Danville schools panel to review policies on attendance, safety

Danville schools panel to review policies on attendance, safety

DANVILLE — A Danville schools committee will take a look at attendance policies and safety when it resumes its review of the student handbook this week.

The Ownership in Education Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Danville High School library, 202 E. Fairchild St. The meeting is open to the public.

"We had a fantastic group of people at the first meeting, and I look forward to seeing even more people attend the next one," said Co-Chairman Rowdy Fatheree, who hopes to have participation from students. He added it's a chance for them, staff, parents and other community members to weigh in on these topics and others that are important to them.

The Ownership in Education manual outlines students' rules, rights and responsibilities and the consequences for breaking the rules. Each year, the committee reviews the manual to see if it needs to be updated, and, if so, makes recommendations for change to the school board.

Last year, the committee recommended changes to the expulsion, truancy and no-bullying policies, which the board approved.

This year's committee is also being led by Edison Elementary School Principal Mark Goodwin, Garfield Elementary School Principal DeMarko Wright and South View Middle School Assistant Principal Robin Fluno. At the first meeting Nov. 27, members broke into two groups, with one looking at elementary-school issues and the other looking at middle- and high-school issues.

"One of the common things that came up in both groups was our schools' attendance policies," said Fatheree, an assistant principal at the high school. "We found that we have parents with children in three different schools.

"If the schools have different attendance policies, that causes confusion," he said, adding the committee plans to look at the procedures at all 11 schools to make sure they are consistent and user-friendly.

"And we want to make sure it's congruent with what we're doing in the schools," Fatheree continued, adding the goal is to improve attendance.

Fatheree said some members also want to review the tardy policy for elementary students, again to ensure consistency from school to school. In addition, he believes there will be some type of discussion on school safety following the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 students and six school staff dead.

The committee will hold one more review session at 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at the high school library. It will hold public forums on any proposed changes at 6 p.m. March 5 at North Ridge Middle School, 1619 N. Jackson St., and 6 p.m. March 7 at South View, 133 E. Ninth St.

A final meeting will be held in April.

"The committee drives the agenda, so they may bring up other issues that they want to discuss," he said.

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