Following Parkland, DeWitt High School starts active shooter drill classes with police and fire departments

DeWitt High School has started a program of classes with township fire department and police department staff to help prepare students and teachers in the case of an active shooter situation, Fire Chief Dave DeKorte announced during the  DeWitt Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 12. DeKorte, who leads the instruction in the classes, said the planning process had been going on for the last couple months, but the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, helped expedite the process. “With everything going on, it just kind of made the ball roll a little faster,” said DeKorte. The program is a daily occurrence, running between 45 minutes to an hour long, where the fire and police personnel visit three different classrooms to give formal instruction on what options they have when an active shooter is present. “Basically, teaching them: if you can, you run; if you can’t, then it’s lockdown in the room, you barricade the door; you get ready to counter, where you’re going to basically throw whatever you can at them; and swarm the person if they come in the room, and then hold them down until we get there,” DeKorte said.

DeWitt High School still battling cyber bullying

By Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In today’s world, technology controls most teenagers’ life. They usually are on their phones every second of the day, whether it is on social media or texting their friends, you can find teenagers using their phones. A common problem with that is cyber bullying, and DeWitt High School is no different. The high school has to experience this problem just like any other high school in the country. Cyber bullying has become an issue in society over the past decade.

Bath and DeWitt High Schools, while different in size, are equally aware of the importance of media and technology education.

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

In today’s working world, it is necessary to have a grasp on how to use technology. There is an issue of a Digital Divide between those that competently use technology like computers, smart phones and the internet and those that can’t open up a web browser. Those that can use technology perceive and navigate modern and advancing platforms as common sense, according to TechTarget’s definition. This is usually because they have been exposed to such platforms during their developing years. Those that struggle, don’t understand how to use technology as easily due to their restricted access.

DeWitt Public Schools are doing well academically, but there is still room for improvement

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — DeWitt Public Schools are above the Michigan averages in most academic categories such as graduation rate, average ACT score, and teacher effectiveness, but they have some work to do when it comes to the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress or M-STEP. “DeWitt is a good community and we have kids in general that have a desire to do well in school,” said John Deiter, superintendent of DeWitt Public Schools. “We are able to recruit some of the best teachers in the area.” Smaller cities such as DeWitt are able to be successful in academics, because of size. The schools are able to be more connected to parents, students, and everyone else in the community.

DeWitt works to battle cyber-bullying

By Connor Clark
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — As social media works to connect people and ideas, advanced technology finds itself in the hands of young adults, and issues of cyber-bullying and sexting have risen for the City of DeWitt and DeWitt Township. Bruce Ferguson, police chief for the City of DeWitt, warns young adults to watch what they say and do online and on social media. “Kids don’t realize that what they think is private, isn’t really private,” Ferguson said. Although complete case numbers have not yet be compiled, according to Ferguson, the frequency of young adult cases on cyber-bullying and blackmailing have risen sharply in previous years. Some cases have involved threats of suicide.

DeWitt Public Schools approve new gun restrictions

By Connor Clark
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DeWitt Public School’s Board of Education unanimously approved a new gun policy that bans administrators from carrying a firearm on school grounds. “Right now we have a policy for students and faculty, but not administrators,” board member Sarah Hartman said. Superintendent of Dewitt Public Schools, Dr. John Deiter believes that guns in school provide a false sense of security and may cause more problems than solve. “Administrators haven’t had the same level of training of police personnel,” Deiter said. “Lock it down… how do you expect to confront an armed subject for something you are not trained to do, and win?” City of DeWitt Police Chief Bruce Ferguson said.

Students pay to participate in school sports

By Tiara Marocco
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Writer
Bath, MI – With the budget cuts affecting schools’ athletic programs, Bath schools have implemented “pay-to-participate” to help their athletics prosper. Many schools in Michigan have experience a drop in funds for extra-curricular activities and athletics. “Pay to participate came about in our district in about 2002,” said Matt Dodson, Bath High School principal, “and it started at $50-75 for the whole year. “We’ve had to raise it to about $100 and that pays for a student to play as many sports they want for that whole school year.”

Keeping it manageable

“Our athletic budget has been cut about 30%,” said Dodson, “so that kind of became a necessity for us to offer the same level of programs without cutting sports.”

All the fees to participate that the families pay all go completely towards the sports programs and extra-curricular activities, said Erik Harrelson, Bath High School athletic director. Bath community schools have found ways to make these payments manageable for families who cannot pay fully right away.