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General Brown board discusses community input for concussion policy

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DEXTER — Board of Education member John G. Hardy would like to see more community input on school district policies.

During the General Brown Central School District’s monthly Board of Education meeting Monday, Mr. Hardy suggested discussion on the proposed concussion management policy should be postponed until input is gathered from the community. He argued input from members of the medical community, parents, students and people who have had a traumatic brain injury from a sports-related incident was needed for that policy, while District Superintendent Stephan J. Vigliotti Sr. questioned whether the board wanted to form a separate committee for community input for each policy.

“My recommendation at this point, Mr. Hardy, is if you want to pursue that type of policy making, I think that’s something you should establish,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

Mr. Hardy, however, said he didn’t want to alter any policy, but get general feedback from the community. He said community members specifically told him they want more input on policies.

While Mr. Hardy said he just wanted to ask community members’ opinions, board member Jeffrey J. Timerman said if Mr. Hardy wants to change the policy, it should be done at the board’s reorganizational meeting, not mid-year. Mr. Hardy again stressed he wasn’t trying to change policy-making procedures. He said having a method in place where community members can review policy and provide input is what he wants, not a committee or policy change.

“That’s the methodology behind the two-reading system,” Mr. Vigliotti said. “It’s already inherent to the system. The mechanism is there.”

Policies are introduced, posted for review, and after a first reading from General Brown board members, additional changes may be made. At the following board meeting, a second reading and adoption of that policy may take place. Mr. Hardy argued the two-reading system doesn’t reach out to the community.

“I think a two-reading policy is the way to go about business,” Mr. Vigliotti replied.

When board President Tasha L. Richards asked if anyone wanted to solicit community input or change policy making, Mr. Hardy said it was Mr. Vigliotti’s job to figure out how to solicit more information from the public. Board member Joanne McKinney then suggested posting policies on the district website for review. The concussion management policy was posted there prior to Monday’s meeting.

“I understand you think we should make an extra effort because of the nature of this policy,” Mr. Vigliotti said.

Mr. Hardy said he’d like to find out more information, such as what the rehabilitation process is like for a student who has a traumatic brain injury and then goes back to school.

District Athletic Director David A. Ramie said he believes the policy is getting across to students that “they have to let their coaches know when they’re injured.”

“I think the purpose of the policy is to protect the community,” he said. “A lot are going to the hospital and (parents) want them to be released in two days.”

Mr. Ramie said the policy will be presented at all preseason coaching meetings once adopted by the board. The proposed policy defines concussion, avoiding re-injury, reporting concussions at school, concussion education and the assembly of a concussion management team. There will also be an athletic consent form with an acknowledgment of the concussion management policy, a return-to-play protocol and a return-to-play documentation chart for coaches. Such a policy is required by the state to be in place by July 1, Mr. Vigliotti said.

The policy’s second reading will take place during the June 11 board meeting.

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