APS beefing up anti-bullying, Internet safety policies
Akron Public Schools (APS) students and staff should reap the safety benefits of policy revisions being made by the APS Board of Education.
At the June 25 meeting, the board held a second reading of a revised policy on bullying and other forms of aggressive behavior.
Ohio legislators are “expanding the definition of bullying,” said board member Tim Miller, so the board is updating its existing policy to reflect new state requirements.
Legal and Board Policy Development Chairman Patrick Bravo said the district “has been ahead of the curve” with its bullying policy already, but the revisions will align with the new state regulations that now include cyber bullying. The APS receives state funding that is contingent on its compliance with the state policy, he said.
The district has a strong anti-bullying policy already, which the board and Superintendent David James said they are determined to maintain in spite of having to cut some staff members who worked in that department last May, when the district had to make more than $18 million in reductions to help offset the budget deficit.
The revisions to the other policies — those concerning staff and student Internet and wireless use and safety practices — were approved on first reading, the board waiving the three-reading requirement to meet a federal government deadline.
On July 1, the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act goes into effect, Bravo said, and the district needs to update its wireless and Internet policies to be in compliance with the legal changes in order to continue receiving some federal funding.
The updates to both the bullying and Internet/wireless policies will be spelled out later, after the policies are finalized, he said.
In other business, board members expressed congratulations to native Akron resident and APS benefactor LeBron James for his recent NBA championship. Board member the Rev. Curtis Walker said, “We’re proud of his accomplishment and applaud his career and contributions to the Akron Public Schools.”
James is a supporter of the APS’ after-school program and has funded computers and other programs that benefit the district’s students.
“He has given a great deal to this district,” said board President Jason Haas.
The board’s next regular meeting is set for July 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway in Downtown Akron.
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