Petoskey to review outside groups’ access to students

PETOSKEY, Mich. — How much access should outside organizations have to public school students during the school day? The Petoskey Public Schools Board of Education is putting a hiatus on one religious-based organization’s work until it draws up a formal policy on the issue, according to the Petoskey News-Review.

School trustees recently voted unanimously not to grant any new requests for access to students from non-school organizations, including Young Life, until a policy is drawn up, according to the News-Review.

Young Life, a national Christian organization, has been meeting with students over the lunch hour at Petoskey middle and high schools, as it does in schools around the country, the News-Review reported.

Board President Mary Ling said there were concerns about the issue of separation of church and state, the News-Review reported, and at least one parent expressed concern at the meeting about the organization having access to her child during school hours.

Cory Gibson, a Young Life employee, said at a recent school board meeting that, “We are there for support ... We just want to be there for them and for the child to know there is an adult there that cares for them,” the News-Review reported.

Superintendent John Scholten said a number of outside groups come into the schools to work with students and that the larger issue is deciding who has access, when and where.  Other religious-based groups meet with students on school grounds, but students involved are required to have parental permission, the News-Review reported.


Petoskey News-Review, “Petoskey School board meeting draws crowd over religious based group,” Oct. 26, 2011


Michigan Education Digest, “District adopts rules on wearing Sikh daggers,” Feb. 5, 2011