By Heather Mullinix
The Cumberland County Board of Education approved new policies covering civility and the naming of school facilities, but chose to delay action on a new policy for students desiring to become foreign exchange students for further public comment.
Both policies were approved on first reading. Two successful readings are required before the policies take effect.
The facility naming policy states criteria for naming nominations should include individuals who have made significant contributions to the school or school division; should not be based solely on longevity of service; and that only individuals of strong moral character will be considered.
Applications for naming nominations would be submitted during March, April, November or December and must include three references and a petition with 25 signatures. Applications will be available from the Central Services office. The board would be responsible for approving or denying facility naming requests.
If approved, the group requesting the naming of an undesignated area of a school will be responsible for the cost of a plaque that will be mounted at the designated area.
The policy would not affect school facilities already named in honor of individuals, such as Holder Field at Cumberland County High School, or the Bess Winningham library at South Cumberland.
The civility policy states school and district personnel are expected to treat each other, volunteers, parents and other members of the public with courtesy and respect. At the same time, parents and visitors are also expected to treat teachers, volunteers, administrators and other district employees with courtesy and respect. Disorderly conduct includes but not limited to fighting, abusive language in person or in written or oral communication, refusing to vacate premises or disrupting the educational environment of a school or damaging or destroying school property.
The policy provides direction for school personnel should they encounter such situations, including terminating a meeting or telephone conversation; removing the person violating the policy from school premises and limiting access to school premises following repeated policy violations.
Both policies were approved with Jim Blalock, 8th District representative, voting no.
The board will consider these policies on second reading at its Oct. 24 meeting.
The proposed policy for students who want to spend a year abroad as foreign exchange students requires students to submit a written plan that would have them graduating high school in four years and a summer, a requirement for the school system not to be penalized on its graduation rate. That plan can include early bird or late bird classes, summer school, credit recovery and other options.
Dan Schlafer, 9th District representative, said he'd been contacted by a parent who has children affected by the proposed policy and wished to work with the policy committee. He asked the policy be removed from the agenda for the September meeting.
The policy committee for the 2013-'14 year has not yet been appointed and a meeting time has not been set at this time.