Principals in Centerville-Abington Community Schools have recommended several changes to student handbooks for 2024-2025 related to dress codes, cellphones, attendance and other topics.

School board members conducted a first reading April 23 and could approve them at the next public meeting, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at 115 W. South St., Centerville. 

Centerville-Abington Elementary, Centerville Junior High and Centerville Senior High School leaders recommend updating attendance and cellphone policies to match new Indiana code.

After a child’s fifth unexcused absence, a parent must participate in an attendance conference. After 10, schools report students to juvenile court or Department of Child Services. After 15, the parent is required to attend a second conference. Students could be suspended, expelled or lose transfer status. 

Unless teachers give permission to use wireless devices for educational purposes during instructional time, an emergency or through a student’s Individual Education Plan or managing their health care, cellphones/smartwatches now must be off and stay in lockers or backpacks. 

First and second offenses require parents to collect devices at the school’s office. Third offense equals out of school suspension and termination of device privileges.

  • CAE wants to ban low and/or revealing tops and apparel displaying/promoting any type of weaponry. Treats for parties must be store bought and unopened. The minimum temperature for required outdoor recess would change from 20 degrees to 30.  
  • Along with above attendance changes, Rose Hamilton Elementary would remove its teacher request policy to match CAE. 
  • CJHS wants to change dress code language regarding leggings/yoga pants. They already must be worn under other clothing that goes to mid-thigh, but now must also cover the student’s entire bottom at all times. 

Staff handbook 

The board unanimously approved a new classified handbook, which most other schools have, Assistant Superintendent Sean Stevenson said. It’s not new information but a compilation of board policies. New noncertified employees will receive one and sign that they’ve read it. The handbook aims to answer employees’ questions and help administrators when addressing concerns with staff. The board approved it 5-0. 


The board approved the 2025-26 school calendar. Students attend starting Aug. 6. Breaks and holidays include Oct. 27-31, Dec. 22-Jan. 2, Jan. 19, March 23-27 and April 3. Two in-person weather makeup days are built in if needed, followed by three e-learning days and then more in-person days. Graduation is June 7 unless more makeup days are added.

In other business

Policies: First readings were conducted on criminal organization activity, registered sex or violent offenders, latchkey programs, Pledge of Allegiance and moments of silence, advertisements, publications and naming rights, animals, intellectual property ownership and revenue, community use of school facilities, and Title I comparability policy. 

Trip: CJHS will offer a Friday-Sunday trip to visit museums and monuments in Washington, D.C. It’s $532 each if 46-50 students travel, decreasing for every five additional.  

Conference: Members recapped the National School Board Association Conference in New Orleans. 

Donations: First Bank Richmond, $3,000 for French Club trip; $250 for Business Professionals of America trip; $1,600 for Drama Club. Women’s Fund of Wayne County Foundation, $1,600 for CSHS Musical Theater program; Golden Engineering, $500 for BPA; Progressive Insurance Foundation, $225 for Rose Hamilton.  


New hires: Mika Frame, director of student learning; Taylor Heitisimer, cafeteria sub. Summer school: Kenny Marshall, Brian Cheek and Lindsey Day, CJHS; Jessica Anderson, Alyssa Davis, Cathy Stainbrook and JoAnna Derr (King), Rose Hamilton. 

Pending hires: Taylor Desena, CSHS science teacher; Hannah Tollett, speech language pathologist; Allison Hemmerling, substitute 

Departures: Traci Bertsch, CAE day custodian; Nathan Rigsby, CJHS/CSHS teaching assistant

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A version of this article appeared in the May 1 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.