DISCIPLINARY PENALTIES, PROCEDURES AND REFERRALS
Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair and consistent so as to be the most effective in changing student behavior. In determining the appropriate disciplinary actions, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:
- The student's age.
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances which led to the offense.
- The student's prior disciplinary record.
- The effectiveness of other forms of discipline.
- Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate.
- Other extenuating circumstances.
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means that a student's first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations.
If the conduct of a student is related to a disability or suspected disability, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education and discipline, if warranted, shall be administered consistent with the separate requirements of this Code of Conduct for disciplining students with a disability or presumed to have a disability.Penalties
Students who are found to have violated the District's Code of Conduct may be subject to the following penalties, either alone or in combination. The school personnel identified after each penalty are authorized to impose that penalty, consistent with the student's right to due process.
- Oral warning - any member of the District staff.
- Written warning - bus drivers, hall and lunch monitors, coaches, school counselors, teachers, Principal, Superintendent.
- Notification to parent (telephone, email or letter) - school counselors, teachers, administrator.
- Detention (as per building procedures) – teachers, Principal, Superintendent.
- Suspension from transportation – Principal, Superintendent.
- Suspension from athletic participation - coaches, Principal, Superintendent.
- Suspension from social or extracurricular activities - activity director, Principal, Superintendent.
- Suspension of other privileges - Principal, Superintendent.
- Removal from classroom by teacher - teachers, Principal.
- In-school suspension - Principal, Superintendent.
- Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school - Principal, Superintendent, Board of Education.
- Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school - Superintendent, Board of Education.
- Permanent suspension from school - Superintendent, Board of Education.
The amount of due process a student is entitled to receive before a penalty is imposed depends on the penalty being imposed. In all cases, regardless of the penalty imposed, the school personnel authorized to impose the penalty must inform the student of the alleged misconduct and must investigate, to the extent necessary, the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct. All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to the school personnel imposing the disciplinary penalty in connection with the imposition of the penalty.
Students who are to be given penalties other than an oral warning, written warning or written notification to their parents are entitled to additional rights before the penalty is imposed. These additional rights are explained below.
Teachers, Principals and the Superintendent may use after school detention as a penalty for student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate.
Suspension from Transportation
If a student does not conduct himself/herself properly on a bus, the bus driver is expected to bring such misconduct to the attention of the appropriate supervisor. Students who become a serious disciplinary problem may have their riding privileges suspended by the Building Principal or the Superintendent or their designees. In such cases, the student's parent will become responsible for seeing that his or her child gets to and from school safely. Should the suspension from transportation amount to a suspension from attendance, the District will make appropriate arrangements to provide for the student's education.
A student subjected to a suspension from transportation is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law Section 3214. However, the student and the student's parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the Building Principal or the Principal's designee to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Suspension from Athletic Participation, Extracurricular Activities and Denial of other Privileges
Students are expected to abide by the District's Athletic Code of Conduct, training rules and other rules applicable to students participating in athletics or extracurricular activities.
A student subjected to a suspension from athletic participation, extracurricular activities or other privileges is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law Section 3214. However, the student and the student's parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with a District official to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Teacher Disciplinary Removal of Disruptive Students
A student's behavior can affect a teacher's ability to teach and can make it difficult for other students in the classroom to learn. In most instances, the classroom teacher can control a student's behavior and maintain or restore control over the classroom by using good classroom management techniques. Time-honored classroom management techniques do not constitute disciplinary removals for purposes of this Code as long as the management technique does not transfer student care/custody from the teachers.
On occasion, a student's behavior may become disruptive. For purposes of this Code of Conduct, a disruptive student is a student who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher's authority over the classroom. A substantial disruption of the educational process or substantial interference with a teacher's authority occurs when a student demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher's instructions or repeatedly violates the teacher's classroom behavior rules.
A classroom teacher may remove a disruptive student from class for up to two (2) days. The removal from class applies to the class of the removing teacher only.
Any disruptive student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities at a designated "time-out" place with a certified teacher as determined by each building.
Each teacher must keep a complete log (on a District provided form) for all cases of removal of students from his or her class. The principal must keep a log of all removals of students from class.
Removal of a student with a disability, under certain circumstances, may constitute a change in the student's placement. Accordingly, no teacher may remove a student with a disability from his or her class until he or she has verified with the Principal or the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education that the removal will not violate the student's rights under state or federal law or regulation.
The procedure for the removal of a student by a teacher is as follows (see flow chart, below):
The Board recognizes the school must balance the need of students to attend school and the need for order in the classroom to establish an environment conducive to learning. As such, the Board authorizes Building Principals and the Superintendent to place students who would otherwise be suspended from school as the result of a Code of Conduct violation in "in-school suspension."
A student subjected to an in-school suspension is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law Section 3214. However, the student and the student's parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the District official imposing the in-school suspension to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Suspension from School
Suspension from school is a severe penalty, which may be imposed only upon students who are insubordinate, disorderly, violent or disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others.
The Board retains its authority to suspend students, but places primary responsibility for the suspension of students with the Superintendent and the Building Principals.
Any staff member may recommend to the Superintendent or the Principal that a student be suspended. All staff members must immediately report and refer a violent student to the Principal or the Superintendent for a violation of the Code of Conduct. All recommendations and referrals shall be made in writing unless the conditions underlying the recommendation or referral warrant immediate attention. In such cases a written report is to be prepared as soon as possible by the staff member recommending the suspension.
The Superintendent or Principal, upon receiving a recommendation or referral for suspension or when processing a case for suspension, shall gather the facts relevant to the matter and record them for subsequent presentation, if necessary.
1. Short-term (5 days or Less) Suspension from School
When the Superintendent or Principal proposes to suspend a student charged with misconduct for five (5) days or less pursuant to Education Law Section 3214(3), the suspending authority must immediately notify the student orally. If the student denies the misconduct, the suspending authority must provide an explanation of the basis for the proposed suspension. The suspending authority must also notify the student's parents in writing that the student may be suspended from school. The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or by some other means that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within twenty-four (24) hours of the decision to propose suspension at the last known address for the parents. Where possible, notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number(s) for the purpose of contacting the parents.
The notice shall provide a description of the charges against the student and the incident for which suspension is proposed and shall inform the parent of the right to request an immediate informal conference with the Principal. Both the notice and informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the parent. At the conference, the parent shall be permitted to ask questions of complaining witnesses under such procedures as the Principal may establish.
The notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place before the student is suspended unless the student's presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process. If the student's presence does pose such a danger or threat of disruption, the notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably practicable.
After the conference, the Principal shall promptly advise the parents in writing of his or her decision. The Principal shall advise the parents that if they are not satisfied with the decision and wish to pursue the matter, they must file a written appeal to the Superintendent within five (5) business days, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. The Superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal. If the parents are not satisfied with the Superintendent's decision, they must file a written appeal to the Board of Education with the District clerk within ten (10) business days of the date of the Superintendent's decision, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. Only final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within thirty (30) days of the decision.
2. Long-term (More than 5 Days) Suspension from School
When the Superintendent determines that a suspension for more than five (5) days may be warranted, he or she shall give reasonable notice to the student and the student's parents of their right to a fair hearing. At the hearing the student shall have the right to be represented by counsel, the right to question witnesses against him or her and the right to present witnesses and other evidence on his or her behalf.
The Superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his or her discretion, designate a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the proceeding before him or her. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be requested. A tape recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record. The hearing officer shall make findings of facts and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the Superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the Superintendent may accept all or any part thereof.
An appeal of the decision of the Superintendent may be made to the Board that will make its decision based solely upon the record before it. All appeals to the Board must be in writing and submitted to the District clerk within ten (10) business days of the date of the Superintendent's decision, unless the parents can show that extraordinary circumstances precluded them from doing so. The Board may adopt in whole or in part the decision of the Superintendent. Final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within thirty (30) days of the decision.
Permanent suspension is reserved for extraordinary circumstances such as where a student's conduct poses a life-threatening danger to the safety and well-being of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
Students who Bring or Possess a "Firearm" on School Premises
Any student found guilty of bringing or possessing a "firearm" (as defined in federal law) on school property will be subject to suspension from school for at least one (1) calendar year. School premises include school buildings and grounds, District vehicles, school settings and/or school sponsored activities under the control and supervision of the District regardless of location,
Before being suspended, the student will have an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Education Law Section 3214.
The Superintendent has the authority to modify the one-year suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the Superintendent may consider the following:
1. The student's age.
2. The student's grade in school
3. The student's prior disciplinary record.
4. The Superintendent's belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective.
5. Input from parents, teachers and/or others.
6. Other extenuating circumstances.
A student with a disability may be suspended only in accordance with the requirements of state and federal law.
Students who Commit Violent Acts Other Than Bringing a "Firearm" to School
Any student who is found to have committed a violent act, other than bringing or possessing a "firearm" on school property, shall be subject to suspension from school for at least five (5) days. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student's parents will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension.
If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student's parents will be given the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension.
The Superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the Superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a "firearm".
Students Who are Repeatedly Substantially Disruptive of the Educational Process or Repeatedly Substantially Interfere with the Teacher's Authority over the Classroom
Any student, who repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the education process or substantially interferes with the teacher's authority over the classroom, will be suspended from school for at least five days. For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, "repeatedly substantially disruptive" means engaging in conduct that results in the student being removed from the classroom by teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law Section 3214(3-a) and this Code on four or more occasions during a semester.
If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student's parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension. If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension the student and the student's parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension. The Superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the Superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a "firearm".
It is expected that most inappropriate student behavior in the classroom will be addressed by the teacher in accordance with the teacher's individual discipline plan.
When a student has been repeatedly substantially disruptive and removed from class four times, a referral shall be made to the student's school counselor by the teacher, administrator or the Student Support Team using the appropriate referral form.
Counseling interventions by the School Counselor (Social Worker at the elementary level) may include but are not limited to:
1. Contacting parent.
2. Meeting with student.
3. Referring to the Family Support Center or appropriate agency.
4. Arranging parent conference.
5. Requiring weekly progress reports.
6. Referring to School Social Worker.
7. Referring to School Psychologist.
Should these counseling interventions fail the parent will be made aware that further disruption may result in out-of-school suspension.
The District may file a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition in Family Court per Article 7 of the Family Court Act on any student under the age of eighteen (18) who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:
- Being habitually truant and not attending school as required by Part 1 of Article 65 of the Education Law.
- Engaging in an ongoing or continual course of conduct which makes the student ungovernable or habitually disobedient and beyond the lawful control of the school.
- Knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana in violation of Penal Law 221.05. A single violation of 221.05 will be sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition.
Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Offenders
- Any student under the age of sixteen (16) who is found to have brought a weapon to school, per Section 265.05 of the Penal Law of the State of New York; or
- Any student thirteen (13), fourteen (14) or fifteen (15) years old who is criminally responsible for acts as a "juvenile offender" under the provisions of Criminal Procedure Law 1.20(42).