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.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
    Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
    The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
    This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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