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Dayton Plans a Prom this Year, but Students Want Rule Relaxed

Dayton Independent Schools plans to host a prom this year, an event that was denied last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the board of education meeting last week, student representative Angel Patterson, who participated virtually while the meeting was held in person, discussed a separate meeting where the prom was explored.

As of now, the plan is to host a prom on April 30 outside at Davis Field with a tent and a catered dinner.

But there are rules, some of which students find problematic.

One of the rules is that only Dayton students may attend.

That would prevent Dayton students from bringing dates who attend school in other districts.

Dayton High School principal Scott Meyers asked about what other local schools are doing and apparently, that rule has become commonplace as the pandemic continues, though to a less degree of severity currently.

Meyers said that if a COVID-19 diagnosis emerges because of the prom, it would be easier to trace if only Dayton students were there.

Patterson countered that the school hosts basketball games where Dayton teams face other schools' teams inside.

"These are very good points," said Meyers. "The whole thing has been challenging."

He continued by saying Newport, Bellevue, Walton-Verona, and Ludlow are some of the schools that are following state protection guidelines and only allowing students from their high school to attend the prom.

Patterson countered again by saying that they need to make decisions on the basis of their own district, not on the basis of what other districts are doing.  

"You aren't giving us a chance," she said. "You need to keep an open mind!"

Ron Kinmon, the Healthy at School representative, said that he told Meyers to check with the other schools. He said that they cannot do anything that would put students health at risk.

Both Kinmon and Meyers said that they would be glad to sit down with Patterson and her friends to try and explain what the students see as a double standard.

Superintendent Jay Brewer said that he was proud that Dayton students have the ability to think critically about the issue, and then feel comfortable enough to stand up for what they believe against the leaders at the school. 

Brewer said that the district would work with the students to figure it out.

The superintendent also said that an outside graduation ceremony is also being planned.

Meanwhile, Meyers and Lincoln Elementary principal Heather Dragan discussed how school has been going since returning to in-person learning four days a week.

Meyers said that the high school is back at 80 percent in-person attendance while the elementary school is at 96 percent. Dragan said that only 20 Lincoln students are still attending remotely.

The district's after-school program began this week, and an 8-week summer school is planned for this year.

Superintendent Brewer told the board that the district will wait to renovate the cafeteria until summer of 2022 because they can't be assured that the new freezers and equipment will come in on time to have everything up and running for the school year in August.   

The board approved the Greendevil Super 60 Dual Credit program, which allows some freshmen to take the ACT to see if they can enroll in college dual credit programs through Northern Kentucky University or Gateway Community & Technical College earlier. Brewer said that he knows that only a handful of students would qualify for the program, but it could make such a difference to those students that they could graduate from high school with an associate's degree.

Brenda Sceifres, a fourth grade language teacher who has spent her entire teaching career at Dayton, received word that she won a Golden Apple Award this year.

Students of the month were recognized at the high school.  Lilyann Johnson, Matthew Tumler, Connor Huebner, Jasmine Nelson, Eric Jiminez, and Brian Raleigh were the students from the high school and middle school who received recognition.

The athlete of the month is Rachel Holaday, for her bowling ability.

Matt Patterson was noted as the artist of the month, for his music ability playing the tuba.

-Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

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