The Hamilton County School Board voted 5-2 to approve a code of professional conduct for teachers at its meeting on Thursday.
Signal Mountain board member Marco Perez has proposed to postpone the vote over concerns about a line in the policy saying teachers should be careful about speaking out.
âWe currently live in an environment where it’s almost impossible to express something that won’t alienate people or create barriers,â Perez said.
When the item was added to the agenda, he and Birchwood board member James Walker voted against the policy.
The board first discussed the policy at its agenda meeting on Monday after a teacher spoke out against the policy at the August board meeting. Heather Modrow, a teacher at East Ridge Elementary School, said district policy was redundant due to the state policy. She also questioned a difference in the wording of a section of district policy.
Code of Business Conduct
In addition, this policy changes the language from ‘make a reasonable effort to protect students from conditions prejudicial to learning or health and safety’ in the Tennessee code to ’employees must protect health and safety and students, ââ Modrow told the board. in August.
“In a pandemic, how can you demand that teachers protect the health and safety of students when our hands are tied by the state with an opt-out order, Executive 84?” What are the legal ramifications for staff if a child becomes seriously ill, are we going to be sued? “
The executive order, signed by Governor Bill Lee last month, requires local school districts to allow families to remove students from local mask warrants put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Modrow spoke out against the policy again on Thursday.
On Monday, Perez asked council attorney Scott Bennett to explain the differences between district policy and state policy, saying it was the same policy the board reviewed in October latest.
Bennett told council that the district’s policy applies to both teachers and other employees who work with students, while state policy only covers teachers.
âThink of state law like the old King James version, everything is valid in there, but it’s a little hard to understand,â Bennett told the board on Monday. âThink of this as the Living New Translation, it’s designed to make the law easy for all of your teachers to understand. “
The board also unanimously approved the selection of Tucker McClendon of East Ridge as board chair and Tiffanie Robinson of Chattanooga as vice chair. McClendon was previously vice president.
Contact Anika Chaturvedi at [email protected] or 423-757-6592.