Prom day early dismissal may be made permanent


A trial policy allowing Mt. Hope High School students attending the junior prom to leave school early that day may be made a permanent procedure going forward.

Juniors attending the prom will be able to schedule early afternoon hair appointments and tuxedo fittings after a Bristol Warren Regional School Committee subcommittee approved the early dismissal for juniors Monday night. The full committee still has to approve the proposal.

The School Committee approved allowing juniors to leave school before last period for last May's junior prom on a trial basis after students requested the privilege. “From a girl’s point of view, by the time you get out of the parking lot, and people who live in Warren get home by 3, or 3:30, (prom preparations) are more rushed than it should be,” student Morgan Chaves told the school committee at the time.

The early dismissal does not apply to all students. Only juniors attending prom are eligible. Underclassmen accompanying an older date to the dance will have to wait until the final bell to leave school.

Students who are chronically late or who find themselves in trouble with the school in weeks leading up to prom will also be excluded from early dismissal. Students can not have more than one unexcused absence or more than 10 days being late throughout the school year to qualify. They also can not be suspended or find themselves on "social suspension" — which prohibits students from attending school functions like prom. Social suspension lasts much longer than traditional suspension. If a student is suspended for five days, he may be subject to five weeks of social suspension, according to Principal Donald Rebello.

"We're hoping to use this as an incentive for students to not get into any disqualifying categories," Mr. Rebello told the committee. "If you schedule an early appointment (on prom day), don't get suspended."

The plan applies only to the junior prom. Senior prom falls during Senior Week, when 12th graders are off for the week.

In other business Monday, the subcommittee removed language from the school district's graduation policy that had required all students to pass a state standardized test as a graduation requirement. The move was required after the state General Assembly in May postponed requiring students to pass the test.

During a special business meeting Monday, the School Committee approved buying 290 HP laptop computers for all fifth grade students and teachers. The committee will also buy 40 USB docking stations for the computers and 15 carts to charge and transport them. The total cost is just over $115,000.

The subcommittee also approved resurfacing the tennis courts at Mt. Hope High School, though some objected to the school's plan to paint the courts purple - the school color.


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