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School principals to hear Hawkins student disciplinary appeals

Jeff Bobo • Nov 10, 2018 at 3:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — It took awhile to get there Thursday evening, but the Hawkins County Board of Education eventually agreed to appoint a Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority (SDHA) comprised of every principal in the system and high school supervisor Wes Smith.

Those 18 principals would comprise a pool from which Smith, who serves as the SDHA chairman, would pick at least three but no more than seven to hear students’ disciplinary appeals.

The 45-minute debate leading up to that decision was the result of a revelation last month that the current SDHA was operating in violation of board policy because it had not been appointed by the BOE.

Board policy states that the SDHA must be appointed each year by the BOE, which had not been done for the past several years.

That revelation precipitated a decision by Director of Schools Reba Bailey last month to overturn a student expulsion which had been upheld by the SDHA in September.

On Thursday, the board was initially asked to approve the job titles, including certified central office supervisors and principals, from which the SDHA chairman could draw his panels.

However, the BOE policy was interpreted by board members to require that specific names must be approved to serve on the SDHA.

There were motions made nominating specific names to the SDHA which were either voted down or failed for lack of a second. After an extensive debate with no result, some board members were ready to table the matter and bring it back up next month.

Smith noted, however, that the board shouldn’t leave the panel as is because it violates policy.

Smith reminded board members that the SDHA has 10 days to grant students disciplinary appeal hearings, so there could potentially be a need for an SDHA before the BOE meets again in December.

Smith told the BOE that the SDHA chairman needs a pool that is “available and appropriate” from which to draw panels.

Subsequently the board agreed to appoint all 18 principals by name to a pool from which Smith can draw his SDHA panel as needed through the end of the 2018-19 school year.

The goal is to appoint at least one principal from the grade span (high school, middle school or elementary) of the student seeking the appeal hearing, but not from the student’s actual school.

Board members agreed that they will take a closer look at the SDHA appointment policy before the SDHA comes up for reappointment in 2019-20.

Reward School celebrations

BOE Chairman Bob Larkins notified the board during Thursday’s meeting that celebrations had been scheduled at each of the four Hawkins County schools that achieved Reward School status from the state in 2018.

Hawkins Elementary’s event is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 8:30 a.m.; Clinch School’s for Nov. 14 at 1:30 p.m.; Carters Valley Elementary’s for Nov. 20th at 8:30 a.m.; and Mount Carmel Elementary’s for Nov. 28 at 8:30 a.m.

Parking lot paving

The BOE accepted a low bid of $78,412 for Church Hill Elementary’s parking lot and $112,856 for Hawkins Elementary’s parking lot.

Both low bids were awarded to Summers-Taylor, Inc.

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