Puerto Rico School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding

Discipline Compendium

Puerto Rico School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding

Category: Partnerships between Schools and Law Enforcement
Subcategory: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding
State: Puerto Rico

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LAWS

18 L.P.R.A. § 17. Elected officers and government agencies.

(a) Elected officers are responsible for promoting legislation directed toward the reduction of school violence and the development of safe schools, provided that the resources of the Commonwealth so allow.

(b) Police officers and School Guards I and II shall be responsible for institutional order within one hundred (100) meters surrounding the school premises and in school sponsored activities, in accordance with the regulations established to such effects. It is necessary that these officers develop positive relationships with the components of the school community and exert maximum efforts to achieve a suitable environment for the development of the habit of responsibility and cooperation, and of sound school discipline.

(c) To give conferences and hold assemblies directed toward discussing topics such as school violence prevention, prevention of drug use in the schools, conflict management in the school environment, etc.

(d) Government agencies shall support and actively participate in school activities in order to promote a safe and wholesome environment.

(e) To support research projects directed toward the study of the school violence problem. The information from these research projects may serve as the foundation upon which to generate legislation or initiatives that reduce violence in our schools.

(f) To provide the necessary funds for the implementation of security initiatives in the schools, such as the installation of security devices, programs for monitoring the statistics of criminal and violent incidents in the schools, etc.

(g) To establish interagency collaborative agreements with federal agencies, municipalities and the private sector in order to promote school security.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141. Public Policy.

Whereas, it has always been the public policy of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to protect and watch over the well-being of our children; whereas, in the majority of the cases the public education system has been and is one that harbors the public school students of the country during a considerable portion of the day; whereas, our Commonwealth has been experiencing a constant increase in criminality and in acts of vandalism and violence which have taken place recently in the school buildings and grounds; it is, therefore, necessary and urgent to create a public security corps under the direction of the Secretary of Education for a more effective protection of the safety of students, teachers, administrative personnel as well as the school's physical facilities.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141a. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning expressed hereinbelow:

(a) Corps.- The School Security Corps created by this chapter.

(b) Department.- The Department of Education.

(c) Secretary.- The Secretary of the Department of Education.

(d) School building.- Refers to the main building and any construction, annex, patio, garden and parking area of a school belonging to the Department of Education and shall include the following schools, among others: elementary, secondary, intermediate, high, commercial, vocational, technical, advanced skills, trade or agricultural instruction.

(e) School grounds.- Shall include an area of two hundred (200) meters from the point closest to the outer boundary of the plot of land occupied by the school.

(f) Member or members of the Corps.- Shall mean the personnel who are directly charged with keeping the peace and protecting the lives and property of the school community.

(g) School community.- Students, teachers, officials, employees and persons authorized by law to enter and remain inside the school buildings and grounds.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141b. Creation.

The School Security Corps attached to the Department of Education is hereby created.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141c. Organization.

The Secretary is hereby authorized to determine the organization and administration of the Corps as well as its obligations, responsibilities and any other matters essential to its operation, by regulations that he shall promulgate to such effects. In the event that the convenience of bearing arms is provided, the authorization and approval of the Superintendent of the Police shall be obtained.

The Secretary shall request the necessary funds and administer them to achieve an effective operation of the Corps pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

The Secretary shall take the necessary steps so that the members of the Corps shall first be assigned to those school buildings and grounds where there has been a high rate of vandalism and criminality. These schools shall be given priority at the Secretary's discretion.

The members and personnel of the Corps shall be subject to and protected by the provisions of Act No. 5 of October 14, 1975, known as the "Puerto Rico Public Service Personnel Act".

18 L.P.R.A. § 141d. Powers and functions.

The Corps shall have the following powers and duties under the direction of the Secretary:

(a) To protect the life and property of the school community.

(b) To protect and watch over the peace and public safety in the school buildings and grounds.

(c) To develop a system that guarantees the prevention and eradication of delinquent acts in and around the school grounds, through which priority shall be given to assigning the services of the Corps to those schools which have the most serious vandalism and criminality problems.

(d) To enforce compliance of all the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico related to the protection of life and property in Puerto Rico's school buildings and grounds.

(e) In order to comply with the mandate of this chapter, the Corps members shall enforce the following provisions of the law without impairing other existing laws and regulations and the duties and powers of other law and order officers:

(1) To inform the corresponding authorities about violations of § 80 of Act June 30, 1969, No. 143 with regard to the issuing of licenses to retail alcoholic beverages in schools.

