MANUAL

 

OF

 

STUDENT DISCIPLINE CODE

 

 

GILES COUNTY SCHOOLS

 

PURPOSE

 

The Tennessee General Assembly, through T.C.A. 49-6-4012 (through)  4018, mandated that each local education agency formulate a code of acceptable behavior and discipline to apply to the students in each school operated by that agency. The code shall contain the type of

behavior expected from each student, the consequences of failure to obey such standards, and the importance of the standards to the maintenance of a safe learning environment where orderly learning is possible and encouraged. This handbook has been developed for two purposes: (1) to provide school personnel with a model code for student conduct and (2) to provide students and parents with an understanding of expected behavior and the consequences of failing to adhere to these expectations.

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

The Director of Schools shall be responsible for the overall implementation and supervision of the Board’s Code of Behavior and Discipline and shall ensure that students at all schools are subject to a uniform and fair application of the Code.

 

The principal of each school shall be responsible for implementation and administration in his/her school and shall apply the Code uniform and fairly to each student at the school without partiality and discrimination.

 

This Code has been approved by the Giles County Board of Education for implementation in all schools. A copy of the Code will be provided to all parents, teachers and administrative staff. Copies will be posted in the schools for student reference. Homeroom teachers and/or other appropriate school personnel shall discuss and review the Code with the students in their respective class. The Code shall be referenced in all school handbooks.

 

STUDENT'S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The school is a community and the rules or regulations of that school are the laws of the community. Each member enjoying the rights of citizenship in the community must also accept the responsibilities of citizenship. School staff, students, and parents must assume the responsibility for appropriate behaviors in the school. The school should be seen as a symbol of opportunity where rights and responsibilities are emphasized equally and human dignity is protected.

 

Each Student Has The Right To

 

--have the opportunity for a free education in the most appropriate  learning environment.

 

--have the opportunity for freedom of speech, expression of ideas, and  of the press.

 

--expect that the school will be a safe place with no fear of bodily  harm.

 

--expect an appropriate environment conducive to learning.

 

--not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex, race, color,  religion, national origin, or disability.

 

--expect to be fully informed of school rules and regulations.

                                                                     1

Each Student has the Responsibility To

 

--know and adhere to reasonable rules and regulations established

by the Board of Education and implemented by school administrators and teachers.

 

--respect the human dignity and worth of every other individual.

 

--refrain from libel, slanderous remarks, and obscenity in verbal and  written expression.

 

--study diligently and maintain the best possible level of academic  achievement.

 

--be punctual and present in the regular school program.

 

--dress and groom in a manner that meets reasonable standards of  health, cleanliness, modesty, safety, and abide by School and Board

rules.

 

--help maintain and improve the school environment, preserve school  property, and exercise the utmost care while using the school  facilities.

 

--refrain from disobedience or misconduct or behavior which would  lead to any physical harm or that disrupts the educational process.

 

--respect the reasonable exercise of authority by school

administrators and teachers in maintaining discipline in the school  and at school sponsored activities.

 

--obey the law and rules so as not to be subjected to ill effects or  endanger others by the possession or use of alcohol, illegal drugs,  and other unauthorized substances.

 

--carry only those materials which are acceptable under the law and  accept the consequences for the articles stored in one's locker.

Legal Reference: 1.TCA 49-6-3401

THE ROLE OF SCHOOL STAFF

 

Appropriate order and discipline must be maintained in school if every student is to have the opportunity to benefit maximally from the program offered. It is the responsibility of all staff members to apply discipline toward improving behavior and creating an atmosphere conducive to learning. It is expected that all officials, teachers, and other employees of the school system will treat the students with

fundamental fairness in applying these rules. Consistency of enforcement of disciplinary codes is critical to achieving this end.

The desirable goal is for all students to obey the rules; but the method by which we encourage students to conform may vary from student to student, based upon frequency and level of offense.

 

LEVELS OF OFFENSES

 

When a violation of the rules governing behavior occurs, the

imposition of sanctions is to be expected. The following is a for

level analysis of procedures and options that are designed to protect all members of the educational community in the exercise of their rights and duties.¹ The examples of misbehavior should not be interpreted to be all inclusive because every undesirable behavior can not be listed.

