RSS will revisit School Justice Partnership agreement

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 10, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education is revisiting a partnership intended to keep students out of courts and in school that was minted pre-pandemic.

The School Justice Partnership, a mix of school officials, law enforcement and representatives from the justice system, was formed in 2019. It supported the effort to raise the age that people can be charged with crimes as adults to not include 16 and 17-year-olds, which became state law in December of 2019, and sought to reduce the number of school-age children referred to the court system for minor discipline issues.

Monday’s school board meeting will be held at Wallace Educational Forum. It will begin at 4 p.m. and can be attended in person or viewed live at vimeo.com/rssboe.

In October 2020, the partnership hosted a meeting to get feedback on a draft memorandum of understanding for the partnership. The partnership restarted its work at the beginning of this school year.

The school board will view the draft on Monday and hear from RSS administrators about scheduling a community signing event.

The draft agreement’s goals include initiating involvement with law enforcement for major infractions and reducing the number of minor infractions involving law enforcement. So, discipline would primarily involve school staff.

The partnership is also seeking to establish a monitoring team that would review the agreement at least once per year and to create continuous communication.

In other agenda items:

• The board will swear in Lynn Marsh to fill a vacant seat. Marsh retired as a public school administrator and currently serves as an adjunct professor of special education at Catawba College.

Marsh as well as coach and teacher Travis Billings were interviewed publicly to fill the seat. Marsh was appointed via a 3-1 vote in her favor during the board’s previous meeting.

The seat was vacated by Susan Cox, who unintentionally won reelection in 2020 and agreed to serve temporarily. She recently moved to Guilford County to be closer to her family.

• The board will consider approving flexibility for matching grant funds provided to individual schools. During the previous school year, the board allowed schools to receive $10,000 that would normally need to be matched by fundraising efforts from schools with no match.

District administration will recommend the board approve the same measure this year.

• Chief Student Services Officer April Kuhn will present the board’s regular COVID-19 update. The board is expected to revisit its mask requirement on a monthly basis. In this case, that date would be Oct. 25, the date of its next business meeting.

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About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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