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Board to students: Don't take photos

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By Jenna McKenna

Warning to Levy County students: you already weren't allowed to use your cellphone, pager or cellphone digital camera during the school day. Now you're really not allowed to. At Tuesday's meeting of Levy County School Board, Director of Curriculum Patrick Wnek presented some changes to the Student Code of Conduct, the manual that governs student discipline in county schools. Changes included the addition of the words “wireless communication device” to the description of mobile phones and pagers. Wnek said the language was necessary to close the loophole on the variety of communication devices students might have in their possession. The use of a wireless device during the school day is a Level II infraction, suggesting a behavior contract with the student, parental contact, counseling and directions. Also concerning wireless devices was a new ban on using digital cameras, video recorders or cellphone cameras to capture pictures of teachers, staff or students without permission. Wnek said the language was necessary because wireless phones have the capability to post such photos to the Web “instantaneously.” A violation of this language is a Level III infraction, demanding at least the Level II response, but allowing action up to suspension and expulsion from school. Finally, Wnek said that the activity of purchasing drugs or alcohol on campus had been added to the list of Level IV infractions regarding alcohol and drugs, along with selling and transmitting, which are currently defined. Level IV is the most serious type of infraction dealt with in the code of conduct, calling for the most severe discipline sanctions, beginning with suspension with recommendation of expulsion, and even notification of law enforcement for the most severe Level IV infractions. Board member Beth Davis (Cedar Key) asked if students are fairly apprised of changes to the code of conduct and Wnek said they were, noting that “at the beginning of the school year, teachers go over the entire code of conduct with them, not just the changes. In other action, the board elected members Cameron Asbell (Bronson) and Davis as the designated primary and alternate members to serve on the Value Adjustment Board, a body convened to hear disputes from property owners concerning the assessed value of their properties. Davis said that Walt McJordan of Cedar Key would probably be asked to serve as the at-large member. In the question period, member Paige Brookins (Chiefland) asked whether two school employees recommended for positions as guidance counselors at Chiefland Elementary and Chiefland High School were certified guidance counselors. Assistant Superintendent Gina Tovine said that Michelle Barron, who will replace Lori Prevatt at CES, is certified already. Jennifer Anderson, replacing Teri Edison at CHS, will be temporarily out of field, but will start immediately on her certifications.