Marysville school discipline scrutinized

Message received: It’s a bad idea to have different discipline policies at Marysville’s middle schools.

When 200 students walked out of Totem Middle School to protest lax discipline, it not only got the kids in trouble, it also resulted in a close look at how students are punished at Totem, Cedarcrest and Marysville middle schools.

Marysville School District officials are revamping policies so kids at the three schools receive the same punishments.

“We hear our community and we’re taking every step we can to respond as quickly and appropriately as possible,” said Ray Houser, executive director of teaching and learning. “It really is a high priority for us. I’ve done little else than this since the walkout.”

Posters went up in schools this week advertising a seldom-used anonymous tip line for kids to report concerns. And teachers are undergoing mandatory training to review harassment, intimidation and bullying policies.

After listening to parents, students and teachers share their concerns at community and student forums, Houser said he realized a big part of the problem was communication.

For example, a computer program didn’t notify teachers when their students had been disciplined by administrators. Now teachers will know their complaints are being responded to, Houser said.

Some parents believe more needs to be done.

Mistrust between parents and administrators is building up again in the district, said Jan Maskell, whose daughter is in sixth grade at Totem.

She doesn’t believe the district’s plan will make a difference. Administrators also need to work more with local police to make sure crimes are adequately dealt with and schools are safe, she said.

Maskell also wants stricter discipline for kids who bully others. Marysville-Pilchuck High School was recently astir as students posted anonymous, horrible rumors about each other on a gossip Web site.

“If the district is going to set rules and policies, they need to follow through on them and treat everybody equally,” she said. “And if it doesn’t happen, I see there being bigger problems. Kids are going to start bringing knives and guns … I just see it as a matter of time.”

A week after walking out of class to demand more discipline, 172 Totem Middle School students met with teachers and administrators to discuss ways to make the school safer. The adults listened to the students and took their concerns seriously, said eighth-grader Kirstie Opel, who helped organize the protest.

The grown-ups are making some good changes, she said.

“I like it so far,” she said. “The principal has been walking around more and people are getting in trouble more for what they’re doing. There hasn’t been as many fights. Teachers are responding. They’re paying attention to the rules.”

Reporter Kaitlin Manry: 425-339-3292 or

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Fatal 2-car crash closes Highway 99 in Lynnwood

Police closed off Highway 99 between 188th Street SW and 196th Street SW while they investigated.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read