New year, new policies

Maria Golberg and Rebecca Schafer

This year, the Owatonna High School has undergone policy changes to ensure all students attending are prepared for their future.

In the age of cellphones, it is clear that many teachers at the OHS are beginning to incorporate them more and more into their curriculum. Still, teachers are not afraid to remove cellphones from the individuals that choose to use them inappropriately (i.e. texting, snapchatting, tweeting etc.). Assistant principal Mr. Jeff Miller said, “The policy is basically set up so it’s only directed to the people that are using their phone for a purpose that’s other than the educational piece of it.  Part of our mission here is to get kids ready for the next life outside of school, and in most work environments, you better take care of your phone, so we think it’s something important to establish here.” If caught using their cell phone inappropriately, students are to immediately give their phone to the teacher and collect their phone in the office at the end of the day. Of course, there are other options besides paying the fee, like serving lunch detention, but any negotiations are to be done after school in the office. Students who refuse to give up their phone will be removed from class and meet with an administrator or teacher before their next hour. (page 6 of the student handbook)

Was there a need for these policies?

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A parking spot at the OHS is a hot commodity. That’s why drivers this year decided to line up at 4 a.m. outside the office to purchase a parking pass. Mr. Miller said,  “I thought it was crazy!  I’m thinking back to what I was like in high school, and knowing what I was like, would I have shown up at 4 a.m. to get a parking pass? Probably.” Students are only permitted to park in their purchased designated parking spot. Individuals parking in another student’s parking spot, or in the fire lane, will be ticketed or towed and may be denied permission to park on school property again. Eating lunch outside the school is allowed, but students are not to sit in their cars during lunch. (page 30 of student handbook)

“I thought it was crazy! I’m thinking back to what I was like in high school, and knowing what I was like, would I have shown up at 4 a.m. to get a parking pass? Probably.”

— Mr. Miller

At the end of last year, Owatonna faced an influx of students violating the dress code. The policy remains the same, but the rules and consequences have been revised to be less vague. Assistant principal Mrs. Nicole Adams said, “This year the policy really hasn’t changed all that much, so we just tried to clarify some pieces of it. Part of the reason we did that is because we had a lot of students and staff saying last year, well why is one thing okay, but not another, so we just wanted to be more specific about it.” The consequences for violating the dress code are no more severe than in previous years. Students are not permitted to wear clothing that shows their midriff, shorts or skirts that are too short, anything that could be seen as gang related, hats or anything that depicts inappropriate pictures or writing. Mr. Miller said, “A lot of times from the administrator side of things, we sort of react to things that occur, so we had a lot more issues at the end of last year with improper dress than we have in years before. The other piece of it is a safe and welcoming environment, and the other part is about career and college readiness. If we are really serious about learning how to approach things in the real world, dress is part of it.” Any dress code violation could result in students being sent home to change or students having to call a parent/guardian to bring them an article of clothing more suitable for school. (page 8 of student handbook)

For more information on the school policy, check out your student handbook.