New Castle News


April 23, 2014

Wilmington board debates ‘free expression’

NEW CASTLE — Wilmington Area school directors weighed student safety concerns against free speech rights Monday.

A proposed policy on student free expression and posting of materials drew concern from one board member. The policy allows the school to take action in some cases of “unprotected expression” which takes place off-campus and after hours.

 The policy defines “unprotected expression” as student expression that violates the rights of others. Some examples are libel, advocating use of dangerous substances, obscene or vulgar expression, incitement to violence and lawbreaking.

In addition to being unprotected, the expression must be “likely to materially or substantially interfere with the educational process,” threaten serious harm to the school or community, encourage unlawful activity or interfere with another’s rights.

Board member Autumn Miller said she was concerned that the policy “is overreaching,” because it addresses expression off school property and after school hours. She proposed that the policy be revised.

However Board Solicitor John Salopek said the phrasing of the new policy is taken directly from recent Supreme Court rulings.

 “It gives the district the broadest opportunity to take action that may be necessary,” he said.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Miller agreed, stating the well being and safety of students and staff is the crux of the policy.

 She explained that school personnel sometimes become aware of threats or bullying, weapons, or other illegal action through social media. Although these occur out of school, she said they could affect students and others within the schools.

She added that while the policy provides for disciplinary action, all such situations would not involve discipline. Sometimes the policy would just allow school officials to speak to the student or notify parents.

Dr. Bo DiMuccio, board president, said the safeguards against the policy being misapplied by the school are “the board and the legal system.”

DiMuccio informally polled other board members, all of whom all agreed to keep the policy as it is. Mrs. Miller said she is not sure if she will vote for adoption of the policy next month.

The policy will come up for a third and final reading at the May meeting.

The board also is updating several other existing board policies.

Also Monday, the board:

•Agreed to seek bids for resurfacing the athletic field and track.

•Agreed advertise for bids for either painting the lockers or purchasing new ones for the middle and high school.

•Unanimously voted to oppose Senate Bill 1085 which extends the authorization period for the state’s charter schools from five to 10 years. The board resolution asks for more effective charter school reform legislation than the proposed bill contains.

•Hired Eleanor Winters as a substitute custodian at $7.25 per hour.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results