__________________________________

1. TCA 49-6-4001 through 49-6-4105

 

Level I

 

The first--least serious--level involves minor misbehavior on the part of the student which impedes orderly classroom procedures or interferes with the orderly operation of the school.

 

Examples of undesirable behavior:

--classroom disturbances

--classroom tardiness

--cheating and lying

--abusive language, profanity, or notes—non-defiant behavior to do assignments or carry out directions

--loitering in unauthorized places

--excessive absences

--failure to have hall pass

--excessive noise outside the classroom

--radios or tape players

--playing cards or dice

--chewing gum

--violation of dress code

--harassment (sexual, racial, ethnic, religious)

 

disciplinary options might include

--admonishing the student

--restricting activities

--requiring special assignments

--assigning work details

--temporary removal from class in a time-out room

--issuance of demerits that might affect citizenship or deportment  grades

--behavior modification activities

--denial of class privileges

--imposition of corporal punishment--requirement of restitution

 

Such consequences are typically imposed by the classroom teacher.

Before imposing such consequences, the teacher, concerned for the welfare of the students and guided by the principles of fundamental

fairness, will make an inquiry into the incident to assure that the culprit is accurately identified, that he understands the nature of the offense, and that he was on notice as to the consequences to which he is subject to for the offense. It is important that the consequence

should be reasonably related to the offense and that the more severe consequences should be reserved for important offenses or for repeated actions that have not been controllable with lesser consequences. Any

explanation of conduct that the pupil may offer should be considered as the teacher decides upon the appropriate consequence.

 

Level II

 

The second level of consequences is reserved for those problems that the teachers cannot control within the scope of their classroom

authority. Many of these infractions result from a continuation of level I misbehaviors, and require the intervention of personnel on the administrative level because the execution of level I disciplinary options failed to correct the situation.

 

Examples of undesirable behavior:

--Continuation of unmodified LEVEL I misbehavior

--school tardiness

--truancy

--smoking or possession of tobacco products

--using forged notes or excuses

--disruptive classroom or bus behavior

--bus disturbances

--failure to sign out

--parking in unauthorized areas

--leaving school grounds

--cutting class

--defiance

--selling and distribution of over-counter drugs when implied to

represent something other than what they are

--gambling

--disrespect to teachers and bus drivers

--immoral conduct

--harassment (sexual, racial, ethnic, religious)

 

Disciplinary options might include:

--in-school suspension

--detention before or after school

--suspension from school sponsored activities or from riding the bus

--corporal punishment, under local board policy

--changing the student's instructor within the school

--restricting the honors the student is otherwise due

--prohibiting the student's attendance at school functions

--demanding restitution for lost, damaged, or stolen property

--out of school suspension

--parent conference

 

These would normally be imposed by the pincipal/assistant principal

upon a student who has been referred by the teacher, but only after the administrator has made his/her own inquiry into the incident. This inquiry should include hearing the accusation made by the teacher

or other party, notifying the offender of the accusation and

permitting him the opportunity of explaining his conduct, denying it, or stating any mitigating circumstances. In cases where there is substantial disagreement about the offense, the principal should satisfy himself as to the truth of the accusation.

 

Level III

 

For student discipline problems for which neither of the preceding is appropriate or effective, the third level of consequences may be recommended by the principal. These acts may be considered criminal,  but most frequently can be handled by the disciplinary mechanisms

within the school or system.

Examples of undesirable behavior:

--continuation of unmodified LEVEL II misbehavior

--fighting (simple)

--vandalism (simple)

--selling and distribution of over-counter drugs when implied to   represent something other than what they are --stealing

--threats to others (extortion, intimidation)

--harassment (sexual, racial, ethnic, religious)

 

Disciplinary options might include:

--assigning the student to an alternative, disciplinary day-school

--short-term out of school suspension

--corporal punishment

--temporary removal from class

--call police (may be ordered to appear in court)

 

The change in a student's program to place him/her in the Alternative School may be mandatory as a result of a suspension or expulsion or

may be voluntary based upon the recommendation by a team composed of  the principal or assistant principal, the school guidance counselor,  and the student (and parents when possible). Students eligible for

special education services will have rules and laws pertaining to special education applied.

