The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local News

January 14, 2013

Public hearing set for school board meeting

TARBORO — A public hearing on the Edgecombe County Public Schools’ (ECPS) new technology policies is on the agenda for Monday’s board of education meeting.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the ECPS central office board rooms at 412 Pearl St. in Tarboro. Parents and other community members wishing to speak on the policies will need to sign in prior to the meeting.

The board discussed and agreed on the new policies at a work session the evening of Monday, Jan. 7. The policies are up for review because of ECPS’ application renewal for E (education)-rate, also known as the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund. The school district uses E-rate to purchase necessary services and equipment; for example, the servers, phone system and website provider.

“The velocity at which technology changes requires that we continuously update and address concerns regarding technology and network security,” said Ed Chase, director of technology for ECPS.

The new policies will replace the district’s current policies governing the use of technology. One of the new policies discusses “technology responsible use.” The policy includes a section on parental acknowledgement and consent of children’s use of the Internet as a source of information while at school. It also gives parents/ legal guardians the option of requesting that their child not be given independent access to the Internet.  

Other policies address “Internet safety,” “Web page development,” “technology in the educational program,” “copyright compliance,” and “employee use of social media.”

This is the first time the district has ever had a policy specifically pertaining to social media. Examples of social media are MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The policy states that employees, as role models for the system’s students, will be held to the same “professional standards in their public use of social media and other electronic communications” as they are for any other public conduct. The policy also states that an employee shall not accept current students as “friends” or “followers” on social media sites unless the employee has a family relationship or “other type of appropriate relationship” with the student that began outside of the school setting. Employees’ violation of the district’s policy governing social media will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

A first reading of the 2000 series policies is also on the agenda for Monday’s board meeting. The 2000 series addresses policies governing the board of education.

At Monday’s work session, Board Member Janice Davidson suggested amending the 2000 series to include limitations on the amount of time allotted for public comments during board meetings. The board agreed to limit the time for public comments to 21 minutes, which would give seven people three minutes each to speak. The board currently has no time limitations for public comments. The board will vote on the 2000 series amendments after a second reading at their regularly scheduled February meeting.

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