Following Superintendent Robin Daquilante's recommendation to the Tyler County Board of Education Monday evening, members voted to continue with the practice of a moment of silence prior to recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The measure was approved by majority vote, with the exception of Ken Hunt, who abstained.
The vote settled the question as to whether or not to begin board of education meetings with an open "legislative" prayer. The request for the legislative prayer was presented to the board by Dustin Turner at a January board meeting.
Turner presented his argument for spoken prayer and concluded his appeal to the board with these remarks.
"The questions before the Board tonight are these. Will you establish the national and state tradition of legislative prayer? Will you listen to the witness of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled that clergy-led prayer is constitutional in school board meetings? Will you exercise the authority given to you by the Supreme Court in Marsh and begin legislative prayer in this public body? Will you veto the will of 80 percent of the citizens of Tyler County? Most importantly, will you hear the voice of God tonight?
I look forward to hearing your answers to these questions. Thank you for your time and may God guide your decision."
The board took the matter under advisement before making its final decision. Superintendent Daquilante informed the board of her decision to recommend continuing with established practices and explained, "After much research and discussion, it is my recommendation we continue with our current policy."
"This gives members and others in attendance the opportunity to silently pray and reflect as they so wish," said Daquilante. No further discussion was made in regards to the matter.
Ms. Daquilante then spoke to the board about the recent win by TCHS Cheerleading squad at the OVAC competitions.
"They did a fine job, and we're proud of them," said Board President Linda Hoover.
"Yes, it's been several years since our high school cheerleaders won. It's great," added board member Jimmy Wyatt.
Ralph "Doc" Boone then informed the board he had received a compilation of extracurricular staff positions, which he had requested from Mr. Duane Dober at the last board meeting.
"I was shocked," said Boone. "I thought we might have thirty or so positions, and I found out there are ninety-three. I think it shows real dedication on the part of our teachers, who give of their time so selflessly."
"Yes, these teachers put in a lot of extra hours for students," agreed the board. "Tyler County is fortunate in that respect."
In other matters, minutes of the previous meeting were approved, Lady Knights 2012 soccer schedule and Tyler Consolidated's 2012 track schedules were approved, and trip requests were approved for several school activities.
Under requests, TCHS girl's track coach J.C. Kimble asked for and was granted approval to hold a Tyler Consolidated Alumni Basketball game April 7; Tricia Feldmeier asked for and was granted approval for the Boreman Boosters Organization to sponsor a roller skating party at the Rendezous Roller Rink March 24; all other requests were granted by the board.
Under personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Roger Ankrom, custodian III at TCHS/TCMS effective March 31.
"We hate to see him go," commented President Hoover. "He's been a valued employee here for many years. Roger will be missed."
The board also granted an extension of maternity leave to Lindsay Snider through March 3, 2012.
All member of the board were present at Monday evening's meeting. The next regular meeting of the board will be held Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Tyler County Board of Education office.