Omaha Public Schools discusses changes to Code of Conduct

The Omaha Public Schools Board of Education approved some changes to its Student Code of Conduct Monday night.
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska’s largest public school system is preparing for a new era.

Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan is moving on, and the search for her permanent replacement will take center stage.

Changes to the OPS Student Code of Conduct for the coming year have already been discussed. At Monday night’s board meeting, it was simply a matter of giving them the thumbs up. As for the changes themselves -- parents and students may want to pay attention to the subtleties before the next school year.

With some urging from student groups, the district’s dress code has changed in the Code of Conduct’s annual update. Previously, what had been considered inappropriate clothing was largely vague, and often left to principals to decide.

Now, certain items are clearly off limits -- words or images that promote alcohol, drugs or weapons, insult or demean others, or disrupt the school environment are not acceptable. They still accept the torso to be fully covered -- no belly buttons.

There are also changes to backpacks. Since elementary school students now often have iPads and the likes provided to them by the school or district, language now specifies items that have no school-related purpose or that disrupt the learning environment are no-nos.

Student and Community Services Executive Director Dr. Anne MacFarland said when the code was presented for reading two weeks ago that both students and teachers at the middle and high school levels need to understand what the rules are.

“We just need to do a great job communicating with all our stakeholders about the integrity of the learning environment,” Dr. MacFarland said. “We are not singling out a student whether they’re a male or a female, for example.”

Updating emergency preparedness, there will be some additional drills for students and a policy name change. The overall guidelines are now known as the OPS District Crisis Immediate Response Plan.

No school board meeting would be complete without students. Representatives of the first classes at the new Buena Vista High School shared how the OPS College and Career Academies are opening their minds to future possibilities.

“So far it’s helped me grow in a good way,” said Buena Vista freshman Kynadie Goner. “At first I didn’t know what to do, but with the program helping, I’m kind of set on what to do and how to go from there.”

“I know a lot of my classmates take IT, and they’re really into their computer stuff, and it’s cool to just watch them do what they like and what they enjoy,” another student said. “There’s a little bit of everything for everyone at Buena Vista.”

The end of the year isn’t far off -- the first graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 is set for May 23.