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H-L board hires firm to monitor public social media posts

BASCOM — Hopewell-Loudon Board of Education took another step Wednesday evening to ensure the safety of its students. A three-year contract with Social Sentinel has been approved.

The company screens postings on public social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. It identifies threatening or distressing comments and refers them to the district appointee. The district determines the key words in content that it wants surveyed.

Joanne Kereckes, special projects administrator, said this is just another way to be proactive for student safety. She assured the board this company will only check public postings. Private emails and messages will not be examined.

Superintendent Jeff Holbrook said he was anxious to see the playground fence project completed later this week. The increased height and the covering, which will allow looking out but prevent outside observation, are to increase security when students are outside. He thanked the Bascom Lions and PTO for their contributions to this project. Once this project is completed, the kindergarten area is to be improved.

Elementary Principal Kendra Nelson invited everyone to attend the PTO Tailgate Friday from 4:30-6 p.m. She thanked the State Highway Patrol for the training for safety guards.

Jason Miller, high school principal, announced there are six students enrolled in the online Chieftain Academy. The purpose of the academy is to retain students in the district rather than see them leave for alternative schools. Other Hopewell-Loudon students are able to use the online courses for credit recover or when there are conflicts in their schedules.

Holbrook commented that the Chieftain Academy has already met its goal.

The board accepted donations from Bascom Lions Club and H-L PTO for playground fence. The PTO donated $2,550 for Brain Pop. Deb Daniel donated Tiffin Paper gift certificate to athletics.

The board approved overnight trips for the FFA to Greenhand Camp in October, national convention in late October; state convention in April and summer camp in May.

In personnel matters, the board hired classified employees, spring coaches and directors for the spring musical.

Paul Eickhoff, candidate for Loudon Township trustee, introduced himself to the board and summarized his qualifications for the position.

Board member Rick Osterwalder requested an executive session to discuss school safety. No action was to be taken.

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