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Changes made to Student Code of Conduct

As students returned to the classroom this past Monday, they found a few changes made to the Crenshaw County School System’s Code of Conduct.

The Board of Education approved four major changes at its July 23 meeting, beginning with the dress code. Students, both boys and girls, must wear their pants above the hip bones. The Board agreed that students wearing their pants way too low has been a constant problem.

The second change deals with students checking out of school early.

“We’re having a hard time with check-outs,” Superintendent Kathi Wallace said. “Medical check-outs are abused all the time.”

Brantley Principal Ashley Catrett and Luverne Principal Chuck Alford agreed.

“For every one (medical check-out) that’s legitimate, two or three are abused,” Alford told the Board.

The Board approved the motion saying that students will not be allowed to check-out unless a parent or guardian comes and picks him up—this includes students who are old enough to drive to school.

“Parents can come by the school before work and pre-arrange the check-out—they cannot just call the school and ask for it,” Wallace said.

Parents can also supply the names of other family members, such as grandparents, to the school who would be allowed to pick up students in an emergency situation, Wallace explained. This way, if parents worked out of town, someone else would be already authorized to pick up the child if he or she becomes sick.

Another policy change made by the Board concerns students’ medications. Parents must first sign a “School Medication Prescriber/Parent Authorization Form.” The student’s medication can only be administered by that student’s parent/guardian, the licensed nurse, or the trained Medication Assistant who is assisting the licensed nurse. Exceptions to this rule, however, apply to medications prescribed to prevent or treat medical emergencies, such as those students with asthma.

The Board also approved a change to the cell phone usage policy.

“This is getting to be a hard thing to manage,” Wallace said. “We all know they have them.”

Students can still turn in their cell phones to a teacher or administrator at the beginning of the school day and get them back at the end of the day; however, if a student is now caught with a cell phone during the day, the punishment has gone up.

Wallace said the first offense will result in contacting the parent, taking the phone away from the student and three days of in-school suspension (ISS). The second offense will result in a 1 to 3-day suspension, while the third offense will result in a 5-day suspension.

“We have kids who have gotten into trouble, and before the referral gets to the principal, Mama is already there,” Wallace said.

Board Chairman Steve Sanders did not completely agree with the new cell phone policy.

“I feel like we’re not handling the cell phones properly, for the record,” Sanders said.