Margaret Murray on Sept. 22, 2014

Praise For Sprinkler App, The Abbot Roof, Concerns Over Classroom Disruptions

The following is part of a recap from the Sept. 22, 2014 Westford School Committee meeting. For other parts of the meeting, click here.

8:30 p.m. – After the conclusion of a long executive session, the School Committee readjourned with public forum.

Jannelle Cioffi of 19 Phillips Dr. brought forth a followup on a discussion with Superintendent Bill Olsen last week.

In her daughter’s class at the Robinson School, there is an integrated student that has had some safety concerns.

Cioffi said that Olsen is doing his best to address the situation, but she hoped that someone can take a look at safety standards for students that are disruptive as well as looking at what happens when a child is taken out of the classroom.

Cioffi said that her daughter has been subject to many disruptions this year due to the special needs student and that the regular students are being ignored, and that the student is allowed to go back into classrooms following incidents after he calms down.

She said that nothing was addressed to the parents regarding this student prior to the school year and guidelines need to be made.

Margaret Murray on Sept. 22, 2014

Margaret Murray on Sept. 22, 2014

School Committee Chairman Tom Clay said that the School Committee needs to be very careful what is said regarding students and Olsen then said that the issue is being addressed with staff members at the Robinson School and declined to say more due to privacy needed for the issue.

8:43 p.m. – Olsen then recognized Nihar and Harshal Sheth for their sustainable sprinkler system that turns off when it is not needed.

Their invention earned one of two $1,000 awards from Google in a recent competition.

They were given a certificate of recognition.

School Committee member David Keele said he loved the device and talked more about it.

Clay then introduced the two new student representatives to the School Committee: Will O’Neill and Julie Becker

O’Neill said he joined because it’s important that students get a voice. Becker agreed.

8:41 p.m. – The agenda then went to an update from Olsen regarding the recent All-Boards meeting and the facilities study.

He was concerned about allegations regarding potential asbestos at the Abbot School and indicated that there is no concern, with further elaboration.

Olsen also gave details on the Abbot School roof, which was also discussed in the study, and also indicated that there are no problems there.

School Committee Member Margaret Murray asked about inspection schedules. Olsen said he would talk to Richie Crocker, director of facilities, and said that roofs would be inspected at least twice a year, more often after significant weather events.

School Committee Member Erika Kohl then disclosed that her husband was one of the volunteers on the Kindergarten Citizens’ Action Committee.

Murray asked if the Ethics Commission was contacted, Kohl said she had not, and then Murray said that it would be a good idea to talk to them and potentially recuse herself from any decisions on kindergarten.

Clay said the committee was pleased that Kohl’s husband was on the citizens’ group and that the right thing would be done.

Clay went on to praise a recent tour of the facilities taken by the School Committee. Benoit confirmed this.