Is it the job of school teachers to educate students or serve as fashion police?
That was the issue debated Tuesday by the Camp Verde School Board.
Camp Verde High School Principal Steve Marshall addressed the revision of the student handbook — in particular, the dress code.
He said he does not like checking students' garments and that teachers are probably concentrating on teaching and not what students are wearing.
"Having to check the way students are dressed often becomes confrontational," he said.
The board examined short pants and skirt lengths, bare skin, tank tops and trench coats, that are not allowed. The board also explored the idea of school uniforms.
Board member John Bassous said that the board had reviewed school uniforms in the past and when it was presented to the public about three years ago, it was not well received.
Marshall suggested that the parents be, at least, partly responsible for their children's attire. He said that a video presentation is in the works and that the student council will assist in the production.
In other business Tuesday, school officials announced the publication of the district's own newspaper called Camp Verde Times. Camp Verde Schools Superintendent Ron Maughan said that he is pleased with the publication and added that it's available at Osco Drug Stores and at the district office.
While addressing the fiscal year 2003 audit report for the district, Maughan said that even though about four items showed up as some sort of discrepancy, it in no way indicates any real problems for the district.
In reference to the transposition of attendance numbers vs. students residing in the district that may have indicated an initial discrepancy, they were no cause for concern to the Board.
Maughan said that that number is very low and, "The audit report really functions more as an internal memo to the Board and with potentially 200 staff members making daily transactions or some sort of changes, it is the shortest list of errors I've seen in my career as an educator."
The audit reflected the 2002-03 school year.
The Board looked at the district's food service annual evaluation report.
Ida Pieratt, food service director, said that so far, some 114,800 meals were served this year with a potential 20 percent increase by April. She said that the number of meals served would match last year's figures and probably exceed that number.
Pieratt said that the summer breakfast program would probably be discontinued.
The Board consented to examine the purchasing of a new freezer at $3,500 and storage units at about $2,000.
Another change presented to the Board, is the amount of excused absences for students.
Marshall said the current policy reads more than eight absences per period in a semester requires educators to expel the student then the parents must reenroll them.
"With the policy reading as seven, we can avoid expelling the student and requiring parents to go through the re-enrollment process," Marshall said.
The next item was students listening to CD players.
Marshall said that he checks the CDs for profanity and vulgarity and if he feels they are questionable, students can either collect them at the end of the school year or he will turn them over to the parents.
The board approved the suggested changes for the high school handbook.
Speeding and reckless driving by students was also examined.
Marshall proposed that the school implement a wheel immobilization unit or a wheel locking device that the offending student must pay a fine of $50 to have removed on the second offence. He said that he is concerned about high school students parking in the elementary school lot.
Also, the board decided to examine mandating that guests at the high school prom and the winter ball be enrolled in a high school.
The Board revisited its work session on student attendance.
According to the School Board, the attendance policies and practices from each of the four schools must be consistent.
Positive reinforcement should be implemented and not just negative consequences.
The board examined rewarding 95 percent or better attendance, offering scholarships and increasing extra curricular activities.
Some of the negative consequences might be limiting extra curricular activities, an attendance review board, a parenting skills class, more counseling, telephone monitoring, letters to parents and the implementation of a truant officer. The proposal to involve the State and a fine for excessive absences was also addressed.
Marshall proposes that a phone call be made to parents within the first two-hours of a student's absence at the kindergarten through eighth grade levels. He also suggested that another tool the district might use is simply holding a repeatedly absent student back a year.
"If parents realize that they might be stuck another year with their kid, they might be more apt to influence their attendance," Marshall said.
He added that some parents habitually deliver their kids to school late because of a scheduling conflict with their employment.
"This is another problem we have to address," Maughan said.
With regard to the AIMS and Stanford tests, the Board suggested rewarding students for taking the exams, allowing more time off from school, preferential parking, notations on diplomas and recognition during graduation.
Some of the consequences might be AIMS remediation classes, retention and summer school.
The Camp Verde Unified School District will hold its next regular Board meeting on May 11 at 7 p.m. at the District Administration building located at 410 Camp Lincoln Road, Camp Verde.