Aiken County BOE moves forward with annual Code of Conduct review, suggest harsher punishment and more admin training

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – The Board of Education is working to streamline the discipline process in Aiken County schools.

At a meeting Tuesday, they approved the first reading of revisions to the Code of Conduct, that include a provision for addressing student incidents.

It’s almost been a full school year since the new Code of Conduct was put into action in Aiken County Schools.

Now school leaders are further evolving the way administrators handle student-discipline.

“For the second year in a row, a number of people, some you will hear from tonight, that have worked diligently to update, to keep current with the needs of our school and we are excited here tonight to kind of share some of those things.” A member of the Steering Committee said.

As part of the annual review, a steering committee of 30 parents, teachers, administrators and community members presented their recommendations to improve the restructured policy.

“At the elementary level we only added three big changes,” said a member of the Steering Committee.

Overall, high school level infractions would see the most changes. The steering committee recommended harsher punishment for several infractions.

However, the board requested clear definitions of each violation, to eliminate the need for personal interpretation and keep discipline consistent across the district.

“You all know that sometimes when we monitor the data, for example, it didn’t accurately reflect what was going on in our schools.” Hearing Officer Johnny Spears said.

Spears says district-wide administrators didn’t correctly code incidents through the online tracking system, ABE, due to the lack of training.

An issue Spears says he plans to solve.

“I’ll be doing training on ABE for those guys as well as setting them up with mentors in their schools, that can also assist in using that discipline reporting tool.” Spears said.

Spears announced scheduled Code of Conduct training for administrators would begin in July and last through June of 2018.

It will not be required for teachers, but they will be invited to attend the sessions.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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