Indian River School Board considers a ban on coaches, other staf - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Indian River School Board considers a ban on coaches, other staff member, driving students

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Asst. Supt. Mark Steele said that the change in policy could limit the opportunity for inappropriate behavior (SOURCE: WBOC) Asst. Supt. Mark Steele said that the change in policy could limit the opportunity for inappropriate behavior (SOURCE: WBOC)

SELBYVILLE, Del. - At their latest meeting, The Indian River School Board considered a proposal, which would prohibit certain school staff members from driving students. The ban would apply to all "Extra Pay, Extra Responsibility" (EPER) staff members, which includes coaches and club leaders. 

Assistant Superintendent Mark Steele said that there are many reasons for the policy. 

"You have to worry about injuries due to accidents," he said. "You have to worry obviously if any type of relationship were to develop between the adult and the child. That could come back to the district. You also have to protect the staff in regards to that a student claim can be totally unfounded and untrue." 

According to Steele, there have been 27 cases statewide over the last two years of staff members being accused of inappropriate interactions with students. He said he is hopeful that this change in policy may bring that number down. 

The change was suggested by the Policy Committee, and was discussed by the board at their Monday meeting. The committee will now discuss the proposal more, and possibly make alterations. It will then return the proposal to the board, which will vote. The change was suggested by both the district's legal counsel, and its insurance agency. 

Some school board members like Rodney Layfield said they were against the proposal because it "defied common sense." He said that the change might discourage low-income students from joining extra-curricular activities, due to the lack of transportation.

"If you have a parent," he said. "Maybe a single parent-home where the parent is working in the afternoon. What would you say? 'I'm sorry. That student no longer participates in that activity because the parent can't provide transportation.' If a coach or an adult is required to take that student home, and the school is aware of it, and there is a waiver or something that is signed... then I think that's a good practice." 

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