Student Handbook for the
2021-2022 School Year
- School & Principal Listings
- Scheduling & Assignments
- Grading & Assessments
- Programs & Services
- Child Nutrition
- Conduct / Discipline
- Rules & Procedures
- RCSD School Health Services
- Fee Policy
- Emergency Procedures
- Public Relations
- The Ropes Challenge Course
- Asbestos Notification
Bring Everyone’s Strengths Together! We will all intentionally focus on empowering our students to reach their maximum potential by embracing opportunities and challenges while cultivating a tradition of distinction in education.
By registration of your child (children) or any student in the Rankin County School District, all parents, legal guardians, and students do hereby consent to and agree to obey and follow rules and regulations contained in this handbook and such other oral directions of school administrators or teachers as may be necessary or desirable to carry out the orderly educational process of the school. Further, such parents, legal guardians, and students agree to abide by and follow all rules or school board policies as are obtained in the official policy handbook located at the administrative offices of the Rankin County School District at 1220 Apple Park Place, Brandon, Mississippi, (office of the county superintendent), copies of which are located at all school libraries.
Further, all parents, legal guardians, and students agree and are hereby informed that all students of the Rankin County School District are subject to questioning or being taken into official custody while at school by any appropriately appointed law enforcement official or department of human services agent investigating an official case upon oral or written court order of the Rankin County Youth Court, County Court, Circuit Court, or Chancery Court of the State of Mississippi.
The Rankin County School District grants equal educational opportunities to all qualified persons regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, marital status, religion, or disability.
It is the intent and desire of the Rankin County Board of Education that equal educational opportunities be provided in any and all educational programs and activities.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 37-15-35; 1972 Educational Amendments, Title IX; 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title VI; 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Section 503 & 504; 45 CFR Part 84 and Part 86; Brown vs. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954); Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards
___ ___ ___
* POLICIES CONTAINED WITHIN THIS HANDBOOK ARE SUBJECT TO MODIFICATION BY THE RCSD BOARD OF EDUCATION AS DEEMED NECESSARY.
School Attendance Office: Brandon, Florence, McLaurin, Pelahatchie,
Pisgah, Puckett, Richland Zones | 601-825-8390
School Attendance Office: Northwest Rankin Zone | 601-591-1770
ROUSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
STONEBRIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
BRANDON MIDDLE SCHOOL
|BRANDON HIGH SCHOOL
Principal: Dr. Bryan Marshall
3090 Highway 18
Brandon, MS 39042
STEEN’S CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
FLORENCE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
FLORENCE MIDDLE SCHOOL
FLORENCE HIGH SCHOOL
MCLAURIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
MCLAURIN HIGH SCHOOL
FLOWOOD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
HIGHLAND BLUFF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
NORTHSHORE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
NORTHWEST RANKIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
OAKDALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
NORTHWEST RANKIN MIDDLE SCHOOL
NORTHWEST RANKIN HIGH SCHOOL
PELAHATCHIE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
PELAHATCHIE HIGH SCHOOL
PISGAH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
PISGAH HIGH SCHOOL
PUCKETT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
PUCKETT HIGH SCHOOL
RICHLAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
RICHLAND UPPER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
RICHLAND HIGH SCHOOL
THE LEARNING CENTER
Principal: Dr. Charles Stevenson
200 School Road
Brandon, MS 39042
Compulsory School Attendance/School Age (JBA)
Entrance Age Requirements (JBB)
School Admission (JBC)
Education for Homeless Children and Youth (JQN)
Limited English Proficiency Instruction (IK)
Verification of Residence (JBCAA)
Student Health Services Inoculations (JGCB)
Compulsory School Attendance/School Age (JBA, 10/11/2017)
A compulsory-school-age child is defined as a child who has attained or will attain the age of six (6) years on or before September 1 of the calendar year and who has not attained the age of seventeen (17) years on or before September 1 of the calendar year. This also includes any child who has attained or will attain the age of five (5) years on or before September 1 and has enrolled in kindergarten. Students excluded from this requirement are those determined to be incapable of school attendance by school officials as based on medical documentation or an identified handicapping condition, and those in a legitimate home instruction program as determined by a school attendance officer.
If a compulsory-school-age child has not been enrolled in school within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of the school year or if a student has accumulated five (5) unexcused absences during the school year, the principal shall report such absences to the school attendance officer within two school days or within five calendar days, whichever is less, according to the method prescribed by the State Department of Education and on the form designated for that purpose by the district.
Data relative to individual student absences that exceed the above stated guidelines shall be forwarded to school attendance officers inclusive of information required by that office.
District employees shall submit statistical data to the State Department of Education regarding compulsory attendance violations and student attendance in the manner prescribed by that agency.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-13-91, 37-13-92
Entrance Age Requirements (JBB, 3/8/2017)
No child shall be enrolled or admitted to a kindergarten program of the Rankin County School District unless that child will be five years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year.
No child shall be enrolled or admitted to the first grade of any school in the Rankin County School District unless that child will be six years of age on or before September 1 of that school year.
Any child who transfers from an out-of-state school in which that state’s law provides for a first grade or kindergarten enrollment subsequent to September 1, shall be allowed to enroll in school at the same grade level, if:
- The parent, legal guardian, or custodian of the child was a legal resident of the state from which the child is transferring.
- The out-of-state school from which the child is transferring is duly accredited by that state’s appropriate accrediting authority.
- The child was legally enrolled in school for a minimum of four weeks in the previous state.
- The superintendent has determined that the child was making satisfactory educational progress in the previous state.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-15-9
School Admission (JBC, 12/11/2019)
Admission requirements for the District shall be as follows:
- Presentation of a certified birth certificate (long form as recommended).
- Verification of required immunizations (Mississippi Form 121).
- Completion of student information profile/emergency card
- Attainment of the age of five years on or before September 1 of that school year (for kindergarten enrollment:) or attainment of the age of six years on or before September 1 of year (for first grade).
- Proof of residence in the attendance zone for which application is made.
Children who are currently enrolled in Rankin County School District will provide annual updated and satisfactory residency information.
STUDENT LIVING WITH ADULT OTHER THAN PARENT/GUARDIAN
If a child is living with an adult other than parents or legal guardians, in loco parentis authority will be recognized to establish residency of the minor in situations that include, but are not limited to:
- death or serious illness of the child’s parent/guardian
- abandonment of the child
- child abuse or neglect
- verifiable unstable family relationships or conditions in the home of the parent/guardian having a documented detrimental effect on the child
- students enrolled in recognized exchange programs residing with a host family
- other appropriate documentation/verification.
- Receipt of an official transcript/cumulative record from the last school attended, to be provided for by the parent or legal guardian.
- Satisfactory proof of residence in the attendance zone for which application is made.
- Completion of a student information profile/emergency card.
- Presentation of valid certificate of compliance for immunization.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to accompany a student enrolling in the District for the first time. Enrollment can be delayed and attendance may be required of the parent/guardian prior to admitting the child to school. Any guardianship formed for the sole purpose of establishing residency for school district attendance purpose shall not be recognized by the Board, in accord with state law.
Transfer students will be permanently enrolled and placed in a grade or class on the basis of an official transcript from the last school attended. If such has been lost or destroyed, the last school attended shall be responsible for initiating a new record.
If the last school attended is not appropriately accredited, the student seeking enrollment may be required to take a test(s) to determine the grade/class assignment.
The principal will place the student in the grade/course best suited to his educational achievement level, needs, and abilities.
Any child in grades 2-12 who fails to present a certified birth certificate within 60 days from the opening of the fall term, shall be suspended until in compliance.
When a child is determined to be homeless as defined by the Stewart B. McKinney Act, enrollment action in the best interest of the child shall be taken, pursuant to federal guidelines and Board policy.
Parents, guardians or students must indicate on registration information if the student requesting enrollment has been expelled from a private or public school or is currently a party to an expulsion proceeding. If it is determined from the child’s cumulative and full disciplinary record or application for admission that the child has been expelled, enrollment may be denied until the superintendent or his designee has reviewed the child’s cumulative record and determined that the child has participated in successful rehabilitative efforts. If the child is a party to an expulsion proceeding, he may be admitted or denied admission pending final disposition. If the proceeding results in expulsion, admission may be revoked. If the expulsion or expulsion proceeding involves an act of violence, weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs or other activity that may result in expulsion, Rankin County School District is not required to grant admission before expiration of one calendar year after the date of expulsion and satisfactory proof of rehabilitation of the student.
ENROLLMENT OF EMPLOYEE CHILDREN
Any Mississippi resident who is an employee of the District, but is not a resident of Rankin County, may petition the Board for admission of their dependent school-age children. Consent to transfer shall be granted if the employee is an instructional or certificated employee. Consent to transfer may be granted if the employee is non-certificated. No tuition fee shall be assessed for students enrolled under these circumstances.
STUDENTS OF MILITARY FAMILIES
- A pupil complies with the residency requirements for school attendance in a school district if the parent of the pupil is transferred to, or is pending transfer to, a military installation with this state while on active military duty pursuant to an official military order. A school district shall accept an application for enrollment and course registration by electronic means for a pupil who meets these requirements, including enrollment in a specific school or program within the school district.
- The parent of a pupil who meets these requirements shall provide proof of residence to the school district within ten (10) days after the published date provided on official documentation.
- The parent may use the address of any of the following as proof of residence.
- A temporary on-base billeting facility.
- A purchased or leased home or apartment.
- Any federal government housing or off-base military housing, including off-base military housing that may be provided through a public-private venture.
Cross Reference: JBAB and JQN
Education for Homeless Children and Youth (JQN, 3/8/2017)
Rankin County School District admission policies and statements for homeless students shall be in compliance with the guidelines of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendment Act of 1990, (P.L. 101-645), Section VI.
The McKinney-Vento Act defines “homeless children and youth” as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The term includes:
Children and youth who are:
- sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up);
- living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
- living in emergency or transitional shelters;
- abandoned in hospitals; or
- awaiting foster care placement;
Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
Homeless students seeking to enroll in the Rankin County School District will be accommodated or provisions will be considered to educate the student in the district of origin, whichever is in the student’s best interest. Rankin County School District will work with the Rankin County Department of Human Services and other agencies to make a determination regarding the educational placement of a homeless student.
The McKinney-Vento Act provides certain rights for homeless students. They include waiving certain requirements such as proof of residency when students are enrolling and allowing categorical eligibility for certain services such as free school meals. The Act also states:
- Homeless students may attend their school of origin or the school where they are temporarily residing.
- Homeless students must be provided a written statement of their rights when they enroll.
- Homeless students may enroll without school, medical, or similar records.
- Homeless students have a right to transportation to school.
- Students must be provided a statement explaining why they are denied any service or enrollment.
- Students must receive services, such as transportation, while disputes are being settled.
- Students are automatically eligible for Title I services.
- Rankin County School District will reserve a portion of Title IA funds to serve homeless students.
- Rankin County School District will review and revise policies that provide barriers to homeless students.
- Schools must post information in the community regarding the rights of homeless students, in schools and other places that homeless families may frequent.
- Rankin County School District will identify a McKinney-Vento Liaison to assist students.
Rankin County School District will comply with immunization requirements. Permanent and cumulative records for homeless students will contain academic achievement and other required data. Records will be maintained and disseminated in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
Assurance of Data Reporting
The Rankin County School District will maintain reports and/or data relative to the number of homeless students served.
Legal Reference: McKinney-Vento Homeless Act of 1987 - 42 U.S.C. § 11301 et seq.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 - 20 U.S.C. § 1232g
Limited English Proficiency Instruction (IK, 05/26/2021)
Every public school in the United States is required to provide a free and equitable education to all school age children who live within the boundaries of the school district, regardless of immigration status. Several laws protect the rights of English Learners (ELs) and their families, particularly during the enrollment process. These protections are provided because many EL students’ levels of transiency and lack of English proficiency make them a particularly vulnerable population. When enrolling students, district staff may not request information from students or their parents or guardians in order to deny access to public schools on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Parent(s) or Legal Guardians(s) must be present when enrolling the child. A child will not be enrolled if a parent or legal guardian is not present at the time of enrollment.
Language Instruction Educational Program for Rankin County School District
Any programs for limited-English proficient students should have a primary goal of mainstreaming those students into the regular classrooms and should emphasize English language instruction.
In accordance with Section 3116 of Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Rankin County School District will provide educational services to students who are English learners and/or immigrant children and youth.
This section outlines Rankin County School District’s 6-step process for identifying and placing English Learner (EL) students in an appropriate Language Instruction Educational Program that assures them of an equitable, quality education.
Step 1 – Home Language Survey (HLS)
Step 2 – Assessment of Language Proficiency to determine English Language Proficiency (ELP)
Step 3 – Once a student has been identified as EL, they must have an English Language Service Plan (LSP), which should be filed and updated annually until the student exits EL status.
Step 4 – Placement in a Language Instruction Educational Program
Step 5 – Student Evaluation
Step 6 – Transition out of Language Instruction Educational Program
Step 7 – All EL students, including those who opt out of specific EL services, must be monitored for progress. In Mississippi, monitoring occurs through both the annual English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) and when students take mandated state assessments required of all students.
Step 8 – EL students who have been in U.S. schools for two years or more are expected to take and pass required state assessments. Assessment results need to inform instruction, and ELs who are not progressing should receive additional support and services, which should be documented in the Language Service Plan (LSP).
Step 9 – To exit EL status, students must achieve proficiency on the state-designated ELPT as defined by MDE.
Step 10 – Once a student has been exited from EL status, progress should continue to be monitored for four (4) years. If academic deficits surface after the student has been exited, additional supports should be provided again. The student should also be re-tested using the ELPT, and if the student does not score proficient, then the student should be designated as EL again.
Considering the continuous growth of English learners (ELs), and the population change, the Rankin County School District will employ English language teachers/instructors to assist in the instruction of the EL’s whole education, both in language and academic content. The EL instructors will plan jointly with mainstream classroom teachers and other support staff to determine instructional accommodations and modifications needed to make language and content as comprehensible as possible throughout the whole school day for ELs.
The ELPT will be used to help determine eligibility for placement. The assessments will yield English language proficiency in four domains of language development, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as comprehension.
The instructional services of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program will be flexible to accommodate the needs of the diverse student and parent population within the Rankin County School District.
- have an English Language Service Plan (LSP), which should be updated annually until the student achieves English language proficiency.
- be placed in a sound language instructional educational program in addition to mainstream classes.
- participate in all aspects of the Mississippi Statewide Assessment System (MSAS).
The Student Evaluation Team (SET) must be set up at each school to guide and monitor the placement, services, and assessment of ELs.
The Rankin County School District will use the ELPT and standardized assessment results for exiting ELs from program services.
ELs who reach proficiency and are exited according to MDE’s Title III EL exit criteria will be monitored for four (4) calendar years following exit from language assistance services.
The regular education teacher will continue to provide ongoing support as they continue to work toward grade-level academic language performance.
The Rankin County School District Language Instruction Educational Program will be monitored and supervised by the superintendent or his/her appointed designee.
Verification of Residence (JBCAA, 04/28/2021)
The school district adheres to the following residency requirements. Parents or legal guardians of all newly enrolling students must produce proof of residency via these documents, with one document required from group one and one document required from group two. Children who are currently enrolled in Rankin County School District will provide annual updated residency documentation. Items from group three are required only if the parent or legal guardian is enrolling with an affidavit of residency.
Group I (one from this list)
- Filed Homestead Exemption
- Mortgage Documents or Property Deed
- Apartment or Home Lease/Rental Agreement
Note: Any unofficial lease/rental agreement (handwritten/computer generated) must be notarized.
Group II (one from this list) Current utility bill (dated within thirty days of verification of residence)
- landline telephone
- cable/satellite television programming
Note: A driver’s license or voter identification is not acceptable as proof of residency.
Custodial parent(s) residing with an adult in a home not owned or rented by the custodial parent(s) will present documents to show legal custody. The non-custodial adult in the home must prove residency through Group I and Group II (above) and provide a notarized affidavit. In addition, the custodial parent(s) will present one item from section a. (below) and one item from section b. (below). Items from section a. and b. must show residency property address.
- Valid Mississippi Driver’s License or State Issued Photo Identification and
- Automobile license receipt, bank statement, credit card statement, cell phone bill, state or federal benefit check, or payroll check stub.
(Item b. must be dated within thirty days of verification of residency.)
Other residency documentation may be approved or required by RCSD administration.
Student Health Services Inoculations (JGCB, 7/11/2007 )
For minimum community protection against certain diseases, the Board shall require students attending District schools to be vaccinated against diphtheria, measles, mumps, poliomyelitis, rubella, tetanus, and whooping cough, hepatitis B, and chicken pox (unless child has a history of chicken pox).In addition, students are required to receive a TDaP “booster” and provide an updated 121 form before entry into 7th grade.These requirements as stipulated by the Mississippi Department of Health are to be recorded in the permanent record.
Such vaccinations shall be made prior to enrollment, or shall be completed within the date specified on Form 121.The principal shall enforce the immunization requirements suspending any student not in compliance. Such suspension shall be in effect until compliance is validated.
A Certificate of Immunization Compliance (Form 121) or a Certificate of Medical Exemption shall be on file on each student enrolled. The principal shall provide information to the Mississippi State Board of Health relative to the immunization status of students in the school via forms provided by that agency.
Legal Reference: MS Code 41-23-37, 37-7-301
Attendance, Tardiness and Excuses (JBD, 7/21/2021*)
*Virtual attendance policies were adjusted on July 21, 2021, in accordance with SBE changes on July 15, 2021.
The Board recognizes that regular attendance is important if students are to attain maximum benefit from the educational process and develop good work habits that carry over into their adult life. Parents and students are expected to abide by the Compulsory School Attendance Law. When absences do occur, school personnel will classify the absence as excused or unexcused.
According to Mississippi Law, a student shall be counted present for average daily attendance record keeping purposes if he/she is present for 63 percent of the day. Tardies will be considered when determining perfect attendance and exemption status.
The following will constitute a valid excuse for temporary nonattendance of a compulsory school age student enrolled in school, provided satisfactory evidence of the excuse is provided to the principal of the school:
- Personal illness; or
- Serious illness in the family; or
- Death in the family; or
- Special permission of the principal (obtained in ADVANCE IN PERSON BY THE PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN).
Excused absences are granted once the written notes from parents/guardians or medical/dental excuses are received by the school. These written notes must be received on the day of return to school if the absence is to be excused. After a maximum of 3 excused days absent per nine weeks based on parental notes, a doctor’s excuse will be required for excusing an absence. Excused absences by parent note are not to exceed 10 days per year. Exceptions can be made by the principal when extreme circumstances arise. Students who are absent for all or part of a day must have an admit to class before re--entering each class missed.
When a student is absent for more than five (5) consecutive days, the following guidelines must be followed:
- If the student intends to receive an excused absence, he/she, upon returning to school, must present a statement from a licensed physician certifying specific dates missed due to the medical condition.
- The student anticipating an extended absence due to a medical reason must notify his/her counselor prior to the absence in order that orderly academic progress may be made during the absence.
- Failure to comply with either of the above guidelines may result in an unexcused absence.
Absences that are incurred due to school--related functions may be excused as OFFICIAL if prior permission has been obtained from the principal. If an official absence has been granted, the student must:
- Obtain assignments before scheduled absences and
- Submit completed assignments to appropriate teachers as directed or upon date of return.
NO BUSINESS ENGAGEMENTS OR MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS SHOULD BE MADE DURING SCHOOL HOURS EXCEPT IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Students who receive an excused or unexcused absence will not be penalized in grading, provided they make-up the work missed. All work must be made up two days prior to each progress report and term grading period. A reasonable penalty for late work may be assessed. Students with any missing work will be ineligible for exemption from taking exams.
An unlawful or unexcused absence is an absence during a school day that is not due to a valid excuse. Students shall be allowed to make up work. Any student who has accumulated 5 unexcused days absent during the school year will be reported to the truancy officers. This report must be made within 2 school days or within 5 calendar days, whichever is less. An accumulation of unexcused absences may be one (1) factor in determining promotion or retention of a student.
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT FOR RECEIVING A GRADE:
Students on A/B and 4 x 4 block schedule (grades 7-12) can miss no more than 10 days total (excused or unexcused) in a course that is scheduled all year and can miss no more than 5 days in a course that is scheduled for one semester. In addition, students in grades 7-12 must be in attendance at least 70 percent of a class period to be considered present. An accumulation of unexcused absences may be one (1) factor in determining promotion or retention of a student.
In grades K-6, students can miss no more than 20 days total (excused or unexcused) per year. An accumulation of unexcused absences may be one (1) factor in determining promotion or retention of a student.
Exceptions may be made when circumstances warrant such and will be based on the recommendation of a physician and the approval of the principal after consideration of the student’s scholastic record and causes of absence.
Progress reports sent to parents shall indicate grades and the attendance record of the student to date.
Students in grades 7-12 who exceed this standard may not, pending appeal, receive a grade or Carnegie unit in the course. A notation of inadequate attendance (IA) will be recorded on the report card and on the transcript if the student is passing the course. Students may, pending appeal, be required to make up class time on an hour-for-hour basis in order to remove the IA status.
If a student is failing a course, the actual failing grade will be posted on the report card and the transcript. If the principal determines that credit should be withheld based on attendance, the parent will have five (5) days to appeal the principal's decision. Appeal procedures will be reviewed annually and published in the Student Handbook.
THE WRITTEN EXCUSE:
The student must present a signed written excuse from a parent (to include a signed school generated Parent Excuse Form), guardian, or doctor on the day the student returns to school unless permission to be absent was granted by school officials before the absence occurred.
The written excuse should contain:
- The date written
- Full name of the student
- The date(s) the student was absent
- The cause of the absence
- The signature of the parent, guardian, custodian, or doctor
- The phone number where parent, guardian, or custodian can be reached
The principal or designee has the authority to determine the absence type based on the sufficiency and validity of information received. If a student is quarantined due to COVID-19, the principal has the discretion to excuse the extended absence without medical documentation, in accordance with CDC/MSDH guidelines.
Promptness is a virtue that becomes a habit. The Board encourages development of this habit. Students are expected to be in class on time. Makeup opportunities for students with excessive absences and/or tardies will be arranged in a way deemed appropriate by the school administrator.
TARDINESS TO SCHOOL:
A student is tardy for school if he/she arrives at school after the tardy bell has rung. A tardy slip must be secured from the office prior to admittance to class. A student who is tardy cannot be considered for perfect attendance. Parents of students in grades K-8 are expected to accompany the child into the building when the child is tardy to school.
TARDINESS TO CLASS:
A student is tardy for class if he arrives in the class after the class period has officially begun or the bell has sounded. The tardy must be recorded by the principal or his designee prior to the admittance to class. Tardies to school and class may be excused or unexcused at the discretion of the principal or his designee.
Any student who receives an unexcused tardy for being late to school or for being late to class may be disciplined in a manner deemed appropriate by the principal or his designee.
Tardies to school and class will be counted per semester of the school year and all tardy reports will be kept on file in the principal’s office.
Perfect attendance is defined as being present 100% of the time that school is in session while the student is enrolled in the district. Any tardy, absence, or early dismissal makes the student ineligible for the recognition. School related absence for official school sponsored activities will not count as an absence.
Due to safety precautions, no student dismissals will be allowed during the last 30 minutes of the school day. Additionally, students will not be dismissed while a district or state test is being administered so that distractions and potential test security violations can be avoided. These testing dates are listed on the district web calendar at www.rcsd.ms and will include nine weeks tests, semester exams, and all state mandated tests.
VIRTUAL LEARNING ATTENDANCE:
Based on Mississippi State Board of Education policies related to virtual instruction, students participating in virtual learning will be provided daily synchronous/interactive instruction, as well as asynchronous instruction, as appropriate, and may be required to login to the online classroom for each class/block in order to establish face-to-face contact for attendance purposes. In addition, the students’ attendance will be verified by their participation in real-time virtual interactive and/or independent assignments/activities during the school day and by making adequate progress toward the completion of the daily assignments through the district-selected Learning Management System. In the case of unplanned/unforeseen virtual learning, students without access to technology will complete daily assignments toward attendance as noted in State Board Policy and corresponding procedures, provided the students have been identified by the school prior to the asynchronous learning.
Cross Reference: Policy IAC Virtual Learning Days
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 37-13-91 as amended by House Bill 1530, Regular Session 2013; Board of Trustees of the Pascagoula Municipal Separate School District v. T.H., a Minor; Warren County Board of Education v. Wilkinson, 500 S. 2d 455 (Miss. 1986)
- The appeal must be directed to the school principal, must explain the circumstances that led to the absences, and must include sufficient documentation.
- The principal shall forward the appeal to the Teacher Support Team.
- The Teacher Support Team will then schedule a meeting with the parent(s) regarding the student’s attendance.
If the student was absent due to a long term illness, a letter from the attending physician explaining the nature and length of the illness may be appropriate to assist the Teacher Support Team. Documentation from a physician or officer of the court must be original and may be subject to verification. A fax originating from the appropriate office will be accepted.
Appeals not granted by the school’s Teacher Support Team will be reviewed by a District Attendance Committee composed of teachers and administrators at the end of each semester. Upon completion of the review, the parent/legal guardian will be notified of the decision.
Truancy (JBAC, 3/8/2017)
A concentrated effort will be made to prevent and remedy truancy in its early stages. Truancy is established if the student is out of school without permission. School personnel will cooperate with the parents and attendance officers in this endeavor.
If a compulsory school age child has not been enrolled in school within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of the school year or if a student has accumulated five (5) unexcused absences during the school year, the principal shall report such absences to the school attendance officer within two (2) school days or five (5) calendar days, whichever is less. The method prescribed by the State Department of Education shall be followed when reporting such unlawful absences. Forms designated for that purpose by the district shall be used.
The parents, guardian or custodian of a compulsory age child is expected to enroll said child in school unless the child is determined by school officials to be incapable of school attendance as based upon medical documentation, a handicapping condition, or documentation that the child is enrolled in a legitimate home instruction program as accepted by school attendance officer. Parents, guardians or custodians failing to comply with compulsory attendance laws will be subject to punishment within the provision of Section 97-5-39, Mississippi Code of 1972.
Any out of school suspension or student expulsion shall be reported to the attendance officer as they occur.
The first truant offense may bring about a suspension of one day or in-school suspension for two days. The second and subsequent truant offenses may result in up to a three day suspension or one week of in-school suspension.
Parents are expected to accompany the student back to school for re-admittance after each act of truancy. Truancy shall be recorded as unexcused absences.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-13-91, 37-13-92
Dismissals (JGFC, 05/26/2021)
No school or grade may be dismissed before the regular hour for dismissal without the prior approval of the superintendent.
No student may be permitted to leave school before the regular hour for dismissal without the prior approval of the principal.
No student may be permitted to leave school prior to the dismissal hour at the request of, or in the company of anyone other than a school employee, police officer, court official, parent or legal guardian of the child, unless the permission of the parent or legal guardian has been secured. If any police or court official requests the dismissal of a student during school hours, parents should be notified as soon thereafter as possible.
Effective with the 2020-2021 school year, graduating seniors will be required to be at school or attend through approved distance learning options from the student's first scheduled class through the conclusion of the student's academic day and any activity periods. Graduating seniors are provided this early release option to allow enrollment in only those courses needed for graduation, provided they meet the MDE requirements for early release.
Student Schedules and Course Loads (JBCCC, 10/11/2017)
Students will not be permitted to change schedules without the approval of the principal and parents. Before a student schedule can be changed, a schedule change request form must be completed. Absolutely no changes will be made after the first two weeks unless it has been determined by the administration that the best interest of the student will be served.
Pre-registration is held during the second semester of each school year. Each student is given the opportunity to select the subjects for the following year. The courses and teachers for the following year are selected by the administration on this basis. Changes of schedule will occur only under the following circumstances:
- The course is dropped from the master schedule.
- Errors are made in scheduling.
- Conflicts in classes occur.
