Safety Law News for May 23, 2017

  • In Minnesota, the St. Paul Public Schools amended the district’s dress code policy to prohibit principals from targeting a specific gender when setting dress-code rules for their schools.  The new policy will eliminate unequal treatment of girls in the enforcement of school dress codes.

Safety Law News for May 19, 2017

  • In Kentucky, a report from the Kentucky Center for School Safety has named marijuana use and possession as the top law violation among students in Kentucky for the 2015-16 school year.  The data show law violations gradually go up until the ninth grade before dropping for a student’s senior and junior year, making early intervention important.
  • In Texas, teachers and administrators at Austin Independent School District will go through a new mandatory student safety training program.  Topics will include the educator’s code of ethics, appropriate student and employee relationships, and reporting child abuse and neglect.
  • In New York, the controversy continues over the policy of the New York City schools to give students “warning cards” instead of criminal summonses for disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of marijuana, and other low-level offenses.
  • In Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the policy of the Columbus City School District to search unattended book bags—to determine ownership and whether the contents are dangerous—furthers the compelling governmental interest in protecting students from physical harm.  The policy was challenged by a student, whose book bag, left on the school bus, was found to contain bullets for a gun the student possessed while in school. [State v. Polk].

Safety Law News for May 17, 2017

  • In Florida, the Alachua County Juvenile Justice Council is assessing new approaches to address the high rate of school expulsions associated with drug use, suicide, anger management and mental health issues.
  • In Texas, officials in the Prosper Independent School District, that includes Collin County and Denton County, are implementing a new policy for the annual Prom that will require that students take Breathalyzer tests conducted by school resource officers before entering the event.

Safety Law News for May 11, 2017

  • In Indiana, the United States District Court has upheld the authority of educators to act in-loco-parentis in the school environment.  The parents challenged a provision of the education code that states: “In all matters relating to the discipline and conduct of students, school corporation personnel…stand in the relation of parents to the students of the school corporation.”  [Orr v. Ferebee].
  • In Louisiana, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana upheld the search of a student after a teacher observed what he believed to be a hand-to-hand transaction between the student and another student known to have issues with marijuana.  [State in Interest of K.L.]
  • In Texas, the Court of Appeals of Texas upheld the  search of a group of students by a school resource officer who was responding to an anonymous tip that marijuana use was in progress by a group of students near the school.  The officer’s corroboration of its reliability established reasonable suspicion.  [Matter of V.G.]
  • In Indiana, the Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled that the questioning of a student by a law enforcement officer at the request of an educator does not transform the questioning into a custodial interrogation if the SRO is acting to fulfill an educational purpose.  [B.A. v. State].

Safety Law News for May 3, 2017

  • In Delaware, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency will begin implementation of the Comprehensive School Safety Program.  The program is designed to enhance public safety in all of Delaware’s public schools through emergency preparedness plans and collaboration between schools and local agencies.

Safety Law News for April 25, 2017

  • In Minnesota, officials in the Savage Public Schools are revising their school safety plan.  The new plan eliminates all officers with a new administrative position called the dean of students.  The superintendent believes “ultimately, the focus of a School Resource Officer is law enforcement, while a dean of students is focused on engaging students, parents and families.”  Police will be called as needed in the future.
  • In Arizona, Scottsdale Schools are utilizing a proactive, non-punitive approach to student discipline that tracks student misconduct referrals to identify problem behavior and teach social skills.  The program is called Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) and is used on each campus to combat bullying and harassment.