I am responding to Joseph Remade's "Follow the Rules" letter on July 10. Evidently he is unaware that the Altoona Area School District has a rewritten, yet-to-be-adopted, policy that applies to all visitors, including board members, when visiting AASD buildings.
While I agree that wearing our photo ID badges and reporting to the building's main office (in the case of elementary schools) or to the designated security greeter (at the junior high and high schools) to register is expected to maintain security, the added requirement of having to ask for the building principal before proceeding to the destination will only thwart the transparency we, as board members, seek.
When Ron Johnston, board director, addressed an issue concerning the Altoona Area Junior High School and brought it before the board for discussion, the administration responded by giving notice to the board that in the future, board members were to check in with security and also with the main office.
A few months later, I entered the junior high, wearing my photo ID badge, and registered with the security greeter to investigate an issue. Soon afterward, the board was notified by the administration to check in with security, next the office and now we must ask for the principal.
The last straw was when the board was asked to adopt a rewritten School Visitors Policy. This proposal restricts a board member's ability from freely carrying out his or her responsibilities.
Just for the record, six out of the nine board members agreed this rewritten policy was restrictive to the school board. While we have tabled the vote to adopt this updated policy, I clearly stated my reasons to protest the new policy at the June board meeting. Since January, I have spent many hours in school district buildings, and I have always followed the old policy as written, without complaint.
Placing additional requirements on board members visiting district buildings, plus rewriting the visitors policy to validate the increased restrictions, is not in line with past practices of this district. Community members, including parents, students and AASD staff are appealing for transparency in the development and implementation of district policies. I protest policies that restrict me or any board member from carrying out our responsibilities.
Cheryl Rupp, Altoona