Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

May 16, 2008

LaPoynor school board to review e-mail policy

Move comes on heels of coach resignations, criticism of superintendent

The calm came one week after the storm for the LaPoynor school board.

What resulted from Thursday night’s regularly scheduled school board meeting was this: LaPoynor Independent School District board trustees have agreed to have lawyers review a policy regarding employee use of its Internet and e-mail systems.

On May 8, several members of the audience at a LISD meeting became vocal when trustees took no action concerning allegations that Superintendent Eugene Buford had violated the district’s acceptable use policy regarding Internet and e-mail usage.

Two coaches, Brad Rogers and Ronnie Dunn, submitted their resignations in March after being accused of similar violations. Both men denied they had done anything inappropriate.

On Thursday, the board tackled a 19-item agenda which included a three-hour executive session with no post-meeting fireworks. The board has also recently met in a pair of four-hour executive sessions, which are held outside the public view.

“The board will seek legal advice for setting punishment for violations of the acceptable use policy which will be addressed at the June meeting,” Board President Keith Bristow said after the closed session.

The policy states that Internet accounts are to “be used only for educational and administrative purposes.” According to the policy, inappropriate uses include: using the system for any illegal purpose, posting messages or accessing materials that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented, threatening, harassing, damaging to another’s reputation or illegal and wasting school resources through improper use of the computer system.

After Thursday’s meeting, Bristow said the board is asking the district’s attorney, Blake Armstrong, for guidance in handling future abuses of the policy. When asked if the information would have any bearing on cases the board has discussed to date, Bristow said, “I don’t think so.”

In other action, two new board members were sworn in. Larry Holcomb, a postal worker who defeated incumbent Robert Barron, took the Place 5 seat. Dale Burk, a Eustace assistant principal, became the Place 4 trustee. Burk polled 103 votes on May 10 compared to 67 for Joe Paul Tarrant. Burk replaces Mike Mann, who did not seek re-election on the board.

The board organized for the new term by retaining Bristow as president and Richard Holcomb as vice president.

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