No pay, no play; Trustees consider student handbook revisions

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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Students with outstanding fines and fees may not be able to participate in extracurricular activities, and only dogs working as service animals will be allowed on campus as outlined in a review of the Northwest ISD student code of conduct.

Coordinator of student services Gina Lee presented the revisions, as recommended by a discipline task force comprised of principals and assistant principals of all grade levels and reviewed by administrators last week, to the school board Monday.

The committee suggested adding a new section on animals on campus. The tentative policy allows only service dogs individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental). The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be approved by ARD, 504 or health committees and directly documented on the student’s health plan, 504 plan (a plan that helps special needs students fully participate in school) and/or IEP (Individualized Education Program).

Other additions deny students the privilege of extracurricular activities if they have excessive, unpaid fines/fees, and punish “being in an area designated for the opposite gender (e.g. locker rooms, restrooms)” as a Level II Disciplinary Chart offense for elementary students and Level III for those at the middle school.

The task force also recommended combining a policy on “committing extortion, coercion or blackmail/gambling” and changing “computers” to “technology” in technology policy to more accurately encompass all digital platforms. Other clarifications, preceded by their respective categories below, include:

  • cell phones/pagers/other electronic devices – must be silenced and stored “during class time,” unless otherwise permitted by school personnel;
  • standardized and district-administered tests – incorporated retesting policies for students graduating under TAKS requirements;
  • videotaping and recording students/visitors to campus – clarified FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) guidelines, which are pending legal review.
  • using a skateboard, scooter, roller blades, shoes with wheels or other similar devices “on school property” – allowed as a transportation option for students within a two-mile radius (who aren’t offered bus transportation).
  • “Engaging in an “inappropriate” act of familiarity with another and/or public display of affection” – Level II offense on disciplinary charts at all schools.
  • Level IV Disciplinary Chart – specified violations eligible for administrators to determine a “discretionary placement” of a student in the DAEP (alternative school) in lieu of expulsion.

Other suggested changes included expanding existing policies such as using inappropriate language/pictures/symbols and “sound (verbal or written)”; possessing or using tobacco and “prohibited smoking materials”; and expanding the definition of drug paraphernalia to include “equipment, products, or materials used as drug paraphernalia.”

Monday’s presentation was only a discussion item. A recommendation will be presented, and voted on, at the board’s next meeting Tuesday, May 28, (changed from the usual Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday).


Trustees also:

  • approved the 2013-2014 employee compensation plan which includes a 2-percent increase to each pay range midpoint for existing employees and $300 increases for each education and experience level in the teacher hiring structures, as discussed in three budget workshops. Gary Gindt, assistant superintendent for administrative services, described the plan as “conservative and progressive option for the district.”
  • presented outgoing board member Dr. Daryl Laney with mementos honoring his 15 years of service. The Keller-based chiropractor did not seek re-election this year. He will be succeeded by Ann Davis Simpson, who will be sworn May 28.
  • discussed donating furniture, fixtures and temporary use of portable buildings to West ISD. Officials will act on the item at a later meeting.
  • held a public hearing required to apply for federally funded programs, which include support for disadvantaged students, delinquent children, teacher and principal training and limited English proficient students.
  • awarded a bid to BBVA Compass for depository bank services. Ten vendors – four of which were no bids – responded to the district’s request for proposals.
  • reviewed an interlocal agreement with TASB for casualty insurance and another agreement with Keller ISD for use of its swim center for $28,857 next school year. Both items will be voted on in an upcoming consent agenda.
  • recognized the 23 participants of this year’s Leadership NISD. Through this year-long program, parents and community members “go behind the scenes for an in-depth look at NISD.” If you are interested in participating in next year’s Leadership NISD, call 817-215-0175.

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