School Board 69 (Qualicum) has changed or is in the process of changing 14 board policies and administrative procedures pertaining to a wide array of subjects, including student safety, sponsorship and advertising at/with schools, and district scholarships.
At the school board’s Tuesday, Jan. 23 meeting, the board passed several changed polices, including Board Policy 7,000: Safe, Caring and Inclusive School Communities.
The document, now in force, covers items such as bullying, discrimination, school codes of conduct and dress codes.
Changes included removing the list of issues that a school dress code should address (including “the wearing of clothing that is considered unduly revealing,” clothing with vulgar words, pictures or drawings and the wearing of safety equipment for specialized programs).
Instead of that guide, the policy now reads “The school’s dress code should guide and support students and parents to making appropriate individual choices around attire suitable for a learning environment.”
Policy 7,000 and its administrative procedure document now also includes two references to weapons, stating the district considers “possession or use of any weapon or simulated weapon by anyone on or near school premises to be a serious threat to the school environment.” It goes on to outline what actions to take to keep students safe.
The most lengthy addition to the policy includes a long list of goals for SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification) Inclusive Education in the district, starting with “The diversity of sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions are recognized and valued.”
Policy changes that saw first reading passed (so are not yet in effect) include an addition to Board Policy 7010 that no student be denied participation in an instrument music program because they can’t afford to rent an instrument.
The draft policy on catchment areas and cross boundary transfers was expanded.
The draft policy on Corporate/Community Sponsorships, Partnerships and Advertising in Schools (No. 7059 but formerly 7059 and 7060) has some significant re-tooling, growing from one-and-a-half pages to a little more than four pages.
Overall, the changes appear to provide some more leeway in some areas, with regulations around advertising and distributing info through schools eliminated and replaced with points that should be considered, and some general statements.
More specific language around sponsorships exceeding $5,000 or lasting longer than one year is added in the draft.
However, another addition states that “Each sponsorship arrangement should have an agreed upon sponsor acknowledgement plan prior to accepting the sponsorship or donation.”
“We had some discussion on this one,” said trustee Elaine Young on the Board Policy 7059 revisions during the school board meeting.
She said she was interested to hear public reaction on the various changes and proposed changes to policies.
To check out the proposed changes, go to www.sd69.bc.ca/Board/BoardMeetingAgendasMinutes/Pages/default.aspx and open the 2018-01-23 agenda.
To see the existing policies, go to www.sd69.bc.ca/Board/Policies-and-Bylaws/Pages/default.aspx.