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Shenandoah County School Board puts brakes on roller skating proposal

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- The idea to bring skating to middle schoolers rolled to a stop at Thursday's Shenandoah County School Board meeting. Board members voted 3-3 to have the "Skatetime" roller skating program in Signal Knob, Peter Muhlenberg and North Fork middle schools. Motions fail on a tie vote.

Division director of middle and secondary education David Hinegardner said in December that teachers from all three schools expressed interest in using the program for a couple of weeks of physical education classes. Skates, helmets and safety pads are provided by Skatetime instructors.

Peter Muhlenberg Principal Gina Stetter spoke in favor of the activity Thursday. The P.E. department focuses on fitness activities students can carry with them beyond school years, she said, and skating "is certainly one of those activities."

Stetter acknowledged that roller skating on the gym floors would cause some damage to the finish, but not to the wood itself. The floors are refinished in the summer, adding another layer of protection, she said.

District 6 Board Member Sonya Williams-Giersch, who voted against Skatetime, wondered if there was an alternative location.

"I think this is a very worthwhile program, but after talking to the athletic department at the northern campus, the folks found this an issue," she said.

Chairman Gary Rutz also voted against skating.

"I also think it's a worthwhile program to have, but also, we had information from four different flooring companies in varying degrees of negative effects on the floor," he said.

Two weeks of rolling skating wouldn't do any more damage to the floors than county parks and recreation participants playing basketball and practicing softball in the gyms, and people walking in the wrong type of shoes, said District 3 Board Member Kathryn Holsinger, who supported it.

District 5 Board Member Irving Getz also voted against the skating, while District 1 Board Member Karen Whetzel and Rick Koontz, of District 2 voted for it.

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