Plan to curb hate-bias in schools going to board

October 22, 1992|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

A new policy aimed at reducing the number of hate-bias incidents in county schools will be sent to the Board of Education today.

Action on the plan was postponed two weeks ago to allow time for the schools' human relations coordinator, Jacqueline F. Brown, to revise it with more emphasis on education rather than punishment.

The Educational and Personal Rights policy aims to standardize discipline for hate-bias incidents. It stiffens an existing policy that condemns hate-bias acts but does not define such acts or provide guidelines to discipline students who engage in them.

At a Sept. 24 board meeting, Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said the policy would support the system-wide goal of improving the human relations climate in schools.

"The biggest factor is giving kids a safe and secure learning environment," Mr. Hickey said.

"Certainly, it will help students learn how to deal with people of different backgrounds."

Under the current proposal, students who verbally harass, defame or intimidate others or who use profanity are required to bring their parents in for a meeting with the principal, receive counseling and participate in educational programs. Those who commit a second offense are suspended.

Students who physically intimidate, threaten physical harm or physically assault are immediately suspended. Those who commit a second offense are suspended and face expulsion.

In other action, the board will:

* Consider names for two new schools opening next August. Committees have suggested Rockburn Elementary School for the northeastern elementary in Rockburn Branch Park and Mount View Middle School for the western middle school on Route 99 about three miles east of Route 32.

* Hear results of the Maryland Functional Reading Test, which 97.9 percent of county ninth-graders passed last year -- the highest percentage in nine years.

* Consider allowing some teachers, parents, administrators and students to run schools they way they want for three years under a "school-based management" pilot program.

If the program should be approved, it would begin next year in six schools, from elementary to high school.

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