By Ralph Echtinaw
Changes to St. Louis High School dress code and cell phone policies were announced by Principal Ben Brock at Monday’s school board meeting.
A requirement that girls’ shorts had to be fingertip length or longer was eliminated. “We omitted that because different body types, body sizes. It wasn’t a very fair thing for students. Kind of a common sense rule,” Brock said.
“The biggest thing with our dress code is that we want to make sure that if it’s inappropriate, meaning it disrupts the learning environment, that’s something we don’t have at our schools. So the biggest thing is that we have an administrative elastic clause making sure we provide an environment that is safe and conducive to learning.”
As for cell phones, they had become a distraction for students in class, and detentions for students who use them in class wasn’t working.
“Students can have them on and use them before school, between classes, at lunch time and after school,” Brock told the school board. “We wanted to make sure that’s clear. One of the things we found out is that students were using them in classes. They didn’t mind if they got a detention. It wasn’t a big deal to get a detention. It was more important to keep the cell phone in hand at that time.”
The new policy is that teachers confiscate cell phones when they are used without permission in class. The phones are taken to the main office. Offending students can pick them up at day’s end.
If a student doesn’t surrender the cell phone, he or she is sent to the the main office and told “if you can’t handle not having this contraption during instructional minutes then (sending you home) is the next step,” Brock said. “It may lead to suspension or something else we have going on at that time.”
Brock personally presented this change in policy to students in every classroom, and no one has been suspended as yet for unauthorized cell phone use.
Additions and subtractions
The board accepted resignations from administrative assistant Sara Shattuck (who took a position with the Gratiot-Isabella RESD as an administrative assistant) and high school social studies teacher Matt Burleson (who took a job at his daughter’s school).
Elizabeth Russell replaces Shattuck as high school administrative assistant. Scott Nehmer (five years teaching experience) replaces Burleson as high school social studies teacher.
Also hired were Nikkari Clerk Amy Lambeth, middle school physical education paraprofessional Paul Barnaby, eighth grade girls basketball coach Doug Knauf, seventh grade girls basketball coach Joshua Kaylor (who is also a middle school social studies teacher), middle school cross country coach Tim DeJong and varsity football assistant coach Tommy Cannon.
Knauf, who is also the varsity basketball coach, can coach middle school girls now, too, because the middle school girls basketball season was moved to the fall.
Adult volleyball league
The board approved a Community Education adult volleyball league that will play on Sundays from Oct. 2 to Dec. 4.
Future Farmers of America trip
Nine students will join fellow FFA members from Alma, Ashley, Ithaca, Breckenridge and Chippewa Hills schools on a charter bus to the Oct. 26-29 FFA national conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Parent/teacher conferences for parents of high school and middle school students are Oct. 12 and 18. Conferences for parents of Nikkari and Carrie Knause students are Oct. 11 and 19.
Upcoming school board election
Only one non-incumbent will be on the school board ballot in November. That would be David D. Mossner of St. Louis. Mossner challenges incumbent Carrie Salladay for the seat. Also running is Billy Bosquez, who was appointed to the board in June following the resignation of Jeff Baxter. Bosquez is unopposed in the election.