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Who has the overall discipline authority in schools?

Local school districts have disciplinary authority in schools. See Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-53 (2015).

  1.  Local school districts create and implement discipline plan
  2. Discipline plan is distributed to each student
  3. Parents sign a statement verifying they received the discipline plan
  4. Annual audit of each school board’s discipline plan and code of student conduct.

What is detention and when is it permitted?

Policies defining and authorizing detention are established by the local school boards through a code of student conduct. See Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-55 (2015).

Under what circumstances can a student be suspended or expelled?

Local school districts must adopt and make available to all teachers, school personnel, students and parents or guardians, at the beginning of each school year, a code of student conduct developed with teachers, school personnel, students and parents or guardians.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-55 (2015).

The superintendent and principal of a school can suspend a student for good cause. Good cause includes:

Misconduct in the school or on school property (37-11-29);

Misconduct on the road to and from school, or at any school -related activity or event; or

Misconduct occurring on non-school property when the student’s conduct is found by the principal or superintendent to disrupt the educational environment, to be a detriment to the best interest of the teacher and/or class, or any reason a student can be disciplined by the school board under state or federal law or school district policies and regulations. See Miss. Code Ann. § 37-9-71(2015).

What are the types of suspension and the processes for each?

Local school boards establish policies for the specific types of suspension. See Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-55 (2015).

What notice is the student (and parent) entitled to with respect to a suspension or expulsion?

 

The procedures that must be followed for suspensions and expulsions must:

  1. be included in each local school district’s student code of conduct, and
  2. comply with due process requirements. Code Ann. § 37-11-55 (2015).

Does Mississippi have a zero tolerance policy?

“Zero tolerance” is not used in the Mississippi Code.  However, there are policies that require automatic one year suspension when the following actions occur:

Possession of a Controlled Substance

Possession of a Weapon

Committing an act of violence on school property. See Miss Code Ann. § 37-11-18 (2015).

Is corporal punishment at schools permitted?

Yes, corporal punishment conducted in a reasonable manner is allowed.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-57(2) (2015).

What is corporal punishment?

Corporal punishment is the reasonable use of physical force or physical contact by a teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal to:

enforce a school rule

for self-protection

for the protection of other students from disruptive students.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-57(2) (2015).

How can corporal punishment be used?

A teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal may use corporal punishment in a reasonable way to maintain control and discipline of students during school and school functions. It may not constitute negligence or child abuse and must be used in accordance with:

state and federal law,

rules or regulations of the State Board of Education, and

the local school board.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-57(2) (2015).

Can you sue an official for using corporal punishment?

No teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal can be sued for civil damages suffered by a student because of corporal punishment unless the court determines that the teacher, assistant teacher, principal or assistant principal acted in bad faith or with willful disregard of human rights or safety.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-57(1) (2015).

Is there a state policy on bullying?

Yes, the Mississippi Code prohibits bullying.

No student or school employee shall be subjected to bullying or harassing behavior by school employees or students.

No person shall engage in any act of retaliation against a victim, witness or a person with reliable information about an act of bullying or harassing behavior.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-67 (2014).

What is bullying?

Bullying is any pattern of physical acts or oral or written threats communicated on school property or during a school function that:

  1. Places a student or school employee in actual and reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or her property; or
  2. Creates a hostile environment by interfering with or impairing a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-67(1) (2015).

Where are the procedures for reporting and investigating bullying located?

Local school boards must include in their personnel policies, discipline policies and codes of student conduct a prohibition against bullying or harassing behavior and adopt procedures for reporting, investigating and addressing such behavior.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-69 (2015).

What should the policies recognize?

The policies must recognize the fundamental right of every student to take reasonable actions to defend him/herself from an attack by another student who showed menacing or threatening behavior through bullying or harassing. Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-69 (2015).

What type of bullying behavior is considered unlawful?

It is unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten or coerce any person enrolled in any school to interfere with their right to attend classes or causing them to miss classes.

It is unlawful for any person to try to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person enrolled in any school to interfere with their right to attend classes or causing them to miss classes.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-20 (2015).

Helpful Links

The Mississippi Attorney General and Superintendent of Education have launched an anti-bullying campaign titled Fear Stops Here.

Are there dress code requirements for schools?

Mississippi does not have a state law on dress code requirements, but local school board policies and codes of student conduct should be reviewed to determine if there are any local school requirements.

Who is considered an ELL / LEP Student?

A student is considered ELL/LEP if a student is:

  • Between the ages of 3 and 21
  • Was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English
  • Has difficulty speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language and whose difficulties may deny such individual the opportunity to learn successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English

OR a student may also be considered ELL/LEP if the student:

  • Is a Native American or Alaska Native or native resident that comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency.

OR

  • Is migratory and whose native language is not English and comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant.

See Mississippi Department of Education, “Definitions,” http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/federal-programs-fy13-cfpa/mississippi-ell-guidelines.docx

What is the assessment test used for ELL / LEP?  What are the procedures to identify an ELL / LEP Student?

