The Bibb County school system may impose a three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule as a way to deal with discipline problems on campus.
Any student in middle or high school who is found guilty of any offenses in the code of conduct at three evidentiary hearings over two straight school years would be expelled — without an option to attend alternative school.
That’s a new proposal being considered for the 2010-11 code of conduct. The Bibb County school board is set to vote on the code June 17.
Craig Lockhart, an assistant superintendent for student support services, proposed some revisions during a called board meeting Tuesday.
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“The majority of the code of conduct has not changed,” Lockhart said of the 96-page book that addresses various student rules and discipline.
The three-strikes rule is needed, he said, because over a four-year period, at least 137 students have gone to at least three evidentiary hearings.
He argued the current process is time-consuming and apparently is not a deterrent.
“Over two (hearings) we know we need to do something different,” he said.
“There has to be a point we have to get to the end of the road.”
Some of the other proposed changes include allowing cell phones in class if used for instruction, such as iPhones.
If students are caught with phones for other reasons, they would be confiscated but would not be turned over to campus police. Instead, they would be given to school administrators and held over a weekend and returned the following Monday at no charge for students to reclaim them, he said. Currently, students are charged $25 to recollect their confiscated phones by campus police.
Under the proposals, there would be zero tolerance for bullying, including cyberbullying.
In another proposed change, hooded sweatshirts would be allowed in the proposed code of conduct.
Currently, hooded sweatshirts, which have been viewed as a safety threat and distraction, are only allowed if they carry a school logo.
“I’ve gotten so many hoodie calls,” board member Susan Sipe said of parents protesting their children being disciplined for wearing them.
Lockhart also proposed that students be given a true/false test at the beginning of the school year on student offenses and consequences.
He said the system considered codes of conduct used in Atlanta city schools, as well as DeKalb, Muscogee and Houston counties, among others.
“We need to make our code able to (be enforced) and easy to understand,” he said.
To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.