The Kings Park school board last week unanimously approved changes in its student conduct code, focusing on anti-bullying, and also approved its elementary schools to go on a trimester system for the 2013-14 school year.
Among the harshest possible punishments for inappropriate texting and use of social media — a new infraction — are a superintendent’s hearing, a yearlong loss of privileges, or being barred from earning a Regents diploma.
“The building principal has the ultimate responsibility in the building of what discipline will be administered,” said assistant superintendent Ralph Cartisano, who chairs the discipline committee of about 25 members that includes students in grades 4 to 12, parents, teachers, staff and administrators. “These are suggestions. Every case is different.”
Cartisano said the conduct code aims to create “a deterrent” for students “that this stuff is not something to be taken lightly.”
The board also voted to switch to a trimester system at Fort Salonga and Park View elementary schools and R.J.O. Intermediate School.
Rudy Massimo, principal of R.J.O., recommended the change at a June 4 board meeting because it would support the Response to Intervention assessments held three times each year.
“These assessments would lend themselves to a trimester approach because reporting dates and student reports would be aligned with the same dates of the tests,” he said.
Massimo cited several surrounding districts that have transitioned to a trimester system, including Smithtown, Sachem, Commack and Hauppauge.
“I’m very happy,” Massimo said after the board’s vote, adding that the elementary school principals planned to align K-5 report cards with the new system. “We’re redoing report cards now.”
Board members also agreed that the district will send a parent-contract letter in its summer informational packets, specifying that if elementary school students have their phones out during the school day the phones will be confiscated and parents must pick them up at school.
“It’s reaffirming the current policy,” said Superintendent Susan Agruso.