 

Level IV

The final and most severe consequences that can be imposed upon a  student are LEVEL IV violations. These are acts that are criminal and

are so serious that they require administrative actions which result  in the immediate removal of the student from school, the intervention  of law enforcement authorities, and a hearing by the Disciplinary

Hearing Authority. School authorities are obligated to report clearly established criminal offenses to law enforcement authorities.

 

Examples of undesirable behavior:

--unmodified LEVEL III misconducts

--extortion

--bomb threat

--possession/use/transfer of firearms or dangerous weapons

--assault/battery

--vandalism

--theft/possession/sale of stolen property

--arson

--furnishing/selling/

using/possession of unauthorized substances

--harassment (sexual, racial, ethnic, religious)

Disciplinary options might include:

--suspend the student out of school for a period exceeding ten days--expel the student

--alternative school

--call police (may be ordered to appear in court)

 

 

Behaviors in this category require a review by the Disciplinary Hearing Authority. The hearing by this group must be held, a decision

rendered, and notification of the decision must be provided to the parents and/or the student and the principal no later than ten days after the beginning of the suspension. The principal or the student

has a right to request a review by the Board. If this occurs, the

Board shall review the DHA records and affirm the decision of the hearing authority, modify the decision to a lesser penalty*, or grant a hearing before the Board.¹

 

* Note:  Zero-tolerance offenses set forth in statute (firearms, drug possession and battery upon school employee) require mandatory calendar year expulsion or assignment to alternative placement for a calendar year unless modified by the director of schools.

 

When either a long-term or short-term suspension occurs during the last ten days of any term or semester, the student may seek permission of the principal to take such final examination or submit such

required work as is necessary to complete the course of instruction for that semester.

 

Reference

_______________________

1. Board Policy # 6.309, # 6.317

 

ZERO TOLERANCE OFFENSES

 

In order to ensure a safe and secure learning environment, the following offenses will not be tolerated:

 

Weapons & Dangerous Instruments

 

Students shall not possess, handle, or attempt to use  any dangerous weapon in school  buildings or on school grounds at any time or  in school vehicles and/or buses or off school grounds at a school sponsored activity. Dangerous weapons shall include, but are not limited to any firearm,  or anything manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury or anything that in the manner of  its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

 

Violators of this section shall be subject  to suspension and/or  expulsion from school.

 

Firearms (as defined in 18 U.S.C. & 921)

 

In accordance with state law, any student who brings or possess a firearm on school property shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year.  The director of schools shall have the authority to modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

 

Drugs

In accordance with state law, any student who unlawfully possesses any drug including any controlled substance or legend drug shall be expelled for a period of not less than  one (1) calendar year.  The director of schools shall have the authority to modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

 

Battery

In accordance with state law, any student who commits battery upon any teacher, principal, administrator,  or any other employee of the school or school resource officer shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year.  The director of schools shall have the authority to modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

 

Notification

When it is determined that a student has violated this policy, the principal of the school shall notify the student’s parent or guardian and the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system as required by law.

 

Reference:

Board Policy # 6.309

 

ALCOHOL AND DRUG USE

 

In order to protect the rights of students, to safeguard the

learning environment, and to contribute to a "Drug Free" community, the Board's plan for dealing with alcohol and drugs¹ shall include the following:

1. Appropriate ways for handling alcohol/drug related medical   emergencies;

2. Guidelines for reporting alcohol/drug incidents and illegal activities;

3. Guidelines for referral of students who may have an alcohol/drug problem and/or are considered "high risk" to agencies and other sources of appropriate help.

4. Effective working relationships with appropriate community agencies, such as alcohol/drug service providers, law enforcement agencies, and judicial officials.

 

Through the use of state guidelines the director shall be responsible for:

 

1. Developing and implementing an appropriate curriculum on alcohol and drug education for students;

2. Providing adequate information and training for all staff   personnel as appropriate to their responsibilities;

3. Developing administrative rules and guidelines for the school system to effectively respond to alcohol and drug situations that may occur at school or school sponsored events.

