Kendall student code of conduct may include cyber-bulling, social media

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 24 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Seniors could lose driving privileges if failing a class

KENDALL – Board of Education members held a public hearing Wednesday evening on proposed changes to the district’s code of conduct.

Kendall Jr./Sr. High School Principal Carol D’Agostino went over revisions and additions suggested by a committee. Many proposed changes are in regards to personal electronic devices/technology and ways to help motivate seniors to remain in good standing in order to graduate.

D’Agostino said additions include very specific wording regarding cyber bullying as being inappropriate behavior and using, “language as clear as possible for appropriate behavior regarding the use of social media.” Additionally, there is language prohibiting, “the sharing of inappropriate photos,” and “selling, using or distributing inappropriate or obscene materials.”

Additions to the code of conduct also include a senior lounge area located in the commons which could be utilized by seniors in good standing as well as what D’Agostino called a “big change” in eligibility for Senior Class Top Ten recognition.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, students would be required to earn four math or four science credits to be eligible for the Top Ten.

The proposed addition which received the most attention from board members was in regards to driving privileges. Seniors would have to be passing their classes or staying after school for extra help in subjects they are failing, or their driving privileges would be revoked.

“It seems like punishment,” D’Agostino said, “but I see it as motivation.”

She said she wants seniors to have freedom, but she also wants to see them graduate. The possibility of having driving privileges revoked would help them to be responsible.

“We are providing more opportunities for them to get help,” she said of students who are failing classes.

School Board Vice President Christopher Gerken said he agreed with what D’Agostino was trying to do, but, “I don’t know where we stand if this is challenged. It gets complicated.”

Gerken expressed concerns over students who participate in off-campus programs and must drive themselves.

“We need niches to help motivate kids to behave in an age-appropriate manner,” D’Agostino responded.

Kendall Senior Coralee Freitag, who attended the meeting for Student of the Month recognition, told board members during the public hearing she felt such a code would be unfair to students who are participating in programs that take them off-campus and require that they drive themselves.

“If you want to make students more motivated, this is not a good way to do it,” Freitag said.

Her parents, however, who also attended the meeting, disagreed. They told board members they thought the possibility of losing driving privileges was a good motivator and might work to “wake up parents,” if their child is failing a class. They said the district will provide opportunities to help students regain driving privileges if they are lost.

School Board President Nadine Hanlon noted there were no students on the committee which worked on the code changes. D’Agostino explained that the teacher who chaired the committee invited students to be a part, but those students had a conflict with the committee meeting time. She said the students were able to review proposed changes before they were presented to the board.

The code of conduct revisions were not on the Wednesday agenda for board action.

In other business, Superintendent Julie Christensen said during her report that tests for lead in the district’s water supply will likely be conducted in April.

Recent concerns over the issue in area schools is prompting the testing which will be done through Genesee Valley BOCES/Monroe County Water Authority, Christensen said.

Board members also approved an inter-municipal cooperation agreement with the Holley Central School District regarding varsity baseball. School officials said four Kendall students tried out for the Holley team and two made the squad.