Each high school student’s annual program of study should be designed to complement the four-year educational plan that the student develops with career aspiration in mind. This educational plan should be updated annually in cooperation with parents or guardians and counselor. The plan will be based on the student’s educational and career goals and must meet or exceed state graduation requirements. Students will be encouraged to take as full a course load as can be handled by the individual.
Assignment of Students for Transfers (JBAB, 7/11/2001)
A student transferring from a state or regionally accredited school will be enrolled at the grade level and with the course credits indicated by the records of the previous school. These students will not be required to pass any end-of-course test for which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student as fulfilling requirements for a diploma.
Any transfer student from a school or program (correspondence, tutorial, or home study) not accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education or a state board of education (or its designee[s]) will be accepted for enrollment with temporary grade and class assignment comparable to that of the transfer school. A standardized achievement test(s) or teacher-made special subject test(s) will be administered to determine appropriate classification of the student within 30 days after filing for transfer. Notice of the administering of such tests shall be given to the applicant not less than five days prior to the administration of the test(s). Student transferring from a private school that is not accredited regionally or by the State will be required to pass any end-of-course test in any course in which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student as fulfilling requirements for a diploma.
The school principal will have the right, after the evaluation and testing of the student, to place the student in the grade or courses best suited to the student’s educational achievement level, needs, and abilities. No student shall be assigned to a grade level more than three (3) grades above or below the grade level that the student would have been assigned by the school from which transfer is made.
Nothing in this policy is intended to prejudge the education received by a student in any non-accredited school, but only to assure maintenance of educational standards within the District.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 37-15-33, MS Public School Accountability Standards, State Board Policy.
Grade Placement (JBAB Exhibit, 9/28/2017)
Following is the procedure for grade placement of students that transfer into Rankin County School District from a non-accredited school or who have been at a non-accredited home school.
Second Grade-Beginning Ninth Grades:
- The School Counselor will refer to available lists of accredited schools (SACS, MDE, MAIS, and other Regional Accrediting Agencies) to be certain the school last attended is not accredited.
- The School Counselor will enroll the student with temporary grade and class assignments, and give notice to the student and their parents/guardians of the date of test administration. Notice of the test date must be given not less than five days prior to testing. Parents/guardians may waive the five day waiting period and request earlier testing, if possible.
- The School Counselor will complete a summary sheet for the student which includes the following data:
- All grades from the previous school(s)/parent information;
- Any test data reported from the previous school(s);
- Record of special education services or rulings from previous school(s);
- Comments and/or report cards from previous school(s);
- Any other pertinent data
- The District Counselor and/or Student Support Services Psychometrist will administer and score a nationally normed and standardized achievement test selected by the District Grade Placement Committee.
- The District Placement Committee will review the materials submitted by the School Counselor and make a placement recommendation to the School Principal in a timely manner.
- The final decision regarding grade placement is to be made by the School Principal.
* If withdrawal from school and re-entry in school are completed within the same school year, the student shall be enrolled in the grade of original assignment. No retesting shall be warranted.
Ninth Grade-Twelfth Grades for Carnegie Unit Credit:
- The School Counselor will refer to available lists of accredited schools (SACS, MDE, MAIS, and other Regional Accrediting Agencies) to be certain the school last attended is not accredited.
- The School Counselor will enroll the student with temporary grade and class assignments, and give notice to the student and their parents/guardians of the date(s) of test administration(s). Notice of the test date(s) must be given not less than five days prior to testing. Parents/guardians may waive the five day waiting period and request earlier testing, if possible.
- The School Counselor will complete a summary sheet for the student which includes the following data:
- All grades from the previous school(s)/parent/guardian information
- Any test data reported from the previous school(s);
- Record of special education services or rulings from previous school(s)
- Comments and/or report cards from previous school(s);
- Any other pertinent data
- Carnegie Units Requested by student/parent/guardian
- The School Counselor will administer necessary Carnegie Unit test(s) and submit summary sheet and test score reports to the District Grade Placement Committee.
- The District Grade Placement Committee will consider all data and notify the school of its recommendations. Grades to be assigned in the cumulative record for Carnegie unit credit will be calculated as follows:
- Average from non-accredited home school course or non-accredited private school course = 50% of the grade.
- Score on the district Carnegie Unit test = 50% of the grade.
- The final decision regarding grade placement and Carnegie unit credits to be awarded is to be made by the School Principal.
* If withdrawal from school and re-entry in school are completed within the same school year, the student shall be enrolled in the grade of original assignment. No retesting shall be warranted.
Dual Enrollment (IDAG, 06/23/2021)
What is Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit?
Dual enrollment/dual credit is a program that allows high school students to earn academic and career and technical college credit toward a postsecondary diploma at their local high school while also receiving high school credit.
Who is eligible?
Students who have met the eligibility requirements as outlined in the Procedures Manual for the State of Mississippi Dual Enrollment & Accelerated Programs.
It is the responsibility of the student to meet admissions requirements of the institution and pay all fees required by the college for credit. Exception: Courses offered on RCSD campuses during the instructional day will be free as long as the student pays the required registration fee.
The student will be expected to follow the attendance policy of the institution and will suffer all financial and academic penalties that accrue for tardiness, absence, and/or withdrawal.
Textbook costs for the college course are the responsibility of the parent and/or student. This will include any online homework, lab fees, etc.
If the student wishes to withdraw from the college course, the student MUST complete a signed form with the high school counselor and complete requirements to withdraw through the college. If the student wishes to drop the college course, the student MUST complete this through the high school counselor within the designated time frame set forth by the college.
The grade shall become a part of the grade point average and affect class ranking.
The high school transcript grade will be calculated according to RCSD policy. Parents are advised that mid-term grades at the college level may not be reflective of actual overall performance in the course.
The grade received from the institution will become a permanent part of the college transcript and the cumulative college GPA. These grades will be considered in future scholarship applications.
Transportation is the responsibility of the parent and/or student.
Students who take courses off campus must provide a copy of the college grade report to their counselor by the beginning of the following semester.
Grading and Assessment Systems (IHA, 2/12/2020)
The primary purpose of assessment is to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Consequently, teachers shall employ formative assessment strategies for the purpose of adjusting ongoing instructional procedures to improve the learning progress of students. Summative assessments shall also be used to measure a student’s progress toward or degree of accomplishment relative to stated goals and objectives (standards) for a subject. Both types of assessments shall be factored into the grade received, with primary weight being on summative assessments and denoting the degree of mastery learning of material presented.
A standard numerical grading system shall be implemented and maintained in the district. Grade frequencies shall be as follows:
A = 90-100 B = 80-89 C = 70-79 D = 60-69 F = 0-59
* This grading scale shall be applied when calculating grade point averages for all students graduating after July, 2009; hence it is being applied retroactively.
Kindergarten and First Grade will issue a standards-based report card marked as follows:
S = Satisfactory; can work independently with at least 70% accuracy; learning is at appropriate pace
N = Needs Improvement; learning but not making appropriate progress; below average performance
U = Progress not adequate for age level; performance level in failing range
* Teachers will schedule at least two conferences with the parent/ guardian of each kindergarten student during the year.
Second Grade will issue a standards based report card marked as follows:
E = Excellent; can work independently with 90-100% accuracy; exceeding the standard
S = Satisfactory; can work independently with 70-89% accuracy; learning is at appropriate pace; meeting the standard
N = Needs Improvement; can work independently with 60-69% accuracy; learning but not making adequate progress
U = progress not adequate for age level; performance level in failing range
Third Grade – Social Studies and Science Grades:
E = Excellent; Advanced performance; Exceeds standard; approximates an A
S = Satisfactory; Average to Proficient performance; Meets standard; correlates with B and C work
N = Needs Improvement; below mastery level but learning; approximates a D
U = Minimal level of understanding of the concepts/skills; failing performance
Grades shall be indicative of progress towards or degree of accomplishment relative to grade level standards and objectives of the subject and shall represent only quality of assignments completed or not completed. Grades shall be recorded no less than bimonthly and shall be listed by standard with a description of the assignment/assessment. A record of assignments pursuant to evaluation of progress toward set standards may be recorded and filed for use in parent-student conferences. Actual grades may be recorded in the grade book for reference with parents at conferences, even if teachers maintain overall averages within an attainable passing range a curve will not be used in grading.
Since learners only progress effectively when they complete work assigned, students are expected to complete all assignments. Hence, teachers shall pursue work not turned in prior to assigning term grades, exacting a reasonable penalty for late work when appropriate. When a student does not turn in an assignment prior to the end of a term, a grade of zero may become part of the average for that term. Students with any missing work noted prior to the end of any grading period will be ineligible for exemption from taking exams.
Teachers are expected to reteach students according to substandard or failing formative and/or summative work. Teachers will select which assignments qualify for a redo opportunity with the exception of term/semester exams or Dual Enrollment/Advanced Placement courses that are considered college caliber courses and are guided by external institutions. Principals shall work with grade levels or departments to develop consistency in redo procedures at the school level. Students must go through teacher prescribed remediation before being permitted to redo work. The opportunity to redo can be rescinded if a student abuses the opportunity. Since students have this option for grade improvement, no extra credit will be assigned or awarded.
Assignments of term, semester, and final grades shall be made as follows. Teachers shall adhere to district or school prescribed weighting for competency areas.
GRADING CATEGORY WEIGHTS
Grades K-2: based on standards based report card requirements
Grades 3-5: based on all assignments such as classwork, quizzes, process grades, writings, products and projects, and homework
Grades 6-12: based on all assignments such as classwork, quizzes, process grades, writings, products and projects, and homework
Grades 6-12: Average of the term grades at 80% and the comprehensive of each semester exam at 20%
Grades 3-6 (if grade 6 is in an elementary setting): Average of the term grades (i.e., average Q1 and Q2 for Semester 1; average Q3 and Q4 for Semester 2)
First and second semester grades will be added and divided by two. For secondary courses of one semester length, the final grade will be the same as the semester grade.
Final grades may be weighted for Grades 9-12 if a student is enrolled in the following courses:
- Advanced Placement courses = 1.10 x grade
- Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit Courses = 1.10 x college grade (College grade must be a C or higher to qualify for the weight.)
- Accelerated CCR Advanced Math Plus = 1.05 x grade
- Calculus = 1.05 x Grade
- Physics = 1.05 x Grade
- Honors English I = 1.05 x grade
- Honors English II = 1.05 x grade
- Honors Geometry = 1.05 x grade
- Honors Algebra II = 1.05 x grade
All other courses = 1.0 x grade
Ending with the graduating class of 2022 (Freshmen 18-19)
- CCR Geometry Plus = 1.05 x grade
- CCR Algebra II Plus = 1.05 x grade
See Policy IDCAB
Credit Recovery Program (IDCAB, 06/24/2020)
Credit recovery is defined by the Mississippi Department of Education as a course-specific, skill-based learning opportunity for students who have previously been unsuccessful in mastering content/skills required to receive high school course credit.
Rankin County School District has established the following guidelines for credit recovery:
- Counselors, teachers, and administrators shall identify students appropriate for participation in the credit recovery program offered at the local school, with the recommendation based on aptitude, motivation, and need. All student requests should be considered.
- In order to be eligible for credit recovery, a student must have failed a course or a statewide high school end-of-course assessment. If a student has successfully completed a course but failed the corresponding end-of-course assessment, the student may enroll in credit recovery for remediation only. The grade earned for the course remains unchanged.
- A high school student, with principal approval and parent consent, can earn credit in courses previously failed. More than one course may be taken during the school year but only one course should be taken at a time.
- Courses taken for credit recovery during the school year must be completed by a defined date. This defined date cannot exceed the last day of the current school year.
- Course content shall be based on the College- and Career-Readiness State Standards or Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks competencies and objectives.
- Upon enrollment in a credit recovery course, a determination of the student’s strengths and weaknesses in regard to the course content can be made. The student will complete assignments only in the course objectives that have not been mastered. Upon successful demonstration of mastery of these objectives, the student will receive credit for the course.
- The method of instruction will be determined by the local school based on available resources and can include use of an on-line, computer-based, or a teacher delivery system. The district curriculum department must approve the use of any online-program other than district-approved programs.
- All testing associated with on-line instruction will be monitored by school personnel designated by the school principal.
- There is no fee for this service when offered during the regular school day.
- Credit recovery courses completed during the summer will be offered in conjunction with the summer school program. These courses are at a cost to the student. Courses that begin in the summer must be completed during the summer session.
- Upon completion of the credit recovery course, a grade of 60 will be recorded on the credit history, thereby becoming part of the grade point average.
- In order to qualify for credit recovery courses, the student’s failing average must be within 5 points of the district’s lowest passing score. Any exceptions to this must be approved by the Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
Legal Reference: State Board Policy Part 3, Chapter 28, Rule 28.5 (formerly SBP 2905)
Report Cards (IHAB, 2/22/2017)
The Board, believing that progress is the very foundation of education, recognizes the school’s obligation to give private, periodic reports of a student’s progress to the parents. The Board further recognizes that these reports are a vital form of communication between the school and the parents. All progress reports must be based upon full information, accurately and honestly reported with the proper maintenance of confidentiality.
A report card depicting a student’s progress during each term will be issued on the dates as indicated on the school calendar following an evaluation by the appropriate teacher, teachers or other professional personnel.
In addition, parents will be sent an interim progress report as indicated on the school calendar. This progress report shall indicate grades and the attendance record of the student to date. Written notices of unsatisfactory progress can be sent home whenever necessary to keep parents informed of declining grades.
All reports to parents should be signed by the parents and returned to the teacher within two school days.
A report to parents is to be issued only to the student whose name appears thereon.
Semester Examinations (IHAE, 10/9/2019)
A schedule for the administration of term tests and semester examinations will be established by the Board and included as a part of the official school calendar.
The principal shall be responsible for establishing a schedule for the administering of tests within that school. It is the intent of the Board that students not be scheduled to have more than two tests on any school day.
All term tests and semester examinations will be administered in accordance with the schedule as approved by the Board. Any exception to the schedule must have the prior approval of the principal. A copy of all semester examinations shall be submitted to the principal at least one week prior to the scheduled date for administering the examination.
Students meeting the following conditions will be eligible for exemption from final examinations:
For all middle and high school students grades 7-12, exemption from the cumulative exam administered at the end of a course is an earned privilege. A student will only be considered for exemption if the student has no office or disciplinary referrals in a teacher’s class, or referral from an administrator, and meets the following requirements regarding absences and grades:
|No absences||70 and above|
|1 absence||80 and above|
|2 absences||90 and above|
|No absences||70 and above|
|1-2 absences||80 and above|
|3-4 absences||90 and above|
Students who are eligible for exemption will have the option to take an exam if they feel it will improve their grade.
All absences will be counted except those that are school related such as athletic, band, choir contests or school-based club trips. It is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation of any school-related absence. Students who receive an out-of-school suspension at any time during the year will NOT be exempt from any exam.
For the purpose of exam exemption, three (3) tardies = 1 absence.
Students with missing work are ineligible for exemption from taking exams.
Students shall not be informed of their exemption status until the day prior to the exam schedule beginning. Students are expected to attend class on review days.
Promotion and Retention (IHE, 2/8/2017)
Students will normally progress annually from grade to grade. Students shall not be retained for extracurricular purposes. Promotion and retention shall be based upon the mastery of objectives.
Minimum requirements for promotion:
Minimum Requirements for Promotion for Grades K-8
Should pass 70% of the district objectives in language arts and math.
Must pass 70% of the district objectives in language arts and math and exhibit an adequate level of reading proficiency as measured on a standardized instrument.
Must pass language arts and math with a 60 or above and exhibit an adequate level of reading proficiency as measured on the state approved reading assessment. If either of these is not passed, the student is retained unless a good cause exemption is approved for the state reading assessment.
Must pass language arts, science, math and social studies with a grade of 60 or above.
Must pass language, math, science and social studies with a grade of 60 or above.
Promotion to grades 9-12 is based on the accumulation of Carnegie units in accordance with the following schedule:
Exception may be granted in order for students to graduate during the current school year provided the student’s age is equivalent or greater than the peer age of the current graduating class. Exceptions must be submitted to RCSD County office personnel for approval.
Minimum Requirements for Promotion for Grades 9-12
Students must achieve passing scores on statewide testing program subject area tests (CCR Algebra I, Biology I, U.S. History, and CCR English II) as per RCSD board policy IHF or meet the Mississippi Graduation Assessment Options. If a student passes these tests, but fails the course, he must repeat the course or complete credit recovery requirements, as per principal discretion. If a student fails the test, but passes the course, he will be assigned the earned Carnegie unit credit. If a student fails the subject area test, he/she will be allowed to participate in the Mississippi Graduation Assessment Options.
Students with eligibility rulings for special educational services shall be promoted or retained based upon mastery of skills specified in their Individual Educational Plan and a decision reached by the IEP committee and principal to assure least restrictive environment. Additionally, diploma-bound students shall meet the graduation requirements of the district.
Legal Reference: Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards; SB Policy Part 3, Chapter 36
Graduation Requirements (IHF, 03/10/2021)
Students in Rankin County School District shall graduate from this district utilizing Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) graduation options listed in the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards (MPSAS) and by meeting all other requirements as defined by the Mississippi Department of Education. The superintendent or designee shall establish procedures to support this policy. Please refer to the current Rankin County School District Student Handbook for specific information regarding graduation.
Any person who has withdrawn from high school before graduation may be granted a diploma from the Mississippi public high school that the person last attended if the person has:
- Completed all requisite graduation course work requirements and has achieved the equivalent requirements a passing score on an assessment reasonably comparable to the respective assessments that would qualify the person for high school graduation as such assessments existed at the time that the student would have graduated;
- Made a request to the public high school district that the person last attended in Mississippi that includes relevant transcripts of coursework completed.
The Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards for this policy are standards 14 and 21.
Each student graduating from a secondary school in the district shall have earned at least two of the last four Carnegie units at the school granting the diploma. No more than four units earned in summer school programs may be counted toward graduation requirements, with a limit of earning one unit per summer session.
For students entering ninth grade in 2018-19 school year and thereafter:
- It is STRONGLY encouraged that all students take a math or science course during the senior year.
For students who entered ninth grade prior to the 2018-19 school year:
- Students must take a math or science course during the senior year.
Rankin County School District believes students must gain a sense of connection to the larger community in order to become prepared for responsible citizenship. This can be done effectively through service learning opportunities. Hence, RCSD offers students the chance to earn the designation of “Distinguished Service Graduate” on a voluntary basis. Graduating seniors that document 200 volunteer hours qualify for this distinction. Each high school will provide and collect forms for documenting service and will inform students of the specific guidelines. Students in grades 9-12 should document 50 plus hours of volunteer service each year. Seniors meeting the specified hours will receive a certificate, have the distinction marked on the diploma, and be recognized at the school graduation or awards ceremony.
Graduation Exercises (IHFC, 2/22/2017)
High school graduation exercises will be held on such dates as designated by the Rankin County Board of Education in the school calendar. Only those students who have completed all graduation requirements as specified by the Board of Education and MS Board of Education may participate in graduation exercises.
In addition, all students participating in graduation exercises shall have complied with all rules and regulations inclusive of, but not limited to, required attendance at practice for graduation exercises, dress in designated attire, and such other written or oral rules and regulations of the principal which may be deemed appropriate. Failure to timely complete all graduation practices and requirements of the principal shall be grounds for denial to participate in the graduation ceremony, which is a privilege, rather than a right.
Preparation for graduation ceremonies shall be scheduled in a manner that assures that graduating seniors will be absent from classes no more than three days. (Districts Meeting the Highest Levels of Performance are exempted.)
Legal Reference: MS Public School Accountability Standards
The criteria for selection of the valedictorian and salutatorian will be based on all credit courses taken towards graduation. The student having the highest and second highest grade point average during his/her school period shall be recognized as Valedictorian and Salutatorian, respectively. A student must have attended the respective RCSD high school for a minimum of four semesters, which is inclusive of their senior year (not including summer school), and must be completing a 4-year course of study, to be considered for valedictorian or salutatorian.
In the event that number grades are not sent from a prior school and verification is present that efforts have been made to secure the number grades and these efforts have been unsuccessful, then transfer students’ grades will be averaged using the midpoint grade. Grades/credits earned through home schooling and non-accredited schools will not count towards Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
Grade Point Average
The grade point average will be calculated at the end of semester 2 to determine the top two students.
Co-Valedictorians and Salutatorians
In selecting the valedictorian, if the grade point average of the top graduates is the same or is a difference of less than .03, then co-valedictorians will be named.
In selecting the salutatorian, if the second highest grade point average – after the valedictorian’s average is determined – is the same or is a difference of less than .03, then co-salutatorians will be named.
When co-valedictorians and co-salutatorians are named, they will be honored in alphabetical order.
Summer School/Extended Year Policy (IDCA)
Speech-Language Screening (IEB)
Dyslexia Policy (IEBA)
Instructional Intervention (IEI)
Textbook Pupil Use (ICFAAA, Selected Sections)
School Guidance Counseling Program
Career & Technical Programs
Field Trips (JFC)
Internet/Technology Acceptable Use Policy (IJBB)
Technology and Instruction/Electronic Information Resources (IJ)
Sex-Related Education (ICG)
Student Activities (JH)
Intramural/Interscholastic Athletics (IDFA)
Student Insurance Program (EGB)
Student Health Services (JGC)
Gifted Education Program (IDE)
Summer School/Extended Year Policy (IDCA, 06/24/2020)
In the effort to provide quality education to all students, the Board encourages schools within the district to provide academic, cultural, recreational, and aesthetic programs that provide activities targeted toward developing the total student. After-school, summer, and extended school learning experiences can be provided by the schools as deemed appropriate to match the needs of the respective student bodies.
Summer School/Extended Year regulations of the Commission on School Accreditation are to be followed by all schools providing summer school instruction and are as follows:
- The program is under the leadership of the district superintendent and the supervision of a principal.
- Each program is housed in a school building or will be offered through an online instructional program and management system.
- A definite schedule of classes is followed.
- All staff are appropriately licensed.
- The instructional program and management system are consistent with that used in the regular session.
- Students enrolled must provide written approval from the principal of their home schools.
- The schedule of secondary summer school courses reflects a minimum of 70 hours of instruction per half unit course and 140 hours per full unit course.
- Students enrolled in an extended year program complete all remaining course/subject or credit recovery requirements/objectives before credit for the course/subject is issued.
- Students enrolled in a summer school program are limited to earning one unit of credit during the summer school session.
All such programs designed by the schools must be approved by the district office and adequately supervised. Appropriate accreditation and legal standards set by regional or state agencies must be met.
Speech-Language Screening (IEB, 10/14/2020)
Each elementary student will be screened for speech, language, voice and fluency disorders before the end of Grade 1.
If a student fails the screener, the parent or legal guardian will be notified of the results of the screener.
If a student fails the screener, the school district, in its discretion, may perform a comprehensive speech-language evaluation.
If a student fails the screener twice, the school district will conduct a Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team (MET) meeting to determine if a comprehensive assessment is warranted. Child Find procedures will be followed.
A parent or legal guardian may provide written notification to the school district opting out of the mandatory screening provided by the district. The provisions of this section shall not apply to homeschooled students.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-175-15
Dyslexia Policy (IEBA, 6/12/2019)
Dyslexia is neurological in origin and is characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities, which typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction, and secondary consequences which may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Rankin County School District shall screen students for dyslexia in the spring of Kindergarten and the fall of Grade 1. The component of the screening must include:
(i) Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness;
(ii) Sound symbol recognition;
(iii) Alphabet knowledge;
(iv) Decoding skills;
(v) Encoding skills; and
(vi) Rapid naming.
If a student fails the screener, the parent or legal guardian will be notified of the results of the screener. If a parent or legal guardian of a student who fails the dyslexia screener exercises the option to have a subsequent evaluation performed, such evaluation shall be administered by any of the licensed professionals, including: Psychologists, Psychometrists, or Speech Language Pathologists, and the resulting diagnosis of the subsequent evaluation must be accepted by the school district for purposes of determining eligibility for placement within a dyslexia therapy program.
Rankin County School District, in its discretion, may perform a comprehensive dyslexia evaluation. Such evaluation must be administered by any of the licensed professionals listed above. All referrals must be submitted by the first week in April of each school year.
Cross Reference: IEI
Instructional Intervention (IEI, 9/23/2020)
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the behavioral and academic needs of every student are met through an instructional model that is designed to address student learning with quality classroom instruction and opportunities for intervention. The Mississippi Department Education (MDE) shall require every school district to follow the instructional model, which consists of three (3) tiers of instruction:
- Tier 1: Quality classroom instruction based on Mississippi Curriculum Frameworks
- Tier 2: Focused supplemental instruction
- Tier 3: Intensive interventions specifically designed to meet the individual needs of students
If strategies at Tier 1 and Tier 2 are unsuccessful, students must be referred to the Teacher Support Team (TST). The TST is the problem-solving unit responsible for interventions developed at Tier 3. Each school must have a Teacher Support Team (TST) implemented in accordance with the process developed by the MDE. The chairperson of the TST shall be the school principal as the school’s instructional leader or the principal’s designee. The designee may not be an individual whose primary responsibility is special education. Interventions will be:
- designed to address the deficit areas;
- research based;
- implemented as designed by the TST;
- supported by data regarding the effectiveness of interventions.
Monitoring of student progress is an ongoing process that may be measured through informal classroom assessment, benchmark assessment instruments and large-scale assessments. Teachers should use progress monitoring information to:
- determine if students are making adequate progress,
- identify students as soon as they begin to fall behind, and
- modify instruction early enough to ensure each student gains essential skills.
After a referral is made, the TST must develop and begin implementation of an intervention(s) within two (2) weeks. No later than eight (8) weeks after implementation of the intervention(s) the TST must conduct a documented review of the interventions to determine success of the intervention(s). No later than sixteen (16) weeks after implementation of the intervention(s), a second review must be conducted to determine whether the intervention(s) is successful. If the intervention(s) is determined to be unsuccessful, then the student will be referred for a comprehensive assessment.
Reading Deficiency Intervention
In accordance with the Literacy-Based Promotion Act of 2013, each public school student who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading at any time, as demonstrated through:
- performance on a reading screener approved or developed by the MDE, or
- through locally determined assessments and teacher observations conducted in Kindergarten and Grades 1 through 3, or
- through statewide end-of-year assessments or approved alternate yearly assessments in Grade 3,
must be given intensive reading instruction and intervention immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency. A student who was promoted from Grade 3 to Grade 4 under a good cause exemption of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act must be given intensive reading instruction and intervention. The intensive intervention must include effective instructional strategies and appropriate teaching methodologies necessary to assist the student in becoming a successful reader, able to read at or above grade level, and ready for promotion to the next grade.
A dyslexia screener must be administered to all students during the spring of their kindergarten year and the fall of their first grade year. The screening must include the following components:
- Phonological awareness and phonemic awareness;
- Sound symbol recognition;
- Alphabet knowledge;
- Decoding skills;
- Encoding skills; and
- Rapid naming (quickly naming objects, pictures, colors, or symbols (letters or digits) aloud.
All students in Kindergarten and grades 1 through 3 may be administered a screener within the first 30 days of school and repeated at mid-year and at the end of the school year to identify any deficiencies in reading. In addition to failure to make adequate progress following Tier 1 and Tier 2, students will be referred to the TST for interventions as specified in guidelines developed by MDE if any of the following events occur:
- Grades 1-3: A student has failed one (1) grade;
- Grades 4-12: A student has failed two (2) grades;
- A student failed either of the preceding two grades and has been suspended or expelled for more than twenty (20) days in the current school year; OR
- A student scores at the lowest level on any part of the Grade 3 or Grade 7 statewide accountability assessment.
- A student is promoted from Grade 3 to Grade 4 under a good cause exemption of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act.
Referrals to the TST must be made within the first twenty (20) school days of a school year if the student meets any of the criteria a-d stated above under dyslexia.
