School Health Council and Wellness Policies. Directs school districts to establish a local school health council for every school by November 1, 2006, to offer guidance on the development and implementation of school wellness plans. The bill also requires local school boards to adopt school wellness plans, which shall promote a healthy life-style for Mississippi's school children and staff, beginning in the 2006-2007 school year. The school health councils may also recommend age appropriate curriculum and hours of instruction for health and physical education and recommend appropriate practices that may include a coordinated school health program to prevent obesity and other health risks. The bill directs the State Department of Education to monitor and act as a clearinghouse for activities of the local school health councils. The bill clarifies there is no prohibition or limit to the sale of food or beverages through fundraisers conducted by students, teachers, school groups or parent groups when the items are sold off school campus.
Expanded Jurisdiction. Expanded the jurisdiction of law enforcement officers appointed by the school board of any district to include an area within 500 feet of school property. The bill also provides that if a law enforcement officer is duly appointed to be a peace officer by a school district, the local school board may enter into an interlocal agreement with other law enforcement entities for the provision of equipment or traffic control duties; however, the duty to enforce traffic regulations and to enforce the laws of the state or municipality off school property lies with the local police or sheriff's department, which cannot withhold its services solely because of the lack of such an agreement.
Wellness Curriculum and Vending Machines. Requires the State Board of Education to develop a wellness curriculum, which shall include the value of exercise, proper diet and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol, for use by each school district and to establish rules and regulations that districts follow in implementing the wellness curriculum. The State Board of Education is required to adopt regulations for districts' compliance regarding what products may be sold in vending machines on campus and when they can be sold.
Meningococcal Disease Notice. Required local school districts and agricultural high schools to provide information about meningococcal disease and the effectiveness of vaccinations. A district may establish a link on its Web site to the State Department of Health's Web site to be in compliance. The bill directs the State Board of Health to develop educational materials appropriate for distribution to parents and guardians.
School Crisis Management Program. Extended the repealer on the School Crisis Management Program and the repealer involving the expulsion authority for habitually disruptive students.
Self-Administer Asthma Medication. Permitted public and nonpublic school students to self-administer asthma medications with written consent from the parent and a statement from the health care provider outlining the proper process to administer the medication.
Health/Physical Education Advisory. Authorized local school districts to establish health/physical education advisory councils to make local recommendations regarding health and physical education standards. It also provided for a physical activity coordinator within the Department of Education to act as a clearinghouse for the activities of a local school health/physical education advisory council.
School Bus Safety. Required school bus drivers to open the service door and driver's window and listen for approaching trains when stopping at railroad crossings. Failure to follow these procedures may result in a fine of not less that $100 nor more than $250.
Background Checks. Required the State Department Education to obtain fingerprints, current criminal records background checks, and current child abuse registry checks on prospective school attendance officers.
Authority of Teachers to Remove Disruptive Students. Extended the repealer that required local school boards to adopt a code of student conduct that included the provision of recognizing teachers' rights to remove disruptive students from the classroom.
Mississippi School Safety Act. Established the Mississippi School Safety Act of 2001 that provided for the following:
§ Established a School Safety Center to provide assistance and training to school districts in developing school safety plans.
§ Established a School Safety Grant Program.
§ Required school districts to adopt a comprehensive school safety plan to be updated annually.
§ Allowed districts to use audio/visual monitoring equipment in classrooms, hallways, buildings, grounds and buses.
§ Established a School Crisis Management Program composed of a quick response team of personnel trained in school safety and crisis management.
§ Directed the State Board of Education to develop a list of recommended conflict resolution and peer remediation materials, models, and curricula. Beginning in the 2002-2003 school year.
§ Established definitions for "disruptive behavior" and "habitually disruptive" student
§ Required the local school board's code of student conduct to be made available at the school level in the student handbook or similar publication.
§ Authorized the school attendance officer to request the attendance of a parent at a school conference regarding destructive acts against school property by their child. A parent who refuses to attend a conference may be summoned by proper notification by the school attendance officer. Parents are also responsible for any criminal fines against their child for unlawful activity occurring on a bus.
Sex Offender Clarification. Revised the requirements for sex offender registration and other related requirements. Superintendents/directors of schools under the purview of the State Board of Education shall require that criminal background checks and current child abuse registry checks are obtained on any individuals applying for employment as a licensed or non-licensed employee.
Basic Law Enforcement Training. Provided that school security personnel must receive a minimum level of basic law enforcement training.
Children's Health Insurance Program. Revised the requirements under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
School Law Enforcement. Authorized off duty law enforcement officers hired by school districts to use municipal or county law enforcement uniforms and equipment during such off duty employment.
Background Checks for School Employees. Required criminal background checks for new public school licensed and non-licensed employees.
Head Lice Deleted the requirement that the three occasions of a student having head lice need to be consecutive occasions before the Health Department may provide assistance about treating lice; and for related purposes.
Sex Education other than Biological science course Required courses containing sex education other than biological science courses to include abstinence education and required schools to provide advance notice to parents of instruction on human sexuality in their child's school.
School Nursing Pilot Program. Allocated $450,000 to the Mississippi Department of Education to implement a Comprehensive School Nursing Program (School Based Clinic) in three elementary schools located in the northern, central and southern regions of the state. Funds continue to be appropriated for this program.
School Grounds Safety. Required school employees to report unlawful activities occurring on school property or during school events to the district superintendent or his designee Vision Screening
. Provided for a student vision-screening program to make eye-screening services available to public school students in grades K-12. In 1997, $50,000 was appropriated for vision screening, and in 1999 $250,000 was appropriated for increased funding of the program. Funds continue to be appropriated for this program.