School establishing "Quiet Zone" for better learning environment - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

School establishing "Quiet Zone" for better learning environment

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – With the help of police, one Region 8 high school is cracking down on loud music being played in front of the high school. Newport school officials say a "quiet zone" may create a better learning environment for their students.

"We have had times where the window panes just literally rattled from the bass of the music being played," Mary Bennett said.

Bennett has taught math for the past two years at Newport High School. Her classroom faces Wilkerson Drive, which runs though the middle of campus. She says cars pass by and play loud music, disrupting her class daily.

"For instance, today, we're giving a test," Bennett said, "so we've located it away from this side of the building for reasons like that."

Teachers along her wing have long complained about the music, and the Newport Special School District has taken steps to put the problem on mute.

"Our students deserve that time to focus on whatever the teacher's providing," said Dr. Larry Bennett, superintendent.

Last spring, the City of Newport placed two signs on either end of campus, establishing a "quiet zone."

"Teaching is supposed to be going on in the classrooms. When people come through that street, it's very loud," Dr. Bennett said. "So quiet zones are just, like you said, be quiet."

The city passed an ordinance several years ago allowing police to ticket drivers for playing loud music around town. The "quiet zone" signs remind people to turn down the volume so that students can stay focused.

"We're just asking the public just be careful and be polite when they come through our campus," Dr. Bennett said.

Over the years, the school district has focused on making this stretch of street safer. Three raised crosswalks were installed to slow down drivers, but Principal Becky Watkins says they've also helped cut back complaints about loud music.

"We still have vehicles that come through with their ‘thump thump, bump bump' music to the point that it literally vibrates the glass in the windows on these wings, and the teachers have to stop teaching," Watkins said.

Dr. Bennett says Newport police have not written any tickets near the school for loud music, adding that he's received fewer complaints from teachers since the signs were installed.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly