Students returned to class at Irmo High School on Wednesday to new changes in security. After a mass student walkout on Friday, Feb. 4, the school moved to virtual classes for Monday and Tuesday of this week while school officials sorted out the problems. The walkout was prompted by students over safety issues due to fights and sexual harassment during school hours. Students were posting multiple videos of fights in hallways, restrooms and in the cafeteria on Instagram. Some videos showed restrooms being vandalized and destruction of property.
The new security restrictions beginning on Wednesday include no loitering in the hallways, no hats or hoods allowed to be worn inside the building, students will need a pass to use the restrooms or go anywhere else in the school, only one student per class can leave at any given time and students will wear an i.d. at all times.
More law enforcement and counselors will be available and additional security cameras have been installed in the buildings and around the property.
District Five Superintendent Akil Ross held a virtual ’town hall’ meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 to address concerns from parents. He proposed a ’school within a school’ program that will give the ‘highest need students’ more attention. He said this will create an alternative to suspensions and expulsions by dealing with the mental health and welfare of some of these students. The class, or ‘nest’ as it is being called, will be conducted in a hallway outside the classrooms and will be attended by students who are academically challenged or have behavior and conduct issues. Ross said the ’nest’ will promote positive reinforcement and an alternative structural opportunity.
Ross stressed that although he couldn’t legally comment on the individual responsible for the sexual harassment accusations he did say that the person was not longer enrolled at Irmo High School.