Bedford County Board of Education, on Thursday, considered a number of policy revisions.
The board deferred action on a draft policy on home schooling which board member Glenn Forsee said "crosses the line" and interferes too much with the home schooling process. Forsee didn't explain to which specific provisions or points he was referring.
The school system relies on Tennessee School Boards Association for many of the draft policies it considers, sometimes amending or adjusting them to meet local needs.
After Forsee's remarks, board chair Barry Cooper asked how much of the policy was actually required by state law and how much the school board had the flexibility to change. School board secretary Suzanne Alexander said the policy was primarily driven by state law but agreed to research which specific points are open for adjustment.
"I think we have some wiggle room," said Terry Looper, supervisor of student services for the school system. Looper said he, too, has some issues with the proposed policy, although he didn't list any specifics either.
School Superintendent Ray Butrum said a home schooling policy helps protect the school system by clearly laying out home school parents' responsibilities and rights. He said that he hopes the new "virtual school" program to be offered by the school system will be an option for some current home school families. By enrolling children in the "virtual school," they can be educated online, from home, by the county school system, and the school system will receive state revenue for providing that education.
The board approved a revision to the bullying policy incorporating cyberbullying in the list of prohibited acts. The board had already prohibited cyberbullying as part of its acceptable use policy for school technology; this revision makes both policies consistent with each other.
In accordance with state law, the board changed its promotion and retention policy to prohibit the automatic "social promotion" of third graders along with their classmates. However, the state law is expected to create problems for school systems and may end up being reconsidered at some point.
The board brought its policies in line with changes in state policies for teacher and administrator evaluation. The county had two different models from which it could have chosen, but opted to continue using the TEAM evaluation model.
Looper had requested strengthening the attendance policy. Looper said there's a problem with tardiness and early checkouts, and the policy would allow five tardies or early checkouts to be counted as an absence. The policy also strengthens enforcement procedures.
The board changed the wording of its in-service policy. The old policy had required that the school board approve the schedule for staff development activities; the new policy simply requires that the staff keep the board informed of such activities.
As reported in Friday's Times-Gazette, the board approved a nepotism policy for school employees.