In December, the Augusta County School Board realized that the school system’s existing policies and practices aligned with 75 percent of the Commonwealth’s policies.
The board proceeded to discuss and then adopt Regulation 7.505 to ensure the remaining 25 percent of the 2023 Model Policies on Ensuring Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools was addressed.
“The School Board and administration are fully committed to providing students with a safe and nurturing educational environment. Complaints involving any employee of the division are taken seriously. Complaints of misconduct are investigated thoroughly and appropriate action is taken promptly if warranted. However, Augusta County Public Schools does not provide details about specific personnel or student matters to protect the confidentiality of the individuals involved,” said Executive Director of Communication & Administrative Services Dr. Miranda Ball.
The school board voted unanimously at its September 2023 regular meeting to separate boys and girls restrooms at the new Buffalo Gap and Riverheads middle schools. Adaptations were later made to create gaps three inches below and above stall doors to maintain privacy but also allow appropriate supervision if necessary when a student is in distress.
Boys and girls banks of restrooms each include four individual stalls, one of which is a handicap-accessible restroom with a sink. Sinks outside the restrooms are along a wall with cutout partitions of five-feet-tall frosted glass. Passersby in the hallways can see students washing their hands but cannot see occupants in restroom stalls.
Cameras are planned outside the banks of restrooms to keep an eye on the sink areas where the majority of vandalism in middle school restrooms, as well as horse play and bullying, happen, according to Augusta County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. Doug Shifflett, who presented construction updates at the board’s regular February meeting.