The Cumberland County Board of Education approved changes to the Zero Tolerance Offenses policy during its Sept. 24 meeting.
The changes, required by law, defines a zero-tolerance offense as:
•bringing or being in possession of a firearm on school property
•unlawful possession of drugs, controlled substances, controlled substance analogues or legend drugs on school property or at school-sponsored events
•assault that results in injury to a teacher, principal, administrator, other school employee or a School Resource Officer.
Students who commit one of these offenses must be expelled from the regular school program for at least one calendar year. The policy does allow the Director of Schools to modify the length of the expulsion on a case-by-case basis. Students who commit zero-tolerance offenses may also be assigned to an alternative school program.
The board approved the first reading of the policy change. Two successful readings are required before the policy change takes effect.
Other policies approved on first reading were:
•College Level Courses, policy 4.205, to simplify the introduction, stating students can take college-level courses for college and high school credit. Courses count toward grade point average and class valedictorian or salutatorian. Middle college, which allows high school students to earn an associate degree while enrolled in high school, does not go toward valedictorian or salutatorian determinations
•Family Life Education, policy 4.213, to include instruction on the prevention of dating violence in family life education
•Alternative School Programs, policy 6.319, to include reasons for removal from alternative school or additional offenses during the student’s suspension or expulsion period
•Reporting Child Abuse, policy 6.409, requires a child abuse coordinator and alternate child abuse coordinator be appointed at each school, to ensure school personnel complete annual training in child abuse identification and prevention. Personnel who have reason to suspect child abuse, sexual abuse or neglect are required to report that to the coordinator, the Department of Children’s Services and law enforcement
Policy change approved on second and final reading were:
•Student District Records, policy 1.407, updating legal references
•Student Discrimination, Harassment, Bullying, Cyberbullying and Intimidation, policy 6.304, updating legal references