At the August school board meeting revisions to the district Code of Conduct were approved by a unanimous vote of the school board.
Code of Conduct changes discussed including adding level 1 horseplay, campus and bus infractions and the change in definition of level two infractions for abusive language and behavior policies.
Level two infractions addressed also included repeated violation of the dress code. A glossary was added, and the code of conduct section on drugs, intoxicants and sexual assault was updated.
As part of the revision process, the xode was viewed by the school district’s attorney and by concerned parents. The changes were deemed to be consistent with state law, so they were implemented.
Of particular interest was the section on the dress code.
Last year there was a push to implement a uniforms policy in the district, but that movement did not succeed. Instead, board members felt it more prudent at the time to enforce the existing dress code.
Board member Henry Miller said that the dress code, “starts with teachers and administrators as a beacon for our kids to look to. I hope we enforce it on everybody across the board.”
School board member Bobby Cunningham echoed those thoughts, noting that in the past teachers and administrators wore flip flops that were a dress code violation.
“Let’s enforce what we say,” Miller said. “If we don’t enforce it, why pass it?”
Fairness in the means and tools used to enforce discipline in the schools was another issue discussed relating to the Code.
Board member Annie McDaniel asked superintendent J.R. Green about conduct violations and controversy last year surrounding students being transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice.
She was concerned that school resource officers were being used too heavily as disciplinary enforcers rather than as liaisons that could help deter crime by interacting with students in a positive manner.
Green informed her that in an instance when laws are broken, law enforcement will be notified. If an officer then determined a student needed to be taken to DJJ, the officer would not need school approval because school authority does not supersede law enforcement.
However, Green said if there is a violation of school policy, then school administrators will handle the issue.
If there is a violation of the law, then law enforcement, including school resource officers, will be involved in a reasonable, appropriate response, he said.
The code of conduct revisions passed unanimously.
In other news related to student discipline, Webster Anderson has been assigned to hear all recommendations for expulsion rather than a committee of board members doing so.
Board member Beth Reid applauded that decision and thanked Anderson for his willingness to take on such a responsibility for overseeing student expulsion hearings.