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E-Cigarettes banned by Chambers Co. School Board

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Dr. Frankie Bell
Dr. Frankie Bell
Frankie Bell named W.F Burns principal

It seems that summer break just started for students in Chambers County however, the August 13th official school start date is inching closer by the day. Members of the Chambers County School Board held their June meeting on June 17th. The meeting was long and very informative as members were able to touch on complicated issues with recommended modifications for the student handbook for the upcoming year. Several rules were discussed for recommended modifications that students will face in the upcoming year.

Tobacco use among youth is a huge problem in the nation and the Chambers County School Board took steps to not only limit the use of actual tobacco products within its campuses which has been a previous rule in the student code of conduct, but to combat technology that has found its way into the smoking industry.

Students will no longer be able to use or have in their possession e-cigarettes or vaporizers. The board’s new student handbook will enforce this restriction not only on the physical campuses of Chambers County Schools, but also on school property such as school buses. The new handbook will make the use of these products a class 2 offense.

In addition the School Board also updated its use of technology disclaimer. The update will release the school board from liability for items such as phones, iPads, iPods, and so forth from being stolen, lost, or damaged.

A hot topic for students each year is always the dress code. The board was able to better define additions to its dress code policy and to make the changes in the policy active to all grade levels from Pre-K to grade 12.

A big change that students will face this year will be found in the length of skirts, shorts, and dresses. New policy will require these articles of clothing to have a minimal length of 2 inches above the knees. The board also further defined its rules for headwear to say that students can have no headwear at all.

Disciplinary actions will be much stricter on students this school year as students who are placed in an in-school suspension will have to suffer the same restrictions as students in out of school suspension and will be barred from all extracurricular activities. Many of the sanctions for students will remain the same for students as in previous years.

However the school district will begin to comply with Taylor’s law. This is a law which tracks a student’s behavior and discipline infractions in a state data base. Students who show strong problems with behavior will be delayed in their ability to obtain a state drivers license or learners permit.
The school board also expressed its concern over sexual harassment and made it clear that incidents of sexual harassment can be reported anonymously through the school districts website.

Upon completion of explanation of the new student code of conduct board members set to make rulings on the budget issues facing the county. The biggest budget issue was budget amendment #2 which was the budget for the upcoming school year. The board unanimously approved the budget.

Issues were also addressed for building improvements ongoing at schools in the county and the finishing up of projects by Schneider Electric. All those projects are nearing completion.

The board also approved the financing of a trip June 20th for the Valley High School basketball team to Georgia Tech in Atlanta for extra practice and instructional activities. Board members also praised state legislators for their ability to reach an education budget before the end of their session which greatly assisted the county.

The approval by state legislators included minor increases in funds for textbooks, student materials, and technology money. The state budget also meant that there would be no loss of teacher units in the county and new funding would be granted statewide to create 202 new pre-K classes statewide allowing for 3636 new pre-k student positions statewide.
The only school in Chambers County to receive funds for that program was Chambers Academy which is not part of the Chambers County School system, but still a local beneficiary.

The board was also glad to announce an internal promotion in the county. Dr. Frankie Bell who had been an assistant principal at LaFayette High School would be promoted to principal at W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley. The board explained how it had been a long a hard process as there were more than one well qualified candidates for the position and it was very difficult to decide on the right one easily.

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