New visitation policy set to go before board

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 6, 2015

NATCHEZ — Natchez-Adams School District parents may get a chance to visit their children during instructional time after the next school board meeting.

The draft of a new policy going before the board on Thursday would replace a policy that has proved unpopular with some parents and relatives of students.

The current policy prohibits visitors during instructional time, which takes up most of the day. Currently only officials can visit, but NASD Public Relations Coordinator Steven Richardson said the district had never meant to exclude parents.

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“We mistakenly left parents out of this list of people,” Richardson said, referring to those who were allowed to visit.

During the Oct. 29 open town hall meeting, NASD Superintendent Frederick Hill apologized for the policy and asked for public feedback on the draft.

The draft is based upon principal recommendations, although some aspects from the current policy are still present.

The new policy would allow visits during instructional time. Principals reserve the right to limit visits to 30 to 60 minutes and to deny requests that are not made at least one day in advance.

Visitors must check in at the school office and obtain a visitor’s pass before visiting. Exceptions to this rule include attending a general school function such as a pep rally, an allowance from the current policy.

Visits are only allowed for a parent or guardian to observe their child. No audio or video recordings can be made of the classroom.

“There are privacy concerns, privacy laws that would prevent a parent from recording another parent’s child,” Richardson said.

The new policy restricts visitors to a child’s parent, legal guardian or foster parent. This excludes grandparents, other interested close relatives and caregivers.

During the town hall meeting, some grandparents raised objections, which Richardson said are being addressed.

“In our recent town hall meeting there was good discussion and feedback about that particular line of that policy,” Richardson said. “So we are going back to look at that based on the concerns brought up at the town hall meeting.”

If the draft is approved, Richardson said it would go into effect immediately.

The draft is available on the NASD website under Resources for Parents and Students, titled Classroom Visits Policy (Draft). A copy can also be requested from the Braden Administration Building.

The comment period ends at 5 p.m. today. Feedback can be shared using the comment box in Braden, calling the superintendent’s office or sending an email: