PLAQUEMINE — The Iberville Parish School Board has revised the district’s Zero Tolerance Violence Prevention Program.
The changes approved Monday night impose stiffer penalties on students who get involved in fights on school grounds.
The original zero tolerance policy, adopted in 1996, required students caught fighting on campus to attend conflict resolution classes.
But Maj. Ronnie Hebert, speaking for the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, told board members that not only had the policy lost its “bite,” but some students were
using it to avoid criminal prosecution they would otherwise face by fighting off campus.
Hebert said he had encountered students who said they would attack their adversaries on school grounds because all they had to do to return to classes would be to attend conflict resolution classes.
“It’s not working,” Herbert said. “If you fight on the streets, you’re going to get arrested. You may not get put in jail, but you’re going to at least get a summons and appear in court.”
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi advised the board he believes forcing students to appear before parish judges to answer for their actions would help school authorities maintain campus discipline.
Revisions suggested by the Sheriff’s Office called for arresting any student, 10 years of age and up, caught fighting on school property. Such students would be prosecuted in Juvenile Court for the crime of battery.
Students acting in self-defense would not be disciplined under the new policy, pending Sheriff’s Office investigations.
The board voted 9-4 to approve the new policy. Council members Albertha Hasten, Freddie Molden, Donald Patterson and Dorothy Sansoni voted against the measure. Councilmen Michael Hebert and Yolanda Laws were absent from Monday’s meeting.
Other items coming before the board included:
MILLAGE RATE: The board unanimously set the millage rate for the 2012 fiscal year at 57.83 mills.
Chief Financial Officer Jolain Landry said the 2012 tax rate is expected to generate about $23.6 million in revenue during the 2012-13 school year.
Landry said the district could not “roll forward” or “roll back” its millage rates because the assessed value of property remained steady, according to the Iberville Parish Assessor’s Office reassessment.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved