KRS 610.345 which requires courts to notify school officials if students in those school are found guilty of certain serious offenses, was amended in the 2004 and includes new language which substantially improves the process. The major changes which went into effect July 13, 2004 include the following:
Many times, the charge also does not give educators sufficient information about the nature of the offense. In these cases, the law allows an authorized school official to make a written request for additional information concerning the nature of the crime. If the judge approves the request, the county attorney can provide a statement of facts in the case.
Once principals receive the notifications from the superintendent’s office, they are required to share the information with the students’ teachers and counselors and other employees charged with classroom instruction. The principal has the discretion to share the information with other school administrative and transportation staff, or with any teacher or school employee with whom the student may come into contact. The information must be considered confidential and be maintained in a locked file when not in use. It does not become part of the student’s education record.
Since notification occurs on the local level, there is no way to assess compliance with the statutory requirement on a statewide basis. Fayette County Schools has created a Court-School Liaison office that insures that schools receive the notifications in a timely manner. One of the major benefits of the program has been the development of closer working relationships among the schools, court system and other juvenile justice agencies. These agencies have created a Memorandum of Agreement that outlines roles and responsibilities especially as relates to developing transition plans for youth returning from out-of-home placements.