Changes to the student code of conduct and discipline are planned for 2014-2015 school year, some involving the district’s newly implemented dress code.
Many revisions are minor changes to policy wording, but some amendments could be significant to parents and students.
Administrators fought to implement a district-wide dress code last year, but after seeing the policy in action for grades 6-12, they have a few changes in store.
Added to the definition of “District Wide Appropriate Dress” is a provision that undergarments cannot be visible through an approved shirt. Also notable are two brand new sections outlining acceptable outerwear and footwear.
For outerwear, students will be allowed to wear “any color jacket, with or without a hood, that zips, buttons, or snaps,” but only approved shirts may be worn underneath. And those shirts must be visible at all times. Trench coats will not be allowed and neither will pullovers of any style, with or without a hood.
Hooded pullover sweatshirts (AKA “hoodies”), administrators say, are posing two barriers to implementing the dress code: The hoods are being used to conceal items like in-ear headphones and the lack of a zipper or buttons can disguise dress code violations.
By banning the pullover-type hoodies, officials hope to make it easier for administrators to enforce the dress code. Hooded jackets that zip, snap or button will still be acceptable.
Also new is the definition of acceptable footwear, which would ban “ flip-flops, athletic slides or bedroom slippers.”
Bus discipline policy for all grades has a planned change that would mean the end of a mid-year reset on suspensions from riding the bus.
Current policy resets the incremental disciplinary chart at the beginning of the second semester. A student gets a clean slate, with regard to the school bus, at the end of the first semester, starting back at level one when the second semester begins.
Proposed changes would have the current level of disciplinary action carry over through the semester break. For example, any student who was on their “seventh referral” (the highest level, which carries a 45-day ban from riding the bus) at the end of the first semester would find themselves facing another 45 days off the bus should they have another violation in the second semester.
Under proposed changes students in the ACE/CACL program during the 2014-2015 school year will remain ineligible for extra-curricular activities until they reach “Level 2” and permission is given by the Jackson Alternative School principal and the referring principal.
Added to the list of “Class II” intermediate offenses is possession of electronic cigarettes, which joins tobacco or tobacco products that are already banned. Those Class II violations can result in Short Term Alternative time (in-school suspension at Jackson Alternative School) for students.
While changes to the code of students conduct are currently in draft stage and would not take effect until the next school year, permission to advertise the proposed policy changes has already been sought from the school board.
Jennifer See, director of Middle and Secondary Education/Management Information Systems, says the idea behind getting notice of would-be revisions out early is to afford the required 28 days notification prior to the board vote and, if approved, give administrators time during the current school year to educate students, parents and faculty about upcoming changes.
For the purpose of amending or adopting the policy changes, the school board is set to convene for a rule adoption meeting, in conjunction with its regularly scheduled meeting, on Tuesday, April 15. A board workshop precedes those meetings on Thursday, April 10.
The public is welcome to attend regular school board workshops and meetings, which begin at 4 p.m. in the board room at 2903 Jefferson St., Marianna. Agendas are available online at JCSB.org.