News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local Interest

April 24, 2012

School Board honors Branam

Internet use also draws discussion

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County School Board observed a moment of silence Monday to honor the memory of Matt Branam, the 14th president of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, who died Friday in Union Hospital.

Branam, 57, grew up in Terre Haute and attended Vigo County schools. He graduated from Terre Haute North Vigo High School and attended Indiana State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rose-Hulman in 1979.

• In other matters, the board unanimously approved minor revisions to the district’s policy on corporation-provided access to electronic information, services and networks.

The instructional policy deals with acceptable internet and computer use by students. The changes are necessary for compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.

The policy lists uses that are not permitted and further states that “any violation of corporation policy and rules may result in loss of access to the VCSC network.

Additional disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion from school, may be determined in keeping with existing procedures and practices. When and where applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.”

Board member Tom Thomas suggested that if the VCSC network is used to download or distribute pornographic, obscene or sexually explicit material  — one of the prohibited uses — there should be stricter penalties than “loss of access to the network.”

Superintendent Dan Tanoos said each school principal has the latitude to determine the appropriate discipline for students, and “they are pretty consistent,” he said. Some flexibility is important, he said.

After further board discussion, Tanoos then suggested it would be good to have a discussion with principals this summer and see how these issues are handled, particularly “since there is such a new wave of social media types of things happening in our schools.”

Mick Newport, director of K-12 education, agreed “we can look into it a little bit more,” including the possibility of more specific penalties.

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