Textbook Pupil Use (ICFAAA, Selected Sections, 6/12/2019)
I. Instructional Resource/Textbook Definition:
The Board delegates the responsibility for selection of instructional resources and textbook materials to the professional staff employed by the district. The professional staff will choose instructional resources/textbooks that support and enrich the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, learning styles, and maturity levels of students served.
As the basic unit of instructional material, the textbook shall be defined as any medium or manual of instruction which contains a systematic presentation of the principles of a subject and which constitutes a major instructional vehicle for that subject. District administrative staff shall appropriate funds for purchase of and supplemental materials for classroom use.
VI: Home School Pupil Use
Mississippi law requires a local school board to make available to parents or legal guardians of any school-age children who reside in a school district, upon request, any textbook(s) on the state surplus inventory list (textbooks that are no longer used in the district, but do not qualify for disposal). The school textbook coordinator will be responsible for issuing these books upon request from parents. These textbooks must be returned to the school by the end of district approved school year.
The primary goal of the School Guidance Counseling Program is to promote and enhance student learning through the three broad and interrelated areas of student development. Each of these areas of student development encompasses a variety of desired student learning competencies which, in turn, are comprised of specific knowledge, attitudes, and skills which form the foundation of the developmental school guidance counseling program. The three areas of student development are: (a) Academic Development, (b) Career Development, and (c) Personal/Social Development.
Recognizing that all children do not develop in a linear fashion according to a certain time-table, there is intentional overlapping among grade levels (elementary, middle/junior high, and high school). The school guidance counseling program reflects the progression of a student’s development throughout the K through 12 experiences. It is understood that mastery of basic skills facilitates the mastery of higher-order skills in each area of development. The school guidance counselor utilizes a variety of strategies, activities, delivery methods, and resources to promote the desired student development. The school guidance counselors’ responsibilities include the design, organization, implementation, and coordination of the program. School guidance counselors shall abide by the American School Counselor Association Code of Ethics. (ASCA)
Upon written request, a student’s transcript will be sent to any designated agency, college, or school. The student must request, upon graduation, that a final transcript be sent to the agency or college of his choice. Additional transcripts are furnished upon request for a fee of $2.00 per copy. Students may also request transcripts online thru each school's counseling department website (fees apply).
The Rankin County School District provides multiple career pathway options for high school students including career academies, academic and career technical education programs of study at the high school, and career technical programs of study at the Pearl-Rankin Career Technical Center. Students interested in career and technical education programs of study should plan their schedule of classes around the career cluster beginning in the 9th grade.
It is the policy of The Rankin County School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in admission to career and technical education programs, services, or activities as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Rankin County School District will take steps to assure that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in all career and technical programs. Individuals with questions, complaints, or needing additional information concerning Rankin County School District career and technical education offerings and specific pre-requisite criteria may contact the Rankin County School District Career and Technical Education Director or the Hinds/Rankin Career and Technical Education Center Director.
Field Trips (JFC, 5/13/2009)
Field trips are intended to allow students experiences that provide insight and information that cannot be adequately developed through regular classroom instruction. Field trips of significant educational value are encouraged, while field trips of recreational value may be permitted at the discretion of the principal and district office.
All field trips approved by the school principal must be forwarded to the assistant superintendent and district transportation director for final approval. When requesting permission for a field trip, the teacher must state the source of payment for the field trip, the method of transportation, the commencement and termination times and dates, the number of school personnel and chaperons to attend, the method of financing adult participation, the reference to the curriculum, and any other pertinent information. A letter shall be sent to parents regarding all specifics of the field trip and asking permission for their child’s participation. No student may be allowed to leave school premises for a field trip unless a written parental permission form has been obtained. These signed forms must be kept on file at the school for one calendar year.
A ratio of one adult to every six students is required for any field trip in kindergarten through sixth grade. A ratio of one adult to every fifteen students is required for any field trip in 7-12 grade. No pre-school children or students from another class are allowed to go with identified group.
When attending field trips, violations of school policies/regulations will result in disciplinary action consistent with Board policy.
Principals are expected to use discretion in authorizing trips, guarding against excessive travel, extended absence from school, and excessive cost. Primary consideration shall be given to the safety and welfare of the students involved. Students will be transported in a public or chartered conveyance by duly licensed drivers in a vehicle with adequate liability insurance.
Internet/Technology Acceptable Use Policy (IJBB, 03/10/2021)
Rankin County School District (RCSD) provides the privilege of Internet access to district faculty, staff, students, and occasionally guests. Each user, as well as a minor’s parent or guardian, voluntarily agrees to release, hold harmless, defend, and indemnify, the Rankin County School District, its officers, board members, employees, and agents, for and against all claims, actions, charges, losses or damages which arise out of the user’s use of the RCSD network, but not limited to negligence, personal injury, wrongful death, property loss or damage, delays, non-deliveries, mis-deliveries of data, or service interruptions. RCSD will fully cooperate with local, state or federal officials in any investigation related to illegal activities conducted through the user’s Internet account.
Access will be restricted as required to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Web browsing may be monitored and records retained to ensure compliance.
Users are expected to respect the web filter and shall not attempt to circumvent the filter when browsing the Internet. The determination of whether material is appropriate or inappropriate is based solely on the content of the material and the intended use of the material, not on whether a website has been blocked or not. If a user believes a site is unnecessarily blocked, the user should submit a technology work order to review the site.
Each user acknowledges that the information available from other websites may not be accurate. Use of any of the information obtained via the Internet is at the user’s own risk. Rankin County School District makes no warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, regarding the quality, accuracy or validity of the data on the Internet.
RCSD NETWORK RULES
- The person to whom an RCSD network account is issued is responsible at all times for its proper use.
- Any inappropriate use may result in the cancellation of the privilege of use, and/or disciplinary action. Consequences for any user who fails to comply with RCSD and school guidelines may include paying for damages, denial of access to technology, detention, suspension, expulsion or other remedies applicable under the school disciplinary policy, and state or federal law.
- Any district employee who uses the RCSD network inappropriately is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.
- Under no conditions should a RCSD network user give their password information to another user nor allow another user to utilize their account unless speaking directly to a technology department employee who is assisting them.
- Schools may supplement any provisions of the District AUP (Acceptable Use Policy), and may require additional parent releases and approvals, but in no case will such documents replace the District AUP.
- Users will immediately report to school district authorities any attempt by other network users to engage in inappropriate conversations or personal contact.
- Any non-standard software that is needed to perform a specific job function will need to be brought to the attention of the Technology Department. Those applications shall be the sole responsibility of that office and if the application interferes with any required programs, applications, and utilities, it should not be used and if in use, it may be disabled.
ACCEPTABLE USES OF TECHNOLOGY (not all inclusive)
- A responsible user of the technology will:
- Use school technologies for school-related activities.
- Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that they are expected to follow offline.
- Treat school resources carefully and alert staff if there is any problem with their operation.
- Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies.
- Alert a teacher, administrator, or other staff member if they see threatening, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
- Use District technologies at appropriate times, in approved places, for educational pursuits.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Users should use their own good judgment when using RCSD technology.
UNACCEPTABLE USES OF THE TECHNOLOGY (not all inclusive)
- Violating any state and/or federal law (i.e., copyright laws).
- Using profanity, obscenity, or other language that may be offensive to others.
- Making personal attacks on other people, organizations, religions, or ethnicities.
- Accessing, downloading, storing, or printing files or messages that are sexually explicit, obscene, or that offend or tend to degrade others. The administration invokes its discretionary rights to determine such suitability.
- Not respecting the privacy of a person by posting personal contact information, such as work/home address, telephone, e-mail, photographs, or names, without obtaining prior permission from the person affected.
- Student information shall be posted only with written parent/guardian permission.
- Forwarding personal communication without the author’s prior consent.
- Using the Internet for commercial purposes, financial gain, personal business, producing advertisement, business service endorsement, or religious or political lobbying is prohibited.
- Destroying or altering the files of another user.
- Viewing or taking the files of another user.
USE OF OUTSIDE EMAIL CLIENTS & STIPULATIONS FOR USING DISTRICT EMAIL CLIENT AS DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE (Teachers, Administrators, Managers, etc.)
Use of “Internet mail” by students, staff, and faculty such as Yahoo mail, Gmail, and POP3 accounts provided by their “home” Internet service providers is allowed at this time.
The District does not block use of Internet mail accounts, but any “OFFICIAL” communications, e.g., Teacher to Parent, Teacher to Student, Staff to Staff, must be via the district’s e-mail system. This includes, but is not limited to teachers who guide extracurricular activities such as Clubs, Choirs, Bands, Athletics, and the like.
An Internet filter is in place for Rankin County School District. This filter is a critical component of the RCSD network as well as Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliant since it allows valuable online Internet access while restricting access to specific unwanted material in the following categories:
- Illegal Drugs
- Online Merchandising
- Hate Speech
- Criminal Skills
- Alternative Journals
- Other Undesirable Materials
This filter is updated on a daily basis in order to restrict access to the above items. Filtering is not a 100% foolproof way of limiting access to appropriate sites. Inappropriate sites are added to the Internet daily. Students will be supervised at all times by a teacher while using the Internet. All inappropriate hits are logged along with the date/time and the IP address of the workstation making the request.
Attempts to bypass the school Internet filters is in violation of this acceptable use policy and will be subject to disciplinary action that may include denial of access to technology, detention, suspension, expulsion, termination of employment or other remedies applicable under the school disciplinary policy, and state or federal law.
All data transferred and/or transmitted over the RCSD network and/or on RCSD issued devices can be monitored and recorded at any time. All data transferred or transmitted over the network can be tracked and identified, and originating users can be held liable if their use of the network violates any established policy, regulation, or law. Any data stored on district-owned equipment may be archived and preserved by the district for an indefinite period. Such data includes, but is not limited to E-mail, text documents, digital photographs, music, and other digital or electronic files. If a particular user continues to try to connect to an inappropriate site, that workstation will be remotely monitored and the individual will be reported to the Principal of the school and the RCSD Central Office.
RCSD may provide the privilege or Internet access, desktop computers, mobile computers or devices, videoconferencing capabilities, online collaboration capabilities, email, and more.
The Acceptable Use Policy applies to both District-owned technology equipment utilizing the RCSD network, the RCSD Internet connection, and/or private networks/Internet connections accessed from District-owned devices at any time. Thus AUP also applies to privately-owned devices accessing the RCSD network, the RCSD Internet connection, and/or private networks/Internet connections while on school property or participating in school functions or events off campus. RCSD policies outlined in this document cover all available technologies now and in the future, not just those specifically listed or currently available.
Employee and student RCSD email is the property of RCSD. It is the responsibility of the employee and student to maintain this email account appropriately.
Users should refrain from using district email for personal business. Users should not sign up for subscriptions of memberships for sites not directly related to RCSD business using RCSD email accounts.
Users are expected to take reasonable safeguards against the transmission of security threats over the RCSD network. This includes not opening or distributing infected files or programs and not opening files or programs of unknown or untrusted origin. Users should never share personal information.
If users believe a computer or laptop they are using might be infected with a virus, they should alert the Technology Department. Users should not attempt to remove the virus themselves or download any programs to help remove the virus.
Users should always use the Internet, network resources, and online sites in a courteous and respectful manner.
Users should recognize that among the valuable content online there is also unverified, incorrect, or inappropriate content.
Users should only use known or trusted sources when conducting research via the Internet.
Users should remember not to post anything online that they would not want students, parents, teachers, or future colleges or employers to see. Once something is online, it cannot be completely retracted and can sometimes be shared and spread in ways the user never intended.
Users should not plagiarize (or use as their own, without citing the original creator) content, including words or images, from the Internet. Users should not take credit for things they did not create themselves, or misrepresent themselves as an author or creator of something found online.
Information obtained via the Internet should be appropriately cited, giving credit to the original author.
Users should never share personal information, including phone number, address, social security number, birthday, or financial information, over the Internet without adult permission. Users should recognize that communicating over the Internet brings anonymity and associated risks and should carefully safeguard the personal information of themselves and others. Users should never agree to meet in person someone they meet online without parental permission.
If users see a message, comment, image, or anything else online that makes them concerned for their personal safety or the safety of someone else, they should immediately bring it to the attention of an adult (teacher or administrator if at school, parent if using the device at home).
Cyber bullying including, but not limited to, harassing, flaming, denigrating, impersonating, outing, tricking, excluding, and cyber stalking will not be tolerated. Users should not send emails or post comments with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted individual and create for the targeted individual a hostile school environment.
Engaging in these behaviors or in any online activities intended to harm (physically or emotionally) another person, will result in disciplinary action described in RCSD Policy IJB – CIPA Policy - Acceptable Use. In some cases, cyber bullying can be a crime. Users should remember that online activities might be monitored.
All students will be educated about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other persons on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyber bullying awareness and response.
The District has a policy that addresses Social Media, which applies to all employees and students. By signing the Acceptable Use Policy, users are acknowledging they have read and agree to abide by the Social Media guidelines. See RCSD Policy GABB–Staff/Student Non-fraternization (Staff Conduct with Students).
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
RCSD will not be responsible for damage or harm to persons, files, data, or hardware.
While RCSD employs filtering and other safety and security mechanisms, and attempts to ensure their proper function, it makes no guarantees as to their effectiveness.
RCSD will not be responsible or liable for, financially or otherwise, unauthorized transactions conduced over the RCSD network.
Violations of this policy may have disciplinary consequences, including:
- Suspension of network, technology, or computer privileges;
- Notification of parents;
- Detention or suspension from school and school-related activities;
- Employment disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment;
- Legal action and/or prosecution.
Employees, students, and parents/guardians shall be required to sign the District’s Acceptable Use Policy as part of the district’s Technology Handbook before Internet or network access shall be allowed.
Legal Reference: MS Code 11-46-9
Technology and Instruction/Electronic Information Resources (IJ, 03/10/2021)
All users of district provided laptops, tablets, or other personal computing devices will comply at all times with the Rankin County School District (RCSD) Technology Handbook policies. Any failure to comply may result in termination of user rights of possession effective immediately and the District may repossess the device. Any lost, stolen and damaged devices must be reported to school authorities immediately.
The District has legal title to the property at all times. The user’s right of possession and use is limited to and conditioned upon full and complete compliance with this agreement, the RCSD Technology Handbook policies, and all District policies and procedures.
LOSS, THEFT OR FULL DAMAGE
If a device is stolen, the employee or parent/guardian (in the case of a student) should immediately notify the school administration. At that time, the user or the parent/guardian will be required to file a police report. Once a police report has been filed, the district, in conjunction with the local law enforcement agency may deploy locating software to aid authorities in recovering the device. It is imperative that a lost or stolen device be reported immediately. If the stolen device is not reported within three calendar days to a district school administrator, the employee or parent/guardian will be responsible for full replacement cost.
If a device is damaged, lost or stolen as a result of irresponsible behavior, the user or the parent may be responsible for the full replacement cost. The user or the parent/guardian will be responsible for full replacement cost of the device if not reported to district personnel within calendar three days of missing or damaged device.
In the event that a device is damaged, lost or stolen, the user will be assessed a deductible for the repair or replacement of the device for the first occurrence per device. A chart listing replacement cost is included in this policy.
Students or employees who leave the district during the school year must return all devices and additional accessories (including the power adapter and cable) to the school administrator.
If the user does not fully comply with all terms of this Agreement and the RCSD Technology Handbook, including the timely return of the property, RCSD shall be entitled to declare the user in default and come to the user’s place of residence, or other location of the property, to take possession of the property.
TERMS OF AGREEMENT
The user’s right to use and possession of the property terminates not later than the last day of enrollment unless earlier terminated by RCSD or upon withdrawal from RCSD.
Failure to timely return the property and the continued use of it for non-school purposes without the District’s consent may be considered unlawful appropriation of the District’s property.
FEES FOR DEVICE USE
Use and Maintenance Fees
- Parents/guardians shall pay a non-refundable annual fee of $50 for student use of devices in grades 7-12. A fee of $25 will be assessed to the parents/guardians of students in grades PreKindergarten-6. This fee is a classroom/home maintenance fee and will be assessed once per school year.
- The annual fee is by device.
- The annual fee can be paid online through a link on the district’s website.
- For damage that occurs to any district device (students and employees) there will be a required deductible to cover damage by incident (i.e. 1st damage, 2nd damage) AND by incident type (i.e. cracked glass, broken LCD, bent frame, etc.).
- If the device is lost, stolen, or totally damaged as a result of irresponsible behavior, the person the device is issued to may be responsible for the replacement cost. A police/sheriff report will be required for all stolen devices.
- District may disable the device remotely to protect the device and/or data on the device.
- Students withdrawing from the district must have all outstanding device fees paid before withdrawing from school.
- Seniors must clear all records and pay all fees before they shall be allowed to participate in commencement exercises.
Any damage must be reported to school authorities immediately. Power adapters and sleeves must be returned or paid in full.
- First damage occurrence: $50.00 deductible to cover damage.
- Second damage occurrence: $50.00 deductible plus 25% of the repair cost to repair the laptop and possible loss of take home privileges.
- Third damage occurrence: $50.00 deductible plus 50% of the repair cost to repair the laptop and loss of take home privileges.
- Fourth damage occurrence: Fair market value to repair or replace the laptop or tablet.
HANDLING AND CARE
- Keep the device in the district-issued or approved sleeve and case.
- Keep the device and sleeve free of any writing, drawing, stickers, or labels that are not applied by RCSD.
- Use the device on a flat, stable surface.
- Do not place books on the device.
- Do not have food or drinks around the device.
- Wipe surfaces with a clean, dry soft cloth.
- Avoid touching the screen with pens or pencils.
- Do not leave the device exposed to direct sunlight or near any heat or moisture sources for extended periods of time.
- Do not remove the district provided case.
- It is the user’s responsibility to recharge the device’s battery so it is fully charged by the start of the next school day.
- Devices with no battery life must be charged in the classroom. The student may be required to forfeit use of the device for the entire time it takes to charge it.
- All class work missed because of uncharged batteries must be made up on a student’s own time.
- Transport the device in its protective case and sleeve.
- Do not leave the device in a vehicle for extended periods of time or overnight.
- Do not leave the device in visible sight when left in a vehicle.
MONITORING AND SUPERVISION
- Do not leave the device unattended in an unlocked classroom or during an extracurricular activity.
- Do not lend the device to a classmate, friend, or family member. If any person damages the device it will be the user’s (parent/guardian in the case of a student) responsibility and the damage cost policy will be in effect.
- Any attempt to “jailbreak” or remove the RCSD profile could result in disciplinary action, including suspension.
- Students are responsible for the safety and security of the device and any activity on the device.
All users are responsible for keeping backups of important data. If a device has to be repaired there may be a need to reset it to the original settings. The technology department will not be responsible for any user data that might be lost as a part of this process.
HELP AND SUPPORT
Each school will have a designated technology support person. Teachers, staff, and student tech team members will be the only individuals to submit RCSD technology work orders or call the RCSD Technology Help Desk. Students will contact their teachers as a first level of support. If the student needs additional assistance they will visit the designated technology support area at their school. An authorized individual will contact the technology department for additional assistance as needed.
USE OF PERSONAL LAPTOPS AND TABLETS
Students will not be allowed to use their personal laptops or tablets in place of a district device. The goal of the 1:1 initiative is to provide every student with the same device. If a parent refuses a device for home use, the student will be allowed to check out a device at school for use in class. The district is not able to provide support or install software on personal devices; therefore, the use of personal devices is not a viable alternative to a district provided device.
Sex-Related Education (ICG, 6/14/2017)
The Rankin County School District believes that every student has the right to accurate information concerning the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. The School Board is committed to fostering community partnerships that educate both students and parents about this important topic.
The Rankin County School District seeks to affirm its commitment to creating healthy and responsible teens in the Rankin County School District by fully complying with the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, Section 37-13-171, and by:
- Adopting educational programs designed to help students and parents take action to reduce rates of teen birth and sexually transmitted infections and integrating such programs into already established classes, and
- Establishing principles, guidelines, and strategies for implementing effective sex education programs, referred to in state law as “Abstinence-Only” education programs.
The district shall utilize an age-appropriate, evidenced based, medically accurate, Abstinence-Only curriculum from the list of curricula approved and recommended by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), including as one choice the curricula of Abstinence-Only developed by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and the Mississippi Department of Health, if such curricula are on the MDE’s approved curriculum list.
The Rankin County School District adopts a Mississippi Department of Education approved “Abstinence-Only Education Curriculum” and
- Requires the implementation of such program and curriculum in the Rankin County School District effective at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year,
- Requires boys and girls to be separated into different classes when sex-related education is discussed or taught,
- Prohibits any teaching that abortion can be used to prevent the birth of a baby, and
- Prohibits instruction and demonstrations on the application and use of condoms.
Abstinence-Only education includes any type of instruction (on a grade and age appropriate basis) that teaches some or all of the following:
- the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity, and the likely negative psychological and physical effects of not abstaining;
- the harmful consequences to the child, the child’s parents and society that bearing children out of wedlock is likely to produce, including the health, educational, financial and other difficulties the child and his or her parents are likely to face, as well as the inappropriateness of the social and economic burden placed on others;
- that unwanted sexual advances are irresponsible and teaches how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances;
- that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage, and fidelity within marriage, is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases and related health problems;
- the current state law related to sexual conduct, including forcible rape, statutory rape, paternity establishment, child support and homosexual activity; and
- that a mutually faithful, monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for sexual intercourse.
No program of instruction under this Abstinence-Only curriculum may include anything that contradicts excluded components specified in state law. The instruction program may include a discussion on condoms or contraceptives, but only if that discussion includes a factual presentation of the risks and failure rates of those contraceptives.
Each school providing instruction or any other presentation on human sexuality in the classroom, assembly or other official setting shall be required to provide no less than one (1) week’s written notice thereof to the parents of children in such programs of instruction. The written notice must inform the parents of their right to request the inclusion of their child for such instruction or presentation. The notice must also inform the parents of the right, and the appropriate process, to review the curriculum and all materials to be used in the lesson or presentation. Upon the request of any parent, the school shall excuse the parent’s child from such instruction or presentation, without detriment to the student.
The superintendent, or his/her designee, shall establish procedures to support this policy. The Superintendent will provide the Rankin County School District with an annual report on the outcomes of the Abstinence-Only education program. If funding is available, this report shall include quantitative as well as qualitative analysis of the program and shall include the perspective of students, teachers, and parents/guardians.
Review of Policy
This policy will be reviewed on an on-going basis in accordance with the Board’s policy review process. This policy shall comply with all applicable provisions of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, including but not limited to 37-13-171, 37-13-173, 37-13-175, as amended and with all other applicable federal and state laws.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act
ESEA prohibits the use of funds authorized under this Act to be used to:
- Develop or distribute material, or operate programs or courses of instruction directed at youth, that are designed to promote or encourage sexual activity, whether homosexual or heterosexual,
- Provide sex education or HIV-prevention education in schools unless that instruction is age appropriate and includes the health benefits of abstinence, and
- Operate a program of contraceptive distribution in schools.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-13-171, 37-13-173, 37-13-175
Student Activities (JH, 5/22/2019)
The Board recognizes the educational values inherent in a broad, varied, and well-directed student activities program. Participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities at the school should be considered by all concerned as a privilege rather than a right.
School-sponsored and student-led clubs are permitted in the district. Students may participate in extra-curricular activities, such as clubs, with the permission of their parents. All clubs involving students shall require and maintain for inspection by the superintendent or the superintendent's designee a signed written parental permission form for each student participant involved in the club. The superintendent shall cause a standard parental permission form to be made available for all clubs.
- School-sponsored clubs: No student may attend or become a member of a school-sponsored club without signed written parental permission forms for each student participant. Supervising teachers or supervising faculty of school-sponsored clubs shall maintain for inspection signed written parental permission as part of that person's responsibilities of club leadership.
- Student-led clubs: No student may attend or become a member of a student-led club without signed written parental permission forms for each student participant. Supervising teachers or supervising faculty of student-led clubs shall maintain for inspection signed written parental permission as part of that person's responsibilities of club supervision or sponsorship.
Principals are responsible for the co-curricular and extracurricular programs in their schools, operating them in accordance with Board policies, state regulations, and directives from the superintendent.
Co-curricular and extracurricular activities will be an integral part of the total educational program of the district. These activities will be governed by the rules and regulations as outlined in the current handbook of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, Inc.
Additionally, these activities will function under the by-laws or such set of rules established by the organization, with the approval of the principal.
Principals shall assure that no classroom instructional time is lost by students in soliciting funds for any activity, in operating any concession stand, or in attending club meetings.
The scheduling of competition in extracurricular activities (band, speech, debate, choral groups, drama, etc.) is discouraged during State testing days.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Public School Accountability Standards; Mississippi High School Activities Association Handbook
Intramural/Interscholastic Athletics (IDFA, 9/14/1994)
Interscholastic athletic activities shall be under the supervision of the principal or his designee. The program shall be governed by the rules and regulations of the Mississippi High School Activities Association, Inc.
All participants in student athletics must participate in an insurance plan by purchasing a policy in the amount required, depending on grade level, or have parents sign an affidavit stating that they have adequate coverage of their own for the child. The athletic funds may be used to pay partial cost of insurance for each varsity athlete.
Students in grades K-6 shall not be permitted to participate in any interscholastic competitive sports program.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-11-9, 37-7-301
Student Insurance Program (EGB, 9/14/1994)
Accident insurance under a group policy shall be made available to students enrolled in the schools of the District. Selection of the program shall be by the principal.
Students participating in student athletics are required to have accident insurance coverage. A signed affidavit from the students’ parents/guardian stating they have adequate coverage of their own for their child will be a suitable substitute for coverage under the student insurance program.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-11-9
Student Health Services (JGC, 9/14/1994)
Any student participating in any school sponsored athletic program, including cheerleading, will have a physical examination prior to participation in any practice activity or inter-scholastic competition. The cost of such physical examination shall be the responsibility of the parent or guardian and shall be performed by a qualified medical practitioner who shall certify in writing that the student is medically fit to participate in the athletic programs offered by the school.
Vision and hearing screenings may be performed by the school on any student suspected of having visual or auditory difficulties that could affect educational performance. Any potential problems identified during the screening will be reported to the parent, guardian, or custodian.
Gifted Education Program (IDE, 2/22/2017)
It is the mission of the Board to provide an educational program that addresses the unique needs of gifted students by providing appropriate, qualitatively different options in addition to regular classroom instruction. The goal of providing optimal opportunities for gifted students to realize their maximum potential can be met through a multidimensional approach that involves students in leadership, decision making, and creative yet practical problem solving activity.
Students will be identified and considered for placement in the program in accordance with District procedures and State Department of Education regulations. The program will be offered to eligible students in each attendance zone with participation elective on the part of the student and parent. Private testing will only be accepted after the final day of school each year and no later than the second week prior to the first day of school. No eligible student will be placed in the gifted program until signed parent consent has been obtained.
The instructional program for the gifted student will meet standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education. Teachers and students will work cooperatively within the given framework to design a program specific to their needs and interests so that motivation will be maximized. When students miss regular classroom assignments due to participation in the gifted program, no grade is taken.
The progress of each student in the gifted program will be assessed at least annually to determine need for continuing services. Parents will be informed if school personnel see need for removal of a student from the program for any period of time. Specific District procedures for removal of a gifted student from the program must be followed. Parental consent for removal is not required.
The success of the gifted program is contingent upon the commitment of the District and the staff. The Board will make the necessary commitment to promote optimal learning experiences and provide for staff development needs.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-23-173 through 37-23-181; Mississippi Department of Education Gifted Program Regulations
In order for any student to qualify for free or reduced price meals, there must be a current application on file for the student. All students in the household must be on the same application. If there is not a SNAP or TANF case number, monthly income information is necessary. Applications are available at the Child Nutrition office or the local school. Applications may also be submitted online from the RCSD website.
