HAMMOND | The School City of Hammond board approved new safety and security guidelines Monday with the exception of a policy that calls for certain authorized school employees to carry and use recording equipment, including wearing monitoring equipment while on duty.

The board held off approving Policy 7440.01 which authorizes using video and audio monitoring equipment on school property and buses. It also would allow authorized personnel to use body-worn monitoring equipment while on duty.

The School Board has been working on its policy with nationally recognized school board policy vendor NEOLA Inc., based in Stow, Iowa. Among items approved were a facility security program, use of school facilities, safety standards and technology privacy.

Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins suggested the board take the time to "further review" Policy 7440.01 for legal requirements and more discussion. He said he has a suggestion regarding the text but he wasn't more specific Monday. Watkins also has said he intends to meet with other school leaders to discuss the "administrative guidelines" for how recorded material would be used.

The School Board is considering including the policy at Monday's session.

Board member Cindy Murphy is the lone person to raise any objections to the proposed policy, saying she was concerned about monitoring equipment.

The policy calls for signs to be posted notifying anyone entering the building that communication and actions may be monitored and recorded.

Carmen has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.