Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 23, 2013

Panel tables attendance policy

CROSSVILLE — The policy committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education is tabling action on its attendance policy as members struggle to find an appropriate solution for students over the age of 18 that miss excessive amounts of school.

Janet Graham, principal of Cumberland County High School, said, “It’s placing a burden on our teachers.”

Graham said there were 23 members of the senior class who had unexcused absences ranging from 27 to 62 days. Under the current policy, those students are permitted to make up all their missed class work, provided they make the request upon their return to school and it does not take class time away from other students.

Graham said, “The seniors are killing us. If they don’t graduate, it hurts us. The onus is on us.”

While compulsory education laws require students to attend school and sets guidelines for consequences, which can include time in jail for truant students and their parents, the law does not apply to those students that have reached 18 years of age.

Director of Schools Aarona VanWinkle wondered how students were able to pass their classes while missing so much instructional time.

“It’s amazing they are passing,” she said.

Graham said many students were getting by in their classes, and some seniors didn’t need the additional credits to graduate.

VanWinkle noted the Tennessee Department of Education had advised school systems attendance alone could not determine is a student received class credit.

“The only way the board could change that is to not allow making up the work from unexcused absences,” she said.

Charles Tollett, 1st District representative, said, “They’re smart enough to know we need them with all the attention on graduation rates.”

Richard Janeway, 2nd District representative, questioned if the board should consider a resolution asking the state to change compulsory education laws so that they applied to students over 18 years of age. That had been proposed in the past but never got out of committees at the General Assembly.

Graham said parents often tell school administrators there is nothing they can do to make their children attend school once they’ve reached age 18. Others are no longer living with their parents.

Josh Stone, 4th District representative, said, “We all care about the graduation rate, but what we’re here to do is make our students into productive citizens.”

Graham agreed. “This is a critical time for establishing who you are and establishing habits for college and the workplace.”

Part of establishing habits is reaching kids at a younger age that have poor attendance, said Janet Brooker, attendance supervisor.

“We’re focused on catching them early,” she said. “Maybe it will show up down the road.”

When discussing not allowing make up of work, Brooker noted it took five unexcused absences before a student was considered truant. She suggested allowing make up work before that, but keeping up with each student’s unexcused absences could be difficult, VanWinkle said. She also wanted to ensure the policy was consistently enforced throughout the county.

Stone recommended tabling the discussion and checking with how other counties were addressing the problem of truancy among its 18 and older students.

A change to the extracurricular drug testing policy was not recommended by the committee, with members saying they’d like to give the policy, in effect for only one year, a little more time before they make changes.

This past year, the policy called for random drug testing of a percentage of all students involved in extracurricular school activities, beginning in the seventh grade.

No positive tests were reported this past year at any grade level, and those administering the tests found many seventh and eighth-grade students, particularly female students, were nervous and embarrassed by the testing.

Janeway said, “It’s not a ‘gotcha.’ But if even one student said no to drugs because of the drug screening, we won, because we saved one.”

There was also discussion of the policy for the disciplinary hearing authority, but recommendations to have a supervisor for another school sit on the hearings for students was not recommended. The policy committee felt that could be handled through administrative procedures.

The committee did recommend a change to the board meeting policy, calling for a moment of silence and pledge to the flag before each meeting, work session, special-called meeting and committee meeting of the board.

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
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 Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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