Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with the problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that students view as fair and impartial. School personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline. 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 action, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:
- the student’s age;
- the nature of the offense and the circumstances that 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;
- the student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan), BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan), and/or 504 Accommodation Plan if applicable;
- other extenuating circumstances.
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means a student’s first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations. Furthermore, discipline may include educational components, such as written and/or verbal apologies to the victims, essays, or other things deemed academically appropriate by teachers or administrators. See Section XV for the Student Discipline Chart used by administrators to determine consequences.
Students who are found to have violated the district’s Code of Conduct, either alone or as a member of a group, may be subject to the following penalties (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, teaching assistants, coaches, school counselors, teachers, administrators, superintendent;
- pass restriction;
- written notification to parent – bus driver, coaches, school counselors, teachers, administrators, superintendent;
- detention – teachers, principal, superintendent, time-out/lunch detention/after-school detention;
- suspension from transportation – director of transportation, administrators, superintendent; ;
- suspension from athletic participation – coaches, administrators, director of physical education and athletics, superintendent;
- suspension from social or extracurricular activities – activity director in conjunction with administrators, superintendent;
- suspension of other privileges which may include participation in school field trips, or in any or all graduation activities, events, or other ceremonies – principal, superintendent;
- removal from classroom/virtual learning by teacher – teachers, principal;
- in-school suspension – administrators, 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;
- withhold walking at graduation – principal, superintendent.
The amount of due process a student is entitled to receive before a penalty is imposed depends on the severity of 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.
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.
A special detention room will be designated and staffed at the middle and high schools for one hour after school on Monday through Thursday afternoons. Detention may be assigned at other periods of the day and at other locations at the discretion of the principal. Detention in this room for more than one hour may also be assigned at the high school. Only an administrator may assign a student to detention in this room. At the elementary level, detention shall be at the discretion of the principal and will be supervised by the principal or his/her designee. The administrator must give the student written notice at least 24 hours in advance. Failure to attend assigned detention will result in in-school suspension. If a student is absent on the day the detention was scheduled, the student is still obligated to serve detention when he/she returns. A student’s absence from school does not mean the student is excused from detention. Assignment to detention takes precedence over all after-school or extracurricular activities. Students will be permitted to attend after-school or extracurricular activities only after their detention obligation is completed.
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 building principal’s attention. 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 parents will become responsible for seeing that their 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 §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 Sports and Extracurricular Activities
Students suspended from school for serious offenses, which may include but are not limited to the selling, use, or possession of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia; possession of a weapon; or the use of violent behavior may also be suspended from all extracurricular activities for a period of time greater than that imposed for suspension from school. The additional amount of time suspended from extracurricular activities will be determined collaboratively by the principal, administrative supervisor (such as the Director of Physical Education and Athletics,) and the coach/advisor.
Any student found to be in violation of any rules stipulated in the Code of Conduct for extracurricular activities, whether or not such violation occurred on school grounds or at school related activities, may be suspended from all extracurricular activities for a period of time to be determined collaboratively by the principal, administrative supervisor (such as the Director of Physical Education and Athletics), and the coach/advisor.
As provided in Education Law, the Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, a building principal, or in the building principal’s absence, an acting building principal, may suspend a student from attendance upon instruction where it is determined that the student:
- is insubordinate or disorderly, violent or disruptive, or exhibits conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health, or welfare of others;
- exhibits a physical or mental condition that endangers the health, safety or morals of himself/herself or other students.
In addition to the statutory grounds for suspension from attendance upon instruction for misconduct or endangering health or safety conditions, students shall also be subject to suspension from attendance upon instruction based on a violation related to specific disciplinary infractions.
