Ripley High School administrators ruffled some feathers at the beginning of this year when they introduced a revised social probation policy. In addition to maintaining good behavior and attendance, students must also score at least four points on the WESTEST 2.
According to the student handbook, anybody who is unable to meet requirements will be put on social probation and have extracurricular privileges taken away. This means students will not be able to attend outside school activities including football games and dances.
Ripley High School was named a school of success by the state this year. Administrators say an important contributing factor was its strict academic policy, which many students helped to brainstorm.
"It aggravates me when I'm sitting there in class, because my mom is a teacher here at the high school and her evaluation is based on the students," said student council president Kelsey Frampton. "When a student is sitting there with his head down in the first five minutes, that's not good."
Principal Will Hosaflook says social probation is not meant to be a punishment. He hopes privileges such as attending football games will stimulate kids to achieve more in school.
"We go around giving students slips telling them how to get out of social probation," he said. "They can come to tutoring or other opportunities to make up for missed classes or lower scores."
But some parents and students disagree with the school's policy.
"I think it's kind of harsh because some kids don't do well on standardized tests," said Tori Campbell, Ripley High School student.
"The WESTEST is a reflection of what the teachers are teaching," said Kevin Buckalew, who is the parent of a Ripley student. "To punish students for not doing well on the test, I disagree."
About 5 percent of the school is on social probation. Principal Hosaflook says he's already worked with a number of students to take them off the list.