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Policies shift in 2019-2020 school year

The Warren County School District student handbook will reflect a change to co-curricular eligibility starting in the second athletic season of the 2019-2020 school year.

The board approved an item that would make all extra-curricular activities subject to a policy that makes students failing more than one class ineligible.

That is a change from the existing policy — derived from PIAA guidelines — in which students could be failing multiple classes if they are passing enough other classes.

In addition to failing, behavior could also prevent students from participating.

“Somebody that’s acting totally inappropriately (but making the grade)… we’re looking at making that person ineligible,” board member Jeff Labesky said.

Board member Mary Passinger asked if the proposal would apply to all activities.

“We’re talking performances? Whether it’s musical or plays or whatever?” she asked. “They have one night or two night of performance and it affects not only that person but the whole performance or band.”

She compared the situation of an athlete who is ineligible for a week to another performer. “Losing your starting quarterback… when they have eight games or ten games, it’s different than if they have one performance,” she said. “They still have seven (or nine) other weeks that they can participate.”

“If we raise the bar here a little bit, you’ll find that students across the board, when something is held above their head, they’re going to step up to the plate and do what they have to do,” Labesky said.

That item passed with Passinger against.

Director of Administrative Support Services Gary Weber said the handbook would be updated if the details of the changes are approved in time or changes will be “broadcast… so everyone will be aware what the rationale for the ineligibility would be.”

Suspended teacher

The board voted unanimously to change the status of one of its employees.

Teacher Matthew Kiser, who is charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of children, two counts of corruption of minors, possession of a weapon on school property, recklessly endangering another person, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, and was removed from his classroom, is now on unpaid leave.

Kiser had been placed on administrative leave after police arrested him.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Kiser had methamphetamine, marijuana, a variety of pills, and drug paraphernalia in his backpack in school on Tuesday, April 16.

Kiser’s leave status is effective immediately and “pending dismissal,” according to the motion approved by the board.

There is a preliminary hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 5.

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