ALLENTOWN, Pa. – The Allentown Board of School Directors approved an amendment to the district's student search policy during its Thursday night meeting.
The change relates to searches involving the removal of students' clothing or examining beneath clothing. Specifically, it states that "searches of students involving the examination of or exposure of private body parts are prohibited."
Administrators may conduct pat-down searches of students after removal of jackets, coats and other outerwear "only when there is a reasonable suspicion that the particular student possesses a weapon, illegal drugs, or other article that could reasonably pose a danger or harm to the student or others."
The amendment was tabled in December 2020 after some members of the board expressed concern about permitting clothing searches. At that time, Solicitor John Freund said the policy's language, as written, is standard and gives direction to administrators, limiting what they legally can and cannot do.
The district entered into a contract with Louisiana-based SchoolInfoApp, which provides an app that can gauge the health and wellbeing of ASD staff and students as it relates to COVID-19. Students will be able to check their health status and determine whether or not to report to ASD buildings. The deal starts March 1 and runs through June 30, 2022. The cost is $23,650.
Directors also approved nearly $8.3 million of debt payments to various creditors. The largest — nearly $6.9 million — went for a general obligation bond payment from 2016.
Other business Thursday night included the approval of a data sharing agreement with the Allentown Public Library to support the dissemination of library cards to all ASD students.
Also, during a public comment session on non-agenda items, speakers commented on various topics, including ASD teacher Jason Moorehead, whether students should continue virtual learning or resume in-class instruction during the fourth marking period, and a request of the board to consider canceling the student dress code.
Finally, directors formally accepted the resignation of Superintendent Thomas Parker, who announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the district for a position in Flint, Mich. ASD previously announced it has begun the search for a new superintendent. Parker's last day is May 1.
For his part, Parker acknowledged the retirements of three employees:
- Katie Gill, director of ESOL and world languages;
- Marybeth Kornfeind-Ralston, principal at Luis A. Ramos Elementary School; and
- Timothy Kearney, a first-grade instructor at Brigadier General Anna Mae Hays Elementary School.