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Students are facing tougher consequences

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August 12, 2002

by Jocelyn Maner

If your child physically abuses a school employee or causes trouble on a bus, he or she could be expelled.

A new Georgia law requires all state school boards to update their student code of conduct, and that's what the Dougherty County School Board did tonight.

The board says students can be suspended or expelled for preventing a bus driver from doing his or her job. It also prevents students from bringing distracting electronic devices on buses.

The Director of Trasportation for Dougherty County schools, Willie Griffin, says it's about time bus drivers received adequate protection. 

Griffin says, "It's so much going on now on school buses that they don't have no respect for the driver adn we got to have some teeth into it to make it work."

The board also approved a rule that students be automatically expelled for violence against any school employee. If the student is in elementary school, they can be reinstated. In middle school, they can be sent to an alternative school.

If they are in high school, they can be expelled or reapply for admission to school...but an individual students fate is ultimately up to the school board.

Parents and school board members say students should be held responsible for their actions.  School board member, Milton Griffin says, "I think it's going to help protect our teachers. I always said if a student hits another student, I don't believe in suspension, but if a student hurts a teacher, I feel like he needs to be expelled.

Parent, Loretta Wingate says, "The school system should have a program in place so that our teachers, bus drivers and students feel safe.

Dougherty High School principal, Horace Reid, says he tries to create a safe environment for his teachers, and he also tries to listen to their concerns. 

 Reid says "We all know that classrooms are tough now that teachers are dealing with so you have to have things in place to try to protect teachers to allow them to do their job.

School board members say they hope that students will realize the severity of the consequences they will face if they hurt a school employee, so that everyone will be safe. 

 The school board has until this Thursday to submit these updated policies to the state board of education.