COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

 

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 51

September 24, 2004

 

ADMINISTRATIVE

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Persistently Dangerous Schools: Notification Procedure for Category I Incidents

 

The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Title IX, Section 9532, requires each state receiving funds under the act to establish and implement a statewide Unsafe School Choice Option Policy. Specifically, the requirement states:

 

SEC. 9532. UNSAFE SCHOOL CHOICE OPTION

(a) UNSAFE SCHOOL CHOICE POLICY- Each state receiving funds under this Act shall establish and implement a statewide policy requiring that a student attending a persistently dangerous public elementary school or secondary school, as determined by the State in consultation with a representative sample of local educational agencies, or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, as determined by State law, while in or on the grounds of a public elementary school or secondary school that the student attends, be allowed to attend a safe public elementary school or secondary school within the local educational agency, including a public charter school.

 

The purpose of this memo is to provide information about a revised reporting process to be followed related to the identification of persistently dangerous schools required by NCLB. On April 29, 2003, the State Board of Education approved the Process and Criteria for Identification of Persistently Dangerous Schools. This information was provided to school divisions under SUPTS. MEMO NO. 86, May 9, 2003.

 

The approved plan establishes three categories of offenses and assigns either an absolute threshold or point value to each category. Schools accumulate points when these incidents occur. Each school has a point threshold for Category II and III offenses that when exceeded, places the school in either a cautioned, probationary, or persistently dangerous status. For Category I offenses, no points are assigned. A minimum of one incident in this category per school year, regardless of school size, exceeds the threshold for that year.

 

Category I incidents include homicide, sexual assault offenses, and the use of a bomb or explosive device. Category II incidents include assault with a firearm or other weapon, malicious wounding without a weapon, actual and attempted robbery, aggravated sexual battery, and kidnapping/abduction. Category III incidents include illegal possession of controlled drugs and substances with intent to sell or distribute and illegal possession of a handgun, rifle/shotgun, projectile weapon, bomb or other firearms.

 

Discipline, crime, and violence data are reported to the Department of Education at the conclusion of the school year. For example, the 2003-04 school year data are required to be reported no later than September 2004 (Reference SUPTS. MEMO NO. 58, October 24, 2003). Consequently, reporting this information is always a year behind the current school year. Because of this time delay in reporting, there is a new process for school divisions to report any Category I offenses when they occur in order to immediately identify a school when it becomes cautioned, on probation, or persistently dangerous because of the incident.

 

Category I offenses are to be reported within 10 working days to the Department of Education after occurrence. The reports may be made from the departments Discipline, Crime, and Violence reporting website at

 

http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Publications/Discipline/datacoll/2003-2004/03coll.html

 

This Web page will provide the link to the notification form that will be completed by the school division within 10 days after a Category I offense occurs. A copy of the form is included as Attachment A.

 

The division superintendent will be notified by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction that an identified school within the division will receive a written notification of its status for a period of one year from the date of the incident. In keeping with the procedures originally outlined in SUPTS. MEMO NO. 86, the school must develop or review its corrective action plan (CAP) to increase safety in the school environment and to reduce the number of incidents. The plan also must include the periodic review of school crime and violence data through the year by school officials. The CAP will be due to the Department of Education within 20 working days from the date of the original incident.

The reporting process will still include the discipline, crime, and violence reports that are sent to the Department of Education. The new procedure does not change the reporting process that takes place at the end of the school year.

 

Questions regarding the submission of this report may be directed by e-mail to: discipln@pen.k12.va.us or to Joyce Martin at 804-225-2966.

 

JLD/AJC/jjm

Attachment

 

/administrators/superintendents_memos/2004/adm051a.pdf