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Stafford County students could see some restrictions lifted this fall under proposed changes to the school division's rules.
School Board members are considering a series of proposals that would lessen the penalties for alcohol use and would allow students to wear dorm pants and to use cellphones during school.
Daryl Nelson, director of administrative and legal services, presented the suggested changes last week to the board. He held up a pair of plaid flannel pants to show members what dorm pants are.
They are very similar to pajama pants, which would still be forbidden if the board passes the new dress code.
Michael Byers, principal of Colonial Forge High School, told the board that pajamas often have "holes where you don't want them."
School Board members seemed unconvinced that school administrators would be able to tell the difference between pajama pants with flies and dorm pants without them.
A change to the Student Code of Conduct would reduce the penalties for using or possessing alcohol on school grounds. The code now calls for a minimum suspension for the rest of the school year.
The change would allow administrators to instead give a 10-day suspension for first-time offenses.
Nelson said that this year there have been a lot of students appealing long-term suspensions for alcohol use, and this would allow "greater flexibility" in the initial punishment.
School Board member Nanette Kidby questioned the proposed change, saying that it would treat alcohol differently than drugs, when both are illegal for students.
Another proposed change to the code of conduct would allow students to use cellphones during school, with permission from administrators.
Nelson said that school principals support the change.
"We're for it," he said, adding that if cellphones were allowed in schools, staff could help students learn to use them safely.
Board member Dana Reinboldt said that she supports cellphones in schools but worries about sexting, bullying, cheating and drug dealing.
Nelson said that the administrators are working on ways to address those issues.
"We recognize that there will be growing pains," he said. "This is a huge change in direction, but we're prepared to embrace it."
The change would lead the way for the division to implement a pilot Bring Your Own Technology to school program. Students would bring electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers to use for educational purposes.
School Board members have heard details on the proposal but it hasn't come up for a vote yet.
Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973