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BOE discusses dress code policy

By JUDY SHERARD
jsherard@dailynews.net

Approximately 20 Roosevelt Elementary School staff members attended the Hays USD 489 Board of Education meeting Monday night.

Staff members were there to give a vote of confidence to Principal Lee Keffer and his action in a dress code violation involving a student’s haircut.

The student’s parent aired her dissatisfaction with the dress code, and the district’s action, on Facebook last week in a series of posts that went viral on the social media site. While the district did not comment on the student’s situation, the parent of the Roosevelt kindergartner said her son was sent home by Keffer for sporting a Mohawk-style haircut.

Keffer said Tuesday morning he couldn’t get into details about a specific student because of confidentiality, but believes the issue since has been resolved.

“All the students who are supposed to be here are here,” he said Tuesday morning.

While Keffer wouldn’t say what specifically about a haircut is a distraction, he said it “can be something out of the ordinary or not a normal appearance.”

Roosevelt second-grade teacher Kim Lyon read a prepared statement on behalf of the staff during the audience participation section of the meeting.

“While we enjoy using the social media, it can also become extremely harmful,” Lyon read. “Information sharing in real time doesn’t always allow for thoughtful responses and the sharing of factual information by all those involved in the conversation.”

She said a dress code helps create an environment “conducive for learning.”

“We understand and embrace the tremendous task of supporting parents and the community in raising remarkable young adults equipped with the tools they need to live both happy and productive lives,” Lyon read. “This endeavor requires an environment that has rules, consequences, behavioral expectations and the reinforcement of each.”

Board member Greg Schwartz said he believed the matter was “a policy issue and lack of a policy from this level. I think it would be beneficial for the district as a whole to have a dress-code policy.”

The dress code might be different for the elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, but all of them should have one, he said.

“I think it would be beneficial to have a committee work on that with one or two board members, administrators and teachers. One of my concerns is that the more subjective you make it, the more it opens us up for criticism and potential problems,” Schwartz said.

In other business, board members took action to accept a quote not to exceed $29,956 from “Get a Move On,” Wichita, to move items from Kennedy Middle School.

“It’s cost effective for many reasons,” said Superintendent Will Roth. “It’s freeing up our custodial staff, plus we believe it will be safer for our employees to hire a professional company, and the move can be completed in four days instead of two to three weeks.”

The board approved contracts with Hays Medical Center High Plains Sports Medicine and Fort Hays State University for the use of Lewis Field.

The contracts are the same as the current fiscal year, Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain said.

In discussion of the first draft of the capital outlay budget, Cain said work on the projects could begin after July 1.  

“This is all pretty much guess work because we don’t know what the tax base will be, or what some of these other items will be.”

•  •  •

Board members also:
• Appointed board members Greg Schwartz and James Leiker to the USD 489 Foundation for Educational Excellence board.

• Accepted resignations from Heidi Dreiling, Early Childhood Connections parent educator; Robert Threlkel, Felten physical education teacher and head wrestling coach; Stephanie Weber, Wilson after-school assistant; Jan Nuss, Westside elementary special ed teacher; Stacey Berens, Wilson library secretary; Ken Bowden, Felten para; Tracy Dague, Early Childhood Connections parent educator; Carla Schmeidler, Victoria Elementary para; Deena Clark, Felten cheer coach; Kim Schneweis, Felten cheer coach; Idaly Zaragoza, Learning Center ESL para; Carly Hill, Kennedy assistant track coach; Rosalind Werth, Kennedy cook; Rachel Owens, O’Loughlin library secretary; Seth Klausmeyer, Lincoln after-school child care; Michelle Thacker, HHS para, and Kelly Parson, bus driver.

• Accepted retirements from Sheila Boos, Early Childhood Connections parent educator; Marguerite Caspers, Lincoln teacher; Loretta Dreiling, Felten math teacher.

• Approved maternity leave for Sami Vanek, Early Childhood Connections.

• Approved provisional employment for Jesse Holloway, Hays High custodian; Autumn Winters and Courtney Schweizer, HHS co-head cheer sponsors; Kathy Yunker, substitute nutrition services; Jonathan Mogle, floating sub custodian; Valerie Carrilo, bus driver; Pamela Love and Curtis Caldwell, substitute bus drivers.