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Wilson Students Push Peace Initiative

Student leaders at Wilson High School in Northwest Washington said they will intensify their campaign to establish their Wilson Peace Initiative to address violence on campus.

Angelica Gregory, the student body president, said she and others are working on two fronts: They are trying to get their peers to support their idea of sending teams of students and teachers into the hallways to report fights to security guards and trying to get Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to drop her decision confining them to their classrooms during lunch hour.

At lunchtime yesterday, nearly 100 students walked out of the building onto the football field to protest Rhee's policy. After school yesterday, Gregory said she met with interim principal Jacqueline Williams and about 20 students on what they could do to reduce the violence which resulted in the recent arrest of 13 students.

Students thought the peace initiative "would work," Gregory, 18, a senior, told D.C. Wire. She added that she plans to meet with Williams today to find out when she can present the idea to the entire student body. "A lot of students were interested. This alternative to the lunch policy was well received."

Gregory, like other students, said she feels safe at school and thinks the reports of violence were blown out of proportion.

Alexis Chaney, 17, also a senior, said she was among students who met with Rhee Friday about the peace initiative. Chaney said she and other students were upset that Rhee moved on the lunch policy without their input.

Chaney's remarks echoed complaints expressed in recent months by parents and teachers that she did not allow them to have a big enough say in reform plans that will affect their children at 23 schools she plans to close and 27 more that will undergo a dramatic academic overhaul.

But in this case, the students may score a victory. Rhee's spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said in today's Post that Rhee "would definitely consider incorporating aspects of their proposal into the final plan."

Meanwhile, Gregory said Williams introduced a new dean of discipline who will attempt to reach out to troubled students so that they won't act out violently.

"I think it's needed," she said. "He's nice and relates to students well... He wants to build a sense of community between students, teachers and parents."

Look for more on this new dean from D.C. Wire later.

Dion Haynes

By Dion Haynes  |  April 1, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Education  
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