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Pre-prom absence would be excused for WHS students

District 518

WORTHINGTON -- Looks like there'll be no early outs for Worthington High School prom attendants. But students can count their pre-prom activities as an excused absence, with parental permission.

"I think it should be excused for a hair appointment up front; parents won't have to lie about it," said District 518 School Board Member Lori Dudley in making the motion that passed almost unanimously at the Tuesday night board meeting.

Junior Class President Fayise Abrahim and vice president Anna Baosythong came before the board asking for permission to make the day of the April 24 prom, which falls on a Friday, a half day of school to allow students time to prepare for the dance. Students need time to keep hair, make-up and nail appointments and take photos without feeling rushed, they argued.

"We don't want it to be stressful; it should be memorable and fun," Abrahim said.

The board decided against the traditional 'early out' on the Friday of prom, saying it would set an unwanted precedent for other events. Many also said they supported scheduling next year's prom for a Saturday to avoid the problem altogether.

"I think prom is already too important," said Board Member Mark Shepherd. "To have half a day off just for this event seems inappropriate."

"This is a bona fide school event, like a basketball game," pointed out Board Member Brad Schaffer. "We let athletes leave early to get to their games on time."

Some members suggested allowing students to leave early if they chose, but having their leave carry the same consequences as an unexcused absence. But they ultimately decided parents could give permission to release students early for any "prom-related activities." The girls will provide a list of students who are signed up to attend prom, to ensure parental requests are valid.

In other business, the board Tuesday:

- Approved a second reading of Policy 430 regarding training of new employees.

- Approved capital outlay requests and approved authority to seek bids/quotes for capital outlay projects

- Approved a Federal Supplemental Services Grant Application to support recent immigrants to the area.

- Approved a No Child Left Behind Resolution, which calls for reform of the policy.

- Approved the purchase of a high jump landing pit from Center Sports for $4,700 and the purchase of a Kubota F2680E mower unit.

- Declared 30 elementary lunch room tables as surplus property effective the end of the school year

- Received a report that a majority of Prairie Elementary parents surveyed would like to begin the school year before Labor Day.

- Approved resignation of Cory Wiertzema as special education secretary at Worthington Middle School and of Janet Haren as girls' ninth grade softball coach at Worthington High School.

- Approved employment of Penny Jones as head cook at Prairie Elementary School and of Leanne Van Dyke as class I custodian at the West Building.