Redrafting of several policies was suggested by Director of Pupil Services Kim Carpinone to the School Board last week. Superintendent of Schools Nathan Greenberg said the policy changes were a result of changes in legislative rules and regulations.
“Language is updated to reference all of the protected groups under non-discrimination and to update all of the legal references,” Carpinone said at the board’s Tuesday, July 15 meeting.
Carpinone said the policies to be redrafted were policy AC – non discrimination/equal opportunity; ACA-E – harassment and sexual harassment of school employees and complaint procedures for employees and third parties; and ACA-S – student discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure.
With the redrafting, Carpinone said, the district would no longer need policy AC-R, Title IX Grievances, and she recommended that it be rescinded.
She also spoke to Policy IGBAA, which she said was adopted in 1978 and has had a lot of updating since then. The redrafted policy identifies all of the legal standards in completing any evaluation for a child suspected of having an educational disability, including when and under what conditions the district would pay for an outside evaluation, Carpinone said.
She said that if the redrafting of the policy were adopted, she would recommend the district rescind the current policy IGBAA because it would no longer be relevant.
She also suggested redrafting Policy IGBG, regarding homebound instruction. “This new redraft outlines what we do as a district for any children that are homebound due to disability or sickness or illness,” she said. “It’s very different from home school. The redraft of the current policy puts us in compliance with best practice and updates all of the legal references.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the first reading and to recommend for a second reading all of Carpinone’s suggestions.
Four new policies were also suggested by Carpinone: JFABD; JFABD-R; IMGA; and IHBAC.
JFABD concerns education of homeless children and youth and is legally mandated to outline how the district is following the McKinney-Vento Act. JFABD-R outlines the administrative procedures.
Chairman Leitha Reilly asked if it the district were required to investigate whether a student is homeless.
“I am not charged with investigating, I am charged with letting people know of the McKinney-Vento procedures,” Carpinone said. “We make sure we have fliers posted. We don’t have a shelter or soup kitchen in Londonderry but we have been occasionally in touch with those in Manchester and Derry.”
Board member John Laferriere asked why there was a need for the policy if the district is mandated to educate the children of the town.
“So by classifying them as homeless in a policy to say that we’re going to provide the things that we’re going to provide anyway under law, why do we have this policy?” Laferriere asked.
Carpinone said federal law requires the district to have a policy on the books.
Policy IMGA refers to service animals in the schools.
“We are required to have a policy that outlines that we recognize and a procedure that we allow service animals in the schools,” Carpinone explained. “This policy outlines what we classify as a service animal, which is in harmony with federal law; the conditions which a service animal can be in our schools; what the district would be or not be responsible for; and under what conditions we could remove or refuse a service animal from our schools.
“The animal must be able to do three things,” Carpinone said. “It must be able to show obedience, which is to follow a first command with 90 percent accuracy. It must be able to perform a task, which is a specific task related to the person with the disability, and the animal must be trained for public access and not be distracted by the public. If a miniature (horse) fell into these categories, it would be considered a service animal.”
Policy IHBAC was new policy and covers outdated policies that reference programs for students with disabilities. “We did not want this policy to outline specific procedures because they change all the time,” Carpinone said. “We wanted to just simply reference IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and that we follow it based on the federal regulations.”
The board voted unanimously to accept as first reading and to move to second reading all of the new policies and to rescind policies IGBA, IGBA-R, IGBA-N, EEAH and AC-R if the third reading of the policies are accepted.
The board also approved the second reading of a policy change for “Life of a Lancer,” which outlines amendments to infractions affecting athletes and club members at Londonderry High School.