July 17, 2019

Madison School Board reviews new MMS handbook - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Madison School Board reviews new MMS handbook

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:26 pm

Cotton Koch, principal at Madison Middle School, presented changes and additions to the middle school's handbook for students that included a new section concerning student immunizations during the Madison School Board meeting held on Monday.

Koch and the school board members reviewed the handbook changes.

The new immunization section starts by saying the school district complies with requirements that originate from the South Dakota Department of Health for obtaining and verifying immunization records for all new and transferring students.

The handbook states, "If records are not current, that law allows for the school district to exclude children from school. Completed forms are due by the first day of school."

School officials want parents to understand that all 11-year-old students entering the sixth grade must have certain immunizations that include one dose of Tdap vaccine (for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and one dose of MCV4 (meningococcal vaccine).

Madison school officials state the immunization requirements apply only for sixth-grade entry and transfer students for grades 6-12. S.D. Health Department rules indicate that if a child is 10 years old when entering the sixth grade they have 45 days after their 11th birthday to obtain their immunizations.

Madison school officials expect that when students arrive at school or get off the bus, they are not supposed to leave school property until dismissal time -- unless the students have permission from the principal or office personnel. The students also need to sign out at the office when they leave the building.

School officials added a new paragraph to the "leaving school" instructions that stated, "All students are required to use the school phone to call a parent or guardian for any reason, unless authorized by a staff member. All Students are required to come to the office to be dismissed by school personnel if they are leaving due to illness or emergency."

If students or parents want to obtain a copy of Madison Middle School's daily, Friday, early-out, and two-hour late policies, school officials added an internet link to the handbook so they can use a Google search to find the information. The handbook lists the internet address as: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-vN71CJIhEl8nr5CIj6EA3faMjjqN784c-3Ei1LYlrg/edit?usp=sharing.

Koch told the school board members that the middle school handbook would present a dangerous-weapons policy identical to the policy in the district's high school handbook. The MMS handbook states that "The possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in school buildings, vehicles or on school premises is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is strictly prohibited by this policy." The middle school does make exceptions for certain weapons, such as those used by law enforcement, school training sessions, and athletic starting guns.

The handbook also describes a dangerous weapon as "... any firearm, or air-gun, knife or device, instrument, explosive, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which is calculated or designed to inflict death or serious bodily harm."

The handbook states that "Any student who intentionally brings a firearm or dangerous weapon onto any elementary or secondary school premises/property, vehicle, or building used or leased for elementary or secondary school functions or activities shall be expelled for not less than twelve (12) months and will be referred to law enforcement authorities."

The revised MMS handbook will also contain increased penalties for students making physical threats.

For threats of physical aggression against students, which are threats to injure, punish or inflict pain on others. The punishments are listed as:

-- First offense - referral to a counselor and a conference with the principal, including a minimum of 1 to 5 days in-school or out-of-school suspension or a combination.

-- Second offense - a minimum of five days in-school or out-of-school suspension or a combination.

-- Third offense - 10 days out-of-school suspension and a possible recommendation for school expulsion.

The MMS handbook also contains increased punishments for threats of physical aggression against a staff member or a volunteer. The punishments are listed as:

-- First offense - a minimum of five days of in-school or out-of-school suspension or a combination.

-- Second offense - a minimum of five days in-school or out-of-school suspension or a combination.

-- Third offense - 10 days out-of-school suspension and a possible recommendation for school expulsion.

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