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Jackson Middle School experimenting with gender-segregated lunch, recess

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

With Monday's start of a new school year in Jackson, the middle school instituted a policy for the first nine weeks -- separate lunch and recess periods for male and female students in the sixth grade.

Middle school assistant principal Christa Turner said studies show that when girls and boys are separate during class, students focus more on academics and infractions decrease. The middle school still maintains co-ed classrooms, but for the first quarter will try separate lunch and recess periods for the 347 sixth-grade students. After the first quarter, the policy will be evaluated before determining whether it should be reinstated. Turner said there are no current plans to extend the policy to seventh-grade students, or to create gender-specific classrooms.

Turner said sixth grade is often the start of students beginning to notice the opposite sex and often that awareness can lead to social issues such as name calling and "he said, she said" arguments. While many of the incidents start during lunch and recess, they frequently continue in the classroom.

"The counselors spend a lot of time after lunch dealing with the social issues. That proceeds to the classroom," she said.

Turner said parents were informed of the policy during the school's open house earlier this month and that support has been overwhelmingly positive. She said only one parent has voiced concerns.

Gina Hobeck of Millersville has two grandchildren attending the middle school, including one sixth grader. She said she and the children's father are opposed to the policy.

"I disagree with the policy for several reasons. We all had to learn to deal with our emotions, actions when we were becoming aware of the opposite sex. To segregate them at the beginning of these feelings is only going to increase their curiosity or make them think there is something shameful about the way they are feeling. These are all perfectly normal feelings and need to be dealt with," she said.

Hobeck said she realized this may present additional challenges for teachers, but said children should learn life lessons.

Additionally, Hobeck said because the policy only affects sixth graders, she fears it could send them the message that they are bad, or cannot be trusted.

Hobeck said her grandchildren's father plans to contact the school about the issue.

Better discipline

Turner hopes the new policy will alleviate some of the discipline infractions many middle schools experience. She said the primary focus of her school is to provide students with a positive learning environment with minimal distractions.

"Our job is to educate children. Our job is not to provide them with their choice of social time. Destressing is important during the school day, and we continue to provide them the opportunity to do that," she said. She added students often feel less stress and pressure when they are surrounded with classmates of their own gender.

Jackson is the only middle school in the area segregating students for lunch and recess based on sex. Cape Girardeau Central Middle School assistant principal Rex Crosnoe said male and female students at his school eat lunch and take recess together, but they are separated by grade.



Pertinent address:

1651 W. Independence St., Jackson, MO

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"Studies show that when girls and boys are separate during class, student focus becomes more academic and discipline infractions decrease."

But they aren't talking about being separate during class, which is a completely different issue. They're talking about separating them during the more "social times" of the day. I can understand why they would do that. At that age? Good idea. I can see that it will probably improve discipline. But don't mix in that you think it will improve academics unless you are bringing it into classrooms.

Both single-gender and schools with both boys and girls have pros and cons. I would be interested to see what would happen if a school tried to blend the two concepts. Maybe try single-gender classes for core subjects, but mix the two for classes such as band, music, art.

-- Posted by Eliza on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 5:16 PM

I like the concern expressed by the principal and I think it's a good idea to lessen stress on the kids.

-- Posted by amazedinMO on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 5:56 PM

Good for you Jackson Middle School! It is about time someone took a proactive approach toward maintaining a less stressful school day for students and teachers. I taught middle school for years. No one knows the stupidity that can form and escalate in that environment except those who must work in it. Socializing at lunch and at recess is not a top priority when schools are faced with "No Child Left Behind".

-- Posted by trixie3 on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 6:37 PM

Thought we got rid of segregation? What if blondes, red heads, adults, people who are different than I, and skinny people stress me out. Can we have separate lunches and recess for them too? Our schools are becoming more and more like educational prisons we send kids to. They are there to learn indeed. We learned when I was in school and the opposite sex was present everywhere except PE class. Oh yeah this isn't about learning, its about control. If it was about learning they would try this out where the learning takes place, in the classroom. I smell lawsuit from that one parent.

-- Posted by SAHD on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 6:40 PM

About 8 or 9 years ago, I had an employee that worked for me, while he was in high school. Kids made fun of him in gym class, because he had big 'ol man boobies.

