- Last Updated on 02 August 2012
- Hits: 611
The Chadron School Board spent much of its meeting on Monday on the annual review of school policies on parental involvement and anti-bullying, but ended up without adopting any of the changes to the documents advanced by Chadron resident Andy Spencer.
Annual review of a number of state-mandated school policies is required by law, according to Superintendent Dr. Caroline Winchester. "When the directive comes from the state, they tag on that public hearing every year," she said.
Board hearings on Monday included policies on internet safety and acceptable use of technologies by students and staff, as well as on parental involvement, anti-bullying and student fees. The policies on internet safety and student fees were adopted with little discussion, but Spencer advanced several concerns about the other two policies.
Although the parental involvement policy allows parents to take a child out of classes, assemblies or school activities which they believe may contain objectionable content, it doesn't specify how parents will be notified about such events, and how students can make up for class work from such missed activities, said Spencer.
In addition, he said, the policy allows parents to withdraw a child from standardized testing, but requires that notice of the withdrawal must be submitted in writing well in advance of the test, when parents may not even be aware the test is scheduled.
Parental notification about activities that may be objectionable is standard practice for the district, according to Winchester. "If we think there may be a concern, we notify parents," she said. And another school policy addresses alternative assignments for activities or instruction that is missed because of parental objections, she said.
Winchester also said that the testing schedule is set well in advance, and announced through the school calendar, so parents are able to plan for those dates.
Satisfied that the issues Spencer raised are already being addressed, the board adopted the policy unanimously.
Spencer's questions about the anti-bullying policy centered on the issue of teacher-student bullying, which he said isn't addressed by the policy. "Bullying can easily be done by teachers on students," he said. "It seems like it should be in (the policy)…I think it would be important that the district says we don't condone that behavior."
Spencer said he had raised the issue previously, but nothing was done about changing the policy.
The student-student anti-bullying policy is required by state statute, and the district handles teacher-student bullying through its personnel policy, said Winchester. "We do not turn a blind eye to it. We consider it serious. It is addressed in personnel policy."
But a parent dealing with teacher bullying of their child will likely look to the anti-bullying policy for guidance, said Spencer. "If I'm a parent, where in the handbook do I look it up? Where do I go?"
The student handbook already has a complaint form and information about how to file a complaint, responded Chadron High School principal Jerry Mack. "I feel confident we have a process in place to deal with those issues," he said.
In any case, parents who have a complaint about bullying typically call the school directly, without reading the policies, said Mack.
Spencer also said the policy should allow the parents and child to have a final say on the disciplinary action taken as a result of a bullying complaint.
But the school's response already includes bringing in parents, students, and, if necessary, the school resource officer, said Mack. "We do involve the parents," he said.
The board did agree to consider some changes in the policies to address Spencer's concerns, but did not set a date for taking further action. The vote on approving the bullying policy was 4-1 with member Tom Menke voting against and Dave Johnson absent.
Source Website: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/google/bully/~3/UwH3_3Dlzz8/url