KEYSER - Conflict of interest or invasion of privacy?
That was the debate during a recent Mineral County Board of Education meeting when the members discussed updating a policy regulating whether or not a professional employee may provide lessons and/or tutoring privately to a student.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
@lizbeavers1
KEYSER - Conflict of interest or invasion of privacy?
That was the debate during a recent Mineral County Board of Education meeting when the members discussed updating a policy regulating whether or not a professional employee may provide lessons and/or tutoring privately to a student.
According to the policy posted on the BOE website, “professional employees shall not engage in business, private practice of their profession, the rendering of services, or the sale of goods of any type where advantage is taken of any professional relationship they may have with any student ….”
Superintendent Shawn Dilly said the updated policy was suggested by Neola, an agency which advises local school boards on changes needed to stay current and compliant with state and federal laws.
Board member Rob Woy, however, said he felt the policy was going too far.
“It almost seems like it’s cutting into someone’s private affairs,” he said.
“Where do you draw the line?” board member Tom Denne asked, expressing his opinion that it’s none of the administration’s business if a teacher tutors a student or gives piano lessons on the side, as long as that teacher didn’t coerce the student into taking the lessons.
Dilly agreed that the defining line is whether or not the teacher tells a student he or she must be tutored in order to pass a class, of if the student “is electing to do it by their own free will.
“It comes back to the question of ‘are you using your position as a teacher for personal gain?’” he said.
“If a piano teacher is saying ‘you need to take my piano lessons in order to pass my class,’ that’s a violation.”
Woy said he felt the policy was too gray and called it “bad medicine.”
The board members passed the updated policy 3-2, with Woy and Denne voting against.