PRINGLE – A mother who thinks having two teachers in every shop class is necessary for safety addressed the joint operating committee of the West Side Career and Technology Center on Thursday.
Stephanie Yavorchak, who has child in the culinary arts program at the school, told the committee she is concerned that one teacher cannot adequately monitor all the students in classroom at the same time, especially given the potentially dangerous equipment the students use in shops like culinary arts and automotive technology. In addition to the possibility of an accident, Yavorchak said she's concerned a student who gets angry could resort to using a piece of shop equipment for violent purposes.
Yavorchak said there was another staff member in the culinary arts program, but that person was paid through the cafeteria budget and now spends the day there and is not in the classroom. She presented the committee with a student petition requesting that staff member be returned to the culinary arts program, and she further asked the committee to put a second person in each shop area.
After the meeting, Yavorchak said her concern was not prompted by any accident or injury but said she felt that having the second person there helped her daughter last year when she burned her thumb in class.
Having just one teacher there, I just don't think that's considered safe, Yavorchak said.
School Administrative Director Nancy Tkatch said she was confident all students are as safe as possible during class activities.
Safety is a key part of all our programs, Tkatch said, noting students are tested to be sure they know how to safely use all equipment before they are allowed to use it and teachers are given safety training as well.
Tkatch said one teacher can provide adequate supervision for the average shop class of about 22, or 18 in the automotive shops.
Something can happen whether you have one, two or three teachers in the room, Tkatch said. Safety is a key part of all our programs.
In other business, the board heard a report from Tkatch and two board members about a recent trip to the Elk Lake School District and the gas drilling fields to learn about the jobs available in the natural gas industry and see the school's new welding shop.
West Side is considering the addition of a welding program, and Tkatch said the committee investigating this will meet after the Thanksgiving holiday to review what was learned on the trip to Susquehanna County.
The board also approved a donation of $100 to the Pioneer Volunteer Fire Company in Pringle, and a payment of $3,600 to the borough in lieu of taxes.