Katy ISD amends student code of conduct, discipline plan to increase school safety, security

Katy ISD's board of trustees approved several changes to its 2018-19 discipline management plan, which include new ID badge requirements and the banning of oversized coats.

Katy ISD's board of trustees approved several changes to its 2018-19 discipline management plan, which include new ID badge requirements and the banning of oversized coats.

In an effort to increase school safety and security, the Katy ISD board of trustees approved changes to the district’s 2018-19 discipline management plan and student code of conduct at the June 25 board meeting.

Some of the changes include adding topics from the discipline management plan to the student handbook. Bonnie Holland, the associate superintendent for Administration, Governance and Legal Affairs, said the changes focus more on procedures as well as make the plan more reader friendly.

One of the most notable changes includes the district’s decision to issue disciplinary action when secondary students do not comply with ID badge requirements.

“With this coming year, for secondary students, if they are not wearing their badges or do not adhere to the guidelines there could be disciplinary consequences for that,” Holland said.

After trustee Rebecca Fox questioned why the change did not apply to all students, such as elementary-age children, Superintendent Lance Hindt said the district has had conversations about requiring students at those levels to wear their badge but will not issue disciplinary actions over them.

“My understanding is that we are going to ask the elementary to do it, but we are not going to tie a discipline to it,” Hindt said. “It is something that we are going to start training them at that level.”

District officials said the ID badge changes would allow for more school safety throughout KISD’s campuses. Another notable change bans oversized outerwear such as trench coats.

“Safety is the No. 1 issue here; that’s the reason why we took the trench coats—you can’t wear those in buildings,” Hindt said.

The district has also taken other measures to increase safety, and confirmed ahead of the June 25 meeting it will participate in the local architect firm PBK Architect’s first-ever Texas School Safety & Security Council.

“Our very own Katy ISD Chief of Police Robert Jinks recently attended the council meeting on June 13 where numerous law enforcement agencies from across Texas came together to discuss ways to make campuses safer,” KISD spokesperson Maria DiPetta said. “PBK has designed several Katy ISD schools and we look forward to collaborating with them to improve the security measures at our schools.”

Other changes to the discipline management plan include new language banning electronic cigarettes and the use of any technology used to record others without consent.

A third notable change includes a new timeline for determining whether a student needs special education services. In previous years, after a parent requests an initial evaluation to determine if their child needs special education services, the district had to decide if an evaluation is needed "within a reasonable amount if time," as stated in the former plan. The new plan calls for the district to make a determination no later than the 15th school day after the date the school receives a parent's initial request.

Trustee Dawn Champagne commended the recommendation for a timeline.

“I really appreciate that,” Champagne said. “I just wanted to say that I like having that specific timeline added to that.”

DiPetta said the discipline management plan document is still a work in progress and she expects to complete an FAQ on the changes and post to the KISD website next week. To see the changes made to the discipline management plan, click here.

The board will meet July 16 for a work session and July 23 for its board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Education Support Complex in downtown Katy.