LHS students building bridges
By Rickie DeVany
Peace Builders is a violence prevention and education youth program, designed to prevent conflicts from arising with students. Loyalton High School was one of the first schools in the country to adopt this national program.
Megan Meshery, the Peace Builder advisor for LHS, said, “The cause for all these conflicts amongst the students is rumors, cell phones and flat out drama.
”She said she took charge of this program, because she wants to make LHS a safe environment for students; she wants the students to lose fear of getting help with their problems. The program has been at LHS for three years and took effect because of the number of fights that were taking place and the rise of bullying. The program is meant to empower the student body.
A big part of the Peace Builders program is the Peace Mediators themselves. These are students who have taken an oath to support their peers, to appreciate diversity and other people’s points of view, to practice active listening, to make positive contributions to a peaceful environment, and to seek wise people when the situation requires.
All LHS’s Peace Mediators went through training sessions during flex period. If they have the right qualities being able to talk to people, having innate problem solving abilities, and being a good listener — other students can join the team of Peace Mediators.
Loyalton High School’s current Peace Mediators consist of Lang Weaver, Jessica Richards, Jillian Lane, Angelina Folchi, Katie Roberti, Nicole McGuire, Zoe Studer, Haylee Eberhart, Tess White, Jasper Whitley and Carly Smith.
Meschery said that she would like to see this team grow and that she would like to have more me join, because right now there are only two.
Lang Weaver, a senior Peace Mediator, said he enjoys being able to help other students and to decrease the amount of violence the school has had. “Students need to realize that the help is here for them. They need to take advantage of that and get the mediation needed, rather than instigating or causing problems. Our job is to resolve your problems and help make school a better working environment.”
In the school setting, the Peace Builders program increases academic improvement by allowing teachers to spend more time teaching and less time disciplining. The program creates a peaceful environment by increasing positive, respectful, thoughtful behavior, while decreasing violence and disruptive behavior.
School bond rejected on election day
By Angelina Folchi
Measure C was a school bond that the Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District proposed, but it didn’t pass after the voting on Tuesday. A bond is a certificate issued by the government promising to repay borrowed money at a fixed rate of interest. The lent $5 million would have been used in various ways to improve the schools in Sierra County.
To repay the bond, taxpayers in the county would have been required to pay $33 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. According to the Tax Impact Report prepared for SPJUSD, that amount would stay the same if property values increase four-fold in 30 years. If property values did not increase in value, the property tax amount would have increased accordingly.
Specifically, the borrowed money would have helped replace roofs, replace heating, cooling and ventilation systems; remodel, renovate and equip locker rooms; upgrade electrical infrastructure and wiring at school facilities; and complete many other projects.
Superintendent Stan Hardeman is disappointed the measure didn’t pass, and he wrote in an email to SPJUSD staff, “The district will remain committed to provided safe, clean and appropriate learning environments for our schools.”
He added, “There is no financial solution from the state or in our budget to fix our major facility ‘short comings.’”
Many local citizens supported the bond. One supporter said, “Our children are worth it.” The bond supporters maintained that children are the future of the local community and students need a safe school to properly learn. Also, they said that thriving schools bring families to Loyalton, which in turn bring community growth: more jobs and increased business.
On the other side of the battle, opponents of Measure C recognized that repairs are necessary, but they said that there are other ways to receive funding. Several community members formed a citizens group to oppose the bond measure and to offer assistance in seeking school funding. Some who opposed the bond had property worth millions of dollars and claimed the taxation was unfair by household. Others didn’t think they should have had to pay to help the schools, because they didn’t have any children attending school. Finally, some believed that adequate amounts should be budgeted yearly for repairs.