DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SETTLES CLAIMS WITH COVINGTON SCHOOLS REGARDING DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES
The Covington Independent Public Schools agreed to a settlement which will better serve the needs of students with behavior problems, and end the use of school resource officers responding to incidents at elementary schools. School resource officers or other law enforcement officers will only step in if the child poses an imminent risk and substantial threat to physical safety or a serious crime. Any agreements made with law enforcement agencies must limit their powers as such.
The agreement was reached today with the U.S. Department of Justice, which launched an investigation into the District’s disciplinary practices, including the use of police to deal with routine student misbehavior. That investigation was launched after the Children’s Law Center in Covington sued the Kenton County Sheriff’s Department in 2015, alleging it used excessive force in handling young school children who have disabilities within the Covington schools. That lawsuit remains pending in U.S. District Court in Covington. The Covington School District is not a party to that lawsuit.
The Agreement requires the district to take effective steps to ensure its disciplinary policies and practices are not discriminatory. That includes the use of restraint and seclusion, exclusionary discipline, and law enforcement response to student conduct. Instead, it will initiate a district wide intervention procedure to better identify and meet the needs of students with disabilities who may need added support.
Covington will amend its code of conduct before the 2017-18 school year begins to emphasize the use of positive behavior supports, and incorporate other intervention to deal with students behavior rather then exclusionary discipline. Additional data collection, reporting and training will also be enforced.
The parties anticipate the agreement will be in place through the 2019-20 school year. A full copy of the Settlement Agreement can be found here.
To read the full Press Release, click here.
Children’s Law Center is a non-profit legal service center protecting the rights of children and youth to help them overcome barriers and transition into adulthood, better advocate for their needs, and successfully contribute to society.
The Children's Law Center, Inc. (CLC) is a unique nonprofit legal service center protecting the rights of children and youth to help them overcome barriers and transition into adulthood, better self advocate for their needs, and successfully contribute to society. It provides individual legal advocacy to children and youth, and through public policy work, training and education, impact litigation, and juvenile defender support services, seeks to improve the systems that serve children. CLC offers services throughout Kentucky and collaborates with other organizations within the region and nationally on a variety of topics. Our constituents are generally school-aged children who have unmet legal needs primarily in the areas of juvenile justice, child protection, and/or education. The majority of our child/youth clients are economically disadvantaged, disabled, incarcerated, abused and/or neglected, homeless or otherwise disadvantaged. We do not charge clients a fee. CLC’s main office in is Covington with a small office in Lexington. We receive requests for services throughout Kentucky, however.