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Richmond County school board agrees alternative program students can walk at graduation

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 9:09 PM
Last updated Wednesday, May 22, 2013 12:36 AM
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With high school graduations set for May 28 and 29, the Richmond County Board of Education clarified board policy that will let students assigned to the alternative program for discipline infractions participate in their school’s graduation.

Board member Marion Barnes brought up the issue, saying some principals might be misinterpreting the policy. While board policy prohibits alternative program students from trespassing on other campuses, it still allows those students to walk across the stage with their home schools.

All board members agreed, some raising questions about how the policy could have been misinterpreted in the first place.

“For the average student who has been sent to the alternative center who is a senior, I think taking that away from them, that’s just ugly,” board president Venus Cain said. “Let the child walk.”


• The board passed relocation plans for Butler High, Laney High and Murphey Middle schools for the next two years while construction takes place at the campuses, which the building committee approved last week. Murphey pupils and staff will attend the old Tubman Middle School on Bungalow Road, the Butler body will be able to stay on-site, and Laney students and staff will move into Tubman Education Center. The 250 alternative program students and staff at Tubman will move to the vacant Lamar Elementary School to make room for Laney. The motion passed with Barbara Pulliam and Patsy Scott voting no and Alex Howard absent.

• Westside High School Principal Debbie Alexander was approved as new assistant superintendent of instruction. Virginia Bradshaw, who currently holds that position, is retiring at the end of the school year.

• The board voted to purchase a leadership assessment program from polling firm Gallup Inc. Board members Venus Cain, Jack Padgett and Barbara Pulliam were against it while Alex Howard was absent.

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avidreader 05/22/13 - 05:35 am
Question for Tracey McManus!

Concerning the kids from the Alternative School -- are they all receiving a diploma or a "certificate of attendance"? To receive a diploma, one must pass the state-mandated graduation tests (the transition from GHSGT to EOCT is confusing, but there is an accountability test).

This would be some interesting information.

sassylassie 05/22/13 - 06:33 am
“For the average student who

“For the average student who has been sent to the alternative center who is a senior, I think taking that away from them, that’s just ugly,” board president Venus Cain said. “Let the child walk.”

I have to disagree. What did their disciplinary infractions take away from others who were trying to learn that DIDN'T get into trouble? They were at the alternative school for a reason. Perhaps some others would think twice before committing infractions if they knew that graduating with everyone else was a privilege to be lost. And some of the students at the alternative school have disrupted their home school to the point that they cannot stay there. Why allow them to disrupt graduation as well?

Just food for thought.

That's why I think this should be decided on a case by case basis after students have a proven track record of positive behavior and have earned their diploma.
Avidreader brought up a great point about whether or not the students had earned their COA or diploma -I agree.
I believe some students caught up in vandalizing a school in Columbia County last year were not permitted to graduate with their class. I'm sure that was punishment they may learn from.

Case in point; imagine being the teacher that was physically harmed by a student who then went to the alternative school and returned for graduation--and you are the one handing the student their diploma? Awkward.

Usually I agree with Ms. Cain's philosophies but not on this one.

soapy_725 05/22/13 - 07:59 am
What difference does it make?

Let them "do the walk". Let the "cat calls begin". That is what it is all about. A piece of paper that says that you have successfully completed a course of study means nothing to these thugs. An education that results in a productive law abiding citizen is way down the list for the RCBOE. Heck, a portion of teachers and administrators are just filing space.

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