Court Reporting Requirements

Court Reporting Requirements

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:

  1. The law requires the judge to direct the clerk to send the notices to the schools;
  2. Instead of sending notices directly to principals, the notices are to be sent to the Superintendent’s Office to be distributed to the schools which the students attend;
  3. If a student in charged with a controlled substance offense, or the possession, carrying or use of a deadly weapon, or physical injury to another person, the court must send notification within 24 hours of the complaint being filed. If the complaint is later dismissed, all records of the incident must be destroyed and removed from the school record; For all other offenses, the court is only required to notify the schools if the juveniles are found guilty and these notifications must be sent within five days of the court entering the order;
  4. In addition to classroom instructors, principals are required to share the court information with school counselors who have responsibility for the student;
  5. If a school receives notification concerning a students who has been found guilty of an offense and that student later requests a transfer to another school, the principal is required to forward the information to the receiving school within five working days of the request for transfer.

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.