Maple Heights, OH. - Code of Conduct and Anti-Bullying policies are part of every school district. Most policies refer only to students, not the staff or school board members. In a 2021-2022 message to students from the superintendent, it read, "At Maple Heights City Schools, we put the health and safety of our students and the whole school community above all else. The Student Code of Conduct explains the behavior expectations that we want our students to model, what behaviors we intend to correct and the possible consequences for those who don't follow the code".
Earlier this year, a newly elected Maple Heights School Board member confronted other members with allegations of intimidation. The new member claimed that she was being harassed and bullied by several current school board members on social media. She abruptly resigned before being sworn in. A former Maple Heights school board member (speaking anonymously) revealed that they experienced taunting when they sat on the school board. "I know how it feels. "I was intimidated as well."
Brown on Cleveland attended the school board meeting at Maple Heights High School. With about 75 people in attendance, Dr. Charlie Keenan, the superintendent's primary focus was on awards to school board members, a power-point presentation by the high school principal Dr. Shay Price and a financial forecast by the school's treasurer, KJ Beverly. Within this 90 minute presentation, Keenan, Price, and several school board members stressed the importance of appropriate behavior exemplified by students.
We asked school board members about the incident regarding former board member Tina Stafford-Marbury during public comment. Marbury resigned from the board due to allegations of bullying and intimidation. Marbury made accusations against two board members. (Due to fairness, we will not mention the names of the individuals because the allegations are unfounded at this time.) To clarify this matter, we inquired if the School Board currently has a policy for school members regarding social media posting - what is and is not appropriate? If not a policy, due to the latest incident, is the school board willing to create a policy regarding the behavior of school board members, and if not, why? Lastly, what would be the possible outcome if a board member is guilty of participating in cyberbullying and inciting negative school board meeting participation.
Dr. Keenan stated that he was unsure, but he would look for the policy and get back to us. "I believe there's a policy. I will look for it and ensure I get it to you". Due to this incident, the board is at least considering a code of conduct and anti-bullying policy for its school board members.
The state of Ohio comprises approximately 611 individual school districts. The purpose of the educational system is to operate local public primary and secondary schools. For every school district, there is a school board. The school board is the board of trustees of a local school district. The elected members work with the superintendent to determine the educational policies. The board's primary function is to ensure that school districts are responsive to their communities' values, beliefs, and priorities. Overall, they serve as the link between the public and the school.
This story will be updated once we get a written response from Charlie Keenan, the Superintendent of Maple Heights High School.