School Board may take another look at students performing community service

Posted: Jul. 24, 2014 10:13 am Updated: Aug. 7, 2014 1:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Some Quincy School Board members don't want to give up on the idea of launching a community service element into the local school system.

The board's Discipline Committee on Tuesday agreed to table a proposal to give students the option of performing community service as an alternative to suspension or expulsion. Committee members felt even though such a program would be legal, the district would probably face implementation headaches.

However, at Wednesday night's School Board meeting, board members Jeff Mays and Stephanie Erwin defended the idea of starting a community service program in the public schools -- even if it wouldn't be used as a discipline alternative.

"There are several of us on this board who do not want to see this fall off the table," Mays said. "I would hate to see this removed from the discussion at this time. I think community service should be an integral part of what our schools should be doing to give back to the community."

Erwin agreed. She believes the district should require students to carry out community service projects as a condition for graduating from high school.

"Why can't they contribute a little bit?" she said. "I would like to see us implement it somehow."

Scott Stone and Sayeed Ali, who serve on the Discipline Committee, both pointed out certain limitations and potential legal risks the district could face in trying to set up a community service option as an alternative to suspension or expulsion. On the other hand, both said they see value in students performing community service -- possibly as a graduation requirement.

"That's a separate discussion" from tying community service to discipline, Stone said.

Stone said he would talk with school administrators and legal counselors about the possibility of incorporating a community service program in the schools.