Rensselaer mayor received calls from concerned parents about ‘relationship application’

Strong words from the Rensselaer Mayor Mike Stammel, over the relationship application at Rensselaer Jr./Sr. High School.

That application asks specific questions about whom a student dates.

Stammel first heard about the application through NewsChannel 13’s report and said it was invasive. He also received calls from concerned parents.

Stammel called Superintendent Joe Kardash immediately. Kardash told him the relationship application was sent without his approval and won’t be handed out again, he said.

Stammel felt more at ease after his conversation with Kardash, he said, and will let the school handle it. However, he said he wants the school to focus on education.

Several Rensselaer City School District parents contacted NewsChannel 13 and said their child also received the relationship application.

The application asked personal questions, including: Will your grades be impacted by a relationship? Will your relationship cause drama?

It gives examples of “appropriate interactions” including holding hands, high-fives and shoulder hugs that should not last longer than three seconds.

NewsChannel 13 is being told the assistant principal at Rensselaer Jr./Sr. High gave the application to one female student at the senior high school. 

Kardash said in an email on Tuesday that it was given to the student to “read and reflect on how the relationship was the source of the current conflict.”

NewsChannel 13 followed up with Kardash on Wednesday and asked if other students got the application, too.

In an email, he said: “I continue to work with the administrative team on this investigation. If there are any students or parents with information or concerns, I encourage them to reach out to me directly.”

NewsChannel 13’s Tessa Bentulan wanted to do a one-on-one interview with Kardash, but when Tessa asked through email, she did not get a response.

Tessa wanted to ask Kardash:

  1. What prompted the use of this relationship application – was there a disruption in the learning environment?
  2. Was there any danger to students that caused a relationship application to be handed out?
  3. Why did an assistant principal use what some are calling an aggressive approach to address what the school says is current conflict?