Parish schools own what teachers and students create in class

In a ground-breaking move, the St. Charles Parish student and teacher ideas developed on school time or using school resources belong to the school board, not to the teachers and students who came up with them.

That means students who build, say, a Web site or take pictures for a school publication don’t own the rights to the work.

Dr. Rodney Lafon and school board members approved the adoption of the Intellectual Property Policy.

The policy states that even though the schools encourage the development of various forms of creative ideas, St. Charles Parish “will possess all copyrights, patents and trademarks and will retain sole ownership of the intellectual property.”

Yvonne Adler, director of special education services, for St. Charles Parish Schools, wrote the policy.

“It is necessary that we have it – our teachers come up with ideas for curriculum, or, for example, if students in the culinary department create a spice that they might want to sell commercially, they used parish property and parish resources in the process, and that means we must retain sole ownership,” Adler told the Herald-Guide in an interview at her office in Luling.

Adler says St. Charles Parish is the only school district in the state of Louisiana to adopt such a policy – which is quite common in business and at the university level.

“I looked for sample policies from other school districts and found there weren’t any,: says Adler.

“But there were some colleges that had them so I referred to them when I was working on the one for our school district.”

James Prescott Jr. of Forsythe Consulting Services in Baton Rouge tells the Herald-Guide that he conducted research to find out about the policy for St. Charles Parish.

“There are 69 school districts, and my office works with 58 of them and we have never consulted on a policy like this for a school board,” Prescott says.

“This is a first.”


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