School board discusses policies, preventative abuse curriculum

Published 5:05 pm Friday, October 11, 2013

In a work session Friday, the Chilton County Board of Education discussed topics including updating its cell phone policy, updating its entire policy manual and implementing preventative child abuse curriculum.

While reviewing proposed changes in cell phone rules, board members talked about disciplinary action for the first, second and third offenses for students who violate cell phone restrictions and regulations.

For the first offense, the board expressed agreement in keeping the following disciplinary action the same: “The cell phone shall be confiscated immediately for 10 school days. The parent/guardian must retrieve the cell phone from the school office and be advised of further consequences for repeated offenses.”

On the second offense, the board discussed mandating the cell phone be confiscated immediately for 20 school days and the student receive at least one day of out-of-school suspension.

On the third offense, the board discussed mandating the cell phone be confiscated immediately for 30 school days and the student receive more than one day of out-of-school suspension.

Regarding preventative child abuse curriculum, the board talked about allowing the Family Sunshine Center (FSC) of Montgomery or a similar outreach group to visit all schools in Chilton County and conduct programs for students in grades 2–4 on domestic violence and abuse.

“There’s a logical concern that our abuse rate is going up,” BOE President Lori Patterson said. “A lot of other schools are using [the FSC program].”

Patterson said one educator already holds a two-week child abuse prevention program, but a countywide program has not been implemented.

The board discussed having the FSC conduct one-day, onsite programs for second graders in the county.

“Our primary responsibility is to educate our students,” board member Joe Mims said. “This is absolutely important, but we don’t need to let it interfere too much with our primary responsibility to educate our students.”

With regard to updating the board’s policy manual, Superintendent Dave Hayden said the manual has not been revised since 2001, and it is normally updated every 10–12 years.

The cost to update the policy manual would be about $13,500.

“We need to entertain doing that within the next year or so,” Hayden said. “This is something we need to do.”

The board could vote on items they discussed in their work session during the next regular board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m.