The rules of behavior for students, parents and staff in the Fulton City School District are changing to accommodate a new state law intended to help prevent bullying.
The Dignity for All Students Act takes effect July 1.
Recently, Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch walked through changes to the district’s Code of Conduct (current code available here) intended to comply with the new law. Among them:
- The code now defines bullying and cyberbullying, which is the act of bullying a person through online activities such as text messages and Facebook posts;
- The code also revises definitions of hazing and harassment;
- The code obligates teachers and staff to maintain dignity and respect in school, to confront problems and to report them. “This is an obligation to take care of it,” Lynch said.
“In general, it’s an extension of protected classes of individuals” against all kinds of discrimination and harassment, he said.
One of the issues is punishment. Board of Education President Robbin Griffin asked whether a student who violates these rules will be sent home. The district is also under pressure to raise graduation rates and test scores. “If they’re going to learn, they need to be in school,” she said.
“Consistency of implementation is our downfall,” admitted Lynch.
The revised code will be sent home to each household. It will also be posted on the district website, but Lynch said that simply making the code available online does not meet state regulations.