WCSB hears recommended changes to Student Code of Conduct

Story by
JENNA BAILEY

The Walton County School Board (WCSB) met on May 1 at 4 p.m. at the Tivoli Administrative Complex in DeFuniak Springs for a workshop where the board was presented with the recommended changes to the Student Code of Conduct (SCC). Walton County School District (WCSD) Curriculum and Instruction Department Coordinator Cathy Hall shared with the board the details of what information has been gathered and what work has been done to the SCC for the upcoming school year. There were not many changes or recommendations for this year.

Video Surveillance Footage — For instances where there is a student disciplinary issue,  Walton County schools have had complications with parents wanting to view video footage taken on school buses or on campus. This is a violation of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Discussion at a previous principals’ meeting led to the request for a statement in the SCC regarding this issue. This statement, according to Hall, is consistent with what other school districts have in their SCC. The statement informs parents that the cameras are for the safety of students and staff and that the school district may utilize videos at any time for disciplinary purposes, but they are subject to confidentiality agreements under FERPA.

Attendance — Under attendance, the SCC has not thoroughly addressed tardies as far  as impacting a student’s grade. The district has noticed a growing issue with secondary school students not getting to school on time. In attempt to encourage middle and high school students to be tardy less often, there has been a request to include unexcused tardies for students that are frequently late. The reason being that when children are late or absent, their grade is being impacted because they are missing out on educational information and tests.

Dress Code — The only change in the dress code is the allowance of round-neck blouses in addition to the shirt collar guidelines in the SCC which currently allows crew neck, polo, and button up shirts but did not acknowledge tops with round collars.

Student Services — If a student requires services from an outside entity such as a physical therapist that will need to enter the school in order to assist the student, a parent must submit a written request to the principal before the parent makes arrangements with the outside source to come to the school. This is so that the principal can be aware of said person coming to the school before they arrive.

Recording Meetings — It is a crime for anyone to record a school meeting without consent. If a person wishes to record a meeting they must make a request to the principal. The principal can still deny said request. This is not a new rule, but is an issue that has come up frequently this year.

Mental Health — A new addition to the SCC is that schools can now recommend mental health services based on a student’s behavior. Many details on this addition are still being worked out. If a student brings a weapon such as a gun or knife to the school, makes threats or makes a false report, the school is required to refer said student to mental health services for an evaluation.