Bexley News

Bexley Board of Education

New year marks return of familiar subjects

Recently revised policy dealing with cheating to be amended

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Although the Bexley Board of Education rang in the new year last week with the swearing in of two returning board members and one new, they spent a considerable amount of time talking about business left over from 2013.

District Treasurer Chris Essman did the honors of swearing in Carol Fey and Marlee Snowdon, both for a second term.

Newcomer John Barno, elected in November for his first four-year term, also took the oath of office, garnering applause from his family members.

"I am appreciative to be here," he told those in attendance, "serving the board and serving the city of Bexley."

Fey, who served as board president for the past four years, nominated Snowdon to serve as president. Snowdon had served as vice president previously.

Fey then nominated board member Melissa Lacroix as vice president.

The board voted unanimously to approve both nominations, at terms of four years each.

Two persistent topics returned to the agenda during the Jan. 13 meeting, including the district's Academic Integrity policy.

Prompted by student concerns, the Bexley City School District revised its academic integrity policy last year to better deal with students who cheat -- without suppressing learning.

Both the district's staff and board members spent hours on the revised policy which outlines both the definition of academic integrity and the consequences for those caught cheating.

But the newly revised policy, passed last November, prompted some staff members, administrators and community members to ask for further revisions.

"In its application, we have found some areas we'd like to tweak a little," Snowdon said last week.

Board member Mike Denison suggested the policy might be too complicated and confusing.

Considerable discussion surrounded the consequences of violating the policy, particularly for those who are involved in sports, theater, leadership positions and other extracurricular activities.

When a student commits a major offense, the policy mandates parental contact, and further says, in part, "Consequences also shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (5) Ineligibility for participation in athletics and/or extracurricular school activities for two weeks or two contests, whichever comes first."

But Fey pointed out that inconsistencies could result because of the nature of the different activities.

Harley Williams, principal at both Bexley Middle School and Bexley High School, suggested each extracurricular group or athletic department craft particular consequences in their own bylaws, consistent with the board's policy.

The panel ended the night agreeing to approve the policy, with its newest revisions, while tabling the sections on consequences until further review.

Board members hope to revisit the topic in February after further input from the district's staff and administration.

In other business, the board spent considerable time discussing the district's student absences policy, particularly when notification letters go home to parents.

The board also approved the following Monday meeting dates for 2014: Feb. 10, March 10, April 21, May 12, June 23, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.

All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Cassingham Complex Community Room, 326 S. Cassingham Road, Bexley.

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