St. Mary Parish School Policies
A cover letter to "The Guide for St. Mary Parish Public Schools" must be signed by the parent or guardian and returned to the school within five (5) days after students enter school. The signature of the parent or guardian does not indicate approval or disapproval, but simply that they have read the policies carefully.
SPANISH SPEAKING STUDENTS
Sections of the St. Mary Parish School newspaper, “A Guide for St. Mary Parish Public Schools” will be published in the Spanish language at the request of those parents and/or guardians of Spanish speaking students. Parents and/or guardians must make the request at the school(s) in which his or her child and/or children attends.
"FIRST TIME" ENTRY INFORMATION
Anyone entering any school in St. Mary Parish for the first time is required to present a CERTIFICATION OF BIRTH, IMMUNIZATION RECORD, SOCIAL SECURITY CARD, and PROOF OF RESIDENCY WITHIN SCHOOL'S ATTENDANCE ZONE. Social Security numbers will be used for student identification. All immunization records must be up-to-date in order to register.
STUDENT DISCIPLINE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND SCHOOLS
The St. Mary Parish School Board and the State of Louisiana have adopted laws and policies for every teacher to hold every student to a strict accountability for any disorderly conduct in school or attending school events, on the street or bus going to or returning from school, or during intermission or recess.
School discipline includes options of counseling, student conferences, corporal punishment, student adjustment centers, suspension, and/or expulsion. In all cases, the discipline should be positive, constructive, and directed toward serving educational ends. While the individual rights of a student must be considered, the order and stability of the educational institution must be preserved. The ultimate responsibility of a student=s conduct rests with the student and his or her parent.
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT POLICY FOR ST. MARY PARISH SCHOOL SYSTEM
Act 266 – Foil-Student/Discipline: Prohibits the administration of corporal punishment to students with exceptionalities, excepted gifted and talented students, and makes this law applicable to charter schools. Prohibits the use of corporal punishment with students who are eligible for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and who have an Individual Accommodation Plan. Defines “corporal punishment” and provides that “corporal punishment” does not include:
- The use of reasonable and necessary physical restraint of a student to protect the student or others from bodily harm or to obtain possession of a weapon or other object from a student.
- The use of seclusion and restraint as provided in present law for students with exceptionalities.
Amends R.S. 17:223(A), 416.1(B), and 3996(B) (2))
The State Legislature of Louisiana has enacted Act 688 which states:
“Every teacher is authorized to hold every student to a strict accountability for any disorderly conduct in school or on the playgrounds of the school, or on any school bus going to or returning from school, or during intermission or recess. Any teacher or school principal may use corporal punishment in a reasonable manner against any student for good cause in order to maintain discipline and order within the public schools, subject to the provisions of R.S. 17:416.1.”
The St. Mary Parish School Board established the following policy of corporal punishment:
School personnel have the authority to use reasonable force to maintain order in the school. Corporal punishment, when administered, shall be reasonable. It will be fairly and impartially administered and in the following manner:
- By the principal, assistant principal, or teacher (after having obtained permission from the principal) in the presence of a second school official.
- Paddle is to be applied to the buttocks area for a maximum of five (5) times.
- Parents will be notified when corporal punishment is administered to their child stating when, reason for, how many times paddle was applied and who was present when punishment was administered.
- Records will be kept in the principal's office.
- La. R.S. ACT 726 - 1975 (Section B) states that the local school board shall furnish legal defense to school personnel sued for disciplining students and will pay damages in such suit except, if the decree specifies that the action of the teacher or principal was malicious and willfully and deliberately intended to cause bodily harm.
Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted as prohibiting an employee from using physical force, reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances, to restrain a student from attacking another student or employee.
STUDENT ADJUSTMENT CENTERS FOR ST. MARY PARISH SCHOOLS (AFTER SCHOOL DETENTION)
In an attempt to reduce the number of days lost by students, due to suspension, the St. Mary Parish School Board has instituted Student Adjustment Centers.
In lieu of a three-day suspension, a student may be assigned to four hours after school or Saturday detention.
Combinations may be as follows:
1) One hour each day (Monday through Thursday)
2) Two hours twice a week (Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday)
3) Four hours on Saturday morning (8:00 a.m. - 12 noon)
The four-hour detention counts as an alternative to suspension: however, the student is allowed only two four-hour detention assignments. The third offense that would normally be a suspension would be an indefinite suspension, pending a hearing with the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance. Students committing minor problems may be assigned one or two hours detention, but those wouldn’t count toward the indefinite suspension. Parents would be contacted prior to detention assignment and be given the choice of detention assignment or suspension.
Past experience has shown that parents almost always choose the detention. A conference with the principal or assistant principal is required, the same as in suspensions.
Data indicates that suspensions are reduced by over two-thirds. Furthermore, overall attendance improved throughout the schools having Student Adjustment Centers. Students assigned to the Student Adjustment Center must adhere to the following: (1) arrive at the Student Adjustment Center on time ;(2) have enough school work to keep busy the whole time; and (3) control their behavior. Any infraction of the above would result in a suspension when reported by the facilitator. Students may also be assigned to less than four hours of detention for fewer severe rule violations.
STUDENT COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES
Students have both the right and the responsibility to express school related concerns and grievances to the administration in a responsible manner.
For the discussion and consideration of a grievance, any student or group of students should request a meeting time and place of the school principal. One faculty member of the student's choice may be present at such meetings. Such time and place will be designated immediately upon request.
PROCEDURES FOR PROCESSING DISCIPLINE REFERRALS FOR DISABLED STUDENTS
- When an infraction occurs resulting in a possible out-of-school suspension, the principal must contact Special Education designee within one (1) operational day to report the determination decision regarding the student's disability, the behavior and whether disciplinary action is taken.
- A representative from the Office of Special Education is to be present at all disciplinary hearings involving Special Education students. The principal or designee, parent and students are also to be involved in the hearing. At that time, any pertinent information from the child’s evaluation will be shared.
- Before a hearing with a student with disabilities or upon the 11th day of out-of-school suspension a manifestation determination must be completed.
- If the behavior is not related to the student's disability, the case is to be processed under the existing parish policy for non-handicapped students. However, in this situation, each incident is to be reported to the Office of Special Education designee.
- If the determination is made that the child's behavior is related to his exceptionality, no official suspension or expulsion shall be recorded in the child's records. The child shall be allowed to make up all school work missed during the child's period of exclusion.
- When the behavior of a student classified as disabled is presenting an immediate danger to self or others or is significantly destructive to property, the student may be immediately removed from the school premises provided that a determination as described in "1" above and other required due process procedures are carried out as soon as possible. Generally, this should not exceed three (3) operational days from the day of the incident.
STUDENT RECORDS OPEN TO PARENTS AND ADULT STUDENTS
A federal law known as the Buckley Amendment to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 has clarified the right of parents to examine school records and files of their children.
These rights are also given to legal guardians and to individual students as soon as they reach age 18. The following information is available to parents:
- Achievement Scores
- Aptitude Test Scores
- Attendance Data
- Health Records
- Ratings by Teachers and Counselors
- Behavior Reports
Records may be reviewed by submitting in writing a request to the principal 45 days in advance of the review.
Records must be examined in the presence of an authorized staff member to ensure the correct interpretation of the test scores, notes, or other valuable material.
Parents have the right to challenge the content of any records and receive a formal hearing.
School records may be released only with the written permission of the parents or legal guardians, except requesting universities, Armed Forces and authorized state agencies.
For additional information contact the Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance.