Gender-neutral pronouns, tweaked rules in new ORR handbooks

Oct 20, 2021

The Old Rochester School committee voted at a Oct. 20 meeting to approve changes to the student handbooks of ORR High School and Junior High, making their language more inclusive and tweaking certain school rules.

Both handbooks will change “she/he” and “his/hers” pronouns to “they” and “their” respectively. The term “parent/guardian” will also be changed to “caregiver.”

In addition to changes in terminology, both handbooks will make changes to the dress code to make them more general and less gender-specific. The dress codes for the two schools will be made almost identical, except for some more specific regulations at the high school prohibiting gang-related and sexually explicit clothing.

The high school will also look to discourage tardiness to class by counting every third tardy as an absence. Students are allowed to have up to 9 absences in a half-year class, or 18 in a full-year class, before losing credit.

Exam rules will also be changed slightly at the high school. Before, a missed final exam that was not made-up would be counted as incomplete and no credit would be given for the course, regardless of GPA before the exam. The new rule will count a missed exam as an incomplete and 0% score but wouldn’t explicitly prevent credit from being given for the class.

Additionally, the high school will institute a new policy of having students trade their phones for loaner laptops if they forget to bring their assigned computer to school. The student will be able to retrieve their phone at the end of the day when they return the borrowed device.

Finally, detentions will no longer be given at the high school for first and second offenses of cell phone use in class.