 

DRUGS

 

Students will not possess, distribute or be under the influence of illegal drugs in school buildings or on school grounds, in school vehicles or buses, or at any school sponsored activity at any time,

whether on or off school grounds. Students will not market or distribute any substance which is represented to be or is substantially similar in color, shape, size, or markings to a controlled substance in school buildings or on school grounds, in school vehicles or buses, or at any school-sponsored activity at any time, whether on or off school grounds.²

 

Upon information that a student is suspected of violating this policy, the principal of the school shall be notified immediately.  If it is determined that board policy has been violated, the principal shall notify the student's parent or guardian and the appropriate law enforcement  officials.³  All cases require a hearing before the Disciplinary Hearing Authority, with the penalty being suspension for one year.

 

 

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Legal References:

 

1. TRR/MS 0520-1-3-.08(2)(d).

2. TCA 39-17-417

3. TCA 49-6-4209

 

DISCIPLINE OF ATHLETES

 

The athletic teams at a school are a community and the rules or regulations of that team are the laws of the community. Each student enjoying the privilege of being a member of the team must also accept

the responsibilities of that membership. The athletes of a particular sport must assume the responsibility for appropriate behaviors as

outlined by their coach.

 

Each athlete should expect to be fully informed of the team rules and regulations. Likewise, each athlete should adhere to reasonable rules and regulations established by the coach of their particular team.

 

In the event an athlete is accused of being in violation of a team rule, the coach is responsible for an inquiry into the incident. This inquiry should include hearing the accusation made against the

athlete, notifying the athlete of the accusation and permitting

him/her the opportunity of explaining their conduct, denying it or stating any mitigating circumstances. After this due process is given, the coach will be responsible for determining what action will be

taken. Since there is a great diversity in the team sports that are played in the Giles County School System, each individual head coach will

provide their team with reasonable rules and regulations for that

team. Since all situations cannot be anticipated by a set of rules, the coach's rules will not be interpreted to be all inclusive. These team rules will be kept at each individual school.

 

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

 

Corporal punishment is permitted as a measure to maintain discipline and order within the Giles County Schools. This is permitted in accordance with the following guidelines:¹

1. Each principal shall warn all students in his/her school that

specific misbehavior will result in spanking.

2.  Reasonable corporal punishment may be administered by a teacher after consultation with the principal, and only in the presence of another professional staff member.

3. Corporal punishment shall be used only as a last resort in the most unusual circumstances and other less drastic corrective measures have  been used without success.

4. If possible, parents should be advised of the decision to administer such punishment and the supportive reasons therefore.

5. A staff member may use reasonable force against a pupil without advance notice to the principal when it is essential for self defense, the preservation of order, or for the protection of other persons or the property of the Board.

Reference: Board Policy #6.314

 

USE OF PERSONAL COMMUNICATION AND ELECTONIC DEVICES

 

Students may possess personal communication devices, such as cell phones, while on  school property.  However, the personal communication device must be in the off  mode and must be kept  in a backpack, purse, or similar personal carry-all and may not be used during school hours.  The principal or his/ her designee may grant a student permission to use a personal communication device at his/her discretion.  A device used outside these parameters shall result in confiscation of the device until such time as it may be released to the student’s parent or guardian.  A student in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action.

 

Use of cameras on personal communication devices is strictly prohibited on school property or at school functions.  A student in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action.

PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES

 

Personal electronic devices such as CD players, Ipods or MP3 players may be stored in backpacks, purses or personal carry-alls.  However, the use of the devices during school hours is strictly forbidden.  Use or improper storage of personal electronic device will result in confiscation of the device until such time as it may be released to the student’s parents or guardian.  A student in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action.. 1

 

Reference

1. Board Policy # 6. 312

 

DISCRIMINATION -HARASSMENT OF STUDENTS

 

Students shall be provided a learning environment free from sexual, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination/ harassment. It shall be a violation of this policy for any employee or any student to discriminate against or harass a student through disparaging conduct or communication that is sexual, racial, ethnic or religious in nature.¹

 

Student discrimination/ harassment will not be tolerated. This is defined as conduct, advances, gestures or words either written or spoken of a sexual, racial, ethnic or religious nature which:

1.  Unreasonably interfere

with the student’s work or educational opportunities; or

2. Create an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning environment; or

3. Imply that submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term of receiving grades or credit; or

4. Imply that submission to or rejection of such conduct will be used as  a basis for determining the student’s grades and/or participation in

a student activity.

