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Originally published: 2014-01-13 13:55:36
Last modified: 2014-01-13 13:57:29

Watauga County school board to meet Monday

by Allison Haver

The Watauga County Board of Education will discuss a proposal for the WCS 1:1 Initiative, the school's program that provides laptops to students at it's regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday.


The meeting will take place at the Margaret E. Gragg Education Center on Pioneer Trail, just off of N.C. Highway 194 North.


The proposal calls for a three-year lease, which would include the years 2014-2017. which would be outlines plans to make technology purchases, replace Watauga High School's laptops and expand the program to younger grades.


The proposal calls for a three-year lease, which would include the years 2014-2017. Laptops provided will be the HP Elitebook 820 G1, and the devices will be issued to all K-12 teachers and students in grades 8 through 12. According to the proposal, students in grades 6 through 7 will share the equipment.


HP will purchase WHS's current Dell laptops at a cost of $50 per computer, which would generate $70,000 for the Watauga County school system.


The overall cost of the proposal, which has yet to be approved, is $1.9 million.


A discussion on adding cyberbullying to the school's policy on anti-bullying, harassment and discrimination will also take place during Monday's meeting.


According to Watauga County Schools' public information officer Marshall Ashcraft, the potential amendment is just part of a routine update of the policy and is not due to a specific incident.


"We realized that it should be added, considering how things are today," Ashcraft said.


According to stopbullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, examples of cyberbullying can include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites or fake profiles.


Watauga County Schools' students will receive disciplinary action for any cyberbullying attempt made off campus, as well if school equipment, such as laptops issued to students, were being used, according to Ashcraft.


"It would be an inappropriate use of the laptop, so there would be a disciplinary action for that," Ashcraft said.


Watauga County Schools Interim Superintendent David Fonseca will also update the board, on Monday, concerning the ongoing challenge of the book, "The House of the Spirits." An appeal committee voted unanimously to retain the book as part of the sophomore honors English curriculum at Watauga High School. The committee heard from teacher Mary Kent Whitaker and parent Chastity Lesesne about the merits and deficiencies of the 1982 novel by Isabel Allende. Lesesne could appeal the decision to the school board.


For more information, visit the Watauga County Schools website at http://www.watauga.k12.nc.us. Citizens wishing to speak with the board should contact the Superintendent's Office at (828) 264-7190 one week prior to a regular Board meeting.