New Behavioral Learning Guide to replace Code of Conduct in Huntsville City Schools

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville City Schools will implement new student conduct guidelines next year, and now is your chance to give input on the changes.

Recently, the Huntsville Board of Education unveiled the new "Behavioral Learning Guide" draft.  Here, you can read the Elementary Behavioral Learning Guide and the Secondary Behavioral Learning Guide. There's a set of two, because administrators say there are upgraded consequences as students progress. The guides, school system attorneys say, remedy problems with the current code of conduct. You can find more coverage about them by clicking this link.

If approved, the guides would replace the current Code of Conduct and take effect next school year, 2016-17.  Parents heard more about it at a meeting Thursday, begun by Huntsville City Schools staff and finished by Desegregation Advisory Committee members. The DAC heard public comment.

If you couldn't make tonight's meeting, there are several other ways for students, parents and teachers to give feedback:

  • Email comments to BLG.Comments@hsv-k12.org
  • Leave comments on the website at HuntsvilleCitySchools.org/comments
  • Hand deliver comments to the front desk of the Merts Center, located at 200 White Street, Huntsville, AL 35801
  • Mail comments to Merts Center, Behavioral Learning Dept.,200 White Street, Huntsville, AL 35801

Huntsville City Schools officials tell us they will receive input and comments about the documents until May 6, 2016.  After all input and comments are received, updated versions of the documents will be presented to the Board of Education for approval.  If approved, these documents will go into effect for the 2016-2017 school year.

Some parents at Tuesday's meeting questioned the effectiveness of the guide, as drafted.

"There needs to be something with some teeth and consequences for it to be effective," one man said.

Others questioned the app, to be used for teachers to document discipline concerns as outlined in the guide. Some parents wanted to know if privacy would be considered, and asked what measures would be taken to protect the data.

Another group of parents wanted to know whether the school system would assure teachers they have support. Adam Keller, representative of the Alabama Education Association, said there's an air of distrust there. Teachers fear further alienation, he said.

"All of [the parties'] success depends on trust and confidence," Keller said. "So that 'positive school climate' could be the most important part of the entire initiative."

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Barbara Cooper told WHNT News 19 there would be support for teachers at the administrative level. When asked about recent discipline problems at city high schools and whether this guide could help, she said: "This new guide should help with student safety because it's all about creating safe environments in Huntsville City Schools."

She said the feedback collected today is critical in finishing the guide. Attorneys could not tell WHNT News 19 when the final draft of the guide would be completed for administrative, DOJ, and board review. They did explain that the idea was to have it ready "as soon as possible."

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