 

Alleged victims of sexual, racial, ethnic and religious discrimination/harassment shall report these incidents as soon as practical to a teacher, counselor or building administrator. Allegations of discrimination/harassment shall be fully investigated by a complaint manager (as set forth in Student Concerns, Complaints and Grievances – Policy #6.305).

 

A substantiated charge against an employee shall result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. A substantiated charge against a student may result in corrective or disciplinary action up to and including suspension.

There will be no retaliation against any person who reports harassment or participates in the investigation. However, any employee who refuses to cooperate or gives false information during the course of any investigation may be subject to disciplinary action. The willful filing of a false report will itself be considered harassment and will be treated as such.

 

Any employee disciplined for violation of this policy may appeal the decision by contacting the Director of Schools. Any student disciplined for violation of this policy may appeal the decision with disciplinary policies and procedures.

 

This policy shall be published in the parent/student handbook distributed annually to every student. Building administrators are responsible for educating and training their respective staff and students as to the definition and recognition of discrimination and/or harassment.

 

Reference

1.  6.304; 6.305

 

STUDENT CONCERNS, COMPLAINTS, AND GRIEVANCES

 

Student Concerns And Complaints

 

Decisions made by school personnel- such as aides, teachers, or assistant principals- whose students believe are unfair or in

violation of pertinent policies of the Board or individual school

rules may be appealed to the school principal or a designated

representative. To appeal, students will contact the principal's office in their school and provide their name, the issue and the reason for their appeal on a printed form available at the school office within two school days. The appeal will usually be decided

confidentially and promptly, preferably within four school days.

 

However, if the principal does not make a decision within five

school days following the date of complaint, students or parents may appeal at that time by contacting the Director/Designee at the

central office. The information provided should include the

student's name, the school and a description of the problem.

 

An investigation and decision will be made within five days of

receipt of the complaint and communicated to the school principal and student by telephone. A written copy of the decision also will be sent to the student and the principal.

 

Discrimination/Harassment Grievance Procedures

Filing a Complaint--- Any student of this school district who wishes to file a discrimination/harassment grievance against another

student or an employee of the district may file a written or oral(recorded) complaint with a complaint manager.¹  Students may also report an allegation of  discrimination/ harassment to any teacher or

other adult employed in the school who shall inform a complaint manager of the allegation. The complaint should include the following information:

1. Identity of the alleged victim and person accused;

2. Location, date, time and circumstances surrounding the

alleged incident;

3. Description of what happened;

4. Identity of witnesses; and

5. Any other evidence available.

 

Investigation--- Within twenty-four hours of receiving the student's complaint, the complaint manager shall notify the complaining student's parent/guardian and the principal who shall inform the

director of schools. The parent/guardian shall be given notice of the right to attend an interview of the student in a

non-intimidating environment in order to elicit full disclosure of the student's allegations. This interview shall take place within five (5) days from time the complaint was first made. If no parent/guardian attends the interview, another adult, mutually agreed upon by the student and the complaint manager, shall attend and may serve as the student's advocate. After a complete investigation, if the allegations are substantiated, immediate and

appropriate corrective or disciplinary action shall be initiated. The complaint and identity of the complainant will not be disclosed except (1) as required by law or this policy; or (2) as necessary to fully investigate the complaint; or (3) as authorized by the

complainant. A school representative will meet with and advise the complainant regarding the findings, and whether corrective measures

and/or disciplinary actions were taken. The investigation and response to the complainant will be completed within thirty (30) school days. Copies of the report will be sent to the student, principal and director of schools. One copy shall be kept in the complaint manager's file for one (1) year beyond the student's eighteenth (18) birthday. The director shall keep the Board informed of all complaints.

 

Decision and Appeal--- If the complainant is not in agreement with the findings of fact as reported by the complaint manager, an appeal

may be made, within five (5) work days to the director of schools. The director will review the investigation, make any corrective action deemed necessary and provide a written response to the complainant. If the complainant is not in agreement with director of schools' findings of fact, appeal may be made to the Board of Education within five (5) work days. The Board shall, within thirty (30) days from the date the appeal was received, review the investigation and the actions of the director and may support, amend or overturn the actions based upon review and report their decision in writing to the complainant.

