BOE Discusses Dress Code — For Staff

The Brooke County Board of Education on Wednesday discussed proposed policies restricting cell phone use at Brooke High School and setting a dress code for staff.

Currently pupils at the middle and primary schools are not allowed to use cell phones except before and after school, but high school students can use them between classes and at lunch at the principal’s discretion.

Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson, superintendent, said if the policy is approved, high school students also will be prohibited from using cell phones during the school day and would be required to store them in their lockers until they leave school.

She said exceptions would be made for classes in which students use web-based applications for their class work, but their teachers must note that use in their lesson plans.

Kidder-Wilkerson said the policy establishes penalties for non-compliance ranging from temporary confiscation of the phones to external suspension, depending on the number of violations.

The board is expected to consider the change in August.

Complaints from staff and parents that cell phones have created a distraction in classrooms led to the board adopting its cell phone policy early last year. Kidder-Wilkerson said since then a majority of staff in Brooke High School’s faculty senate voted to recommend restricting the phones.

Meanwhile, Kidder-Wilkerson said if approved, the proposed dress code policy for staff wouldn’t dictate what they should wear but would prohibit certain clothing and shoes. For example, beach-style flip flops wouldn’t be permitted for safety reasons; tops must cover the full torso, with straps no less than 3 inches wide and dresses shouldn’t extend more than 3 inches above the knees.

“We didn’t put in anything for our staff that isn’t already true for our students,” Kidder-Wilkerson said.

Board President Jim Piccirillo said nearly all of the school district’s staff wears appropriate attire and he doesn’t expect the new code to be an issue if adopted.

Kidder-Wilkerson said the policy is being considered because the school district has hired a large number of new staff in recent years.