In compliance with USDA regulations, RCSD adopted the following policies:
Child Nutrition is a Federal Program. Meals cost cannot be charged in the cafeteria. However, the principal may establish a school loan fund for use by students in emergencies or when the student does not have the necessary funds to pay for a meal. If loan funds are not available, the student WILL be given a well-balanced alternate meal set forth by the district food service office (2oz grilled cheese sandwich, the menu choice of fruits, vegetables and a variety of milk). Authorized school officials shall investigate repeat cases of no lunch funds or emergency circumstances.
Students will pay cash on a daily basis or pay in advance to their account(s). Credit for unused meals will be carried over.
- Charges will not be made to adults or children.
- Checks will be accepted for lunch/breakfast sales. Please put your child’s school ID number on the face of your check. If a family has more than one child at school, one check per child is required.
- Extra food sales, including milk and water, are to be paid for with cash daily or money may be put on the student’s general account to purchase these items. These items may not be purchased from the meal account.
Rankin County School District’s Child Nutrition Department offers My Payments Plus to the parents throughout the School District. My Payments Plus is a prepayment system that allows parents to make deposits into their children’s accounts via the web at www.mypaymentsplus.com. This computer program allows parents to pay for the student’s meals using a credit or debit card. Meals may be paid anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My Payments Plus App is also available for IOS and android devices and cell phones.
MY PAYMENTS PLUS SYSTEM PERMITS PARENTS TO:
- Make and view online payments
- View student’s balance
- View student’s purchase history
- Set up email alerts when a student’s balance goes below a specified amount
- Set up automatic payments when a student’s account reaches a specified low balance in their account
DIRECTIONS TO SET UP AN ACCOUNT ON MY PAYMENTS PLUS:
- On the web, type www.mypaymentsplus.com
- Follow the on-screen instructions to create an account
- Add your student(s) using their Student ID number
- IMPORTANT NOTE: The Student ID number is available from the school office. To add a Student’s ID number to My Payments Plus it must be 9 digits long. You may need to add zeros to the beginning of their ID number to make it 9 digits long.
ONCE MY PAYMENTS PLUS IS SET UP:
- Parents are able to put money on the student’s account which can take up to 48 hours to process and be available for the students use.
- There are 2 accounts that funds can be added to:
- Meal Account: Strictly for reimbursable meals
- General Account: For extra sale items and can be used for meals
- Parents can also view foods purchased by their children, including extra sales.
- There is an option that can be selected to notify parents when the account gets below a specified amount.
USDA regulations require all secondary schools to implement the “offer vs. serve” provision. This allows students to select a minimum of three of the five meal components for their lunch and it must include a fruit or vegetable.
Students who purchase a tray are allowed to purchase extra sale items. Only foods which meet the criteria of a meal component can be sold. Students who bring their lunch are able to purchase milk, water or ice cream. No carbonated soft drink cans/bottles are allowed in the cafeterias.
A Board of Education ruling allows the sale of food on campus up to one hour prior to the meal service period and after the period ends. This refers to the time when the first students go to breakfast or lunch. This ruling is a RCSD policy and is strictly enforced.
Students who wish to purchase more than one lunch tray will be required to pay the adult price on the second tray. USDA allows only one meal per student for reimbursement.
Student Conduct (JCA, 9/14/1994)
The Board acknowledges that students must learn acceptable behavior patterns to enable them to be responsible, self-disciplined, contributing members of society. It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent to develop student codes of conduct, in consultation with teachers, school personnel, students, and parents/guardians, as all contribute to the maintenance of a climate conductive to learning. The student codes of conduct/discipline plan shall be included in the student handbook or similar publications and the parent/guardian shall sign a statement verifying that they have been given notice of the district discipline/conduct policies. Annually, the official discipline/conduct policies shall be reviewed to insure compliance with applicable statutes, case law, and state and federal guidelines.
The conduct/discipline plan of the district shall include, but not be limited to:
- Specific grounds for disciplinary action
- Procedures to be followed for acts requiring discipline
- An explanation of student rights and responsibilities
Except in cases of excessive force or cruel and unusual punishment, a teacher or other member of the instructional staff, a principal or his designated representative, or a bus driver shall not be civilly liable for any action carried out in conformity with state law and Board rules regarding the control, discipline, suspension, and expulsion of students.
The parent, guardian, or custodian of a student in the district shall be financially responsible for any destructive acts of the minor child against school property or persons and any criminal fines brought against such student for unlawful activity occurring on school grounds. Further, a parent, guardian, or custodian can be required to attend a discipline conference regarding these acts when properly notified by an appropriate school official.
Every student within the Rankin County School District shall have the right to take reasonable actions as may be necessary to defend himself or herself from an attack by another student who has evidenced menacing or threatening behavior through bullying or harassing. Furthermore, the Rankin County School District defines “reasonable actions including but not limited to promptly reporting the behavior to a teacher, principal, counselor, or other school employee when subjected to bullying or harassing behavior.
Legal Reference: MS Code §37-11-55, §37-11-53, §37-11-57, §37-11-69
Student Conduct in School / Code of Conduct (JCB, 7/22/2020)
Each student will be responsible for providing a positive, safe, and healthy educational environment for others by maintaining order, self-discipline, and having consideration for the rights and property of others. The accomplishment of this objective will entail the following:
- Each student will bear the responsibility for his or her own conduct, including responsibility for neatness and cleanliness of personal attire and hygiene.
- Each student will respect the rights of other students, teachers, administrators and other school personnel and visitors as human beings and fellow citizens of the school community.
- Each student will respect the personal property of others and refrain from causing intentional damage or unnecessary wear and tear to books, facilities, school materials, school buildings and furnishings, and the personal property of others and obey all state laws pertaining thereto.
- Each student will refrain from violating all state laws, school discipline codes, or city ordinances and will refrain from:
- using profanity or inappropriate language.
- fighting or making threats.
- creating disturbances.
- carrying any weapon or any instrument which could be used as a weapon on school grounds or at school functions.
- intentionally injuring another person or acting in such a negligent or indifferent manner as to expose others to risk or danger of harm or injury.
- using threats or intimidation against any other person.
- denying others the use of school facilities or buildings.
- Each student will respect the health and safety of others and will refrain from:
- smoking or using; possessing on their person, in their automobile or vehicle, or in their locker; or transmitting tobacco, electronic cigarettes, vapors, spice on campus or at extracurricular activities.
- using, possessing, transmitting, or being under the influence of any alcoholic beverage.
- using, possessing, transmitting, or being under the influence of any narcotic substance, illegal or prohibited drug, or controlled substance as defined by state law.
- engaging in gambling or extortion.
- engaging in theft..
- assaulting or attempting assault of another person.
- producing excessive noise.
- engaging in any other unlawful activity.
- making suggestive sexual remarks to other persons, students, or teachers or engaging in any type of conduct or action relative in any way to sex or sexual advances or sexual threats or gestures to or in the presence of another person while at school, on the bus, or attending a school related activity or function of any type at any location.
- exposing one’s self sexually by the removal of clothing or the wearing of see through clothing or clothing that is otherwise inappropriate or which might jeopardize the enhancement of the educational process or learning environment.
- showing disrespect to or failing to obey instructions or requests of his/her/or a teacher, principal, or other school authority figure employed by the Rankin County School District, including bus drivers.
- Each student will respect the educational process and learning environment of others by refraining from:
- being absent from school for reasons that are unexcused or for reasons not associated with sickness, injury or death in the family unless excused in advance by the principal.
- any activities which diminish the rights of others and the opportunity for other students to receive an education and obtain the maximum benefit from a public education.
- A student who enhances their educational performance or allows other students to enhance their educational performance through any dishonest means shall be given a zero and is subject to suspension or expulsion for the remainder of the year.
Note: During times of pandemic, epidemic, or community spread of communicable disease, face masks/coverings will be required on buses since social distancing is not possible and may be required on school campuses. Face masks/coverings must follow the requirements of JCDB Dress Code for Students.
It shall be the responsibility of the superintendent and principals to develop such further rules and regulations as necessary to insure that students conduct themselves in a manner conducive to the best interest of the school and it shall be the responsibility of the students to obtain and follow such rules, oral or written, upon request and in an expedient, efficient, and timely manner.
When attending extracurricular activities, students are expected to follow the rules and regulations established for operation of the schools. Students failing to do so will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with District policy.
Due Process (JCAA)
School Bus Discipline Program (JCDAD)
Corporal Punishment (JDB)
Detention of Students (JDC)
Elementary and Secondary Level Rules and Consequences (JDC-E)
School Searches (JCDA)
Student Drug and Alcohol Testing (JCDABA)
Drugs and Alcohol (Possession or Reasonable Suspicion) (JCDAC)
Student Drug Testing Program Extracurricular Activities (JCDAB)
Gang Activity (JCBB)
Equal Educational Opportunities (JAA)
Section 504 Procedures (Students) (IDDHB)
Dress Code for Students (JCDB)
Student Records (JR)
Automobile Use (JGFF)
Cell Phone/Electronic Devices (JE)
Use of Tobacco and Smoking Devices (JCDAA)
Communicable Diseases (JGCC)
A student who has been suspended for more than ten (10) days or expelled has the right to a formal due process hearing. All aspects, circumstances and records of the student’s case shall be confidential and available only to authorized school officials dealing directly with the student or to the student’s parents, legal guardians or attorneys for the student or for the Board, or as directed by the court system or police department. The following procedures provide notice and opportunity to be heard in such matters.
The superintendent of schools or designee and the principal of a school shall have the power to suspend or expel a pupil for good cause, including misconduct in the school or on school property, on the road to and from school, or at any school-related activity or event or when such conduct by a pupil, including off campus conduct, in the determination of the superintendent/designee or principal, renders that pupil’s presence in the classroom a potential danger or potential disruption to the educational environment or an orderly educational process of the school or the education of others and are a detriment to the best interest and welfare of the pupils and teacher of such class as a whole, or for any reason for which such pupil might be suspended, dismissed or expelled by the school board under state or federal law or any rule, regulation or policy of the school district. If there be probable cause to believe that a student is guilty of off campus conduct involving a violation of a criminal offense where the penalty by statute provides for any amount of incarceration, the principal or Superintendent or designee may expel or suspend the student immediately.
For any suspension of more than ten (10) days or expulsion, a student shall have the right to a formal due process hearing, when requested in writing directed to the County Superintendent of Education; be represented by legal counsel, to present evidence; and to cross-examine witnesses presented by the district. (See Section VI. Conduct of Hearing.) Prior to any formal hearing, a case will be heard by the Disciplinary Determination Committee (DDC), as outlined in Section V. Appeals.
The student and the student’s parent, legal guardian or person in legal custody of the student may appeal an expulsion or a suspension of more than ten (10) days. The standard of proof in all disciplinary proceedings shall be a preponderance of the substantial evidence. The parent or guardian of the child shall be advised of this right to a hearing by policy notice or by the appropriate superintendent/designee or principal and the proper form shall be provided for requesting such a hearing upon written request.
In all cases of student discipline resulting in suspension of more than ten (10) days, all consideration of student disciplinary actions shall be conducted in accordance with standard board procedure. All decisions by the board shall be final except for appeal to the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi and then to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
In all cases of student discipline resulting in suspension for ten (10) days or less, the decision of the principal or his designee shall be final and not appealable except that the County Superintendent of Education shall have the discretion to review the record of the principal’s (or designee’s) decision upon written request of the student, his/her parent or guardian setting forth the reasons why the decision should be reversed or modified within twenty-four (24) hours of such decision, excluding weekends and school holidays.
I. HEARING BODIES. Cases of student discipline will be heard at the discretion of RCSD by one of the hearing bodies unless the accused elects to waive his rights to a formal hearing:
- Principal or his/her designee
- Disciplinary Determination Committee (DDC)
- Superintendent or his/her designee
- School Board (See Section VI. Conduct of Hearing.
II. PROCEDURE FOR WAIVING HEARING. In the event a student desires to waive the opportunity of a hearing or appeal when charged with an offense or rule violation, he/she or his/her parent or representative may do so. The student need only confer with the designated discipline authority, whereby the charge will be explained and the possible punishment explained. At that time, the student may waive a hearing before the official and punishment for the particular offense will be imposed.
III. JURISDICTION. The principal and/or superintendent, or their designees, of the respective schools of the district, shall have the jurisdiction to hear and decide on matters of student discipline and impose the necessary punishment once guilt or innocence is determined. Appeals from I.1, I.2 or I.3 above will be heard by the county school board and appeals from I.4 above shall be to the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi or as required by law.
IV. NOTIFICATION OF CHARGES. In all cases, the student will be orally informed of the charges lodged against him/her and the student shall have a right to respond and refute these charges. There need be no delay between the time that “notice” is given and the time of the hearing. A brief record or notes will be kept of these proceedings, and if the student so chooses, an appropriate appeal may be made from a given disciplinary decision for which the student feels aggrieved. To perfect or make an appeal for any suspension of more than ten (10) days or expulsion, the student must inform the building principal of his or her desire to appeal, in writing, and within twenty-four (24) hours, excluding weekends and school holidays.
V. APPEALS. Appeals by a student from a given local school disciplinary decision imposing suspension for more than ten (10) days or expulsion shall be to the Disciplinary Determination Committee (DDC). The DDC will consist of three building level administrators from within the school district, namely a principal or assistant principal from the local school, a district level administrator and the assistant superintendent of education in charge of expulsion hearings (or his/her designee). The DDC shall convene and meet within a reasonable period of time as circumstances may dictate and, if possible, during the period of suspension.
- The assistant superintendent of education in charge of expulsion hearings (or his/her designee) shall preside over all DDC meetings. At such meetings, the principal and student involved may appear and make a brief summary of the facts and circumstances in support of or against a particular charge or charges and in support of or against the disciplinary decision with respect thereto. The DDC may consider any written documentation or statements of witnesses and any and all other relevant matters presented by the principal or student.
- No formal rules of evidence shall apply to DDC meetings. Unless otherwise directed by the presiding assistant superintendent, no formal oath shall be administered to those appearing before the DDC. However, the DDC shall be the sole judge as to the truthfulness or reliability of all matters presented. All statements of witnesses, other than those of the principal, student and such student’s parent or guardian shall be submitted in written form, unless otherwise directed by DDC.
- At the conclusion of the meeting, the DDC shall adjourn and decide whether the disciplinary decision should be upheld, modified or overturned, based upon a majority vote. In making such decision, the DDC shall consider all matters presented and shall consider all relevant factors as set forth in board POLICY JDE. The decision of the DDC shall be rendered forthwith and delivered in writing to the parties. Thereupon, the meeting of the DDC shall conclude.
- If the student desires to appeal the decision of the DDC, the student shall inform the superintendent of education of such desire to appeal, in writing, by registered mail, within seven (7) days following the decision of the DDC.
All appeals from a decision of the DDC shall be de novo to the board of education. At the discretion of the board, such hearings may be conducted before a hearing referee designated by the board. In the event of an appeal to the board, the following procedures shall apply.
- The student affected shall be notified by letter of the specific charge or charges, the nature of the evidence to be presented against him (whether by affidavit or list of the witnesses and brief summary of their testimony) and of the time and place where the hearing will be held. Such notice shall be hand-delivered or mailed via certified mail and will be postmarked no less than five (5) days before the scheduled hearing.
- The notification will specifically inform the student: (a) that he may bring witnesses to testify in his behalf or present affidavits at the arranged hearing; (b) that he has the right to be accompanied by his parent and/or counsel of his own choosing, but that such counsel may participate only in advisory capacity.
- At least three (3) days prior to the hearing, the student shall provide to the school district, in writing: (a) a brief statement and explanation of his defenses to the charges; (b) the nature of the evidence to be presented by him (whether by affidavit or list of the witnesses and brief summary of their testimony); and (c) the name, address, and telephone numbers of the student and his parents and all witnesses to be offered at the hearing.
Failure to provide any of the above, a., b., or c., may resort in dismissal of the appeal and the original decision shall stand.
VI. CONDUCT OF HEARING.
A. Hearings will not be open to the public.
B. The hearings will be conducted by the hearing referee in an orderly manner. Any persons attempting to disrupt proceedings will be subject to immediate action on the basis of contempt or arrest and ejection from the building.
C. The accused will have an opportunity to be heard in his own defense by oral testimony. In any event, all findings of fact shall be based solely upon the testimony and evidence presented and shall be based upon proof of violation of a statute or policies, rules and regulations or directive of a teacher, principal, assistant principal, coach or person of authority of the school by the student, as charged by a preponderance of the evidence of the case as a whole.
D. The accused will have an opportunity to hear and refute all testimony against him. Where the evidence is presented in writing, he will have the right to see and refute such written testimony. The accused may present any relevant evidence on his behalf, may reply to charges in his own words and/or may present witnesses on his own behalf, and be represented by an attorney at his/her own expense.
E. All witnesses will present testimony under oath and be subject to cross-examination.
F. The burden of proof will rest upon those bringing the charge, and all matters upon which the decision is based must be produced at the hearing. No formal rules of evidence and/or procedure shall be followed. The hearing will be conducted in an informal and fair manner.
G. A certified court reporter will take and transcribe all evidence and testimony at the hearing. Where the hearing is held before a hearing referee, the entire transcript will be provided unto each member of the Rankin County Board of Education for review prior to a final board decision in the matter.
H. The student’s permanent status at the school will not be altered pending final disciplinary action on the charges. Except as provided for above or by law, the student’s right to be present on the campus and attend classes will not be suspended, except for reasons relating to the health, safety and well-being of the student, other members of the school community or school property, or unless said student’s presence poses a potential threat of disruption or potential danger of or disruption to the educational process or learning environment, as determined in the sole discretion of the County Superintendent of Education or designee.
A. Hearing before hearing referee: A transcript of the hearing will be prepared and forwarded unto each board member for review as soon as possible. The matter shall be set for a date certain before the board for a final vote and decision by the board as to the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken. Prior to making such decision, the student affected, or his attorney, shall be entitled to address the board for up to ten minutes and make a brief statement on the student’s behalf.
B. Hearing before the board: In any case where the hearing is held before the board itself, the board will issue its decision, in writing, to the student, to be delivered either by hand or by mail, within seventy-two (72) hours after the conclusion of the hearing, exclusive of weekends or school holidays or as soon thereafter as is practical or reasonable.
C. In cases of suspension or expulsion of more than ten (10) days, all appeals from the final action of the board shall be to the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi.
LEGAL REFERENCE: Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975)
School Bus Discipline Program (JCDAD, 7/22/2020)
The purpose of any rule or regulation related to school transportation service developed by the Rankin County School District is to insure the safety of our students and to provide for an orderly operation of school buses. Parents, students and school personnel can be most effective in promoting safety and orderly conduct when they work together.
Note: During times of pandemic, epidemic, or community spread of communicable disease, face masks/coverings will be required on buses since social distancing is not possible. Face masks/coverings must follow the requirements of JCDB Dress Code for Students.
In accordance with this goal, students utilizing school transportation services shall:
- Be at your assigned bus stop on time.
- Exercise extreme caution in getting from your assigned stop.
- Look in both directions before stepping from behind parked cars or crossing any roadway.
- Remain well off the road until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver indicates that it is safe to enter.
- Use handrails while entering or leaving the bus.
- Always cross the roadway in front of the bus when entering or leaving and walk approximately 10 feet ahead of front bumper.
- Talk in a normal, conversational tone of voice.
- Keep head, hands, arms, legs, body and articles inside the bus.
- Be courteous to and follow the instructions of the bus driver.
- Be respectful toward the bus driver and all other students.
- Sit in assigned seats.
- Remain seated at all times, keeping feet out of the aisles.
- Follow district dress code.
In addition to the above rules, the student SHALL NOT:
- Play on or near a roadway while waiting for the bus to arrive.
- Walk on the roadway when there is a sidewalk or pathway.
- Bring unauthorized articles on the bus such as pets, combustibles, large articles, weapons or related items.
- Smoke or use intoxicants.
- Use profane or indecent language.
- Fight, scuffle or hit others.
- Make vulgar gestures or curse.
- Throw objects.
- Eat or drink while on the bus.
- Spit on or out of the bus.
- Trip others when entering/exiting the bus.
- Make harassing gestures or comments, sexual or otherwise.
- Leave or enter the bus at any place other than their assigned school or assigned bus stop without prior approval from their principal or transportation director. Student conduct at the bus stop is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.
- Commit any other act of misconduct not specifically named herein.
- Forge signatures on bus discipline reports.
- Tamper with equipment.
Violation of any of these rules may result in the administration of appropriate disciplinary action by the school principal including, but not limited to, corporal punishment and/or loss of bus transportation services indefinitely for the remainder of the school year. These violations may be governed by a point system set by the superintendent or his designee for purposes of disciplinary action.
Bus Discipline Program
In order to be successful, an effective school bus discipline program requires the cooperation of parents, students and educational personnel. All parties must work together toward the common goal of insuring that students are transported safely and economically to and from school.
The Board, recognizing the fact that student misconduct can jeopardize the safety of others, does hereby adopt the following procedures relative to student discipline for school bus transportation services:
- When possible or appropriate, parents and students should be notified of general activities of a student considered to be inappropriate on buses.
- An adequate supply of forms designed to report student misconduct will be provided each bus driver.
- All bus drivers shall promptly make a written report of any misconduct by a student to the principal or designee.
- The principal or designee shall make a prompt due process investigation of the misconduct reported by the bus driver and, based upon the information developed through this investigation, administer such disciplinary action as deemed appropriate. Where the misconduct relates in any way to the safety of others or distracts the bus driver from the performance of his duties, the principal may automatically suspend a student for up to ten (10) days and recommend expulsion from the bus for the remainder of the school year.
- In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, the principal or designee shall consider the age of the child, the severity of the offense, previous reports of misconduct by the student, and any other information considered relevant to the current situation.
- Students will be subject to immediate suspension or expulsion of the privilege of school transportation services indefinitely or for the balance of the school year if their misconduct constitutes a threat to their safety and of others, results in the destruction of public or private property, distracts the bus driver or potentially interferes with the normal or safe operation of the school bus. When possible, the parent should be notified of said suspension of bus riding privileges in writing and by telephone.
- Principals or designee shall be allowed to suspend students from school transportation services for a maximum of ten (10) days for each reported incident or misconduct.
- All due process rights of students shall be observed in the disciplinary process.
- Principals or designee shall attempt to notify parents of misconduct of their child on school buses who shall cooperate with school officials in correcting the behavior problem(s) of the student, if the student wishes to continue to be provided transportation services.
- Upon the recommendation of the principal and with the approval of the superintendent (or the superintendent’s designee) and after an inquiry and finding by the superintendent (or his designee) as to the probability of guilt of the student as to the misconduct charged, a student may be expelled from any and all transportation services indefinitely and/or for the balance of the school year. This expulsion can be immediate, if the student’s misconduct potentially jeopardizes the safety of bus occupants, the general public, or himself or constitutes a threat to such safety or if the student fails to indicate a willingness to correct his/her behavior. The decision on expulsion can be appealed by the student, his parent or legal guardian by writing the superintendent within seven (7) days of the date of notification of the action and requesting a formal hearing. Upon such request by the parent or legal guardian of the student, a due process hearing shall be conducted by the Board or its hearing officer or designee within thirty (30) days. A written transcript shall be provided to the Board which shall make a final decision by majority vote thereon within a reasonable time from the date of being provided a copy of the transcript. Any appeal therefrom shall be to the State Court of appropriate jurisdiction.
- Principals shall retain for future reference all reports of student misconduct and records of action taken to resolve the problem.
- Parents are encouraged to report to the principal any incident related to their child which could ultimately result in a disciplinary problem if not immediately corrected.
- The driver or principal shall have the authority to designate seating if necessary to maintain order.
- The superintendent or his designee is hereby authorized by the Board to take such further or necessary action as may be necessary to protect the safety, health and well-being of all students, passengers and the general public as may be affected by the Rankin County School District bus transportation program, including the promulgation of rules of discipline and conduct of students.
If any otherwise eligible child living within the Rankin County School District boundaries becomes ineligible, for any reason, disciplinary or otherwise, to ride a Rankin County School District school bus, and the parent(s) or legal guardian of such child shall thereafter refuse to personally or otherwise provide for said child’s transportation to and from school, in a timely manner, and as directed by the principal, assistant principal or superintendent, then such child shall thereupon be suspended from school attendance for reasons associated with the safety of said student and school property (and so as to prevent said child from remaining at school, unattended and without supervision) and such cause shall be thereupon referred to the Youth Court of Rankin County, Mississippi by the principal or superintendent and to the Department of Human Services for inquiry as to, but not limited to, whether such actions on the part of the parent or legal guardian constitute “neglect,” as defined by law.
If such parent or legal guardian is desirous of a hearing with respect thereto, the same shall be requested in writing within three (3) days of such suspension and not thereafter and such hearing may be thereupon conducted within a reasonable time. Such hearing may be conducted by a hearing officer appointed by the Board of Education with the final decision thereon to be made by the superintendent or assistant superintendent within five (5) days of said hearing. Such decision, if adverse to the student, parent or legal guardian, may be appealed to the School Board by providing unto the Board a certified transcript of the proceeding, which shall be paid for in advance and prior to the hearing by the appealing party. The Board shall thereupon make its final decision within a reasonable time, and after affording the aggrieved party of an opportunity to be heard; appeals from the decision of the School Board (Trustees) shall be to the Chancery Court of Rankin County, Mississippi.
Corporal Punishment (JDB, 7/17/2019)
The Rankin County Board of Education recognizes the use of corporal punishment by teachers and administrators as a means to correct misconduct of students, to preserve an effective educational environment which is free from disruption, and to further the educational mission of the Board. Corporal punishment shall be administered in a fair, reasonable, and impartial manner. However, school personnel is prohibited from using corporal punishment on any student with a disability. A student with a disability is any student who has an IEP or Section 504 plan (MS Code 37-11-57, revised July 1, 2019). A public school teacher, assistant teacher, principal, assistant principal, or other school personnel shall not be granted immunity from liability for the use of corporal punishment on a student with a disability.
The procedure for administering corporal punishment is as follows:
- Corporal punishment, generally, should be used only when other efforts to correct misconduct have been found to be ineffective with a student.
- Prior to the decision to administer corporal punishment, the student shall be informed of the misconduct charged against him.
- If the student denies having committed the misconduct, an investigation of the facts shall be made prior to the administration of corporal punishment.
- After a decision has been made to administer corporal punishment, a student shall be informed, in the presence of another certified educator, of the reason for the punishment.
School officials should consider the following factors in administering corporal punishment:
- Age, size, and the physical and mental condition of the student
- Size, strength, and temperament of the disciplinarian
- All corporal punishment shall be administered by certified staff in a private setting within the school and not in view of any other students. At least one additional certified educator shall be present during the administration of corporal punishment.
- Any instrument used to administer corporal punishment shall be such as not to cause either temporary or permanent physical injury.
- Upon request, the person administering corporal punishment shall provide to the student’s parent/guardian a written explanation of the reasons for such punishment and the name of the other certified staff present.
- The principal shall maintain a record of all corporal punishment administered on the appropriate discipline form.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-11-57 Ingraham v. Wright 97 S.Ct. 1401 (1977)
Detention of Students (JDC, 9/14/1994)
A student may be required to be present for up to an hour before or after the instructional day as a means of disciplinary action provided the parent of the student has been notified of the detention and arrangements have been made for the student’s transportation. Twenty-four hour notice will be given so that transportation arrangements can be made by the parent. However, if the parent cannot or will not provide transportation, an alternate disciplinary procedure will be substituted.
Students who are detained must be supervised during said detention. Supervision will be provided by, or arranged for, by the teacher or principal who detains them.
Detention will not exceed one hour per instructional day but may be administered over several days in succession.
Saturday detention is permissible, at the discretion of the principal, provided the parent/guardian has been notified and has made transportation arrangements.
Professional staff are expected to follow the procedures established by the Board and the principal when detaining students.
