problems. De Los Santos is on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.

The school district is also reviewing its agreement with local law enforcement agencies on school resource officers.

In the meantime, the school board has a lengthy agenda to deal with Tuesday.

During the work session, the board will talk about the items it should have on its legislative agenda for this year’s long session of the General Assembly. Wake will likely ask for things such as more school funding, relief from coming state-mandated K-3 class size changes and a change to the state’s A-F school performance grading system.

Also during the work session, the full board will get briefed on a presentation made to a committee last week showing that long-range growth projections are being lowered again in the light of rising enrollment in charter schools and home schools. But planners still project the school district will grow by 28,986 students over the next decade.

The board will also hear staff’s recommendations for the new magnet themes that should be offered at Southeast Raleigh High School and Bugg, Lincoln Heights and Millbrook elementary schools. Staff are recommending using STEM related themes at the four schools.

Staff will also present the results of an audit of summer camp programs that have been have offered at five Cary schools: Cary, Davis Drive, Green Hope and Weatherstone elementary schools and Davis Drive Middle. The school district had initially ordered that the programs be eliminated last summer but stayed the decision after parents complained.

The audit report says the school board will need to decide whether it wants the district to remain in the business of offering summer camps.

Activists will be holding a press conference about school discipline practices and policies outside the district’s headquarters while the work session is going on.

The regular meeting will include comments from the activists during the public comment section. Also during the regular session, the school board will deal with topics such as approving the new 2016-19 Academically and Intellectually Gifted program plan and voting on the names of three new schools.