Trumann School Board approves student handbook changes

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Trumann School Board approved changes to the student handbooks for Cedar Park Elementary, Trumann Intermediate School, and Trumann High School during their regular meeting Monday night.

One of the biggest changes at all three schools for the 2016-2017 school year deals with unexcused absences and tardiness. Students were previously allowed no more than ten unexcused absences per semester. Now, students are allowed no more than six unexcused absences per semester. Parents will be notified of the student's number of absences by letter at three unexcused absences and will receive a phone call from the school at four. At the sixth unexcused absence, the school social worker will make a home visit and will make recommendations depending on the situation. At the seventh unexcused absence, the situation will be turned over to the prosecuting attorney.

CPE Principal Michael Allen explained that the old tardy policy was weak, so limits will now be set in the handbook. Anything beyond ten tardies will be considered excessive, and parents will be notified at five tardies. With a defined policy in writing, excessive tardies will now hold the same authority with the court as excessive unexcused absences. Allen also explained to the board that they do take extenuating circumstances into account such as a bus arriving late, flooding, etc. Superintendent Myra Graham said, for example, a student would not be considered tardy if they were eating breakfast in the cafeteria late because

the bus was late. Allen said one of the biggest issues with tardiness involves parents dropping off kids late.

Handbook changes were made after meetings with teachers, parents, and a student panel for input. One of the requests from parents for the CPE student handbook was that information explaining the color-coded behavior chart and demerits policy be included.

At TIS, wording in the section regarding lockers has been changed so that students are no longer required to have a locker. Guardian disputes regarding student pickup may also not happen on campus. Now, in the event of a dispute, police will escort those involved to a location off campus to resolve the dispute.

At THS, new principal Michelle Waymire said she is working to create a more structured environment. Bells will be coming back as a majority of teachers wanted them back for tardiness. Waymire said the least annoying bell has been chosen from the options available. The trust card policy has been removed as they were not working. They are now just ID cards. (Trust cards will still be in use for seventh and eighth grades for the time being, though they come with fewer privileges than the high school cards did.) Students will be allowed to attend no more than two field trips per semester. No outside food will be allowed in the classroom--outside breakfast must be eaten in the cafeteria--and the only drink allowed in classrooms is water in a clear bottle. Parking tags will now be $5 instead of $10. Lockers will also be $5 but are not mandatory. Students will also be required to be at school for 350 minutes of instruction daily, meaning students will not be allowed to skip their final period and leave early.

The board also approved getting rid of exemptions at all three schools as they were causing too much confusion. Dress code changes were approved at a previous meeting and announced online. The dress code now prohibits: tank tops with straps less than a student's three-finger width, see-through tops without a shirt underneath that meets dress code, racerback shirts, holes in pants above the student's palm when standing, and leggings/yoga pants worn with a shirt that is not the length of the student's palm when standing.

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