After lengthy discussion, the Cumberland County Board of Education approved the controversial new attendance policy on its first reading at its monthly meeting (April 26, 2018). The vote was 5 to 3 with one abstaining. Board member Josh Stone was one of the three voting against the policy. “It’s punishing the many because of the few,” he said. “I do not like the thought of punishing every family in this district because of the habitually truant families.” Board members Shirley Parris and David Bowman also voted no. Board member Aretie Patterson passed on the vote.. If the new attendance policy passes a second reading at the board meeting next month (May 2018), the number of excused absences in a school year for a student will decrease from 10 to 6. The move by the school board was to come into compliance with a recent state law passed on the issue.
Seven other policies were up for a first-reading vote. The board voted unanimously in favor of all seven – regarding emergency closings, naming of facilities, application and employment, personnel records, retirement incentive: retiree health insurance, discrimination/harassment of employees and ethics policies. Eleven policies gained unanimous passage on second reading. These included policies on dress code, college-level courses, special programs, graduation requirements, graduation activities, grievances, alternative school programs, medicines, glucagon and diazepam gel, opioid antagonist and head-lice policies.