Pittston Area revamps outdated conduct and discipline policies

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com

YATESVILLE — Pittston Area Superintendent Kevin Booth has been working to revamp many of the board policies since officially taking the position earlier this year.

At the monthly board meeting of the Pittston Area School District, the board approved a new Conduct Policy and Discipline Policy for professional employees of the district. Many of the policies at the school have been in place since the superintendent attended Pittston Area many years ago.

“In light of some of the issues we’ve had with some of our employees, there was really no conduct policy whatsoever,” he said. “I really had nothing to document that would interfere with one of our board policies.”

The Conduct Policy, referred to as No. 417, is a general policy recommended by the Pennsylvania School Board Association, Booth said. It’s a general policy, but puts something in place for Pittston Area. The policy states that any district employee, which includes volunteers and coaches, should not participate in activates that include physical or verbal abuse to threaten or harm anyone, nonprofessional relationships with students, cause intentional damage to district property, forceful or unauthorized entry of district facilities, use, possess, distribute, or sell alcohol, drugs, or other illegal substances, among many others.

This policy also prohibits professionals from breaking federal, state or municipal laws.

“(PSBA) gave us their stock policy to get something on the books,” Booth said. “Now we have something that we didn’t have before.”

Board member Joe Kelly said the revamped policy helps Pittston Area have something in place in case of a situation within the district.

“Any employee or volunteer of Pittston Area will be held accountable for their actions both in school and out of school,” he said. “Our policies, most of them are outdated. Some of the things depend on union contracts but as a school board we need to take more responsibility and act faster.”

If a violation takes place, the board would then take action, Booth said.

The Discipline Policy, referred to as No. 417.1, was part of the recently passed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which expires on June 30. This policy gives the district a disciplinary sequence, which begins with a written warning, then suspensions, and culminating with possible dismissal, subject to the employee’s contract and school code.

In March, the school hired special counsel Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. to determine whether the district should initiate termination proceedings of an employee within the district. To date, the board has not revealed the identity of the employee and at Tuesday’s meeting Booth said Olszewski’s investigation is ongoing.

Booth said he’s hoping to have the investigation done by the end of the month. Once the investigation is complete, the board will proceed as necessary, Booth said.

The next meeting of the Pittston Area School Board will be at 7 p.m. May 24 in the high school library.

By Nick Wagner


Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick

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