Schools revist tech safety

The Springfield City School District is in the process of updating its Internet Safety and Acceptable Use Policy.

Communications and Special Projects Consultant Kim Fish says, “As technology changes, we update our policies.”

Other policy modifications changes are dictated by changes in state and federal laws.

Some of the more significant changes this time address the proper use of things like iTunes and apps as well as keeping school and personal work separate. The new policy sets general standards of conduct for use of technology resources, electronic mail and communications and Internet use, plus the district websites and disclaimers.

Fish says the policy is targeted to students, staff and volunteers in the district. The parental interaction component remains in place, giving parents the option to authorize “my child’s teacher to communicate through e-mail,” to “give my permission for the use of my student’s information as designated by this document” and to “give my permission for disclosure of my student’s information as designated by this document.”

Fish stressed, “The policy is meant to be informational for parents. We try to make it as simple as possible.”

She also pointed out “most of the district’s computers have blocks on many websites. For example, students may read Yahoo stories but cannot access e-mails.”

“The policy allows us to do two things: Protect the technology resources the taxpayers fund, and it prohibits the inappropriate uses of that technology.”

The District Technology Policy Committee continually looks at changes in the law to ensure compliance, Fish said. The staff typically compiles any necessary changes, and Board of Education action comes in time for printing to be ready for the coming school year.

School board members gave the new policy a first reading at its previous meeting. A final vote on it is scheduled for the meeting that starts at 6 this evening, at 1500 W. Jefferson Street.

‘Taps’ for Shay

Earlier this week, the community said goodbye to William E. “Gene” Shay, who died at the age of 90 on July 6 in the Springfield Masonic Community. He was born in Springfield on February 14, 1923, grew up in town and graduated from Springfield High School in 1941.

Two years later, he joined the Army and later transferred to the Army Air Corps. During a memorial service on Tuesday, family, friends and others were told Shay served as a ball turret gunner on B-24 bombers, was shot down on his third mission and spent 10 1/2 months as a Prison of War in Germany.

Those who came along later will remember Mr. Shay as the commander of Springfield Chapter 10 of the Ex-Prisoners of War, as well as the many times he played “Taps” at various veterans events. On Nov. 10, 1997, Shay played “Taps” at Arlington National Ceremony for the Ex-Prisoners of War Tree Dedication. His daughter, Becky Scovill, recalled her father’s words, “That was the icing on the cake.”

Rev. Bruce Vincent, Springfield Masonic Community chaplain, told those on hand Shay started playing trumpet as a young boy and also did so early in his military service. But after World War II, he didn’t touch a trumpet for over 30 years, then bought a flugelhorn.

Scovill told the story of his playing becoming a tradition at the car lot where Shay worked as a salesman. As she said “music was one of the most special gifts he had.”

I will especially remember Mr. Shay’s quiet, humble and dignified presence at so many Veteran’s Day ceremonies.

For what he did throughout his long and active life, he was one of the special gifts this community had.