Fredericton — Leo Hayes High School has been well over capacity since it was opened on Fredericton’s north side 17 years ago. A meeting on Thursday will determine its future.
The principal of the school is suggesting parents whose children are over a certain height and weight — the details of which will be determined at the May 19 meeting — take the initiative to home-school their kids.
“We’ve pretty much decided that the bigger kids will just have to drop out of school, or make their parents teach them. Or I suppose if other schools are willing to take them on, that’s fine as well,” said principal Brad Sturgeon. “Right now we have space for approximately 1,600 small students, or closer to 1,400 medium-sized ones. If we got rid of all but the tiniest kids, we could have the space to educate a lot more of them.
“We’ll let the parents ‘weigh in’ at the meeting,” he said, obviously pleased with his lame pun. “But we think that if a kid is over 110 pounds, or is taller than 5’9″ or 5’10”, that’s just excessive.”
Those who mapped out the school didn’t have the foresight to account for the numbers — or the sizes — of the kids who’d be attending in the decades to follow.
“We didn’t plan on having such big, tall teens taking up the very limited space the school has,” said Gerry Ferguson, one of the architects who helped design the weirdly curved building. “It must be all the hormones they put in milk products these days. But yeah, we were more focused on a cool-looking design… just have a look at these lockers! They’re shallow and can’t fit your average textbook, but the look pretty neat, I’d say.”
It’s unsure at this time whether exceptions to the height and weight restrictions will apply to students involved in athletics programs at the school.
“My son’s a star hockey player weighing in at 200 pounds, and he’s 6’2″ at least; I don’t imagine the school’s gonna try to tell me he’s no longer welcome in the building!” cried concerned parent Barry O’Donnell. “I mean, he doesn’t go to class as it is, so I guess as long as he can still come out to play with the Lions, I’ll be OK with that. I’d hate to have to send him over to FHS or — god forbid — OHS.”
Other parents are suggesting kids who “travel light,” so to speak, be allowed to continue attending LHHS.
“I’ve talked to my girls, and they’ve said they’d have no issue leaving their bookbags and books and other dead weight at home,” said Judy Dumphy, a mother of two tall and heavyset Grade 11 students. “If they can sort of ‘make themselves small,’ the teachers won’t even notice them in the classroom. And they certainly don’t need to sit at a desk.
“Basically, I just don’t want to teach them. I couldn’t interpret The Outsiders or use a graphing calculator for the life of me.”