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Jail Visits Used As ‘Learning Opportunities’ For Clymer Students

Pictured are Clymer Central School students during a recent tour of the jail. Submitted photo

CLYMER — Reported misuse of personal electronic devices led to “learning opportunities” for students at Clymer Central School by way of field trips this month to the Chautauqua County Jail.

In a letter sent to parents, the school district noted the misuse, though specifics incidents were not addressed.

“We are very fortunate to be able to utilize various methods of technology at Clymer Central School,” the letter said. “We have, as faculty, observed the advantages in learning that these devices have provided to Elementary and High School students. As with anything however, technology also offers opportunities for mistreatment of its intended purpose.”

Clymer faculty hope to use the “situations as learning opportunities to be proactive in educating our students on the importance of the responsibilities and risks that accompany using online apps, and communication on their personal devices, such as a phone.”

The first field trip to the jail was May 3 and included students in the junior class. The second was held the following day with students in the sophomore class.

Pictured are Clymer Central School students during a recent tour of the jail. Submitted photo

Both groups spoke with an officer at the jail and learned about the emotional and legal risks associated with online bullying.

Nichole Damcott with Clymer Central School was in charge of the field trips.

“We strive to provide a safe, comfortable learning space for our students,” Damcott said. “Technology advances and growth provide sizable learning opportunities, but as with anything, comes with a measure of risk, especially as more students own and access their personal devices. Therefore, we wanted to create a learning opportunity for the responsibilities and risks that are associated with cell phones along with other devices and thought it would be more impactful to be outside of the school setting.”

The warden at the Mayville jail made it feasible for the trips to happen, and included his own presentation at the end, Damcott said.

“We at Clymer Central would like to extend a special thanks to the jailhouse officers, and their warden, Officer Stuczynski, for their willingness to participate in these multiple learning opportunities,” Damcott said.

The sergeant in charge was also invited to speak at the school about the impacts of bullying to the fifth through eighth grade classes.

“Clymer Central School district students fifth through eighth grade students participated in a bullying presentation presented by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department’s Sergeant Dorman,” elementary principal Mike Fessel said. “The focus of the presentation was on how bullying impacts individuals, families and the overall community. The message was an incredibly powerful one that caused many students to question how they interact with others.”

The faculty and staff remain optimistic that the trips and presentations had an impact on the students.

“This is obviously in the new stages so we are pragmatically optimistic that by being proactive on topics such as bullying that we will see the benefit long-term,” Damcott said.

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