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September 3, 2015

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From the Principal:

Laying down the law to change the culture

Students will benefit from zealous adherence to rules

David Wilson, principal of Chaparral High School, on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

David Wilson, principal of Chaparral High School, on Thursday, August 18, 2011.

I only have one chance to make a first impression on the first day of school. Kids have to know it’s not the same Chaparral they left last year. We’ve done all that we could in a short time frame to change the exterior of the buildings. We added the banners on the front of the building, a fresh paint job, the big C for Chaparral.

That’s why we’re going to have the band out front today, out greeting them, being excited with kids. In the big courtyard we’ll have new speakers playing music.

The whole issue from this very first morning is to set that tone. You only have one opportunity to set that tone for the kids, and we have to be on our A game.

I’m focused on changing that culture, and that’s why I worry about things that I’m cracking down on. You don’t want open rebellion and open revolt. There will be no electronic devices, period, from 7:30 until lunch at 1:40 p.m. When you have kids who are used to aimlessly texting and taking calls at will, walking into class with ear buds at will, listening to music and ignoring teachers, instruction suffers. The bottom line is graduating kids and you can’t graduate kids if they’re not learning. By damn, they need to be doing their part, which is participating.

I absolutely positively know there will be pushback. Do I hope there will be none? Yes. Do I think there will be? Yes. It’s the 80-20 rule: 80 percent will go along with the rule; 20 percent will be upset. The 2 percent is who I will hear from. The parents will call into newspapers, TV stations, the School District. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m simply enforcing Clark County School District rules.

We will have zip ties for kids with sagging pants, saggers. When I came in last year, kids literally had their entire butts hanging out. That’s unacceptable.

It goes right down to the tardy policy. They’re used to just walking the hallways aimlessly, and we’re not going to let that happen, and the last thing is we’re not going to let kids exit the classroom unless it’s an absolute emergency. Most of the damage to the campus, etched glass, graffiti was done by kids either just wandering out of the classroom or saying that I have to go to the bathroom and never coming back. That change is just going to help keep things under control.

Those are huge changes in culture. We have to get the routine and procedures under control. It’s not going to be this easy walk in the park. But I’m looking forward to it.

David Wilson is the principal at Chaparral High School.

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