Two weeks after issuing a formal, public reprimandof one member, the Loudoun School Board on Tuesday is scheduled to consider a new set of policies designed to govern how members interact with the public, staff and press.
The staff-proposed Policy 1035, titled School Board Norms, Protocols and Violations, was unanimously endorsed by the board’s Legislative Policy Committee on Nov. 17. The restrictions on board members’ actions would be in addition to the organizational bylaws and a formal Code of Conduct policy that has set those boundaries since 1973 and was last updated in 2016.
The proposal includes prohibitions on actions that could be “reasonably interpreted” as undermining decisions of the full board and requires members not impede day-to-day school operations that fall under the responsibly of the superintendent. It would require members to be trained on the Freedom of Information Act and the Conflict of Interest Act, adhere to student privacy laws, and to report cases of child abuse and sexual harassment.
The proposal also designates the chairman as the official spokesperson of the board for all School Board policies and School Board actions. School Board members who receive calls from the media regarding school operations—topics that include personnel, student matters, school programs, finance, campus conditions and emergency events—must redirect the calls to the chairman and also notify the superintendent and the division’s legal counsel that he or she had been contacted by a reporter.
Under the proposal, individual School Board members would only be authorized to discuss with members of the media their votes on motions, campaign positions and “current events.”
School Board members also will be required to make arraignments in advance to visit any school or classroom.
Violations of the policy would be enforced by a verbal warning in a closed meeting of the board, a written warning issued in a closed meeting, a public censure during a board meeting, or removal from committees.
The board is scheduled to discuss the policy at its meeting Tuesday night, with plans for a vote at the Dec. 15 meeting.