Students engaged in consensual sexual activity
Each school year, about three dozen Marion County students on average get kicked out of school after being caught groping or engaged in a consensual sex act on a school bus or on campus.
To reduce the amount of lost instruction time, the School District will launch a new diversion program in January for first-time offenders in hopes of keeping these students in the classroom. Students caught in the act can forgo attending an alternative school if they attend six nights of after-school classes that teach them about making better decisions.
The program is called CLEAN SLATE. “CLEAN” stands for Character Lessons Empowering And Nurturing, while “SLATE” stands for Students Learn Accountability Through Education.
District officials want parents to understand that the program is not a sex education course.
“We want parents to know that there will not be any discussion about the act itself, but the class is about making better decisions,” said Dama Abshier, the school district’s director or alternative learning.
The new program was created after a committee reviewing the student code of conduct asked to discuss the issue. The committee believed that the punishment for first offenders needed to be re-examined.
The program will allow first-time offenders to remain at their base school so they do not lose instruction time. The student must agree to attend all six 90-minute courses.