Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

July 17, 2013

New school, policy changes on school board agenda

By Leeann Akers - Editor
Journal-Times

July 17, 2013 — The new Tygart Creek Elementary School was the site of Monday’s meeting of the Carter County Board of Education where a dress code for teachers became an issue.

The new $12 million facility on US 60 west of Olive Hill will welcome new and current students when school opens Aug. 8.

The school has a capacity of 450 student, but Supt. Ronnie Dotson said they expect about 400 to begin the school year.

“We expanded the boundary to go a little further into Olive Hill,” Dotson said. “All the students who are affected have been notified.”

Just over 250 students attended Upper Tygart Elementary last year and 150 from Olive Hill Elementary will shift this fall to TCES.

“This is such a beautiful facility,” said Principal Shawn Justice. “The kids all seemed so excited and we are, too. The teachers are just as anxious as the students.”

Construction at Carter City Elementary is almost complete and an open house will be held there on Aug. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Policy changes were the biggest issues addressed by the board during the meeting.

Disciplinary policies for students had been evaluated by a committee. The only change addressed miscellaneous violations.

“Any violation that could be considered a public offense, for example if charges could be brought against the student in court,” East Carter High School Principal Larry Kiser told the board. “All this does is allow administrative discretion based on the severity of the offense.”

The student attendance policy also was amended. For several years, seniors were allowed 10 unexcused absences before the student was not allowed to participate in graduation.

Jack Kiser, who is in charge of truancy and disciplinary policies, asked the board to reduce the number of allowed unexcused absences to eight. The motion passed unanimously.

The dress code for teachers was also addressed. Merry Berry reported for the committee and asked that sleeveless shirts be allowed as long as the shoulder strap is as wide as credit card.

Berry also reported that Ashland Independent was the only district in the surrounding area that addressed tattoos. The committee recommended that the sentence concerning tattoos be removed.

A motion was made to accept the changes but it failed on a 2-2 tie vote with Chris Patrick and Bryan Greenhill voting “no”.

“I’m sticking with the current policy with no (showing) tattoos,” Patrick said.

“Educators spend more time with my kids than I do,” Greenhill said. “I don’t want someone with an eagle on their neck to be my kid’s role model.”

Berry said the need to spell out what is and is not appropriate is “sad.”

“We live in a culture now that has tattoos and it’s not a big deal to most people anymore,” Berry said. “A supervisor can tell them to cover something that is deemed inappropriate.”

Kiser, who was reluctant to give his opinion on the matter, disagreed.

“Tattoos have nothing to do with education,” Kiser said. “The administrators have a lot to deal with already, things that affect the children and their education. This isn’t something we have time to police.”

After 30 minutes of discussion, the board voted 3-1 to allow visible tattoos that are no larger than a credit card. No visible neck or face tattoos are permitted. Patrick cast the dissenting vote.

Leeann Akers Can be reached at lakers@journal-times.com or by phone at 474-5101.