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Butler school board talks AI

BUTLER TWP — Principals have been talking all summer about how artificial intelligence could change how students approach their schoolwork, according to Brian White, superintendent of Butler Area School District.

At a Monday, Aug. 14, meeting of the district’s school board, White said he wanted to address the technology before it becomes advanced enough to be used practically for education.

“The reality is that it’s here,” White said. “To think that our kids are not going to use this is foolhardy.

“We’re going to start seeing more regulation, more guidance and templates of policy; it’s just a matter of time.”

Members of the school board asked how the technology may already be in use by students, and how it could be used in education in the future. However, White said it is too soon to address its use in official policy. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association may come up with language addressing the technology in the coming year, White said.

The use of artificial intelligence to complete school work would already be covered by language in the school district’s academic dishonesty policy, according to White, so if a student uses it without permission, they could face consequences.

Suicide awareness and prevention

The school board passed a first reading of a suicide awareness and prevention policy, which district assistant superintendent Brian Slamecka said was written with references from similar policies at other school districts.

Slamecka said the district has to have a policy on suicide prevention, and once passed, he would be working with the district’s psychologists, guidance counselors and administrators to implement the policy.

“Threat assessment isn’t just threat assessment to threats to other students, it’s threats to self-harm,” Slamecka said. “This would satisfy that need for our threat-assessment.”

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