Bridgewater-Raritan School Board Examines Social Media Policy for Members

The Bridgewater-Raritan School Board convened on February 27th, 2024, to discuss several issues, with the proposed social media policy for board members capturing attention. The policy aimed to guide board members’ online behavior and sparked debate over its necessity, redundancy, and enforceability.

The proposed social media policy emerged as a central topic due to its implications for board member conduct. A discussion unfolded as members weighed the advantages of having a clear policy against the potential redundancy of such guidelines, given existing ethical standards. Concerns were raised about the enforceability of the policy and the board’s authority over individual members’ social media use. The role of the school ethics commission was also debated, particularly in terms of enforcing the code of ethics and the board’s liability in ongoing litigation related to members’ online activities. The discussion culminated in a vote, reflecting varying opinions on the policy’s necessity and practical application.

The meeting also addressed the school district’s strategic planning and curriculum initiatives. Updates on the preliminary curriculum budget were delivered, emphasizing the “option two” for Physical Education, which requires students to take a district exam after completing an option two course on site. The academic committee revised its goals to help the full board better understand the district’s academic plans.

Policy 5462, concerning individualized student learning opportunities, was debated, with suggestions to abolish it due to perceived redundancy given that “option two” is addressed under New Jersey administrative code. Clarity in the program of studies was cited as necessary to prevent confusion regarding these changes. The use of vehicles on school grounds was another focus, prompted by recent events involving BMX and skateboarding. The positive impact of these events was noted, and a call to adjust policy language to support recreational activities and reflect the needs of students with disabilities was discussed.

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The board’s operations were scrutinized, including the process for placing items on the agenda and the involvement of the superintendent in the review process. A suggestion was made to add written items on the agenda to inform members about normal operating procedures. Moreover, the importance of parent involvement in school safety teams was underscored, with an overview of the selection process for parent representatives.

The board celebrated the high school’s achievements, particularly acknowledging the 2023-2024 Academic League team for their county championship. The student representative highlighted academic and arts accolades, cultural nights, and new academic opportunities for underclassmen. Upcoming events, including the Festival of the Arts and the Winter Guard home show, were announced, with board members encouraged to show their support.

In terms of policy review, the board discussed the need for additional legal training, scheduled for the following month, to ensure compliance with harassment, intimidation, and bullying regulations and other legal requirements. The inter-scholastic athletic schedule and the 2025-2026 school calendar were examined, taking into account holiday and vacation day timing challenges.

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The meeting included a presentation by Vincent Delia from the New Jersey School Board, who emphasized alternative pathways for students not pursuing college and the value of kindness initiatives. The efforts of the PTO, administration, and staff in promoting reading and literacy were recognized, alongside the achievements of a former student in sports.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Robert Beers
School Board Officials:
Emily Calistri, Stacey Friedlander, Rebecca Hassouna, A. J. Joshi, Lanfang “Lucy” Li, Michael Pepe, Steven Singer, Barry Walker, Jennifer Loughran, Alan Iachini (District Anti-Bullying Coordinator), Michelle Munley (Affirmative Action Officer), Dr. Dan Fonder (Affirmative Action Officer)

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