On August 4, 2012, a new policy developed by Liberty County Schools System in Hinesville, Georgia was officially introduced to parents and students through the Student Information and Code of Conduct Grades PK-12, in which parents and students are held responsible to sign below the following statement encounter in page 1: "Student: I have read the 2012-2013 Student Information and Code of Conduct, including the Internet Policy, Procedures and Agreement. Parent: I have read and understand the 2012-2013 Student Information and Code of Conduct which includes the Internet Policy, Procedures, and Agreement, and the Georgia Compulsory School Law. I have also discussed the contents of this handbook with my son/daughter (s)".
Moreover, the new policy is quoted as follow:
"Visitors in Schools
The Board is mindful of its obligation to protect students and staff and imposes the following guidelines and restrictions on visitors in the schools:
3. Only parents or legal guardians are allowed to observe in the classroom where the parent's/guardian's child is in attendance. Before an observation can occur, the parent/guardian must obtain 24-hour approval from a school administrator. Once an approval is obtained, the administrator will arrange a date and time for the observation. The administrator will also arrange for a school employee to escort the parent/guardian to the classroom and remain with them throughout the observation. Classroom observations are limited to 20 minutes and may be requested only once each semester unless federal regulations require different procedures. Parents cannot bring other children into the classroom. During the classroom observation period, cell phones must remain in the "off" position and are not allowed to be used". (page 19)
While Liberty County School System takes this detrimental and arbitrary position, it is deliberatly and unlawfully shrinking parental and students rights already established in federal law (IDEA 2004, Title 34, No Child Left Behind, and more)
A parental involvement in the classroom, including classroom observations (without time limit and prearrange visits), are a crucial part of healthy educational development of a child. Parents were always the first and continuos educators of their children who deeply know their strength and weaknesses; therefore, they are major contributors of their children educational development, as already established by numerous researchers, professionals in the educational and medical field, and the community in general.
"Teachers who involve parents in their class activities will find that they have increased parent support at home, because parents have a deeper understanding of what their children are experiencing in the classroom. According to researchers Kathleen Cotton and Karen Reed Wikelund, "the more intensively parents are involved in their children's learning, the more beneficial are the achievement effects. This holds true for all types of parent involvement in children's learning and for all types and ages of students." Even as students get older, teachers can find meaningful ways for parents to be involved in their classes" (Alex Sharp, 2008)
I am asking everyone to support this petition in order to erradicate bureaucratic practices that clearly interfere with true parental involement, student full development, open door policy in public schools, and school district compliance with federal law. Thank you in advance!