D203 board approves policy changes

Jake Pfeiffer, News Editor and Copy Editor

District 203’s school board approved several changes to the district’s policies at their Dec. 19 meeting.

A full list of the changes can be found on District 203’s website under the school board tab.

All proposed changes came from Press Plus, the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) service that updates district policies in compliance with new laws and IASB’s own policies.

After reviewing the proposed changes, the Central Times has compiled a list of six of the changes.

 5:100 Staff Development Program

The changes to policy 5:100 require that all staff complete “training on preventing, reporting, and responding to child sex abuse, grooming behaviors, and boundary violations,” according to the policy.

The training will be required for all new staff members and must be repeated at least every three years.

The changes are being made in compliance with Erin’s Law, which was created to combat child sex abuse. 

6:135- Accelerated Placement Program

Policy 6:135’s amendments require that any student who meets or exceeds state standards in math, English or science be automatically enrolled in an advanced course for the following year. 

Advanced courses at the high school level include dual credit courses, AP courses or honors classes. 

Parents and students will be provided the opportunity to opt out of a more advanced class, “to instead enroll in alternative coursework that better aligns with the student’s postsecondary education or career goals,” according to Press Plus.

7:70- Attendance and Truancy

Among several changes to policy 7:70, the phrase “Students absent for a valid cause may make up missed homework and classwork assignments in a reasonable timeframe” was added.

According to Press Plus, this change was proposed in alignment with an Illinois law regarding making up work for pregnant students, but “it makes sense to apply such a policy to all students who are absent for a valid cause.”

7:160- Student Appearance

Policy 7:160’s updates are designed to comply with the Jett Hankins Law, passed in 2021 to prevent schools from adding restrictions to hairstyles in their dress codes.

7:240- Conduct Code for Participants in Extracurricular Activities

The changes to Policy 7:240 allow for students to defend themselves when accused of a violation of an extracurricular’s code of conduct.

The change was made after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. (2021) that schools cannot fully limit off-campus speech.

The case featured a student who was suspended from her school’s cheer team for making vulgar comments on Instagram regarding the school. 

The ruling led Press Plus to recommend a “careful factual analysis” of any off-campus violation, recommending that students be allowed to defend themselves in order for investigators to gather more facts prior to any discipline.

7:260 Exemption from Physical Education

Students fasting for religious reasons will now be exempt from participation in P.E. classes due to changes to policy 7:260 .

The change comes in response to amendments to the Illinois school code regarding the requirement of P.E. classes.