Lexington-Richland 5 superintendent details new policies for Irmo High School after walkout

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IRMO, SC (WOLO) — For the past two days, Irmo High School students have not been in the building.

This was because the school district was making changes to its safety and teaching protocol after a walkout by students last week.

“This feedback helps us to get better,” said Superintendent Akil Ross of Lexington-Richland Superintendent 5 on Tuesday night.

The feedback from students at the high school was that they did not feel safe, and they cited instances of sexual harassment and fighting as reasons for walking out.

“On Friday, we saw the tipping point of safety and security issues,” the superintendent said.

Since then, the district’s superintendent says the student at the center of one of these incidents has been dealt with.

“The only information I can give out about that particular individual is that the individual is no longer a student at Irmo High School,” Ross said. “I can say nothing else.”

When students return to the building on Wednesday, Irmo High School will have new additional security cameras and presence to go along with new policies such as students only being allowed out of the classroom with a hall pass.

“We have to know where people are moving throughout the building. If you’ve been in Irmo High School, especially the older east wing, it’s a labyrinth,” Ross said. “When you’re in the hallway, we’ll be in the hallways too.”

With only a limited amount of space at the district’s alternative school, 58 students have been referred for an alternative learning model within the traditional school setting.

“I thought about what if we could have an intervention at school for students before they got to red and became candidates for expulsion,” Ross said.

Whether for attendance, discipline or academic reasons, the students in the new program, called the NEST, will learn in a separate part of Irmo High School. The NEST hopes to address students’ needs and is something the superintendent says was successful during his time at Chapin High School.

“We know that if you meet a child’s needs, they’ll meet your expectations,” the superintendent said.

While the school has made changes, Superintendent Ross says students learn outside of the classroom as well which makes the community just as important in a child’s upbringing.

“The stronger the community, the stronger the school. Let’s be Irmo strong as a community and watch what Irmo High School will do,” Ross concluded.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, Richland