17:273      Second languages; teaching in public schools

  A. Commencing with the 1976-1977 school year, each parish school board and city school board in the state is hereby authorized to establish as a part of the general curriculum of instruction the teaching of a second language. The second language curriculum shall be so established as to include a program extending upward through all grades, commencing in the first grade and extending upwards to the twelfth grade, in a well articulated, sequential manner so as to afford all school children in the state the opportunity of attaining proficiency in a second language.

  B. (1) If a parish or city school board does not establish a second language program by May 30, 1976, such a program shall be required upon presentation of a petition requesting the instruction of a particular second language. The petition shall be addressed and presented to the parish or city school board and shall request the instruction to be in a particular school. It shall contain the signatures of at least twenty-five percent of the heads of households of students attending a particular school within the jurisdiction of the parish or city school board. The superintendent of the parish or city schools shall determine the required number of signatures needed for each school and shall certify whether or not a petition contains the necessary number of signatures. Parents may petition to initiate second language programs in elementary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools.

  (2) Upon receiving a certified petition, the parish or city school board shall establish the teaching of the designated second language in said school as a part of the general curriculum of instruction. The instruction of the second language shall be developed to include the teaching of the language in each grade of said school in a well articulated and sequential manner so as to afford to the student the opportunity of attaining proficiency in the designated second language. Any student shall be exempted from the second language program upon request of the parent or guardian. The parent shall direct this request to the principal of the school or to the superintendent of the parish or city school system.

  (3) Instructors in a second language would be regularly assigned certified teachers at the secondary level or certified second language specialist teachers in the elementary grades one through eight, itinerant in one or more schools, and/or foreign associate teachers selected and approved by the State Department of Education in cooperation with other appropriate state agencies. A second language specialist teacher with a full schedule of second language classes would not be counted in the pupil-teacher ratio in the school of assignment, but would be counted as an additional teacher.

  (4) The cost of implementing a second language program at the secondary level (junior and/or senior high schools) will be borne by the local school system. The cost of implementing second language programs in the elementary grades over and beyond the base salary of regularly assigned teachers will be paid from state funds appropriated as a part of the total education budget of the State Department of Education.

  C. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall establish guidelines, regulations, and policies for the implementation of a comprehensive curriculum in a second language in a well articulated sequential manner in order to carry out the intent of this Section.

Added by Acts 1975, No. 714, Sec. 1.