SCOTIA: Board wants easier code

Every year, a code of conduct is sent home to parents of students in the school district, and many times what is sent home is a shortened version that parents quickly scan. The complete code of conduct can be a detailed and lengthy document that is often dated, which is one of the reasons that the Scotia-Glenville Central School District is asking that its code be scaled back, updated and made more user friendly.

Show me one child that actually sits down and reads this code. Bring me one, said board of education member Ben Conlon at the board's Monday, May 21, meeting.

Conlon said the full documents are often close to 40 pages long and are virtually impossible to read. He said even the shorter versions are often not "user- friendly."

"The only real way to take out all that is unnecessary is to tear it all down and rewrite the code from start," said Conlon.

Glen Worden Principal James Dunham has worked since last fall on a committee to update the code. Dunham said it is a difficult process to bring the code up to date while still keeping the fundamentals in place.

"What we are trying to do is to take what is existing and infuse what needs to be changed. It's a process of finding any inconsistencies between different school codes, changing some language and adding text, all while trying to create a more user-friendly format," said Dunham.

Board president Margaret Smith, who was recently re-elected, said one of her concerns is the difference in the code for middle school students and older elementary school students. Smith said it is hard for her to make sense of reprimanding a sixth grader for poor behavior and then not handling a fifth grader in the same manner.

"One of my greatest concerns is the level of infractions that you are seeing more at the elementary level. What used to be strictly middle school behavioral issues, we are now seeing more and more at the elementary level, and we need to deal with those problems in a similar way," said Smith.

Board member John Yaglieski said he would like to see what the opinions of teachers and administrators are regarding the code.

"If the district wants to know how effective the code really is, the best way would be to gather feedback on the readability and effectiveness of the code," said Yaglieski.

The committee will continue to examine the code and revisit the issue in the coming months.""

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