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SHARON SCHOOLS Board plans 'No F' policy



Published: Thu, July 12, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Getting a failing grade could get a pupil banned from district or school social functions.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- It looks as though the city school district will have a "No F" policy for pupils in grades seven through 12 after all.

After months of argument and debate, the board appears ready to introduce a policy that would ban pupils who receive an F in any course from participating in any interscholastic sports or co-curricular activities.

Band and chorus would be excluded because those are graded courses, but the ban would extend to pupils attending district or school social events such as athletic games and school dances.

Who would get it: Right now, the policy would affect only student athletes or those involved in co-curricular activities such as the Spanish Club or school plays, but Superintendent Richard Rossi said he wants to see it expanded so it would apply to all pupils.

He said Sharon had 293 pupils receive an F during the last grading period.

The final plan, outlined during a school board work session Thursday, implements a tutoring program to help failing pupils by requiring them to attend study sessions.

Failure to attend a study session would result in immediate suspension from athletic, co-curricular or any district or school social activities.

The policy wouldn't go into effect until the fifth week of each of the four nine-week grading periods in the school year.

A pupil failing at that point would be given one week to bring the grade up to at least a D or face being barred from all activities.

The pupil would have to attend study sessions during that probation and until the grade is improved. That gives the pupil the final four weeks of the grading period to improve the grade and could prevent that pupil from failing, said school Director Rick Mancino.

Mancino at times seemed to be single-handedly pushing the "No F" policy.

Opposition: Not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

"It will be impossible to enforce," said school Director Nick Morocco, adding that he thinks the school district is taking on more than it can handle by trying to ban failing pupils from attending things such as school dances and athletic events in which they are not a participant.

That could invite a legal challenge, he warned.

School Director Linda Valentino said she wants to know how the program will be enforced before she is ready to vote on it, and other school directors agreed.

Rossi said the plan is to bring up the policy, which is actually written as two -- one for athletics and one for co-curricular activities, for first reading at Monday's regular school board meeting and then bring it up for final adoption at the August board meeting.

The administration should have some rough idea of an implementation plan by then but it may not be the final version, he said.




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