Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

Highland School Board votes on revised good conduct policy

By Linda Wenger | May 13, 2014
Three mothers of Highland students spoke to the school board about the effect the good conduct policy could have on them. From left are Trisha Walsh, Chris Rath and Tracy Hora.

The Highland School Board approved a first reading of the good conduct policy following discussion from the board and from the audience.
School board member Tara Black said she liked the changes to the good conduct due process procedure portion of the policy. She said the changes made it clear students and their parents or guardians would be allowed to respond to a possible violation before a final decision is made.
The board and administration differentiated between what an extracurricular activity is and what is an academic requirement. For example, being part of the jazz band is an extracurricular activity because the students don’t receive a grade. Jazz band members need to abide by the good conduct policy because it is not a requirement of a band student.
Marching band is not an extracurricular activity since band students are required to perform in the marching band as part of the class. A student who violated the policy cannot be excluded from an event or activity if that student receives a grade.
Under the new revision, students could lessen the penalty for violating the policy by self-reporting to a coach, administrator, or activity sponsor before being confronted by the high school principal. The first-offense punishment could be reduced from 30 days’ suspension to 15 days.
Board member Mike Golden said that the revisions make clear what is required of a student.
Black said that students could leave a situation or report.
“Leaving is good enough,” she said.
School board member Lois Schneider said that she wanted to redo the first reading of the policy so that parents have time to respond to the revisions.
Board president Kevin Engel said that it was worth an extra month to get the policy right.
The board took input from the audience. Audience members asked how the policy would affect other situations, such as underage alcohol use at graduation parties.
Superintendent Chris Armstrong said that it would be impossible to cover every hypothetical situation in the policy.
A second reading of the policy will be held.

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