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South Putnam taking measles precautions

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The threat of measles in Central Indiana hasn't hit Putnam County, but that isn't stopping South Putnam Schools from taking precautions.

Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt discussed the issue with the school board Tuesday. The number of cases has grown since the outbreak at the Super Bowl Village.

"It's a very serious situation," said Bernhardt. "It's extremely contagious."

Bernhardt explained that although most students have immunization shots, some people are exempt from requirements. Staff members born before 1955 could be among these, as well as those who object to immunizations for religious reasons.

"According to the Department of Education, one student outbreak constitutes an emergency," said Bernhardt. "We will begin talking with our students and staff as well as sending letters home."

Bernhardt stressed that although there is no outbreak in the school corporation itself or the surrounding areas, they are taking the necessary precautions.

"It's something that can hit quick," explained Bernhardt. "We're trying to be proactive about it."

The board also discussed the topic of the one-to-one policy, which many schools are implementing around the United States. Although, many are choosing to provide computer tablets to each student for curriculum, the board has decided to begin the early steps of researching what the policy may be able to do for its curriculum.

"The demand is going to continue to grow over the years," said Bernhardt. "We need to set the curriculum first then find the device."

Although no decision has been set on whether or not the board will implement such a policy, they are taking the necessary steps they need to keep up with the change in technology.

The board approved the resignations of certified teachers Marc Hendrickson of Reelsville and Dave Davies of the high school. The classified resignations of Lance Griffith, Stacey King and Lynn Brown of the high school as well as the extra curricular activities resignations of Nathan Aker as junior high boys' track coach and eighth grade boys' basketball coach and Carrie Hook as high school cheerleading coach.

Sharon Evans of Central Elementary was approved for retirement. The board also approved the hiring of Emily Bilbrey and JoAnn Johnson for food service in the high school, Elaine Bye as the high school assistant girls' track coach, Nathan Aker as the high school assistant boys' track coach and Julia Crone as the junior high girls' track coach.

As the board passed the personnel report, the newly resigned Dave Davies, had some last words for the community as well as the board.

"Today, I mark the 60th teacher to leave South Putnam in the past six years," said Davies. "Some in the past have left for retirement reasons, finding new jobs, some were fired and some were run out of the school corporation. Sadly, too, I was one that was run out of the school corporation."

Bernhardt warned Davies about continuing his speech, as his words could border on slander.

"It would be my recommendation to consider carefully what you're saying," said Bernhardt.

Davies continued his speech speaking on events in history where community members and residents stood up for what and who they believed in, in his eyes making this an educational experience.

"I think back to the past two months, I can't stop and kind of think and see how much we've had a group of community members, parents, teachers who knew things were not going right, who stood up for what they believe," said Davies. "I truly appreciate that."

Davies got applause as he concluding his speech stating that the past year and a half was a great one and he holds he has no regrets nor would he change anything.

The former South Putnam agriculture teacher has been on administrative leave since December. Due to privacy laws regarding employment, the board and administrators have not publicly discussed the reason for the suspension.

As Davies concluded his speech, the topic of the aquaculture lab was again brought up. The board stated that the insurance company would not replace the fish lost over winter break, however the fish and the lab are doing well.

"They've got things under control," said board member Steve Cash. "There was never any consideration for a weight room."

One rumor circulated in the community was that school officials wanted to turn the area into a weight room.

The school board invited community members to tour the lab at their convenience by making an appointment.

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I don't have a kid at the high school so I'm not familiar with the Ag teachers situation. Can someone let me know what's going on here?

-- Posted by hometownboy on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 12:21 PM

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