January 18, 2007

SAVE Act: Parents’ right to know

Posted in Statistics and reporting, Student safety, Student violence at 5:40 pm by madisonparent

Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives (the “Safe Schools Against Violence in Education [SAVE] Act,” H.R. 354) which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a/k/a “ESEA,” a/k/a No Child Left Behind) to address school safety. Some provisions:

…a student who is attending a public elementary or secondary school that does not have a safe climate for academic achievement, […] or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, as determined by State law, while in or on the grounds of or on a school bus of, or on a school function of, a public elementary school or secondary school that the student attends, [shall] be allowed to attend a safe public elementary school or secondary school within the local educational agency, including a public charter school. The policy shall further provide for the option of counseling or removal of the offender where appropriate. [….]

Each State shall, in developing its policies on how it determines whether a school has a safe climate for academic achievement, include information on school related crime data, without the use of disciplinary action qualifiers [….]

Establis[h] and implemen[t] a comprehensive school safety plan that incorporates input from the community, including local law enforcement, and is updated at least every year. […] Ensu[re] that all members of the school district staff, including part-time employees and substitute teachers, are trained in all necessary elements of the comprehensive school safety plan.

The national PTA commends Rep. McCarthy for this legislation in a letter that gets to the heart of what parents need to know about the safety of their child’s school:

Far too many times, parents are not made aware of serious safety issues in their school, much less their legal options if their school is identified as unsafe. By ensuring that every parent of a student enrolled in a school found to be unsafe is notified of their options in an understandable way, schools will become safer and children will have a better environment in which to learn.

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