CCSD updates code of conduct

Published 9:00 am Saturday, July 10, 2021

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At Wednesday’s meeting, the Chambers County School Board approved the 2021-22 Code of Conduct, which had several key changes from previous codes of conduct.

One of the big changes will be the attendance policy and how tardies will be handled.

“Our data is showing that we are having a lot of problems with tardies in school. We’ve made some adjustments there,” Superintendent Casey Chambley said.

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Students will need a professional excuse for a tardy. After three tardies, students will start to be punished with things like detention.

Tardies will reset after each nine weeks, so students will actually get 12 tardies a school year without consequences.

“There are no consequences for the first three,” Chambley said. “To get an excused tardy, you have to have a professional excuse. Just saying that we slept late will not be an excused reason. You get the three for that purpose. Then there will be consequences after that happens. We need to do something to curb some of this.”

The tardy change will affect only middle school and high school students.

Dress codes will also be changed this year.

“We have established a group that is looking into different things with dress codes and uniforms,” Chambley said.

“I want to address that with the board but did not have time to get that together for this [meeting], but we’re having serious issues in our schools with dress code that needs to be addressed. It’s very difficult to address dress code when things are ambiguous and grey areas with dress code. It’s causing some distractions, and it’s causing some issues.”

One big dress code change will be with students wearing hoodies, hoods and hats.

“The kids are wearing the hoodies, so they can listen to their earbuds to listen to music or talk on the phone. They’re also using their hoodies, especially in middle school and high school, are vaping,” Chambley said. “They’re able to vape the electric cigarette and able to blow it into the sweatshirt, and it absorbs the vaper. We have kids in 90-degree weather that are wearing hooded sweatshirts. Who in the world, around here in this humidity would want to wear a hooded sweatshirt in 90-degree weather.”

Hooded sweatshirts will be prohibited in CCSD schools during school hours. Students can still wear them during sporting events and on buses.

Also added were additional punishments for tobacco use.

“The problems and issues with these [electronic cigarettes] and how dangerous they are is what they can obtain to put in the e-cigarette,” Chambley said. “The pods and different things can be filled with THC, and they can order online and fill those vape pods with items they don’t need. We can have students in our classrooms vaping marijuana and you can’t smell it because it’s just the chemical. We’re going to really have to crack down on this one. We’re going to be doing a lot of stuff with the teachers and parents about this. We’re going to try to educate parents about the dangers of nicotine and the dangers of doing this.”

Chambley said the first offense will have three days of out-of-school suspension and three days of in-school suspension. After the second offense, juvenile court will be involved.

“After the second offense, we’re going to sign juvenile petitions,” Chambley said. “We’re finding that we’re going to need more help on attacking these issues.”

The student cell phone policy has also changed.

“I believe if there was one thing to do to raise scores in our schools right now … if you could give me one wish, and I could have that one wish to improve our scores, that would be to remove cell phones from the environment,” Chambley said. “If you did that, it would improve discipline. I would say that 75-80 percent of the discipline that we have in the schools stems from a cell phone.”

Cell phones can be taken by teachers and returned at the end of a period if a student is caught using them during class when not permitted.

On a second offense, the phone will go to the school office and will be retrieved by a parent after school. On a third offense, the phone will be held for a week and will be returned to a parent.

Phones can be used during lunch, before and after school, during class transitions and sometimes during school depending on the teacher’s instructions.