Provo School District proposal would limit definition of adulthood in high school

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    By SHERALYN BOLE

    If the Provo School District committee has its way, 18-year-old students will no longer be considered adults in a high school setting.

    The committee presented a policy to the Board of Education Tuesday night that would no longer allow 18 year olds to sign themselves out of classes, write notes for themselves or decide which high schools to attend.

    The board did not make any decisions but left the policy open to suggestions from board members and residents until next month’s meeting.

    “The purpose of the policy is to tell 18 year olds that they may not write notes for themselves without basic parental involvement,” said Terry Shoemaker, district personnel director.

    The district needs the policy because Utah legislature does not have a uniform rule set up throughout the state, he said. Schools in the district have different policies and differing opinions. Some schools allow 18 year olds to sign for themselves while others do not.

    Shoemaker said the schools need to have a consistent policy that includes both students and parents.

    “Parents need to understand that they still need to be involved until the end,” he said.

    He said 18 year olds should follow the same rules as other students.

    “Just because they reach the magic age of 18 doesn’t mean they’re suddenly independent and mature,” he said.

    For most 18 year olds, the policy will not be a big change, said Greg Hudnall, committee member and district director of social programs.

    “This will really affect those who think they can check themselves out whenever they want,” he said.

    Drew Bolander, district student coordinator, said the schools might occasionally have to make exceptions to the proposed policy.

    “Sometimes I’ll see a good student with high grades who just doesn’t get along with his parents,” he said.

    Other times, students move into the district from a different state without their parents. Some even live with neighbors when their parents move out of district boundaries right before graduation.

    He said these students should not have to go to an adult school if they are well on their way to a normal graduation at high school.

    The board plans to vote on the proposed policy on Dec. 14.

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