New Leadership, Same Goals

Connor Hurst

As students continue to scrape by high school unphased while torturing those around them, administrators must find new ways to inforce their power in schools. WHS has been taken over by former Winfield principal, Mr. Alderson, who has brought stricter policy enforcement with him. Our main focus on this policy enforcement is the immediate punishment after minor offenses and why this is found necessary. After talking with head Principal Alderson, Athletic Director Kevin Fowler, and Assistant Superintendent Brad Ross, WHS’ main goal right now is to get students in class and learning. The philosophy behind this heavily differs from each admin though. 

Athletic Director Fowler has been in the Warren County school district for many years. He is in charge of all student athletes’ MSHSAA eligibility, which concerns their grades, attendance, and citizenship. Alderson is taking charge of WHS after multiple years as Winfield’s head principal. Brad Ross is taking on the title of Assistant Superintendent as of 2022. He has worked in the Warren County district as BHMS Principal and WHS Principal, as well as tought in the district in prior years.

To start off, new head Prinicpal Alderson, who was a main contributor to better enforcing the strict phone and dress code policies found in the WHS handbook, believes in a three step warning process. This was found very surprising to his students, who said they have been told that there will be no warnings this year when breaking these minor offenses, rather an immediate write up. This shows a lack of communication from the staff to students. When asked about these new policies, Alderson said, “We just want students in class, if they are in class, they are learning… there’s nothing new about these policies, rather they are being enforced more this year.” In other words, Alderson denies the credit, or blame, for these stricter policies that have been the cause for many complaints by WHS students, who have started to take up their issues with Superintendent Brad Ross. Ross was the head Principal at WHS during the 2021-22 school year. “I have received many emails from my former students who have found some trouble adjusting to the new ways, and I’m here for everyone as we work through these,” Ross said. During his time at WHS, Ross lead 89% of his seniors to graduate successfully. He focused more on the students in the school, as he is known for listening to their suggestions and wants in the classroom. This shows why he’s a fan favorite at Warrenton High. When it came to minor policy offenses, Ross’ main focus was to keep students in the classroom, rather than detentions, parent conferences, etc. that would keep students from learning. Both Principal Alderson and Assistant Superintendent Ross want the same things for WHS students, to succeed in the classroom and prepare for post secondary life, but their ways of guaranteeing this has clear differences. 

The three admins addressed earlier were all asked about the chain of command for punishments at school. The three all answered with the same line of command, minor offenses go to the school’s principal who may suspend students for up to ten days. More serious offenses will then go to Ross, the Assistent Superintendent, who may suspend students for one full school year, 180 days. For any additional suspension time, or explosion, it will go to a vote by the school board. According to Alderson, expolsion is a last case solution to very serious offenses, such as gun violence, weapons, consistent fights, etc. WHS never wants to expell students, as it goes against their current focus of getting students learning in the classroom. 

No two actions are equal nor the same, therefore all require different punishments. As we cover WHS policies such at tardies, phone use, and PDAs, it is made clear that none of these situations require the same punishments. When it comes to results of policy abuse, it is dependent on the student’s level of insubordination and the seriousness of the action. As mentioned earlier, Alderson can only suspend students out of school for 10 day, but obviously this is not the go to punishment for minor PDA or phone abuse. When determining how to fairly punish a student for their “crime”, Alderson looks at the number of prior offenses during that semester. Depedning on that, he can then look at how serious and recurring this student’s troublemaking tendencies are. From there, Alderson can either write a referral, contact parents, give out ISS (In School Suspension), or determine that out of school suspension is necessary. Alderson’s main goal when determining punishments is to keep as many students learning as possible.

As times continue to change in high school and technology evolves, administrators must find ways to keep students learning and focus during school hours. The main takeaway of this is that WHS’ goal of keeping students in class has remained constant as new leadership takes over throughout the district. Head Principal Alderson has started to enforce school policies in new ways compared to Assistent Superattendent Ross’ past ways. Time will tell if Alderson’s stricter learning environment will keep students in school and learning.