Pocahontas Board of Education Questions Efficacy of Respect And Protect Program

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Board of Education member Emery Grimes is not happy with the way the Respect and Protect program, also known as the “BIF” program, is administered in Pocahontas County schools.

“The one thing I still have a problem with is this BIF program” says Grimes. “I don’t care if the Principals like it, it’s got to be good for the kids, and I don’t think the kids [are] getting any good out of it.”

“And if the Principals want to come and present their case, they’re more than welcome to; but they’re gonna have to learn how to run this program. The kids are suffering because of it, and I think it needs done away with.”

BIF stands for Behavior Intervention Form. Given for any number of infractions of school policy, students who receive BIF’s are at times denied participation in field trips or other activities outside of regular school lessons. Teacher Chris Campbell says using the BIF moniker undermines the success of the Respect and Protect program.

“We have to have a responsible student program; we have to have a discipline program; that Respect and Protect program covers both as opposed to having two separate things which is what we had before” says Campbell. “So one good thing about it is that it’s one program that covers all the things we have to have in our school.”

Grimes says on paper the program is a good idea. But in practice he says it’s punitive.

“As a parent it is not working; it is a gotcha’ program” says Grimes. “We’re holding Kindergartners back from going on a trip or first graders because they talk to each other in class.”

“I went to the initial program up at the middle school and it was a great program and I believed in it. But four or six years later, we have lost what it’s supposed to be.”

Board member Margaret Worth believes it’s a matter of teachers not receiving the training they need.

“When people look at things like that you need to say where’s the glitch” says Worth. “And my belief is the glitch is in the training, the lack of training.”

Board member Jan McNeel got some feedback about the program from a student this past summer.

“I had a high school student that I was tutoring this summer say to me you know some of the teachers ignore it and don’t use it at all and some of them give a whole bunch [of BIFs]” says McNeel. “And I’m looking right here at the stats, and here is a child who had 108 BIFs; that tells me it’s not working for that child. It really boils down to a classroom management issue.”

The Pocahontas County Board of Education members will have a chance to hear from school Principals about the program at the next board meeting scheduled for August 23rd at 7pm.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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