Franklin County Schools Crack Down on Alcohol

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the outset of the Sept. 11 Franklin County School Board meeting, a parent complained about fighting and rowdy student behavior at Franklin County High School football games and her uninvolved son being struck in the head by a Coke bottle and injured. Disruptive student behavior and alcohol use at football games prompted the board to act, reinstituting stricter disciplinary standards in the 2023-2024 Code of Conduct.

Franklin County High School Principal Roger Alsup said the previous Code of Conduct listed alcohol use as Level 4 Misbehavior. “The first offense was 45 days at the Alternative School.”

The new Code of Conduct lists alcohol use as Level 3. Franklin County High School SRO Adam Lindsey said there were 14 known incidents so far this year. “[Alcohol use] used to be zero tolerance. Not anymore.” Students regard the Level 3 two-weeks suspension punishment as “getting a vacation,” Lindsay said. Legal action for underage consumption varies depending on mitigating factors, such as “first offense.” Emphasizing the seriousness of the problem, Lindsey recounted an SRO finding a 17-year-old high school student passed out in his car on Greenhaw Road after a football game. To discourage alcohol consumption, police forbade bringing food and drinks into the stadium at the last game. “That pushed the party to the parking lot,” Lindsey said.

“How did [alcohol use] go down from Level 4 to Level 3?” asked Vice Chair Lance Williams.

“In the new code of conduct it may have moved without us realizing it,” said school board member Sara Liechty. “Any school activity after 3 o’clock is a privilege,” Liechty insisted. “Students who disrupt the activity should lose the privilege. It is a disruption of the pleasure of others.”

Human Resources Supervisor Linda Foster said Director of Schools Cary Holman favored “banning” students who engaged in disruptive behavior from extracurricular activities. (Holman could not attend the meeting.)

The board decided to return both alcohol and drug use to the Level 4 category and to categorize sale and distribution of alcohol and drugs as Level 5, with possible consequences up to one-year expulsion. Board member Sarah Marhevsky maintained the Code of Conduct needed to include “restorative practices to deal with the underlying causes [of alcohol and drug use].” Liechty recommended “banning” students from extracurricular activities for Level 3 and up. (Possession of tobacco, vape products, and drug paraphernalia are Level 3.)

Foster will draft a revised Code of Conduct for the board’s review at a Special Session, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Franklin County Annex following the county School Committee meeting. The board hopes to have the new code of conduct policy in place before the next home high school football game.

Taking up another controversial policy, Liechty said Tennessee State Representative Iris Rudder contacted her about complaints the school lunch policy limiting student charges to $10 had resulted in students not being fed. By law, the school system “was not allowed to not feed students,” Liechty said. “The policy is causing misunderstanding.”

“We’re not denying kids food,” Alsup said.

Foster said at the end of last school year, the district was burdened with almost $10,000 in unpaid charges. At the August meeting Holman explained the policy only applied to students charging extras such as ice cream. Clarifying the actual situation, Foster explained during COVID funding provided free lunch for all students. When the free-lunch practice ended, many students began charging lunches. Liechty said it was the parents’ responsibility to apply for free or reduced lunch when the family was financially challenged. Board member Sandra Shultz questioned whether parents received the free-reduced lunch application forms sent home with students. Schultz insisted the application was entirely confidential and not even school principals knew which students received free and reduced lunch. Liechty said by the new state funding formula TISA the district received additional funds for students qualifying for free and reduced lunch; qualifying families not applying reduced much needed school funding. “The parents don’t want to fill out the forms,” insisted Huntland School Principal Lisa Crabtree. Two business owners contacted Crabtree offering to pay students’ balances to reduce their charge accounts. Crabtree also pointed out students could not charge à la carte items such as ice cream.

“Then [the $10 charge limit] has no point,” Liechty said.

Foster said compared to the same time last year, charges had dropped from $2,500 to $1,800. The board will remove the controversial provision from the policy.

2023 September
2023 August
2023 July
2023 June
2023 May
2023 April
2023 March
2023 February
2023 January
2022 December
2022 November
2022 October
2022 September
2022 August
2022 July
2022 June
2022 May
2022 April
2022 March
2022 February
2022 January
2021 December
2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May