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Copley-Fairlawn school board approves policy changes

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

When the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools Board of Education met Nov. 19, business included approving three changes to district policies.

Superintendent Brian Poe said a new policy providing specific information regarding the use of restraint and seclusion in managing student behavior aims “to make sure our students are protected.”

A change to discrimination and harassment reporting procedures is a minor one, listing the director of pupil services rather than a specific individual, he added. Also, the policy on hazing and bullying now will include a direct reference to “on a school bus,” Poe said.

Among other routine business items at the meeting, the board also approved:

  • purchasing three school buses from Cardinal Bus Sales and Service for $244,000;
  • advertising for bids for roof replacement/renovations at Copley-Fairlawn Middle School (CFMS) and Arrowhead Primary School;
  • accepting donations, including $1,000 from Earth Fare for physical education equipment at Copley High School (CHS); and $12,900 from the Arrowhead PTA to be used for the purchase of iPads and covers for the school’s mobile iPad cart;
  • an overnight field trip for the CHS and CFMS Academic Challenge teams to a national tournament in Chicago June 7-9;
  • the resignation of Rachel Knight, gifted tutor; and
  • employing Ping Zhou as a part-time Chinese teacher.

In other business, the board noted its annual organizational meeting is set for Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.

During the portion of the meeting set for citizen participation, LaShawn Terrell asked the board to review the practice of the head high school boys basketball coach in limiting the number of team members. Each level — freshman, junior varsity and varsity — has jerseys for 15 students, but only the freshman level is at capacity, she told the board. She also suggested the board develop a process for discussing concerns about coaching behaviors with an independent party and to review the coach’s salary in proportion to the team’s size.

Also, she requested the board provide a letter to the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) regarding the eligibility of transfer students to participate in sports at their new schools. Currently, OHSAA policy dictates transfer students sit out of games for a half season following enrollment at new schools, Terrell said. Behind her request is the suggestion that a student who didn’t make the team at CHS might switch schools in order to play, she said.

Students of the Month for October recognized by the board included Natalia Rodriguez for Arrowhead, Caleb Laurich for Fort Island Primary School, Dylan Haywood for Herberich Primary School, Jack Dawson for CFMS and Abbey Woodward for CHS.

CHS soccer player Anna Haverchak was recognized as the district’s Athlete of the Month for October.

The board also put the spotlight on one of its members, Julie Schafer, during an unplanned recognition, congratulating her for being elected Akron Municipal Court judge in the Nov. 5 General Election.

“We’ve been on the board for 14 years together,” said board President Kenneth Calderone, “and without question, she has been the hardest working board member for the last 14 years that I’ve seen, and she’s well deserving of the honor.

“If Julie takes the same work ethic to the bar that she has demonstrated for you in this community, then as an attorney I feel very confident to have any case before her,” he added.

Schafer later commented on recently attending the Ohio School Boards Association’s annual Capital Conference, triggering reflections on serving as president of the Northeast Region Executive Committee to the organization for the past year.

“One thing that’s very, very, very apparent is that public schools, which are the one equalizing thing among Americans ... is under assault in this country,” she said, “and if people like us don’t stand up and say, ‘that’s enough,’ it’s just going to be splintered and fractured to the point where there is no common ground, there is no melting pot.

“I’ve been very disappointed with what I’ve learned this year,” she added, as she urged others to become more educated and also to make noise.

“Keep your eyes and ears open, because marginalizing and turning boards of education that are locally controlled is going to become something that’s being stripped away from us, and if you don’t say something now and take action and do something about it, it’s just going to happen by osmosis,” she said.

The next board meeting is set for Dec. 10 and will begin an hour earlier than usual, at 6 p.m., at CHS, 3797 Ridgewood Road.

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