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Tweaking the OPS Code of Conduct

Second year principal Darren Rasmussen knows a lot about Bryan Middle School's students.

"You just build relationships over time with them...so you get a really good feeling of where kids are coming from," he said.

Rasmussen knows their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom and socially, their family situation, their dreams and desires.

"We know the kids, we know the background of the kids," Rasmussen said. "Some of the kids that we're dealing with they have some circumstances that are beyond their control and we understand that so we try to work with them."

That work includes fitting the district's code of conduct policy to the individual and the severity of an infraction.

The policy didn't previously allow any latitude on punishment...many times the student was suspended.

"You still want to teach them a lesson as far as if they did something wrong but you also want to do it in a way that aids them, that keeps them in school that hopefully ultimately will help them make a better choice in the future," Rasmussen said.

OPS Director of Community Services Matt Ray said fitting the policy to individual student situations just makes sense.

"Principal's hands were tied with those policy violations they couldn't look at the student they couldn't look at the situation involved with the student they had to do things because it was mandated," he said.

"Being smart on crime in stead of tough on crime and so we're looking at each case individually instead of a predetermined set of consequences," he said. "Building principals will have the discretion to look at the whole situation and the whole student and it would not just be that predetermined expulsion."

Ray said the ultimate goal is to keep kids in the classroom and to deal with problems that may lead to kids getting in trouble at school.

Some offenses, such as taking a gun to school, will remain a mandated year-long suspension.

Policies limiting cell phones, recording devices and laser pointers have all become issues in recent years.


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