SARASOTA — The Sarasota County School Board approved several new policies Tuesday that have garnered a lot of attention over the past year.
The policies tackle issues ranging from active shooter training to cellphone use during school hours.
Following the controversy that ensued after seniors at Pine View School were shown an unapproved video on sexual consent, the board has approved a stricter community speaker policy.
Last November, the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center showed a video from Planned Parenthood that depicted heterosexual and same-sex couple interaction.
The district deemed the video “unsuitable,” and will now require teachers to get formal approval from their administrator before guest speakers can meet with students.
Administrators must also obtain approval from their executive director, should the presentation cover a sensitive topic.
Months after School Board member Bridget Ziegler proposed a cellphone ban, the board has adopted a less restrictive cellphone policy.
At elementary schools, devices must be “silenced, put away and not used,” according to the new policy. Older students, like those attending middle and high schools, will be allowed to use their devices if teachers decide to incorporate it into their lesson.
High school students will have additional privileges, and can use their devices during lunch and class transition periods.
Active shooter drills
Students must undergo active shooter drills as often as other emergency drills, a new district policy states. The monthly drills will be held a total of 10 times throughout the school year.
Students will be required to hide in designated safe corners inside their classrooms and remain out of sight from the doors and windows.
In the event that an emergency requires outside assistance, Sarasota County Schools Police Chief Tim Enos or his designee will be responsible for contacting other law enforcement agencies.
Threat assessment teams
The district will form a threat assessment team at all schools in compliance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
The teams — made up of counselors, administrators and law enforcement officers — will evaluate threats posed by students who display signs of violence.
Authorized team members can obtain a student’s criminal record, if the student is determined to be a danger to themselves or others.