BOE weighs options on uniform policy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Despite School Superintendent Mike Reed’s eminent departure north to sit at the helm of the Hartselle school board, Thursday night’s work session was business as usual.

Part of that business was working on a proposed chaperone policy for the County.

The Butler County Board of Education, along with the principals, took to task the mission of editing and rewording the current chaperone policy. The new policy will go before the policy review committee and then will go before the board to be voted on at the Feb. 24 meeting.

The changes in policy focused on checkout procedures, chaperones and permission slips.

One of the points that were brought up was whether or not children could leave field trips with their parents. After discussion during the work session, the board penciled in the notation that parents must sign a release form if they choose to take their child home from the field trip.

Overnight trips were also a topic in the discussion as well as chaperone to student ratios.

&uot;We need to leave room for common sense,&uot; said Reed. &uot;But we also know that the student’s permission slip is to be signed and left at the school before that child goes on the trip.&uot;

The principal must approve the trip and the following ratios must be met.

For Kindergarten through the third grade, there must be one chaperone to every 10 children. In fourth through sixth grade the number of children grows from 10 to 12, but the ratio remains with one chaperone. For middle and high school field trips, the ratio is one chaperone to every 15 students.

But, if the trip is of the overnight variety, then the ratio drops from one chaperone to every seven students.

Proposed changes to the policy said that only chaperones of the same sex could check rooms.

Male chaperones are responsible for the males on the trip and female chaperones are responsible for the females on the trip.

That would be the hard-fast rule, unless there is an emergency.

It was also brought up that bus drivers do not count as official chaperones. The permission slip itself was not even immune to the changes as it underwent proposed changes in the wording.

All of the of the changes that were suggested to the policy will be changed and then will be brought before the policy review committee before it can be voted on the by the school board at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Another topic brought up during Thursday’s work session was the school uniform issue.

&uot;I thought I was under the impression when we discussed this that we were more inclined to go with uniforms,&uot; said Joanne Peak. &uot;I thought we were going to set up a committee to see what kind of uniforms.&uot;

While the board has yet to actually vote on whether or not schools will go to uniforms, the general consensus from last night’s meeting was that it was going to happen.

&uot;Just as a matter of clarification, we are going to school uniforms,&uot; asked Dr. Kathy Murphy, principal of Greenville High School.

&uot;That was my understanding,&uot; said Peak, &uot;that the board had decided that we were going to uniforms and we wanted the committees and schools to come up with the kind of uniform to be ready at the this time of year so we would have them in place in plenty of time so parents would know what to get their children for the next school year.&uot;

Thursday’s meeting was just a work session so no resolution could be brought to the uniform issue. However, it will be an item for to be voted upon during the Board of Educations Feb. 24 meeting.