This will get Spanish students to pay attention


HUDSON–R-rated movies for high school students, welcomes for the incoming new high school administration, and how to define goals for 2024 highlighted the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting November 5.

Spanish teachers Jamie Weiss and Jennifer Talma asked permission to show R-rated films in their classes, and district administrators defended a student’s right to opt out. The teachers said the films portray Spanish-speaking places, and “the students get interested” in them.

“You have to have a plan in place to allow students to opt out” without adverse consequences, said board member Linda Hopkins.

“There would have to be a way for students who opt out to learn the material without seeing the film,” said Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier. Furthermore, added Ms. Hopkins, with a district commitment to advance the social-emotional development of its students, “we’re concerned about the emotional impact” of such films on under-college-age children. Dr. Suttmeier said approval to show the films would have to come from the board, and the way to request permission would be to submit a proposal to the board’s policy committee. She suggested, for each film, sending a letter to parents telling why the film is rated R and giving them and the student the right to opt out.

The next day November 6, Ms. Talma said by phone that the films “are all from Spanish speaking countries and shown in Spanish.” Furthermore, she has noted that she has has no problem editing out scenes—including sex scenes—that are “not relevant for what we’re showing the movie for.”

Incoming Hudson High School Principal Robert LaCasse appeared at the November 5 meeting with William Wood, his successor as high school associate principal. Mr. LaCasse will replace Antonio Abitabile, whose last day as principal will be Friday, November 22. Mr. Abitabile is leaving to become superintendent of the Lansingburgh Central School District.

Mr. LaCasse graduated from Hudson High School and has been employed by the HCSD for 20 years as a teacher, sports coach, dean, and–for 5 ¼ years–associate principal. Mr. Wood has taught in other districts, and this will be his first time in the HCSD. Mr. Wood said he was really happy and excited to join the HCSD community and was looking forward to the position.

On another matter, Dr. Suttmeier and the board discussed methods for determining goals for 2024. They are already designing a survey for faculty and administrators, asking for evaluations of Vision 2020 goals and suggestions for future goals. But now Dr. Suttmeier presented an online package that helps define and state goals. Ms. Hopkins suggested that at this stage the board both continue working on the survey and see what the online package might have to say.

As for construction projects, Dr. Suttmeier reported progress on the auditorium of Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School (MCS), the High School boy’s locker room, the weight room, the new concrete slabs necessary for new baseball and softball dugouts, and the removal of old light poles from the Varsity Baseball field on MCS grounds. The board approved documents supplied by Rhinebeck Architecture about the new dugouts.

Also at the meeting, Dr. Suttmeier:

• Announced that Dollars for Scholars, which awards scholarships for college, is about to have vacancies on its local board. Those interested in joining should contact Elena Mosley, co-chair, at 518-821-8150

• Said the District’s Code of Conduct used to be “very harsh” but now allows more leeway. However, “restorative practices do not rule out suspensions. They do teach students how to redeem themselves so they won’t get that punishment again”

• Announced the design of a unique report card for two year kindergarten, because it has unique goals.

• Welcomed Kristi Dannehy as a new AIS math teacher at Hudson Junior High.

The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will be Tuesday, November 19, at 6 p.m. at the junior high school. The December meetings of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will take place Tuesday, December 3, and Tuesday, December 17, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

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