Chapter VII: School and Community

8.01: Public Information

The Smyth County schools are operated for the benefit of the students enrolled in the public school system. The citizens of the county financially support the operation of the public schools and are entitled to be kept informed regarding the educational program provided for the instruction of all students. The superintendent and members of the school board staff will use all available means of communication to keep the public informed with respect to the program, achievements, needs, and objectives, and other matters relative to the operation of schools. All professional personnel are available to confer with parents and interested citizens on any matter relating to the educational program.

8.02: News Media

The news media have an important role in informing the people about their public schools. The school board encourages attendance at board and community meetings by the members of the news media. The superintendent is authorized to coordinate with media representatives in getting timely and accurate information about activities and developments in the school system to the community. However, the release of confidential information and/or the interruption of the educational processes by representatives of the news media is prohibited.

8.03: Meetings of the People

It shall be the duty of the Smyth County School Board to call meetings of the people of Smyth County for consultation when deemed necessary in the interest of the school system. The superintendent, chairman of the board, and/or other members of the board shall attend. The chairman shall preside or may designate another member or the superintendent to preside.

8.04: School-Community Associations

The Smyth County School Board believes that careful planning is essential for developing quality educational programs and that public involvement is a fundamental component of meaningful planning for our schools. Under the leadership of the principal each school will establish a P.T.O. and/or a parent/community advisory committee to assist with the planning of the educational program. At a minimum, quarterly meetings shall be held and minutes of each meeting shall be submitted to the superintendent of schools.

It is the policy of the Smyth County School Board to cooperate with parent-teacher associations and advisory committees which seek to advance programs designed to improve educational opportunities for all children consistent with the Code of Virginia and regulations of the State Board of Education.

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8.09: Right of Appeal

Any party of legitimate interest who may feel aggrieved by the action of Smyth County School Board, may, within thirty days after such action, file a complaint in writing to the division superintendent of schools. If the superintendent within ten days after the receipt of the complaint cannot satisfactorily adjust same, the superintendent shall, within five days thereafter, at the request of any party in interest, grant an appeal to the court of record of Smyth County or the judge thereof in vacation who shall decide finally all questions at issue. The school boards' action on questions of discretion shall be final unless the board has exceeded its authority or has acted incorrectly.

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8.12: Community Use of Equipment

No equipment assigned to any school is to be loaned, rented, or used for other than school purposes. Exceptions must be authorized by the superintendent with the approval of the school board.

8.13: Interruptions in the School Day

Students and teachers are to be protected from outside intrusions that disrupt instruction and regular school activities. No student or teacher is to be interrupted from class except in case of an emergency, and then only after receiving permission from the principal. Exceptions to the above may be made by the principal with the approval of the superintendent when, in their judgment, the best interests of the educational process will be served.

8.14: Public Announcements

The superintendent and/or the principal is authorized to arrange for announcements in the schools regarding community programs and scheduled activities or events which have educational or recreational value.

8.15: School Publications and News Releases

School publications which are for general distribution should be edited under faculty supervision to assure acceptable standards of content and journalism.

News releases by the schools are encouraged as a means of informing the public of programs, activities, and accomplishments.

8.16: Soliciting Advertisements

School organizations must secure approval from the principal before soliciting advertisements from merchants and business establishments.

The school board is to be kept informed on the frequency of such solicitations.

8.17: Fund Raising Campaigns

Principals and teachers shall hold to a minimum the number of fund raising activities involving students. All such activities shall have the prior approval of the principal. Principals shall report all fund raising activities to the superintendent for annual review. Reasonable charges may be made for athletic contests, plays, and other school sponsored programs. All such programs shall have the approval of the principal. School sponsored door-to-door fund raising by elementary grade students is prohibited.

8.18: Distribution of Literature

Neither school board personnel nor students may distribute or circulate any material or information which endorses, or implies endorsement of a commercial product or endeavor. The principal shall confer with the superintendent if there is a question about the propriety of complying with a request.

8.19: Circulation of Materials in Schools

The circulation of materials or information in the schools which endorses, or implies endorsement of, a commercial product or endeavor is prohibited. When such requests are made, they should be directed to the principal and the superintendent.

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8.23: Booster Clubs

Booster clubs separate from the school can be organized for the benefit and support of school activities. In order for a parent/community group to be recognized as a booster support group for a school organization or activity, it must indicate to school officials (A) that it is a public service organization incorporated under Virginia law with a copy of the charter, constitution, and/or by-laws of operation on file at the school and/or (B) that it meets the following minimum business regulations:

  1. A written constitution is on file at the school.
  2. Public meetings open to the full membership are held at least twice a year.
  3. There is an annual election of officers by the full membership present at a public meeting.
  4. A semi-annual financial report is made to the full membership and to the school principal.
  5. The club officers follow appropriate accounting practices in handling money raised. Procedures for receipts, deposits, requisitions, vouchers, checking, and auditing must be according to accepted accounting practices. All funds received for booster club projects must be collected by club members and must be receipted by the treasurer. School board employees (i.e. teachers, coaches, principals, secretaries, etc.) shall not collect booster club money except to transfer checks or receipted amounts from a donor to the booster club treasurer.

Booster clubs are to be organized as a community affiliate of the school. Effective two-way communication between the boosters' club and school officials is required. The line of communication between the school and the booster club is between the club officers and the school principal's designated liaison (the coach, athletic director, band director, teacher, etc.).

The school liaison will have the responsibility of keeping appropriate school officials informed about booster activities. Projects having major impact upon school facilities or school programs must receive authorization from the school principal.

8.24: Directories

Directories of teachers and presently enrolled students shall not be released for commercial or political purposes. However, school officials will cooperate with outside agencies to make information available to teachers and students if such information has educational value.

In accordance with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002, military recruiters are entitled to receive the name, address and telephone listing of juniors and seniors in high school.

The principal of the school may permit the furnishing of or may furnish the names and addresses of pupils who have terminated their enrollment for the purpose of informing former pupils of the educational and career opportunities available to them.

Criteria for Directory Information, as established by the Smyth County School Board, will be published annually in the Code of Student Conduct and Attendance.

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