February 8, 2005
Dobson High School’s parent, teacher and student advisory group is leaning toward keeping the campus open for students to leave during lunch — but is continuing to seek input.
In an anonymous straw vote taken during a Monday site council meeting at the Mesa school, six members voted that they would prefer allowing students to continue leaving campus during lunch, and four preferred requiring students to stay on campus. The group’s president only votes if there is a tie. One member abstained.
The advisory group, however, pointed out that the vote was just meant to poll where the council was as it moves forward in gathering more information.
Members voted to create a survey to distribute to all Dobson students, asking what would keep them on campus and make an oncampus lunch more favorable.
The Mesa Unified School District has been discussing whether to close all of its schools during lunch time in the wake of a Dec. 9 auto crash that killed Dobson students Krystal Ebel, 15, and Shayna Linneen, 16.
The Dobson council debated ways to convince students to stay at school for lunch without actually closing campus, such as offering more food choices or providing enough tables.
"We do want to make the cafeteria a better place to be no matter what," said council president Karen Johnson.
Emotions flared briefly between Krystal Ebel’s father, Denny Ebel, and Johnson. In response to Ebel’s statements that his daughter was "a safe kid," Johnson pointed out that Krystal was not wearing a seat belt. She was riding in a car without enough seat belts for all its passengers.
"My son drives that street every single morning," Johnson said. "There aren’t any guarantees if he is going to be killed or not. It’s in God’s hands."
"My daughter’s dead," Ebel responded.
Meanwhile, Ebel’s family — among those who attended Monday’s meeting — is planning to start a scholarship program for Dobson High students with the same goal Krystal Ebel had: Going to medical school. The family hopes to plan an annual car wash and golf tournament to raise money.
The district governing board meets 3 p.m. Feb. 16 in the district’s north conference room, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa, for a study session open to the public to discuss the issue with high school principals.