Parents concerned about incidents at JH Middle School

JACKSON, Wyo. — Several recent episodes of what the school district refers to as “inappropriate choices” by students at the Jackson Hole Middle School have left parents wondering about safety and security issues.

Teton County School District #1 spokesperson Charlotte Reynolds confirmed citations were issued to a group of students caught with drugs on school grounds last week. School administrators became suspicious of a situation where they believed a select group of students were involved in the possession of controlled substances. Police were called in on Friday, November 8, and citations were issued after a search.

Reynolds could not provide further details as to what nature the drugs were, referring to them as simply “controlled substances.” Law enforcement investigators also said the ongoing investigation prevented them from releasing any further information. In addition, those involved are minors and cannot be named publicly.

Reynolds said it was an “isolated incident involving a small group of students.” She would not elaborate on what steps JHMS was taking to ensure the school remains a “safe and healthy place for all students to learn.”

Vaping an issue?

The incident comes at a time when some parents say they have witnessed students vaping on school grounds when they arrive to pick up their kids. Reynolds acknowledged vaping contraband has been confiscated on ocassion and the school continues to be proactive about disallowing the practice.

“It’s kind of the modern-day smoking in the boys room but it is a little harder to detect,” Reynolds said.

Vaping leaves little to no odor or smoke and, unlike tobacco cigarettes, electronic cigarettes can be easily hidden away at a moment’s notice.

Tattooing at JHMS

Reports of students tattooing themselves at school was also an issue last year and may be going on again this school session. A do-it-yourself starter tattoo kit similar to Stick & Poke Tattoos was discovered at the school last year. These kits are widely available online and possibly, Reynolds said, at the local Kmart.

Reynolds added she has not heard of any tattoo kits making their way around school again this year but teachers are looking out for them.

Sexual orientation questionnaire scrapped

Finally, Reynolds confirmed a questionnaire that some parents have called inappropriate and administered without their consent has been quashed.

The questionnaire was a product of guidance counselors gauging interest in creating a social club similar to the high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. The questionnaire asked, among other things, whether a student felt he or she was “Straight, LGBT+, Rather not say, or Not sure yet.”

As soon as Principal Matt Hoelscher learned about the questionnaire, he ordered it stopped, according to Reynolds.

“More review and consideration is needed as to how we garner information like this. We need to make sure we follow a process,” Reynolds said. “This was done without admin approval and should not have been. It was good intent that got a little ahead of itself.”

Sample of a portion of a questionnaire designed to gauge interest in creating a new club at JHMS thought inappropriate by some parents without their consent. Courtesy photo

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