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From shirttails (or not) to cell phones
BoE approves 2009-2010 student handbook
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For the first time in a long time, untucked shirttails aren’t mentioned in the Bryan County School System’s Student Handbook.

But with more than 100 pages, just about everything else you can think of probably is.

"It’s extensive," said John Oliver, interim superintendent of Bryan County Schools. "Over time we have come to use the handbook for more than just giving out information about dress code and student behavior and attendance."

Now, the handbook is e a legal document, providing students and parents -- who are required to sign a statement saying they’ve read it -- with information ranging from school policies to state law.

And a whole lot in between.

Oliver said there’s a reason the handbook has grown.

"The handbook is the school district’s way of notifying the public of a lot of information they really can’t get anywhere else. It’s also trying to answer questions parents and students might ask over a period of time," Oliver said.

Yet apart from giving administrators more flexibility in dealing with discipline, the 2009-2010 version of the handbook is not much different from its immediate predecessor, Oliver said.

Among the changes:

The dress code won’t require shirts to be tucked in, but there are still 17 rules to follow. For example, students must wear their pants pulled up to the waist and no bike shorts or beachwear can be worn.

"We still want kids to look respectable," Oliver said. "It’s providing students an opportunity to demonstrate they can accept some responsibility for their own appearance. We're hoping if we do it correctly and if parents understand they will help us with it "

There's also a change with regard to cell phones, which with some exceptions are prohibited on campuses during school hours.

Officials still expect students to leave their cell phones at home or in a car, but there won’t be any intentional searches for phones.

"If we see someone using one, that’s going to present a problem," Oliver said.

It also could turn costly. Under the latest BoE rules, students violating the policy a second time -- and their parents -- will have to sign an agreement noting a third incident may lead to either a $25 fine or loss of parking privileges.

"Cell phones interfere with the instructional process of the school, that’s the basic issue" Oliver said. "We’ve had board members who would say let’s banish them altogether. But the reality is cell phones are a part of our present day existence. We hope that the mere possibility of a fine to get their phones back will deter kids from using them"

The new student handbook will take effect when school starts in August.

See the current handbook online at

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