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Resident Questions Board Policy

January 12, 2012

ST. MARYS — A local resident questioned a school board’s policy during the board’s meeting Wednesday evening.

During the public participation portion of the St. Marys Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening, resident Bret Abbott requested board members look into a policy that regulates third-party staff members, such as probation officers and law enforcement officers, as well as resource officers.

“My request is that a comprehensive policy be developed governing third-party staff members,” Abbott said. “I have tried to go through a lot of the policies online. It’s nice to have all that there, but it’s very difficult to wade through.”

Abbott added Superintendent Jerry Skiver had provided Abbott with requested information.

“My wife and I have great concerns about some of the interactions between staff members and probation officers, police officers, infringing on the privacy of students and infringing on my privacy as a parent,” he said.

“We are looking at the school being responsible for following their policies, and it’s very difficult to really manage and monitor what is going on when the policy is saying ‘The policy for this situation is here’ and the policy for this is over here,’ and it’s hard to know what your policy is and when it is viable.”

Abbott requested the board specifically look at the role, the actions and the passage of information to the third party staff members. He said he would fill them in on the specifics of his situation at another time.

“Maybe in your subcommittees you address this and clearly delineate when these are need, what is considered reasonable information to share, what is considered the legitimate educational interest in information requested and things like that,” he said.

“I would like to see specifically how a parent can sign an ill student out of school without having to get permission from somebody else — that’s a real iffy thing when you’re telling me I can’t sign my child out of school without going to somebody else and getting permission.”

Board Member Ralph Wiley suggested setting up a meeting in executive session with the policy and planning committee with legal counsel and Abbott to discuss the policy and legal issues regarding his private situation.

“And maybe after we have that information, the committee can decide what they would like to do as far as amending or implementing policy,” Wiley said.

In other business, board members:

• Approved the district’s permanent appropriations resolution for fiscal year 2012.

• Approved the calendar for 2012-13.

• Approved the Northwest Ohio Area Computer Services Cooperative to provide the district with internet services.

• Approved a licensing agreement with Pel Industries Inc. for the St. Marys City Schools’ participation in Pel’s production of licensed merchandise. Athletic Director Doug Spencer noted this agreement is a requirement through the Wal-Mart stores to sell St. Marys-related material. Wiley voted against the measure.

• Approved the annual agreement with the Auglaize County office of Homeland Security.

The next meeting of the St. Marys Board of Education will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the auditorium at the high school-middle school.

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