Steel Valley addresses cellphone policy, uniform concerns
Steel Valley School District officials examined two hot button issues at a meeting on Monday.
The board's special assignments committee discussed pending changes to the student dress code and possible changes to the district's policy on student cellphone use.
Approximately 20 parents and students attended the meeting to voice concerns about the issues.
“Give us time to adjust to everything,” parent Kathi Bish said of the uniform policy that school directors adopted at a meeting last week. “It's a big adjustment.”
The purpose of the committee meeting was to fine tune the policy, which is based on a similar one used in the McKeesport Area School District, before it receives final adoption at a forthcoming board meeting.
The new dress code would restrict students to wearing black or tan khakis, collared shirts and, for girls, skirts with hemlines no shorter than 2 inches above the knee. Some of the issues examined at the committee meeting were whether manufacturer's logos should be allowed, permissible color schemes, and the form, fit and number of pockets a pair of pants may have.
Board member Coyleen Steele had a list of ideas she thought should be considered for the dress code. She said the district's colors of maroon and gold should be permitted along with other colors like black, white and gray.
Some parents and students had questions about which school-related garments will be allowed and which will not, noting some sweaters related to school athletics are marked with manufacturers' logos.
There are prescribed disciplinary actions for students who violate the uniform code but board member Collette Youngblood cautioned her colleagues that the district shouldn't focus on the penalty aspects of the policy.
“We want uniformity,” Youngblood said. “And we're putting some responsibility back on the parents this year because you buy the clothes.”
Some parents said the new policy could result in their having to spend more money this fall than they otherwise would have. Others said they don't want the district to distribute clothes at school to children on days they violate the dress code because of the expense that would add to operations.
Superintendent Edward Wehrer said having a few items on hand for students to wear if they lacked appropriate attire on a single day is an idea that was discussed but has not been added to the policy.
Wehrer said teachers and staff will receive training on how to address uniform code violations when they see them.
The district is looking at changing its policy on student cellphone use.
Currently, all students may bring cellphones to school but they are not allowed to use or carry them and must leave them in the safekeeping of school staff during the school day.
The district is considering a policy change that would permit students in middle and high school to carry their phones during the day but still forbid their use during school hours.
Wehrer said the district is considering the change because so many students are violating current cellphone policy.
High school principal Bryan Macuga said it is a challenge keeping student cellphone use in check; he said he compiled a report for disciplinary actions related to cellphones for the school year that was 27 pages.
Still, many at the meeting were concerned about misuse of cellphones, especially at the middle school level. Parents voiced concerns that students could use phones to take pictures of other students while they were changing clothes before or after gym class or use them to access restricted websites.
School board president Donna Kiefer said she would prefer a ban on cellphones.
“They're a distraction,” she said.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former McKeesport resident donates to heritage center children’s raffle
- Fire breaks out for 3rd time in abandoned McKeesport house
- McKeesport Area discusses easier access of public documents
- Homestead to offer select free-parking days during holiday season
- Kennywood Holiday Lights festival returns for 5th year
- West Mifflin Area school official defends financial move criticized in state audit
- Elizabeth proposes big jump in small local services tax; councilwoman steps down
- Clairton City School District wins award for its anti-hunger efforts
- McKeesport budget smaller; no tax hike planned
- Salvation Army kettle drive about to kick into high gear in Western Pennsylvania
- Elizabeth mayor hails police department’s role in ‘major’ heroin bust in Clairton