School Board to Consider Door-to-Door Sales and Disciplinary Policies

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Thursday, December 12, 2019, 8:43 am
By: 
Alice Dreger

Trustee Terah Chambers watches a presentation at the Sept. 9 meeting of the East Lansing Schools Board of Education. (Photo by Raymond Holt)

East Lansing Public Schools will be considering several new policies in 2020 according to Trustee Terah Chambers, including a policy to restrict students from doing door-to-door sales as a school fundraising tool.

One thing that won’t be considered in terms of new policy, Chambers explained to the rest of the Board on Monday night, is the issue of parents open-carrying weapons at off-site school events.

Chambers explained that ELPS parents came with concerns about seeing open-carried weapons at a school-related event at a public fairgrounds. But, after consultation with the District’s legal counsel, Chambers said, they found “not much wiggle room” to do anything because State law allows open-carry at such venues.

Chambers said this issue won’t be coming to the full school board because nothing can be done, but she thought it was important to report-out on it so that the Board and parents knew the Policy Committee had discussed it.

Three other items are expected to come to the Board in 2020 for policy consideration:

  • One would be a new policy “to restrict door-to-door sales for students of all ages.” Chambers explained to ELi after the meeting that there have been “tensions around students being harassed and worse” when doing school fundraising sales, not in East Lansing but elsewhere. Chambers said that African-American students in particular have been met with hostility in some cases. Chambers said an event like the high school band’s “Night Out” would still be permitted because it does not involve sales. (During “Night Out,” band members go out into neighborhoods to play for residents who voluntarily contribute donations in return.)
  • The Board will also consider ending the practice of taking away recess time as a form of punishment for poor behavior. Chambers explained that the idea is not to use disciplinary policies that inadvertently harm student health and well-being. “We want to make sure students get the holistic educational experience that they need,” she explained after the meeting.
  • The third policy to be taken up will be the suspension and expulsion policy, with consideration for allowing longer suspensions if a disciplinary hearing is pending.

At this week’s meeting, the Board also unanimously approved the contract to hire Ashley Schwarzbek as an Associate Principal for East Lansing High School effective January 6. (Trustee Kath Edsall was absent.) Schwarzbek will be leaving Charlotte Public Schools to take the position.

Superintendent Dori Leyko also explained this week why construction has not been completed at the new Donley and Glencairn elementary schools. We have a separate report on that.

 

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