'Take This Lollipop'
Baldwin Borough police Detective Anthony Cortazzo put a little fear into the hearts of the crowd at Wednesday night's Baldwin-Whitehall School Board meeting.
Appearing on behalf of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Children's Advocacy Centers, of which he is an instructor, Cortazzo made a presentation to the school board to warn of the risks associated with sharing information on the Internet, particularly when young people do so.
Board member Nancy Lee Crowder volunteered to help Cortazzo with showing fellow board members and the meeting's audience a video featuring a fictional—albeit realistic—man that abuses the information made available publicly on a person's Facebook page—in this case, Crowder's.
"It was creepy," Crowder said in an interview after the meeting. "I've done many workshops on Internet safety, and I wasn't as shocked as some of the other board members, but it is creepy. It's amazing how people can take tidbits of information and piece it together to find where someone is."
"Technology is what it is," Cortazzo said. "We're not gonna remove all of the information on the websites; that's here to stay. But we have to be cognizant of the information out there and have an awareness ourselves and move that on to our children.
"There are people out there who would hurt us."
Cortazzo said that the B-W School District is the first school district in western Pennsylvania to receive child online safety training from the Children's Advocacy Centers, and on Nov. 8, similar training will be available in the Large Group Instruction (LGI) Room of Baldwin High School at 7 p.m.
Topics will include sexting, cyberbullying and online predators.
Internet Safety Course Approved
In the same vein, the school board approved, 8-0, on Wednesday night the addition of an Internet safety course for its students. (Board member Kevin J. Fischer was absent.)
The course, which could encompass two 45-minute sessions per school year, B-W Superintendent Dr. Randal A. Lutz said on Oct. 3, would educate students on the risks associated with sharing information online.
Adult Education Classes Approved
The board also approved, 8-0, on Wednesday the institution of two adult education classes in the district—Woodworking Fall 2012 and Woodworking Spring 2013.
Lutz said on Oct. 3 that the district had been losing money by offering these classes, prompting a discussion over whether or not to cancel them, but he offered a solution to that issue on Wednesday.
"When courses are offered, the revenues that are generated by the course through the registration and the number of participants, in the past, has not covered the expenses of the course," Lutz said. "And when I talk about expenses, really, it's the payment of the instructor."
Lutz said that, now, an instructor will be paid a stipend based on the number of people that register for his or her class.
"If that stipend would be something so significant based upon the number of participants or the number of hours that a course is—making that unit of pay something that would be kind of 'off the charts,' so to speak—we'd put a ceiling on that.
"What I propose is, basically, paying a stipend, which is from the revenues generated, that would equate to an hourly rate. But that hourly rate cannot exceed $30 per hour.
"That way, if there are any additional revenues, it would go back to help support some of the indirect costs of electricity or wear and tear on machinery or things like that."
Board President John B. Schmotzer suggested to Lutz that, in the future, he also consider charging higher registration fees for non-Baldwin-Whitehall residents to take these courses.
The school board recognized some of its students and employees on Wednesday for achieving success in their fields.
- Honored for winning first place in an American Scholastic Press Association contest were the 2011-12 versions of The Purbalite, Baldwin High's student newspaper. Purbalite editors from that school year included Julian Routh, Michelle Bruni and Sarah Jugovic, who were not able to attend Wednesday's meeting. Accepting on their behalf were two editors of the 2012-13 Purbalite—Lexy Steppling and Maura Kay—as well as faculty Advisor Keith Harrison. The paper's other two 2012-13 editors—Shane Becker and Luke Dowker—were not able to attend the meeting, either.
- Honored for winning an Award of Merit from the National School Public Relations Association for Baldwin-Whitehall's 2011-12 activities calendar was Bethany Bernarding, the district's public relations secretary. Bernarding also serves as the district office's front desk receptionist.
No Vote on Baldwin H.S. Stage Rigging
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