Business Law students collaborate to create a constitution

Autumn Jessee, Editor

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To celebrate Constitution Day, which is September 17, Mr. Jason Hayes’ second period Business Law class created a constitution for Tazewell County Public Schools. They included articles about the school board, superintendent, principals and assistant principals, and more. 

 Mr. Hayes had his students complete this project because he “felt like it would be interesting to not only see the ideas about education, but give them a feel for how the making of the constitution would be.” The final draft will go to Mr. Carr and Mrs. Young and possibly the school board. He thinks that the most challenging part of this project for the students was “speaking up, the shy students remained shy, while the other students voice their opinions.” 

All of the students had to take part in drafting the TCPS Constitution. Christian Yates (11) said the best part was “working together with my fellow peers on a project that we were all excited to embark on. I liked that we all had different opinions on subjects, and we all accepted one another’s point of view for the discussions.” He helped by trying to get the class to vote on the articles and sections, as well as presenting other ideas. Yates would like the final draft to be viewed by the principal and possibly the school board. 

There were many challenges to writing this document, Mikhail Tino (12) thought that the most challenging part was arguing against the student militia. Tino hopes that “it produces a relatively fair and pleasing system. The class is not educated enough to actually make good legislature, but hopefully this attempt is at least par for the coarse.”  

Daniel Pearce (12) learned that the amount of time it took to make the constitution, the amount of disagreements that the people involved have, and coming together for proposing articles. “I want the final draft to viewed by the teachers and, at most, the principals,” he said. 

Please note that this is a student project and does not reflect the rules and policies in place at Tazewell County Public Schools.The final draft is as follows: 

The Constitution of Tazewell County Public Schools

We the people of Tazewell County acting for the betterment of Tazewell County Public Schools, for the purposes of forming an improved structure, of creating fair working conditions, and of promoting a fair community, practice the production of a new legal framework, with the support and permission of those under this framework, to legalize and uphold this Constitution of Tazewell County Public Schools. 

Article 1

Section 1

    The powers of the School Board are herein granted. The power to decide the length of the school day on all levels. To define the standards of safety in all schools. Recommend the opening and closing of schools to the Judicial Branch. Add local requirements for diplomas to the state standards, and create a yearly budget. 

Section 2

    School Board members are allowed to serve three terms of four years, totaling no more than twelve years.

Section 3

    Members will be elected every four years, and will take office on the 26th of December of the election year. 

Section 4 

    The qualifications for all School Board members are to pass an exam created by the Judicial Branch, have had experience in the classroom within the last five years before taking office, have been a resident of Tazewell county for eight years, and must not have a criminal record. 

Article 2 

Section 1 

    The powers of the Superintendent are herein granted. The ability to approve hires, fires, and transfers. The ability to approve School Resource Officers. The ability to approve closings and dismissals for inclement weather. The ability to approve recommendation from all directors and the ability to offer contracts. 

Section 2 

    The Superintendent must have three years working experience within Tazewell County Public Schools and meet all state qualifications.

Article 3 

Section 1 

    The powers of the Principals and Assistant Principals are herein granted. The ability to recommend hires, fires, and transfers to the Superintendent. The ability to drug test students at random and the ability to carry out all disciplinary actions. 

Section 2 

    Principals and Assistant Principals sign a new contract every four years.

Section 3 

    All Principals and Assistant Principals must have had teaching experience, meet state qualifications, and not have any felonies on their criminal record. 

Section 4 

    Principals and Assistant Principals are rated by a combination of reviews of students, teachers, and the Superintendent. 

Article 4 

Section 1 

    The Judicial Branch is comprised a minimum of three members of the School Board. A teacher form an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school from within the county. A principal from an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school form within the county. The teacher and principals will rotate districts each year. 

Section 2 

    The powers of the Judicial Branch are herein granted. The ability to confirm the opening and closing of schools. The ability to confirm expulsions. The ability to review all Tazewell County Public Schools staff members when needed and to approve the budget created by the school board.

Section 3 

    To pass a motion a two thirds vote is needed. 

Article 5

Section 1 

    All teachers in Tazewell County Public Schools must have a bachelor’s degree, have no felonies on record, and pass a drug test once a semester.  

Section 2 

    Teachers are rated by a combination of reviews of students and principals 

Section 3 

    Teachers are subject to the following disciplinary procedures being placed on probation for a year if given a bad review from students and principal, and if another bad report is given during the probationary period, the teacher will be reviewed by the judicial board. 

Article 6 

Section 1 

    The powers of students are herein granted. The power to review the teachers and principals in their school. The power to elect a council of students to represent them and the ability to recommend that a teacher be sent for review by the judicial branch with a 75% negative reviews from their students.

Section 2 

    The requirements of students are have less than three of the same disciplinary issues within a four year period and to follow all policies and procedures set forth by the State, School Board, Superintendent, Principals, Assistant Principals, and Teachers. 

Section 3 

    The SCA will hold elections for each office every year, and will listen to the students that they represent. 

Section 4 

    Students will have their work graded on a ten point scale. 

Article 7 

Section 1

    Students are still required to follow all state requirements for end of the year testing to get credentialed for the class. 

Section 2

Students will be exempt from final exams if they have an average of 90% or better for the class, and will have an end of semester exam to determine progress in the class. 

Article 8 

Section 1 

    Students must not miss more than 10% of the school year unexcused at any given time. 

Section 2 

    Students may not have more than 14 total unexcused check ins or check outs during the school year. 

Section 3

    Any student at any level of Tazewell County who misses over 10% of days that they are given that school year are required to take all end of the year tests even if they had the grades to be exempt.

Article 9 

Section 1 

    Students are subject to the following disciplinary actions: verbal warning, one day in school suspension, three days in school suspension, three days out of school suspension, ten days out of school suspension, and expulsion. The Principal and Assistant Principal determine the action taken based on the offense. Students that have drug or fighting offenses will get a minimum of three days out of school suspension. If a student misses 10% of their school year at any given time they are subject to have to make up the time before school, after school, or during Saturday school. 

Article 10 

    This Constitution of Tazewell County Public Schools will be ratified by a vote of two thirds of the registered voting population of Tazewell County. Amendments will be proposed by two thirds of Tazewell County Public Schools citizens that are age fifteen and older, and voted on by two thirds of the registered voting population of Tazewell County.