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ECS Addresses Digital Communication Safety

By Elizabeth Riggs

The Ellicottville Central School Board made quick work of its agenda Tuesday, Jan. 24 wrapping up in a speedy 14 minutes before retiring into executive session.

During the meeting, Middle School / High School Principal Robert Miller recapped last week’s assembly for high school students titled “Keeping Kids Safe in the Digital Communication Age.” The event shed light on both the personal and legal issues that can arise from inappropriate social media and cell phone use.

“From the feedback I got, it was well received,” said Miller. “Not every student was excited about it, but the vast majority asked good questions.”

The assembly included guest speakers from the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Police Department, Cattaraugus County District Attorney’s Office, FBI and the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center in Olean. The assembly was held for students from grades 9-12, who were split into small groups of boys and girls, and rotated into short sessions with the guest speakers.

According to Miller, the guest speakers discussed a variety of digital media topics with students, including the difference between filing a report and pressing charges, forensics investigations with cellular evidence, court proceedings, sexting, cyber bullying, and the different levels to which a crime can rise.

“There were some eye openers,” said Miller. “You start to see some eyebrows go up when you talk about felonies.”

All in all, Miller felt the time was well spent and believed the students benefitted from the discussions. “I’m glad we spent the time and did this,” he said.

Miller said follow-up information on the assembly will be included in an upcoming school newsletter and posted on the school web site very soon.

In elementary school news, Principal Connie Poulin reminded the Board of the upcoming 6th Grade Moving Up Night, set to take place this Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m.

“We usually get nearly 100 percent attendance when we have our 6th grade moving up event,” said Poulin. Piggybacking on the recent high school assembly, Poulin said she will also touch on the implications of negative digital media use and what parents can do to set effective boundaries.

The Board also discussed plans for members to attend the 2017 BOCES Annual Meeting, set for April 18 at the BOCES Center in Olean. At the annual meeting, area school administrators, board members and BOCES officials will vote on the BOCES administrative budget and elect BOCES board members. School Board President Carl Colaro encouraged as many board members as possible to go and exercise their right to vote.

In other business, the Board approved the appointment of Michelle Miller as a part-time teacher aid, effective Wednesday, Jan. 25. The position will observe a one-year probationary period, ending Jan. 25, 2018.

Lastly, board member Connie Hellwig announced plans to travel to the state’s capitol Feb. 12-13 for the Annual New York State Capital Conference, being held this year at the New York State Museum and the Renaissance Albany Hotel.

The next ECS Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in the ECS library.

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