Most parents would agree that having a safe, drug-free community in Dedham's schools is important. But not every parent will agree on how much schools should be involved with students, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol.
That was the main concern during the School Committee's public hearing. The purpose was to get feedback from the public about the Memorandum of Understanding between the Dedham public schools, and the Dedham Police Department, otherwise known as the MOU.
The committee wants to improve their relationship with the police department by reporting bad behavior. The hope is to find patterns, and then try to find help for that particular student who may be going down the wrong path.
But parents like Ann Mercer, was very concerned about the amount of involvement.
"I feel that it is my prerogative to deal with situations about my minor child," Mercer said. "I just don't see the educational aspect."
Under the new MOU, there is a list filled with different types of actions involving drugs, violence, and types of sexual assault. If any student is caught, or involved (in or outside of Dedham), they must be reported and may face some type of punishment- including jail time.
Ed Kadlick, was shocked that students can get in trouble for drug and alcohol offenses while they are outside of school activities, even if they are outside of Dedham.
"I don't see how the principal can discipline my child if it wasn't a school event," Kadlick said. "I don't think that the school committee should be involved".
Kadlick believes that the counseling should be left to the parents- and no one else.
Tom Ryan, one of the School Committee members, tried to reassure the public that the MOU is being implemented in order to provide a safe environment for Dedham students. Ryan agreed that the MOU still needs some work, but he reminded everyone that it is there to provide support.
"It has to help [students]... not hurt them. Lets put an MOU in place that works on that," Ryan said.
So far no formal vote will be made until the next meeting on Wednesday, September 5. And the committee is encouraging the public to stay involved to help make any necessary changes.