By Teresa Cunningham
The Johnson County Board of Education met Thursday, April 10, 2014 with Chairman Gerald Buckles presiding. After the meeting was called to order, various members from the audience presented regarding the topic of bullying. Christian Dugger, JCHS student, addressed the board regarding his personal issues with bullying at Johnson County High School. Warren Arnold and his father, Brian Arnold, also spoke to the board on the subject. The senior Arnold asked the board to consider changing school policies on how these items are addressed and dealt with in the schools. Copies of a letter from a third high school student were distributed to board members. These presentations were discussed and the board asked Director of Schools Morris Woodring, JCHS Principal Lisa Arnold, and Johnson County Middle School Principal Steven Long to meet to discuss and investigate further into the bullying issues on the hill. They are expected to report back to the board and further discussion will follow.
The School Board then approved the Consent Agenda as presented and student board member Blake Robinson gave the following report:
As the days begin to get warmer, JCHS students are springing into action in their classes to make sure they finish the school year successfully. First I would like to thank all who came out to the National Honors Society induction. A record number of high achieving students were inducted and are looking forward to a year of service. The Johnson County FFA recently attended the Tennessee State FFA convention in Gatlinburg where several of my fellow students received their state degree. This award is the highest that Tennessee FFA can bestow upon one of its members. Recipients include, Martin Potter, Cheyenne Campbell, and Jenna McNeil. Spring sports are also in full swing with Baseball, Softball, Tennis, and Track all competing around the region. Yesterday the National Honors Society held its spring drive at the high school. I am happy to announce that 110 units of blood were collected and there were 35 first donors. Lastly, I would like to remind everyone that senior night is May 12th, at 6 p.m. I would like to invite the board to attend.
The board approved a list of summer jobs using inmate labor during the summer of 2014. Calendar changes for the 2013-2014 school year were also approved. The students will attend school for a half-day on May 19, 2014 and the teachers in-service will now be May 20, 2014.
Hunter Hancock, Disability Rights Advocate from the Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee was on hand to answer questions from the board regarding handicapped accessibility to their monthly meeting site. Discussion and recommendations were made including the possibility of moving the meeting place or construction amendments to the present location.
In other business, school zone lights and speed limit for Mountain City Elementary School was approved. School zone lights will be moved to the side of the road and the speed limit can increase to 25 miles per hour since Highway 421 is a five-lane road.
Announcement was made that the new Johnson County Director of Schools has been hired. A new contract was approved for Dr. Mischelle Simcox for the upcoming year. Simcox will move from her present position as Supervisor of K-12 Curriculum and Instruction at the end of this school year when Woodrings retirement is official.
With less than a month left in the school year, dates have been set for most commencement programs. The annual Presidential Academic Excellence Awards program is planned for May 5 at 6 p.m. Barring further inclement weather, the last full day of school will be May 16. Graduation is set for Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m.
Debbie Swift, Johnson County High School Custodian, effective March 24, 2014
Jim Crowder, JCHS Assistant Principal, CTE Director and Athletic Director for Johnson County Schools, effective June 30, 2014
Elaine Moore, School Nutrition Supervisor for Johnson County Schools, effective June 30, 2014
By Teresa Cunningham