The Calallen Independent School District's Board of Trustees made some changes to the district's policy on bullying, adding in a sentence that officially makes cyber bullying a punishable offense.
Patrick Romero, the district's deputy superintendent for administrative and human resources, told the board during its scheduled meeting on Monday that the change was recommended by an attorney with the Texas Association of School Boards. The district's prior policy, Romero added, was not in question, but the recommendation was made in order to make the issue clear.
"We're covered, but they (TASB) want us to be more specific," Romero said.
The policy for the district, labeled FFI (Local) and addressing a student's "Freedom from Bullying" will now contain the sentence "Bullying of a student may occur through electronic methods, called 'cyber bullying.'"
Romero said the policy will extend to any type of harassment between students that may take place, for example, on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace. Punishment can usually only be handed out if the offense is committed on or using school property, but Romero said it is possible the district may address an issue that began off-campus, depending on the circumstances.
"If it starts to affect a student at school, then we may have to take action," he said.
In other CISD business:
Trustees welcomed three new faces to the school board, as well as one familiar name, as those board members elected in the Nov. 2 General Election took their oaths of office. Paul Peeler, Chad Burkhart, Jason Floyd and Chad Wilfong were all sworn in at Monday's meeting.
Peeler was the only incumbent to return to the board, after Burkhart's narrow defeat of Yolanda Villarreal and Floyd's victory over Tammy McDonald in the election. Wilfong beat out Jesse Molina for the Place 5 Trustee seat, which was vacated by Karen Karagas after she decided not to seek re-election.
The loss of McDonald, Karagas and Villarreal leaves the board without a female trustee serving among its ranks.
Votes were cast to decide on officers for the school board, with Butch Roecker keeping his position of board president. Jim Callis was named vice-president, while Brent Burkhart was appointed as secretary. Paul Peeler was given the position of treasurer, as well.
The appointments of Roecker, Callis and Peeler were unanimously approved at the meeting in a 7-0 vote. However, Burkhart's appointment as secretary was approved in a 6-1 vote, with Peeler casting the lone dissenting vote.