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Students may be calling in sick less often this school year at Cleveland Hill Middle and High School if the board accepts a policy proposed Wednesday night.

Beginning in fall, if the policy is adopted over the summer, students would be required to have a 90 percent attendance rate, rather than the current 85 percent rate, to receive credit for the year.

That means students would be allowed a maximum of 20 absences rather than the current 28.

"I have students coming into the office in May starting the countdown," said High School Principal James Prezepasniak. "Their attitude is, 'If I have these days, I'm going to take them.' "

However, Prezepasniak said students still would be allowed more than 20 absences for extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness.

The current attendance policy is in effect only for High School students. Prezepasniak is recommending the new, stricter policy also be applied to the Middle School.

He also proposed that the existing eligibility rule, which requires acceptable academic achievement for participation in sports and other extracurricular activities, be extended to the Middle School.

The board also reviewed the proposed new code of conduct for the district, which is a revision of the current code, to meet new state Education Department requirements.

The revised code would apply uniformly to grades kindergarten through 12, all teachers and staff, as well as to anyone on the school grounds, either during the school day or after school.

It covers everything from appropriate language to how search warrants can be executed.

Linda Gohn, director of pupil personnel services, said a 12-member committee met several times to go over details of the code. She said the biggest issue was the provision that allows teachers to more easily remove from class students who violate the code.

A public hearing on the proposed new code of conduct is set for Tuesday in the Middle School cafeteria.

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