An emotional roller coaster at school board meeting

By on May 21, 2014

Legendary Schoenberger honored; parent discusses bullying at WMS

As the end of the school year approaches, Warwick school board Tuesday attended to routine business and said farewell to and welcomed back several key individuals.

Although lighthearted for most of the evening, two residents brought matters of their concern to the boards attention and the evening started off with a solemn memorial.

Prior to the meeting’s regular business, the board took a moment of silence to honor Stanley C. “Shenny” Schoenberger who passed away on Monday, May 12. Schoenberger taught biology at Warwick from 1956 to 1985. As a senior high football coach he was honored as Coach of the Year in 1962 by the Quarterback Club. Schoenberger was awarded with the Lititz Citizenship Award in 1962 and was past president of the Warwick Alumni Association.

“He was an assistant wrestling coach as well. He was very respected within the Warwick community,” said Board President Timothy Quinn. “It’s a sad loss to the Warwick family.”

Afterward, during time allotted for recognition of citizens, the board heard from district resident Donald Gallagher. In the past, Gallagher has championed a movement by students and community members urging the district to remove Native American symbols and nomenclature, specifically the term “Warriors” and the use of a spear in school logos. Tuesday he appeared before the board to commemorate those activities.

“On May 17, 2011, 18 students and alumni addressed this board,” said Gallagher. “They were explaining lessons that they learned here at Warwick and urging the board to retire the school’s Warrior nickname and Indian images. They were supported by parents, church leaders, and community members. I am here tonight to commemorate that event…. They urged you to do what is right.”

Gallagher said the name and emblems misrepresent the area served by the district. He urged the board to consider the peaceful nature of the area’s indigenous peoples and the settlers who founded Lititz. The board did not respond to Gallagher’s requests and thanked him for his comments.

During regular business and to the surprise of no board members, only one name was mentioned when the board called for nominees for a treasurer. Darryl Miller, sitting treasurer and legal and finance committee chair, was the only nominee. Miller, who joked about how quickly the nomination process advanced, was unanimously elected to the position. While Miller is quickly back in his board position, the district is losing a vital component after Tuesday’s meeting.

Rebecca Goebel is a senior at Warwick and will soon graduate on to bigger things. She has served as the board’s student representative for the past two years (most only serve one), delivering updates on student activities throughout the school year. Goebel &tstr; who began her tenure as student representative while a junior &tstr; also sat on the board’s education committee. Her efforts to represent students all came while attending regular classes and a myriad of extracurricular activities. Most recently she was seen portraying Frenchy in the high school’s rendition of “Grease.” Goebel’s last report to the board featured updates on the student’s efforts with the Mini-THON fund-raiser, the large amount of National Honor Students (65) entering their senior year, and the success of an alcohol-free senior prom earlier this month.

“On behalf of the board we want to thank you for all the work you put in this year. We love having the student members on the board,” said Quinn. “Thank you very much for everything.”

“I think of you as (a) super woman,” said board member Benedict Sahd. “I don’t know how you handle all of these things.”

However lighthearted most of the meeting, it ended on a more somber note when resident Gary Chirico detailed alleged bullying activity occurring at Warwick Middle School.

“I hate to put things down, (after) all the positive things (said) here about Warwick. I’m very proud to be a member of Warwick School District,” said Chirico. “The issue of bullying in our schools has been a huge topic in recent years…as a parent of two children who have recently attended Warwick Middle School I can assure you that bullying is alive and well.”

Chirico delivered his speech without agitation, yet called the handling of bullying at the school “ineffectual, misguided, and often non-existent.” He claimed current measures are not addressing the issues of bullying.

“I offered specific evidence regarding concrete bullying situations to the administration. My words fell on deaf ears,” said Chirico. “Bullying should not be tolerated and Warwick Middle School should be held accountable.”

The board did not respond to Chirico’s comments except to thank him for his comments. At each meeting, the board reserves the right to respond to citizen comments and questions.

Michael Upton is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express.

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