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Revised dress code makes first cut

Published October 20. 2010 05:00PM

Palmerton Area School District's revised dress and grooming policy has made the first cut.

The school board unanimously agreed on Tuesday to approve the first reading of the policy, to be enacted in the 2011-12 school year.

Resident Tiffany Christman asked how community members could gain access to the revised policy.

Board President Barry Scherer said the policy would soon be posted on the district's web site.

Christman then asked whether the district has kept track of statistics on drug and alcohol use, and suggested it should instead focus its attention on those matters.

"It seems to me we're spending an awful lot of time on something involving a very minimal amount of students," Christman said.

Superintendent Carol Boyce previously said anyone with concerns about the current policy is to follow board policy No. 906, which is a complaint procedure that may be filed by community members who have issues with professional employees or administrators in the district.

In August, it was determined that students were to follow the current dress code as listed in the student handbook. That came after the school board's ad hoc policy committee in July made numerous revisions to the policy, which was then sent to district solicitor David Shulman for review.

That action came after the group determined which of four policies created in August by four teams it favored. However, the committee said at that time any revisions to the district's dress and groom policy likely wouldn't go into effect until Jan. of 2011.

At a special meeting in June, the board agreed to form the committee that consisted of district administrators, teachers and several parents from each of the five buildings in the district to review the policy after it was discussed at a board committee meeting earlier that month, when it was decided that a special meeting was needed to revisit the matter.

In April, the board held a special meeting in response to a request by junior high school Principal Thaddeus Kosciolek, who said he believed the matter needed to be revisited because instances where the dress code was violated continued to escalate.

Kosciolek also said at that time he hoped the district would consider the adoption of a dress code similar to one adopted by the Tamaqua Area School District. He said Panther Valley and Pleasant Valley school districts have also adopted new dress codes.

Larry Wittig, president of Tamaqua Area School Board, attended that special meeting to discuss the successful dress code that was implemented in the Tamaqua Area School District five years ago.

Also on Tuesday, the board was told the number of residents from Palmerton who currently attend Lehigh Carbon Community College is on the upswing.

Audrey Larvey, chairwoman of the LCCC board and a retired teacher in the district, said 210 residents attended LCCC in 2010, up from the 192 residents who attended last year.

"There is a huge increase in enrollment at community colleges across the nation," Larvey said. "We have an exceptional community college."

In an unrelated matter, Boyce announced that the district has received notification that is has been accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution, a nationwide scholarship referral program.

"It's absolutely outstanding that we have been accepted to participate in that program," Boyce said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved, on a 6-3 vote, Kenneth Mettam for Elementary Chorus at a stipend of $1,405 for the 2010-11 school year. Directors Darlene Yeakel, Michael Ballard, Tina Snyder, Susan Debski, Stuart Henritzy and board President Barry Scherer voted in favor. Directors Carl Bieling, Carol Dwyer and Clarence Myers were opposed.

• Accepted the resignation for purpose of retirement of high school Mathematics teacher Darlene Mack, effective the end of the 2010-11 school year.

• Approved Jeffrey Hausman and Gail Bauer to be added to the substitute custodian list, effective Oct. 20, 2010, at a rate of $8.50 an hour.

• Approved Patricia Guedes and Janice Wasilkowski to be added to the substitute instructional assistant list, effective Oct. 20, 2010, at the rate of $7.25 an hour.

• Approved Janice Wasilkowski to be added to the substitute nurse list, effective Oct. 20, 2010, at the rate of $70 a day.

• Approved Marianna Chryst, Stacie Derr, Andrea Eberhardt, Jessica Farkas, Jennifer Graver, Megan Heffelfinger, Brittany Herman, Megan Kibler, Sara Pysher, Ashlynne Rumble, Sarah Sidor, Keith Smith, and William Zeky to be added to the district substitute teacher list, effective Oct. 20, 2010, at the rate of $70 a day.

• Approved, on an 8-0 vote, with Director Clarence Myers abstaining, Ashley Eckhart to be added to the district substitute teacher list, effective Oct. 20, 2010, at the rate of $70 a day.

• Approved the disability in conjunction with family medical leave, starting approximately Dec. 13, 2010, for professional employee #2131, with a return to work date of approximately Feb. 14, 2011.

• Approved the transfer of Kelly Recker, from Special Ed Instructional Assistant to Regular Education Instructional Assistant, effective Nov. 12, 2010.

• Approved Darlene Dugan as Special Education Instructional Assistant assigned to Towamensing Elementary, effective Nov. 12, 2010, for six work hours/day at the rate of $12 an hour. Compensation may be adjusted at the conclusion of negotiations.

• Approved the second reading and adoption of policy #337, Administration Family and Medical Leave Policy; #437, Professional Family and Medical Leave Policy; #537, and Classified Family and Medical Leave Policy.

• Tabled policy #324, Administration Personnel File Policy; and #424, Professional Personnel File Policy.

• Approved the following Business and Science Department Curriculum courses: Accounting I; Accounting II; Business Law; Career Essentials; Computers for today; Computer Applications I; Computer Applications II; Desktop Publishing; Multimedia Computer Applications; Speedwriting; Science Grade 7; Science Grade 8.

• Approved the Employee Assistance Program Agreement with St. Luke's Hospital.

• Accepted the donation of a used trombone from a member of the Palmerton Community.

• Accepted as a gift from Ballard books to be donated to all three elementary school libraries in the district.

• Accepted as a gift from an anonymous donor a $1,000 check to be used in the student activity account to purchase books through the scholastic book fair.

• Accepted as a gift from Glenn Beers of Old Homestead Tree Farm in Kunkletown the donation of two maple trees toward the junior high school beautification project.

• Approved several tuition reimbursements.

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