An up-to-date policy manual ensures the school district operates in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Well structured, updated policies can be a first line of defense against employment related litigation and regulatory investigations. However, an organization’s policies can quickly turn from defensive tactic to litigation aid if an effective policy management system is not in place to keep up with the pace of changing legislation. Nearly every school system has an outdated or ignored policy. Outdated and ignored policies create the ideal breeding ground for liability. Given the constant changes in legislation, legal decisions and emerging issues, school district policies are continually evolving and must be a point of focus for county boards of education.
Policies serve as a reference point for administrators, teachers, staff, and parents, helping them understand and adhere to the legal requirements and guidelines. They create a framework within which the superintendent and other district staff can discharge their assigned duties. Policies should clearly define what the board intends or requires, leaving the “how” of implementation and administration to the superintendent or their designees.
There is nothing worse than having a policy that is not followed. Alongside policy management, providing regular education and training to employees is vital. This ensures that staff members are aware of the policies, understand their implications, and know how to implement them effectively. Ongoing training programs can help reinforce policy adherence and reduce the risk of non-compliance.