POINT PLEASANT — At Tuesday’s meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, board members discussed an alleged gag order for the employees of the Mason County Schools.
Board President Thomas Nunnery stated that several Mason County School employees were under the impression they could not approach and talk to board members. It was also mentioned that employees stated they were told of this gag order during recent staff meetings. Superintendent Suzanne Dickens and other department directors stated they were also present during these meeting and stated the employees were not told they could not speak to the board members.
As a result of the alleged gag order, board members also reviewed and discussed policy number 3112-Board-Staff Communications and policy number 4112-Board-Staff Communications. After reviewing the policies, board members stated they did not interpret anything written in the policies that stated employees could not talk to board members.
“We are elected officials, and people have the right to speak to us,” said Board Vice-President Randy Searls.
These policies are available to view on the board of education website.
Also at the board meeting, Director of Vocational Education and Maintenance Ruth Caplinger spoke to the board on Career and Technical Education for Mason County Schools and discussed her many duties within Career and Technical Education as well as several other areas. Caplinger also discussed the students who graduate from Career and Technical programs as well as students who have earned their GED. Caplinger also announced that all Mason County 7th and 12th graders have met the new immunization requirements.
Also speaking to the board was CSBO/Treasurer Gary Hendricks, who discussed the food service program in Mason County Schools. Hendricks mentioned the new menu standards they are required to meet as other requirements. Hendricks also addressed the concern of there simply being not enough for the students to eat and not having enough time to eat. He stated he had been present during lunch at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School, as well as talking with other high school principals, and he stated there was enough food being served, particularly more fruits and vegetables, but the students weren’t necessarily eating it.
Board member Searls added that this kind of change in the food served at schools may be difficult at first, but the long term effects would be well worth it since it will help the students be healthier.
In addition to Superintendent Dickens, board members present were Thomas Nunnery, Randy Searls, Greg Fowler, Paul Sayre and Dale Shobe.
The Mason County Board of Education will meet again for a policy/regular business meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Mason County Career Center.
(Note: The approved agenda and personnel items from this meeting will appear in a later edition of the Point Pleasant Register.)