The school district helped him get breast reduction surgery, at no cost to the young man or his family. They didn't sue anyone in this case.

School districts have been sued and found negligent, in allowing kids to be abused verbally and physically and school districts have been forced to pay large sums of money in numerous cases.

Now I see a lawsuit coming up in the near future against Jackson R-2 schools. Because of being forced to hang with the guys or girls, at a time when they should have been noticing the opposite sex, my child was out during lunch and recess playing grab butt with someone of the same sex. Because of this, my precious child is gay.

-- Posted by Red Devil on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 7:40 PM

Isn't learning social skills a part of the education process anymore? Sure it's harder to discipline a gender mixed bunch of kids, but that discipline is one of the most important parts of the growing up process. You may be able to postpone the social issues and pass them off to someone else but you certainly can't avoid them altogether. If all you're interested in is academics then keep your kids at home and teach from the web.

There's a lot of life lessons you can't get from a book.

-- Posted by malan on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 8:51 PM

They plan to pass the social issues and any discipline on to the Jr. High teachers.

-- Posted by Red Devil on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 8:58 PM

Red Devil. How in the holy kingdom do you associate same sex lunch to being gay? And if your child is grabbing anybody's butt, boy or girl, you're child is going to be charged! Did you not think of that?

-- Posted by Beaker on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 9:16 PM

Just wait, you have to think the way these people think. Would you have ever taken your child to school and complain that kids were making fun of his big 'ol man boobies?

-- Posted by Red Devil on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 9:36 PM

A lot of the parents were not aware of this and I can tell you there are a lot more than just one parent concerned.

-- Posted by Kristen N on Tue, Aug 17, 2010, at 10:42 PM

I feel sorry for the guys at lunch. I can remember scoring that extra milk or half of a sloppy joe because of the bird girls who didn't eat anything.

Now they won't get the leftovers. More wasted pickled beets. Sigh.

-- Posted by Iceburg on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 1:34 AM

"The counselors spend a lot of time after lunch dealing with the social issues. That proceeds to the classroom," she said.

Uh, isn't that a good thing??

"Our job is to educate children. Our job is not to provide them with their choice of social time.


"Middle school assistant principal Christa Turner said studies show...

So now teachers don't teach; and now social skills are delayed or avoided all together. How can anyone believe this is a good thing.

-- Posted by blogbudsman on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:40 AM

Oh please. Sure in 6th grade they start noticing the opposite sex. I'm absolutely sure they will not be psychologically damaged by eating lunch separately. However, I do think that if you are going to experiment, it should be for the full semester. The total change in routine will be disruptive at first. But then you will get a better sense of how this social experiment worked.

-- Posted by mutt_jdr on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 7:22 AM

I think this is a terrible idea. Way to take a step backward, Jackson. Never mind the necessary social skills these kids need to learn. The counselors spend a lot of time dealing with the social issues?!? Isn't that their JOB? Just another example of people avoiding a situation instead of working through it and giving children the skills and experience they need in order to function as a society.

-- Posted by MusicMaker on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 7:27 AM

The "DRAMA" starts way before middle school. Seperate lunches may cut down on it some, but not all together. Sounds like the counslers really dont want to deal with the stuff that kids go through everyday. Passing the buck sounds like to me. The drama will continue kids have access to internet, phones, text messages,etc. Are they going to have segrated bus stops too?

-- Posted by gosoutheast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 7:37 AM

Geez, who in the world comes up with this stuff? Might be a better idea to get rid of these so called Councilors and perhaps a principal or two!

Some educators won't be happy until they make zombies out of all our kids. Can't be a winner.

Can't wear certain clothes. Can't be myself. Can't eat with my friend who happens to be of opposite sex. Can't begin to think about a little bullying and God help them if they go to hooking horns! Yep, our schools are loosing my respect that's for sure. Im tired of SOME of these educators that think they have an education and claim they know what is good for social behavior. If I had kids within the Jackson public school system I would be furious. JMO

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 8:33 AM

It's quite obvious that all of you who think this is a horrible idea have never been on lunch room duty with middle schoolers.

