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

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.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

• 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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