Officer Tusken and Board member Welty continue toe to toe

From: Mike Tusken
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2014 7:09 AM
To: Harry R Welty
Cc: William L Gronseth
Subject: Re: Closed Campuses

Mr. Welty, thank you for your response. We do not agree. Your philosophy and ideology is based on your experiences but is void of analysis of current trends and best practices.

You draw from your experiences and parenting as a kid, not those of a student who lacks the proper oversight, mentoring and direction. Fortunate for you, your experience was good.

As a leader and policy maker, please ask why is Duluth different? Are we more perceptive to what kids really need? Because we have open lunch, are our kids more well rounded later in life? Do we think tragedy in many forms won’t or can’t happen here? Have we done our due diligence to research and analyze how other districts work to keep kids safe?Do our policies give our kids the best chance for success and safety? Are we satisfied relenting knowing kids will make bad decisions as part of growing up, therefore, some tragedy is inevitable? Could changing open campuses to closed change student behavior and engagement and narrow achievement gaps?

I am scoffed at by other area school administrators when I bring up the notion of considering opening a closed campus. The response is the same, “We have a tough enough time managing behaviors within our buildings!’ Followed by, ‘How and why does Duluth do it?’

Perhaps some analysis on the impact open lunch has on truancy will provide you reason to support closing campuses. Anecdotally, the school resource officers see a nexus between truancy and lunch periods.

Perhaps changing the paradigm of safety restricting student freedoms to a focus on education and narrowing achievement gaps will provide reason to align district policies with the significant majority of school districts having closed campuses.

Certainly I think we can both agree, they can’t all be wrong.


Mike Tusken

My Reply:


You are perfectly correct about the value of anecdotal vs. statistical information. I did have a fortunate up bringing.

Although I have disagreed with your call for a closed hour I’m still open to it. If other administrators have scoffed at your analysis that is not helpful or useful. Perhaps you will agree with me that any policing action that is undertaken halfheartedly and without the necessary resources is likely to fail. Perhaps that is my greatest fear.

Right now 25% of our kids do not graduate from school. I am beginning to look into this and I’ll bet your anecdotal evidence suggest to you that young people wandering around out of school no matter when is a huge problem. Closed lunch or not that is something we can both work to correct for the good of the children and the community.

As for the closed lunch hour give me the resources and I’ll give it serious consideration. Once, if ever it is, in place we can begin to sort though the statistical evidence.


Harry Welty


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