-- Posted by southeast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 8:43 AM

GREYWOLF, shame no one taught you good social behavior JMO

-- Posted by coke zero on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 8:47 AM

What else do you expect from the government agents that manage a government school?

-- Posted by Hawker on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 8:54 AM

It's a good start. Kids are oversexualized in our times, and at earlier ages. It is a small step to combat this, but small steps are better than none.

-- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:01 AM

Wow! I guess this is the way our society will continue to go. Lets keep trying to shelter our kids and worry to much about being politically correct so no one gets their feelings hurt. Its clearly not working. All this new age crap is making the kids worse. Thats why everyones on some pill for anxiety or depression and people dont want to take responsibility for themselves.

-- Posted by Ashy on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:13 AM

We have social drama daily & have for a couple years, we are talking 3rd & 4th grade! But it's not about it gender, it's all just DRAMA. It will be there no matter how you mix them. I just want my child to have good education in a safe, nurturing environment, and if this helps, great, if not, no harm no foul. Teachers & counselors are asked to do more and more on less and less. If this makes their job just a bit easier & my child comes home safe and has learned something in the classroom rather than the playground, it's all good.

-- Posted by mutt_jdr on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:21 AM

I highly doubt that having gender-segregated lunch and recess for one year of their life is going to mean they're missing out on learning "social behavior". It's ONE year.

-- Posted by ZU on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:27 AM

No I have never been on lunchroom duty, but for 18 minutes I beleive a teacher should be able to handle it. We as parents handle way more than a lunch or recess period. It's only the 3rd day of school so I'm waiting on the evidence before I make my final verdict. Frankly as long as my child is educated and enjoys getting up everyday for school, that is what matters. BUT for someone to imply they cant handle lunch duty, or it is to much for the counslers to deal with, then I suggest you find a new career, because YOU my friend are one of the problems with the system now.

-- Posted by gosoutheast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:30 AM

The only ones suggesting the teacher's can't handle it is on this forum. They have been handling it for years. There is nothing wrong with looking for a better way. It's called improvement, innovation, thinking outside the box. Sometimes it fails, but when it is successful, then, It's "wow!" why didn't I think of that.

-- Posted by mutt_jdr on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:40 AM

Official countdown, well its obvious I was taught much better then you! Sounds as if I struck a nerve. Could it be you are an educator or perhaps just another MEMBER of the PC crowd that thinks they know whats best for everyone?

Just wondering!!

No southeast!, I have not been on lunchroom duty,

I would be willing to bet I could handle it though!!

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:50 AM

I'm with GREYWOLF on this one. I bet I could handle it.

-- Posted by john law on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:58 AM

I agree with Greywolf. The schools need to get back to the 'basics' and stick to them. They have instead become a key roll in the cookie cutter behavior control that the government wants - a bunch of robots to do their bidding and if not voluntarily, put them on behavior controling drugs and wonder why they are addicts when they become adults.

-- Posted by Nanno on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:15 AM

It just sounds like the comment made from "Southeast" was that that person couldnt handle the lunch, or the counslers were over worked or stressed after lunches took place. I agree there is nothing wrong with looking for a better way, sometimes there is. But having relatives in the teaching profession and friends who are teachers, I get tired of the BS. Yes teachers are overworked and underpaid, but their job is to educate and to counsel our children those 7 or 8 hours, and it is our jobs as parents to educate and counsel 24/7. Like I said If you cant handle the heat get out of the frying pan.

And what happens after the 9 week trial period? I agree that changes should be made at semester, not in the middle of the school year.

-- Posted by gosoutheast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:16 AM

Great, let's make all of our kids socially awkward.

-- Posted by almighty on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:17 AM

OMG! RedDevil, you are definitely clueless. Have you spoken to your "precious child" and ask them why they are gay? I would imagine that it is not because he grabbed someone's butt, or was grabbed in the butt by someone else. I, too have a gay child whom I love very much. I knew she was gay around 8 years old and not because someone grabbed her butt. I don't know why our children are gay, all I know is that they need to be loved and cared for just like our straight children.

