ACS board to consider visitation policy at schools

May 16—ANDERSON — The Anderson Community School board will consider a policy on when they can visit area schools.

The issue was raised when school board members Robert Bookhart and Joanna Collette made a recent visit to a school.

Charles Rubright, attorney for ACS, said Monday the board should have an organized procedure when visits take place.

The proposed policy, to be voted on at the June meeting, states unless there is a specific invitation by a teacher at a designated time, the board members should make an effort to schedule a time to visit the classrooms.

"This policy will clarify board visits," Rubright said. "Board members are encouraged to visit but there should be a rational process."

Collette agreed there should be a policy in place.

"This policy is not to veto common sense," Rubright said.

Board member Holly Renz said there should be a conversation with the teacher on the best time to visit.

Bookhart said he is opposed to the policy and would be voting against adoption.

"Part of our responsibility is oversight," he said. "We have to sign in when we enter a building with the principal."

Board member Kenneth Hobson said most educators want people to come visit the schools.

"I joined the board to be seen," he said. "I don't need to be handcuffed. The policy we have works."

Rubright said there is no policy at the present time.

Bookhart said the decision on visits should be left up to the staff.

"Teacher morale is low and absenteeism is high," he said. "If a teacher doesn't want a visit, they can sent an email."

Renz said the proposed policy is to enhance the board members' ability to communicate with teachers.

Pat Hill, board president, said arranging a visit should be done with respect as in any school or organization.

He said the policy is meant to be a guideline.

The board will also consider next month a policy to avoid confusion on whether or not a communication from a board member is being done by an individual or a majority of the board.

Rubright said any communication will need to have prior approval by a majority of board members.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.