MARICOPA — Public hearings at the recent Maricopa Unified School Board meeting brought attention to the negative effects from a police change that was passed in April for Maricopa High School.

On Wednesday night, three speakers during call to the public — including a student and seminary teacher — suggested the governing board review the policy. The policy affects those who take seminary release time at MHS, which are not credit-bearing classes, and are therefore in need to make up the credits before or after the regular school day. The online courses are offered through Odyssey Online, which does not include AP or honors classes.

The changed policy reads that “It shall be the responsibility of the principal, with the cooperation of assigned counselors, to assist students in the scheduling of classes. All students in the high school with the exception of graduating seniors are required to enroll in six credit-bearing classes. Graduating seniors will be required to enroll in the minimum of five credit-bearing courses. Seniors wishing to participate in extracurricular programs must adhere to Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) guidelines.”

According to Mishell Terry, coordinator of communications and social media for MUSD, while students take seminary religious classes which are not for credit, the policy added additional classes before and after the day so that they could be enrolled in the proper course load for credit. The zero or eighth hour classes require students to have longer class days overall.

Eric Goettl, seminary teacher at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were one of the speakers at the meeting on Wednesday night, addressing his concerns for the policy change and the negative impact it has taken on the students.

“Back on April 24, the board approved of a policy change to the handbook policy IIE which required a six credit bearing classes to be into our kids schedule during the course of their school day. I appeared before the council on the eighth to maybe draw your attention to some of the negative impacts that I first saw would happen with that policy change it is a little worse than we thought,” Goettl said.

Goettl asked the board to consider putting that policy for discussion again on the future agenda.

“The students are in school from basically when the bus picks them up at 6:30 in the morning and they have extra class in the evening and they’re not getting home until almost 6 with the buses taking as long as they are. That’s way too long for any ninth grader to be in school.”

Madison Delap, seminary student also spoke out on the issue at the meeting.

“Seminary students tried hard to make up those credits by taking an online class over the summer or just finding a way to make it up bit it was no problem at all. But now we have to take a zero or eighth hour which is unfair. It should be only for student who need it like those who are credit efficient,” Delap said. “Some of us after school want to do sports, study, go home, go to an afterschool club, hangout with our friends and hang out with our family.”

DeLap suggested to make up the credits over the summer or after school on our own time.

The policy change took place in April of this year. Approximately 140 students take the seminary release time at MHS.

We are tired from the classes we take in regular school day and we were exhausted by the time we get to our eighth hour but we are limited to that hour because of the new policy.

She suggested to make up the credits over the summer or after school on our own time.

Terry expressed that the policy will be discussed in the future.

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