JCPS unveils revisions to student code of conduct - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS unveils revisions to student code of conduct

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After months of debate over proposed changes to its student code of conduct, Jefferson County Public Schools officials presented a revised student code of conduct to school board members for review on Tuesday.

Superintendent Donna Hargens says the revised code and student handbook "moves us away from reactionary and exclusionary practices and toward proactive approaches."

The revisions and rationale behind the changes were outlined by Katy Zeitz, who was recently named an assistant superintendent and will oversee the district's alternative schools.

One of the major changes between the current code of conduct is the elimination of the deliberate disruption category. Instead of having one general category, it's broken into nine more specific categories, such as talking out of class, horseplay and spitting.

Zeitz said the key to the revised code of conduct is "implementation with fidelity." In the past, some schools have handed out disciplinary action that wasn't consistent with revisions made to the code of conduct, she noted.

She added that there will be "weekly data pulls" to look at trends to see how the district can better support its schools.

"We want to closely monitor the data so can offer targeted support," Zeitz said.

The district's code of conduct committee -- a group of people selected by the district to revise conduct and discipline procedures every two years -- met from January through March and initially brought recommendations to the school board during an April 26 work session.

Following public outcry and protests over some of the recommendations, Hargens reconvened the committee last month to address fears and concerns that the district was reducing punishments for some offenses that typically removed thousands of students from class each year.

Hargens said she will ask the board for approval of the new code of conduct at their next meeting on July 26.

"I believe we are on the right path," Hargens said, adding that the revisions are "responsive to the feedback we heard."

When asked if there is enough time to train administrators and teachers on the new language and disciplinary actions outlined in the code, Hargens replied, "Absolutely."

At the start of every school year, students and parents are tasked with reading the district's code of conduct, which describes how the district expects students to conduct themselves, as well as the consequences they can face if they misbehave. After they read the 48-page document, each of the 101,000 students -- and their parents -- must sign that they've read it.

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