04-26-2016 Board Workshop on Nondiscrimination Policies

The School Board of Brevard County, Florida met in a Board Workshop on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, at the Educational Services Facility, 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida. Notice of the meeting was advertised in the Eagle newspaper on Thursday, April 14, 2016. The affidavit of publication with a copy of the ad attached is filed in the Affidavit File in the Board Office.

Opening Exercises
1. Opening Exercises

Minutes: Chairman Andy Ziegler called the meeting to order at 9:01 a.m.

Roll Call
2. Roll Call

Minutes: Members Present:  John Craig, Misty Belford, Karen Henderson, Amy Kneessy and Andy Ziegler

Pledge of Allegiance
3. Pledge of Allegiance

Minutes: Michelle Irwin, director of Community Relations, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Order of Business
4. Nondiscrimination Policies for Students and Employees
Attachment: School Board Workshop April 2016 Nondiscrimination 4 19 2016.pdf

Dr. Blackburn made some introductory remarks and turned the meeting over to Dr. Beth Thedy, assistant superintendent of Student Services.

Dr. Thedy introduced the other persons who would be addressing the Board:  Mark Langdorf, director of Employee Benefits and Risk Management,  Melissa Catechis, director of Students at Risk, Janean Knight, resource teacher for Students at Risk,  Dawna Bobersky, director of ESE Program Support and Mike Bowling, attorney at law with Bell & Roper.

There was a great deal of discussion between the Board members.  Staff and Mr. Bowling answered questions directed to them. 

Ms. Belford, Ms. Kneessy and Mr. Ziegler agreed that policy change was needed.  Both Mrs. Henderson and Mr. Craig felt that guidance along with consistent and clear procedures were needed, but to add policy change would only hamper those efforts at this time.  

When asked, Dr. Blackburn expressed to the Board that he felt that the policy revisions were needed.

Chairman Ziegler called for a recess at 11:44 a.m.
He reconvened the meeting at 11:53 a.m.

Chairman Ziegler said that his understanding is that the majority of the Board feels that policy changes need to be brought back as well as administrative procedures to ensure how those changes will be applied evenly and consistently across the District.

There was discussion about a timeline when policy revisions would be brought back to the Board and whether or not that timeline should align with the strategic planning process. Mrs. Kneessy stated that Board members could request a policy change at any time of the year and it was not necessary to align it with the strategic plan. She felt that these revisions needed to move forward right away.   

Mr. Langdorf clarified what he was being asked to do. He said that he will bring back Neola's recommendation on the nondiscrimination and anti-bullying polices and will compare that to the District's current policies and will bring that back as well.

Mrs. Belford stated she was okay with bringing this back on May 10, and understands that although time would be needed to develop consistent, consise and clear administrative procedures as a result of the revisions, she thought some clarity should be brought back on the items that have prompted the most angst.   She said that clarity is needed in what policy changes would mean in regards to locker rooms, restrooms, overnight field trips, how to handle  infrigement of religious rights and infrigement of others' rights.

Mrs. Henderson interjected that there were some concerns about curriculum that needed to be addressed as well.

 Although it was suggested that policy revisions be brought back to the May 10, Board meeting, there was not a specific direction given to staff by Mr. Ziegler to bring it back on that date.

Mr. Ziegler asked Dr. Blackburn if he had any closing remarks.

Closing Remarks
5. Closing Remarks

Minutes: Dr. Blackburn expressed appreciation of the collaborative efforts of both the senior leaders and board leaders in this process.  He feels that they never lost sight of the fact that all kids matter and have value.

6. Adjournment

Minutes: Chairman Ziegler adjourned the meeting at 12:29 p.m.