SCOPE Delegates Report on Student Policies
BY JOEL WASHBURN
McKENZIE (April 3) — Four McKenzie High School juniors had the privilege of attending the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) held at Middle Tennessee State University on March 3.
Four McKenzie delegates – Mallory Cole, Olivia Wright, John Putman, and Zach Laser were among 398 student delegates from across Tennessee. The four McKenzians gave their report to the McKenzie School Board on April 3.
Sheila Ridley, school counselor, attended the event and had praise for the four students who represented the school and the broader McKenzie community.
Zach Laser, son of Lori Stambaugh and Marco Laser, said the he was placed with the group with the prompt “student information shall be shared without parental consent.”
Laser said the students argued that the information to outside sources. Each year, 1.3 million students’ identities are stolen. Overall, the group voted 53 “for” and 47 “against” the students’ identity being shared without parental consent. Laser added that students should have the option to opt-in rather than the standard policy of opting-out.
Olivia Wright, daughter of John and Josephine Wright, was placed in the group to debate whether or not to ban corporal punishment at school. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia now ban corporal punishment. After the discussion, student-delegates voted not to ban corporal punishment by a vote of 47 to 53.
Mallory Cole, daughter of Stacy and Stephen Cole, said she was placed in the group to debate whether or not students should pass a test on the knowledge of American history, similar to a test now administered to immigrants seeking American citizenship. Students would have to successful pass the test prior to graduation. Students voted 67 to 31 to implement the test.
John Putman, son of Paul and Traci Putman, spoke about cyberbullying. He said he was not participated in the group, but cyberbullying was the fourth topic debated by students. The issue was whether or not schools should implement a “zero tolerance” policy concerning students who use electronic means to demean or destroy the lives of fellow students. The vote was 17 percent yes, and 83 percent no.
In other business, the school board set fees from next school year at each of the three school sites.
The instructional fees for the 2018-19 school year are as follows: science labs $15; art $15, computer $5; TN Ready Test Prep $5; Biology II Lab Manual $17.50; Driver’s Education $45; Diploma/Diploma Cover $26; Health Science Scrubs $40; Accounting materials $27; Cap and Gown $44; Health Sciences $15; Student Professional Health Liability Insurance $15.
Middle School fees are as follows: Science Lab Classes $10.
Elementary School fees are as follows: Kindergarten $20; First to Fourth Grade $20.
Textbooks were adopted for the subjects of Science, PE/ Wellness, and Fine Arts. Lynn Watkins, director of schools, said teachers want to attend a workshop on the books prior to final adoption.
The board approved a new state policy allowing students to receive an alternate academic diploma. It is designed for those who are special education students.
Watkins announced nine MHS students of the total 13 county seniors with a 29 or better on the ACT. The 13 will be honored by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, April 11.
Sunday, May 13 is graduation.
Board members will convene in a closed-door meeting to discuss safety issues and protocols. The private meeting is allowed by the Tennessee Open Meetings Act. Board members hope to convene on Monday, April 23, 5:30 p.m.
Watkins said it appears the state will provide one-time money to enhance school safety. A state task force is to evaluate the safety and needs of each school.