BCSC mulls policy for bus drivers

School wants to adopt rule prohibiting using cellphones while driving

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is considering adopting a policy prohibiting the use of cellphones by bus drivers to mirror state and federal regulations.

The district already has rules in its drivers’ handbook that prohibit bus drivers from using cellphones. School board member Pat Bryant said the existing guideline in the handbook has been in place for three to four years.

A formal policy change, however, is among more than a dozen being evaluated by the school district as it looks to update some of its policies, typically reviewed every six months, said Jim Roberts, BCSC superintendent.

The district contracts with an Ohio-based educational consulting firm, Neola, that provides recommendations for changes or additions concerning board policies based on state and federal legislation, Roberts said.

Neola works with more than 750 superintendents and school boards in seven states — Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia, according to its website.

The recommended policy from Neola, if approved, would be similar to language currently found at the state level, Roberts said. It also would be in compliance with the regulations of the Indiana State Board of Education and State School Bus Committee, according to the district.

A BCSC employee faces disciplinary action up to and including termination if they violate the policy, although an exception can be made in cases of emergencies.

The other new policies or policy changes under consideration cover vending machines, credit for courses completed before students enter ninth grade and an updated policy on attendance to be in compliance with state law and an Indiana Department of Education memorandum concerning exempt absences.

The proposed policy changes were discussed during Monday’s school board meeting at Central Middle School. The board plans to take a vote on the policies during its April 24 meeting.

A separate policy recommendation from Neola addressing technology and website accessibility will come before the board for consideration during its May meeting, Roberts said.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com