HSFOIL Takes Steps in Amending Process

Madison Lee

After a year of waiting, the School
Board has finally responded to the
cries of the people.
During the January 12 School
Board meeting, Stephanie Mayle, one
of Hanover Students for Freedom of
Information and Learning’s (HSFOIL)
founders, gave a speech to the Board
urging them to take steps in the vot-
ing process for the amendment that
the group submitted last April and
again in December. Dr. Michael Gill,
the Hanover County Public Schools
Superintendent, then proceeded to
make a recommendation to the Board
to form a policy review committee.
Members of a policy review com-
mittee vary depending on what sub-
ject the proposed amendment(s) are
centered around. They can be com-
prised of teachers, public employees,
administrators, or other commu-
nity members that are familiar with
or will be affected by the possible
changes.
However, this is only the second
step in the process. Dr. Gill also
suggested that the review commit-
tee submit a recommendation to the
Board as to what action to take by the
March 8 School Board meeting. The
committee could advise the Board to
take one of the three possible plans
of action: to vote yes to the proposed
policy changes, to vote no, or to vote
yes with the changes to the amend-
ment submitted by the committee.
The amendment is in regard to a
policy regarding the use of “contro-
versial materials” in the classroom.
HSFOIL is attempting to amend a cur-
rent policy which states that teachers
are required to create an alternative
assignment if he/she receives notifi-
cation from the parent that they do
not want their child participating in
the original assignment. The current
policy also states that all high school
grade levels may only watch films up
to the rating of PG-13 in the class-
room.
The group’s amendment would
give students taking college level
classes the ability to view and ana-
lyze R-rated films in the classroom
and places specific circumstances in
which a teacher would be required to
create an alternative assignment for
students. Specifically, if 33 percent of
the students’ parents decide that they
do not want their child to be exposed
to the original assignment.
“Controversy is one of the most
important aspects in a child’s edu-
cation and should be constantly en-
couraged, not denied,” Mayle stated
in her speech.
In addition the amendment states,
“a teacher or School Board employee
shall not be disciplined for violation
of the policy without proof of willful
or malicious intent.”
In her speech, Mayle made a point
of saying that the group is open to
working with the board to make
changes in their education and com-
munity. The group’s main purpose is
to promote involvement in local gov-
ernment.

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