Squan School Board Changes Media Policy
Language softened regarding written requests, presidential approval of statements
The Manasquan School Board loosened up some of the language in its proposed changes to the board's media relations policy.
The policy, adopted at the board's Sept. 25 meeting, calls for reporters, "whenever possible," to submit written and detailed requests via the district's website. The previous proposed version omitted "whenever possible."
The superintendent of schools, "in consultation with the Board President," is named in the policy as the chief communications representative of the board concerning district-related questions. The previous version stated the superintendent's statements were subject to the board president's approval.
Some board members and officials called into question the original proposals, first released at the board's Sept. 18 work session, citing concerns regarding what constituted an "extreme" emergency and whether or not the board president should have final approval on the superintendent's statements.
The word "extreme" was removed from the policy adopted last month.
At the board's Sept. 18 work session, Board Vice President John Winterstella said he doubted major news outlets would abide by the proposed policy to submit written requests for information.
Acting-Superintendent Robert J. Mahon also expressed reservations regarding what he called a perceived presidential imprimatur on any statements.
Board President Michelle LaSala at that time said the intention of the policy was to ensure officials provided the media with accurate information.
"The intent here is to just try to make sure that the information given out is accurate and not given on the fly, so it's not in all instances," LaSala has said.