Changes needed to improve district class withdrawl policy

Sarah Fulton, managing editor

Calculus is hard, harder than I ever imagined. I was warned, but I failed to realize how much of my life it would overwhelm. So three weeks into the school year, I tried to jump ship and switch into another math class. The experience was almost more stressful than the class itself.

First my mother contacted my teacher, then my counselor and then eventually principal Tobie Waldeck. The process was a two-week-long flurry of meetings, emails and phone calls; everything from my work ethic to the amount of time I had spent getting help to my state testing scores were scrutinized. Eventually the decision was made that I would not be able to switch out because I had not made enough effort to get help and I was perfectly capable of doing the work. I accepted the decision because I was honestly very tired of the situation.

I did not give it another thought until later in the year then two students were allowed to switch and another attempted, but was denied.

The district policy states that the principal and the teacher make the decision. However in my case, I was told that Waldeck solely made the final decision. I am not saying that Waldeck in anyway abuses his power, but such an important decision needs to be made by either a vote or a consensus of everyone involved.

Parents know the most about a student’s educational history and any struggles they are having, yet the policy specifically states that a parent cannot withdraw a student from the class. The principal can speak to the parents, but they need more power than simply pleading their case.

Also, the policy does not allow the student to appeal the decision to the school board, eliminating their power to fight.

The policy also does not outline acceptable causes to transfer classes. While every situation is different and that should be worked into the policy, some general outlines would make things clearer. Obviously the general guidelines would not account for every case, but a simple “including but not limited to” clause would suffice and still allow for needed guidelines.

Not all requests deserved to be approved, but adding guidelines to the district policy could ensure that legitmate cases are not over looked.

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