Mississippi uses a 4-step program for the identification and placement of an ELL:

  1. Home Language Survey
  2. Initial Assessment of Language Proficiency
  3. Parental Notification
  4. Program Placement

Assessments to determine eligibility

The Mississippi Department of Education has adopted the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA)-ACCESS Placement Test (W-APT) to help determine eligibility for placement in the local school board’s English language development program. The W-APT assesses English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing as well as comprehension to ensure that the student’s language needs are properly identified and addressed through the local school board’s educational program.  Information about Mississippi’s use of the W-APT is available online: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/federal-programs-fy13-cfpa/mississippi-ell-guidelines.docx.

What instructional programs are available for ELLs?

In Mississippi, the local school boards will choose which type(s) of ELL programs to implement based on the composition of the student population, resources available, and the communities’ preferences.

 

The program(s) may include:

  • Bilingual Education Program
  • Content-based English as a Second Language (CBESL) Program
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Program
  • Maintenance Bilingual Education Program
  • Newcomer Program
  • One-way Bilingual Education
  • Pull-Out Program
  • Sheltered English Immersion Program
  • Structured English Immersion Program
  • Submersion Program
  • Transitional Bilingual Education Program
  • Two-way Bilingual Education Program

http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/federal-programs-fy13-cfpa/mississippi-ell-guidelines.docx.

ELL Categories

Bilingual Education: Content instruction is provided through both English and the students’ native language while the students develop English proficiency.  All bilingual education programs include an ESL component.

English as a second language (ESL): All instruction is provided through English.

Other helpful links

The Mississippi Department of Education’s ELL site:

http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OFP/title-iii

Mississippi’s Guidelines for English Language Learners is available online: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/federal-programs-fy13-cfpa/mississippi-ell-guidelines.docx

Does the state have any policy on ability grouping?

Advanced Placement courses: school districts are required to offer these courses.

Pre-Advanced Placement (Pre-AP) courses: the schools district must make a proposal to the Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction, and must indicate the process for identifying students for Pre-AP courses.  Miss. Code Ann. § 37-15-39 (4) (2015).

http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-2900-curriculum/policy-2903-access-to-a-substantive-and-rigorous-curriculum-policy

Does the state guarantee students access to any specific classes or quality of classes (i.e., college preparatory, etc.)?

Mississippi requires public high schools to offer at least 1 advanced placement (AP) course in each of the following  4 core areas:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Language Arts

Social Studies

All school districts may offer Pre-Advanced Placement courses in each of the four core areas

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-15-39(5) (2015); http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-2900-curriculum/policy-2903-access-to-a-substantive-and-rigorous-curriculum-policy

Requirement exemption: A high school that offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is exempt from these requirements. Miss. Code Ann. § 37-15-39(5) (2015).

Course requirements: A list of required course offerings by Mississippi public high schools is available in Appendix B of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards – 2015, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/accreditation-library/2015-accountability-resource-manual-revised-1-12-16_20160113163257_122461.pdf?sfvrsn=2.

 

Requirements for secondary schools: A list of all courses offered in secondary schools must be provided by the Department of Education. http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-2900-curriculum/policy-2902-approved-courses-for-the-secondary-schools

Department of Education approved courses: The list of approved courses for 2015-2016 is available online: https://districtaccess.mde.k12.ms.us/curriculumandInstruction/ApprovedCoursesManual/2015-2016/2015-2016%20Approved%20Courses%20Manual%20for%20Secondary%20Schools%20-%20March%202015.pdf.

Does the state require schools to have Gifted & Talented programs?  Are there any admission requirements?

The Mississippi Code requires the Board of Education to establish model programs of gifted education and to establish minimum criteria for gifted education programs. See Miss. Code Ann. § 37-23-179(1) (2015).

  • Grades 2-12: All local school districts may have gifted education programs for intellectually, creatively, and/or artistically gifted students approved by the Board of Education.
  • Grades 9-12:  All local school districts may have gifted education programs for academically gifted students approved by the Board of Education.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-23-179(3) (2015).

Funding gifted programs: School districts shall be allotted funds for teachers employed in a State Department of Education-approved program for gifted education. Miss. Code Ann. § 37-151-81(4) (2015).

Who is considered a “gifted child” and what is “gifted education”?

The Mississippi Code defines “gifted children” and “gifted education” as:

  • “Gifted children” are children who are found to have an exceptionally high degree of intellect, and/or academic, creative or artistic ability.
  • “Gifted education” means all programs for instruction of intellectually gifted children in Grades 2 through 12 and programs for instruction of academically gifted children within Grades 9 through 12 and programs for instruction of creative or artistically gifted children within Grades 2 through 12. These programs should be designed to meet the individual needs of gifted children and should be in addition to and different from the regular program of instruction provided by the district.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-23-175 (2015).

What are the state’s graduation requirements?

Under the Mississippi Code, the local school boards establish standards for graduation, which must include at a minimum:

  1. mastery of minimum academic skills as measured by assessments developed and administered by the State Board of Education
  2. completion of a minimum number of academic credits, and all other applicable requirements prescribed by the state school board.

Miss. Code Ann. § 37-16-7(1) (2015).

Required Tests: To graduate high school, students must pass subject area tests (Subject Area Testing Program – SATP) in the following:

  • U.S. History from 1877
  • English II (with a writing component)
  • Biology I
  • Algebra I

Miss. Code Ann. § § 37-17-6, 37-16-7 (2015); http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-3800-graduation-requirements/policy-3803-assessments-required-for-graduation.

If a student fails the required tests, can s/he take it again?

Students that fail: Any student who fails a Subject Area Test will be offered a chance to retake the test 3 times each year until s/he passes the test.  Miss. Code Ann. § § 37-17-6, 37-16-7 (2015); http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-3800-graduation-requirements/policy-3801-policies-for-subject-area-testing.

Exceptions to SATP requirements: There are certain exceptions to the SATP requirements, particularly with respect to students transferring to Mississippi public schools from other schools.  Miss. Code Ann. § § 37-17-6, 37-16-7 (2015); http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-3800-graduation-requirements/policy-3801-policies-for-subject-area-testing.

  • Students transferring from public schools prior to 2001-2002 school year: Students will not be required to pass any end-of-course Subject Area Test in a course for which the Carnegie unit was earned by the student in a Mississippi public school prior to the 2001-2002 school year.
  • Students transferring from public schools in another state: Students entering a Mississippi public school will not be required to pass any end-of-course Subject Area Test in a course for which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student in a public school of another state as fulfilling the requirements for a Mississippi high school diploma.
  • Students transferring from private schools accredited regionally or by state: Students entering a Mississippi public school will not be required to pass any end-of-course Subject Area Test in a course for which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student in a private school as fulfilling the requirements for a Mississippi high school diploma, provided the private school is accredited regionally or by the state of Mississippi.
  • Students transferring from private schools not accredited regionally or by the state: Students entering a Mississippi public school will be required to pass any end-of-course Subject Area Test in a course for which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student in a private school as fulfilling the requirements for a Mississippi high school diploma if the private school is not accredited regionally or by the state of Mississippi.
  • Students transferring from homeschooling: Students entering a Mississippi public school will be required to pass any end-of-course Subject Area Test in a course for which the school accepts Carnegie units earned by the student through home schooling as fulfilling the requirements for a Mississippi high school diploma

For information about the SATP, please go to the following link: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OSA/SATP2

What classes are required for graduation?

Required Classes for Graduation: Students must earn at least 24 “Carnegie” units (i.e., credits) to be eligible to receive a high school diploma (listed in Appendix A-2 of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards – 2011-12, unless their parent/guardian requests to opt the student out of these requirements.

The 24 Carnegie units required by Appendix A-2 include:

CURRICULUM AREA CARNEGIE

UNITS

REQUIRED SUBJECTS
ENGLISH 4 English I

English II

MATHEMATICS 4 Algebra I
SCIENCE 4 Biology I
SOCIALSTUDIES

 

 

 

4 1 World History

1 U.S. History

½ Geography

½ U.S. Government

½ Economics

½ Mississippi Studies

HEALTH and

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

 

1 ½ Comprehensive Health or

½ Family & Individual Health and

½ Physical Education

BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY 1 1 Computer Discovery or ½ Keyboarding and ½Computer Applications
THE ARTS

 

1 Any approved 500.000 course or completion of the 2-coursesequence for Computer Graphics Technology I and II
ELECTIVES 5
TOTAL UNITS REQUIRED 24

Alternative requirements:  If parents choose to opt a student out of Appendix A-2 requirements, students will be required to complete the graduation requirements as specified in Appendix A-1 (which had been in effect for earlier graduating classes).  Students may also select a modified diploma based on a career pathway option (Appendix A-3) or an early exit diploma (Appendix A-4).

Further details about the requirements are available in the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards – 2014, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/accreditation-library/final2014-mpsas-1-27-15_20150310080017_406250.pdf.

Additional requirements: Local school districts may establish additional local requirements approved by the local school board.

National standards: Mississippi’s statutes and Department of Education materials do not specifically incorporate National standards; instead Mississippi relies on its own Curriculum Framework (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/MBE/manual/policy-2900-curriculum/policy-2901-curriculum-frameworks) and the Mississippi Office of Accreditation (http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ACCRED).

 

Contact information for the Mississippi Department of Education

Physical address:

 

Mississippi Department of Education

359 North West Street

Jackson, MS 39201

 

Mailing address:

 

Mississippi Department of Education

P.O. Box 771

Jackson, MS 39205-0771

 

Telephone and website:

 

(601) 359-3513

http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS

 

The Department of Education (DOE), Office of Civil Rights (OCR) office for Mississippi is located in Dallas, Texas, at:

 

Dallas Office

Office for Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education

1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620

Dallas, TX 75201-6810

 

Telephone: 214-661-9600

FAX: 214-661-9587; TDD: 877-521-2172

Email: [email protected]

MISSISSIPPI EDUCATION CODE

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s website contains information about the Mississippi Code and the Mississippi Administrative Code.  The Education law is found in Title 37 of the Mississippi Code of 1972.