Canton South Junior Zachary Aufderheide addressed the board of education on Monday night to talk about the district's dress code.
Zachary, who has shoulder-length hair that he had tied back in a loose pony tail, said he was specifically asking about "long hair" on male students. He explained that he is in the process of letting his hair grow out to donate it to Locks of Love, an organization that provides wigs for cancer patients. Zachary said this will be the second time he has donated his hair to the organization.
Citing board of education policies on the dress code and appearance of students, Zachary informed that the code reads as follows: "Each student's mode of dress and grooming is a manifestation of personal style and individual preference. The board will not interfere with the right of students and their parents to make decisions regarding their appearance, except when their choices affect the educational program of the schools. The board authorizes the superintendent to establish a reasonable dress code in order to promote a safe and healthy school setting and enhance the educational environment. The dress code shall be incorporated into the student code of conduct or discipline code."
The policy also reads that the superintendent "shall establish such grooming guidelines as are necessary to promote discipline, maintain order, secure the safety of students, and provide a healthy environment conducive to academic purposes."
Guidelines also prohibit student dressing or grooming themselves in a way that would be a hazard to others in the school; interfere or create a disruption in the classroom or block their vision.
Zachary said he did not think his hair was a disruption in the classroom. He also said it did not create a vision problem for him, since he often wears it back in a neat ponytail.
"What does disrupt the class is when I am pulled out of class to talk about my hair," said Zachary, who also reported that he carries a 3.5-grade-point average and that he cares about his school work.
Board members questioned him about how long it takes to grow the hair the length needed for Locks of Love. Board President Scott Hamilton commended Zachary for giving to the organization.
Board member David Brothers added that the school district has always tried to keep their dress code policies consistent with other districts such as Perry and Sandy Valley, since these district have a cooperative effort to provide vocational education to students.
All board members promised to discuss the dress code policy and to have an answer for Zachary by the next board meeting.
Members of the high school Student Leadership group came to present $4,000 to the board for Wildcats Helping Wildcats, a community outreach program in the district. Stephanie Balsley, president of the group, and other officers introduced themselves to the board. Advisor Barb Tscholl said the funds were raised in the spring at the Wildcat Run. The board and superintendent Kim Redmond congratulated the students on their hard work last school year and already in this school year.
"You don't even know some of the families you help," said Redmond, "but what you are doing is very important in our community."
Board treasurer Jason Schatzel gave the board an update on the 2012 Stark County property tax reappraisal. Schatzel said property valuations have dropped in the area, which will cause a loss of income in the district. The board will discuss ways to try to make up for this loss of income. There is also hope that new businesses will come into the area.
In other business, the board:
• APPROVED the employment of the following personnel: Jennifer Ward, educational paraprofessional at Walker Elementary; Gladys Devore, substitute aide/secretary; Lisa Ackerman and Jeff Oliver, full-time bus drivers; Kirk Reed and Joanna Dubina, bus drivers for two-hour positions; Sean McCartney, assistant varsity boys basketball coach; Lance Gram, assistant JV boys basketball coach; Keith Long, freshman boys basketball coach; Jeremy Richards, eighth-grade boys basketball coach; Eric Brickwood, seventh-grade boys basketball coach and Chris Scarpino, head varsity bowling coach;
• APPROVED lead teachers in the district as follows: Gregg Clark, Meghan Fricke, Cassie McGuryt and Lisa Bryan at South; Nicole Bowman, Mason Boldizar, Amy Eibel and Michele Pedone at Faircrest; and Melissa Kolb, Dan Lawver, Katie Nolen and Sharon Smith at Walker;
• ADOPTED several board policies including one on promotion, academic acceleration, placement and retention of students;
• APPROVED bus routes for the 2012-13 school year, as is now mandated by the state;
•ACCEPTED several gifts and donations, including two pianos: one an upright piano worth $2,300 from Kim Rauschenbach and a baby grand piano valued at $3,000 from Chuck Bushong;
• ACCEPTED the resignation of Keith Westlake, bus driver;
• APPROVED overnight trips for seventh- and eighth-grade students to travel to Philadelphia, Gettysburg and Hershey, Pa.; fifth-grade students to attend Elkhorn Valley Camp and sixth-grade students to travel to Columbus and Cincinnati;
• APPROVED the use of the Canton South Stadium for the Canton South Youth Football Association to use for their pageant night on Saturday, Sept. 29;
• DISCUSSED a request to install a railing in the reserve section of bleachers at the stadium.