Highland Good Conduct policy needs ‘re-worded’
RIVERSIDE—The Highland School Board members discussed the good conduct policy’s first reading during Monday’s meeting.
The language in the policy requiring students in extra curricular activities to report incidents off school grounds to school officials was what the primary focus was Monday evening.
“It became evident after the last board meeting that this portion of the good conduct policy had the most discussion, and the most possible disagreement with what we should actually do,” said Highland superintendent Chris Armstrong. “We weren’t really able to come to some kind of consensus.”
School board member Tara Black said after the last school board meeting she asked parents and members of the community what they thought about requiring a student to report an incident that happened off school grounds. Black read an example of feedback she received from a concerned parent to the other school board members.
“If the law does not require a person who has witnessed a crime or has knowledge of a crime to report that information to the authorities—so why would we require students to be held to a higher standard than the law requires from its citizens?” Black said.
Parents agreed with having in the policy students removing themselves from the situation, but requiring the reporting is troublesome, Black said.
“They feel that if it’s bad enough and needs to be reported it shouldn’t be reported to the school,” Black said. “It should be reported to the authorities.”
Black said she liked the wording: “If it’s a school-sponsored event then they [the students] must report it to school authorities.”
Board member Laura Scheetz said she liked giving the students the option of being able to leave the situation, or if they’re not able to leave the situation, then the student could report it to school authorities to reduce their punishment. She said, however, a loophole would be the student might avoid all penalties for reporting the incident.
“I don’t think by reporting you should avoid all penalty for doing that,” Scheetz said. “But it may mean you get 15 days instead of 30 days.”
Giving the students the opportunity to leave the situation and self-report the incident to the appropriate staff clarifies what is expected of students, Golden said. He said if this wording were left out of the good conduct policy it would leave too many loopholes for the students. He suggested changing the wording from mandatory reporting to self-reporting.
“I like the idea of self-reporting,” said board president Kevin Engel. “I also feel that if it’s a school-sponsored event they need to report it. Period.”
“I think most parents would totally agree with that,” Black said.
Some parents even suggested that if it’s a school-sponsored event then the students should go to the chaperone who is there, Black said.
No action was taken on the wording of the good conduct policy. Board member Mike Golden said it sounded like the good conduct policy needed to be re-worded a little bit more.
Highland High School principal Angela Hazelett said she agreed with students involved in extra-curricular activities having an obligation to report to school authorities. She said it isn’t about tattling but encouraging kids to work with their values and integrity to do the right thing.
“I don’t think we should purposely create any loopholes or anything that are going to allow kids to not work in the value system that we would want them to uphold so that’s my thoughts,” Hazelett said.
Armstrong told school board members if they have suggestions of revisions for the good conduct policy to let him know. At the next meeting he planned to have those revisions presented to the board members.
A timetable hasn’t been set for the second reading of the good conduct policy, Engel said. He said it is important to have the policy worded right before the second reading happens.
Other items covered at the school board meeting included:
heard about the suggestions local superintendents gave Ainsworth Elementary principal Jane O’ Leary about the reading program. Some of the suggestions included more time for group reading in the classroom and not having the students read the same book;
and approved a resolution allowing the Highland Community School District to join GWAEA’s induction consortium agreement for the 2014-15 school year. This allows teachers to apply for the mentoring program at Grant Wood. The cost is $3,900 for first-year teachers who need a mentor. Highland receives $1,300 from the state, so an additional $2,900 would have to come from the general fund.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Highland Board room at the high school.