New laws passed during the last legislative session focus on keeping students and staff safe, and it’s now up to local districts to carry them out.

Dr. Jennifer Wilson, Greenwood school superintendent, told school board members Thursday  about some topics discussed at  a regional superintendents meeting last week at Delta State University.

At the meeting, the state superintendent, Dr. Carey Wright, gave an overview of several bills passed by the Legislature pertaining to education, Wilson said.

She said Wright advised superintendents that their board attorneys should study the new laws  closely to ensure the districts are following them by the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

That will be up to Kelvin Pulley, the attorney for the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District, which takes over operation of schools starting July 1.

Two of the bills Wilson focused on were House Bill 1283 and HB 1182.

HB 1283 — ”The Mississippi School Safety Act of 2019” — requires districts to develop and conduct active shooter drills for all students and staff within the first 60 days of each semester. It also requires all district employees to attend Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events training.

The school board is in charge of creating a districtwide safety program, updated annually.

Wilson also mentioned HB 1182, which bars school districts from corporally punishing students who have disabilities.

The consolidated school board has already taken action on the passage of HB 1643, which raised teacher’s salaries by $1,500.

Earlier this month, the consolidated school board updated the district’s teacher salary scales to reflect the increase.

Wilson also advised board members that each of them would have to take a training class regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which ensures that student records are protected. Because board members may occasionally see student records, Wilson said, the 30-minute online course will help them protect students’ information.

The superintendent said board members have until the end of May to complete the course.   

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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