Officials are hoping to get a policy regarding law enforcement and its role in Rome City Schools to first reading by the Jan. 14 school board meeting.
Adoption could come as early as February.
The policy calls for parents to be notified if law enforcement officers wish to interview a student regarding an incident — and schools aren’t allowed to use the school resource officer as a middleman.
One of the only times a parent might not be contacted is if there is a case of child abuse where the parent may be the perpetrator.
“If it’s not an emergency, that interview is not happening if we can’t get in touch with a parent,” School Board Attorney Chris Twyman assured the board when the issue first came up at its December retreat.
Dawn Williams, the assistant superintendent, said officials would go out of their way to try to contact a parent or guardian.
“We’re going to make every effort possible to get in the touch with the parents,” Williams said. “Even going out to their houses.”
The interview and search policy also clarifies who has consent to search cars and lockers on school grounds. According to the draft, school officials are allowed to search vehicles and lockers without student or parental consent, but police officers are not.
One example Twyman used at the school board retreat was if police brought K-9 units to sniff out drugs on campus. If the dog indicates a positive for drugs, the officer still would not be able to search the student’s vehicle or locker.
Instead, a teacher or principal would have to conduct the search unless police obtain a search warrant.
Williams said she hopes to get the policy to first reading at the school board meeting happening on Jan. 14. The policy was set to go to first reading at the December board meeting, but was taken off the agenda due to a last minute edit.
The policy was first presented to the school board at its annual retreat.
Twyman said the logistics of the policy are already in practice since it’s state law. There just is no local policy for parents to see.
Williams said the point of turning it into an official policy is to bring awareness to parents.
“We are going to take every measure possible to keep them informed of what is going on with their students,” said Williams.