UCF board discusses revision on suspension expungements

By JP Phillips, Staff Writer, The Times

During last November’s work session, the Unionville Chadds-Ford School District administration committed to amending the Code of Student Conduct policy #218.  Since suspensions are included on college applications, many community and board members requested a review process that could result in wiping it from the student record under certain circumstances.

At the January 16th work session, Superintendent John Sanville offered a policy draft offering just that.  The policy could be adopted as soon as March, and would be available for all current high school students. 

According to the proposal, a student is eligible for review if the suspension was a first offense, and there are no other formal disciplinary incidents.   The student would make his/her case in writing to the superintendent.

The draft states, “The Superintendent will not hold a hearing, but will consider the request on the basis of the documentary record, the seriousness of the offense, and such further investigation as he deems appropriate.  At his discretion, he may request a meeting with the student and his or her parents of guardian.  The Superintendent shall issue a written decision to the student, granting or denying the request.  Such decision shall be final.”

In general, the board is in agreement with the direction of the proposal, but offered several suggestions.

Board member John Murphy felt that since there cannot be any other disciplinary offense for the student to apply for expungement, the term “discipline” needed to be better defined.  “A level A offense is as minor as running in the hallway, or being late to class.”

Board member Tom Day added that level A offenses include being boisterous.  “I’ve lived 99% of my life being boisterous, which is defined as energetic, cheerful, noisy…It seems like such a minor hurdle to have such a major consequence.”

It was recommended that level A offences be excluded.

The administration will rework the proposal based on the suggestions for further discussion next month.

There was also debate regarding the Keystone exams.   According to Board member Gregg Lindner, UCF is perhaps the only school district using them as a graduation requirement.  In light of the state backing down on requiring the exams for graduation, Linder would like the board to vote on whether they should continue this policy.

Board President Jeff Hellrung indicated that, although not required for graduation, the tests are still state mandated.  He reminded the board of past problems with the high school PSSA exams, which did not count towards students’ grades or college record.  PSSA scores bounced back once incentives were offered for good scores (for example, waiving final exams).

Board vice president Vic Dupuis added, “If we are going to have the test, why not have it matter?”

Rick Hostetler, UCFSD’s Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, encouraged the community to weigh in on the Outdoor Facility Master Plan by January 19th via a 10-minute survey.

According to the Website, “A goal of this master plan is to work in concert with the recently completed Long Range Facilities Plan which focuses primarily on District-owned buildings and building projects over the next ten years. Ultimately, at the conclusion of this effort, the School District will have a dynamic document outlining the current state of the outdoor facilities, and a plan which will guide the development and improvement of the two campuses over the next ten years in a comprehensive and fiscally responsible manner.”

Next up:  Board Meeting January 22nd at 7:30 in the Charles F. Patton Middle School auditorium.  All board meetings are open to the public.  They are broadcasted live (and archived) on the UCFSD web site.

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