The Olympia School District (OSD) met last Thursday, August 3, to hold the first reading of its policy review on what it deems essential policies.
OSD Vice President Hilary Seidel and Director Talauna Reed discussed the guidelines, which were reviewed and revised by the Citizens Advisory Committee on Policy Review.
“I want to share how policies are classified by the state school directors' association. This association, we commonly refer to as WSSDA, supports us by providing model policies for school districts aligned to current law,” Seidel said. “They rate policies from ‘essential’ to ‘encouraged,’ and then ‘discretionary’; and essential policies are considered essential to be on the books to be fully compliant with Washington state laws.”
Seidel facilitated the review of the 11 policies classified as essential.
1805 Open Government Training
“This is already our practice to engage in training an open government every four years as board directors as required by law, but this just puts it in policies so that it's clear for anyone new to the board. That's a requirement that we adhere to,” Seidel said.
2163 Response to Intervention
“Response to Intervention outlines the model that families and students can be guaranteed to experience if their student requires academic intervention,” explained Seidel.
3225 School-Based Threat Assessment
“We are already engaged in the threat assessment process with the ESD and so that work is already happening but putting it in policy is an important part of maintaining compliance,” Seidel said.
3411 Accommodating Students with Seizure Disorders or Epilepsy
“This is one policy that has a little addition to it. It was [a] general policy ensuring that the care plan is carried out for the students with a seizure disorder. It also exempts them from liability if a parent designates someone else to come in and provide care for that student,” said Seidel.
A recommendation was added that the school may designate the school nurse as the person who oversees these circumstances.
6100 Revenues From Local, State and Federal Sources
This policy regarding revenue from local state and federal sources has a section specifically relating to a federal impact aid grant.
“There's some language in there that suggested from our Native education director, but also if we're not accessing that program, which I believe is reliant on how adjacent we are to tribal land and it might not really be significant pressing with that,” said Seidel.
6101 Federal Cash and Financial Management, 6106 Allowable Costs for Federal Programs, 6112 Rental or Lease of District Real Property, 6216 Reimbursement for Goods and Services: Warrants
Policies 6101, 6106, 6112, and 6216 are straightforward fiscal management policies among the list of essential fiscal Washington model policies.
“These fiscal policies are recommended to have on the books to be fully compliant with the lot. We're recommending just a straight cross-adoption of those with no changes or amendments,” Seidel said.
The board will have a second reading for these essential policies. Each policy requires at least two readings or reviews before approval.
4311 School Safety and Security Services Program
“This policy was written in response to the new legislation about school resource officers and school security services personnel in 2018 and 2020,” said Seidel. “This initial law that was passed was focused on school resource officers and had some significant requirements for the training and supervision of those folks. The legislature came back in and added private security to the legislation.” Seidel said.
Seidel added that it was essential to ensure that the district has clear outlines of how school resource officers, or anyone performing a similar duty, were going to act in schools and how they would interact with students.
“We definitely want to include staff in the process of authoring the MOU and reviewing it,’’ Seidel said. “We also want to require that anyone who's placed in a building with students need to have completed the training before they begin serving the students.”
3124 Removal - Release of Student During School Hours
This policy relates to when and how the school will release students during school hours. The board had extensive deliberation on a specific part of this policy concerning law enforcement, whether it should be required to hand over students to authorities during school hours.
Reed suggested a language change to ensure the welfare of students inside the school.
“I don't think it's necessary to have that language in there or even at all,” Reed said. “If there's an instance where a law enforcement officer is in a position to remove a child from school, that means they have legal grounds to do so, and remember– it has nothing to do with us. We don't get to kind of choose that or have any say in it.”
Superintendent Patrick Murphy also added that the provision about the release of students to law enforcement during school hours should be clarified.
“What if an officer just shows up and wants to talk to somebody? Well, that's not taking them off campus. What is our policy about interactions with law enforcement while on campus when they do want to speak to a student– we should have really clear expectations about that,” Murphy said.
The board decided to wait for the two absent directors to weigh in on the policy before deciding whether to revise or retain it.
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