FORT WORTH -- Students may bring mosquito repellent containing DEET to school and apply it as needed themselves, Fort Worth school trustees agreed Tuesday night.
The action allows Superintendent Walter Dansby to waive a district policy that requires a doctor's note before children may bring insect repellent to school. The waiver ends Dec. 1.
Public health authorities are recommending use of repellent as one way to avoid West Nile virus infection.
The district is already providing repellent to athletes, cheerleaders and band members who practice during the time when mosquitoes are most active, said Clint Bond, a Fort Worth school district spokesman. Students should not bring repellent in aerosol cans but may bring it in other forms, such as wipes or lotions.
In other action, trustees voted 7-0 to uphold an administrative decision that bars the caretaker for the school district's Outdoor Learning Center from having firearms inside his home on the center's grounds.
Caretaker and teacher Stuart Tennyson had asked the board to grant an exception to district policy and allow him to keep a pistol and a rifle in a locked gun box at the house to protect his family. He has not used a firearm at the center during his 16 years there, he said.
Tennyson kept firearms at the house until December 2011, when school officials asked him to remove them, his attorney, Lanre Famojuro, said.
Famojuro told trustees that although the learning center and house in Azle are school property, Tennyson uses the house as any private citizen would. No school business takes place at the home, and students do not go inside, she said.
Famojuro listed several instances in which vandals and trespassers have been caught on the property, some of them armed. And the property has snakes, wild hogs and other animals.
But school district attorney Chris Taylor said the law allows school districts to restrict firearms on school property, and Fort Worth prohibits weapons. Firearms at the learning center could expose the school district to lawsuits, he told trustees.
Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326