Our Voice: We’re thankful for some programs that help kids

We’re thankful this week for a couple of programs in the Mid-Columbia that are aimed at transitioning students into successful adults.

Coming full circle

To support women in their adult relationships, it makes sense to start by educating girls about what a healthy relationship looks like. Adult, college and even high school programs are great, but reaching down to the middle and elementary school years makes sense. Often those patterns are formed by the time students get to high school.

In this case, sooner is better.

All kids need to know how to recognize bullying and advocate for themselves and others when it happens. When abuse of power is commonplace, it starts to look like the norm. Teaching women when they’re young that things don’t have to be that way will have an impact on their adult lives.

We’re interested to see the results of the Girls Circle, a program paid for by the local Health District and run by two staff members from Domestic Violence Services in Kennewick. The idea started as a way to reduce teen pregnancy. It’s been popular among girls and their parents so far. We’re hoping for good things in the long run.

In-school suspension

The Kennewick School District plans to expand its in-school suspension options. It’s worth a try. It’s not designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but as Kennewick High School Principal Van Cummings said, “It’s an option. It’s an extra tool.”

Kids might be disruptive in class for a variety of reasons — some minor and some major. Suspending them from school might get their parents’ attention, but it also might provide a day or two off school when nobody else is home.

The new program would provide space and supervision for kids who break school rules or are disruptive. It keeps them in school and, ideally, keeps them on task. Out-of-school suspension still is an option.

At least one district teacher is concerned that the in-school suspension could become a “babysitting gig” and is unsure whether it will modify behavior.

That could be the case. But it’s worth the try.

Ultimately, a student’s success lies on the student, not the school or the parents. Kids will be as successful as they have their minds made up to be, given the best resources we can supply. As a community, we can help students recognize their potential and overcome obstacles.

Duffy’s Pond trail

The landscape on Columbia Drive is noticeably different. The Port of Kennewick is making progress on the Columbia Gardens project.

While the development is coming along, one small project the community can enjoy is an extended trail around Duffy’s Pond. Construction is to start next month and should be finished this summer.

We have a lot of walkways and bike paths. More are welcome. They make this a great place to live and visit.