Tipp City BOE discusses policy language, changes

TIPP CITY — A controversial issues policy was discussed at Tipp City Board of Education’s monthly meeting, held Monday evening.

Policy 2240 exists to allow controversial issues to be presented into classroom instruction provided there is an educational reason for it, that there is no attempt to indoctrinate or persuade students toward one way of thinking, and encourages open-mindedness. According to the document, “a controversial issue is a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion and/or likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community.”

Superintendent Mark Stefanik said that the policy refers most often to classroom discussions on current events and that the teacher is responsible for facilitating that discussion and allowing all viewpoints to be heard.

The policy is one of several with proposed changes under the Winter 2021 and Specials Update and was brought into discussion by board member Corine Doll, who brought up that the board could try to negate future issues by pre-supporting the policy or having a committee at the high school overseeing the policy due to the fact that discussions on controversial issues are permitted to be initiated by students, but not by a source outside the schools unless prior approval has been given by the principal.

“It can be looked at collectively, rather than fall on one person’s shoulders (…) so that it has some kind of oversight, so it’s not one person saying yes or no,” Doll said. “That’s a lot (to put on one person), and it’s controversial issues initiated by an outside source, not by students.”

Stefanik said that if the board wishes to revise the language of the policy, they would have to check with NEOLA to make sure the revision isn’t significant enough to change the verified version NEOLA has put out.

“I think that we just need to be mindful of our principals and our community,” Doll said.

Stefanik said he would contact the district’s NEOLA point person and that further discussion would come up in the next work session, to be held Tuesday, March 9 at 5 p.m.

Also discussed at Monday’s meeting was the COVID-19 update, given by Stefanik. Currently, the district is moving forward with staff and faculty vaccinations against the coronavirus and has partnered with Premier Health.

According to Stefanik, Premier Health will set up vaccine clinics anywhere where they could get 700 or more participants in one place. Troy City Schools will be hosting the clinic that Tipp City Schools employees will be able to attend Tuesday and Wednesday of this week between 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. to receive the vaccination. The second round of vaccinations will be March 19, according to Stefanik.

The following items were approved at Monday’s meeting:

• The January 2021 Monthly Financial Report passed with board member Simon Patry abstaining;

• Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriation Amendments passed unanimously;

• Purchase Order Certification Then and Now for Fiscal Year 2021 passed unanimously;

• Approval of the 2021 tax rates passed unanimously.

The next meeting of the Tipp City Board of Education will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 22.