As far as Jackson segregating children because of their gender...it sounds to me like counselors are not concerned with our children as much as they are to maintain the "status quo." I very much oppose this viewpoint. If our children come into contact with stressful situations, are we teaching them to confront the problem or to run away from it? Where is the "real life" idealism that needs to be instilled in our kids? When they become adults, they cannot run away from stressful situations but learn to tackle them head on. Come on Jackson, wake up! Does research show how well these kids adapt when they get into high school and have to face these problems?

-- Posted by ConcernedP1 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:28 AM

Taking God out of school...you get disrespect for human feelings and hurtful and painful comments from others. Try instilling prayer and worship and togetherness. You might be surprised at the results!

-- Posted by ConcernedP1 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:31 AM

does the school have to have 2nd lunch periods anyway? i mean due to the amount of students they can't all eat at the same time? if so it seems like a good way to split them up. or you could do students with last names a-l eat first and m-z eat last... but then oh no there's that lifelong stigma of having a name near the end of the alphabet and also being grouped together with those S or Q names that brings on scores of personal issues in a child's social development.

-- Posted by TommyStix on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:51 AM

concernedP1: Go to the nearest book store and purchase blogging for dummies. My post never said anything about me having a child of school age. If you couldn't tell it was tongue in cheek, then you better not read these blogs.

-- Posted by Red Devil on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 11:14 AM

By the way did your child have big 'ol man boobies?

-- Posted by Red Devil on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 11:16 AM

gosoutheast...Where in my original comments did I ever suggest that teachers cannot handle lunch duty? That is not what I said nor is it what I implied. Of course parents deal with more than 18 minutes a day, but how many parents are responsible for hundreds of kids at one time? Not many.

But since you bring up parents, here is what I think about them. As it stands, it's the parents that have tied the hands of school officials. When I was in school, if I acted out, the teacher/principal/coach/janitor/bus driver/etc. pulled out the paddle. Parents want to sue for everything today.

Here is another thing...don't assume that I am a teacher, because I'm not. If I was, how could I be posting on here during the middle of the day.

-- Posted by southeast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 11:33 AM

Nanno, brings up a great point!

I can't tell you how many times I have heard parents tell me the school district thinks their "overactive" child should be on a psychostimulant like ritalin. When I was younger and in school OVER ACTIVE kids were given a much better treatment than ritalin!! For those of you who don't know what I am refering to it is called CORPORAL PUNISHMENT!! We were also taught respect at an early age! It was called " The pledge of allegiance" We were also bullied, until we showed no fear by hooking horns or someone else put the bully in his place. We were also taught that words could never hurt you and to man up or girl up! We were NOT kicked out of school we were forced to stay in school and made to work harder and appolgise in front of the entire class if our behavior was poor. Yes, bring back the basics and soon we will see improvement in our school systems.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:03 PM

ConcernedP1, Prayer has nothing to do with it, kids are just kids. I graduated from public school over 40 years ago and if God and prayer was ever in public school it would have been then. But, there was still name calling, cliques, showing off, and a host of other social issues that faced students daily. The teachers and the parents have to help kids face these situations regardless of which side of the issue the child is on.

These social issues have always, and will always, be a part of life. We can deal with them early while they are manageable, or wait till they manifest into real lifelong problems. Either way they are still going to happen.

-- Posted by malan on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:08 PM

southeast- If I took your comment wrong I am sorry. I agree when I was in school, yes we got paddled, detention, what ever. You are correct in saying that school officials are at a difficult point becasue of parents,or what is politically correct in today's age. As far as handling 100 kids at once, I believe there are more than one on lunch/duty. so Yes I think they should be able to handle any situation. That is their job, just as it is for your boss or my boss to handle any situation that happens in our workplace.

-- Posted by gosoutheast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:27 PM

gosoutheast...No worries. I just think teachers are in a bad situation and it will only get worse. Their salaries are very low and the respect from students and parents is essentially nonexistent, so there are fewer and fewer "highly qualified" teachers even entering education. We've stripped too much authority from them and expect them to basically "cure" all of our kids problems. From my outside perspective, it seems that teachers from past generations entered the field because of their passion and willingness to help young people. But because the problems outweigh the rewards today, we are getting many new "teachers" who pursue that career for the wrong reasons: time off, perceived shorter work days, coaching, etc. It's scary to think who may be teaching kids in the next 20 years.

