1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Hall
Senate Bill 2357
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-11-53, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DIRECT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO ADOPT GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT SAFE SCHOOL PLANS, TO AUTHORIZE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO TAKE PUNITIVE ACTION AGAINST ANY SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR FAILING TO FULFILL THE SAFE SCHOOL PLAN REQUIREMENTS, TO PRESCRIBE THE MINIMUM COMPONENTS OF EACH SAFE SCHOOL PLAN; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-11-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-11-53. (1) In order to implement this section, the State Board of Education:
(a) Shall adopt guidelines for developing local school district discipline plans pursuant to this section;
(b) Shall provide ongoing technical assistance to the local school boards in the development, implementation and evaluation of their local discipline plans;
(c) May require a local school board to withhold the salary of any administrator or other employee of a local school administrative unit who delays or refuses to prepare and implement local safe school plans in accordance with this section; and
(d) May revoke the certificate of the superintendent for failure to fulfill the superintendent's duties under a local safe school plan.
(2) A copy of the school district's discipline plan shall be distributed to each student enrolled in the district and the parents, guardian or custodian of such student shall sign a statement verifying that they have been given notice of the discipline policies of their respective school district. The school board shall have its official discipline plan legally audited on an annual basis to insure that its policies and procedures are currently in compliance with applicable statutes, case law and state and federal constitutional provisions. A local school board may develop its plan under this section by conducting a comprehensive review of its existing policies, plans, statements and procedures to determine whether they: (i) are effective; (ii) have been updated to address recent changes in the law; (iii) meet the current needs of each school in the local school administrative unit; and (iv) address the components required to be included in the local plan. The board then may consolidate and supplement any previously developed policies, plans, statements and procedures that the board determines are effective and updated, meet the current needs of each school, and meet the requirements of this subsection. Once developed, the board shall submit the local plan to the State Board of Education and shall ensure the plan is available and accessible to parents and the school community. The board shall provide annually to the State Board of Education information that demonstrates how the At-Risk Student Services/Alternative Schools Funding Allotment has been used to prevent academic failure or promote school safety. The local board may amend the plan as often as it considers necessary or appropriate.
(3) Each school district discipline plan shall include each of the following components:
(a) Clear statements of the standard of behavior expected of students at different grade levels and of school personnel and clear statements of the consequences that will result from one or more violations of those standards. There shall be a statement of consequences for students under the age of thirteen (13) who physically assault and seriously injure a teacher or other individual on school property or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity. The consequences may include placement in an alternative setting.
(b) A clear statement of the responsibility of the superintendent for coordinating the adoption and the implementation of the plan, evaluating principals' performance regarding school safety, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of safety plans at the school level, and coordinating with local law enforcement and court officials appropriate aspects of implementation of the plan. The statement of responsibility shall provide appropriate disciplinary consequences that may occur if the superintendent fails to carry out these responsibilities. These consequences may include a reprimand in the superintendent's personnel file or withholding of the superintendent's salary, or both.
(c) A clear statement of the responsibility of the school principal for restoring, if necessary, and maintaining a safe, secure and orderly school environment and of the consequences that may occur if the principal fails to meet that responsibility. The principal's duties shall include exhibiting appropriate leadership for school personnel and students, providing for alternative placements for students who are seriously disruptive, reporting all criminal acts as required by law, and providing appropriate disciplinary consequences for disruptive students. The consequences to the principal that may occur shall include a reprimand in the principal's personnel file and disciplinary proceedings under Section 37-9-59.
(d) Clear statements of the roles of other administrators, teachers and other school personnel in restoring, if necessary, and maintaining a safe, secure and orderly school environment.
(e) Procedures for identifying and serving the needs of students who are at risk of academic failure or of engaging in disruptive or disorderly behavior.
(f) Mechanisms for assessing the needs of disruptive and disorderly students, providing them with services to assist them in achieving academically and in modifying their behavior, and removing them from the classroom when necessary.
(g) Measurable objectives for improving school safety and order.
(h) Measures of the effectiveness of efforts to assist students at risk of academic failure or of engaging in disorderly or disruptive behavior.
(i) Professional development clearly matched to the goals and objectives of the plan.
(j) A plan to work effectively with local law enforcement officials and court officials to ensure that schools are safe and laws are enforced.
(k) A plan to provide access to information to the school community, parents and representatives of the local community on the ongoing implementation of the local plan, monitoring of the local plan, and the integration of educational and other services for students into the total school program.
(l) The name and role description of the person responsible for implementation of the plan.
(m) Direction to school improvement teams within the local school administrative unit to consider the special conditions at their schools and to incorporate into their school improvement plans the appropriate components of the local plan for maintaining safe and orderly schools.
(n) A clear and detailed statement of the planned use of federal, state and local funds allocated for at-risk students, alternative schools, or both.
(o) Any other information the local school board considers necessary or appropriate to implement this act.
(4) All discipline plans of school districts shall also include * * * the following:
(a) A parent, guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child enrolled in a public school district shall be responsible financially for his or her minor child's destructive acts against school property or persons;
(b) A parent, guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child enrolled in a public school district may be requested to appear at school by an appropriate school official for a conference regarding acts of the child specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection, or for any other discipline conference regarding the acts of the child;
(c) Any parent, guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child enrolled in a school district who refuses or willfully fails to attend such discipline conference specified in paragraph (b) of this section may be summoned by proper notification by the superintendent of schools and be required to attend such discipline conference; and
(d) A parent, guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child enrolled in a public school district shall be responsible for any criminal fines brought against such student for unlawful activity as defined in Section 37-11-29 occurring on school grounds.
(5) Any parent, guardian or custodian of a compulsory-school-age child who (a) fails to attend a discipline conference to which such parent, guardian or custodian has been summoned under the provisions of this section, or (b) refuses or willfully fails to perform any other duties imposed upon him or her under the provisions of this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not to exceed Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00).
(6) Any public school district shall be entitled to recover damages in an amount not to exceed Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00), plus necessary court costs, from the parents of any minor under the age of eighteen (18) years and over the age of six (6) years, who maliciously and willfully damages or destroys property belonging to such school district. However, this section shall not apply to parents whose parental control of such child has been removed by court order or decree. The action authorized in this section shall be in addition to all other actions which the school district is entitled to maintain and nothing in this section shall preclude recovery in a greater amount from the minor or from a person, including the parents, for damages to which such minor or other person would otherwise be liable.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.