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RISD board meeting goes live on YouTube; Board to consider new social media policies, bond sales

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New policies regarding cellphones and social media use, which have some implications in efforts to deal with school bullying, will be considered at the Tuesday night meeting of the Roswell Independent School District Board of Education, the first meeting to be shown live on YouTube.

RISD Board President Nicole Austin

“That was one of the things that our community asked for, more access to the board,” said Board President Nicole Austin, “We have the technology to do it now.”
The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., will occur in the Board Room of the Administrative and Educational Services Center, 300 N. Kentucky Ave. The YouTube channel is youtube.com/user/RoswellISD.
Austin said that, if all goes as planned, all open sessions of board meetings will be livestreamed from now on. Austin said that she isn’t sure at this point if the videos will remain posted after the meetings.
The Tuesday meeting is scheduled to include the second reading of two policies regarding the use of electronic and social media. The first reading occurred June 13. At least two readings of policy changes at board meetings are required before revisions can become effective.
The first policy change affects employees by adding provisions to the “Acceptable Technology Use” policy that would prohibit use of cellphones during class sessions or when students are nearby. Employees also would be barred from using social media for personal reasons at any time during the workday, according to a draft of the policy changes posted online.

Other suggested policy revisions affect students, clarifying consequences for wrongly using cellphones or other technology for anything besides approved instructional activities. According to the policy, students’ phones or other technology could be confiscated for an entire academic year after the third infraction. Other, existing policies bar students from using technology as a means to harass or bully people.
Austin acknowledged that the suggested revisions are part of the district’s efforts to respond to parents’ concerns about cyberbullying.
In March, some parents appeared before the board to talk about serious bullying incidents affecting their children. In one incident, Roswell High School students posted to social media a video of a physical fight that resulted in a concussion for one of the two students involved.
Another agenda item calls for the board to consider authorizing the sale of $9.66 million in bonds. Local voters approved up to $16 million in bonds in 2015, but only a portion was sold and $4.02 million worth of bonds remain to be issued. In addition to authorizing the remaining bonds to be sold, the board has been asked to approve refinancing and restructuring existing bond debt for $5.64 million. The bond money is used primarily for school facility improvements.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.org.