Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 3, 2013

School officials criticize Kentucky Supreme Court ruling

ASHLAND — A school administrators’ group criticized a recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling it said could hamper effective school discipline, but civil rights advocates applauded it.

The ruling requires that students be informed of their legal rights before being questioned by school administrators when police or school resource officers are involved.

Under the ruling, in a situation with the potential to result in criminal charges, administrators and police would have to offer the same Miranda rights warning as in an arrest.

“Their job has just become way more difficult and their school has become less safe,” said Wayne Young, executive director and legal counsel for the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

Administrators now will have to second-guess themselves instead of dealing immediately with a discipline or safety issue, according to Young.

For instance, he said, a principal wanting to question a student about a pill bottle found at school — which is what happened in the case that generated the ruling — would first want to know whether other students had any of the drugs.

The student could be less likely to offer the information once apprised of the right to remain silent, he said.

The ruling leaves unanswered questions, he said. Among the gray areas are commonplace school discipline situations like hallway scuffles.

Such disputes might be simple disagreements or could relate to drugs or other serious issues, he said. In the wake of the ruling, administrators would be hard pressed to know when or whether to inform the students of their rights.

Attorneys at the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union were still reviewing the ruling Thursday, but were generally supportive. "The ACLU of Kentucky applauds the recent Kentucky Supreme Court ruling clarifying that children, like adults, are entitled to basic constitutional protections when interrogated by law enforcement officials,” said spokeswoman Amber Duke. “Schools are not constitution-free zones, and this ruling reaffirms that students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse door."

Young hopes the Kentucky attorney general will take up the issue and appeal it to the Supreme Court. “It’s a federal constitutional issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, local school officials were not overly concerned. Greenup County High principal Jason Smith said he maintains strict separation between school rules issues and legal matters. School resource officer Greg Virgin, a county deputy, steps in as soon as the latter occurs.

“I don’t think (the ruling) is a hindrance. It’s an extra precaution. When we investigate an incident, we have to be very careful to get it right,” he said.

Fairview principal Garry McPeek called it “another hoop” but said the long-standing practice at his school has been to notify parents and get them involved as soon as possible. “Very seldom do I have to call law enforcement, but when I do I call parents first,” he said.

 A Miranda warning already is standard procedure at Paul Blazer High in the event of a potential criminal matter, principal Derek Runyon said.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0419sciencehs.JPG Russell High School wins State Science Olympiad

    The long ride home from Bowling Green was tinged with disappointment for Russell High School students who believed they’d finished as also-rans in the state Science Olympiad last weekend.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419sciencems.JPG Russell Middle School state Science Olympiad champions

    From identifying hundreds of insects to designing and operating mechanical contraptions that just look like insects, a team of Russell Middle School students took their research and technical skills to the Science Olympiad in Bowling Green last week and came back state champions.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0419melodies0114.jpg Kitchen jazzes up downtown lunch hour

    Some came to enjoy the relaxing sounds of cool jazz and traditional tunes at lunch, while others attended in hopes of picking up a few tricks from a master musician as guitarist Chris Kitchen kicked off the Melodies & Masterpieces concert series in downtown Ashland Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sparks, Waddell in Carter Coronor’s race

    Incumbent George A. Sparks of Grayson will face challenger William Waddell of Olive Hill in the Democratic primary election for the Carter County coroner’s seat.

    April 18, 2014

  • 04/18/2014 — What's Happening

    Local news

    April 18, 2014

  • Bill3.jpg 'Dreams'

    It was in her own death that Donna Schoonover helped William Schoonover redefine his life.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • guyp-rodnew.jpg 'Uplifting people'

    The snow kept gospel singer Guy Penrod chilling a little longer than it should have this spring.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418star0024.jpg Raising the roof

    Leaks will soon be a thing of the past at Star Elementary School, where workers are busy putting up a new roof.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire at Russell care facility

    A care facility for the elderly in Russell was temporarily evacuated following a fire in the kitchen Wednesday night.

    April 18, 2014

  • Incumbent, newcomer vie for PVA position

    A longtime office-holder is facing a rare primary challenge in the Greenup County property valuation administrator race.

    April 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone