Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Board Policy JICDA-R Level II

Richland 2 School Board Policy JICDA-R Level II identifies the misconduct of students that can lead to a Level II disciplinary action.

You can read the entire list on the district's website. Need the instructions to find that Policy? Look back on this blog or email me.

Level II is Disruptive Conduct. That's more serious than the Behavioral Misconduct of Level I. See the recent article here about Level I, just a few days ago.

According to the Board, Level II offenses have "... consequences of which tend to endanger the health or safety of themselves of others..."

Look at the list. "Tend to"???

Review the list of Level I offenses. A four-time repeat offender of Level I behavioral conduct "may" have his misconduct re-classified as Level II Disruptive Conduct. Not "will" or "shall"; the word used is "may". Lots of discretion there.

This carries Richland 2 right into the problem at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that resulted in 17 dead and 17 injured on February 14, 2018. When students get away with bad behavior, it can get worse.

Level II misconduct may justify both "administrative consequences and court proceedings".

Notice how the word "consequences" has crept into use over the years. Kids are not penalized or punished these days; now they suffer "consequences". (How many times did I hear in the business world - we don't have "problems" here; we have "opportunities". I was always popular, when I said, "No, we have problems.")

Look at some (not all) of the examples of Level II misconduct:

  • use of an intoxicant (on school grounds)
  • fighting
  • harassment
  • stealing
  • threats against others
  • abusive language to staff
  • simple assault
  • unlawful assembly
  • use of forged notes or excused

People are screaming about the school-to-prison pipeline. Well, maybe if kids learned to obey laws and not commit crimes, they wouldn't worry about being arrested and going to prison.

When crimes are minimized and dealt with an offenses, rather than as criminal acts, my guess is that many kids do not learn.

Level II offenses are dealt with by an administrator. He (or she) calls Mommy for a conference.

The administrator "may" refer to the SRO "only when the conduct rises to the level of criminality or the conduct presents an immediate safety risk." Look at the list again. See all those criminal acts? Again, "may" is used. So there could be internal district pressure to keep down the number of referrals to law enforcement.

Next: Level III - Criminal Conduct

What is special about December 4?

December 4, 2019 marks the one-year anniversary of the date when Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes first became eligible to take the oath of office as Richland 2 School Board members.

December 4, 2018 was the first date when they could legally take the oath of office and assume their official responsibilities.

Prior to December 4, 2018 they were "qualified" to serve as school board members, but they were not eligible to do so. That's because they had not filed their Statement of Economic Interests Reports (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission.

They did take the oath of office on November 13, 2018, but they did so in violation of South Carolina Code of Laws Section 8-13-1110(A).

Taking the oath of office illegally is the same as not taking it at all.

The law is clear. First, you file the SEI. Then you take the oath.

Until they take the oath of office legally, they are not Board Members.

Yet they are permitted to sit on the Board, attend Executive Sessions, hear confidential student matters, vote on Motions, get professional memberships and travel paid for and receive a monthly pay check.All illegally.

Once they do take the oath of office legally, then the Board will have to review all decisions that were swayed by the votes of McKie and Holmes. For example, when the Board voted on the Resolution to allow removing a Board officer, the motion failed on a vote of 3-4, with McKie and Holmes voting against it. When their votes are removed, the decision becomes 3-2, and it passes.

The Board and the District have never explained to voters why it considers McKie and Holmes as legal board members. According to South Carolina law, they are not. According to the Ethics laws (part of S.C. law), they are not. The District is apparently relying on "interpretations" of the laws.

If so, the District should be willing to say what those "interpretatoins" are.