The Kanawha County Board of Education has placed out for public comment proposed repeals of or changes to about 30 policies.
Policies proposed to be altered but kept include ones titled School Maintenance-Maintenance Standards, Animals on School Property and Money Raising.
Policies proposed to be deleted include those titled School Pictures and School Sponsored Activities on Sunday.
The proposed changes to policies are available to read on the school system’s website, in “Proposed Policies” under the “District” tab at the top of the page. The words “proposed to be added” are underlined and those proposed to be deleted are lined through.
You can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org until the comment period ends June 4. After that, the school board will vote on whether to repeal, keep or change these various policies.
Half of the 30 policies were issued in 1975 and haven’t been revised since that year.
“That was the year after the textbook controversy,” schools Superintendent Tom Williams said.
He said proposed revisions to policies on bomb threats came up at last week’s board meeting. The Kanawha County textbook controversy was a historic, and violent, socially conservative local protest over the content of reading materials.
“I know, at South Charleston High School, we had bomb threat after bomb threat after bomb threat after bomb threat that year,” Williams said. He was a student at the time.
The West Virginia Encyclopedia, a project of the West Virginia Humanities Council, says the uproar began in 1974 but continued for several years afterward.
As for why so many policy changes are occurring now, Lindsey McIntosh, the school system’s general counsel, told board members, “We’ve been working with OCR [the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights] to make sure that everybody can have accessibility to all of our policies. In doing that reformatting, we also discovered that some of our policies were a little out of date.”
Williams said the Office for Civil Rights discovered that the online titles of Kanawha’s policies weren’t legible to a program that reads them out to blind or visually impaired people.
McIntosh said one of the reasons for the changes is, “We’re not going to regurgitate law if there’s a law on this issue.”
“If we are not putting our own spin on what is required by law and there’s no requirement that the policy exists, then, for the most part, we recommend that it be repealed because it’s already stated somewhere else,” she said. “And when it gets updated, then we have to update our policy, and that doesn’t totally make sense.”