With international media attention having swept down upon the Barrow County School System, superintendent Ron Saunders requested a delay in voting on a policy which would set up guidelines establishing strict boundaries for student-teacher relations.
The policy would deal with items that would be appropriate for Facebook and MySpace accounts. A case is currently pending involving the resignation of an Apalachee High School teacher after the school system allegedly received a complaint over photos taken on a non-school related trip. (See related story).
Saunders said during Tuesday night’s meeting 13 school systems have a similar policy in place.
“I want to go back and look at it,” the superintendent said. “I want to bring it back up at a later date and take into account the comments I have received.”
Board member Mark Still requested copies of the policies other school systems are using. Still initially expressed concern over regulating what school system personnel post on personal websites. Saunders had modeled his proposed policy after one used by the Coffee County School System in South Georgia. Reports indicated that some citizens were upset that the proposed policy would be a violation of privacy for teachers and other school system employees.
The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has a policy prohibiting student-teacher relationships, but Saunders wanted to have a local policy for principals and school officials to be able to use as well. A vote on the policy was to have been in December, but that has now been pushed back after Saunders request.
The school board and Saunders also met for more than an hour Tuesday night with Apalachee High School principal David McGee and assistant principal Doran Mansburger along with legal counsel concerning the resignation of teacher Ashley Payne.
Saunders said no action was taken once the meeting was reopened.