Monday, April 16, 2001

Schools hoping for normalcy

By John Eckberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After a week of sporadic rioting and with a citywide dawn-to-dusk curfew rolled back from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Cincinnati on Sunday night appeared headed back to normalcy.

        Cincinnati Public Schools are in session today, and all principals will meet with staff members before classes resume to prepare for students returning from spring break.

        “We really feel this is an opportunity in all of our schools to discuss the issues,” said Jan Leslie, district spokeswoman.

        Schools will not hire extra security, but all high schools have resource officers, and part-time school security officers in other schools will work full time this week.

        Counselors, crisis teams and mediators from the school's central office and the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission are also on call.

        Metro bus service to the schools will not be affected today, said Sallie Hilvers, Metro spokeswoman. “We're eager to see what happens so we can plan our service later into the week,” she said. About 14,000 student trips occur each day.

        The curfew rollback was welcomed at the Westin Hotel, which lost guests and revenues last week. Restaurants in the hotel building were hit particularly hard, said Wayne Bodington, general manager of the hotel on Fountain Square.

        “The disturbances caused some people to cancel reservations and not come to Cincinnati at all,” he said.

        “And we did have some early departures ... probably as a result of the disturbances.”

        Evening classes at the University of Cincinnati, with more than 3,100 students enrolled, will not be affected by an 11 p.m. curfew. Evening classes last week were canceled for three nights.

        The curfew change was also welcomed by Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, where 7,000 students are enrolled for spring classes that begin today.

        “The 11 p.m. curfew makes a big difference for us,” said Michele Imhoff, director of public information. “Most classes aren't over until 9 or 10 o'clock so as long as it stays at 11 p.m., we'll be all right.”


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