-- Posted by southeast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:46 PM

Southeast-you are exactly right. I've heard the comments,"vacation times same as their children, summers free" yes I worry every year and every day about who is teaching my child. No wonder many go the home school route! I wont say the passion is gone for all teachers, but many. If it is there, it will soon be gone. It is sad but true, and usually there is always one bad apple (parent) in the bunch to make things impossible for the teacher, and sometimes this gets reflected on other children. yes you are correct I have family that are educators and the pay is horrible. The children are the future, and how they are raised or taught will be reflected for many years to come.

-- Posted by gosoutheast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 12:55 PM

Just take down the American flag at school and replace it with nazi flag,thats how you are running it right now anyway.

-- Posted by mogearjammer on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 2:14 PM

Someone tell me please. What is a Teacher at the elementary or Middle school level worth in annual pay? I would say about 42,000 if it were a 12 month 5 day a week job! Since it isn't I think 31,000$ should be just about right. I may be wrong and Im sure someone here will point that out.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 2:26 PM

this is absolutely ridiculous and very uncalled for parents and teachers are being retarded with this let kids be kids dammit we are not in segregation anymore and this is proof that our country is getting closer to a communist country, way to go to the retard on the school board who made this decision

-- Posted by judgment82 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 2:54 PM


The world is coming to an end. This decision by the Jackson public schools will change our lives forever.

Good thing we don't have any real worries in this country. (Like unemployment, terrible economy, home foreclosures, unessessary wars, 536 useless federal pollitians, unending trampling of civil rights in the name of the common good, etc.,etc.)

-- Posted by FreedomFadingFast on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 3:02 PM

I wonder if the Jackson sixth graders have ever seen Jane Elliot's "A Class Divided"?


-- Posted by latergator80 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 3:16 PM

Since schools are being held responsible for EVERY student's progress - meaning EVERY student must score proficient in standardized tests in ALL areas by 2013 (I think), they MUST do all they can to find a way to maximize instructional time. They are forced to try anything they can, even if it is unconventional. If this helps, great! My son is a middle schooler. I don't care if he gets to have lunch/recess with girls or not! Folks, kids go to all-boy/all-girls schools all over the world!! It's not going to hurt their development!! They still interact with the opposite sex in the classroom and in the hallways. Give it a rest! And Eliza, it was the reporter that put the connection in the article about segregated classrooms.

-- Posted by chocolatte on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 3:27 PM

Unfortunately, schools can't afford to spend instructional time on social skills any longer. It's all about the TIME the playground issues take away from instruction, not about wanting to separate kids or squelch their social development. The govt is not going to take away funding for not letting boys and girls play together. They will take funding away for not meeting the educational standards. Instructional time is needed for that to happen. If playground issues are taking time from the classroom, then they are inhibiting meeting the educational standards. That HAS to be the school's main concern at this point. And this is a TRIAL to see if it might have an impact. If you are unhappy about schools not taking time for social development, teaching responsibility, etc, etc, etc, take it up with your government.

OK...I think I'm done....

-- Posted by chocolatte on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 3:40 PM

Sorry Zu, I disagree with you on this one. One year to an adult is a much different thing than one year to a child, keep in mind. A LOT of development happens over the course of a year.

But more importantly, I want to address this statement:

It's a good start. Kids are oversexualized in our times, and at earlier ages. It is a small step to combat this, but small steps are better than none.

-- Posted by Mark Rutledge on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 9:01 AM

It's this kind of thinking that causes so many problems for kids today. You're talking about 6th grade girls and boys. Having a crush is not the same thing as being 'oversexualized'. In fact, if you want them to be 'oversexualized'...separate them during the developmental years when they're supposed to be learning how to behave around one another. You know---right around middle-school age. That will guarantee that they'll be 'oversexualized' when they finally ARE allowed around each other. And they'll have no idea how to deal with it.

-- Posted by MusicMaker on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:00 PM

Ok . .interesting discussion. Lots of passionate people on here. Folks, schools have been fiddling around with schedules forever. I am old enough to remember getting out of school for harvest. . .yikez am I that old . .

I am sad that Jackson officials feel it has come to this . . .but this isn't about lunch schedules . . it's about order and safety and discipline.

