How school districts handle the transfers of troubled students - | WBTV Charlotte

How school districts handle the transfers of troubled students

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Albemarle police have charged Jaylen Russell with assault with intent to kill after he allegedly shot a student at Albemarle High School Tuesday morning.

Less than a year ago, Russell was charged with assault with a deadly weapon at a different school in another school district. He transferred to Stanly County School district this year.

WBTV is asking school districts their policy and procedures about accepting students who have a trouble past into their school district. The answers varied.

Gaston County school district says before it accepts transfers it has parents fill out a questionnaire asking if their child had ever been suspended.

Officials use that information to determine if the student needs to attend a regular school, an alternative school or be home schooled.

In Union County officials say if a student comes to them from an alternative school, that student will be automatically sent to an alternative school in Union County. Principals, teachers and counselors decide if a regular school setting is best for that student.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) district officials say it has discussions with troubled students first before deciding what type of school the transferred student should attend. CMS leaders say they take it on a case by case basis.

Cabarrus County school district says it questions parents about the reason or reasons why students are transferring. Officials want to make sure parents aren't hiding anything. It uses several options before determining what is the best setting for students.

It could be an alternative school, or depending on the student's age- the district could recommend that student attend a community college to get a GED or it could reject a student's transfer to a particular school.

Dr. Susan Campbell is the Executive Director for the Council for Children's Rights. She told WBTV there are laws school districts must follow when dealing with troubled transfer students. Campbell says districts should accept the transfer and assess the student to see if there is a bigger problem.

"A recognition that this child," Campbell said. "Has some issues possibly psychiatric issues that need to be identified and evaluated, so services can be provided and that the safety of other students is ensured."

Campbell realizes all districts cannot provide that service.

"The schools are limited in the ability to do that," Campbell said. "Because they don't have the funding for the staff that can provide that level of expertise."

The Executive Director also believes school districts should do their due diligence to come up with a plan for students with a criminal past who want to transfer.

"They don't have an obligation," Campbell said. "But they have the authority to create some kind of safety plan - if they think a previous incident rises to the level that it might put the students in their school at risk."

A safety plan could include placing the transferred student in a smaller class size to having officials closely watch the student.

WBTV reached out to the Stanly County School district several times to ask if the district knew about Jaylen Russell's past and if officials were keeping an eye on him.

The district has not returned our repeated calls.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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