SAD 61 Superintendent Beecher to retire

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Kathleen Beecher will retire this June as Superintendent of Schools for SAD 61.

The announcement was released on the school board’s agenda for this past Monday night. The meeting was canceled due to bad weather.

District officials are working with Maine School Management regarding setting up a search for Beecher’s successor.

“I am retiring as of June 30 for health reasons,” Dr. Beecher said at press time Wednesday. “It has been an honor working as the Superintendent for the Lake Region schools. I have learned a great deal in all the jobs I have done for the district: principal of Sebago Elementary School, assistant superintendent for the district and superintendent.”

In other school board news:

• Meeting rescheduled: Due to bad weather, Monday’s board meeting was canceled. It will be held this Monday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Great Room at Lake Region Vocational Center.

• Condom policy: Directors will consider first reading approval to three policies regarding condom distribution at the high school.

First up is “Access to Comprehensive Sexual Health Services.”

“The intention of this service is to prevent sexually-transmitted infections and/or pregnancy. These services will include condom availability and counseling for students who are or may become sexually active.”

Condoms and informational pamphlets about abstinence, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and how to properly use a condom will be available free of charge. Prior to receiving the requested condom, the nurse and the student will discuss, in a confidential manner, the practice of safe sex, healthy relationships and how to apply a condom.

Under the policy, parents/guardians will be notified of condom availability (entitled, “Parental Form To Have Access to Condoms,” see below) and will have the opportunity to deny in writing (opt out) access to condoms for their student(s). If the parent/guardian does not submit written notice to “opt out” of this program, the student will have access to condoms.

The nurse’s office will maintain a list of students who are not allowed to have access to condoms.

Students will not be allowed to leave class to get a condom.

Priority will be given to ill or injured students that enter the nurse’s office at the same time.

Second, directors will review the “Parental Form” regarding condom distribution. The form includes: student name, grade, parent name, parent signature and date.

The form will be kept on file for that school year.

Also, parents/guardians are informed that “by signing this form, it does not exempt your student from their Sexual Health Curriculum or for regular visits to the school nurse.

Finally, directors will review a letter that will be sent to parents/guardians regarding the free condom program.

“The philosophy of this program is abstinence first, combined with providing appropriate information about available services in order to decrease risky sexual behaviors and reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Students will be encouraged to share the information with his/her parent/guardian.”

Students who seek condoms will receive counseling from the school nurse related to relationships, communication, decision-making, abstinence, pregnancy, contraception, sexually-transmitted infections, anatomy and physiology, and reproductive health. Condoms (with appropriate counseling) will be available at no cost to high school students.

“MSAD 61 realizes that, as parents, you are the primary sexual health educators for your teens. If you do not want your child to have access to condoms, please fill out and returned the enclosed Parental Form to Decline Access to Condoms to decline access to condoms,” the letter concludes.

Before a proposal becomes policy, it must receive second reading approval.

If members of the public wish to make comments about these policies, those remarks would need to be made under “Public Comments on Agenda Items,” which follows a presentation by Special Services Director Lisa Caron.

Directors will take up the condom policies under “Action Items.”



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