A student assigned to in-school or out-of-school suspension for a total of two or more days may, at the discretion of the building principal, be excluded from attendance at school-related activities such as dances, field trips, and other such functions. Such exclusion will be dependent upon the circumstances associated with the suspension, including the nature of the infraction, subsequent improvement of behavior, and the purpose of the field trip or activity. If such privileges are lost, the student may be provided the opportunity to earn them back in accordance with the following provisions:
- on a weekly basis, an assigned mentor will check the student’s grades, behavior, and effort. The mentor will be determined by the administrator in conjunction with the student;
- the student will not engage in behavior that requires a disciplinary write up of any kind for five weeks;
- the student must get a progress report filled out on a weekly basis by all of his/her teachers/supervisors. This report must be taken home on the last school day of each week, signed by a parent, and returned by the student to his/her mentor. Satisfactory effort, conduct, and behavior are expected in all classes for the five-week period.
Prior to being suspended from attendance upon instruction in one or more classes, the student shall have a conference with a school official empowered to suspend, as referenced above, at which time the evidence upon which the decision to suspend is based shall be stated to the student and the student shall be given the opportunity to explain his/her version of the facts. The student shall also be afforded the right to present other persons to the suspending authority in support of his/her version of the facts. If the circumstances render a pre-suspension conference impossible, such a conference shall occur as soon as is practicable after the suspension has commenced.
Teacher Removal of Disruptive Students from a Classroom/Virtual Learning
A student’s behavior can affect a teacher’s ability to teach and can make it difficult for other students in the classroom/virtual learning setting to learn. In most instances the classroom/virtual learning teacher can control a student’s behavior and maintain or restore control over the classroom/virtual learning by using good classroom/virtual learning management techniques. These techniques may include practices that involve the teacher directing a student to briefly leave the classroom.virtual learning to give the student an opportunity to regain his/her composure and self-control in an alternative setting. Such practices are time honored classroom/virtual learning management techniques that do not constitute disciplinary removal for purposes of this code.
On occasion, a student’s behavior may become disruptive. For purposes of the Code of Conduct, a disruptive student is a student who substantially disrupts the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom/virtual learning. A substantial disruption of the educational process that impedes learning 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/virtual behavior rules whether in the physical and/or virtual classroom.
A classroom/virtual learning teacher has the authority to remove a disruptive student from class. The removal from class applies to the class of the removing teacher only. At the secondary level, the teacher may remove the student from class for the remainder of the period during which the disruptive incident occurred, and for a period not to exceed two additional full days. At the elementary level, a teacher may remove a student for a length of time appropriate to the infraction but not to exceed two days.
If the disruptive student does not pose a danger, the teacher must provide the student with an explanation for why he or she is being removed and an opportunity to explain his or her version of the relevant events before the student is removed. Only after the informal discussion may a teacher remove a student from class.
If the student poses a danger or ongoing threat of disruption, the teacher may order the student to be removed immediately and the student will be escorted out of the class by a staff member. The teacher must, however, explain to the student why he or she was removed from the classroom/virtual learning and give the student a chance to present his or her version of the relevant events within 24-hours.
The teacher must complete a district established disciplinary removal form and confer with the principal or the principal’s designee as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day, to explain the circumstances of the removal and to present the removal form. If the teacher, principal, or principal’s designee is not available to meet by the end of the same school day, the teacher must leave the form with the secretary and confer prior to the beginning of classes on the next school day.
Within 24-hours after the student’s removal, the principal or another district administrator designated by the principal must notify the student’s parents, in writing, that the student has been removed from class and why. The notice must also inform the parents that they have the right, upon request, to meet informally with the principal or the principal’s designee to discuss the reasons for the removal. The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or some other means that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the student’s removal at the last known address of the parents. Where possible, notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number for the purpose of contacting a parent.
The principal may require the teacher who ordered the removal to attend the informal conference. If at the informal meeting the student denies the charges, the principal or the principal’s designee must explain why the student was removed and give the student and the student’s parents a chance to present the student’s version of the relevant events. The informal meeting must be held within 48 hours of the student’s removal. The timing of the informal meeting may be extended by mutual agreement of the parent and principal.
