LCS amends policy for students charged with crimes

By Cedrell Mitchell
Outlook Writer

Students in Leon County Schools who have run-ins with the law will have a reprieve that could cut a year off their penalty for being charged with a crime.

The move to reduce the penalty was recently unanimously approved in January by the Leon County School Board. The change came on a recommendation by Ricky Bell, LCS’s athletic director and director of interdivisional services.

Bell told the board that without the policy amendment students who sat out a year and attended an alternative school would actually be punished twice.

“Very few counties have this policy and I wanted to add date of conviction or date of alternative placement,” said Bell.

In part, the statute under 5610 in LCS’s code of conduct says a student who is convicted of a felony or a delinquent act … would lose eligibility to participate in student activity for not more than two consecutive calendar years from the date of conviction or alternative placement.

At the center of Bell’s plea for the amendment, was a recent case involving a student who spent a year being home schooled, before his was tried. He was sentenced to probation and community service, which he served before returning to the public school system.
However, the student couldn’t return to his school’s track and cross-country teams, although he was academically eligible as a straight-A student.

It was resolved the day that the school board accepted the change, which was added to the code of conduct’s article 5500.
“Now we are saying if they (students) are cleared to return to their home schools they should be able to return and participate in extra-curricular activity,” said Rocky Hanna, LCS superintendent. “It didn’t make any sense so we are mirroring the two policies together being if you are good enough to go back to school you are good enough to participate in extracurricular activities.”

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