'Yes, sir,' 'No, sir,'
Public school students in grades K-5 in Louisiana would be required to say "yes, sir" and "no, ma'am" to their teachers under a legislative proposal from Gov. Mike Foster that appears likely to win final approval.
A scaled-back version of the original "Respect" bill, as proponents call it, passed the state Senate last month by a vote of 34-5. The House education committee unanimously approved the bill the same day, May 12. The House has not yet scheduled a final vote on the measure.
The Republican governor's original proposal would have affected all public school students. It also would have required students to stand when an adult entered the classroom; lawmakers deleted that language.
"The governor thought it was important that respect be shown in the schools to the teachers," said Trey Williams, Mr. Foster's deputy press secretary. "Once you get respect back in the classroom, that's half the battle on discipline," he said.
Some Ohio legislators are looking to close a loophole in the state's school code that has allowed student athletes to transfer from one district to another when both superintendents agree it is crucial to the athletes' "well-being."
The legislature adopted the "well-being" clause in 1995 to give options to students who wished to transfer but lived in districts without open-enrollment policies, or who couldn't afford to pay out-of-district tuition. In the subsequent, 1995-96 school year, superintendents in 13 separate cases skirted the Ohio High School Athletic Association's rules on transfers by using the clause to transfer student athletes in the middle of the school year.
A bill in the House education committee would bar use of the clause in cases related to athletics. Students in other activities could still invoke it.
"A student can transfer for reasons of physical or mental well-being," said Rep. Dennis Stapleton, the Republican who sponsored the measure. "Physical well-being would be if the student faced some type of threat. Mental well-being is as wide as a room. A student could say it hurts my well-being if I can't play violin at this high school."
--Erik W. Robelen & Jessica L. Sandham
Vol. 18, Issue 38, Page 14Published in Print: June 2, 1999, as State Jounal