Pearl River Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Sue Wheeler outlined changes to the district's Code of Conduct for 2012-13 during a public hearing Tuesday at the district administration building.
The adjustments to the code included sections dealing with bullying, the use of electronic devices in the classroom, drug possession and public conduct on school property.
The Pearl River Board of Education adopted the 2012-13 Code of Conduct during its regular meeting after the public hearing.
One change on page 15 of the 68-page document added language to a section on the use of cell phones, camera phones and electronic communication devices, which already required that they be kept turned off and out of site during the school hours except with prior permission from a teacher. The new language addressed electronic devices used for reading as follows:
Devices in the nature of e-readers, i-Pads and Nooks may be used by students with the teacher's prior permission during student attendance hours for the purposes of reading textbook, content-related text and independent readings that are related to their curriculum of instruction.
Resident Eric Foote asked if the use of such devices is banned during testing, a reference to recent incidents outside the district of students using handheld electronic devices to cheat. He was reminded that the new language only allows the use of such devices with teacher permission, which students would not have during testing.
More specific language was added to a section listing infractions with related penalties. The infractions in the section are "Harassment and bullying," with the addition of categories listed in the Dignity for All Students Act DASA: race, color, weight, national origin, ethnicity, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.
"We are moving in the direction that we need to with the regulations under DASA," Wheeler said.
Another alteration is listing synthetic marijuana as something students may not possess at school or school functions along with illegal drugs, dangerous drugs, counterfeit drugs, or a substance which the individual believes or represents to be such drugs or alcohol. The change was mandated by state law.
Language banning the unauthorized use of recording devices in school buildings, on school grounds and in school buses was added during the 2011-12 school year, which is reflected in the new code.
Check back with Patch later today for more from Tuesday's meeting.