Staff and students react to changes in code of conduct

written by Ximena Arellano-Marin

As most students and teachers know, the Jefferson County Public School Student Code of Conduct has been changed. The new code of conduct minimizes school suspensions for certain offenses. Now even PRP’s students have had enough.

Many students were told that JCPS planned on doing away with school suspensions for fighting and sexual abuse. The JCPS board had a recommendation to lessen the amount of suspension days for some offenses and eliminate suspensions for others. However, in the summer of 2016, the board decided on the changes.

Profanity, gambling, dress code violations, the use of tobacco and many other things are no longer considered acts for suspension. However, the board did not scale back on disciplinary actions for fighting and sexual harassment.

“I feel like there should be consequences for inappropriate behavior. You don’t want one student’s behavior to affect twenty others when you’re ultimately here to learn,”  teacher Deanna Hawks said.

With the new Code of Conduct in place, some students are breaking the dress code policy along with other rules.

“You have people who outright don’t care or think it’s not a big deal, but it doesn’t matter because I will do whatever I need to do,” security officer Tedde Jackson said.

Last year, about 200 PRP students held a walk-out during their sixth period. They protested because they were opposed to the code of conduct eliminating suspensions for certain acts. They left their classrooms and went to the front of the PRP building. Once outside, they were greeted by the WDRB news crew.

“It was to make a point about how we disagree with the new Code of Conduct” Senior Hanna Watson said.

That same day, teachers at PRP gathered before school and held a walk-in where they protested changes to the code of conduct and any plan to freeze teacher salaries. The teachers and some students did it early so they would not disrupt learning or class time. Students and teachers held up signs as they walked into the building. Although the walk-in and the walk-out were for the same purpose, the walk-out wasn’t planned in advance.

“I think that kids are willing to fight for what they believe in, but if they would’ve gotten up early, we would’ve seen their support,” Human Geography teacher Deborah Thomas said.

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