Health, Safety, & Discipline at Louisville Catholic Schools

Catholic Schools strive to maintain a safe environment by putting the appropriate health and safety precautions in place. It is the responsibility of all schools to comply with current laws and regulations applicable to all public buildings pertinent to health, sanitation, and safety. Principals plan programs of instruction and training on issues such as traffic safety, dealing with strangers, bus safety, first aid, inclement weather, fires, and more. All schools must have emergency plans on file and work collaboratively with local law enforcement and emergency responders. Catholic Schools also work closely with local and federal agencies on training and updates for their emergency plans.

Specific safety policies related to arrival and dismissal plans, the release of students during school hours, releasing students to police, non-custodial parents, asbestos, smoking, unauthorized visitors, accidents, physical plant, pesticides, child abuse, missing children, and firearms and dangerous weapons can be found in section #5400 of the Catholic School Handbook.

Health issues are summarized in section #5300 of the Catholic School Handbook. The Archdiocese follows all health regulations established by the Kentucky Department of Education, including immunizations, medical examinations, and various screenings.

Specific Health and Safety Issues

It should be noted that the Archdiocese of Louisville has no religious prohibition against immunizations, and in fact, encourages immunizations and requires them for schools in compliance with state health requirements.  Only “bona fide” providers, such as physicians, local health departments, or medical facilities can issue a “Certificate of Religious Exemption.”

Child Abuse
As stated in KRS 620.030 “any person who knows of or has reasonable cause to believe that a child is dependent, neglected, or abused shall immediately cause an oral or written report to be made to a local law enforcement agency, or the Kentucky state police, the cabinet, or its designated representative, or the Commonwealth’s attorney by telephone or otherwise.”

This reporting requirement includes all clergy, employees, and volunteers.  When any accusation also involves Church or school personnel, a report also is made to the Chancellor of the Archdiocese. Staff and volunteers are instructed that no internal investigation shall be initiated before this report is made to the authorities, and the failure to report is grounds for the termination of employment and/or the termination of a volunteer relationship with a diocesan entity.

All staff and all volunteers in Catholic Schools are required to undergo a criminal background records check and to attend a “safe environment” training session held throughout the Archdiocese.  Staff and volunteers of Catholic parishes and schools also are expected to observe the code of conduct outlined in the archdiocesan sexual abuse policies.  See here for information about the Code of Conduct.  The Archdiocese also uses the Speak Up Be Safe curriculum and works with other agencies to provide additional training for staff and volunteers in Catholic Schools.

For more information about the sexual abuse policies of the Archdiocese, see here.

Discipline in Catholic Schools
School authorities establish guidelines for the behavior of students on school premises, during field trips, and during other activities where students represent the school community.  Each school must have a written code of conduct in the school handbook.

Positive approaches to discipline are emphasized.  These measures should be promptly enforced and individualized, constructive, and proportionate to the act.  Corporal punishments is not allowed in schools of the Archdiocese nor are actions that violate the Christian dignity of the student, such as sarcasm, public humiliation, personal indignities, time out without supervision, indiscriminate punishment of all students, and unreasonable lengthy written punishments.

Specific information about discipline in Catholic Schools including policies on dress, suspension and probation, dismissal, search and seizure, harassment, criminal gangs, threatening behavior, bullying, and grievance procedures can be found in section 5500 of the Catholic School Handbook.