COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System is looking for guidance from Rockdale County Public Schools in changing its foreign exchange student regulation.
NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews entered into discussion with the Newton County Board of Education at its last monthly meeting. He told them he would like to work with the board and the school board attorney to change the language in the regulation; he wants to use the regulation set up in Rockdale County as a guide.
The NCSS Enrollment, Residency, Attendance regulation, JBA, which was last updated in June, specifies eligibility for enrollment for the foreign exchange program.
Currently, it reads: "The number of foreign exchange students accepted for a school year in Newton County shall depend on current enrollment and be at the discretion of the principal. Prior to committing to a host family, the representative of the foreign exchange company must obtain written permission from the principal for a student's enrollment in the high school."
It also specifies other program requirements once the student is enrolled.
Mathews is recommending that the school board determine a more specific language for principals or the system to follow.
He and school board Chair Almond Turner said the idea to change it stems from an incident last school year when a principal did not want to enroll a student at the school because the school was overcrowded and the school had a problem with a previous foreign exchange student. The school board attorney looked at the case and determined that the principal should offer enrollment, which occurred, but then the host family ended up sending the kid back home because he was breaking house rules, so he did not end up being enrolled.
"I think we need to change this to make sure they apply the rules and have requirements set up," Turner said.
Mathews said the regulation for RCPS requires foreign exchange students have a certain level of English proficiency and that the enrollment of a student should not push the class size over limits.
The school board also discussed adding a requirement for prior disciplinary records and if the superintendent or a designee should have the discretion instead of principals.
The board decided it would discuss the topic further at an upcoming special called meeting that is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 10 in the board room at the Newton BOE building at 2109 Newton Drive NE in Covington.