At a Vilonia High School orientation meeting held Thursday, principal Andy Ashley told students, "you’ve got to come to school until you are 18. Welcome seniors, we’ve got you for one more year. Juniors, we’ve got you for two. Let’s make it as painless as possible."
The first issue addressed was residency. "If there is a question that you live in the Vilonia School District, come see me," Ashley said.
Ashley and assistant principal Ronnie Simmons spent about an hour going through the 2014-15 student handbook, one stipulation at a time.
Simmons said he deals with most of the disciplinary issues in the school and "we will discipline you to make sure you behave the way you need to behave. We aren’t going to tolerate bad behavior."
The school’s behavior policy includes students at school and on school buses. It was also said that corporal punishment is allowed when necessary.
On the subject of prohibitive conduct, Simmons encouraged the students and parents to read the student handbooks and avoid being caught "off guard."
The prohibitive conduct policy, he said, is spelled out and includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Disrespect for school employees; disruptive behavior that interferes with orderly school operations; willfully and intentionally assaulting or threatening to assault or physically abusing any student or school employee; possession of a weapon that can capable of causing bodily harm; possession of tobacco in any form on any property owned or leased by any public school including E-cigarettes; damaging, destroying or stealing public property; possession of any paging device, beeper, or similar electronic communication devices, cameras, MP3 players, iPods, and other portable music devices on the school campus during normal school hours unless specifically exempted by the administration; possession, selling, distributing or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, unauthorized inhalants or sharing of prescription drugs or over the counter drugs; cheating, copying or claiming another person’s work; gambling; inappropriate dress; use of vulgar, profane or obscene language or gestures; truancy; excessive tardiness; behavior designed to taunt, degrade or ridicule another person based on race; possess, view or distribute or electronically transmit sexually explicit or vulgar images; hazing or aiding in the hazing of a student; gang related activity or secret organizations; sexual harassment or bullying.
The tobacco policy also covers visitors. If they are found using tobacco products, either during school days or at functions, they will be told of the policy and asked to cease. Visitors who refuse will be asked to leave the campus. Also, the handbook spells out the punishment for failing to comply with each policy.
Other things mentioned regarding conduct includes: hand-held pointers are not permitted on school campuses. Vehicles parked on school property are subject to search. Facial jewelry piercing will not be permitted including clear retainers. No unnatural hair coloring or extreme hair styles. Shoes must be worn at all times. No house shoes or pajamas. Sunglasses are not allowed in the building. And, there’s a clause that says due to fads, other items may be listed as being prohibitive from wearing.
Simmons said, "we aren’t going to fight with you over some new fad. If we say you can’t wear it, you just aren’t going to wear it."
According to the school officials, the only visitors allowed on campus will be parents or guardians. The school officials said parents are allowed to visit with their children at any time, but they must check in at the office. They told the parents if they were so inclined to attend classes with them, "we will set you up a chair in the classroom."
Parents can bring their children food but not supply food for any other student. The speed limit on the campuses is not to exceed 5 miles per hour. Ashley said he doesn’t see many students breaking the speed limit, but he does see some parents doing it and on their cell phones. Both activities, he said, are against the law.
There was a buzz in the audience when Ashley announced there would be a minor change in scheduling. You will get out a minute earlier this year, he said, and the first period of class will be a few minutes longer than in past years.
For those who choose to abide by the rules, the educators said, it will be a good school year.