BOE hears concerns over policy

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Students and parents crowded the Escambia County Board of Education meeting Thursday to voice their concerns over a zero tolerance policy regarding guns on campus.

A Flomaton High School student was recently suspended and faced the possibility of expulsion after a hunting rifle was found in his car on campus. The school board never took any action in the case because the student reportedly withdrew from the school.

The school board’s policy adheres to a federal mandate that requires schools that receive federal funding to have zero tolerance for guns on campus.

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Flomaton student Nicole Simpson said she thought the policy should be amended.

“I would like to submit a resolution that the policy of the school board be changed from a ‘zero tolerance policy’ to a ‘common sense policy,’ which would be handled on a case by case basis,” Simpson said. “Other school boards have made this decision and we think this incident should be reviewed.”

Taylor White, also a junior at Flomaton High School, spoke of the concern of other students when she urged the board to reconsider the decision they made in this incident.

“We think each case is different,” she said. “Even a reasonable explanation was not considered. We urge the board to make decisions on a case by case basis. Why can’t we use the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ of breaking rules rule? The punishment, in this case, was too severe. People make mistakes and shouldn’t have to pay for it forever.”

The school board allowed the students to speak, but did not take any action or discuss the issue.

In other business, the school board approved a new policy requiring students and other drivers not to idle their vehicles while parked on school campuses. The measure is intended to prevent emissions from vehicles.

The board also approved a Child Nutrition Program equipment contract with Mobile Fixtures for $73,360.