Clearfield Area School District School Resource Officer Charles Marshall provided a report on the first nine weeks of the school year and on its new teen court program at last night’s school board meeting.
With the recent demise of Clearfield County Teen Court, Clearfield Area School District School Resource Officer Charles Marshall started a version of it in Clearfield.
Marshall said the Clearfield County Teen Court was discontinued due to a lack of interest.
The former county teen court program trained students to be attorneys and jurors, and they held trials for their peers who had committed an offense, for example a fight in school. If found guilty, the defendants would be sentenced to perform community service projects.
In the new version, Marshall said he got together with Magisterial District Judge Michael Morris and students accused of crimes can accept responsibility for their actions and be sentenced to perform community service instead of going before Morris in court and possibly be fined.
Marshall said he started the new program last year.
Recently, eight students painted the junior varsity baseball and softball dugouts and cleaned the bleachers of both gymnasiums at the high school complex for community service hours.
“We told them they were going to work, and they did,” Marshall said.
Marshall said he spoke to the county probation department on what would be appropriate community service projects for the students to perform.
The students were supervised the entire time and they were required to have release forms signed by their parents, stating they were able to perform manual labor, Marshall said
The difference between this program and the former county teen court program is the new program doesn’t hold trials, and the students plead guilty to get into the program.
Marshall also gave a report for the first nine weeks of the school year. He said vaping has dramatically decreased this year and said the school district’s strict no tolerance policy toward all forms of tobacco use is paying off. He said the negative publicity recently surrounding vaping probably helps as well.
Marshall said they have had a few issues with altercations between students in the middle school grades. Nobody was injured and the students were cited. He said they aren’t having the same problems with the high school students because the high school students realize they will face significant punishments for fighting.
Marshall also said teachers are reporting the use of foul and obscene language is down significantly this year, especially in the cafeteria, and said the school district’s efforts to discourage this behavior appears to be working.
Marshall said there was one report of a theft at the high school but that issue was resolved with the use of video surveillance cameras.