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YEAR IN REVIEW: Good, bad and ugly all part of school year
It was a year of good and bad for area schools during 2012.
Richfield Elementary School was named as a California Distinguished School, one of 387 exemplary public elementary schools in the state.
The school was honored by the state with a plaque and flag. This was the second time Richfield Elementary School was honored with this recognition, the first time was in 2004.
Other good news was the hiring of Corning High School alumni John Burch as Corning Union High School District's new superintendent. Burch graduated from the school in 1978. He earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics at California State University, Chico, then did his student teaching back at his high school alma mater. He came back to Corning High School after working at Red Bluff High School for 18 years, first as a math teacher and then as associate principal of curriculum and assessment.
"It is really exciting to come on board back here where I graduated," Burch said. "I see this as a privilege and a super opportunity."
Burch's wife, Jenny, is a 1979 graduate of Corning High School.
On the darker side of education, a scandal broke out in February when the son of a Corning Union Elementary School District board member brought marijuana-laced brownies to school.
Board member Laura Crane's eighth-grade son brought the brownies to Maywood Middle School on Feb. 10, and shared them with five other students, said District Superintendent Catherine Reimer.
Crane's son received a five-day suspension after another student went to school administration and reported what happened. The scandal drew severe criticism of the district from a few parents in the community who have children attending Maywood — some accusing the district of a cover-up and other believing Crane should resign from the board.
"There was absolutely no cover-up, and I stand by my decision," Reimer said. "District officials followed board policy and legal protocols."
The Corning Police Department was notified of the pot-lace brownie situation and school administrators notified the parents of the other students involved. The district took no disciplinary action against any of those students.
High School locked down
On Dec. 21 Corning High School was locked down for about an hour when a student reported hearing a rumor that another student was bringing a gun to school.
Corning police Chief Don Atkins said school staff received a report around 7:50 a.m. "that a 16-year-old male student was bringing a gun to the school."
The school was locked down and a permiter around the campus was set up by area law enforcement to keep anyone from coming in or leaving. But the student in question did not show up to school, and instead was found playing hooky at a friend's house. Atkins said the male student denied making any comment about bringing a gun to school, and no weapon was located.
The lockdown was lifted just before 9 a.m.
Burch believes the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., heightened awareness and anxiety over school violence and safety.
"The timing of our school lockdown is interesting. After Sandy Hook, the school's administration met and reviewed our emergency response and what we can do to improve. We asked each teacher to review emergency response and to go over it with their students," Burch said.