Can't legislate common sense

There’s an old saying that you can’t legislate common sense.

But that is exactly what the USD 402 School Board is considering. At Monday’s meeting, Superintendent John Black presented a draft of a policy that would regulate use of personal mobile devices while driving school vehicles.

Black said he that state law covered much of this new policy, but he felt like there was a need to add specifics such as covering the use of devices in personal vehicles for school purposes.

“We know that if 100 people use school vehicles, 99 of them will behave properly and make good decisions,” Black said. “A lot of our policies cover that one person who doesn’t.”

School Board President Bill Rinkenbaugh said he had concerns about the policy because he sometimes uses his cell phone’s GPS application in order to find his way to events.

“In that case, it is an asset, not a distraction,” Rinkenbaugh said.

Board member Jim Brown said there were other ways to find your way to events and you could even use another person in the car to help with navigation on a mobile device.

Black told the board he would take their input and write a policy to a Kansas State School Board Association attorney for approval.

When that approval is given, Black will bring the measure to the board for their approval.

Another policy the board heard for the first time came from Middle School Principal Steve Lilly.

Lilly said he had discussed an issue with students who wanted to be able to ride skateboards to school.

Currently, skateboards – like roller blades and scooters – are not allowed on school grounds.

“I didn’t see the difference between skateboards and bikes as a means of transportation,” Lilly said. “I would like to give them the opportunity to bring them to school.”

Lilly pointed out that the skateboards would have to be secured to bike racks just like bicycles are. He said a special lock is sold to do just that.

The proposal will come back to the board for approval in October. Either way, several board members congratulated Lilly on being willing to listen to students and react.

“I just want to give you props for listening to middle school students,” said board members Kim Braungart. “It is easy to overlook their opinions and ideas. I’m glad you didn’t”

Andy Hall agreed.

“I’m glad you are working with the students,” he said.