Many children arrive at school essentially un- or under-socialized. Many of them lack the basic social skills necessary to function successfully in social situations. Some of the children lack appropriate behavioral bounderies which act to prevent bullying, inappropriate sexual acting out, aggression, lying and stealing. Bounderies that should be set by parents but apparently are being set by watching the Kardashians or Hannah Montana.

Unfortunately, the role of socializing children has, by default, fallen to the school systems. When the schools try to place social bounderies on these feral children, it is usually the parent who complains loudly that the school is picking on their kid. I would submit that the school would love nothing more than to turn the chore of rearing children back over to the parents. I do not foresee that happening anytime soon.

If you want to see the effect of appropriate parenting and bounderies on kids . .go to ANY parochial school . . .parents and kids are expected to act properly and to be supportive of the school. I don't care what religion runs the school . . .they all have better behaved and socialized kids. It's not a coincidence.

I would love to see the schools doing what they are meant to do . . .teaching children academic knowledge and skills to prepare them for the rest of their lives. Parenting is not what we pay schools for . . .that's mom and dad's job.

Mom and Dad get back to work!!!

-- Posted by one4kids on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:05 PM

I think this is great, considering the fact that we have middle schoolers that have ended up pregnant. I realize they don't end up pregnant at school, but as stated in the article there are 347 6th graders how can teachers keep an eye on all of them.

We are going to have to take real action and deal with our boy/girl situations especially dealing with relationships and sex. Wake up parents, if you don't think you kids know what it is then you need to go back to middle school and learn sex ed all over again.

Maybe segregated lunches are not the answer to decreasing teen pregnancy but it is an attempt to do something, I applaud the middle school staff for attempting this, and if the parents would get behind them and support it we may see positive out turn.

-- Posted by momoflilindian on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:11 PM

In the jr high my daughter started they have certain classes that the boys and girls are seperated in Health, Art, Music, Pe and a few others their core classes are all together as well as their lunch period. During lunch the kids have assigned seats (they pick it out on the first day and that is their seat the rest of the year). This has not been an issue the girls like the classes they have free of the boys and they the same and they all hangout before and after school or during lunch.

I am with Greywolf and others, the problem at the schools isn't boys and girls noticing each other it is the lack of morals, respect and manners in a lot of kids. Bring back some old fashioned discipline, parents with backbones and maybe it will turn around.

-- Posted by semoangel70 on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:20 PM

MusicMaker: You're a B. :-P LOL love ya

-- Posted by ZU on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 4:43 PM

I'm telling you...it's more about instructional time and meeting standards.....

-- Posted by chocolatte on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 5:41 PM

Greywolf, also back in our day, kids who were bullied didn't bring guns to school and shoot everyone in sight. There are too often terrible consequences for bullying. Not to mention the legal liability of the district for "allowing" bullying to occur.

-- Posted by chocolatte on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 5:50 PM

This is crazy! I'm afraid to say it, but this is just a situation where a Principal/Assistant Principal is just trying to use their Power and Authority to control and bully kids.

What studies is this Principal talking about? Was the study really from a reliable source? If it was; why isn't everyone doing it all the time? Let's go people; use some common sense.

Sorry folks this is just not a good idea. How about a little Administrative and Guidance Counselor supervision at lunch time to correct poor behavior or stressful situations.

I am just surprised the Superintendent and Board of Education in Jackson supported this move. I guess we will see it at the Jr. High and High School next? I'm sure we can find a study that shows it works there also.

-- Posted by Dr. Bear on Wed, Aug 18, 2010, at 10:27 PM

Missouri, as a state in general, does not financially prioritize education. Classrooms are overcrowded, corners are cut. Students are less manageable due to overloaded classrooms, the decline of suitable authority given to the teachers and inadequacy of funding to minimize these problems.

It might not be the ABSENCE OF INTEREST in the job. It is the responsibility to educate the students and reduce the chaos.... without the authority to actually implement consequences for poor performance...both academically and behaviorally. Those tasks are more problematic under the constraints of the administration and parents.

In the olden days, my Jr. High school was separated by gender. Our curiosity was heightened. We managed to live thru it; and we were no worse for the experience. We had long enough in high school to gain social experience with the opposite sex. We were a 'little' more mature by that time.

