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New Castle Area School District Implements Zero-Tolerance Policy For Threatening Behavior By Students Or Parents

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (KDKA) -- The New Castle Area School District has implemented a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bad behavior.

In a news release to students and parents last week, Superintendent Debra DeBlasio said due to a recent rise in violence, both nationally and locally, the district wants to take a proactive step to keep students and faculty safe.

"We have students that sometimes don't follow the rules the way they should be, and we saw it happening just a little more than we wanted to. So we want to get it out there to nip it now so that we can continue to be proud of New Castle High School," DeBlasio said.

new castle junior senior high school
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The new policy is also directed to parents. In the release, parents and/or guardians "must be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

DeBlasio said parents are not permitted to engage in reckless and threatening behaviors, including yelling, swearing, becoming hostile or confrontational on school property or on the telephone with the school.

"The Pennsylvania Crimes Code makes it illegal to engage in violent, threatening or tumultuous behavior or to use obscene language or create a hazardous or physically offensive condition," the release said. "Any visitor to the school who engages in this type of activity will be criminally charged by the New Castle Police Department and will be placed onto a No-Trespass list."

"We've worked closely with the schools we have officers in the schools, and we have to share the same goal with this goal, to have a safe environment for the kids to learn," New Castle Police Chief Robert Salem said. "Due to a lot of incidents that are going around nationally and locally, we thought it was important to put this message out to make sure that we don't have problems in the future."

Reckless behavior by students will also not be tolerated.

According to the release, DeBlasio said examples of that include but are not limited to: ignoring/disregarding redirection by administrators, faculty and staff, participating in any TikTok challenge, violence or improper use of social media inside the school or even outside of school.

DeBlasio said social media is becoming a major problem.

"A week before that (implementing the new policy), there was a national Tik Tok challenge that went out. So, we did have some damage to our bathrooms. That was September's challenge," DeBlasio said.

"My son told me there was one day they were tearing soap dispensers off the walls," parent Jennifer Winkler said.

"When that happened, I realized that this is not going to continue. We're not going to the next step in October, then November or December. We're not playing with that challenge," DeBlasio said.

Parents talked to KDKA on Tuesday and said the new policy is long overdue.

"I'm glad that they've taken some steps to take care of this and hopefully it will bring attention to the situation," parent Denise Resch said.

"Whatever the school wants to do to crack down on this, I will support them as long as it's in the right means," Winkler said.

"We have to be proactive. I believe that we did a great job teaching virtually and we did the best we could for the students. But in my opinion, there's nothing like a brick-and-mortar school. I think we have to get them back to that. Get them back to understanding rules and having them have self-respect for themselves. ... so that we can continue to support them," DeBlasio said.

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