TO REORGANIZE THE GENERAL STATUTES RELATING TO SCHOOL DISCIPLINE; PREVENT LITIGATION BY ADDING DEFINITIONS TO AND CLARIFYING AMBIGUITIES IN THE CURRENT LAW; CODIFY EXISTING CASE LAW; AND INCREASE LOCAL CONTROL AND FLEXIBILITY REGARDING DISCIPLINE.
Repeals GS 115C-390 and GS 115C-391.
Adds new GS 115C-390.1 to define terms and require that the policies and procedures for the discipline of students be consistent with certain federal laws and regulations.
Adds new GS 115C-390.2 to require local boards to adopt policies to govern the conduct of students and establish procedures for disciplining students. Board policies: (1) must include or provide for the development of a Code of Student Conduct; (2) may authorize suspension for conduct not occurring on educational property if the student’s conduct violates the Code of Student Conduct and the conduct has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environments; (3) may not allow students to be long-term suspended or expelled from school solely for truancy or tardiness offenses and may not allow short-term suspension of more than two days for such offenses; (4) may not impose mandatory long-term suspensions or expulsions for specific violations unless otherwise provided in state or federal law; (5) must minimize the use of long-term suspension and expulsion by restricting the availability of long-term suspension or expulsion to offenses deemed to be serious violations of the board’s Code of Conduct that either threaten the safety of students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment; (6) may not prohibit the superintendent and principals from considering the student's intent, disciplinary and academic history, the potential benefits to the student of alternatives to suspension, and other mitigating or aggravating factors when deciding whether to recommend or impose long-term suspension; and (7) must include the procedures to be followed by school officials in suspending, expelling, or administering corporal punishment to any student. Requires the local board to publish all policies, administrative procedures, or school rules and make them available to each student and parent at the beginning of each school year and upon request.
Adds new GS 115C-390.3 to provide that: (1) school personnel may use physical restraint only in accordance with GS 115C-391.1; (2) school personnel may use reasonable force to control behavior or to remove a person from the scene in certain, specified circumstances; and (3) no officer or employee of the State Board of Education or of a local board of education may be held civilly liable for using reasonable force in conformity with State law, State or local rules, or State or local policies.
Adds new GS 115C-390.4 to require each local board of education to determine if corporal punishment is permitted in its school administrative unit. Specifies minimum requirements that must be included in any policy for administering corporal punishment. Requires each local board of education to report annually to the State Board of Education on the number of times that corporal punishment was administered and specifies certain information that must be included in the report.
Adds new GS 115C-390.5 to authorize a principal to impose short-term suspension on a student who willfully engages in conduct that violates a provision of the Code of Student Conduct authorizing short-term suspension. Requires that a student on short-term suspension be provided with the opportunity to take textbooks home for the duration of the suspension, to receive, upon request, all missed assignments and materials distributed to students, and the opportunity to make up certain missed examinations.
Adds new GS 115C-390.6 to prescribe procedures for imposing a short-term suspension.
Adds new GS 115C-390.7 to authorize a principal to recommend to the superintendent the long-term suspension of any student who willfully engages in conduct that violates a provision of the Code of Student Conduct that authorizes long-term suspension. Specifies that only the superintendent has the authority to long-term suspend a student. Requires student to be afforded opportunity for a hearing consistent with GS 115C-390.8 before a long-term suspension may be imposed. Provides that if a teacher is assaulted or injured by a student and as a result the student is long-term suspended or reassigned to alternative education services, the student shall not be returned to that teacher's classroom unless the teacher consents. Specifies that disciplinary reassignment of a student to a full-time educational program that meets the academic requirements of the Standard Course of Study and provides the student with the opportunity to make timely progress towards graduation and grade promotion is not a long-term suspension requiring due process procedures.
Adds new GS 115C-390.8 to prescribe procedures for imposing a long-term suspension.
Adds new GS 115C-390.9 to require that students who are long-term suspended be offered alternative education services unless the superintendent provides a significant or important reason for declining to offer such services. Affords a student the right to seek review of a superintendent’s decision to decline to offer alternative education services by the local board of education.
Adds new GS 115C-390-10 to require local boards of education to implement the federal Gun Free Schools Act, requiring suspension for 365 calendar days of any student who is determined to have brought or been in possession of a firearm or powerful explosive on educational property, or to a school-sponsored event off of educational property. Permits the superintendent to modify the 365 day suspension on a case-by-case basis. Requires the principal to report all incidents of firearms or powerful explosives on educational property or at a school-sponsored event. Specifies that statutory provisions do not apply to a firearm that was brought onto school property for activities approved and authorized by the local board of education. Requires superintendent to inform student and parent of student who is suspended for 365 days of right to petition the local board of education for readmission pursuant to GS 115C-390.12. Provides that the provisions of GS 115C-390.8 and GS 115C-390.9 apply to a student who is suspended for 365 days.
Adds new GS 390.11 to authorize a local board of education, upon recommendation of the superintendent, to expel any student 14 years of age or older whose continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or school staff. Requires local board to conduct a hearing to determine whether the student's continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or school staff. Requires that student be given reasonable notice of the recommendation in accordance with G.S. 115C-390.8(a) and (b), as well as reasonable notice of the time and place of the scheduled hearing. Specifies that the procedures described in G.S. 115C-390.8(e)(1)-(8) apply to students facing expulsion, except that the decision to expel a student by the local board of education must be based on clear and convincing evidence that the student's continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students and school staff. Authorizes a local board of education to expel any student subject to G.S. 14-208.18 in accordance with the procedures of the statute. Specifies that the local board of education must consider whether there are alternative education services that may be offered to the student. Requires that a student be provided notice of the right to petition for readmission pursuant to GS 115C-390.12 at the time the student is expelled. Prohibits a student who is expelled to be present on any property of the local administrative unit.
Adds new GS 115C-390.12 to prescribe procedures for students who are suspended for 365 days or expelled to petition for readmission.
Makes conforming and clarifying changes to GS 115C-391.1(i), GS 115C-12(27), GS 115C-45(c)(1), GS 115C-105.47(b)(6), GS 115C-105.47(b)(13), GS 115C-238.29B(b)(11), GS 115C-238.29F(g)(7), GS 115C-276(r), GS 115C-288(e), GS 115C-366, GS 115C-402(b), GS 14-208.18(f), and GS 20-11(n1)d.2.
Applies beginning with the 2011-12 school year.
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