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Safety list's long-term effects can be punitive

Your Oct. 28 sidebar (about the state's school safety watch list) shows "How it Happens," but I'd really like to know what it means as it pertains to the No Child Left Behind Act. Does it withhold federal funds, reduce services? What specifically happens to the school when it makes this No Child Left Behind sponsored list? Thank you.

— Colleen O., Medford.

Nothing happens to a school when it's placed on the safety watch list except for the stigma of being on the list. Placement on the list is a sort of siren alerting the school that it needs to take action to prevent acts of violence, weapon possession, drug possession, robbery and hate.

However, if a school has been on the list for three consecutive years, it is labeled as a "persistently dangerous school." The penalty so to speak is that students may transfer out of the school to another school, and the school district would have to pay any transportation expenses or provide any busing associated with that change. The glitch is if there are no other schools in the same district, students are not entitled to transfer outside of the district, said Jake Weigler, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Education.

The other consequence is that the school must develop a mandatory corrective action plan spelling out how it will make the school safer, Weigler said. The education department evaluates that plan and provides technical advice, he said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.