From Doug George:
At the September 8, 2014 HCPS Board of Education Meeting, the school board approved revised policies regarding Clubs and Extracurricular Activities. With the passage of these revisions, the school board implemented policy to back the procedures that Central Office had already imposed on specific school groups. With the approved policies and procedures in effect, HCPS is the most restrictive public school system in Maryland regarding volunteer involvement in non-athletic groups*.
The combined policies and procedures establish new rules for school sponsored clubs and extracurricular activities. These rules include restrictions on the use of power tools by students, restrictions on meeting places for team activities, and restrictions on volunteer involvement. The following table shows a comparison of the volunteer roles in athletic and non-athletic groups per the new rules.
Clearly, volunteers involved in non-athletic groups do not have the same opportunities as volunteers involved in athletics. Maryland Law does include provisions to allow school systems to use volunteers in head and assistant coaching roles for interscholastic sports teams. However, it was the choice of Central Office and the School Board to deny non-athletic group volunteers the same opportunities.
The Destination Imagination program has already been severely impacted by these policies and procedures. Unfortunately, other volunteer assisted school groups such as xSTEM programs, drama programs, and various after school clubs, if not already, will soon be impacted as well.
In closing, I would like to express a sincere “Thank you” to both Board Member Frisch and Board Member Krchnavy for representing the students and volunteers in this county by voting against the revised policies.
*Destination Imagination conducted a survey of 16 Maryland school systems to determine school system restrictions on volunteer involvement, meeting places, and power tool usage by students. HCPS was the only school system of the 16 to have restrictions on all categories. The remaining 8 school systems were evaluated solely on available policy information posted on the internet.