Teachers Forbidden to Connect Personal Devices to School WIFI -A Safety Issue?

Prior to the to the start of the November 5th Pocahontas County Board of Education meeting which was held at the Marlinton Middle School, there was a Local School Improvement Council -or LSIC- meeting and an opportunity for the school’s staff to share their concerns with the Board.

The LSIC and the school staff expressed concerns with the policy which prohibits the teachers from accessing the school’s WIFI network with their personal devices. They see this as a safety issue which would prevent a teacher from notifying other teachers and administrators discretely if they see a suspicious activity or other safety issue. Walker also said that, if possible, he would like to change that policy, because, -as many teachers have told the Board- it could be a safety issue if they cannot have that connectivity during an emergency.

They said there should be more school counselors to deal with student emotional issues and a school nurse at each school to deal with student health issues. They would also like to see the Board resume funding the after-school tutoring program. Later, during the Board Meeting, School Superintendent Beam said this may happen if the 21st Century Grant is renewed in January

The Marlinton Middle School student council – the “Copperheads” presented their ideas and concerns to the Board. They said the they like and encourage the teamwork being displayed by the students and teachers at the school, describing how the students are arranged in tables and talk and interact with each other and this results in better grades for them all. They were concerned about safety issues on the playground where several students have broken their fingers on some unpadded playground equipment, and recommended pea gravel be placed on the playground to help prevent scraped knees. The students expressed some ideas for fundraising for the school, such as a twisted pastry sale; having students sell things like trash bags and writing letters to businesses asking them to help out the school financially.

During the regular meeting, Mr. Beam announced that Pocahontas County had two “best of show” winners at the Regional Literature Fair and those will be on display at the State Reading Conference at the Greenbrier Hotel the week before Thanksgiving. The winners were Gina Hardesty’s Hillsboro class and it was titled “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash” and Mrs. Nottingham’s class at Green Bank titled “Frank the Mighty.”

Additionally, Beam talked about efforts being made to upgrade the schools’ websites.

Beam said that November 13th will be an early out for students so teachers can have collaborative training, and that on November 14th, at 11:30 a.m., there will be a presentation at PCHS about the “Icelandic Project” – which is a successful program used in the country of Iceland to combat drug and alcohol problems among youth.

Emmit Doolittle, the student representative, talked about Mr. Sutton’s class and the Engineering club winning second place in the Pumpkin Drop in Morgantown, and that all of the Engineering Clubs pumpkins survived being dropped.

Sherri Radcliff talked about a possible 4 ½% cut in state school funding which could result in a $232,000 cut from this year’s budget, she also said there could be a possible $75,000 unplanned expense if they need to replace the entire county school telephone system in order to fix the  phone problems at the Green Bank school.

Board President Joe Walker talked about the possibility of Laura Young applying for a grant to acquire a van which could be driven by any licensed driver, not just School Bus Operators or CDL holders, to transport vocational students and their equipment to competitions.

A copy of the personnel actions approved at this meeting can be found on our website with this story.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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