Obion County Board of Education
December 1, 2008

Agenda Item: VIII.B.

Consider/Approve Request to Temporarily Relax Specific Policies/Procedures Relating to Alternative Education

Background Information:

Policies and procedures adopted by the Board for the Alternative School Program inadvertently "allow" students to "choose" suspension in lieu of their remanded placement in Alternative School. I do not believe this was ever the intent of the Board, nor do I believe this was ever the intent of the General Assembly when law was made that required Boards of Education to operate alternative school programs in grades 7 – 12. Nonetheless, the student is technically suspended and he/she is placed in alternative school, upon recommendation by the Disciplinary Hearing Committee, in lieu of out of school suspension. Anytime a student is out of school, he/she misses valuable instructional time and runs the risk of getting behind in his/her school work. By requiring attendance in alternative school when remanded, the student must attend in lieu of “choosing” suspension and, if the student does not attend, the days absent shall be counted as an unexcused absence, which accumulate towards truancy.

The second issue concerns transportation. Policies and procedures require parents to transport their student to and from alternative school. However, if the student is old enough to drive and the student's driving privileges have not been revoked, policies/ procedures allows those students to drive to alternative school. Thus, in the case of students who are not old enough to drive, a hardship is sometimes placed on the parents to the extent that parents “choose” suspension over their student’s alternative placement.

Staff Recommendation:

I recommend approval of the request to temporarily relax the above noted sections of policies/procedures relating to the Alternative Education Program for the remainder of the school year. Prior to the beginning of the 2009 – 2010 school year, specific updates to policies/procedures will be submitted to the Board for adoption.