Interpretation's Date: March 16, 2012
by superintendent Dr. Jorea M. Marple
Section: III. County Educational Administration
SubSection: A. County Boards of Education
March 16, 2012
Nick Zervos, Executive Director
Dear Mr. Zervos:
I am in receipt of your request, on behalf of the RESA 6 Safe and Supportive Schools Stakeholder Group, for an interpretation regarding West Virginia Board of Education Policy 4373, Expected Behaviors in Safe and Supportive Schools, Chapter 3 requirements for Policy Dissemination and Training listed on pg 36 of Policy 4373 which states "This policy shall appear in the student and staff handbooks and if no handbook is available, a copy will be distributed to all students, faculty and staff." Specifically, you ask if the literal expectation of this section is that a hardcopy of Policy 4373 be provided to each of the persons named or would it be acceptable to provide the policy information electronically to the groups mentioned above.
Policy 4373 specifically states:
Chapter 3, Section 5 - Policy Dissemination and Training: To ensure understanding of the county policy for Expected Behaviors in Safe and Supportive Schools and the school implementation plan, each school shall develop and implement an ongoing awareness campaign for all students, staff and parents/guardians.
• This policy shall appear in the student and staff handbooks and if no handbook is available, a copy will be distributed to all students, faculty, and staff. • The county and/or school shall develop and implement training for students and staff on these regulations and on means for effectively promoting the goals of this policy.
It is important to note that the requirement for distributing copies of "this policy" (bullet one above) applies to the county policy and does not refer to the state policy. Furthermore, the intent of the Policy Dissemination and Training section is to assure that students, staff and parents/guardians review and understand the specific expectations of their county policy and all specific school plans for implementation of the policy. All parties must clearly understand the expectations of the policy in order to fulfill their responsibilities for maintaining a safe and supportive school environment. School system actions must focus on the outcome of stakeholder understanding rather than the mode of distribution.
As long as a school remains consistent with the intent of providing the opportunity for students, staff and parents to fully review and understand their county Safe and Supportive Schools Policy, it is acceptable to utilize electronic distribution of the policy to students, staff and parents under the following conditions:
1. If the school's student and staff handbook is normally distributed in electronic format, it is acceptable to include the county Expected Behaviors in Safe and Supportive Schools Policy in the same electronic handbook. 2. If the school's student and staff handbook is provided in print format, a reference to the county Safe and Supportive Schools Policy can be included in a printed copy of the handbook accompanied by directions for accessing the full electronic version of the county policy. 3. If no student and staff handbook is provided, notice of the county Safe and Supportive Schools Policy can be provided accompanied by directions for accessing the full electronic version of the county policy. 4. In order to meet the intent of this policy dissemination requirement through electronic distribution of the county policy, it is essential that all students and staff have the means to access the electronic version of the policy while at school. 5. In order to meet the intent of this policy dissemination requirement with parents, a statement must be included that provides for the availability of printed copies of the policy upon request from any parent that cannot access the electronic version of the policy.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am
Jorea M. Marple, Ed.D.