EAST PALESTINE - A school board member believes they should reconsider a ban on students using cell phones while riding buses to and from games and other events.
"Those cell phones help keep kids quiet" during long bus rides, said board member Doug Lammert.
During last week's meeting, the board was scheduled to approve an updated version of its policies when Lammert questioned the section regarding student use of personal devices, which prohibits cells phones from being turned on during school or on after-school bus trips.
Lammert indicated he has personally witnessed the value of students being able to use their cell phones on these bus trips and it does help keep them from becoming too loud. He saw another benefit when a coach instructed her team to begin calling their parents to pick them up as the bus neared the school while they were returning from a sporting event.
Superintendent George Fisk said they would remove that section from the policy for now and study if further, which is what the board opted to do. The board then approved the rest of the policy.
In other action, the board amended its contract with the union representing teachers to provide additional compensation when veteran teachers mentor more than one new teacher.
Under the current policy, teachers certified to serve as mentors for new hires are compensated at 7 percent of the base pay for teachers. Fisk said the revised policy allows them to be compensated at 3.5 percent for any additional new hires they mentor.
He said it had never been an issue until this year, but "we had a big turnover last year," leaving the district in a position of having more new teachers then mentors.
"They put in a lot of hours outside of the school day," he said the teaching mentors.
During the educational spotlight portion of the meeting, high school Principal Laura Griffiths and five students gave a brief presentation on the leadership classes featuring motivational speaker David Kohout, held every Tuesday during the lunch period.
"The whole goal is to grow leaders" as students go forth into the world, Griffith said.
The following students addressed the board about how they have benefited from the sessions: Logan Foster, Taylor Rafferty, Austin Jeffers, Grant Wagner and Emily Duncan.
Kohout offered to provide the leadership classes for free after reading about all of the changes in the school district over the past year, Fisk said.
The board also:
- Awarded its first Bulldog PRIDE (Passionate, Remarkable, Inspiring, Dedicated, Engaging) Award to elementary school aide Sherri Perkins, who recently used the Heimlich maneuver on a student choking on a candy bar. Perkins was successful in stopping the choking, and the student was fine.
- Accepted the resignations of custodian James Stanyard, who is retiring at the end of the year, and teacher Cathy Berent, retroactive to Nov. 20.
- Accepted the following donations from school organizations: $1,162 from the Soccer Boosters, to purchase new jackets; $1,236 from the PTO, to purchase elementary planners; and $640 from the Football Mothers, for new jerseys.
The board's next meeting is 6 p.m. Jan. 7.