VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM
A nurturing, disciplined environment is essential for learning and student achievement. Therefore, the Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools strongly emphasize positive discipline. While individual schools have their own proactive approach to discipline, the school district has adopted a VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM to ensure that schools are safe, healthy learning environments.
Generally, the methods used to deal with students who violate school rules or disrupt learning may include measures such as detention, parental conferences, suspension (in and out of school), or placement in an alternative school environment. Fair and firm discipline policies governing good behavior and citizenship are in effect in all schools and at school sponsored events. This program has been designed to maintain an optimal atmosphere for study and to prevent individuals from interfering with the educational opportunities of others. Principals shall have the discretion to use their professional judgment to determine if local law enforcement officials should be called to a school campus to assist with maintaining a positive learning environment. Parents are invited to contact each school for site discipline procedures.
RATIONALE FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM
Fighting, bullying, harassment, intimidation are disruptive to the school climate and causes students to feel physically and psychologically threatened. Studies show that the majority of students who bring weapons to school do so to defend themselves. School administrators believe students who feel safe are less likely to bring weapons to school. Guns, knives, and other weapons are obviously hazardous to a safe learning environment and the possibility that such items will be brought to school must be significantly reduced.
1. Communication Between Law Enforcement Officials and the Schools Will Be Strengthened.
At the discretion of the administrator, a local law enforcement official may be called to the school and charges filed on the student who fights, bullies, harasses or intimidates another student at the schools within his/her municipality. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Department will be called to arrest students at schools outside the various municipalities. A designated law enforcement official will contact the principal of the schools in the various areas of the parish when a community disturbance involves the students. Principals shall contact the parents of the students involved and schedule a meeting prior to allowing the student to return to class. The importance of a safe learning environment as well as the consequences of the unsafe and inappropriate behavior shall be discussed at the meeting. The principal or assistant principal of the school may contact the appropriate law enforcement officials in his/her area when a school disturbance involves physical fighting, bullying, harassment and/or intimidation.
Law enforcement officials will be encouraged to randomly visit the schools in their area at various times to demonstrate support of school personnel and students in their effort to maintain a safe learning environment.
2. An incident involving a fight, bullying, harassment, or intimidation on campus, at extracurricular activities, on school buses, summer school, summer feeding programs, extended school year and summer enrichment programs and at school bus stops may result in a report to criminal authorities.
Students will be instructed that they must avoid fighting, bullying, harassment, and intimidation and that the correct procedure is to report bullying, hostile behavior, or conveyance of a threat against them to teachers or administrators. If there is a discovery of bullying, hostile behavior, or conveyance of a threat, it will be handled through the Student Code of Conduct in the Tangipahoa Parish School System Assertive Discipline Procedure. Furthermore, the same procedure will be followed for reports from teachers and staff members. Once a physical fight takes place as determined by the principal (or designee), appropriate law enforcement officials may be called. Each participant in the incident may be arrested and taken into custody, unless it is established by the principal/designee/resource officer, that one or more students were the sole aggressor(s) and that the other involved student(s) acted only in self-defense. Students reasonably concluded to be acting in self-defense may not be disciplined. Thereafter, attempts will immediately be made to contact the parents.
The law enforcement officials will be called to break up a fight only if the principal or designee feels the incident is out of control. In the event of an arrest, all procedures of the appropriate law enforcement agency will be followed inside the building. The administrator(s) shall conduct an investigation; school and parish rules and regulations regarding suspensions and expulsions will be enforced. For the safety of students and staff, fighters will be detained in an area where they can be observed by an administrator at all times until the investigation is completed. Student dispensation shall be handled in accordance with the procedures identified in the Student Code of Conduct.
A copy of the paperwork completed by law enforcement officials shall be attached to the student disciplinary form. All procedural forms shall be filed for one (1) calendar year from the date of the incident.
3. Parental involvement and anger management classes are key components to successful prevention program.
If there is a disagreement among the students involved, the law enforcement officials and school administrators will conduct an investigation including taking statements from witnesses. In addition, students may be offered the opportunity to attend conflict resolution/ anger management sessions. The principals within each high school district will decide the day, time, and place of the classes for students in grades 5-12. Each of the student aggressors will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct as follows: after the first offense the student and at least one parent must meet with the school counselor or behavior interventionist to discuss conflict resolution strategies. Should a second offense occur, the student and at least one of his/her parents must attend conflict resolution/anger management classes, prior to returning to school. All students who choose to fight, bully, harass or intimidate a second time shall be scheduled for a Step VI expulsion hearing in accordance with policy JCDA, Student Code of Conduct. If the hearing officer, decides the student may return to school, conflict management/ anger resolution classes must be completed at a school site or outside agency before re-admission will be allowed. Parental participation in the classes will be required. The child and the parents shall be referred to the Families in Need of Services (F.I.N.S.) program through the 21st Judicial District Court or City Court of Hammond depending on their place of residency.
Revised: December, 1999; Revised, August, 2010
Ref: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:81, 17:223, 17:416, 17:416.1; Board minutes, 8-5-97, 9-21-99