The New Student Handbook: A Reflection of Student/Teacher Concerns

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The student handbook will be undergoing a redesign this spring that will create a clearer outline of consequences and may include greater student privileges.

The student handbook will look a bit different in the coming school year as more clear-cut language is added in response to complaints that the consequences of students’ actions aren’t definite enough. At the same time, student council will reevaluate the needs of the student body.The administration is taking a comprehensive look at areas that are lacking specific language about the rules to ensure students are informed on the risks and consequence of breaking them, while student council is looking to expand student privileges.

Administration has received feedback from students that they don’t understand why they are being punished or the severity of the consequences. “Sometimes, students don’t understand what it is or what the rules for things are, because it says ‘this may happen’ or ‘this could happen.’ You have the right to know exactly what will happen for each thing. So that’s why [the handbook is changing] – just to be clearer,” Stephanie Nitchals, senior high principal, said.

None of the rules of the handbook are changing, they are simply being laid out more clearly in a tier system to make it easier for students to understand, such as the consequences of missing one or two classes. “We’re not adding any new rules. We’re just saying, if you do this, then this will happen. If you do that this will happen. And this is what you can expect from all stakeholder groups,” Nitchals said.

We’re going to look at their revisions too and so it’ll be a combination of both what the adults think is good and then what the students are also asking for.”

— Principal Nitchals

The goal of the handbook redesign is to improve the communication between the administration and the student body. “It’s just about making sure that [the administration is] communicating with you… the administrative team is looking at the handbook and just trying to make it clearer and better to understand so that everybody is on the same page with expectations,” Nitchals said.

While administration works of the logistical and disciplinary side, student council is looking to expand student’s rights based on their evaluation of what the current student body needs. “One thing we’re going to try and change is we want to have students be able to arrive to school if they have a free period whenever they want. Right now it’s just a senior privilege. We want it for everyone…Other than that we have small changes that we want – looser dress code restrictions on Spirit Day so students can really show their school spirit,” student council member Will Peschel said.

Student councils’ proposed ideas are a reaction to their own observations, peer feedback, and different policies in the past few years. “The biggest thing that we see is just that there’s room for opportunities because the world’s changed a lot in the past year…So we’re just looking to make the school a better place,” Peschel said.

Currently, student council is in the process of setting up a meeting with administration to discuss their proposed ideas, and the two will work together to make a handbook that meets the needs of students, teachers, and administrators. “We’re going to look at their revisions to and so it’ll be a combination of both what the adults think is good and then what the students are also asking for,” Nitchals said.