Unsafe School Choice Option Essay Example
Unsafe School Choice Option Essay Example

Unsafe School Choice Option Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (1089 words)
  • Published: May 13, 2017
  • Type: Article
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Recent school attacks committed by students have shaken the country and brought in fears and uncertainties on the image of the school envisioned as a dependably safe and secure environment.  While attacks on schools are rare and have uncommon qualities compared with other types of violence and crimes students confront both in and out of school, nevertheless, the impact on “American consciousness” is enduring (“Threat”, 2002).The government in its desire to enhance the performance of the students in school free from apprehensions about their safety and security, the government found it imperatively necessary to address the concern immediately.  This objective brought about the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 which includes an amendment of The Unsafe School Choice Option (USCO) section 9532 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.The amendment on The Unsafe School Choice Option is geared towards enforcement of a countrywide policy to ensure that students who are studying in an unsafe public school or those who are victims of any criminal offense are transferred to securer public schools.

It purports to provide a safe and more conducive learning environment for students, thus achieving the goals of the educational system in the United States.To implement No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, States have enacted their respective statutes.  Some of these are as follows (Select School Safety Enactments, 2004):2003 Arkansas Act 681, HB 2274: The school districts are required to implement policies that check instances of student harassment. Schools must define policies to prohibit bullying in school premises, functions and transports. The policy should ensure immediate reporting of instanc

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es of bullying to the concerned authorities and safety of students who are reporting the incidents.

2002 Connecticut Public Act 2-119, SHB 5425:  The education board is required to initiate measures to check bullying and harassment of students. Students should be allowed to anonymously report instances of bullying and teasing. Teachers and school officials should report acts of bullying to school administration and school administration is required to investigate and take actions on such reports from students, parents and school staff to discontinue such incidents. Schools are also required to maintain a record of reported and verified incidents and keep them available for public scrutiny.2002 Acts, SB 291: This lists all the acts of verbal and physical assault, intimidation, and disrespectful behavior towards teachers, school staffs and administrators and students and requires implementing check on them.

The responsibility of defining a persistently dangerous school rests with state education boards, which in consultation with local authorities, parents, community leaders and students can reach on a consensus definition.  State education board shall take such objective criteria as number of reported instances of bringing firearms in the school, student feedbacks on instances of violence, drugs related incidents and presence of gangs in school premises in determining the status of a school as persistently dangerous institution.  States should take particular notice of schools where these instances are persistent over a period of two to three years, as they qualify to be categorized as dangerous educational institution (NCLB Program Coordination, 2005).Consequently, it’s the local school boards that are at the

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forefront of identifying and managing persistently dangerous schools, also bearing direct functional relation with perpetrators of violence and crimes and the victims. The responsibilities of local school system and boards include (Georgia Department of Education, n.d.):

  • Ensure implementation and execution of such policies that minimizes prevalenceof violence, drugs and other crimes among students;
  • In case a school is notified persistently dangerous, it’s the responsibility of local school board to inform the parents/guardians of this decision within 10 days of its issue;
  • If a student has been victim of violence or criminal offence in a public school within the school premises, he should be allowed to move to a safe school. It’s the responsibility of school boards to identify the students who are victims of violence and/or crime and ensure their transfer, within 10 days from the date of offence, to another public school that has been declared safe.

To implement the local board rules, the school adopted discipline plans setting up policies on drugs, weapons, and alcohol with corresponding penalties and copies are distributed to the students and parents or guardians who are required to sign a statement affirming notification of the discipline policies of the school.  The said plan also provides for the financial responsibility of the parent, guardian or responsible person for the student’s acts destructive to the property of the school and also committed against persons and should appear before the school authorities for conference regarding the said acts committed.

Further, the school also adopted a code of student conduct available in the student handbook which includes specific grounds for disciplinary action and procedures implementing such actions.  The code shall also include the rights of the students to privacy, speech, assembly and participation to school activities.  Students found to have violated any of the school policies shall be disciplined and may immediately be suspended.  Any violent incident shall be reported by the principal to the law enforcement officers.  The principal is also authorized to sign necessary warrant (Section 16-1-24. 1Local Board Rules).The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was enacted years prior to the horrifying incident that happened in Virginia Tech killing 32 peoples and wounded many others.   Although this deadliest attack happened in the tertiary/university level this could not stop people to doubt whether the said Act is effectively serving its objective to deter violence inside the school campus.  Are the students really protected under Section 9532 of the Act?To provide a secure environment for students, government has instituted specific policy changes at federal, state and local educational levels.

While there are regular checks and monitoring on conditions of schools and their regulation policies, steps are also taken to ensure that if students are perceived as victims of violence or crime in their current educational institutes, arrangements are in place for their transfer to safe schools.  The issue is, are schools dependable enough to report incidents of violence where financial considerations are at stake? It is worthwhile to note that as a condition of receiving funds under the Act, the state shall certify compliance thereof.Moreover, the Act failed to provide guidelines on threat assessments in schools to create

a real safe campus climate. Suspending students who threatens to bring weapons inside the school can trigger stayed violent attack.

Schools must not only concern itself with academic or intellectual pursuit but also must put emphasis on the emotional intelligence needs of the students.