2005 Regular Session
By: Representative Scott
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 37-1-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO SELECT CERTAIN SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN A PILOT PROGRAM TO PRESCRIBE A MANDATORY STUDENT UNIFORM; TO AMEND SECTION 37-7-335, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS SELECTED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN A PILOT PROGRAM TO CHARGE FEES NOT EXCEEDING THE ACTUAL COST FOR STUDENT UNIFORMS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-11-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS SELECTED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR PARTICIPATION IN A PILOT PROGRAM TO INCLUDE AN EXPLANATION OF STUDENTS' RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING UNIFORMS IN THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-1-3. (1) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules and regulations and set standards and policies for the organization, operation, management, planning, budgeting and programs of the State Department of Education.
(a) The board is directed to identify all functions of the department that contribute to or comprise a part of the state system of educational accountability and to establish and maintain within the department the necessary organizational structure, policies and procedures for effectively coordinating such functions. Such policies and procedures shall clearly fix and delineate responsibilities for various aspects of the system and for overall coordination of the total system and its effective management.
(b) The board shall establish and maintain a system-wide plan of performance, policy and directions of public education not otherwise provided for.
(c) The board shall effectively use the personnel and resources of the department to enhance technical assistance to school districts in instruction and management therein.
(d) The board shall establish and maintain a central budget policy.
(e) The board shall establish and maintain within the State Department of Education a central management capacity under the direction of the State Superintendent of Public Education.
(f) The board, with recommendations from the superintendent, shall design and maintain a five-year plan and program for educational improvement that shall set forth objectives for system performance and development and be the basis for budget requests and legislative initiatives.
(2) (a) The State Board of Education shall adopt and maintain a curriculum and a course of study to be used in the public schools that is designed to prepare the state's children and youth to be productive, informed, creative citizens, workers and leaders, and it shall regulate all matters arising in the practical administration of the school system not otherwise provided for.
(b) Before the 1999-2000 school year, the State Board of Education shall develop personal living and finances objectives that focus on money management skills for individuals and families for appropriate, existing courses at the secondary level. The objectives must require the teaching of those skills necessary to handle personal business and finances and must include instruction in the following:
(i) Opening a bank account and assessing the quality of a bank's services;
(ii) Balancing a checkbook;
(iii) Managing debt, including retail and credit card debt;
(iv) Completing a loan application;
(v) The implications of an inheritance;
(vi) The basics of personal insurance policies;
(vii) Consumer rights and responsibilities;
(viii) Dealing with salesmen and merchants;
(ix) Computing state and federal income taxes;
(x) Local tax assessments;
(xi) Computing interest rates by various mechanisms;
(xii) Understanding simple contracts; and
(xiii) Contesting an incorrect billing statement.
(3) The State Board of Education shall through its actions seek to implement the policies set forth in Section 37-1-2.
(4) The State Board of Education shall select districts having a high incidence of juvenile crime, sixty percent (60%) food stamp participation and a Level 3 or lower accreditation rating to participate in a pilot program mandating school uniforms.
SECTION 2. Section 37-7-335, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-7-335. (1) The school board of any school district shall be authorized to charge reasonable fees, but not more than the actual cost, for the following:
(a) Supplemental instructional materials and supplies, excluding textbooks;
(b) Any other fees designated by the local school board as fees related to a valid curriculum educational objective, including school uniforms in those districts selected for participation in the school uniform pilot program under Section 37-1-3 and transportation; and
(c) Extracurricular activities and any other educational activities of the school district which are not designated by the local school board as valid curriculum educational objectives, such as band trips and athletic events.
(2) (a) All fees authorized to be charged under this section, except those fees authorized under subsection (1)(c) of this section, shall be charged only upon the condition that the school board of each school district shall adopt a financial hardship waiver policy that shall be kept in the strictest of confidence with all files and personal disclosures restricted from review by the general public. The board shall insure that a pupil eligible to have any such fees waived as a result of an inability to pay for said fees, shall not be discriminated against nor shall there be any overt identification of any pupil who has received a financial hardship waiver by use of special tokens or tickets, announcements, posting or publication of names, physical separation, choice of materials or by any other means. In no case shall any school district's procedures expose any pupil receiving a hardship waiver to any type of stigma or ridicule by other pupils or school district personnel.
(b) The confidentiality of the financial hardship waiver policy adopted by such school board shall apply to any students who have an inability to pay any fees authorized under subsection (1)(c) of this section.
(3) In no case shall the inability to pay the assessment of fees authorized under * * * this section result in a pupil being denied or deprived of any academic awards or standards, any class selection, grade, diploma, transcript or the right to participate in any activity related to educational enhancement.
SECTION 3. Section 37-11-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-11-55. The local school board shall adopt and make available to all teachers, school personnel, students and parents or guardians, at the beginning of each school year, a code of student conduct developed in consultation with teachers, school personnel, students and parents or guardians. The code shall be based on the rules governing student conduct and discipline adopted by the school board and shall be made available at the school level in the student handbook or similar publication. The code shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Specific grounds for disciplinary action under the school district's discipline plan;
(b) Procedures to be followed for acts requiring discipline, including suspensions and expulsion, which comply with due process requirements;
(c) An explanation of the responsibilities and rights of students with regard to: attendance; proper attire in conformity with the school uniform in those districts selected for participation in the school uniform pilot program under Section 37-1-3; respect for persons and property; knowledge and observation of rules of conduct; free speech and student publications; assembly; privacy; and participation in school programs and activities;
(d) Policies and procedures recognizing the teacher as the authority in classroom matters, and supporting that teacher in any decision in compliance with the written discipline code of conduct. Such recognition shall include the right of the teacher to remove from the classroom any student who, in the professional judgment of the teacher, is disrupting the learning environment, to the office of the principal or assistant principal. The principal or assistant principal shall determine the proper placement for the student, who may not be returned to the classroom until a conference of some kind has been held with the parent, guardian or custodian during which the disrupting behavior is discussed and agreements are reached that no further disruption will be tolerated. If the principal does not approve of the determination of the teacher to remove the student from the classroom, the student may not be removed from the classroom, and the principal, upon request from the teacher, must provide justification for his disapproval;
(e) Policies and procedures for dealing with a student who causes a disruption in the classroom, on school property or vehicles, or at school-related activities;
(f) Procedures for the development of behavior modification plans by the school principal, reporting teacher and student's parent for a student who causes a disruption in the classroom, on school property or vehicles, or at school-related activities for a second time during the school year; and
(g) Policies and procedures specifically concerning gang-related activities in the school, on school property or vehicles, or at school-related activities.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.