Flagler School Board approves changes to start time and dress code ahead of school return

The Daytona Beach News-Journal | By Brenno Carillo | August 9, 2022

The day before the start of the new school year, the Flagler County School Board held a special meeting to make two last-minute changes.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday morning to change the school start time from 7:20 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. for middle schools, and to amend the district’s dress code.

Both changes had to be made before the start of the new school year on Wednesday. The change in start times was due to a request from the district’s transportation staff, Board Chair Trevor Tucker said in an interview.

“In February we approved the next year start times, and transportation wanted (middle schools) to start at 7:20 a.m. because it was going to be hard for them to make the turnaround with the buses,” Tucker said. “They figured out a way to do push it back to 7:30 a.m., because everyone in the district – parents, students – everyone wanted it to be later. Once transportation had their routes set for this year, they started looking at and said, ‘We think we can do this — it shouldn’t be a problem.’”

Tucker went to other board members with the idea, and they also agreed with the change.

Dress code amendment

The change in the dress code has been an issue for a “long time,” Tucker said.

Tuesday’s decision will allow “all K12 students to wear T-shirts with graphic designs, as long as the content is not related to drugs, alcohol, violence, gangs, weapons, sexually suggestive or offensive topics that are deemed inappropriate by administration.”

Previously, the district only allowed for elementary school students to wear T-shirts with graphic designs.

“The deans at (middle and high schools) said, ‘We have to enforce this, and it is really hard to enforce something that’s a little bit vague,’” Tucker said.

He said that parents and students weren’t clear about the rule and have come to school staff with questions concerning its enforcement, such as the difference between “patterns” and “graphics.”

“They brought this to the last board workshop, and board members said they would really like to change this,” Tucker said.

John Fanelli, the district’s coordinator of student supports and behavior, thanked the board for considering the dress code change.

“It’s important that going into this year we make sure we have something that we can enforce equitably across the district,” Fanelli said, adding that he would meet with deans later in the day to discuss how to enforce the new rule.

Board member Janet McDonald said that she heard positive responses from community members about the dress code amendment.

The two changes come on the eve of the new academic year. Tucker said he is expecting a “good start to the school year.”

“The planning has been done, I believe everything is in place,” he said. “You never know what the day will bring, but right now it looks like transportation is set, which is always a concern. I am just excited that schools are starting up again. It looks like it’s going to be a good year.”

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