Last Modified: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 11:35 AM
PLAQUEMINE (AP) — The Iberville Parish School Board has revised the district's Zero Tolerance Violence Prevention Program.
The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/PjRPcU ) the changes approved Monday impose stiffer penalties on students who get involved in fights on school grounds.
The original zero tolerance policy, adopted in 1996, required students caught fighting on campus to attend conflict resolution classes.
But Maj. Ronnie Hebert, speaking for the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office, told board members that not only had the policy lost its "bite," but some students were using it to avoid criminal prosecution they would otherwise face by fighting off campus.
Hebert said he had encountered students who said they would attack their adversaries on school grounds because all they had to do to return to classes would be to attend conflict resolution classes.
"It's not working," Herbert said. "If you fight on the streets, you're going to get arrested. You may not get put in jail, but you're going to at least get a summons and appear in court."
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi advised the board he believes forcing students to appear before parish judges to answer for their actions would help school authorities maintain campus discipline.
Revisions suggested by the Sheriff's Office called for arresting any student, 10 years of age and up, caught fighting on school property. Such students would be prosecuted in Juvenile Court for the crime of battery.
Students acting in self-defense would not be disciplined under the new policy, pending Sheriff's Office investigations.
The board voted 9-4 to approve the new policy.