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Westfield school board discusses new policies

Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education members conducted a first reading of three new policies at their regular meeting on March 14.

Policy #1510 deals with “Regular board meetings and rules (quorum and parliamentary procedure), policy #3220 addresses the use of assistance tobacco and cannabis (marijuana) use.

Policy #1510 states that “all board meetings will be open to the public except those portions that are executive sessions.” It also addresses public notice of meetings, streamed meetings, agendas, recording of meetings and public comment.

Regarding quorum and parliamentary procedure, policy #1510 states that “the quorum for any Board meeting is four members. No formal action will be taken at any meeting where a quorum is not present,” and that “the board will use pertinent portions of the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct its business.”

Policy #3220 notes that “the District recognizes the importance of service animals and affirms its commitment to allowing the use of these animals by individuals with disabilities on school grounds to facilitate their full participation in and equal access to District services, programs, and activities.” Basically, a service animal is defined as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

The policy also permits the use of therapy dogs on school grounds. Therapy dogs “can have many benefits including reduced anxiety and increased mental stimulation, as well as decreased depression, feelings of isolation, and boredom.” Reasons why a therapy dog might be denied access to school grounds are also listed in the policy.

Policy #5640 states that “the following actions are prohibited on school grounds and at school functions: smoking; vaping; using tobacco products; and/or using or ingesting any form of cannabis.” Furthermore, “smoking and vaping are prohibited within 100 feet of the entrances, exits, or outdoor areas . . . this prohibition does not apply to smoking or vaping in a residence.” It is noted that exceptions may exist for authorized medical use of cannabis.

Tobacco promotional items (e.g., brand names, logos, and other identifiers) are also prohibited on school grounds, at school functions, in school publications, in vehicles used to transport students or school personnel, and on clothing, shoes, gear and school supplies, according to the policy.

Board members discussed the three policies which will be reviewed and voted on at a future meeting.

In another matter, board members discussed the annual senior citizens’ breakfast and the Friend to Education Award, which the board has given annually since 1986, with the exception of 1991-93, 2013 and 2018-2020.

“Please be thinking about individuals/groups or others that you feel are deserving of this award,” said board president Wendy Dyment.

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