The Portland school board has reversed a two-week-old policy that would have required some students to essentially have “perfect” classroom behavior to be eligible for sports and after school clubs.

Superintendent Xavier Botana said he realized soon after the board’s Aug. 1 vote to implement the policy that schools weren’t yet ready to put the plan into place in time for the upcoming school year. He said previously that he would ask the board to reverse the decision and revert to the old eligibility policy for now, to give officials more time to implement the new system.

At the board’s Tuesday meeting, Botana asked the board to rescind their vote. The board voted unanimously to do so and use the old eligibility standard that did not consider behavior.

Botana said he still wants the policy in place eventually, but does not have a timeline.

Delaying the policy will give the district and board more time to study the idea; review the standards at each school; talk with Portland coaches, parents and students; and make sure any new eligibility policy can apply fairly and equally across all middle and high schools, Botana said.

The policy would have required students to meet so-called “habits of work and learning” standards, or HOWLS, to be eligible. The “soft skills” include being polite, prepared for class and turning in homework on time, and district officials say they are critical to being a well-rounded student and citizen.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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