By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The buildings that used to ring with children's laughter and the squish of sopping wet floors will soon be completely demolished.
The former Osceola Magnet School in Vero Beach will be demolished for about $325,000, said Carter Morrison, assistant superintendent of finance for the Indian River County school district.
School board members voted 4-0 to remove hazardous materials and demolish the buildings during the Sept. 11 meeting.
A few of the buildings in the back of the property still need final approval from the state department of education before removal, but that is expected to come within the next two weeks, Mr. Morrison said.
He hopes the approval will arrive during the estimated six weeks of asbestos abatement and then the contractors can knock down everything all at once.
The location of the new Osceola Magnet School, formerly Thompson Elementary School, will be partly under construction during the school year, said Scott Sanders, director of facilities planning and construction.
The school is scheduled to have an expanded cafeteria and stage built by April 2013, he said during a round-table discussion earlier in the day.
Also during the round table meeting, school board members heard from their attorney about revisions to school-board policy concerning students arrested and/or charged with criminal activity.
Suzanne D'Agresta said she and Superintendent Fran Adams have listened to concerns from representatives of juvenile justice and created a new policy that outlines procedures for principals to implement should a student be arrested by law enforcement or even charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
The revisions came about after some people in the community were concerned the present school policy was too punitive, said school board member Claudia Jiminez.
The policy is not quite ready to appear before the board in a public hearing, but certain elements have been defined, Superintendent Adams said.
The consequences of an arrest and subsequent charge will vary on whether it is for a misdemeanor or a felony, but it will affect both athletic and interscholastic extracurricular activities, Ms. D'Agresta said.
Under the new policy draft, students arrested for a felony would be removed from the roster as far as competition goes, but might be allowed to practice with their former team members. After a felony charge however, a student would be immediately suspended from all activities until the charges are resolved, Ms. D'Agresta said.
School board member Carol Johnson said she was not in favor of the changes because they lower the standards of behavior in Indian River County schools.
The present policy says a student arrested for a criminal offense, including a charge of a juvenile crime or offense, will be immediately suspended from participation in the Florida High School Athletic Association sanctioned events and sports until the criminal charges are resolved.
A student is to be dismissed from said programs if he or she pleads no contest, is adjudicated guilty, has adjudication withheld, or is otherwise found to have committed the offense. The policy includes pretrial diversion programs as adjudication.
In order to go back to the activities, the school principal would have to recommend reentry and the superintendent would have to give written permission.
For more news from the Indian River County school district or to view agendas for upcoming school board meetings, visit www.indianriverschools.org.