Elementary and Secondary Level Rules and Consequences (JDC Exhibit, 6/8/2011)
The principal is responsible for designing disciplinary procedures that fit the needs of the local school and the situations that arise. Detention will not exceed one hour per instructional day. Principals will be responsible for designing rules with input from all stakeholders. It is also the responsibility of the principal to disseminate the rules to parents and students at the beginning of the school year.
Weapons (JCDAE, 6/26/2019)
The Board recognizes that the possession of handguns, firearms or other dangerous instruments or weapons on school premises or at school functions by persons other than duly authorized law enforcement officials creates an unreasonable and unwarranted potential risk of injury or death to District employees, students, visitors and guests and further creates an unreasonable and unwarranted potential risk of damage to properties of District employees, students, visitors and guest.
Because of such dangers, the Board hereby prohibits the possession of handguns, firearms or weapons or instruments that could possibly be used as a weapon in any form by any person other than duly authorized law enforcement officials on school premises or at school functions, regardless of whether any such person possesses a valid permit to carry such handgun, firearm or weapon.
Any student who possesses a knife, handgun, other firearm or other instrument which may be considered by school officials to be potentially dangerous and potentially capable of causing bodily harm shall be subject to automatic expulsion at the recommendation of the principal or County Superintendent. Such expulsion shall take place immediately, subject to the constitutional rights of due process and to a hearing with respect thereto within a reasonable period of time and upon request in writing by the student or his/her parent or guardian or representative. Students bringing a firearm or other weapon to school shall be expelled for a period of not less than one year, except when the superintendent modifies such expulsion requirements for an individual student in accordance with disability laws or case law decisions.
It shall be a violation of Rankin County School District rules, regulations and policies to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, on educational property the following weapons: any gun, rifle, pistol, other firearm of any kind, dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine, explosive, or any instrument having the effect or appearance of any such weapon or firearm.
It shall be a violation of Rankin County School District rules, regulations and policies to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, on educational property the following weapons: any BB gun, air rifle, air pistol, bowie knife, toy gun, dirk, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, metallic knuckles, razors and razor blades and any sharp-pointed or edged instrument (except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance).
A firearm means any weapon which will, or is designed to, or may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by action of an explosive. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: handguns, bomb, grenade, rocket with propellant of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, rifle, starter pistol, any firearm muffler/silencer or any form of any such weapon or as defined by state law.
A handgun means a pistol, revolver, derringer, or other firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet or other missile could possibly be discharged, the length of the barrel, exclusive of any revolving, detachable or magazine breech, which is less than sixteen inches.
A switchblade knife means a knife containing a blade or blades which open automatically by the release of a spring or similar contrivance.
Any teacher or other school employee who has possible knowledge of any kind of such an unlawful possession or violent act occurring on educational property or during a school related activity shall report such activity or act to the principal or assistant principal or superintendent, who shall notify the appropriate law enforcement officials, and the County Superintendent of Education. For purposes of this policy, educational property shall include any public school building, bus, public school campus, grounds, recreational area or athletic field in the charge of the principal or other premises and/or buildings being occupied or used by Rankin County School District for school related purposes and/or extra-curricular activities on-campus or off-campus or ceremonies associated with Rankin County School District. School personnel making such required report shall be immune from civil liability as this is presumed a good faith act.
It is the recognized law of the state that the youth court shall not order the enrollment or re-enrollment of a student that has been suspended or expelled by the district for possession of a firearm or weapon on school grounds or for commission of a violent act which resulted or could have resulted in the death or physical harm to another.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 43-21-261, 97-37-14, 97-37-17, 37-11-29, 43-21-621; Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 20 USC 2701 et.seq.; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; Section 921 of Title 18 of the US Code.
Suspension (JDD, 12/13/2017)
Suspension is the denial of the privilege of attending school in the regular pattern and is imposed after due process by the principal or his designee and will be counted as an unexcused absence. While under suspension, students shall not attend any day or night school functions. Students under out-of-school suspension shall not trespass or come upon or be found within any school buildings or grounds except for a pre-arranged conference with the principal. Students under in-school suspension shall follow an attendance schedule arranged by the principal.
VIOLATIONS LEADING TO SUSPENSION:
The Board authorizes the County Superintendent or the principal or their designee to suspend or expel according to law any student who commits one of the following violations:
- causes or attempts to cause damage to school property or private property located upon school grounds
- causes or attempts to cause physical injury to another person
- possesses on their person, or in their locker or automobile or transmits any firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object at school
- possesses, uses, transmits, or is under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, alcoholic beverage, tobacco, or any other controlled substance without medical sanction for prescriptive substances; possesses any other over the counter medication or drug or pill of any type, kind or nature while on campus without first securing the written permission of the school principal or his designee or school nurse practitioner or for failing to abide by all other prescription or non-prescription drug policies of the Rankin County School District or otherwise
- uses or copies the academic work of another and presents it as his own without proper attribution
- defies the valid authority of personnel or refuses to abide by oral or written instruction or directive
- is found guilty of inappropriate behavior of any kind which interferes with the ongoing educational process or seriously threatens the physical safety of others or engages in such other conduct that is likely to pose a threat to the educational process and learning atmosphere
- fails to follow reasonable requests and directives of a teacher, bus driver, school official or employee or to abide by the rules and regulations of the student handbook of each school which are hereby approved.
A given suspension shall be for a period of time not to exceed ten school days. The student will be informed of the charges orally or in writing by the principal or his designee. If the student denies the charges, he shall be given an explanation of the evidence that has accumulated against him and shall be given an opportunity to refute the charges. No time delay is necessary between the time a student is notified of charges and the time of hearing before the principal or his designee. The parent/ guardian/custodian shall be notified in writing of such suspension, and the reasons therefore. Further, the principal or his designee should make reasonable effort to contact the parent/guardian/custodian via telephone or personal contact to communicate the specific acts for which suspension was ordered and the length of the suspension. In all cases of student discipline resulting in suspension for ten (10) days or less, the decision of the principal or his designee shall be final and not appealable (Goss vs. Lopez) except that the County Superintendent of Education shall have the discretion to review the record of the principal’s (or designee’s) decision upon written request of the student, his parent or guardian setting forth the reasons why the decision should be reversed or modified within twenty-four (24) hours of such decision, excluding weekends and school holidays.
If a student’s presence poses a threat of danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, the student may be immediately removed from school. If a student is sent home during normal school hours, a parent/ guardian/custodian shall be notified before the student is dismissed.
School personnel may order the removal of a student for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days to the extent that such removals would be applied to children without a disability for the same offense or when the student’s behavior is deemed to be dangerous behavior. Additional removals of not more than ten (10) consecutive school days in that same school year for separate incidents of misconduct may be ordered.
- 10 Days or Less: When removals during the first ten (10) day period are less than ten (10) cumulative days, services are not required;
- Eleven Days or More: After a student has been removed from his or her current placement for more than ten (10) cumulative school days in the same school year, during any subsequent days of removal, services are provided.
When a student with a disability has been removed for more than ten (10) school days in a school year, a manifestation determination is conducted. If the behavior is determined to be a manifestation of the disability, an intervention plan will be reviewed and/or revised or implemented, if one is not already completed.
Weapons, Drugs, or Serious Bodily Harm: School personnel may order the removal of a student that results in a change in placement to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 days if:
- The student carries a weapon to school or to a school function or acquires a weapon at school or at a school function under the jurisdiction of Rankin County School District; or
- The student knowingly possesses on his person, automobile or locker or any area within his control or uses illegal drugs whether prescription, non-prescription or as otherwise defined by law or the Mississippi Code of 1972 as annotated or amended or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, prescription drug or non-prescription drug while at school or a school function under the jurisdiction of Rankin County School District.
- The student attempts to or inflicts or threatens serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of Rankin County School District or off campus as to create a presumption of unwarranted violent behavior which might constitute a threat to the safety or well being of others.
The district may first remove the student for up to ten (10) consecutive school days while convening the IEP committee to determine the student’s interim alternative setting.
The IEP committee will complete a manifestation determination. If the behavior is a manifestation of the disability, a functional behavioral assessment and positive behavioral intervention(s) will be reviewed and revised or developed. The IEP Committee will reconvene at the end of the 45 days to review and recommend the appropriate placement.
NOTIFICATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS:
In the event that a student commits one of the following acts either off school property or on school property or during a school related activity he is subject to suspension or expulsion under this policy and the principal is required to immediately report by telephone and then in writing the act to the appropriate law enforcement agency:
- aggravated assault resulting in serious physical injury
- sexual assault/battery
- sexual offense
- indecent liberties with a minor
- assault involving use of a weapon
- possession of a firearm in violation of the law
- possession or use of a weapon in violation of the law
- possession, sale, or use of any controlled substance in violation of the law
- simple assault upon any school employee
- other violent act (action resulting in death or physical harm or attempt to cause death or physical harm to another)
The principal making said required report or participating in any judicial proceeding resulting therefrom shall be presumed to be acting in good faith and, as such, shall be immune from any civil liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-7-301, 37-9-71, 37-11-29, 97-377-17, 37-13-91; Goss v. Lopez 419 U.S.565 Tinker v. Des Moines 393 U.S.503, 300 U.S.520
Expulsion (JDE, 6/26/2019)
Expulsion is the denial of school attendance for any period in excess of ten (10) school days sequenced consecutively. The decision to expel a student shall rest with the Board, based on the recommendation of the Superintendent and Principal and the evidence presented at a hearing before the Board or appropriate Hearing Officer, as may be appointed by the Board. Any student considered for expulsion shall receive proper notification consistent with state and federal due process requirements. Said student shall remain on suspension and out of school until such expulsion hearing is held if, in the opinion of the Superintendent, the student’s presence in school could be a disruptive influence to the educational process or within reason constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the student or others. The possession of illegal drugs or weapons or firearms on school property shall be deemed to constitute a threat to the health or safety of the students or others.
Admission or enrollment may be denied for up to one calendar year after the date of the expulsion to any student who has been expelled or is party to an expulsion proceeding for an act involving violence or the threat of violence, weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, or other activity that may result in expulsion. Students bringing a firearm upon school property shall be expelled for a period of not less than one year, except when the Superintendent modifies such expulsion requirements for an individual student in accordance with special education or disability laws or court decision or act of the legislature or the legal opinion of the Board attorney based upon the given facts, circumstances, or laws.
A given expulsion shall be for a period of time of eleven (11) school days sequenced consecutively (minimum) up to a period of one (1) calendar year (maximum). However, in extreme cases involving acts of violence or potential violence by a student, whether occurring on or off campus, and where the Superintendent has reasonable grounds based upon a due process investigation to believe that such actions constitute a threat or potential threat to the health or safety of others, expulsion may be deemed permanent, subject to court order or to the appeal rights of such student.
For any suspension of more than ten (10) days or expulsions, a student shall have the right to the hearing process. The first step in the process is an appeal to the Disciplinary Determination Committee (DDC). No formal rules of evidence shall apply to DDC meetings. At such meetings, the principal and student involved may appear and make a brief summary of the facts and circumstances in support of or against a particular charge or charges and in support of or against the disciplinary decision with respect thereto.
If the student desires to appeal the decision of the DDC, the student shall inform the superintendent of education of such desire to appeal, in writing, by registered mail, within seven (7) days following the decision of the DDC or thereafter be barred from further appeal.
The student shall have the right to a formal due process hearing, be represented by legal counsel, to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses presented by the district. The student and the student's parent, legal guardian or person in custody of the student may appeal suspension of more than ten (10) days and expulsions to the school board. The standard of proof in all disciplinary proceedings shall be a preponderance of the credible evidence.
The principal and/or Disciplinary Determination Committee, when contemplating the length of a given expulsion recommendation, and the Superintendent and/or Board, when contemplating a given expulsion, shall consider the following factors prior to making such recommendation or decision:
1. The mental and physical age of the student;
2. The prior academic and disciplinary record of the child;
3. Seriousness of the offense;
4. Whether violence, injury, or real threat of injury to the student or others involved;
5. Whether the act, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony;
6. In cases of possession of prohibited items, whether such possession is willful on the part of the student;
7. The student’s level of cooperation and truthfulness with regard to the infraction and with regard to any ancillary investigation of infractions by other students;
8. The overall best interest and welfare of the student involved and of the school population overall;
9. The likelihood of a repeat violation by the student involved;
10. The nature and extent and written opinion of professional counseling and/or treatment undertaken by the student with regard to a particular unacceptable behavior associated with the infraction;
11. Any and all other relevant matters and facts associated with the particular infraction, to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Superintendent or designee (assistant superintendent) has the authority to expel any student who commits one of the following violations while on school property or at any school-related activity or off-campus activity or behavior, regardless if that property is owned by Rankin County School District or not:
1. Possession of any controlled substance in violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Law;
2. Possession of a knife, handgun, other firearm or any other instrument considered to be dangerous and capable of causing bodily harm;
3. Commitment, or attempted commitment, of a violent act (any action which results or could result in death or physical harm to another).
4. Any behavior by student on campus or off campus constituting a felony or violation of the felony laws of the State of Mississippi
Such expulsion shall take effect immediately subject to the constitutional rights of due process and a hearing to be afforded the student upon written request for the same, such hearing to be held in a reasonable period of time. The procedure to be followed in the event of such appeal shall be as set forth under the District’s Policy JCAA Due Process.
Upon notification or discovery by the school district that an enrolling student has been expelled or threatened with expulsion from any public or private school or is party to a potential expulsion proceeding, the principal may deny enrollment or admission until the Superintendent (or his designee) has reviewed the student’s cumulative record and disciplinary notes and complete disciplinary files of the previous public or private school, to be immediately provided by the students or his/her parent or guardian, and determined to his/her satisfaction and discretion that the student does not constitute a potential threat to the safety of self or others or has participated in successful rehabilitative efforts or requirements of the previously attended school and the Rankin County School District. Admission may be tentatively approved for students who are party to an expulsion proceeding pending final disposition, provided the student and his/her parent or guardian have been cooperative with the RCSD in submitting all requested records and in the execution and signing of a waiver or waivers releasing all requested disciplinary or other records to the RCSD. If said proceeding results in expulsion, admittance may be revoked.
When a student is expelled for criminal behavior or activity, the Superintendent shall notify the parent/guardian/custodian, youth court, and law enforcement of such action, in writing.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 43-21-151, 43-21-261, 37-9-14, 37-15-9; Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 20 USC 2701 et. Seq.; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act; Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
School Searches (JCDA, 11/14/2018)
Students possess the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures under the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Balanced against this right is the school officials’ desire to create and maintain a safe and drug free environment consistent with the educational mission of the school. School officials have a duty to use reasonable discretion and judgment to the extent economically practical, and within their authority to protect the health, safety and welfare of all students under their authority.
Students shall not bring to school items, materials, objects, weapons, knives or substances (i.e. drugs, alcohol, cigarettes) which would tend to be considered as harmful or dangerous or as may disrupt the educational function or process of the school if such were known to the general population of the school or public or which are prohibited by school board policies or local rules or by law or common sense. Examples of such items or objects or of substances in this category include but are not limited to: weapons, ammunition, clubs, explosives, firecrackers, knives, guns, replicas of guns, dangerous or pointed or simulative objects, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and/or nonprescription drugs or “scheduled substances” as defined by law, or drug paraphernalia or prescription drugs which have not been first carried to and approved by the Principal to the parent(s) in writing.
Reliable circumstances, comments from credible sources, or observed student behavior which may place the safety or health of students or school staff at risk or which could result in substantial property damage also shall constitute “sufficient reason”as probable cause, for school or police officials to conduct a thorough search of all persons or school property or individual property found on campus. A bomb threat, drug possession (or alcohol or weapon possession) are examples of such an emergency. A valid or credible report of a gun in one’s possession or control of an object that resembles a gun is another example. A valid report of drugs or alcohol in one’s possession or control is another example. Where “reasonable suspicion” exists, school district administrators shall have a discretion to conduct a search of said properties or persons, in accord with the law and the need to protect students, staff and visitors.
STUDENT PROPERTY SEARCHES
School authorities are authorized to conduct reasonable searches of students or their property when “reasonable suspicion” (a suspicion based upon factors for which there is a valid reason to believe that a violation of school policy or the law is likely to have – more likely than not – occurred) and facts and reliable reports indicate that a particular student is or has been in possession or control of an item or a substance that represents a violation of school policy or school rules or of the law or that a substantial threat to school decorum and peace or safety exist. Student property shall include, but not be limited to, purses, bookbags, pockets, clothing, bags and vehicles parked on or near the school campus. School authorities reserve the right to conduct random or directed sniff searches with animals of school property, student property and student-driven vehicles where “reasonable suspicion” exists to do so and to utilize detection devices such as metal detectors at all times and without “reasonable suspicion,” and to call upon the expertise of and cooperate with law enforcement in this regard.
With regard to possession of items that may constitute a violation of law, or school policy or rules, school authorities may wish in their discretion to summons or call the appropriate law enforcement agencies in the interest of preserving the integrity of the educational mission of the school and the safety of all on the premises.
LOCKERS AND OTHER SCHOOL PROPERTY SEARCHES
Lockers and other storage spaces are provided to students for their temporary use and convenience, but ownership and property interests is retained at all times in the Rankin County School District. These storage areas remain school owned property and, as such, are subject to periodic inspections and search by school authorities, without notice. The purpose of such inspections is not to collect evidence of wrong doing on the part of a single student without “reasonable suspicion”, but rather to allow school authorities responsible for the educational mission of the school, the opportunity to confirm that lockers are being used in a positive, safe, legal manner consistent with good school decorum and to promote the health, safety, and welfare of all students. Students are therefore warned in advance by this policy and otherwise not to store items in these school owned lockers or cabinets which they do not want to bring to the attention of school or law enforcement authorities, or which may be illegal, dangerous or in possible violation of school board policy or school rules. All students and parents/guardians requesting use of school-owned lockers do hereby give this consent to school district administration to randomly examine the contents of any locker applied for or assigned to any student for purposes of the safety and health of all students at any time
THE PROCEDURE FOR LOCKER/SCHOOL PROPERTY SEARCHES IS AS FOLLOWS:
(a) Accordingly, students and parents/guardians are hereby notified that the principal or designee shall maintain a list of all locker assignments and retain either a master key or combinations to all lockers before issuing a copy key or lock combination to the student. The principal or designee shall inform the student at time of assignment of the right of school to conduct periodic random inspections or inspections based upon “reasonable suspicion” as defined, as such locker privilege is discretionary with the principal and may by revoked at any time with or without cause. The school locker shall remain the property of the RCSD, subject to full discretion of the administration to allow temporary and non-exclusive use thereof by the student(s)
(b) At the time a student is assigned a locker or other storage space, he or she may be informed that school authorities are authorized by this policy and empowered to conduct random periodic inspections of school lockers and contents and that each student shall be responsible for the contents and held accountable for all content therefore, as students are not given exclusive privileges to use the property as such privilege is discretionary with the principal and may be revoked at any time with or without cause.
(c) Students also will be informed of the following locker regulations:
- Each student is responsible and solely accountable for the contents of the locker assigned to them and shall not share his/her key or lock combination with others and shall not change the lock or combination for any reason without the written consent of the principal.
- Each student is to keep his/her locker locked at all times with only the lock and key provided by the school principal upon initial assignment, with school district and officials being allowed by this policy to retain an assigned duplicate key or master lock combination.
- No student shall be allowed to give other students or persons access or a key or the combination code to their individual locker, and student(s) shall not make duplicate keys without written permission of the principal.
- For the safety and health and best interests of all students, each student desiring use of a school owned locker shall hereafter, sign, along with parent(s) or guardian(s), Been deemed to have consented to an examination or search of the locker by the school district administration thirty (30) days after public approval of the first reading of this policy by the school board.
The procedures for searching the person or property of the individual students shall be as follows:
(a) Searches or inspections of students or their property will be authorized by the principal or his designee only.
(b) A student may be searched by school authorities when school authorities have “reasonable suspicion”, as previously defined, that the search is likely to produce evidence or items or objects or substances that the student has in his or her possession or control that is prohibited by school board policy or rules or by law, as set forth above in this policy. Such search of the student or his/her property shall be conducted in a reasonable manner and in private where possible with a witness or witnesses of the same gender as the student. In the event the student has given additional verbal or written consent to the search, such fact shall be noted in the official report of the principal or school official relative to the student or the investigation or examination.
(c) Searches based upon “reasonable suspicion” should be no more intrusive than necessary to discover that for which the search was instigated.
(d) Searches based upon “reasonable suspicion” may include, if school authorities think advisable under the circumstances , a frisk or pat-down of student clothing. Frisk or pat-down searches should be conducted by a member of the same sex as the student and in the presence of another staff member and at all times in private where practical (except in exigent or emergency type circumstances).
(e) Locker or personal vehicle searches shall be conducted in the presence of another staff member and in the presence of the student responsible for the contents of the locker, if practical, in the discretion of the principal.
(f) At no time should school officials conduct a search which requires a student to remove more clothing than his shoes or jacket unless the student consents verbally or unless in the discretion of the principal there exists an emergency constituting a threat or danger to the health, welfare or safety of the student, other students or staff or faculty. If school authorities are convinced that a more intrusive search is required to expose contraband or potential weapons, they should advise the proper law enforcement agency and/or the student’s parents, when practical, as soon as possible, of the grounds for their suspicion and conduct the search either with police participation or parental consent, if practical, under the circumstances.
(a) Student searches which disclose evidence of school misconduct, policy or school rules violations, but not criminal misconduct, should be treated according to applicable school board policies or local school rules or procedures regarding expected conduct.
(b) In the event that a student search discloses evidence of unlawful activity, the principal shall report such activity or acts to the appropriate law enforcement officials as required by law. If law enforcement officials are notified, the student’s parents should be advised of this fact as soon thereafter as possible or practical as law enforcement may direct.
NOTICE OF POLICY
Students and parents/legal guardians are hereby and will be provided notice of the district search policies via student handbook distributed to all students and by public adoption of this policy at a public school board meeting. A copy of said policy shall also be reasonably available for review in the county superintendent’s office and/or principal’s office and on the on-line website or at the specific request of a student or parent or in the school library or office of the principal. This policy shall be deemed effective thirty (30) days from the date of the first reading of approval by the school board.
LEGAL REFERENCE: Zamora v. Pomeroy 639 F. 2nd. 662 (10thDir. 1981); Horton v. Goose Creek Independent School District, F. 2nd470 (5thCir. 1982), cert. denied, 103 S. Ct. 35 (1983); New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 105 S. Ct. 733, 83 L. Ed. 2nd720 (1985); Tarter v. Raybuck, 742 F. 2nd977 (6thCir. 1984), cert. denied, 105 S. Ct. 1749 1985; MS Code 37-11-29.
Student Drug and Alcohol Testing (JCDABA, 6/26/2019)
In an effort to protect the health and safety of students from illegal and/or performance-enhancing drug use and abuse and to curtail the use of such drugs, the Board of Education (the “Board”) of Rankin County School District (the “District”) adopts the following policy for any student who wants to participate in the Rankin County School District’s Voluntary Student Random Drug Testing Program.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND INTENT
Although the Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff desire that no student use or possess illegal or performance enhancing drugs, we realize that our power to restrict the possession or use of such drugs is limited. Therefore, this policy governs only the use and possession of performance-enhancing and illegal drugs by students participating in the Rankin County School District’s Voluntary Student Random Drug Testing Program. This policy supplements and complements all other policies, rules and regulations of the District regarding possession or use of illegal drugs, including, but not limited to, all policies and rules concerning reasonable suspicion of the use or possession of such illegal drugs. Implementation and/or application of this policy does not prohibit the application of any other disciplinary policies of the Rankin County School District relative to drug violations by students. The policy also supplements and complements all laws and policies with respect to special education students.
The purpose of this policy is four-fold:
- To educate students about the serious physical, mental and emotional harm caused by illegal drug use,
- To alert students with possible substance abuse problems to the potential harms that drug use poses for their physical, mental and emotional well-being,
- To prevent injury, illness and harm to students that may arise as a result of illegal and performance enhancing drug use,
- To offer students school activities free of the effects of illegal and performance-enhancing drug use.
The administration shall adopt regulations to implement this policy.
- Voluntary Student means a member of any grade 7th through 12th or middle school or high school student whose parents or guardian gives consent to their child’s or children’s participation in the random drug testing program.
- Drug Test means a scientifically substantiated method to test for the presence of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs, or the metabolites thereof, performed by an independent testing laboratory.
- Random Selection Basic means a mechanism for selecting Voluntary Students for drug testing that:
- Results in an equal probability that any Voluntary Student from a group of Voluntary Students subject to the selection mechanism will be selected.
- Does not give the District discretion to waive the selection of any Voluntary Student selected under the mechanism, and
- Is administered by a professional testing laboratory employed by the District.
- Illegal Drugs means any substance that an individual may not sell, possess, use, distribute or purchase under either federal or Mississippi law. Illegal Drugs includes, but is not limited to, all scheduled drugs as defined by Miss. Code Ann. Sections 41-29-113, 41-29-115, 41-29-117, 41-29-119 and 41-29-121, all prescription drugs obtained without authorization, and all prescribed and over-the-counter drugs being used for an abusive purpose.
- Performance-enhancing Drugs include anabolic steroids and any other natural or synthetic substance used to increase muscle mass, strength, endurance, speed or other athletic ability. The term does not include dietary or nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals and proteins that can be lawfully purchased over-the-counter.
- Positive when referring to a drug test administered under this policy means a toxicological test result that is considered to demonstrate the presence of an illegal or a performance-enhancing drug, or the metabolites thereof, using the standards customarily established by the testing laboratory administering the drug test.
Each Voluntary Student shall be made aware of this policy, the Student Drug Testing Consent Form, and the Voluntary Random Drug Testing Withdrawal Form. Both the student and the student’s parent or custodial guardian must read, sign, and date the Student Drug Testing Consent Form. The Voluntary Random Drug Testing Consent Form will be active for the student’s entire tenure at the school in which the consent form was signed.
Voluntary Students will be chosen on a random selection basis from a list of all Voluntary Students and Activity Students. The District will determine the number of names to be drawn at random for drug testing. An independent
Testing laboratory will select the names of the Voluntary Students at random and will perform the drug testing. Any Voluntary Student selected at random must give urine, saliva, hair or other necessary specimen for testing as necessary at the determination of the testing laboratory.
A professional testing laboratory chosen by the District will administer the drug testing. The testing laboratory must use scientifically validated toxicological testing methods, have detailed, written specifications to assure chain of custody of the specimens and use proper laboratory control and scientific testing. A medical review officer of the testing laboratory shall review all positive test results.
The testing laboratory shall conduct all aspects of the drug-testing program, including the taking of urine or other necessary specimens, so as to safeguard the student’s personal and privacy rights to the maximum degree practicable. The test specimen shall be obtained in a manner designed to minimize intrusiveness to the student. If at any time during the sampling procedure the testing laboratory employee has reason to believe or suspect that a student is tampering with the specimen, the testing laboratory employee may stop the procedure to determine if a new sample should be obtained.
If the testing laboratory reports positive test results for prescription medications to a student’s parents or guardians, a Voluntary Student or his/her parents or guardians may submit additional information to the testing laboratory within 48 hours of notification of the student of the positive test results.
The professional testing laboratory shall confirm an initial positive test result by a second test of the same before a report is made to the District. The laboratory will inform the principal of the school and the Superintendent or his designee of positive test results. After a report of positive test results is made to the District, the principal will schedule a conference with the student and parents or guardian about the positive drug test results.
If a student, who is a participant in the Voluntary Drug Testing Program, wishes to withdraw from the Voluntary Drug Testing Program both the student and the student’s parent or custodial guardian must read, sign and date the Student Drug Testing Program’s Withdrawal Form and submit such form to the principal at his/her school, the date the Withdrawal Form is signed by the principal will be the date of withdrawal.
