State officials investigating after unvaccinated students marked at prom
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State officials investigating after unvaccinated students marked at prom

The state Department of Education and the attorney general’s office are looking into concerns involving the Exeter-area school district, including the marking of unvaccinated students with a marker at the recent senior prom.While the Department of Education has looked into concerns about a variety of districts throughout the pandemic, Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the nature and variety of complaints coming out of Exeter are more than any other district at this time.Two heated public meetings were held this week in Exeter, with parents expressing support for and frustration with the school board and administration.”You all need to be held culpable for the actions that you made and the decisions and held responsible,” resident James Goodwin said.Parents voiced concerns about mask-wearing, in-person learning delays, a lack of communication and various incidents, from a middle school student called out for wearing a thin blue line flag to unvaccinated students at the prom marked for contact tracing.”We already had bullying, and now we have mask-shaming and now we have who is vaccinated and who is not,” resident Phil Jackson said.Superintendent David Ryan said his administration is looking into the incident at the middle school and the prom. “One thing we can state is that everybody did this with the best intentions to provide an event at the end of the year that was really trying for kids in hindsight,” Ryan said. “Everyone we’ve talked to has said the same thing. That was really not a good look at all. That is something we’re going to reconsider, and we’re never going to do that again.”Edelblut confirmed that the state has its own concerns.”Because of the nature of the complaints we have received about Exeter, as well as the volume of the complaints, we are looking into those in conjunction with the attorney general’s office,” Edelblut said.The commissioner said he could not provide more details.As for the district’s investigations, the superintendent said he is resolving the thin blue line flag issue with an attorney for the family of the middle school student involved. He said a report will be issued once the prom investigation is complete.

The state Department of Education and the attorney general’s office are looking into concerns involving the Exeter-area school district, including the marking of unvaccinated students with a marker at the recent senior prom.

While the Department of Education has looked into concerns about a variety of districts throughout the pandemic, Commissioner Frank Edelblut said the nature and variety of complaints coming out of Exeter are more than any other district at this time.

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Two heated public meetings were held this week in Exeter, with parents expressing support for and frustration with the school board and administration.

“You all need to be held culpable for the actions that you made and the decisions and held responsible,” resident James Goodwin said.

Parents voiced concerns about mask-wearing, in-person learning delays, a lack of communication and various incidents, from a middle school student called out for wearing a thin blue line flag to unvaccinated students at the prom marked for contact tracing.

“We already had bullying, and now we have mask-shaming and now we have who is vaccinated and who is not,” resident Phil Jackson said.

Superintendent David Ryan said his administration is looking into the incident at the middle school and the prom.

“One thing we can state is that everybody did this with the best intentions to provide an event at the end of the year that was really trying for kids in hindsight,” Ryan said. “Everyone we’ve talked to has said the same thing. That was really not a good look at all. That is something we’re going to reconsider, and we’re never going to do that again.”

Edelblut confirmed that the state has its own concerns.

“Because of the nature of the complaints we have received about Exeter, as well as the volume of the complaints, we are looking into those in conjunction with the attorney general’s office,” Edelblut said.

The commissioner said he could not provide more details.

As for the district’s investigations, the superintendent said he is resolving the thin blue line flag issue with an attorney for the family of the middle school student involved. He said a report will be issued once the prom investigation is complete.

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