There should be some way for students to celebrate Jesus Christ in the Hillsboro City Schools since “evil” traditions are promoted at the school, Paula Anteck Toenniges said at Monday’s Hillsboro Board of Education meeting.
Toenniges said she has not been involved in the Hillsboro schools for years, but now she has a child in school and said she was speaking on half of the school district’s children.
She said she was concerned because there are “Harry Potter” and “Death Eater” posters in the schools, and because Halloween is celebrated despite it being a “Satanic holiday.”
“I’m asking that with the time given to the evil one during holiday seasons that we make room Jesus Christ… The children really need to know some of the truth,” Toenniges said. “I’m asking that the school acknowledge that. That is the stance I want to take.”
The school board thanked Toenniges for her thoughts, but typically does not respond to public comments during board meetings. The school policy is to reply in writing within 10 business days.
Another visitor to the meeting, John Barney, said he wanted to recognize some students. Barney, who works for iHeartRadio, said that when he was in school Distributive Education Clubs of American (DECA) was a big thing before it disappeared and then returned last year.
Through local WSRW Radio, Barney said he has hosted a Boo Fest event on the Highland County Courthouse square in Hillsboro for several years. But it got too big for him to handle alone, so he asked the school for help and DECA took it over as a fundraiser last year. He said Ethan Kirk, the student representative to the school board and a DECA member, took the idea over and ran with it.
“They did a wonder job and I think sometimes kids aren’t recognized for what they do,” Barney said. “… I think the DECA program did a very wonderful job.”
Barney said he’s also been associated with the Hillsboro FFA program for about five years. “I thought everybody in FFA lives on a farm and slops pigs every morning,” Barney said. “But guess what, that’s not the case. I learned from them.”
Local residents Shawn Conlon and Dave and Lisa Dietrick were honored by superintendent Tim Davis at the meeting. Davis said Conlon has done an outstanding job taking photos of Hillsboro students at athletic events, and that the Dietricks spend countless hours as athletic boosters.
“If you go to a sporting event, you will see them there. They are our athletic boosters… We cannot say thank enough,” Davis said.
Responding to a question from board president Bill Myers, Davis said construction has begun on a soccer field at the school with dirt currently being moved out so the new artificial turf facilities can be put in.
The district announced in July that it was planning a $2.7 million project to build a new artificial turf soccer field at the high school/middle school campus and new baseball and softball diamonds that would have artificial turf on the infields. The hope is that all the work will be done in time for the spring sports seasons.
The grass at the Richards Memorial Field, where home football games are played, is not being replaced.
The new baseball and softball fields will be located where a practice soccer field is currently located on the south side of the tennis courts. Davis previously said the turf will allow the teams to play more games. He also said turf is only being placed on the infield of the baseball and softball diamonds because the district did not want to spend another $1.5 million to turf the outfields.
“We hope to be done by the end of March. Right now everything seems to be moving on schedule,” Davis said Monday.
The board approved a trip for the boys and girls varsity basketball teams to Knightsville, Indiana on Dec. 10. Davis said the teams will be play Whiteoak High School in the gym made famous by the movie “Hoosiers”.
The following supplemental contracts were approved by the board: Abby Baker, sports chaperone for swimming; JC Captain, middle school boys basketball coach; Amy Captain, assistant high school football cheerleading coach (retroactive to July 7); Lawton Parry, middle school boys basketball coach; and Jordan Walker, middle school girls basketball coach. Dustin Willey was approved as a volunteer with the high school boys basketball team.
The superintendent and a couple board members commented on the school being able to host a Veterans Day program after a couple years without it due to COVID-19.
“I’m glad our school provides that opportunity and I appreciate the Highland County Honor Guard that was there and presented the colors,” board member Jerry Walker said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.