The testing laboratory will notify the student’s parents or guardians, the principal of the school that the Voluntary Student attends, and will also notify the Superintendent or his designee of any positive test results. To keep positive test results confidential, the principal will notify only the student, the student’s parent or guardian. Test results will be kept in files separate from the student’s other educational records, shall be disclosed only to those school personnel who have a need to know, and will not be turned over to any law enforcement authorities.
Any Voluntary Student who tests positive or refuses a drug test under this policy shall be subject to the following consequences:
- During a 28-day period, immediately following positive test result or refuses to be tested, the student must submit at least once, or more often as required, to mandatory drug testing at times determined by the testing laboratory.
- At the end of the 28-calendar-day period, the Voluntary Student will be tested on the last day of the 28-day period. At which time, if the testing laboratory determines that the student does not test positive for drugs, the student may be removed from the 28-calendar-day program.
- If the student tests positive or refuses to be tested at any time during the 28-day period, the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for 2 nine-weeks. This protocol is to be in effect for all illegal drugs with the exception of marijuana. If the student tests positive for marijuana, the 28-day removal period can be extended to 42 calendar days. At the end of the 42 day removal period a drug test will be administered to determine a test result. However, if the student’s level of marijuana metabolites increases during this removal period, this finding is to reflect a second positive and the student is to be immediately placed in the Alternative School for two nine week periods.
- If the student is reinstated, but at a later date in another random selection, he/she tests positive or refuses to be tested, the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for 2 nine-weeks.
Refusal to Submit to Drug Use Test
If a Voluntary Student fails to fully cooperate or refuses to submit to a drug test, the Voluntary Student shall be considered in violation of his/her consent agreement and will receive a positive drug test result status and will in turn automatically be subject to the guidelines as listed in Consequences. If, however, the Voluntary Student reconsiders his/her refusal and submits to a drug test within 24 hours of the initial refusal, the Voluntary Student will not be considered in violation of his/her consent agreement. In this event, the Voluntary Student and his/her parents or guardians will bear responsibility for contacting the testing laboratory used by the District and arranging for the testing laboratory to conduct a test within the 24-hour period from the time the student initially refused to submit to the test. If the testing laboratory has reason or suspicion to believe that the sample taken from such Voluntary Student has been adulterated or has been tampered with so as to affect test results, the testing laboratory shall deem it a refusal to submit to a drug test.
Each time voluntary student tests positive, the student is to receive counseling sessions. The number of counseling sessions will be determined by the counselor. However the number of counseling sessions will be no fewer than five (5) and parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to attend the first and last counseling sessions. If counseling session(s) are refused at any time the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for two (2) nine weeks.
Student/parent is responsible for making their first counseling appointment within five (5) business days of their positive test notification. Upon the second or subsequent missed counseling appointment without proper notification the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for two (2) nine weeks.
The District will rely solely on the opinion of the independent testing laboratory to determine whether the positive test result was produced by something other than consumption of an illegal or performance-enhancing drug. There shall be no appeal of the test results of the professional testing laboratory to a principal, the Superintendent or the Board of Education.
If, however, the Voluntary Student has tested positive for a second time so that the student will be transferred to the Alternative School, the student may appeal his/her transfer to Alternative School to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall make a determination, which the student may appeal to the Board of Education of the District. The decision of the Board of Education shall be final.
Rankin County School District is committed to cooperating with parents/guardians in an effort to help students avoid illegal drug use. The Rankin County School District believes accountability is a powerful tool to help students avoid using drugs and that early detection and intervention can save lives.
Drugs and Alcohol (Possession or Reasonable Suspicion) (JCDAC, 6/26/2019)
Students are prohibited from carrying, possessing in any manner or attempting to possess, using or selling alcoholic beverages, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, opium, heroin, their derivatives or compounds, drugs commonly called LSD, “pep” pills, tranquilizers, any other narcotic drugs, barbiturates, substances ingredients or compounds which, when taken orally, intravenously, inhaled, or consumed in any other manner, may cause the person to be under the influence thereof or any other controlled substance regulated by law. This will include any substance which is falsely represented to be a controlled or counterfeit substance.
Likewise, no student shall act in, aid, abet, assist, distribute or conceal the possession, and or the consumption, the purchase or the distribution of any illicit drugs or alcoholic beverages by another student or students.
The provisions of this policy shall not apply to any student who is under the care of a licensed physician and who is lawfully taking or in possession of medication which is prescribed under the supervision and direction of such licensed physician unless student is selling or distributing them in an illegal manner. With regard to prescription medications refer to Rankin County School District medication policy.
The provisions of this policy shall apply to all students during the period of time that they are under and/or subject to the jurisdiction of the Rankin County School District, while participating in or going to or from any school-related activity, at any place where an inter-scholastic athletic contest is taking place, during the course of any field trip, during the course of any trip sponsored by the Board, while under the supervision and direction of any teacher, principal or other authority of this school district, or when such conduct does or may threaten to interfere with or disrupt the educational process or pose a threat to the safety of the student or others.
This policy supplements all other disciplinary policies of the Rankin County School District relative to drug or alcohol violations. Implementation and/or application of this policy does not prohibit the application of any other disciplinary policies of the Rankin County School District relative to drug or alcohol violations by students and/or staff.
REASONABLE SUSPICION TESTING
The Rankin County School District may require any student to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test if there is reasonable suspicion that the student has or is using prohibited drugs and/or alcohol. Reasonable suspicion must be based on specific contemporaneous physical, behavioral or performance indicators of probable drug and/or alcohol use, which can be articulated. Requiring a drug and/or alcohol test is within the discretion of the Rankin County School District and is not a prerequisite to the administration of punishment under this policy.
Any or all of the following circumstances shall constitute grounds for reasonable suspicion of intoxication (excitement of stupefaction by alcohol or a drug to the point where physical and mental control is markedly diminished):
- Direct observation and/or confirmation by a Rankin County School District employee of drug and/or alcohol use or possession;
- Abnormal or erratic behavior indicating intoxication;
- Physical symptoms indicating intoxication including, but not limited to, glassy or bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, loss of balance, poor coordination or reflexes;
- First-hand information provided by reliable and credible sources of use, possession or intoxication;
- The presence of the drug or alcohol on the student, detectable by the senses, such as the smell of marijuana or alcohol;
- Possession of illegal drugs, prescription drugs for which student does not have a prescription, alcohol containers or drug paraphernalia.
A report from any source indicating reasonable suspicion that a student could be in violation of this policy shall be immediately given to a member of the administrative staff. The administrative staff member must determine that the circumstances constitute reasonable suspicion of drug and/or alcohol use before a student can be requested to take a drug or alcohol test under these provisions. The administrative staff member is required to write, in reasonable details, the facts, symptoms or observations, which form the basis of the reasonable suspicion.
Once the administrator finds reasonable suspicion, the administrator shall contact the parents/guardians. The student will be immediately removed from school for a drug/alcohol test to be conducted within 5 hours if the Rankin County School District decides to require submission to such test.
After the test is concluded, the student may not return to school on the day of the drug/alcohol test. However, the student may return the following school day after the drug/alcohol test at which time a conference will be held by the school administrators and the parents/guardians of the student.
NOTE: If a student admits to being under the influence of a drug(s) and/or alcohol the student should not be sent for a drug and/or alcohol test.
NOTE: If a student appears incoherent, semi-conscious, unconscious, convulsive, appears to be hallucinating, is in respiratory distress indicating danger or injury to the health and safety of the student, Rankin County School District personnel shall seek immediate medical attention before any other actions under this policy are undertaken. The health of the student shall be given priority.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING
Any student required to be tested under this policy will, when appropriate, be accompanied by a Rankin County School District employee and a parent/guardian when available to a laboratory, or such other place qualified for drug/alcohol testing at Rankin County School District’s expense. If circumstances are such that a Rankin County School District employee cannot accompany this student for testing, the parents/guardians will still be required to have the testing completed. All breath, urine, hair, blood and/or other specimens will be collected under reasonable and sanitary conditions. Individual dignity and privacy will be preserved to the extent practicable. Universally accepted standards for testing, labeling, storage and transportation of specimens will be strictly followed by the testing facilities. The Medical Review Officer will request information regarding prescription and non-prescription drugs and any other information, which could lead to a false positive test.
Refusal or failure to fully cooperate and take a drug and alcohol test under the conditions of reasonable suspicion shall be considered a positive drug and/or alcohol test result.
A student or parent/guardian may request a retest, but the results will only be considered if scientifically meaningful, timely performed and in compliance with the Medical Review Officer’s guidelines. All positive confirmation test results will be made part of a student’s discipline record. All positive initial test results for which the confirmation test is negative or which are determined to be false positive shall not become any part of the student’s official or discipline record.
The Rankin County School District shall keep the following records for the periods specified as part of its drug and alcohol policy:
- Records of drug and/or alcohol test results which show a student failed both an initial and a confirmation drug/alcohol test (a positive drug test) and the reason for the tests must be kept for five (5) years.
- Records of drug and/or alcohol results which show that the student passed an initial or confirmation test (a negative drug test) must be kept for at least one (1) year but shall not be part of the student’s record.
- Rankin County School District may retain such records for statistical analysis and policy evaluations, as it deems appropriate, consistent with confidentiality.
FINDING OF DRUG AND/OR ALCOHOL USE/POSSESSION
If the initial test for drugs and/or alcohol indicates a positive result, a confirmation test will be conducted immediately. Should a confirmation test also indicate a positive result, the building administrator will notify the student and parents/guardian in writing of such positive test results and of the consequences of such a report (expulsion for one (1) calendar year). If the initial test is negative, no further tests will occur unless there is a good reason to suspect the quality of the sample.
The results of a student’s drug test shall not be released to anyone other than the parents or guardians of such student, the testing laboratory, the Medical Review Officer, the Board of Trustees, the Superintendent, assistant Superintendents, principal or building administrator, school board attorney and other employees of Rankin County School District who have a need to know or handle such information, without the express authorization and consent of the student and his/her parent/guardian.
Any discipline resulting from the circumstances underlying drug testing shall be recorded in the student’s discipline record in accordance with the discipline policies and other policies of Rankin County School District. In order to maintain confidentiality, written records of drug testing will be stored in a secure location with restricted access.
Rankin County School District will cooperate with law enforcement, but the test results will not be released to law enforcement agencies without a court order or subpoena. However, nothing in this policy will limit any school official from making the reports required by law to law enforcement agencies.
DRUG EDUCATION AND COUNSELING
Prior to the implementation of this policy Rankin County Schools shall provide training to principals and designated site administrators in drug and alcohol use/abuse recognition and in the implementation of this policy. Principals and building administrators will provide professional development to certified employees and designated non-certified employees at all schools in recognition of drug and alcohol use and abuse, handling procedures and policy implementation familiarization.
If there is reasonable suspicion that a student has or is using prohibited drugs and/or alcohol, the Rankin County School District shall be entitled to require counseling and drug/alcohol education at the Rankin County School District’s expense and by a counselor or educator of the school district’s discretionary choosing.
Prior to implementation of Rankin County School District’s drug and alcohol policy, reasonable notice of the policy will be made to all students, school personnel and parents/guardians of students.
This policy is implemented in part for the safety and protection of the students, teachers, employees and invitees of this school district and their general welfare and to enhance the educational environment and atmosphere. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to avoid any prosecution under any pertinent criminal law of the State of Mississippi and this policy shall be in addition to all other existing or future laws or regulations, either federal or state.
This policy shall not supersede and take precedence over any other policy or practice which is inconsistent herewith, except as provided in this policy or by rule of law, but shall be construed as supplemental to any other rule, law or policy provision.
Student Drug Testing Program Extracurricular Activities (JCDAB, 11/11/2020)
In an effort to protect the health and safety of students involved in extra-curricular activities from illegal and/or performance-enhancing drug use and abuse and to curtail the use of such drugs, thereby enhancing the health, safety and educational environment for all students, teachers, coaches and tax payers coming upon the premises, the Board of Education (the “Board”) of Rankin County School District (the “District”) adopts the following policy for random drug, steroid or alcohol testing of all students who participate in extra-curricular activities. This policy supplements all other disciplinary policies of the Rankin County School District relative to drug or alcohol violations. Implementation and/or application of this policy does not prohibit the application of any other disciplinary policies of the Rankin County School District relative to drug or alcohol violations by students and/or staff.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND INTENT
Although the Board of Education, administration, faculty, and staff desire that no student use or possess illegal or performance-enhancing drugs, we realize that our power to restrict the possession or use of such drugs is limited. Therefore, this policy governs only the use and possession of performance-enhancing and illegal drugs or alcohol by students participating in certain extra-curricular activities. This policy supplements and complements all other laws, policies, rules, and regulations of the state or District regarding possession or use of illegal drugs, including, but not limited to, all policies, rules, and laws concerning reasonable suspicion of the use or possession of such illegal drugs. The policy also supplements and complements all laws and policies with respect to special education students.
Participation in school-sponsored extra-curricular activities in the District is a privilege. Students respect those students who participate in these activities and see them as examples. Participating students represent the District and their community. Accordingly, students in these activities carry a responsibility to themselves, their fellow students, their school, their families, and their community to set the highest possible examples of conduct, sportsmanship, and training, which includes avoiding the use or possession of illegal and performance-enhancing drugs. Therefore, all students so participating do agree to refrain from such activity by enrollment in the school district or the extra-curricular activity.
The purposes of this policy are six-fold:
- To educate students about the serious physical, mental and emotional harm caused by illegal drug, alcohol, or steroid use.
- To alert students with possible substance abuse problems to the potential harms that drug use poses for their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
- To offer students the privilege of competition and participation in extra-curricular activities as an incentive to stop using such substances.
- To ensure that students adhere to a training program or health regimen that prohibits illegal and performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol or steroids.
- To prevent injury, illness and harm to students that may arise as a result of illegal and performance-enhancing drug, alcohol, or steroid use.
- To offer students school activities free of the effects of illegal and performance-enhancing drug use.
Illegal and performance-enhancing drug, alcohol, or steroid use of any kind is incompatible with the physical, mental, and emotional demands placed upon participants in extra-curricular activities and with the positive image these students project to other students and to the community on behalf of the District. To protect the safety, health, and well being of all students involved in extra-curricular activities, the District adopts this policy for all participants in specified extra-curricular activities in grades 7-12.
The administration shall adopt regulations to implement this policy.
Activity Student means a member of any school enrolled in grades 7-12 or any other middle school or high school student enrolled in a sponsored extra-curricular organization. This definition includes any student who represents District schools in any extra-curricular activity involving competition of any kind, such as academic team, band, vocal, choral, cheerleader, and athletics. (For example see the attached list of activities for reference purposes only. The list is not all inclusive.)
Drug Test means a scientifically substantiated method to test for the presence of illegal or performance-enhancing drugs, or the metabolites thereof, performed by an independent testing laboratory.
Random Selection Basis means a mechanism for selecting Activity Students for drug testing that:
Results in an equal probability that any Activity Student from a group of Activity Students subject to the selection mechanism will be selected,
Does not give the District discretion to waive the selection of any Activity Student selected under the mechanism, and
Is administered by a professional testing laboratory employed by the District.
Illegal Drugs means any substance that an individual may not sell, possess, use, distribute, or purchase under either federal or Mississippi law. Illegal Drugs includes, but is not limited to, all scheduled drugs as defined by Miss. Code Ann. Section 41-29-113, 41-29-115, 41-29-117, 41-29-119 and 41-29-121, all prescription drugs obtained without authorization, and all prescribed and over-the-counter drugs being used for an abusive purpose.
Performance-enhancing Drugs include anabolic steroids and any other natural or synthetic substance used to increase muscle mass, strength, endurance, speed, or other athletic ability. The term does not include dietary or nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and proteins that can be lawfully purchased over-the-counter.
Positive when referring to a drug test administered under this policy means a toxicological test result that is considered to demonstrate the presence of an illegal or a performance-enhancing drug, or the metabolites thereof, using the standards customarily established by the testing laboratory administering the drug test.
Each Activity Student shall be made aware of or given a copy of this policy and of the Student Drug Testing Consent Form, and the Extracurricular Student Random Drug Testing Withdrawal Form . Both the student and the student’s parent or custodial guardian must read, sign, and date the Student Drug Testing Consent Form. No student shall be allowed to practice or participate in any extra-curricular activity to which the policy applies unless the student has returned the fully executed Student Drug Testing Consent Form. The District reserves the right to supplement and modify the extra-curricular activities to which the policy applies. The student, parents, or guardians shall fully cooperate with the school and testing laboratory, its employees, and by enrollment in the school or extra-curricular activity consents to fully cooperate with the terms of this policy, the school and the testing laboratory. The Student Drug Testing Consent Form will be active for the student’s entire tenure at the school in which the consent form was signed.
Activity Students will be chosen on a random selection basis from a list of all Activity Students and Voluntary Students, no matter if the activities are off-season or in-season. The District will determine the number of names to be drawn at random for drug testing. An independent testing laboratory chosen by the District will select the names of the Activity Students at random and will perform the drug testing. Any Activity Student selected at random must give a urine specimen or other reasonable, customary and necessary specimens for testing as determined by the testing laboratory or school.
A professional testing laboratory chosen by the District will administer the drug testing. The testing laboratory must use scientifically validated toxicological testing methods, have detailed, written specifications to assure chain of custody of the specimens and use proper laboratory control and scientific testing. A medical review officer of the testing laboratory shall review all positive test results.
If test results are positive for use of prescription drugs, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) will contact directly the student, to obtain a list of all prescription medications that the student is taking or has taken for the preceding 30 days and to require the parent or guardians to produce verification of prescriptions for the student’s prescription medications within 48 hours. If the student does not respond to the MRO calls within 48 hours of its first attempt to contact, the MRO shall have no further duty to attempt to contact the student.
If the MRO reports a positive test results for prescription medications to a student, an Activity Student or his/her parent or guardian may submit additional information to the MRO within 24 hours of notification of the student of the positive test results. The Activity Student will remain eligible for participation in extra-curricular activities until the MRO has completed its review of the additional information and made a report of positive test results to the principal and Superintendent.
The professional testing laboratory shall confirm an initial positive test result by a second test of the same specimen before a report is made to the District. The laboratory will inform the student, parents or guardians, the principal of the school and the Superintendent or his designee of the positive test result. After a report of positive test result is made to the District, the principal will schedule a conference with the student and parents or guardians about the positive drug test result.
If a student, who is a participant in the Extra-Curricular Activity Drug Testing Program, wishes to withdraw from the Extra-Curricular Activity Drug Testing Program both the student and the student’s parent or custodial guardian must read, sign and date the Extra-Curricular Student Random Drug Testing Program Withdrawal Form and submit such form to the principal at his/her school. All students who withdraw from the Extra-Curricular Drug Testing Program in the middle of a school year will be prohibited from participating in any extra-curricular activities for one calendar year. The calendar year is to begin on the date the Extra-Curricular Student Random Drug Testing Program Withdrawal Form is submitted to the student’s principal.
The testing laboratory will notify the principal of the school that the Activity Student attends and will also notify the Superintendent or his designee of any positive test result. To keep a positive test result confidential, the principal will notify only the student, the student’s parents or guardians, the Superintendent of Education or his designee with a need to know and the coach/sponsor of the activity or activities in which the student participates, of the test result. Test results will be kept in files separate from the student’s other educational records, shall be disclosed only to those school personnel who have a need to know, and will not be turned over to any law enforcement authorities.
Any Activity Student who tests positive in a drug test under this policy shall fully cooperate with the school and testing laboratory employees and shall be subject to the following consequences:
- Immediate removal from activities for 28 calendar days. During this 28-day period, the student must submit at least once, or more often as required, to mandatory drug testing at times determined by the testing laboratory. Any refusal of a retest during the removal period will be considered a positive test and result in the student being placed immediately in the Rankin County School District Alternative School for two nine week periods.
- If at the end of the 28-calendar-day removal period the testing laboratory determines that the student does not test positive for drugs, the student shall be reinstated in the extra-curricular activities. Student will be tested on the last day.
- If the student tests positive at any time during the 28-day removal period, the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for two nine-weeks and will be removed from extracurricular activities for a
calendar year. This protocol is to be in effect for all illegal drugs with the exception of marijuana. If the student tests positive for marijuana, the 28-day removal period can be extended to 42 calendar days. At the end of the 42 day removal period a drug test will be administered to determine a test result. However, if the student’s level of marijuana metabolites increases during this removal period, this finding is to reflect a second positive and the student is to be immediately placed in the Alternative School for two nine-week periods and will be removed from extracurricular activities for a calendar year.
- If the student is reinstated but at a later date (in the same school year or in another school year) tests positive, the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Rankin County School District Alternative School for two nine-weeks and will be removed from extracurricular activities for a calendar year. Counseling and mandatory follow-up drug testing will continue at the Alternative School.
Refusal to Submit to Drug Use Test
If an Activity Student fails to fully cooperate or refuses to submit to a drug test, the Activity Student shall be considered in violation of his/her consent agreement and will receive a positive drug test result status and will in turn automatically be subject to the guidelines as listed in Consequences. If, however, the Activity Student reconsiders his/her refusal and submits to a drug test within 24 hours of the initial refusal, the Activity Student may remain eligible for participation in extra-curricular activities. In this event, the Activity Student and his/her parents or guardians will bear responsibility for contacting the testing laboratory used by the District and arranging for the testing laboratory to conduct a test within the 24-hour period from the time the student initially refused to submit to the test. If the testing laboratory has reason or suspicion to believe that the sample taken from such Activity Student has been adulterated or has been tampered with so as to affect test results, the testing laboratory shall deem it a refusal to submit to a drug test.
Each time an activity student tests positive, the student is to receive counseling sessions. The number of counseling sessions will be determined by the counselor. However the number of counseling sessions will be no fewer than five (5) and parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to attend the first and last counseling sessions. If counseling session(s) are refused at any time the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for two (2) nine weeks.
Student/parent is responsible for making their first counseling appointment within five (5) business days of their positive test notification. Upon the second or subsequent missed counseling appointment without proper notification the student shall be recommended for immediate placement in the Alternative School for two (2) nine weeks.
The District will rely solely on the opinion of the independent testing laboratory to determine whether the positive test result was produced by something other than consumption of an illegal or performance-enhancing drug. There shall be no appeal of the test results of the professional testing laboratory to a principal, the Superintendent or the Board of Education.
If, however, the Activity Student has tested positive for a second time so that the student will be transferred to the Alternative School, the student may appeal his/her transfer to Alternative School to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall make a determination, which the student may appeal to the Board of Education of the District. The decision of the Board of Education shall be final.
Rankin County School District is committed to cooperating with parents/guardians in an effort to help students avoid illegal drug use. The Rankin County School District believes accountability is a powerful tool to help students avoid using drugs and that early detection and intervention can save lives.
Gang Activity (JCBB, 3/8/2017)
It is unlawful in the State of Mississippi to organize fraternities, sororities, or secret societies in the public high schools; for a public school student to be a member of such organizations; and to solicit student membership in such organizations. Students in violation of this policy are subject to suspension or expulsion.
Gang activity which initiates, promotes, or advocates activities that threaten the safety or well-being of persons or property on school grounds or which disrupts the school environment are harmful to the educational process. The use of hand signals, graffiti, or the presence of apparel, jewelry, accessory or manner of grooming which, by virtue of color, arrangement, trademark, symbol, or any other attribute which implies membership or affiliation with such a group, presents a clear and present danger and is to be discouraged by school officials.
Students displaying interest, involvement, or affiliation with a gang shall be subject to disciplinary action and will be encouraged to seek involvement in authorized school organizations to enhance self esteem and promote activity that can have a positive impact on the student.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-11-37, 37-11-39, 37-11-41, 37-11-43, 37-11-45
Bullying (JDDA, 6/26/2019)
STUDENT COMPLAINTS OF BULLYING OR HARASSING BEHAVIOR
The Board of Trustees of Rankin County School District prohibits bullying or harassing behavior of students, school employees, or volunteers. It is the intent of the Board and the administration to maintain an educational and work environment free from bullying and harassing behavior. This complaint procedure provides a process for filing, processing and resolving complaints of such conduct. Adherence to these procedures is mandatory. The failure of any person with a complaint to follow these procedures will constitute a waiver of the right to pursue a complaint at any level, including consideration by the school Board.
Bullying or harassing behavior is hereby defined as any pattern of gestures or written, electronic or verbal communications, or any physical act or any threatening communication, or any act reasonably perceived as being motivated by any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic that (a) places a student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property, or (b) creates or is reasonably certain to create a hostile environment by substantially interfering with or impairing a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits. Incidents involving hazing and intimidation are also prohibited as these can cause bodily danger, physical harm or personal degradation.
A “hostile environment” means that the victim subjectively views the conduct as bullying or harassing behavior and the conduct is objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that it is inappropriate bullying or harassing behavior.
The above conduct constitutes bullying if that conduct interferes with a student's education or substantially disrupts the operation of a school.
Bullying or harassing behavior will not be condoned or tolerated when it takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus, or when it takes place off school property when such conduct, in the determination of the school superintendent or principal, renders the offending person’s presence in the classroom a disruption to the educational environment of the school or a detriment to the best interest and welfare of the pupils and teacher of such class as a whole.
Every student within the Rankin County School District shall have the right to take reasonable actions as may be necessary to defend himself or herself from an attack by another student who has evidenced menacing or threatening behavior through bullying or harassing. Furthermore, the Rankin County School District defines “reasonable actions” including but not limited to promptly reporting the behavior to a teacher, principal, counselor, or other school employee when subjected to bullying or harassing behavior.
II. Procedures for Processing a Complaint
Any student, school employee or volunteer who feels he/she has been a victim of bullying or harassing behavior, or has witnessed such or who has reliable information that a student, school
employee or volunteer has been subject to bullying or harassing behavior shall immediately report such conduct and the name of the alleged offender to a teacher, principal, counselor or other school official. If a report is made to the teacher or counselor or other school official, such person shall immediately notify the principal who shall immediately notify the superintendent or his/her designee.
The report shall be made promptly but no later than five (5) calendar days after the alleged act or acts occurred and shall be confirmed by letter or in writing to the principal and county superintendent. The school official shall complete a “Bullying/Harassing Behavior” complaint form which shall include the name of the reporting person, the specific nature and date of the misconduct, the names of the victim of the misconduct, the names of any witnesses and any other information that would assist in the investigation of the complaint. All teachers, employees, volunteers or students shall be required to fully cooperate with all school officials investigating the complaint and answer truthfully all inquiries relative thereto. The principal shall provide a form for this purpose. The report shall be given promptly to the principal or superintendent who shall institute an immediate investigation. Complaints against the principal shall be made to the superintendent and complaints against the superintendent shall be made to the board chairman or president.
The complaint shall be investigated promptly. Parents will be notified of the nature of any complaint involving their student. The District official or superintendent’s designee will arrange such meetings as may be necessary with all concerned parties within five (5) working days after initial receipt of the complaint by the District. The parties will have an opportunity to submit evidence and a list of witnesses, but formal rules of evidentiary procedure need not be strictly adhered to. All findings related to the complaint will be reduced to writing. The District official conducting the investigation or the superintendent’s designee shall notify the victim and parents as appropriate when the investigation is completed and a decision regarding disciplinary action, as warranted, is determined. Each teacher, principal or employee of the school shall cooperate fully with such investigation and the superintendent or his/her designee and failure to do so shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.
If the victim is not satisfied with the decision of the district official or the superintendent’s designee, he/she may submit a written appeal to the superintendent. Such appeal by the aggrieved party shall be filed within five (5) working days after receipt of the results of the initial decision. The superintendent or his/her designee will arrange such meetings with the victim and other affected parties as deemed necessary to discuss the appeal. The superintendent or his/her designee or assistant superintendent shall provide a written decision to the victim’s appeal within ten (10) working days.