The principal or the principal’s designee may overturn the removal of the student from class if the principal finds any one of the following:
- charges against the student are not supported by substantial evidence;
- student’s removal is otherwise in violation of law, including the district’s Code of Conduct;
- the conduct warrants suspension from school pursuant to Education Law §3214 and a suspension will be imposed.
The principal or his or her designee may overturn a removal at any point between receiving the referral form issued by the teacher and the close of business on the day following the 48-hour period for the informal conference, if a conference is requested. No student removed from the classroom/virtual learning setting by the classroom/virtual learning teacher will be permitted to return to the classroom/virtual learning until the principal makes a final determination, and notifies the teacher, or the period of removal expires, whichever is less. Any disruptive student removed from the classroom/virtual learning setting by the classroom/virtual learning teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities until the student is permitted to return to the classroom/virtual learning. Each teacher must keep a complete log (on a district provided form) for all cases of removal of students from the teacher’s class. The principal must keep a log of all removal of students from class.
Removal of a student with a disability, under certain circumstances, may constitute a change in the student’s placement. Accordingly, classified student’s removal from class will be monitored by the school administrator to ensure that the removal does not violate the student’s rights.
Students from the middle schools and high school who are assigned to In-School Suspension (ISS) will be scheduled into a supervised room for no more than five (5) consecutive days. In addition, such students will be deprived of their usual school privileges during the time they are assigned to ISS, including attendance at all after-school activities. Students assigned to ISS must report directly to the ISS room rather than to their home rooms. They may not leave the ISS room to attend other classes without the express permission of the administrator who assigned the student to ISS. Students scheduled into ISS are expected to complete all class work and homework assigned by their regular teachers, including those assignments specifically provided to the students while in ISS. Special rules will apply to students in ISS including the following:
- Students will not converse with each other.
- Students will remain in their assigned seats.
- Students will work on the assignments provided.
- Students will eat lunch in the ISS room.
- Students will, except in emergencies, be scheduled to use the lavatory once each morning and once each afternoon.
Elementary students assigned to ISS will be placed under the general supervision of the principal or the principal’s designee. The same guidelines identified above for secondary students assigned to ISS will be implemented for elementary school children.
Short-Term Suspension Process
In the event a student is suspended from attendance upon instruction for one (1) through five (5) days by a school principal, or acting principal in the absence of the building principal, the student and the student’s parents shall be notified in writing, by personal delivery or express mail, and by telephone or other electronic methods, if possible, within 24 hours of the suspension. Such written notice shall include a description of the incident resulting in the suspension and shall inform the parents 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 parents.
Upon such request, a conference with the principal and other parties involved shall be convened as soon as possible, at which time the evidence, including the witness relied upon by the principal in making the suspension determination, may be questioned by the parents. The right to an informal conference with the principal shall also extend to the student if the student is 18 years of age or older.
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 disruptions 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 business days, unless they can show extraordinary circumstance precluding them from doing so. The superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within 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 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 of Education may be appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision.
Superintendent’s Hearing (Long-Term suspension from school; more than 5 days)
Superintendent’s disciplinary hearings are conducted according to Section 3214 of the Education Law. Disciplinary issues are referred to a Superintendent’s Hearing when repeated offenses by a student, or the severity of a single offense, warrants consideration of a penalty greater than the five days of out-of-school suspension that can be imposed by a principal. The kinds of offenses brought to a Superintendent’s Hearing include, but are not limited to, such acts as using or being in possession of illegal substances or drug paraphernalia; threatening or hitting a teacher; intimidating or attacking an individual for being a witnesses in a disciplinary proceeding; brandishing or being in possession of a weapon; sexually harassing a staff member or another student; and acts that are violent or threaten the health or safety of students and staff.
An accused student who is the subject of a Superintendent’s Hearing will be so notified in writing by overnight mail. Such notification will inform the student and his/her parents of their rights. These include the right to be represented by counsel, the right to question witnesses against him/her, and the right to present witnesses or other evidence on his/her behalf.
