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Catholic board approves new police protocol

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A new protocol for dealing with the police was approved by the Northwest Catholic School Board at its regular monthly meeting here Tuesday night.

Al Cesiunas, former principal of St. Joseph’s School in Dryden who is now a full-time assistant to Education Director John Madigan, told the board this protocol clearly indicates to principals how they should react in a situation where the police are involved, such as if a student is to be interviewed in connection with a crime.

“The idea was to have it common throughout Northwestern Ontario so that if in Red Lake or Sioux Lookout, a police phone call would be treated the same,” he told the board.

“It’s a good idea to have guidelines to follow so that they’re treated professionally and appropriately, and it’s good risk management, too,” board chair Wade Petranik said via teleconference from Dryden.

Madigan noted this was not the first protocol concerning police that the board had in place (a previous one was required under legislation passed by the former NDP government).

He said this was merely updating and revisiting that legislation.

Also discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting was the status of the mobile computer labs being purchased by the school board.

Cindy Glavish, manager of information services for the board, said they actually had purchased the computers for the wireless labs and were well on their way to bringing them into the classroom.

“We did complete the tendering process and the winner was Dell, who came in with a very excellent product at a great price,” she told the board.

“With the price, we were able to purchase two extra laptops for each of the labs,” she added.

Glavish said St. Francis, St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart each would be receiving 32 laptops, two mobile carts, and 12 extra batteries at a total cost of $266,827.72, which was well below the $350,000 the board had allocated.

With money remaining, they were able to purchase “Complete Care Coverage” insurance for the computer labs.

“If a laptop is destroyed, if someone bumps into a desk and it falls off and the monitor is destroyed, they will pay for it as long as it was accidental,” Glavish said.

Petranik said he thought the insurance was a great idea. “That equipment might get the torture test,” he joked.

The remainder of the allocation—$43,694—will be used for professional development so the staff can use these computers to their best advantage.

Glavish said the program will be implemented one school at a time, noting she expected St. Francis School would have its new computer labs up and running by mid-February.

St. Joseph would be completed by the end of March/early April and Sacred Heart would be operational by early June.

Also Tuesday night, the board:

•voted to stop proceeding with positioning a sign in the west end of Fort Frances indicating the location of the board office after Madigan said the cost and up-keep would be to considerable;

•agreed to change its committee structure, amalgamating all but those committees required by legislation to committee of the whole meetings to be held bi-monthly;

•approved a strategic plan outlining the goals and objectives of the board, the new board-wide code for conduct for students and staff, suspension and expulsion of students policy, and the director’s annual report;

•changed a PA Day from Feb. 15 to Jan. 25 in Fort Frances and March 1 in Dryden to coincide with local school boards that share busing costs; and

•approved a leave of absence for custodian Troy Durfey and the resignation of administrative assistant Caron Cridland.

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