Huntsville School Board adds new member, approves changes to student policy & resource officer program

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The District 5 seat on the Huntsville City School Board of Education officially has a new occupant.

Carlos Mathews was sworn in at the start of Tuesday morning’s working meeting.

Matthews voted in the affirmative on all of the matters up for vote along with his colleagues. He says he’s looking forward to working with the team.

Board member Michelle Watkins welcomed Matthews to the team, and pointed out that this is the first time two sitting members have been African American.

Behavioral Learning Guide

The board approved several changes in the system’s Behavioral Learning Guide (BLG) including personal electronic device policy and dress codes.

The school board decided to address personal electronic devices BLG for the first time this year. There was already a policy in place for the school system, but it was never included in the student guide. This student policy will be expanded to include, not only cell phones and tablets, but also smart watches and accessories like earbuds.

The BLG will also adopt a new dress code for students. The changes include:

  • Allowing non-gang related headscarves and bandannas as an accessory
  • Oversized shirts now must be tucked in
  • Hemlines of skirts, skorts, shorts, and dresses must not be higher than the middle of the thigh

School Resource Officers

The board also renewed their school resource officer agreement, adding six part-time personnel. Currently, there are 20 full-time SROs.

The new part-time employees will all be retired officers chosen by the Huntsville Police Department. They will have a cap of working 29 hours a week for the 180 school days. There will be a salary cap of $31,000.

Those officers will be given the same resources as full-time officers and go through the same training.

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