Pleasant Valley parents irked about dress code issues
It has been one month since the new dress code for Pleasant Valley School District has been in effect. While district administrators and Dr. Douglas Arnold, PVSD superintendent, believes the transition has been a smooth one and are pleased with the overall acceptance, a few parents still voiced their ire over the initial first day's handling of dress code issues at a school board meeting last week.
William Wolf of Eldred Township said he had been told the dress code was initiated to give kids a better education.
"When kids are taken out of class for something like wearing the wrong color shoe strings, how are they getting a better education? I can't fathom that a kid would be taken out of class for wearing the wrong color shirt. A nice little letter sent home would be better than placing him in ISS (In School Suspension)," he said.
Joesph Oliver of Polk told the board that his daughter had been taken out of class because although she was wearing the right color shirt, it was the wrong kind of material and has been in PVI's Mr. Heath's office five times since the beginning of school. Not because she broke the dress code but because of it being misconstrued.
"My point is, she's been in the principal's office for about six hours. No marks have been placed against her, so what's the point?" he asked.
He added that he has been laid off from his job for a year and the cost of the new dress code has been a hindrance to his family.
Dr. Arnold agreed that kids have been excused from classes for not complying but they weren't in ISS, just in the room where it is held, until appropriate clothes could be obtained for the students.
He reminded the parent that the district does offer up to five articles of clothing per child to help families in need.
"We didn't want this to be a traumatic experience for anyone but we wanted to make a point that the dress code would be enforced," he said.
Jeffrey Wood from the office of the inspector general of the United States Department of Education introduced himself to the board. He explained that his office is responsible for seeing "that our money is being spent the right way."
He said that his office responds to tips from a resident or from a school employee if they feel there is inappropriate spending in the school district by performing an audit.
School board director John Sabia asked, "Are you coming in to do an audit on us?"
Wood responded with, "No. Only if we are notified about any irregularities."
Dr. Arnold reported that Sept. 18 was a Denim Day for not only staff but also students, districtwide, collecting $3,221 to be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
"I think what's amazing about this is, the staff is required to make a donation if they choose to wear denim and they raised $1,598 but the students, who were not required to donate anything, still raised $1,623. They are to be commended."
Condolences were expressed for the recent passing of Gerald (Jerry) Miller and thanks given for his many contributions to the Pleasant Valley School District as a counselor, board member and representative for the IU 20.
Board member Tom Murphy acknowledged the passing of Roland Featherman who had served in the Monroe County community for over 30 years and was a friend to PVSD.
"He was a special person who gave of himself in many many ways," said Dr. Arnold.
Dale Barra of Ross Township addressed the board by stating that it was too late for her daughter, a senior at PVHS, but would like the board to consider after school transportation for students in the future.
"She missed out on being able to participate in many after-school activities because we had to work and couldn't provide her with that transportation. She missed out on a lot. I hope you can do something for other students," she said.
In other business:
• Dr. Arnold reported that the school district's enrollment is 6,009, "significantly down from last year."
• Dr. Karin-Susan Breitlauch and Tom Donnelly have been appointed to the board of trustees of the Western Pocono Community Library.
• Spirit Week will be Oct. 26-30
• The Community Halloween Night will be held at PVHS on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 5-7 p.m.
• The board approved the hiring of: Lawrence Lewis as casual security officer; Shellie Menzoff, substitute para professional associate; Sharon Rogerson transferred from PVHS to PVI as a PPA; Rebecca Hearsey, part-time PPA; Christianna Johnson as a substitute elementary/mid-level mathematics teacher.
• Deborah Hinton and Kristin Wolf have received tenure, having served PV for three years and receiving a satisfactory rating.
• A resignation has been accepted from Vassiliki (Betty) Theodoropoulos, a PVI part-time PPA, effective Sept. 25.
• Amy Shonk has been accepted as a Polk parent volunteer.
• Christina Castone resigned as the sophomore Class Advisor for 2009-2010 year.
• Lois Mann has been approved for a cocurricular position for Music Honor Society, Dan Mulligan for high school musical adviser and Tim McCutchan as sophomore class adviser.
• Kevin Jones has been approved as the 2009-2010 fall volunteer coach for varsity and JV volleyball.