School Board reviews public health vending machines

by Dec 6, 2022NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Reporter


The Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) Board of Education held its final meeting of the year this past Monday, Dec. 5.

A significant portion of the meeting centered around a conversation with Sheena Lambert, public health director for EBCI Public Health and Human Services (PHHS). She offered a presentation on the potential of implementing new ‘public health vending machines’ on the CCS campus.

These vending machines are fully customizable and can hold a number of items that could be useful in a public health context including: toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant, hand sanitizer), adhesive bandages, feminine care products, safe sex supplies, pregnancy test, Plan B, nasal Narcan, and fentanyl test strips.

The Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) Board of Education held its final meeting of the year this past Monday, Dec. 5. (JONAH LOSSIAH/One Feather photo)

Lambert wanted to offer an update on what was capable with these machines and how the school could go about getting them. She said that CCS was a priority with this project, and that they are being funded through a grant.

“I’m amazed how detailed this is. It’s such a neat resource, I’m just really impressed. After all these years in different school systems, I’ve never seen anything that nice. The controversial thing would be the Plan B. The other thing would be condoms, in some communities,” said Superintendent Michael Murray.

He said that this would take a lot of discussion to happen but that it could be a very valuable resource for the school and its students. Both he and the Board pointed out that certain items, such as pain relievers, are strictly against policy.

Lambert said that adjustments could be made, but that they would like to create a uniform machine when making the order. She also said that the machines use a software that is adjustable too. Access can be restricted to the machines, and limitations on quantities of items can also be set.

“We’re happy to do that. We’re here to help you and do what’s best for you guys so that you can actually use the machines,” said Lambert.

She said that this grant has also funded the opportunity to have opioid rescue kits, which the School Board has become very interested in. They cited their previous meeting with Cheorkee Indian Police Dept. Assistant Chief of Police Josh Taylor, who was advocating for access to these materials. Lambert brought an example of a kit and showed the Board what they looked like and how they could be used.

The Board expressed their continued interest in acquiring these kits, which Lambert said they would make happen.

Earlier in the meeting, the Board welcomed representatives from the Cherokee High School senior class. They came to request a different date for the senior trip that is planned for the spring semester. The senior trip was initially scheduled for the second week of April 2023, the same week as spring break. The students were requesting a shift so that ‘more students could spend time with family on spring break’ and still be able to attend the senior trip. The Board unanimously approved shifting the date of their trip to the last week of April.

The Board also heard from visitor Ric Eddings, who has been the pastor of Cherokee Baptist Church for the last two years. He was hoping to bring a new ‘Bible as literature’ course to CCS. Eddings said that he is not a certified teacher, but simply wanted to offer the space to study nuances of the text. He said that he did not mind when it was offered, he was happy to come in before, during, or after school.

“In my opinion, it’d probably be better if he was a certified teacher. When he’s talked to me, he said this could be voluntary or paid down the road. So, it might be one of those where we could look at letting him offer it after school and let it be on a voluntary basis. See how that goes, with no pay. Then, if it works out really well, it gives us time to check everything curriculum-wise,” said Superintendent Murray.

Chairperson Jennifer Thompson said that this type of course had already been approved by an earlier iteration of the School Board, so a formal resolution was not necessary. Eddings was instructed that he would need to fill out a volunteer form and have a background check done before he started.

The Board agreed that Eddings would be allowed to begin this class as an after-school option starting in January.

The Board unanimously passed the consent agenda with no amendments. This put forth the following:

  • Shakayla Smoker approved as a Behavior Modification Classroom TA for Cherokee Middle School.
  • Raeline McMillan receives two additional steps on her salary as the Baby Face Parent Educator.
  • Jessica Ennis approved as an Elementary Teacher for Cherokee Elementary School.
  • Amelia Schriner approved as an Elementary Teacher for Cherokee Elementary School.
  • Otilia Flores received a retroactive upgrade to a Level 2 in her current position based on additional duties that have been added to her work load.
  • Ty Andrews approved as the varsity indoor track assistant coach for the 2022-23 season.

There was one walk-in that was approved, which approved Consie Girty for Level VII director pay.

The Monday, Dec. 5 meeting of the CCS Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Chairperson Jennifer Thompson; Co-Vice Chairs Tara Reed-Cooper and Melanie Lambert; Secretary Kristina Hyatt; Board members Berdie Toineeta and Regina Ledford Rosario; Superintendent Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Beverley Payne; HR Director Heather Driver; and Administrative Assistant Diane Driver all in attendance. Tribal Council Rep. T.W. Saunooke was absent.

The next meeting of the CCS Board of Education is set for Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 4:45 p.m. If necessary, an email poll amongst the members will be conducted to make up for the Dec. 19 meeting. Meetings are being held in the Administrative Offices at Cherokee Central Schools. These meetings are open to the public unless there is a call for an executive session.