Board acts on staff-student electronic communications

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – A new policy will govern technology interactions between students, teachers and staff at Prentiss County schools when a staff-student non-fraternization policy takes effect.
The county school board approved the policy at its Feb. 15 meeting, but it takes effect with approval of minutes from that meeting, expected to be at the next regular board meeting on March 1, said board attorney Richard Bowen.
The non-fraternization policy bars staff members from interacting with students unless on school-related issues. Some specifics of the policy include:
– Staff are prohibited from texting students or participating in student blogs.
n Staff are prohibited from associating with students in any situation or activity which could be considered sexually suggestive or involves the presence of tobacco, alcohol or drugs.
– Staff are prohibited from dating students or having sexual relations with students, regardless of age and/or consent.
– Staff are prohibited from sending students on personal errands.
– Staff are prohibited from counseling students on personal problems relating to sexual behavior, substance abuse, mental or physical health and/or family relationships, but must refer the student to the proper school personnel or agency.
– Staff are prohibited from disclosing information about a student other than directory information to any unauthorized person.
– Staff members are required to immediately report any suspected signs of child abuse or neglect.
In enacting the policy, the Prentiss County board followed a national trend among school districts.
Louisiana enacted a state law last year – becoming only the second state to do so – that required school districts in the state to implement a policy by Nov. 15, 2009, to govern student-teacher electronic communications.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.