School Board adopts tobacco-free policy

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 13, 2003

WINDSOR – For the past several years it was given that students were forbidden to use or possess tobacco on school grounds or at school sponsored events.

That was not the case for school staff. Staff members who smoked were allowed a location on campus for a smoke break.

Effective January 1, 2004, that will end.

On October 6, the Bertie County Board of Education adopted a &uot;100% Tobacco-Free Policy.&uot; The policy states that students and employees have the right to work and study in a tobacco-free environment and that the Board recognizes that the use of tobacco products is a health, safety, and environmental hazard.

The new policy says that no employee, visitor or contractor shall use or display tobacco products at any time on school premises. It adds that employees shall not use or display tobacco products in the presence of students while participating in or on duty at any school sponsored event off school grounds.

School premises are defined as any building, facility or property that is owned, leased or contracted for by Bertie County Schools. This policy will also include central office facilities.

Seton Fairless delivered the loan nay vote and said he felt the current policy is sufficient. Ricky Freeman made the motion to adopt the policy.

In other Board action, several bus drivers were spotlighted for their service to the community following Hurricane Isabel. Vernice Murphy, Felicia Allen, Jeanette Clark, Anthony Outlaw and Chris Outlaw were honored for providing bus transportation for citizens from several sites in the county to Windsor so they could shop for groceries and perform other chores.

Board member Ricky Freeman, also the county’s Emergency Management Director, praised others who performed admirably following the storm. He said, &uot;I appreciate what the school transportation department did. It was a total team effort from school employees.&uot;

Nick Shook, Assistant Superintendent, presided over the meeting in the absence of Superintendent John F. Smith Sr. He told the audience that Freeman did an excellent job of coordinating the effort during and after Isabel.

Shook also noted some of the damage to schools as a result of the storm. C.G. White Middle School in Powellsville sustained some roof damage while other schools had some minor damage. &uot;All schools are moving forward on a regular schedule,&uot; he said.

Shook also spoke about the progress with construction of a new Bertie High School. He said, &uot;the county commissioners are moving forward with the purchase of property from International Paper Company across highway 13 from the current high school.&uot;