It's a scene often repeated outside of high schools every day - young couples lip-locked in a lingering full-body embrace as they prepare to embark on separate school buses.
But star-crossed young lovers in the Crosby-Ironton School District who are caught in these passionate embraces on school property could be suspended and possibly expelled from school after the Crosby-Ironton School Board adopts its student public displays of affection policy next month.
The Crosby-Ironton School Board Monday conducted its first reading of the policy, which states that students are expected to abstain from inappropriate signs of affection such as kissing or other types of passionate embracing while on the school's premises. Violation of this policy, likely to be adopted by the board next month, may lead to suspension and possible expulsion from school for repeat offenders.
C-I Superintendent Jamie Skjeveland said this new policy stems from an ongoing problem at the high school. After school each day students at Cuyuna Range Elementary School are picked up by the district's school buses and transported to the high school, where junior high and high school students are loaded onto the buses. As they wait for the buses to leave, the young students are subjected to these passionate embraces by the older students, said Skjeveland. He said when they've confronted students about their behavior, they've responded by saying that they weren't violating school policy. That will change once this policy is adopted.
"We have a responsibility to maintain a proper learning environment where kids feel comfortable to learn and we're not creating these types of distractions," said Skjeveland. "It's not like we're anti-affection or anything, we're talking about the extreme cases."
Skjeveland said this doesn't mean all physical contact between students is banned. Holding hands is not the problem, he said.
"We're not being unreasonable here," said Skjeveland. "You wouldn't do it in front of your parents or your minister so why would you do it in front of a bus full of elementary schoolchildren?"
Skjeveland said the feedback the district has received about the proposed new policy has been positive from parents, teachers and even the bus drivers.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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