School Board Discusses Student Conduct

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

June 8, 2006

After a lengthy discussion Thursday night, the Albemarle County School Board did not officially make any changes to it's current policies. But they did make some recommendations that they feel could improve their current policies.

Thursday night the board room at the Albemarle County Office Building was filled as the school board discussed some tough issues. In dealing with alcohol, and how it relates to the school's code of conduct, many on the board felt it was not their place to punish students.

"We should concentrate on educating our students, not disciplining them for what mis-deeds they do out of our care, off of our school grounds," advised Vice-Chair Pam Moynihan.

And that wasn't the only opinion. In fact, the opinions ranged from getting rid of the code of conduct altogether, to keeping it, and making just minor changes.

Currently the code of conduct is only signed by athletes and their parents. In that code they promise not to drink at school events. But for the most part there is little the district can do about off-campus events. But Thursday, one parent says the board is moving in the right direction.

"We probably do need to look at policies and change some," said Kenneth Williams, whose son was a senior this year. "I think there's a lot of things out there...they just need to be enforced."

The board said it would like to get more feedback from district staff members before it makes any final decisions, but on Thursday many parents were happy that the topic was even being discussed.

"I was very pleased with some of the comments I heard," said Bill Tonrose, an Albemarle County parent. "And I think that the actions are gonna get to the root of some of the issues and i think that it's a positive step."

Thursday night a school attorney told the school board that legally they could put into place policies that dealt with off-campus behavior. But, to punish a student, the school would have to prove that inappropriate behavior in question had a negative effect on the school, which is often hard to do.

The school board said it would take up this issue again in July, or it may schedule a special meeting to discuss the issues.

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