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The Jefferson City School District is considering providing more discipline options for principals in some situations other than expelling a student from school or labeling a student's behavior as a more serious offense than it is.

The district Board of Education's Policy Committee met Wednesday afternoon, discussing three proposed changes to JC Schools' student discipline policies.

Currently, the only action in district policy to take with a student's first offense of being caught selling, purchasing, transferring or distributing drugs, alcohol or drug-related paraphernalia is expulsion.

The new recommendation from the district is that a student's first offense could be dealt with using an in-school suspension, a one- to 180-day out-of-school suspension and/or expulsion, and with a subsequent offense, the student would face a one- to 180-day out-of-school suspension and/or expulsion.

"The principals aren't saying (expulsion) may not be necessary. What they're saying is that's pretty limiting," JC Schools Chief of Learning Brian Shindorf said.

Shindorf said he doubts an in-school suspension would ever be used to address a student selling drugs.

Another proposed change to district policy he presented was the addition of a new category of offense — "physical contact/aggression," defined as "unwanted physical contact with or without aggression that does not rise to the level of assault."

A first offense would be dealt with using a conference, in-school suspension, and/or one- to 10-day out-of-school suspension. A second offense would be dealt with using an in-school suspension and/or a one- to 180-day out-of-school suspension.

Shindorf said principals wanted the category of offense to be available to not have to choose between classifying a student's behavior as either assault or fighting.

He said principals wanted the category of physical contact/aggression to be available "so they weren't classifying kids as having an assault."

Currently, a student can potentially face up to 180 days of out-of-school suspension or being expelled for their first offense of assault, and fighting can also potentially lead to up to 180 days of out-of-school suspension on the first offense.

Shindorf said guidance for principals on determining whether something is an assault is already in district policy.

The third change Shindorf presented would be a line at the end of the district's student discipline policy JG-R1 that would state: "In addition to the above consequences, building administrators may, when deemed necessary, utilize alternative consequences, with supervisor approval."

He said that statement's inclusion would allow elementary school principals to be able to use loss of a privilege — such as being able to prevent a student from going to play at recess — as a measure of discipline without violating district policy, because using that type of measure is not listed.

The policy committee did not approve any of the changes but sent them to the full Board of Education for its next monthly meeting, where the board could vote to approve the changes.

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