Documented misbehavior has fallen drastically at Wellington High School compared to last year’s first semester.
There were 347 detentions handed out last year between August and January compared to 192 this year. In-school suspensions went from 48 to 39 while out-of-school suspensions took an even more marked dip from 22 to 12.
Only one emergency removal has occurred this year, which normally follows a fight, compared to 12 last year. Recommendations for expulsion have been cut in half, going from four to two.
“The kids were pretty much running the building when I took over,” said WHS principal Tina Drake. “We went through years of multiple, multiple principals with no consistency whatsoever.”
Christopher Wert left as principal in the middle of 2013-2014 after serving in the position for six years. He was succeeded by two interims, Sam Battle and Richard Reighley, before Drake took over in 2015.
Drake worked as a math teacher at WHS before being named principal.
“It was chaos,” she said. “When I transferred from the classroom to the main office, I ran the building like my classroom. I don’t want to say I was strict, but I was consistent and fair. I think that helped with the transition because students and staff knew what I expected.”
Drake spearheaded a new drug testing policy for WHS students that began at the start of this school year. In response to our public records request, she said five students have tested positive for illegal drugs, including one who admitted to use on their own.
“I don’t know what kind of numbers I expected before the program began,” she said. “I just knew we had a drug problem and wanted to help the kids. I had no expectation. I’m relieved it’s been as low as what it’s been.”
A random drug sweep last year found illegal drugs in four students’ cars, but this year the same sweep came up empty, Drake said.
“It was a clean sweep in and out of the building,” Drake said. “It was encouraging and amazing.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.