McGraw listens in on FFA presentation & public comments

(Photo Source: McGraw Central School District).

The McGraw Central School District Board of Education (BOE) met recently in the high school library to attend recent business. The BOE made some preliminary updates to the agenda, including tabling the Pre-kindergarten Service Contract, moving the Future Farmers of America (FFA) presentation to the beginning of the meeting, and holding an Executive session directly after the presentation.

The next BOE meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 5 in the Elementary School cafeteria.

Excellence in Ag Program

The BOE first heard from the McGraw Chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA), who presented on their recent achievements and future plans. The officers of the club were present to explain their roles and talk about their experiences, which included pitching business ideas and completing public service projects. The students also reported that their “all-in-one supplement” was presented at an FFA event in Syracuse in November, and earned sixth place.

Students are earning college credit through courses such as Agricultural Business and Animal & Veterinary Science. They can also prepare for college financially, as FFA offers many scholarships which students can apply for and earn by completing criteria and projects. The program itself raises funds in part by applying for grants, including those with a community service component.

Further into the meeting, BOE approved the field trip request for the club to attend the NY FFA State Convention in Buffalo on May 18-20, 2023.

TikTok Trend Leads to Code of Conduct Questions

During the public comment portion of the meeting, the BOE heard from two concerned parents whose daughter had recently been disciplined after following a TikTok trend which they say was done by up to “a dozen or so [other] students.” According to the mother of the student, the video was not filmed or uploaded on school grounds, and did not include names of students or the school itself. It was investigated by the school and by police and “found not to be a threat,” but the student received a 10-day suspension. 

The student’s mother explained that she had concerns the school’s Code of Conduct was not followed, specifically the parts which discuss progressive discipline and state that a student should be involved in the disciplinary process, which she says did not take place. She quoted the document, which can be found in the district’s website, “the best discipline is self-imposed.” 

“My child is not going to learn if you just say ‘Sorry, you can’t come to school anymore’” she continued, “...I don’t know any kid that is going to respond to that as opposed to being involved in (their) own discipline.”

The mother stated that in addition to never getting into trouble prior to this incident, her daughter is on the honor roll and participates in three varsity sports. While acknowledging the video contained inappropriate lyrics and swear words, the mother asserted that the same musical artist featured in the video could also be heard on the radio and even at the warm ups to McGraw’s sporting events.

When the mother’s allotted five minutes had expired, the student’s father used his time to ask the BOE to take this incident into consideration for future training on following the code of conduct, and stressed the importance of not jumping to conclusions.

Upcoming in Arts

McGraw has so many music students this year that it is hosting two winter concerts and art shows - with the high school starting the season off on Dec. 14 and the junior high following on Dec. 21.

On Dec. 22, the high school will hold hallmark night. All ages are encouraged to attend. The event will include activities set up for younger kids to enjoy.

The school’s rendition of The Little Mermaid already promises to be quite the production, with 55 children signed up to audition for the play.

Varsity Golf Change

The BOE also voted to approve a change to the varsity golf program, which will move from a spring season to the fall. The board noted the tireless work of the coach to present the reasons for the change based on research on courses and college programs.