Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

April 30, 2014

Unit 40 discipline, new policy disputed

(Continued)

EHS teachers defended the school's discipline policy. Teacher Jim Hammer read a statement Monday signed by 70 of the district's teachers, as well as administrators.

“At last month's school board meeting, there were negative comments made regarding the discipline policy at Unit 40, some of which were blatant falsehoods,” said Hammer. “As teachers and support staff at Effingham High School, we wish to set the record straight. We collectively fully support the policy and the administrators at EHS.”

The Campbells went on to question the district's proposed student handbook change related to monitoring a student's social media usage.

“One that really came to light for us, that falls under this same realm that we are really worried about the principal and vice principal having too much control over our kids, is the Right to Privacy in a School Setting Act,” said Campbell.

The handbook change being considered is to align the district with a state law that went into effect at the beginning of the year that allows school districts to request or require students to provide passwords to their social networking accounts if there is just and reasonable cause that the content posted on the account violates school rules and disciplinary codes of conduct. The password must be gained with a parent's permission.

Campbell questioned the vague wording to the policy change, which he believes gives administration too much power to view a student's phone. He pointed to wording added to the end of Public Act 098-0129, which gives discretion for its usage to the superintendent.

“This is pretty alarming,” he said. “Where does the Fourth Amendment play into it?”

Board President Del Soltwedel asked Campbell "if we are told that a student has on his or her phone that they are going to kill a certain student, are you saying we don't have any right to worry about that?”

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