Give it a try...if it works. It works. If it doesn't...

-- Posted by ojannod on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 4:10 AM

this is illegal and the school can be sued, segregation is illegal, it does not matter if its race or gender, it is against the law. shame on jackson school district, this is teaching the kids that its ok to be racist or sexist.

-- Posted by jacobmf on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 8:48 AM

Greywolf...I don't know the average teacher salary, but for the crap they have to deal with on a daily basis, I don't think they make nearly enough.

It bothers me when people think that teachers only work 8am-3pm and never work in the summers. When do you think they create lesson plans, grade assignments, seek professional development, etc.? All of this cannot be accomplished in one off-period per day. How about elementary teachers who have a class all day? They work much more than most people think. My neighbor who has been teaching in the Jackson school district for 5 years routinely leaves for school at 7am and gets home at 5pm. She is "out for summer" at the end of May, but attends meetings and workshops several times in the summer and is required to be back at school in late-July.

Sure we'd all like to have a month and a half off each summer and perhaps the lower salary reflects that, but considering what they do and the parents (like you, I presume) who want teachers and schools to handle all of a kids problems, they need to be making considerably more.

-- Posted by southeast on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 9:06 AM

I think this sounds like a great idea! I wish my child's school would do this. And apply it at recess also. It would calm down the cattiness with the girls too I think.

-- Posted by mommy20 on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 9:28 AM

I think this is one of the smartest things Jackson schools have done in years. Although I believe that it should have been implemented for a longer period of time to get an accurate idea of the success of the trial.

-- Posted by all_i_hear_is_blah_blah on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 9:48 AM

I bet a lot of these people commenting on here are teachers, principals, school board members and parents who've nearly given up at home and school when it comes to controlling your kids.

The teachers I'm sure are trying to simplify matters when it comes to dealing with your heathens.

I'm amazed every time I go out to eat and see how parents let their kids get up from the table and run around disrupting the whole restaurant.

And the fits their kids throw out in public if something doesn't go there way.

Did anyone else have dad that would blister your as* if you misbehaved in public or at home in front of guests?

Most all of today's behavior starts at home with lack of discipline and don't forget the tv's, computers, ipods, etc., that the kids all have in their rooms.

Take away a lot of these things or place them in a common area in the house where you can see what your child is doing.

I'm sure you've noticed how many kids 10 or 11 years already have cell phones.

There is very little family time anymore. Once they get a cell phone, family life as you knew it is gone.

I know spanking isn't part of parenting anymore and they can't beat your kids for you at school these days, but don't you ever get the urge to? My father never laid a hand on me in public but boy when we got home....

I had a room to run to until the tears stopped but then I was alone in a room that was meant for sleeping, no amenities. In a matter of minutes I was back in the living room watching tv with Dad. My backside may have been burning but one thing I never doubted, my Dad loved me and cared about me.

-- Posted by Red Devil on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 2:09 PM

I was glad to see the article regarding the segregated lunches at JMS. I was disappointed, however, that only one parent was noted as disagreeing. I assure you this is not the case. I have spoken to several parents and we all agree that this is RIDICULOUS!

I am a parent of a 6th grade girl at the Jackson Middle School. She is my second of my children to attend JMS, and have two more to follow.

Parents were not "told" about the change, it was simply posted on the wall. After reading the notice, I went straight to the Principal, Dr. Penzel, and voiced my opinion. I think it is absurd!!! .When I spoke to Dr. Penzel, he said the reason for the change was to prevent any future problems that can happen during lunch and recess.Well, these kids haven't even had the opportunity to have any problems during recess! And it seems they are already being punished. These kids need to have the opportunity to socialize with ALL of their peers on an EQUAL level. Socialization is a very important part in a child's development. And at this age they are really trying to figure things out. They are just now coming out of the "Girls rule and Boys drool" phase. They are maturing and need to feel that it is ok to make friends with the opposite sex.

I have spoken with the Asst. Superintendent, Ms. Fisher, who couldn't offer any solution. She stated this was just a trial. As a parent of four attending Jackson R-II now, and my youngest (age 2) not graduating until 2024. I have a vested interest in what changes are made in this district. What's next? Segregated classrooms? Uniforms? Who knows.