(2) To enforce the provisions of §§ 1-157, 5-702, 5-101 of Act July 20, 1960, No. 141.

(3) To ensure proper compliance of § 128 of this title, regarding the use of loudspeakers and amplifiers near school grounds.

(4) To ensure compliance with the barring of controlled substances within the school grounds pursuant to § 2411a of Title 24.

(5) To prevent the commission of the offenses established in Article 171 of the Penal Code of Puerto Rico and § 2091 of Title 33, which make reference to aggravated burglary and the prohibition of entering and remaining in school buildings and grounds without permission.

(6) To inform the corresponding authorities of violations to §§ 701 and 702 of Title 15, which regulate the distance between schools and electronic game establishments.

(7) To enforce and ensure compliance of the laws, regulations and norms of the Department of Education, under the supervision of the School Director.

(f) To enable them to carry out the duties they are charged with, the members of the Corps shall have the authority, under this chapter, to:

(1) Make arrests for attempted violations of the law pursuant to the provisions of subsections (d) and (e) of this section, when the attempt or violation is committed in or around the school and grounds and in the presence of members of the Corps, or those which are submitted to them through knowledge and belief in strict coordination with the Commonwealth Police.

(2) Issue summons for violations of the administrative laws of the Department.

(3) Execute search and arrest warrants issued by the Courts of Justice.

(4) Carry out searches related to violations of the laws mentioned in this chapter pursuant to the Rules of Criminal Procedure in effect, App. II of Title 34.

(5) Obtain and execute search warrants while carrying out the duties, functions and obligations provided in this chapter.

(6) Hold, confiscate and attach any material such as: controlled substances, weapons, motor and towing vehicles, alcoholic beverages or any equipment used in violation of the laws administered by the Department, or the specific laws related to the purposes of this chapter. All confiscations shall be carried out pursuant to the provisions of §§ 1 and 2 of Act June 4, 1960, No. 39.

(7) With respect to clauses (3), (4), (5) and (6) of this subsection, the Corps shall limit itself to those cases in which its members have personal knowledge of the existence of the objects to be confiscated, their nature and origin; and the search or confiscation is carried out in the school as determined by this chapter. Outside of these limits, these interventions shall be carried out by the Police Corps of Puerto Rico.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141e. Coordination with the Government, Commonwealth Police and Municipal Guard.

The Secretary shall coordinate with the Government and especially the Commonwealth Police and the Municipal Police, as necessary, in its efforts to prevent and fight crime in all of its forms in order to achieve the purposes for which the creation of this Corps is authorized.

The Commonwealth Police and the Municipal Police in those municipalities where it exists shall take the necessary steps to make the coordination provided herein effective.

This chapter does not restrict or limit in any manner the powers and duties assigned to the Police of Puerto Rico and the Municipal Police.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141f. Commissioner; creation of post.

The post of Commissioner of the School Security Corps who shall be charged with the direction and supervision of the Corps created by this chapter is hereby created and attached to the Department.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141g. Uniform.

The garments which shall constitute the official uniform of the Corps and the equipment destined to it shall be determined by regulations.

The use of the uniform or any combination of the garments that form a part of it by any person who is not a member of the Corps is hereby prohibited. Any person who violates the prohibition provided herein shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

In the event the Superintendent of Police by request of the Secretary authorizes the members of the Corps by regulations to use weapons, they may bear such weapons while they are on watch outside of school hours, on holidays or when expressly authorized to do so.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141h. Financial aid.

The Secretary shall be empowered to accept aid or cooperation of any nature, whether it be financial, property or services, including donations, whether in cash, technical or personal services, or equipment, which originates from individuals, citizen groups or private entities, profitable or nonprofitable institutions, the government of the United States of America, from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, its municipalities, or from any government instrumentality, agency or subdivision in order to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141i. Contracting.

The Secretary is hereby empowered to enter into every type of agreement and contract with public, juridical or natural persons, and with federal, Commonwealth or municipal agencies, under the terms and conditions he deems are necessary and convenient for the best application of this chapter and the achievement of its ends.

The Secretary shall take the necessary steps for the members of the Corps to be trained at the Puerto Rico Police Academy, and the Superintendent of Police of Puerto Rico is hereby authorized to offer all possible help and collaboration.

18 L.P.R.A. § 141L. Annual report.

The Secretary shall render an annual evaluation report to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and to the Legislature in order to disclose the accomplishments and scope of this chapter which creates the School Security Corps.

REGULATIONS

No relevant regulations found.

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