Student Character Bill Sails through House

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- The House overwhelmingly backed giving Georgia

students a lesson in character yesterday, while state School

Superintendent Linda Schrenko was trying to convince senators to

make children follow a code of conduct.

The efforts are two of many lawmakers are considering to make

schools safer this session.

The House voted 168-0 for legislation sponsored by Rep. Carl

Von Epps, D-LaGrange, calling on the state Board of Education to

develop character curriculum for Georgia schools.

"It can and will enhance the life of a lot of youths for a lot

of years," Von Epps told colleagues yesterday.

The state board approved a rule in the early 1990s calling for

values instruction, but has done little follow-up to see whether

the dictate is being carried out at the local level.

Von Epps wants Georgia schools to follow the example of West

Point Elementary, a campus in his district that began character

education three years ago.

Students get 10 minutes of "character" instruction on things

like honesty and self-respect at the beginning of each school

day.

Under Von Epps' measure, the state board would develop a

character program focusing on: courage, patriotism, citizenship,

honesty, fairness, respect for others, kindness, cooperation,

self-respect, self-control, courtesy, compassion, tolerance,

diligence, generosity, punctuality, cleanliness, cheerfulness,

school pride, respect for the environment, patience, creativity,

sportsmanship and loyalty. …