If an accused student chooses to call witnesses, the student will provide the district with a list of those witnesses at least 48 hours prior to the hearing. Students, and the parents of students who are required to testify either on behalf of the district or the accused student, will be so notified the day prior to the hearing. The parents of a student witness will also be notified that they can attend the Superintendent’s Hearing while their child testifies, providing their attendance is agreeable to the accused student. To protect the constitutional rights of the accused student, all witnesses who are called to testify are required to do so, and the hearing officer is empowered to issue a subpoena to any witness who is reluctant to testify.
At each hearing, witnesses will be sworn in before being asked to testify, and each witness can be questioned by representatives of the district or the accused. All physical evidence or documents related to the case must be submitted to the hearing officer so they can become part of the record and can be examined by all sides. In addition, the proceedings of the hearing will be recorded, and copies of the recording will be made available to the accused upon request. An individual witness may request a copy of the written transcript of his/her testimony only, providing that all information in violation on the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act is redacted from the transcript.
If the accused student is found guilty of the charges being brought against him/her, the hearing officer will review the student’s record of behavior prior to deciding upon the penalty. The decision of the superintendent can be appealed to the Board of Education, and the decision of the Board of Education can be appealed to the Commissioner of Education.
Periods of Suspension for Substantially Disruptive or Violent Acts
Students who bring a weapon to school as an individual or member of a group – Any student found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property may face suspension from school following a Superintendent’s Hearing for at least one calendar year subject to modification by the Superintendent on a case-by-case basis*. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the Superintendent may consider the following:
- the student’s age;
- the student’s grade in school;
- the student’s prior disciplinary record;
- the superintendent’s belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective;
- the input from parents, teacher, and/or others;
- the student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan), BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan), and/or 504 Accommodation Plan if applicable;
- other extenuating circumstances.
Students who commit violent acts as an individual or member of a group, other than bringing a weapon to school – Any student who committed a violent act, other than bringing a weapon onto school property, shall be subject to suspension from school for at least five 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. The principal has the authority to modify the minimum five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. 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. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a weapon.
Students who are repeatedly substantially disruptive of the educational process or repeatedly substantially interfere with the teacher’s authority over the classroom/virtual learning – Any student who is repeatedly substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom/virtual learning will be suspended from school for at least five days*. For purposes of the Code of Conduct, “repeatedly substantially disruptive” means engaging in conduct that results in the student being removed from the classroom/virtual learning by the teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law 3214(3-a) and the Code on four or more occasions during a semester, or three or more occasions during a trimester. 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 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 weapon.
*A student with a disability may be suspended only in accordance with the requirement of state, federal and education law.
Referrals and Counseling
Support staff, which includes psychologists, nurses, social workers, and school counselors, shall handle all referrals of students to counseling.
The district may file a Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) petition in Family Court on any student under the age of 18 who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:
- being habitually truant and not attending school as required by part one 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 school;
- knowingly and unlawfully possessing and or using illegal substances or prescription drugs in violation of the PBCSD Code of Conduct, will be a sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition;
- being a juvenile delinquent or juvenile offender.
The superintendent or superintendent’s designee is required to refer, any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school, to the county attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding before the family court.
A child’s parents or persons in parental relation will be notified by designated District personnel at periodic intervals to discuss the child’s absence, tardiness, or early departures and the importance of class attendance and appropriate interventions. Individual buildings/grade levels will address procedures to implement the notification process to the parent or person in parental relation.
In order to effectively intervene when an identified pattern of unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures occur, designated district personnel will pursue the following:
- Identify specific elements of the pattern (e.g., grade-level, building, time frame, type of unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures);
- Contact the District staff most closely associated with the element. In specific cases where the pattern involves an individual student, the student and parent or person in parental relation will be contacted;
- Discuss strategies to directly intervene with a specific element;
- Recommend intervention to the Superintendent or designee if it relates to change in district policy or procedure;
- Implement changes, as approved by the appropriate administrator;
- Utilize appropriate district and/or community resources to address and help remediate student unexcused absences, tardiness or early departures;