Education groups back teacher-discipline revisions
by Lindsay Field
August 13, 2013 12:17 AM | 1982 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Three education organizations are backing the proposed changes Cobb school board member Kathleen Angelucci wants to make to the district’s policy governing the discipline of teachers and other staff.

The board meets Wednesday to review the proposed revisions to the policy outlining how district officials address incidents of employee misconduct.

Angelucci presented a five-page document with multiple changes to the policy in July. Her recommendations came after three district employees, former Kell High Principal Trudie Donovan, Awtrey Middle Principal Jeff Crawford and Green Acres Elementary teacher Greg Leontovich, were fired, forced into early retirement and/or falsely accused of allegations related to child molestation or failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect within 24 hours of hearing about an incident.

Darryl York, the district’s policy director, said Monday he received emails with revisions to the policy from three professional organizations — Educators First, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Cobb County Association of Educators.

Some of Angelucci’s suggested revisions include: employees are presumed innocent until they are found guilty, that termination of an employee should only be used as a last resort, that the use of polygraph examinations can only be used in rare circumstances, and that employees may not be subject to retaliation for exercise of their due process rights related to any investigations or disciplinary matter.

York said the professional organizations sent emails voicing their support of Angelucci’s recommendations.

Since introducing the changes last month, Angelucci said she’s personally heard from three people in the community who are supportive of her efforts, but besides herself and Board Chair Randy Scamihorn, she isn’t aware of any other board members who submitted suggestions to York.

“Other board members have been very interested in seeing a cultural change; I am hoping they will be supportive of it in its entirety,” she said.

York said it will be up to the board to determine how many changes are presented and included in the policy, and it typically takes six to eight weeks from the time the final language is drafted to when the board approves the final revisions.

In other business, the board also will:

• Consider changes to the status of Oakwood Digital Academy, which is located on Joyner Avenue in Marietta, from a school to a program;

• Learn more from Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa about how the district is planning to implement the use of career academies. An academy would teach what the state calls “pathways,” which allow students to pursue a high school diploma while preparing them for either going to work after graduation or transitioning into a two-year technical school program. Cobb voters approved $29.8 million in funding for these academies last March when they OK’d SPLOST IV; and

• Get an overview and update from Stefan Ritter with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office on the Georgia Open Meetings Act at the request of Scamihorn and Brad Wheeler, the board’s newest members.

A copy of the agenda can be found online at cobbk12.org. The meeting will be in the district’s board room at 514 Glover St. in Marietta and will begin at 8:30 a.m. with public comments.

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