A lot of people have had questions about the school’s responsibility when it comes to the handling of possible crimes. The Superintendent and/or his Designee is required to report the crimes listed below to law enforcement whether or not he has definitive facts or not. Failure to do this results in a misdemeanor and the Superintendent or Designee will be fined up to $1000 or up to 6 months in jail or both. And very noteworthy:
ANY PERSON REPORTING IN GOOD FAITH SHALL BE IMMUNE FROM CIVIL LIABILITY!!!!!!!
It also says that an employed law enforcement officer for the school or district does not count as reporting to a law enforcement agency.
This comes straight from the Attorney General’s Office!!
You can find this subject matter on pages 62-63 of the following attached document.
Superintendent reports to Law Enforcement
(Sections 371129 (3) (6) of the Mississippi Code)
The Superintendent or his designee reports to the appropriate law enforcement agency a reasonable belief that a criminal act has occurred on educational property or during a school related activity for any offenses in Paragraph (6) set out below.
The superintendent/designee shall immediately report the act to the appropriate local law enforcement agency. The form approved by the Mississippi Board of Education to report crimes on school property or at a school related activity is attached as Appendix C. Any superintendent who fails to report shall be subject to the penalties provided in 371135 (misdemeanor). Section 371135 specifically provides that as follows:
If any person charged with Section 371129 (2) or (3) to make the reports therein provided for shall willfully fail, refuse or neglect to file any such report, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or be imprisoned not exceeding six (6) months, or both.
(4) Law Enforcement shall immediately dispatch an officer to the educational institution and with probable cause the officer is authorized to make an arrest if necessary.
Any person reporting in good faith shall be immune from any civil liability.
“Unlawful activity” is defined as:
· Possession or use of deadly weapon
· Possession, sale, or use of any controlled substance
· Aggravated assault
· Simple assault
· Sexual battery
• Fondling, touching or handling a child for lustful purposes
The Superintendent is required to report any unlawful act that he reasonably believes occurred on educational property or during a school related activity. This requirement remains regardless of whether reasonable belief is established from the superintendent’s knowledge or from information relayed to the superintendent by a principal, teacher other school employee or a concerned citizen. Furthermore, although this Section states that a superintendent is only required to report any act involving an offense set for in subsection (6), this office would advise a superintendent to report all acts believed to be a crime to local law enforcement, as law enforcement is the appropriate entity to make a factual determination as to what specific crime has been committed.
The Office of the Attorney General advises the superintendent to report all acts believed to be a crime (not just the crimes listed in Paragraph (6) above) to local law enforcement, as law enforcement is the appropriate entity to make a factual determination as to what specific crime has been committed.