MUNCIE — Muncie Central High School has announced that several new procedures will remain in place now that a law firm has completed its independent review over a class assignment that prompted controversy and student-led protests.
The review, done in reference to a November 2021 conflict over a display of student-created posters regarding social issues in a hallway at the school, was completed by Church Church Hittle + Antrim, according to a statement from the high school.
"The firm conducted interviews with 17 individuals, including involved students; examined several MCS policies and administrative guidelines; and analyzed pertinent case laws regarding free speech, student rights and other legal issues," a statement from the school reads.
The school outlined a list of changes it has implemented following the incident, which includes regular listening sessions with students; a new security team; coordinated communications to address students' concerns; a new mental health resource guide; administrative walk-throughs to address support needed by students, faculty or staff; reviews for teacher-submitted lesson plans; and an "idea and concerns" forum.
It also plans to implement the following changes:
- Development of a written policy in regard to displaying student work in a manner to develop critical thinking skills without resulting disruptions to the educational mission or threats to the safety of MCS students, faculty, staff or administrators
- A mental health professional will be added at MCHS through our partnership with Meridian Health Services beginning in March
- Ongoing professional development for teachers to ensure lessons are related to instructional goals
- A review of expectations for school security officers while providing continued training and professional development
- Ongoing training for all staff on implicit bias and culturally responsive practices
- A review of the faculty handbook to ensure it clearly communicates expectations for staff
- A review of the student handbook by a committee of teachers, counselors and administrators led by Associate Supt. Reynolds to ensure behavioral expectations and consequences are clearly stated
- A review and implementation of processes to ensure that disciplinary and behavioral issues are addressed equitably and consistently, and that resulting discipline is proportionate
It follows a protest staged by students once the posters were moved from a hallway to a classroom after a "disruptive discussion" between a student and school resource officers over the poster display.
The project was based on the graphic novel "V for Vendetta." Students were meant to bring attention to real-world problems that related to the book.
A poster deemed offensive by some featured a drawing of a police officer depicted in "V for Vendetta" with the names of people who have been killed by law enforcement.
The law firm's full report is available here.
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