My next step is to contact the superintendent. If anything is to be resolved I will need the support of other parents who disagree.

-- Posted by kcarr1234 on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 2:23 PM

Why is this viewed as "punishment" and "unfair"? It's lunch and recess! Neither group is getting preferential treatment, so it's not discrimination. There is nothing illegal about it. There is nothing to clear with parents first. It is a school's decision. You all are making too much of this. They are not being locked in a dark cellar and tortured. Do you also think that the former procedure for half of the students having lunch while the other half have recess was discriminatory? It's no different! The kids are just divided by sex rather than by their teacher. No one cried discrimination when Mr Smith's class did not get to have lunch and recess with Mrs. Jones' class! Come on, people! Really?? It's NOT A BIG DEAL!!! They still get to have co-ed classes and hallways. Still plenty of social time. Lunch and recess is all of 30 minutes! Can they not go that long without exposure to the opposite sex?? Maybe all you parents should get together and form a play group so all your kids can have co-ed playtime together. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill and teaching kids that if they don't like a perfectly legal and rational decision they should throw a big fit and cry discrimination.

-- Posted by chocolatte on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 3:34 PM

I'm for it! Abscence makes the heart grow fonder.....not gay.

-- Posted by rodgerdodger on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 4:19 PM

I have heard there HAS BEEN problems with PDA and this is one of the main driving forces behind this experiment. Seems to me the administration and teachers could deal with that issue without experimenting with sex segregation at lunch!

Frankly, if this is the case it has nothing to do with academics! I tire of hearing Teachers complain about their money and job duties. Most people I know work 7am till 5pm. and they do it all year long. Sure some teachers attend mandatory workshops during their break but very few! As for continuing their education with classes during their break well wouldn't we all like to have time to do that!! PARENTS! do your job and be a parent and get involved with your childs education and get them off the darn play stations!!! Have meals together and study time as well. Teach your kids respect and set examples instead of being one. Take the darn I-phones and cell phones away from these 10 and 12 year olds. Stop allowing make-up on your 10 and 12 year old girls. Teachers and administrators need to do their jobs as well. Stop being part of the problem and be problem solvers.Its NO wonder why things are so out of control in our schools and homes.

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 9:27 AM

You said it perfectly, Greywolf!

-- Posted by southeast on Fri, Aug 20, 2010, at 9:45 AM

if a child wants to learn , these types of rules won't make a difference ...

-- Posted by ad..man on Sun, Aug 22, 2010, at 8:05 AM

RedDevil and Malan,

Tongue n' cheek and God.

First, tongue n'cheek or not, children make fun of other children whether they have warts, funny names, or big ol' man boobies. I concede that there is no stopping this; however, I still stand on the fact that children AND our hired counselors should be more proactive in identifying these behaviors and dealing with them when they happen.

Malan, school prayer was abolished 1962, the year President Kennedy was assasinated. See the following website on statistics of how that affected our schools:http://heartofwisdom.com/blog/when-prayer-was-taken-out-of-school/. God has everything to do with respect, love, kindness, consideration, and forgiveness. I, too, was mericilessly bullied and disrespected during school (not for manly boobies) but because I was different and did not follow the "in" crowd. My faith and ability as a child raised in Church gave me the power of prayer and a deeper knowledge of myself and friends that I do not harbor any bad feelings regarding these children. THAT is what God is for.

-- Posted by ConcernedP1 on Sun, Aug 22, 2010, at 3:03 PM

It's just another way to blame inefficiencies on something else. Just like parents who feed their children behavioral medicine. They think "it must not be my fault because I am a good parent so it has to be something else." Then a doctor, excited about little kickbacks and incintives to sell certain "cures" for slow learners and badly behaved kids comes along, and poisons your kid into their way of thinking.

Take responsibility people and do your job.

It's called discipline. And It's not illegal...yet.

Remember the good ol' days when y ou get swats in school and parents would give their children a really good spanking? How many times were there school shooting back then and how often did kids disobey their parents?

The "cure" is in the wooden paddle my friend. Not in separation. Not in medicine. It's in good parenting and good discipline.

-- Posted by Amy P on Mon, Aug 23, 2010, at 7:17 AM

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