Safety Message

This is Mr. Thorn, Principal of JICHS, with an update from Board of Directors meeting last night.  

The JICHS Board of Directors voted 7-0 to allow a parent excuse for  Friday February 23, 2018, for an extenuating circumstance. A lawful reason must be given for an absence to be excused. Parents may cite safety concerns for Friday February 23, 2018. This will allow students to exempt their exams should they still qualify.  Students must turn in a parent note within (5) five days of the absence. The absence will still count as one of the five days allowed to be excused by a parent according to the South Carolina Code Laws. Please see the excerpt below from the student handbook:

Achievement Begins With Regular Attendance

Parents/guardians must ensure that all school-age children in their care are in school and on time every day.

All absences require a written explanation from the parent/guardian within five school days of return from the absence. Written explanation of absences must include the student’s name, parent/guardian’s full name, address and telephone number(s), dates of absence(s), and documentation of the reason for absence. Absence excuses will not be accepted after five (5) days of return from absence.

Lawful Absences

      Illness of the student

      Medical or dental appointment

      Court appearance

      Death in the immediate family

      Observance of a religious holiday

      Activities approved by the administrative team

      Extenuating circumstances as determined by the principal

The Board also voted 7-0 to approve random searches, which includes random wanding at entrances and random searches of cars and classrooms. In accordance with S.C. Law and in an effort to prevent students from bringing weapons on campus, schools may conduct periodic, random weapon searches of students and their property while on campus.  All searches will be conducted with the safety of the students and staff in mind.

I strongly encourage every student and their parents or guardians to clean out their backpacks, purses, jackets, and vehicles tonight to remove anything that should not be on campus. Also, I suggest you remove anything you do not need that may trigger a metal detector. This will make the searches go much faster. The possession of drugs or weapons on campus is a level 3 offense, which will result in a suspension, a referral for expulsion, and police charges. You should also make sure you do not have anything else that would violate the code of conduct such as:

      Tobacco products, which includes vaping devices.

      Medication, including over-the-counter medicine, is not allowed on campus.  All medications must be handled through the clinic.

      Random items that may not be obvious to you. For example, If you fish, check your tackle box. You may have a fishing knife in there.

      Do whatever you can to ensure you do not have any contraband on your person or property that may violate the code of conduct.

The purpose of the random searches is deterrence. We are publicizing these searches so students will not bring drugs, weapons or other types of contraband to school.

The Board and school administration are exploring other ways to make our school safer. We are getting quotes to extend the fence across the front of the school with electric gates, which would allow us to regulate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. We are investigating how to use metal detectors on a daily basis.        

We need the students to do their part. Students must wear their school ID at all times. Hats, hoods, and earbuds are not to be worn during the school day. These are school protocols at every middle and high school in Charleston County. No more warnings will be given to students on these expectations.  Failure to comply will result in a discipline referral for Refusing to Obey, which is a level 2 violation. We need to be able to readily identify who is supposed to here and who is not.

Lastly, I want to encourage all students to “Say Something,” if you “see or hear something.” Saying something means reporting to school administration and/or the police facts and details of first hand knowledge regarding safety issues. Spreading rumors on social media about school violence can be considered disturbing school and inciting panic by law enforcement. The school is exploring an app call STOPit, which would enable students and parents to anonymously report bullying, cyberbullying, violence, inappropriate student-teacher relationships, hazing, drugs/alcohol, self-harm, and any issue which can negatively impact the learning environment. This can be another way for students and parents to report safety concerns.

As a reminder, safety and convenience run counter to each other. Added safety protocols will cause an inconvenience to everyone at some point. We ask that you remain patient and vigilant as time passes. There is a natural tendency for these to wane over time. Thank you for your support again as we work together through these issues as a school community.


Tim Thorn

Principal JICHS