JPS Hears Request From Impact Fellowship

Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education heard a request from Impact Christian Fellowship to restore a meeting during school hours.

Olivia Beach, an Impact member, and a junior at Jamestown High School, read a statement to members asking if the fellowship could resume its once-a-week lunch meeting time, at JHS.

“Currently, Impact is only allowed to meet in the early morning before school begins or after the school day ends. Historically, Impact has been allowed to meet during the lunchtime periods which gives the greatest opportunities to reach the largest audience. Early morning meetings before school is not very effective or widely used for a simple reason: kids don’t like to get up early – to which I am a part of. Studies show that teenagers do not function as well in the early mornings and participation is at its lowest,” Beach said.

Beach added that meeting after school is difficult because students may have jobs, may have extra curricular activities, or may have to return to their homes to care for siblings.

Impact Executive Director Rev. Dan Soderberg said that the fellowship has gone before the board on other occasions, and Soderberg has been in negotiations with JPS Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker regarding the meeting time.

The board, Whitaker said, already had taken action, and took no further action on the request Tuesday at its meeting. Whitaker noted that other organizations, who are contracted with JPS, do meet with students during the school day.

“The challenge with that (situation) is that it really doesn’t have anything to do specifically with the Impact club. It has more to do with the idea that public schools provide a limited open forum,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker explained that if JPS were to resume an open forum to Impact, then JPS would have to offer open forums to other non-contractual organizations as well.

“It’s the idea that once you open it to one (non-contractual organization), you open it to all (non-contractual organizations),” Whitaker noted.

Beach said the meetings are designed to be student-led with Impact leaders assisting as needed.

“We are not a radical organization and will not preach at anyone. We are only here to make and build relationships with other kids and talk about issues affecting us from a faith-based foundation,” Beach said.


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