12 members of St. Helena High’s Class of 2013 to retake GEE

— The St. Helena Parish School Board agreed Thursday to allow 12 seniors who met all course and grade requirements for graduation but did not pass a standardized test to participate in a May 17 graduation ceremony.

St. Helena Central High School’s 67 seniors met with Superintendent Kelli Joseph to plead the case for their classmates’ participation, Joseph said.

“This is a very close-knit group, and they want all their peers to march together at graduation,” Joseph said.

Sixteen seniors fell short of meeting one or more graduation requirements. Joseph said.

Only the 12 students who met all requirements except passing the state Graduate Exit Exam will be allowed to participate, he said.

Those students will not receive a diploma and, before participating in the ceremony, must sign up for GEE remediation classes during the summer and agree to retake the test, Joseph said.

Other business coming before the School Board included:

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: The board removed from the district’s manual a policy permitting corporal punishment of students and replaced it with a policy expressly forbidding the practice.

Joseph, who requested the change, said her administration does not condone the use of corporal punishment and cannot support a policy that allows it.

RETIREMENT INCENTIVES: The board approved a plan to offer retirement incentives to eligible employees.

Certified employees will be offered $5,500 for an early exit, and noncertified employees will be offered $3,000.

Six certified and three noncertified employees are eligible for the incentives, Joseph said.