Brookville Area Discusses Water Bottle Use, Technology Policies

Brookville Area High SchoolBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – On July 20, the Brookville Area School District approved its student handbooks for the 2015-16 school year, which include several changes questioned by board members.

A new policy on student use of water bottles on page 22 of the handbooks headlined the discussion.

The policy includes a note indicating “teachers have discretion in determining classroom use of water bottles.”

Board member Frank Bartley suggested this will make the policy difficult to enforce.

High School Principal Ruthanne Barbazzeni disagreed.

“I believe our teachers can handle this issue in the classroom,” Barbazzeni said.

Board president Kerith Strano Taylor praised the move.

“I like that it empowers teachers and allows them to handle their own classroom,” Strano Taylor said.

Board member Steve Neil suggested it will be difficult for students to know what to expect.

“Won’t it be different from class to class? Will that be a problem?” he asked.

Barbazzeni said that won’t be the case.

“No, it won’t be a problem. A teacher’s word on the matter is a teacher’s word, and I will support it,” she said.

Bring Your Own Technology

Several board members questioned the “Bring Your Own Technology” plan, whereby students use their own electronic devices for educational purposes while in the classroom.

The policy is part of the district policy 237 concerning electronic devices.

Students are limited to using their devices only in classrooms where the teacher permits it and only for educational purposes.

Barbazzeni said students must keep their phones and other devices off when not being used for educational purposes, and those violating the policy will have their devices removed.

“This includes a policy of no texting, including to parents,” she said.

Bartley suggested this is too strict.

“That’s downright Draconian,” he said.

District Director of Technology Matthew Simmons said some of the policies are in place because of limitations on district control of student use of electronic devices.

“We can limit access to (social media) and other websites if students are using our district WiFi, but if they’re using their own data plan, we can’t do anything about that,” Simmons said.

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