Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

December 19, 2013

Panel looks to tweak complaint policy

CROSSVILLE — The policy committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education is revisiting its complaint policy and procedures in an effort to make the process easier to understand and reduce the amount of time  a complaint between teachers and parents is allowed to go unresolved. The committee is also looking to develop language that would offer protections to employees who make ethics complaints against superiors from retaliation.

While work has just begun on those two issues, the committee did agree to send two new policies governing insurance management and prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions and a change in the student discrimination, harassment and bullying/intimidation to the full board for consideration on first reading at Thursdays meeting.

Richard Janeway, chairman of the committee, said he was surprised to find there was no language protecting employees from retaliation if they reported ethical concerns.

"We need to encourage and protect all employees to report these things without fear," Janeway said.

Sandra Brewer, 3rd District representative, agreed, saying, "That's an awful feeling to know that something is wrong and not feel you can say something."

Janeway asked school administrators to research possible language to use and to recommend where to add it to the ethics policy for personnel. He also didn't believe complaints of retaliation needed to be handled by administration, but the ethics committee of the board.

Discussion of the proposed policy change is expected to continue to next month's meeting. Janeway said, "We don't want to rush. We want to have it right."

The complaint policy was reviewed following a parent request a few months ago, just as the policy appointments for the year expired.

Janeway explained the committee had previously revised the policy to narrow the time allowed for responding to complaints and to clarify if the policy referred to school days or calendar days.

The panel made several recommendations, including changing the number of days a parent has to make a formal complaint to 20 school days from the time a parent becomes aware of an incident.

The policy was also changed to require schools to provide a copy of the complaint policy to the complainant when the complaint is first made. Following a written complaint, the principal is to meet with the teacher and attempt to resolve the matter. The teacher has the right to representation at any meeting regarding a complaint.

If that meeting between teacher and principal does not resolve the issue for all parties, the teacher can request a conference with the complainant. If the matter is still unresolved after 15 school days, it would move to the next step in the process, which is a review by the principal or supervisor. Every attempt is to be made to complete this step within two school days.

If that attempt is unsuccessful at resolving the matter, the teacher or complaintant has one day to request the case record be sent to the director of the school. The director will have 15 school days to confer with all parties.

If the director is unable to resolve a complaint to the satisfaction of all parties within 10 school days, the teacher or complainant can request the record of the complaint, investigation and recommendations of the director be sent to the board and all parties. That record should be prepared and sent within two school days.

The board will have no more than 45 days to grant or deny a request for a board hearing.

Brewer said, "This step is where the problem is. The board shouldn't drag it out."

Janeway also noted the language of "may" grant or deny a request was a problem.

"It doesn't say we're required. The board can just ignore. Any board member can bring it up, but if you let things wait, they fester. It's best to address it sooner."

He recommended changing the policy to state the board "shall" review complaints and "shall" grant or deny a request for a board hearing.

Because of the number of changes made, Janeway wanted to have the policy reviewed by BOE attorney Earl Patton and the Tennessee School Boards Association to review. He noted there were numerous footnotes denoting state and federal law citations that were not included in the policy, and that needed to be resolved. The committee will discuss the policy again next month.

TSBA has recommended changes to the student discrimination/harassment and bullying intimidation policy have a section added for retaliation and false accusations. Those who retaliate against people who report any of the acts covered by the policy will face appropriate remedial action, to be determined by the administrator. Those making false accusations would also face disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion.

TSBA has recommended a insurance management policy that includes the types of insurance coverages the school system should carry, board approval of all insurance carriers for group health plans and annuities. Another new policy recommended is the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions. Athletic directors and coaches, employed or volunteer, will be required to complete annual training. Also, any student athlete who shows signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion during an athletic activity or competition shall be immediately removed for an evaluation by a licensed healthcare professional, if available, or by the coach or other designated individual. The athlete will need written clearance from a licensed health care provided for full or graduated return to activities.

The Cumberland County Board of Education will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Central Office, on 4th St., and consider first reading of these policies.

Text Only
Area News
  • City OKs HCP contract extension

    While a small group of people have opposed the Cumberland Habitat Conservation Plan process, a majority of city council members voted to extend the contract to continue the development of the plan for at least an additional year.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prichard to host summer camps

    CCHS Jet head baseball coach Dave Prichard will be offering the following camps this summer, if there is enough interest.

    April 24, 2014

  • Citizen wants to raise funds for new animal shelter

    A local woman wants to raise funds to build a new animal shelter for the county, but the building and grounds committee of the Cumberland County Commission has questions about how public donations for that purpose would need to be handled.

    April 24, 2014

  • Drasal et CG.jpg Drasal awarded Legion of Honor

    About 10 years ago, the French government decided to recognize all of the veterans who contributed to the liberation of France during World War II. Since then, hundreds of veterans from across the U.S. have received the Legion of Honor, which is the highest award France can bestow. It recognizes those who served their country with distinction.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • trail 1.jpg Working on the trail

    Volunteers were out Saturday morning constructing a trail at Meadow Park Lake. This was phase one of trail building, explained John Conrad, Crossville Trails organizer, with volunteers clipping twigs and branches and raking a path. Bruce Whitehead, George Schlenker, Lee Skinner and Pat Schudiske rake a path about three feet wide. Later, larger obstacles, such as fallen trees, will be removed, and topsoil removed on the trail to aid in trail maintenance. The trail will be about 1.5 miles in length.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Panel waives ticket charge for boosters

    The building and grounds committee approved a request to waive a portion of the ticket fees for a school sports booster group planning a truck and tractor pull at the Cumberland County Community Complex, but the committee cautioned the group it would take action by the full Cumberland County Commission to relieve them of the obligation to return 10 percent of the gate charge to the county.

    April 23, 2014

  • Jury seated in Batty slaying case

    A jury plus alternates has been seated and began hearing evidence in the trial of John Russell Giles of Hampshire Lane, Fairfield Glade, charged in connection with the Nov. 7 death of Kimberly Ann Batty, 58, of Dovenshire Dr., also Fairfield Glade.

    April 23, 2014

  • New site sought for convenience center

    An expansion at Colinx and the improvement of a city street will require Cumberland County to move a convenience center. The city of Crossville has proposed a site in the same general area, but commissioners on the county's building and grounds committee were concerned about the cost to make the site suitable for a convenience center and the proximity of the Little Obed River.

    April 23, 2014

  • Hwy. 70 crash.jpg CCHS student dies in car crash

    Crossville Police have identified the victim of a two-vehicle collision that occurred Tuesday morning on Hwy. 70 W at the intersection of Dillon St. as a sophomore at Cumberland County High School.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_0783.JPG Visitors center now open to the public

    A ten-year effort to establish a gateway to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, as well as to point tourists and visitors to the many other area parks, historical sites and points of interest, concluded Thursday as the community gathered with officials from the city of Crossville, Cumberland County, the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and the National Park Service to dedicate the Crossville-Cumberland County: Gateway to the Big South Fork Visitors Center on River Otter Dr.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice