New Law For Students Says Three Strikes, And You're Out

Now that kids are back in school, there's more pressure for them now to behave. During the last legislative session, lawmakers passed the School Safety Act. This bill gives teachers more authority and holds students more accountable.

Greg Kelly has been teaching high school in Jackson for eight years. In that time, he says, he's never had to permanently kick a student out of his classroom. And now that the school safety act is in effect, the social studies teacher hopes his record will stay the same.

"What they're trying to do is restore accountability of students for their behavior in the classroom and trying to make sure that learning is taking place in the classroom," Kelly said.  "It's giving that authority largely to teachers in the classroom."

Under the new law, when students are initially disruptive, teachers can require that the student leave and have a meeting with an administrator and a parent. The second time results in a behavior modification plan to help the child in the classroom. And the third time, they're out.

"Our goal is not to punish but to create an atmosphere that kids can learn in, and I believe that you will find that most disricts will not have to take that third step," Kelly said.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck was instrumental in getting the legislation passed.

"What this bill does is it directs the actual authority to go to the teacher where before it's been up to the local areas and how they wanted to disperse that authority. But this would dictate it would be the teachers," Lt. Gov. Tuck said.

Greg Kelly says the safety act is not a bill to kick kids out of the classroom. It's trying to keep them in and make sure they learn.

  • Want to see what other educational bills were passed during the 2001 session? Click here!