If the victim is not satisfied with the decision of the superintendent or his/her designee, a written appeal may be filed with the Board by presentation to the administrative secretary to the superintendent or president or assistant superintendent or his designee. Such appeal shall be filed in the office of the superintendent within ten (10) working days after receipt of the decision of the superintendent. The Board shall, as soon as convenient or within thirty (30) working days allow the aggrieved party and parents as appropriate to appear before the Board in executive session to present reasons for dissatisfaction with the decision of the superintendent or his/her designee. The Board shall provide a written decision by mail to the appealing party at the appealing parties last known address within thirty (30) working days following the appealing party or victim’s appearance before the Board.
At any stage of the proceeding the alleged victim or aggrieved party may be represented by an attorney of his/her own choosing and expense.
Retaliation or reprisal against any person, including a victim, a witness, or another person, who in good faith provides information concerning an incident of bullying or harassing behavior, is prohibited.
Legal Reference: Mississippi Code Ann. §37-11-67 and §37-11-69
1. REFERRAL DETERMINATION: REGULAR EDUCATION STUDENTS
Students who are severe discipline problems CAN be referred to the Alternative School at the discretion of the home school principal, provided space is available. Placement can occur at any point during the school year that is deemed appropriate by the principal. In order for The Learning Center to be considered an appropriate placement for a student, there must be evidence of interventions for Tier 1, 2 and 3 for behavior (and academic if applicable) with data to support decision-making in the RTI folder.
- REFERRAL DETERMINATION: STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES The District-Wide IEP Committee must be convened prior to a change in placement for a student with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 days.
- LENGTH OF STAY: If a student is referred to the Learning Center within the first ten (10) days of the grading period, they will be reviewed at the end of the following grading period. If a student is referred to the Learning Center after the first ten (10) days of the grading period, they will be required to remain for that grading period and two additional nine week grading periods. Students that are enrolled at the Alternative School before the four and one half weeks of a grading period may be eligible for early return if there is a mutual agreement between the Learning Center and home school administration. (RCSD Policy IEI Exhibit)
- CHANGE OF PLACEMENT: Once the local school determines that the appropriate placement for a student is at the Alternative School, the local school principal will: (a) contact the Alternative Education Center principal to set the date for the student to report for the entrance conference (b) inform the student’s parents of the change in placement and the date for the entrance conference via phone or in writing (c) send the necessary documents to the County Office to be reviewed by the Assistant Superintendent. If approved, the referral will then be sent to the Alternative Education Center principal on or before the entrance conference date. *Alternative School personnel will be responsible for providing assignments and grades to all long-term placement students.
- STUDENT CONTRACT: During the entrance conference at the Alternative Education Center, the Alternative Education Center principal and counselor shall develop a contract WITH the student that specifies the requirements for re-entry into the local school. The contract will include a plan for modification of behaviors for which the student was sent to the Alternative School, academic goals, and other goals as determined appropriate at this conference. Progress toward meeting the specifications shall be documented on a basis to be established at this meeting.
- COUNSELING: It is the intent of the District to provide students at the Alternative Education Center with instruction in conflict resolution and/or counseling on a consistent basis. Issues contained in the student’s individual contract will be addressed in the effort to work toward transitioning the student back to the local school.
- EXIT COMMITTEE: The Exit Committee shall meet one week prior to the end of each grading period to consider students eligible for re-entry into the local school setting. Records of students who have served eighteen weeks will be reviewed relative to progress made toward meeting the specifications in his individual student contract. A determination regarding re-entry into the local school setting will be made. **Students will re-enter local schools ONLY after grading period has ended.
- RE-ASSIGNMENT TO ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL: Students who have exited the Alternative School can be considered for re-admittance to the facility if a serious infraction is committed after a (Tier 3) Behavior Intervention Plan has been implemented at the home school.
- LOCAL SCHOOL FUNCTIONS/GROUNDS: Students assigned to the Alternative Education Center are not allowed on local school grounds during their tenure at the alternative school assignment. Additionally, these students are not allowed to attend any local school sponsored function.
- TRANSPORTATION: Students will be afforded the privilege of bus transportation daily to and from the Alternative School. This transportation includes pick up at the student’s home or his designated alternative school route bus stop, delivery to the Alternative Education Center, and drop off at the same location in the afternoon. Alternative Education students can be suspended from bus transportation under the same guidelines as regular students. Students can also be transported to the alternative school by their parents at the parent’s expense if the parents so choose. No student will be allowed to drive himself/herself to the alternative school.
Equal Educational Opportunities (JAA, 3/8/2017)
The Rankin County School District grants equal educational opportunities to all qualified persons regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, marital status, religion, or disability.
It is the intent and desire of the Rankin County Board of Education that equal educational opportunities be provided in any and all educational programs and activities.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-15-35; 1972 Educational Amendments, Title IX; 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title VI; 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Section 503 & 504; 45 CFR Part 84 and Part 86; Brown vs. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954); MS Public School Accountability Standards
Section 504 Procedures (Students) (IDDHB, 2/22/2017)
Rankin County School District adheres to a policy of non-discrimination in educational programs, activities, and employment and strives affirmatively to provide equal opportunity for all as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination against the handicapped.
It is the responsibility of all teachers in the regular education program to do all that is within their professional capability to ensure that all students can learn and are successful in the regular education program. To this end, the Rankin County School District has established procedures within the regular classroom for assisting students with special needs. The Rankin County School District will adhere to the document THREE TIER INSTRUCTIONAL MODEL TEACHER SUPPORT TEAM as its procedural guidelines in complying with the requirements of: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The model consists of three tiers of instruction:
Tier I Quality classroom instruction based on MS Curriculum Frameworks and district instructional initiatives
Tier II Focused supplemental instruction
Tier III Intensive interventions specifically designed to meet the individual needs of students
Legal Reference: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Individuals Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Mississippi Department of Education Policy IEI.
Cross Reference: JAA
Dress Code for Students (JCDB, 11/11/2020)
The Board encourages students to be dressed and groomed in a manner which reflects good taste, decency, and pride in appearance as this will contribute to the maintenance of a proper learning environment and will portray a favorable image of the individual and the school.
Safety, health, sanitation, individual dignity, respect for the educational process, and a non-disruptive learning environment provide the basis for the dress code. If the clothing, hair, cosmetics, jewelry, or general appearance of a student constitutes a health threat or possible distraction to the educational process, the teacher may counsel with the student about the attire or grooming. The principal or his designee may take disciplinary action as appropriate to maintain standards of dress and grooming in the school, which shall include, but not be limited to, suspension from classes or school or expulsion. The principal shall have the discretion and final authority in declaring whether or not clothing or grooming is in violation of this dress code. Compliance with this student dress and grooming code shall be the responsibility of the individual and parents to comply within guidelines established and this policy.
- Sunglasses, hats, caps, headbands, curlers, or other headgear shall not be worn in the buildings, unless prescribed by a doctor.
- Shoes or sandals shall be worn at all times. No roller shoes of any type are permitted.
- Clothing, including face masks/coverings, with suggestive, obscene, disruptive, or vulgar designs, pictures, symbols, slogans or statements that cause a disruption to or detract from the educational process are not permitted. This shall include, but not be limited to: nude/semi-nude figures; pictures or logos of alcoholic beverages or cigarettes, obscene gestures or words, or words/pictures that depict prohibited substances or actions; gang marks, drawings, designs or emblems; figures in sexually suggestive postures.
- No see-through clothing or halter tops shall be worn. Shirts/blouses must cover the stomach and top of the shoulders.
- Shorts may be worn by students in grades K-4 as long as such does not constitute, in the sole discretion of the principal, a possible disruption to the educational process is uninterrupted.
- Clothing in grades 5-12 shall not be excessively low or loose fitting in front, back, under the arms, or around the waist, so as to reveal the chest, the entire shoulders, the mid back area, or lower body areas.
- Dresses and skirts shall not be more than or shorter than six inches while sitting from the middle of the kneecap in grades 5-12.
- Hemmed shorts may be worn in grades 5-12 if they are not shorter than six inches while sitting from the middle of the kneecap.
- No skirts, dresses, or shorts shall be split to such length or worn in such a way as to reveal a student’s undergarments.
- No shorts worn by any student shall be so short in length or so wide as to leg circumference as to reveal a student’s undergarments.
- No clothing worn by any student in grades 5-12 shall be so tight-fitting so as to reveal the outline of undergarments or contour of the body, which may create a distraction to the educational atmosphere of the school district, with the exception of school uniforms approved by school administration.
- Leggings may be worn in grades 5-12 with such over-garments that are not shorter than six inches from the middle of the kneecap.
- Jewelry worn in such a manner that the instructional environment, safety and/or health of a student may be jeopardized is forbidden, as determined in the discretion of the principal.
- Any dress or personal appearance that the administration has evidence is disruptive, inappropriate, or presents a safety hazard to student or as a possible disruption to the educational/instructional process will be dealt with on an individual basis according to the discretion of the principal.
If the message of a piece of clothing or mask is at issue, the principal shall not discipline the student based on the viewpoint expressed absent actual evidence of disruption, or evidence-based anticipation of disruption to the educational environment.
If a student disciplined under this policy believes their clothing expression has been targeted based on its viewpoint, then the student may appeal a decision to the school board to be heard by the school board or its designated hearing officer at or before the next meeting of the school board.
Student Records (JR, 10/11/2017)
Permanent records and cumulative folders shall be collected, maintained, and disseminated in compliance with state law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the confidentiality section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and State regulations.
Information in the permanent record and cumulative folder of individual students shall include:
- Date of birth (verified by certified birth certificate)
- Record of attendance
- Immunization records
- Other data as prescribed by the State Board of Education
The permanent record, while active, shall be kept in a fire resistant container in the school office. A record is considered active as long as the child is enrolled or, if the child withdraws, until the class of which he was a member has graduated.
Once the permanent record is no longer active, it can be placed in a central fire resistant depository designated by the Board or at the school last attended. The permanent record SHALL NEVER be destroyed (unless complete copies of inactive records have been made on photographic film or microfilm) and is ALWAYS kept on file by the district.
The cumulative folder shall be kept in the school wherein the student is in attendance. If the student transfers to another school, the cumulative folder shall be furnished to the head of the school to which the student transfers. The cumulative folder may be destroyed by order of the Board in not less than five (5) years after the permanent record of the student has become inactive.
ACCESS/RELEASE OF RECORDS
Both the permanent record and cumulative folder shall be available to school officials, including teachers within the district who have a legitimate educational interest in the pupil. In no case shall such records be available to the general public nor shall any personally identifiable information be released without the consent of the eligible student, parent or guardian of the student except to the following parties provided the data will be used as specified in the request:
- Officials of other schools or school systems in which the student seeks or intends to enroll, upon condition that the student’s parents be notified of the transfer, receive a copy of the record if desired, and have an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of a record;
- Other school officials, including teachers within the District who have been declared to have legitimate educational interest, a list of whom shall be maintained by the principal;
- Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, the Commissioner of Education, the Directory of the National Institute of Education, the Assistant Secretary for Education, or State educational authorities;
- In connection with a student’s application for, or receipt of, financial aid;
- State and local officials or authorities to which such information is specifically required to be reported or disclosed pursuant to State statue;
- Organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, if such studies are conducted in such a manner as to not permit the personal identification of students and their parents by persons other than representatives of such organization;
- Accrediting organizations in order to carry out their accrediting functions;
- Parents of a dependent student of such parents, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954; or
- In compliance with judicial order, or pursuant to any lawfully issued subpoena, upon condition that parents and the students are notified of all such orders of subpoenas in advance of the compliance therewith by the educational institution.
Transcripts of courses and grades may be furnished when requested by the parent/guardian.
PARENTAL ACCESS TO RECORDS
The Board insures that the parent/guardian of a student shall have full and free access to review all official records directly related to the student. Further, the parent/guardian can obtain a copy of said record at a fee not to exceed the cost of duplication, can request an explanation or interpretation of those records, and can challenge the content of said records through a hearing process. Whenever a student has attained the age of eighteen, or is attending an institution of post secondary education, the required consent and rights accorded to the parent shall thereafter only be required of and accorded to the student.
Requests for access to records should be made by parents/guardians or eligible students in writing to the principal. Access shall be granted within a reasonable time but in no case more than forty-five days after receipt of the request. Parents/guardians shall not be required to waive their right to access records.
Parents that have completed the Parental Use and Responsibility Acknowledgement Form as well as provided valid personal identification to appropriate school officials may be given access to the Parent Portal of Power School. This on-line service will allow parents the opportunity to view a variety of student information such as grades and student attendance.
MILITARY ACCESS TO RECORDS
Recognizing the challenges faced by military recruiters, Congress recently passed legislation that requires high schools to provide to military recruiters, upon request, access to secondary school students and directory information on those students. Both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the National Defense Authorization Act reflect these requirements.
In accordance with those Acts, military recruiters are entitled to receive the name, address, and telephone listing of juniors and seniors in high school. This requirement is consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects the privacy of student education records. Student directory information will be used specifically for armed services recruiting purposes and for informing our students of scholarship opportunities.
Rankin County School District parents have the right to request that the information not be disclosed without prior written consent. This request is called an “Opt Out” request and may be completed at the school counselor’s office.
CONSENT FOR RELEASE OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION
Where the consent of a parent or eligible student is required for the release of education records, it shall be in writing, be signed and dated by the person giving such consent and shall include a specification of the records to be released, the reasons for such release and the names of the parties to whom such records will be released. Further, a copy of the records to be released shall be provided on request to the student’s parents or the student if the age of eighteen has been attained or the student is in a post-secondary institution.
AUTHORITY OF PARENT TO GIVE CONSENT
Any parent of a student may give a written parental consent. Where parents are separated or divorced, a written parental consent may be obtained from either parent, subject to any agreement between such parents or court order governing the rights of such parents. In the case of a student whose legal guardian is an institution, a party independent of the institution shall be appointed pursuant to State and local law to give a written parental consent.
If parental consent is not given and the refusal seems to fit a pattern of child neglect or abuse, this refusal will be considered as evidence for a decision to refer the entire case to the proper legal authorities for resolution.
RELEASE OF DIRECTORY INFORMATION
The District shall give public notice annually of the categories of information which it has designated as directory information and shall allow fourteen days after such notice has been given for a parent to inform the District that any or all of the information designated should not be released without the parent’s prior consent.
RECORD OF ACCESS
Each principal shall maintain a record, kept with the education records of each student, which will indicate all parties other than those specified who have requested or obtained access to a student’s education records, such access having been granted in accord with provisions heretofore set. The record shall list specifically the legitimate interest that each such party has in obtaining the information.
Such record of access shall be available only to parents or eligible students, be the principal and his assistants who are responsible for the custody of such records and to persons or organizations authorized heretofore.
AMENDMENT OF RECORDS
Parents of students and eligible students shall have opportunity to a hearing to challenge the content of education records in order to insure that the records are not inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy or other rights of students, and to provide an opportunity for the correction or deletion of any such inaccurate, misleading or otherwise inappropriate data contained therein and to insert into such records a written explanation of the parents and eligible students respecting the content of such records.
The principal should attempt to settle a dispute with the parent of a student or an eligible student regarding the content of the student’s education records through informal meetings and discussions with the parent or eligible student.
Such meeting shall be held within fourteen days of receipt of a written or personal request by the parent or eligible student for the meeting, unless extenuating circumstances dictate a longer period of time. If the request to amend is denied, the parent/guardian or eligible student shall be notified of the decision and the right to a formal hearing.
Upon the written request of either party (the principal or the parent or eligible student), a formal hearing shall be conducted as follows:
- The hearing shall be conducted within fourteen days of the request for the hearing.
- The hearing shall be conducted, and the decision rendered, by an institutional official or other party who does not have a direct interest in the outcome of the hearing;
- The parents or eligible student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised under the challenge;
- The decision shall be rendered in writing within 15 days of the conclusion of the hearing;
- Parents or eligible students shall be afforded full rights to place in the record a statement setting forth reasons for disagreement with any material contained therein;
- The decision of the hearing officer shall be final, subject to Board and judicial review;
- Relative to the special education program only, if as a result of the hearing, the officer decides that the records are accurate, parents may request that the State Department of Education special education director appoint a hearing officer to review the case. The parents and local agency shall have an opportunity to present evidence relative to the case. The hearing officers decision is binding on both parties subject only to appropriate administrative or judicial review.
DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS
The District may destroy any records, (if not otherwise precluded by law) except that access be granted prior to the destruction of education records where the parents or eligible student has requested such access.
Relative to the special education program only, all personally identifiable data, except that which is kept in accordance with law, will be destroyed within a period of five years following the end of services to a child, except for records required by the law to be kept.
Files will be purged within 60 days following an individual’s graduation or termination of services, except permanent records as required by statute.
Parents will be informed prior to destruction of the information and of their right to receive a copy of this information.
COLLECTION OF DATA
Collection of data within each school shall be made under the supervision of the principal and shall be made by only those individuals trained to do so.
STORAGE OF RECORDS
All records which contain personally identifiable data, other than directory information and materials necessary to daily instruction, shall be maintained and stored in a secure and fire resistant container or location. For security purposes, the cumulative folders and permanent records SHALL be kept in separate locations.
NOTIFICATION BY DISTRICT
The District shall annually and publicly inform parents and eligible students of the following:
- The types of education records and information contained therein which are directly related to students and maintained by the institutions;
- The name and position of the official responsible for the maintenance of each type of record, the persons who have access to those records and the purposes for which they have access;
- The policies of the institution for reviewing those records;
- The procedures for challenging the content of education records;
- The procedures established by the District for hearings to challenge content of records maintained by the District;
- The categories of information which have been designated as directory information.
The notice provided to a parent or eligible student under this section shall be in the language of the parent or eligible student.
The District shall appoint a confidentiality officer to insure accomplishment of the procedure heretofore listed.
The confidentiality officer shall participate in those training programs sponsored by supportive agencies which will increase management competency.
A parent/guardian or eligible student may file a written complaint regarding an alleged violation by the District of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. All such complaints should be directed to:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-4605
LEGAL REFERENCES: MS Code 37-15-1; 37-15-2, 37-15-3, 37-15-4; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 USC Section 1232; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Elementary and Secondary Education Act; National Defense Authorization Act.
Automobile Use (JGFF,9/14/1994)
Driving on school roads and parking on school property is a courtesy offered to students and others by the Board. The parking facilities of the District are to be used for school purposes only. School purposes include attendance at school or other school activities which occur before or after the regular school day. Violators may be charged with trespassing and/or vehicles towed at owner expense.
The principal shall establish rules and regulations to assure traffic safety and to set procedures for student use of private vehicles.
The District shall not assume responsibility for damage to vehicles.
Students shall be responsible for locking their vehicles upon arrival as the District shall assume no responsibility for any loss. Students shall not sit in or upon vehicles on the school campus. Student automobiles are subject to administrative searches.
Failure to abide by vehicle regulations may result in the loss of the right to bring a vehicle to school, or other disciplinary action.
Cell Phone/Electronic Devices (JE, 6/26/2019)
The Board specifically finds in its discretional judgment that to maintain an appropriate educational and learning environment for the students and teachers that it is in the best interest of the students, the learning process, and environment of the school district that these rules and policies be hereby adopted and disseminated:
The use of any electronic communication devices including, but not limited to, cellular phones, personal digital assistance devices, lasers, related communication products or devices, or other electronic items by students is prohibited during the administration of scheduled statewide tests and in any classroom setting or instructional setting or endeavor of the school district or other prohibited setting as determined by the principal or County Superintendent of Education located upon any campus of the Rankin County School District, except when used in conjunction with direct teacher supervision of students or instruction and at the request of the teacher or principal.
Any student violating this policy (by use of such device in an instructional or educational setting, gymnasium or classroom setting or interior building setting where students may be instructed or supervised) shall be subject to having such equipment or communication device or cellular telephone temporarily confiscated by any school official (the principal or his/her designee or authority) and/or temporary or permanent suspension from the possession of such device for the remainder of the school year.
Consequences for possession of a cell phone and/or other prohibited electronic equipment:
1st offense $15.00 fine or phone held 5 school days in the office
2nd offense $25.00 fine or phone held 10 school days in the office
3rd offense $35.00 fine or phone held 20 school days in the office
4th offense The cell phone and/or other electronic device will remain in the office until the end of the school year.
Any electronic communication device used during any administration of statewide tests will be confiscated for the duration of the school year and may result in suspension of the student from the regular school environment for the remainder of the year and possible placement into the alternative school setting.
Provided further that for sufficiently documented safety or medical or health reasons, the principal of each school upon approval of the County Superintendent of Education shall have discretion and authority to grant exceptions to this policy.
Use of Tobacco and Smoking Devices (JCDAA, 3/8/2017)
Tobacco use presents a safety hazard on school property and a health hazard to the user and other individuals in the facility. Hence, smoking or the use of tobacco in any form by students is not permitted on school property or at any school sponsored activity.
Communicable Diseases (JGCC, 1/11/1995)
Students who are infected with chronic and/or infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, shall attend the school and classroom to which they would be assigned if they were not infected. Decisions about any changes in the educational program of a student infected with a chronic/infectious disease shall be made on a case-by-case basis, relying on the best available scientific evidence and medical advice.
Procedure for Determining Appropriate Educational Program for Students with Chronic/Infectious Diseases:
- The superintendent should be informed that a student is infected with a chronic/infectious disease and shall instigate this standard procedure to ensure the safety of persons in the school setting and to plan an appropriate educational program for the person with the illness.
- The superintendent shall determine whether the person who is infected has a primary or secondary infection that constitutes a recognized risk of transmission in a school setting. This shall be accomplished by consulting with the infected person’s physician, a qualified public health official who is responsible for such determination, and the infected student’s parent or guardian. This group will be consulted for anticipating the needs of the infected student.
- The superintendent shall not alter the student’s educational program unless there is an infection present that constitutes a medically recognized risk of transmission in the school setting. Further, the privilege of participating in physical education, athletic programs, competitive sports and recess is not conditional on the student’s medical status relative to the infectious disease. Reasonable recommendations will be made to allow infected students to participate in school sponsored physical activities. The status of the case shall be periodically reviewed by the superintendent or his designee through consultation with the student’s parent/guardian, physician and/or public health official. The following shall be included in the decision-making process:
- Age of the affected student
- School setting
- Student’s control of bodily secretions
- Risk of infection to the affected student by other persons
- Need for special educational services
- If the student has an infection that constitutes a medically recognized risk of transmission in the school setting, the superintendent shall consult with individuals as described above to develop an educational plan tailored to the infected student’s needs. The plan shall be medically, legally, educationally and ethically sound. Periodic review shall be a part of the implementation of the plan with revisions made as deemed appropriate by the superintendent.
- The superintendent shall consult with the school board attorney to make certain that any official action is consistent with federal and state law relative to these issues. Once a decision has been made, a fair and confidential process for appealing the decision shall be made available to the parent/guardian.
- Utmost confidentiality shall be observed throughout this process by every employee. The people who shall know the identity of a student who is infected with a chronic/infectious disease (such as HIV/AIDS) are those who will determine whether the infection constitutes a medically recognized risk of transmission in the school setting. They are as follows:
- Superintendent or his designee
- Physician of the infected person
- Public health official (identity released to this official only if necessary)
- School principal (identity released to this official only with parental permission)
Others may be notified of the identity of the infected person if the decisionmakers feel it is essential to protect the health of the infected student, upon obtaining written, specific consent for notifying these additional persons from the infected student’s parent/guardian.
- All information related to the case shall be kept in a locked file by the superintendent with access granted only to those persons who have written consent of the infected student’s parent/guardian and emergency medical personnel. Any staff member who violates confidentiality will be subject to disciplinary action and may be liable to a lawsuit. Information regarding disease status shall not be added to a student’s permanent educational record without written consent.
Mandatory screening for communicable diseases that are not spread by casual, everyday contact, such as HIV infection, shall not be a condition for school entry or attendance.
The district shall follow the most current guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for preventing transmission of infectious diseases at all times and in all settings. The precautions include:
- Wash hands with soap and water after contact with bodily fluids as soon as possible.
- Clean all spills of blood and other bodily fluids immediately with disinfectant (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
- Wear gloves when cleaning up blood spills and when in contact with bodily fluids. Gloves shall be worn when it is reasonably anticipated that the employee may have hand contact with blood, mucous membranes, non-in-tact skin, and other potentially infectious materials.
- Alert the district safety officer if a situation occurs that presents a reasonable risk of transmitting an infection.
- Counsel any person exposed to an infectious agent to seek appropriate medical evaluation. Alert parent/guardian if the person exposed is a student.
- The infected student will have access to voluntary, confidential, age appropriate counseling.
The schools will keep supplies needed for meeting these infection control guidelines reasonably accessible to employees.
Legal Reference: U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines; Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Updated Student Health Records should be completed and returned on all RCSD students annually by parents/guardians.
School district personnel will adhere to district policies and procedures regarding giving medicine at school.
Many illnesses can be stopped before they spread by reminding everyone to practice frequent hand washing, blowing noses into tissues, covering mouths when coughing or sneezing, and asking other parents about sick symptoms in their kids before arranging play dates and carpools. Even the best hygiene practices can’t avoid the spread of all illnesses at school. Sometimes staying home is the only way to benefit our kids, our communities, and ourselves. Please refer to the following guidelines when trying to determine if your child should stay home or go to school when sick.
Fever is a symptom of illness and not an actual diagnosis. Fever usually indicates that the body is battling an infection. A child with a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater must stay home from school until the fever is gone. If your child appears sick with fever, call your doctor to have your child evaluated. Fever reducers such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, while effective in lowering temperatures, only masks underlying infection and does not remedy the child’s illness. Please be sure your child is fever-free, without the use of fever reducers, for 24 hours before allowing him/her to return to school. Time out of school may be longer, depending upon a diagnosis and/or physician recommendation. RCSD reserves the right to send students home who exhibit elevated temperatures and/or other symptoms related to infectious diseases.
Cough alone may not prevent your child from attending school unless it is interfering with a child’s sleep or ability to participate in school activities. If the cough is productive and has phlegm or is associated with fever or trouble breathing, keep your child home from school and arrange to have the child seen by their pediatrician immediately.
Children can attend school with mild sore throats if no other symptoms are occurring. A doctor should evaluate any child with a sore throat associated with fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, or difficulty swallowing before returning to school. A child with a diagnosis of strep throat needs to stay out of school until on antibiotics and fever free without the use of fever reducing medications for 24 hours.
VOMITING OR DIARRHEA
A child with vomiting, with or without diarrhea, needs to stay home from school. Your child can return to school when the symptoms have stopped and the child can tolerate a regular diet. Please keep your child home until he/she has been without vomiting or diarrhea (less than 3 episodes) for 24 hours. Once an episode of vomiting or diarrhea has occurred at school, the student will be sent home and may return to school after the above criteria is met.
RED, SWOLLEN, DRAINING EYES (CONJUNCTIVITIS)
If your child wakes up with one or both eyes stuck together with drainage or crust, if the eye(s) become red or swollen, if they are painful and/or itchy, then your child should remain home and be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. This could be contagious. If your child is sent home with red eye(s) or discharge, your child may return to school 24 hours after treatment is started or when there is no drainage from the eye(s).
Ringworm is caused by a fungus that grows on the skin, not by a worm. Ringworm is characterized by a round pink/red rash with a raised, rough, scaly border. As the rash grows outward, getting larger as the infection spreads, the center tends to clear. Left untreated, it is usually somewhat itchy. Students with ringworm should not have to miss school. They should, however, receive treatment for the condition either topically with an over the counter medication or orally with a prescription medication. Skin to skin contact with others should be avoided to prevent the spread of infection. In order to stay at school, students with ringworm(s) must keep the infected area covered with a band-aid or dressing while at school. Ringworm of the body can be spread on towels, clothing, or sports equipment. Ringworm of the scalp can spread from child to child when children share hats, combs, or brushes. Personal hygiene is important in preventing the spread of ringworm. Note: Ringworm on the scalp or nails requires oral medication, which must be prescribed by a medical professional.
Scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like rash. The mite is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Scabies is treated with medication, which is prescribed by a doctor. The student may return to school after 24 hours of treatment.
