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South Jefferson Central School District approves new disciplinary committee

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ADAMS — The South Jefferson Central School District on Monday night formed a committee of teachers and administrators to handle disciplinary matters involving students in sports and extracurricular activities.

Under the previous rules, a student found breaking the rules involving tobacco, alcohol or drugs was suspended immediately from the team or club for at least 28 days or until the end of the season.

With the new rules, the committee will have the ability to determine punishments on a case-by-case basis, with options including the removal from a team or activity for the season or year, suspension for a specified amount of time, designated community service or a meeting with the pupil services team.

“It allows for a lot more flexibility and discussion,” said Karen M. Denny, high school principal.

The committee’s sanctions would be separate from any discipline the school would administer.

The committee will have a one-semester trial period starting this semester.

The new plan, which expands the list of infractions to include bullying, harassment, intimidation and blatant insubordination, is described as an educational model compared with a punitive one.

Mrs. Denny, who presented the revised agreement to the Board of Education with Assistant Principal Jon Christopher and athletic coordinator Jay P. Wiley, said notifications about the plan will go out this week. The five-member committee will include Mr. Wiley.

The revisions, developed over the last three years, also clarify how and in what time administrators will investigate and proceed with determinations on code violations.

“There really wasn’t a clear process in place, so this outlines that, as well,” Mrs. Denny said.

If a violation is suspected, the new policy states, an investigation will be started promptly by either a school administrator or Mr. Wiley. The initial investigator will have two days from learning of the violation to convene the committee, which then will make a determination of a punishment.

Students will be able to request a meeting with the committee to discuss the violation, and within 24 hours of a decision the student, his or her parent or guardian and coach will be notified.

The committee also will be able to issue temporary judgments as it waits for the information it needs to make a final decision. Mrs. Denny said the change makes discipline for students active through the year more equitable.

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