Ketchikan’s school board meets in closed session in the Ketchikan High School library in March 2021. (Eric Stone/KRBD)

Ketchikan’s school board rejected on Wednesday a measure that would have changed district policy to remove a ban on supervisors dating subordinates.

The school board’s policy committee had proposed replacing a nearly 20-year-old policy barring family members and romantic partners from supervising each other with a new version from the nonprofit Association of Alaska School Boards. The policy also places limits on hiring relatives of the superintendent or school board members.

Superintendent Melissa Johnson said the change was an attempt to make board policy consistent with state law.

“This policy is in reference to the superintendent being hired and bringing a relative of the superintendent into the district, and then it’s also if a school board member gets elected, that we follow the policy through state statute for if they have an employee that works for the district,” Johnson said.

But the revision would have removed a ban in current policy on supervisors holding romantic relationships short of marriage with people they supervise. The draft policy also left out language saying that the ban aimed to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, though other board policies and regulations ban harassment.

The school board’s president, Stephen Bradford, said the omissions made the policy change a no-go for him.

“I don’t object to the intent of this revision, but I am quite troubled by the fact that the language about sexual harassment and intimate relationships and dating relationships is just deleted,” Bradford said.

The board voted unanimously to send the policy back to the board’s policy committee for additional revisions.

In other business, the school district’s business manager said the school district had reached a tentative agreement with its special services professionals on a new contract. That agreement is scheduled to come before the board at its next meeting on May 26.