Staph is a common germ that lives on the skin and in nasal passages that can cause skin infections. Staph is treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. The affected area should be covered while at school unless the infection is around the nose or the mouth. If the infection is around the nose or mouth, the student may not return to school until there is no drainage and they have received antibiotic treatment for at least 24 hours
Molluscum Contagiosum is a common skin disease that is caused by a virus. The disease is generally mild and should not be a reason for concern or worry. People with this skin disease can cause the bumps to spread to different parts of their body by touching or scratching a bump and then touching another part of the body. The virus can also be spread from person to person. The bump(s) must be covered with clothing or a bandage while the child is at school to prevent transmission to others.
Many rashes will resolve spontaneously and are not reason alone to keep a child home from school. Any rash 72 associated with symptoms such as trouble breathing, swallowing, fever, or ill appearance should be evaluated by your child’s physician immediately. Rashes that are itchy or scaly may be contagious and should be evaluated by your child’s physician before sending a child back to school.
If a student is found to have lice (live bugs) at school, parents will be notified and the student will be sent home that day. The student can return to school the next day once an FDA approved over the counter treatment or prescription product for lice is used, and proof of treatment (empty bottle or receipt) must be submitted. Parents should consult with their healthcare provider or a pharmacist to make sure treatment is appropriate for the student and for treatment recommendations. MS Code 41-79-21 states that any student in any public elementary or secondary school having head lice on more than three occurrences during the school year must be reported to the county health department for help treating lice. The student will not be allowed to return to school until he/she has been to the Rankin County Health Department and has no nits. If lice (live bugs) have been found on three consecutive occasions and the student has already been seen by the County Health Department and the student is still found to have lice (live bugs) at school, the student will be required to see their primary care physician for treatment options. Parents must provide the school with a letter from the physician in order to return to school. If the problem continues to be recurrent, the school principal or administrator shall determine whether or not a DHS referral will be warranted based on the number of days of school missed. Note: Parents or guardians are reminded that a successful treatment regimen for lice includes the use of over the counter or prescription shampoo as directed, removal of all nits (gray/white eggs attached to the hair shaft), and treatment/cleaning of the home (i.e., laundering bed linens, vacuuming carpet and couches, containing stuffed animals).
Fee Policy (JS, 8/11/2004)
The Board hereby authorizes principals to assess reasonable fees as long as such fees do not exceed the actual cost of the items purchased and if the fee assessments fit one of the following categories:
- Supplemental instructional materials and supplies, excluding textbooks
- Fees related to a valid curriculum objective, including transportation
- Extracurricular activities and other educational activities of the district which are not designated as valid curriculum objectives, such as band trips and athletic events
If a student is financially unable to pay the assessed fee, it shall be waived and this information shall be kept in the strictest of confidence. In no case shall the procedure of granting a financial hardship waiver expose a pupil to any type of stigma or ridicule by other pupils or school district personnel nor shall that student be denied or deprived of any academic award or standard, class selection, grade, diploma, transcript or the right to participate in any activity related to educational enhancement.
Textbooks are issued to students on a loan basis. Students should assure that their books are not abused, as a fine will be charged if the book shows unnecessary wear. In case of a lost book, the list price of the book must be paid before another book will be issued.
Legal Reference: MS Code 37-7-335; 37-7-301(ff)
Emergency Closings (EBBD, 7/21/2021)
This school board recognizes and accepts its duty and authority to maintain and operate all the schools under its control for such length of time during the year as may be required.
Upon application from the school board, the superintendent of schools may close any school because of an epidemic prevailing in the school district or because of the death, resignation, sickness or dismissal of a teacher or teachers or because of any other emergency necessitating the closing of the school. The superintendent is hereby authorized to declare an emergency and to close schools and district offices or dismiss them early in event of natural disaster, inclement weather or other emergencies which threaten the safety, health, or welfare, of students or staff members.
The superintendent will take such action only after consultation with transportation, emergency management, weather authorities or other agencies as necessitated by the circumstances. The superintendent shall notify the school board of the decision to close the schools. However, all such schools so closed shall operate for the required full time after being reopened during the scholastic year, unless the school board of the local school district submits a plan to alter the school term that is approved by the State Board of Education.
If this school board determines that it is not economically feasible or practicable to operate any school within the district for the full one hundred eighty (180) days required for a scholastic year as contemplated due to an enemy attack, a manmade, technological or natural disaster, or extreme weather emergency in which the Governor has declared a disaster or state of emergency or the President of the United States has declared an emergency or major disaster to exist in this state, the school board may notify the State Department of Education of the disaster or weather emergency and submit a plan for altering the school term.
If the State Board of Education finds the disaster or extreme weather emergency to be the cause of the school not operating for the contemplated school term and that such school was in a school district covered by the Governor's or President's disaster or state of emergency declaration, it may permit that school board to operate the schools in its district for less than one hundred eighty (180) days; however, in no instance of a declared disaster or state of emergency under the provisions of this subsection shall a school board receive payment from the State Department of Education for per pupil expenditure for pupils in average daily attendance in excess of ten (10) days.
Should it become necessary to close any or all of the schools by reason of weather or other emergency condition, the superintendent will notify principals and the media prior to 6:00 a.m. if possible. If no such announcement is made, it should be concluded that all schools will operate as scheduled.
EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS
The district shall provide sufficient notice (before the close of the prior school day) to staff and students for any weather-related or other unforeseen virtual days. When instances occur that make virtual learning impractical, the district shall either make up any missed days or use the days as weather days as allowed under Mississippi law.
Each principal will be responsible for developing a system of notification and action for the staff members under his supervision.
- In the event of emergency school closings, all assistant principals, secretaries, cafeteria managers and custodians will report for duty, if safely possible, until released by the principal.
- All principals will remain on their respective campuses until released by the superintendent.
- All central office, maintenance and bus garage personnel will report for duty until released by the superintendent.
Should severe weather or an emergency condition develop during the school day requiring the emergency closing of schools, notification of the dismissal time for students will be the same procedure as that utilized before school. Certified and classified personnel will be dismissed at the direction of the principal subject to the completion of all assigned duties for that school day.
Should schools not be closed when severe weather or emergency conditions exist, the judgment of parents, regarding their children's exposure, will be respected.
Leave Due to Declared Emergency Closures
The school board may, in its discretion, provide additional administrative leave with pay for all employees (professional, certified, and classified) in the event of declared emergency closures.
Emergencies (EBDB, 7/11/2001)
The administrative staff at each school building shall maintain a current School Safety/Crisis Management plan approved by the School Board annually, inclusive of procedures to follow for fire, hazardous weather, tornado, earthquake, nuclear attack, civil disorder, or other crisis situation. The warning system and appropriate procedure shall be known and provided to all personnel in the respective schools. Regular safety drills should be planned and executed in accordance with applicable emergency management guidelines and specific school procedures.
The principals and teachers in each building shall familiarize the students with the crisis management and civil defense operations plans, which include actions to be taken in case of fire, tornado, hazardous weather condition, earthquake, nuclear attack, civil disorder, or other crisis situation.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 37-11-5, MS Public School Accountability Standards.
Public Conduct Policy (EBA)
Public Complaints (KL)
Parent Conferences (IHABA)
Student Health Services–Medicines (JGCD)
Fund Raising – Students (JK)
Gifts to Schools (DFK)
Parental Involvement (LA)
Title I Parental Involvement (LAA)
Public Conduct Policy (EBA, 06/24/2020)
Visitation on Campus
The Rankin County Board of Education welcomes visitors to the schools of the District.
All persons entering a school building other than for attendance at a scheduled activity open to the general public must report directly to the office of the principal to request a visitor’s permit. Such permits are not required of students of that school or employees of the Rankin County School District. Persons failing to comply with this policy will be considered trespassers and shall be liable for prosecution. The principal shall have the right to deny visitation rights to any individual if in the judgement of the principal the visit might negatively affect the classroom procedures and/or might endanger public health.
Prohibition of Tobacco Use
The Rankin County Board of Education recognizes that the use of tobacco products represents a health and safety hazard which can have serious consequences for both the user and non-user and the safety of the District. In order to protect the students, staff and guests of the District from an environment that may be harmful to them, the Board hereby prohibits the use of tobacco products by all staff members, employees, visitors or guests on all public school property throughout the Rankin County School District. Any violators of PL 641 will be subject to being issued a citation by law enforcement officers and/or being fined. Anyone convicted under this act will be recorded as violating a criminal statute.
It is specifically directed that the ban on the use of tobacco products be in effect twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and will apply to anyone present on District property without exception.
It is further understood that this policy will be in addition to existing Board policy concerning the prohibition of the use of tobacco products by students on school property and school buses.
Public Complaints (KL, 7/12/1995)
All complaints pertaining to schools made by patrons or citizens should be made first to the principal of the school. If not settled there, concerns should be directed to the Superintendent and, if need be, to the Board for final action.
Parent Conferences (IHABA, 8/10/1994)
Close communication between home and school is an important factor in establishing a highly effective school program. Planned conferences between parents and teachers are vital in establishing close cooperation and a useful link to improve student achievement.
Conferences via telephone, electronic mail, or personal contact between parents and teachers provide an opportunity for a mutual exchange of information and ideas for constructively impacting the educational experience of the child. All conferences shall be scheduled during teacher conference periods or immediately before or after school.
Teachers may request and principals may require attendance of a counselor or other personnel at scheduled conferences. The principal or his designee shall maintain a file relative to all conferences.
Student Health Services–Medicines (JGCD, 2/12/2020)
The principal or his designee may administer prescription medicines to students in their charge only under the following conditions:
1. The parent/guardian must request in writing that such service be provided by completing a RCSD “Consent for Medications at School” form (one form per medication).
2. The parent/guardian requests must include prescriber authorization (to be completed by a physician or licensed practitioner) and include the name of the prescribing physician, the name of the medicine, the dosage prescribed, the route to be taken, and the time(s)/frequency to be given for both over the counter or prescription medication(s).
3. Medicines checked in at the school must be in their original prescription or unopened over the counter container with the information label attached.
4. The first dose of any medication registered at the school must be given by the parent/guardian at home to ensure there are no adverse drug reactions. All medication(s) registered at school must be taken in the presence of the principal and/or their designee.
5. The parent/guardian consent for medication(s) at school and the physician order for the medication must be kept on file for a period of one full year.
6. Medications not picked up at the end of the school year on or before the last day of school will be discarded.
7. Under no circumstances are students to transport or carry medication(s) to or from school (with the exception of asthma inhalers and epinephrine pens if RCSD policy to carry these medications has been followed). All medications must be registered in the school office by the parent/guardian. Any student found transporting, carrying, or dispensing over the counter or prescription medication(s) of any kind will be subject to suspension or other disciplinary action.
All medications so entrusted to the school shall be kept in a secure, specific limited access storage space designated by the principal.
A student with asthma shall be permitted to possess and self-administer asthma medications at school and school-sponsored activities/programs under the following conditions:
1. The parent/guardian gives written authorization for self-administration of asthma medication and acknowledges that the school shall incur no liability and the parent/guardian shall indemnify and hold harmless the school and its employees against any claims relating to self-administration of asthma medications by signing a RCSD “Consent for Medications at School” form.
2. The parent/guardian provides an asthma action plan from the student’s health care practitioner indicating that the student has asthma and has been instructed on self-administration of asthma medications. This plan must also include: the name and purpose of the medication, severity of asthma condition (mild, moderate, severe), the prescribed dosage, the time(s) the medication can be administered, any special circumstances regarding administration of the medication, steps to take in the event of an emergency or life threatening event, and the length of time for which the medication is prescribed.
3. If a student uses his/her medication in a manner other than prescribed, he/she may be subject to disciplinary action under the school codes. The disciplinary action shall not limit or restrict the student's immediate access to the medication.
The permission for self-administration of asthma medications shall be in effect for the school year in which it is granted, necessitating renewal each school year. Inhalers or asthma medication(s) not picked up at the end of the school year on or before the last day of school will be discarded. RCSD will not be responsible for any equipment not picked up on or before the last day of school.
A student with severe allergies shall be permitted to possess and self-administer epinephrine medications at school and school-sponsored activities/programs under the following conditions:
1. The parent/guardian gives written authorization for self-administration of epinephrine medication and acknowledges that the school shall incur no liability and the parent/guardian shall indemnify and hold harmless the school and its employees against any claims relating to self-administration of epinephrine medications by signing a RCSD “Consent for Medications at School” form.
2. The parent/guardian provides information from the student’s health care practitioner indicating that the student has severe allergies and has been instructed on self-administration of epinephrine medications. This plan must also include: the name and purpose of the medication, the allergen to which the child is allergic to, the prescribed dosage, the time(s) the medication can be administered, any special circumstances regarding administration of the medication, steps to take in the event of an emergency or life threatening event, and the length of time for which the medication is prescribed.
3. If a student uses his/her medication in a manner other than prescribed, he/she may be subject to disciplinary action under the school codes. The disciplinary action shall not limit or restrict the student's immediate access to the medication.
4. The school board authorizes the school nurse or trained school employee to administer auto-injectable epinephrine to a student who the school nurse or trained school employee, in good faith, believes is having an anaphylactic reaction, whether or not the student has a prescription for epinephrine.
The RCSD will follow all regulations set forth in state law 37-11-71. The permission for self-administration of epinephrine medications shall be in effect for the school year in which it is granted, necessitating renewal each school year. Epi-Pens or Epinephrine medication(s) not picked up at the end of the school year on or before the last day of school will be discarded.
1. "Auto-injectable epinephrine" means a medical device for the immediate administration of epinephrine to a person at risk for anaphylaxis.
2. "Asthma and anaphylaxis medication" means inhaled bronchodilator and auto-injectable epinephrine.
3. "Self-administration of prescription asthma and/or anaphylaxis medication" means a student's discretionary use of prescription asthma and/or anaphylaxis medication.
Fund Raising – Students (JK, 5/24/2017)
Student fundraising efforts permissible under the following guidelines:
- the principal must approve any fund-raising project prior to its beginning, taking into consideration the cost/benefit ratio and whether or not the project is appropriate or beneficial to the official or extra-curricular programs of the school;
- any proceeds of the fund-raising activities shall be treated as “activity funds” and are accounted for under those procedures;
- fund-raising activities conducted for the sale of school pictures, the rental of caps and gowns, or the sale of graduation invitations shall contain a disclosure statement advising that a portion of the proceeds of the sales or rentals shall be contributed to the student activity fund, if the school is to receive a commission, rebate or fee;
(EXAMPLE – NOTICE: This sale is being conducted as a fund raising event. A portion of the sales price will be contributed to the student activity fund.)
principals may approve charging a reasonable fee for participation in an extracurricular activity for academic or non-academic credit for necessary and required equipment such as safety equipment, band instruments, and uniforms;
- the principal may approve, at his discretion, the conduct or participation in fund-raising activities on behalf of or in connection with a tax-exempt charitable organization, remitting all monies collected to said charitable organization;
- the principal must approve any sale or rental of items to students even if such is not conducted for fund raising purposes for the school, taking into consideration the benefit to students, the cost to parents, and the method of payment to the vendor;
- the principal may authorize collection of funds for organizations outside the school (PTO, boosters, etc.) at his discretion, setting guidelines for utilization of school personnel during school hours for this purpose and relinquishing accountability for these funds to the identified outside organization;
- the principal shall establish prices to be charged by the school for admission to extracurricular activity events (athletic games, etc.), with the utilization of pre-numbered tickets required if it is anticipated that the event will generate gross receipts in excess of $100.
LEGAL REFERENCE: MS Code 37-7-301; Financial Accounting Manual for Mississippi School Districts, July 1, 1992.
Gifts to Schools (DFK, 5/26/2021)
GIFTS AND BEQUESTS TO SCHOOL DISTRICT/DONATED ASSETS
Items and donations contributed to the Rankin County School District will become the property of the district and shall be subject to the same controls and regulations which govern the use or disposal of all district owned property. The Board reserves the right to reject any contribution to the district which does not serve to enhance or extend the work of the schools.
All donations and contributions (monies and personal property) in an amount of $500 or more shall be formally submitted to the Board for acknowledgement and acceptance. The Minutes shall reflect the contributor, amount, and purpose for the donation, if any. Any monies donated shall be deposited into the appropriate fund.
The principal shall have the authority to accept and acknowledge all donations and contributions (monies and personal property) to their school valued at less than $500 on the date of donation. Any such monies shall be receipted into the school’s activity fund and deposited in that bank account.
“Crowdfunding” is defined as an internet-based request for resources from individuals and organizations to support activities or projects that enhance an educational program.
It is the preference of the Rankin County School Board that employees utilize sites funding supplies or equipment rather than monetary donations.
The following guidelines apply to any crowdfunding project:
- Any person (including employees) or entity acting on behalf of any school, or the district as a whole, and wishing to conduct crowdfunding, online fundraising, or any other online donation campaign for the benefit of any school, or the district as a whole, shall begin the process by seeking PRIOR written approval from the school principal. Written approval must be obtained using the district’s crowdfunding application.
- All items (monies and personal property) obtained through crowdfunding projects using the school or district name are to become the property of Rankin County School District.
- All monetary donations should be recorded by the school bookkeeper in the School Activity Fund. No school banking information should ever be disclosed by individuals to anyone outside the district. A check should be requested to be mailed to the school in the name of the school and not to an individual.
- Crowdfunding items in an amount of $500 or more shall be formally submitted to the school board for acknowledgement and acceptance.
- Inventory policies and procedures of the district apply to property obtained through crowdfunding projects.
- Any cost of installation is the responsibility of the donor unless otherwise agreed to by the school district.
- Some crowdfunding sites are tax deductible and some are not. It is not the responsibility of the school or school district to determine if the donation is tax deductible. The district will not provide a Form 990 for crowdfunding donations.
- Crowdfunding that would obligate the school system to future operating or upkeep costs must be approved by the school board.
- Teachers and employees must comply with student privacy and other requirements set out in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and all other applicable laws and regulations. Thus, student images, names, and descriptions which would cause students to be identifiable or would allow logical deductions about disabilities or other factors deemed to be within the student sphere or privacy must not be used on such websites or elsewhere unless written, parental permission is secured in advance.
LEGAL REF.: MS CODE as cited; Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards
CROSS REF.: Policy DM Fixed Assets; Policy JK Fund Raising – Students
The district is committed to the identification, assessment, and placement of English Learners (EL) in an environment that facilitates appropriate and effective instruction to meet the special needs of these students. English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers and mainstream classroom teachers alike share the responsibility for the EL's whole education, both in language and academic content. Mainstream classroom teachers, ESL teachers, and other support staff plan jointly to determine instructional accommodations and modifications needed to make language and content as comprehensible as possible throughout the whole school day for ELs.
The newly revised Mississippi English Learner Guidelines: Regulations, Funding Guidance, and Instructional Supports (2018) by the Mississippi Department of Education provides RCSD with a clear understanding of the responsibilities towards EL students. To see additional and detailed information regarding English proficiency instruction, please refer to Policy IK.
Parental Involvement (LA, 11/11/1998)
All schools are encouraged to have a formal parent-teacher association/organization in which parents, teachers and administrators work together for the support and improvement of the schools.
Each school’s association/organization must have formalized by-laws that receive principal and membership approval.
Title I Parental Involvement (LAA, 6/28/2017)
ESEA PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT POLICY
PART I: GENERAL EXPECTATIONS
- 1) The Rankin County School District recognizes the importance of a positive parent/school partnership and encourages all schools to involve parents in the educational program. This parent and family engagement policy was developed with input from parents, teachers, administrators and students. It is reviewed annually and revised as needed. The Rankin County School District agrees to implement the following statutory requirements in schools currently being served as school-wide Title I schools:
- The school district will put into operation programs, activities and procedures for the engagement of parents in all of its schools with Title I, Part A programs, consistent with section 1116 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Those programs, activities, and procedures will be planned and operated with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children.
- Consistent with section 1116, the school district will work with its schools to ensure that the required school-level parental engagement policies meet the requirements of section 1116(b) of the ESEA, and each include, as a component, a school-parent compact consistent with section 1116(d) of the ESEA.
- The school district will incorporate this district-wide parent and family engagement policy into its LEA plan developed under section 1112 of the ESEA.
- In carrying out the Title I, Part A parental engagement requirements, to the extent practicable, the school district and its schools will provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children, including providing information and school reports required under section 1111 of the ESEA in an understandable and uniform format and, including alternative formats upon request, and, to the extent practicable, in a language parents understand.
- If the LEA plan for Title I, Part A, developed under section 1112 of the ESEA, is not satisfactory to the parents of participating children, the school district will submit any parent comments with the plan when the school district submits the plan to the Mississippi Department of Education.
- The school district will involve the parents of children served in Title I, Part A schools in decisions about how the one (1) percent of Title I, Part A funds reserved for parental engagement is spent, and will ensure that not less than 90 percent of the one (1) percent reserved goes directly to the schools, with priority given to high-need schools.
- The school district will be governed by the following statutory definition of parental involvement, and expects that its Title I schools will carry out programs, activities and procedures in accordance with this definition:
- The term “parental involvement” means the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring—
- That parents play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
- That parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;
- That parents are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child;
- The carrying out of other activities, such as those described in section 1116 of the ESEA.
PART II: DESCRIPTION OF HOW DISTRICT WILL IMPLEMENT REQUIRED DISTRICT-WIDE PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT POLICY COMPONENTS
- The Rankin County School District will take the following actions to involve parents in the joint development of its district-wide parental engagement plan under section 1112 of ESEA:
- Establishing a district-wide Parental Engagement Steering Committee. This Steering Committee will jointly develop, with district staff, the district parental engagement plan.
- Developing a Strategic Plan for each school that includes strategies for increasing parental/community engagement. Parents and staff members develop the school’s Strategic Plan.
- The Rankin County School District will take the following actions to involve parents in the process of school support and improvement under section 1111(d) of the ESEA:
- Hosting an “Open House” for all parents early in the school year at each school building. Parents meet with classroom teacher, Title I teachers, and itinerant staff to learn about curriculum, annual objectives, and teacher expectations.
- Scheduling parent-teacher conferences twice a year in every school in the district. Conferences may also be scheduled whenever a parent or teacher deems a conference would be necessary or beneficial.
- The Rankin County School District will provide the following necessary coordination, technical assistance, and other support to assist Title I, Part A schools in planning and implementing effective parental engagement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance:
- Providing timely support, information, and services to staff in participating Title I programs
- Hosting “School Attendance Zone Meetings” to discuss individual strategic plans, student test scores, and strategies for communicating and involving parents in their child’s education.
- Designating a Parent/School Liaison at each school site to encourage and support parent engagement activities.
- Developing a Stakeholder committee, which includes parents, to develop, monitor and revise program activities.
- Hosting meetings, events, celebrations, and conferences that invite parents and community members to learn more about program goals and activities.
- Offering parent workshops on a variety of topics specific to each program such as literacy, child development, drug and alcohol issues, arts education, and technology integration.
- The Rankin County School District will take the following actions to conduct, with the engagement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of this parent and family engagement policy in improving the quality of the Title I, Part A schools. The evaluation will include identifying barriers to greater participation by parents in parental engagement activities (with particular attention to parents who are economically disadvantaged, and disabled, have limited English proficiency, have limited literacy, or are of any racial or ethnic minority background). The school district will use the findings of the evaluation about its parent and family engagement policy and activities to design strategies for more effective parental engagement, and to revise, if necessary (and with the involvement of parents) its parent and family engagement policies.
- Conducting annual surveys of parents to evaluate the effectiveness of parental engagement activities provided by each school and the district.
- Utilizing survey results in the strategic planning process for each school and the district. Each school has a designated Parent/School Liaison who will assist in the evaluation and planning process.
- Offering each parent in the district the opportunity to provide feedback to the school and district staff on program activities and parental engagement plans.
- The Rankin County School District will build the schools’ and parents’ capacity for strong parental engagement, in order to ensure effective engagement of parents and to support a partnership among the school involved, parents and the community to improve student academic achievement, through the following activities specifically described below. The school district will, with the assistance of its Title I, Part A schools, provide assistance to parents of children served by the school district or school, as appropriate, in understanding topics such as the following—
- Mississippi’s academic content standards,
- Mississippi’s student academic achievement standards,
- Mississippi’s and the local academic assessments including alternate assessments,
- The requirements of Part A,
- How to monitor a child’s progress, and
- How to work with educators
The Rankin County School District will provide assistance on these topics by undertaking the actions described below:
- Providing appropriate training for parents in appropriate settings so that parents can learn about child development, state and district academic standards and assessments, and show parents how to work with their children to improve their children’s achievement including monitoring a child’s progress and working with teachers/school staff.
- Arranging meetings at flexible times to maximize the opportunities for parents to participate.
- Coordinating workshops and classes and provide information on statewide and out-of-state conferences that focus on improving parental engagement in their child’s education.
- Providing, with the assistance of its schools, materials and training to help parents work with their children to improve their children’s academic achievement, such as literacy training, and using technology, as appropriate, to foster parental engagement, by sponsoring programs for parents and community members on a variety of topics such as literacy, child development, drug and alcohol issues, and technology throughout the school year.
- Educating teachers, pupil services personnel, principals, and other staff, in how to reach out to, communicate with, and work with parents as equal partners, in the value and utility of contributions of parents, and in how to implement and coordinate parent programs and build ties between parents and schools, by:
- Sponsoring programs for parents and community members on a variety of topics such as early childhood development, literacy, child psychology and proper healthcare throughout the school year.
- Offering programs to parents of preschool age children in collaboration with local and state services.
- Sending information related to the school and parent-programs, meetings, and other activities to the parents of participating children in an understandable and uniform format, including alternative formats upon request, and to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand by:
- Providing documents of a professional quality,
- Complying with all federal requirements for parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities, and parents of migratory children.
PART III: DISCRETIONARY DISTRICT-WIDE PARENT AND FAMILY ENGAGEMENT POLICY COMPONENTS
- In addition, the Rankin County School District will provide additional services to the parents and community through the school year. These activities may include, but are not limited to:
- Involving parents in the development of training for teachers, principals and other educators to improve the effectiveness of that training;
- Providing necessary literacy training for parents from Title I, Part A funds if the school district has exhausted all other reasonably available sources of funding for that training;
- Paying reasonable and necessary expenses associated with parental engagement activities, including transportation and child care costs, to enable parents to participate in school-related meetings and training sessions;
- Training parents to enhance the engagement of other parents;
- In order to maximize parental engagement and participation in their children’s education, arranging school meetings at a variety of times, or conducting in-home conferences between teachers or other educators, who work directly with participating children, with parents who are unable to attend those conferences at school;
- Adopting and implementing model approaches to improving parental engagement;
- Establishing a district wide parent advisory council to provide advice on all matters related to parental engagement in Title I, Part A programs;
- Developing appropriate roles for community-based organizations and businesses, including faith-based organizations, in parental engagement activities; and
- Providing other reasonable support for parental engagement activities under section 1116 as parents may request.
LEGAL REFERENCE: Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Section 1116
The Ropes Challenge Course is a series of activities that are presented to a group as a challenge. This course is located behind ITD on Pleasant Street and is used to teach team building and conflict resolution skills to RCSD students and staff. The course helps improve problem-solving, decision-making, and risk-taking strategies 81 while building leadership, team building, and communication skills. Come experience a sense of success and adventure. For more information, call JROTC at 601-825-8981.
As part of an annual notification for compliance with the Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA), the Rankin County School District hereby informs all parents, teachers, and employees of their option to review the Asbestos Management Plan semi-annual surveillance inspection reports and the three year reinspection reports which are on file in the principal’s office at each school as well as the Rankin County School District Administration Office Building at 1220 Apple Park Place, Brandon, MS 39042. The Rankin County School District, in compliance with AHERA requirements, has inspections of all asbestos containing materials (ACM) within the district conducted by Pickering Environmental of Jackson. Any changes are recorded in the surveillance report (AHERA book) of the management plan.