 

Appointing Complaint Managers

 

The director of schools shall appoint at least two complaint managers, one for each gender for each school.

 

This policy shall be published in the parent/student handbook

distributed annually to every student. Building administrators are responsible for educating and training their respective staff and students as to the definition and recognition of discrimination/ harassment.

__________________________

Legal References:

 

Title IX, Education Amendment of 1972

20 U.S.C.  1681,et seq.

 

Board Policy # 6.305

INTERROGATIONS AND SEARCHES

 

Interrogations By School Personnel

 

Students may be questioned by teachers or principals about any matter pertaining to the operation of a school and/or the

enforcement of its rules. Questioning must be conducted directly and under circumstances which will avoid unnecessary embarrassment to

the student being questioned. Any student answering falsely,

evasively or refusing to answer a proper question may be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension.

 

If a student is suspected or accused of any misconduct or infraction of the student code of conduct, the principal may interrogate the student, without the presence of parent(s)/ guardian(s) or legal custodians and without giving the student constitutional warnings.

 

Interrogations By Police (At Administrator's Request)

If the principal has requested assistance by the police department to investigate a crime involving his/her school, the police shall have permission to interrogate a student suspect in school during school hours. The principal shall first attempt to notify the parent(s)/  guardian(s) or legal custodians of the student of the intended interrogation, but the interrogation may proceed without attendance of the parent(s)/guardian(s) or legal custodians. The principal or his/her designee shall be present during the interrogation.

The use of police women or female staff members is desirable in the interrogation of female students.

 

Police-Initiated Interrogations

 

If the police deem circumstances of sufficient urgency to interrogate students at school for unrelated crimes committed outside of school hours, the police department shall first contact the principal regarding the planned interrogation, inform him/her of the probable cause to investigate within the school. The principal shall make reasonable effort to notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) or legal custodians of the interrogation, but the interrogation may proceed without attendance of the parent(s)/guardian(s) or legal custodians. The principal or his/her designee shall be present during the interrogation.

 

Searches By School Personnel

 

Any principal, or his/her designee, having reasonable suspicion may search any student, place or thing on school property or in the

actual or constructive possession of any student during any organized school activity off campus, including buses, vehicles of  students or visitors (Notice shall be posted in the school parking lot that vehicles parked on school property by students or visitors

are subject to search for drugs, drug paraphernalia or dangerous weapons), and containers or packages if he/she receives information which would cause a reasonable belief that the search will lead to the discovery of:

 

1. Evidence of any violation of the law;

2. Evidence of any violation of school rules or regulations or

proper standards of student or faculty conduct;

3. Any object or substance which, because of its presence,

presents an immediate danger of harm or illness to any person.

 

A student using a locker that is the property of the school system does not have the right of privacy in that locker or its content. All lockers or other storage areas provided for student use on school premises remain the property of the school system and are provided for the use of students subject to inspection, access for maintenance and search. Notice shall be posted in each school that lockers and other storage areas are school property and are subject to search.

 

A student may be subject to physical search or a student's pocket, purse or other container may be required to be emptied because of the results of a locker search, or because of information received from a teacher, staff members or other student if such action is reasonable to the principal. All of the following standards of  reasonableness shall be met:

 

1. A particular student has violated policy;

2. The search could be expected to yield evidence of the violation of school policy or disclosure of a dangerous weapon or drug;

3. The search is in pursuit of legitimate interests of the school in maintaining order, discipline, safety, supervision and education of students;

4. The primary purpose of the search is not to collect evidence

for a criminal prosecution; and

5. The search shall be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the student, as well as the nature of the infraction alleged to have been committed.

 

School officials may conduct hand-held or walk-through metal detector checks of a student's person or personal effects.

 

Searches By Police

 

If public health or safety is involved, upon request of the

principal who shall be present, police officers may make a general search of student's lockers and desks, or students' or nonstudents' automobiles for drugs, weapons or items of an illegal or prohibited nature.

 

If the principal has received reliable information which he/she believes to be true that evidence of a crime or of stolen goods, not involving school property of members of the school staff or student body, is located on school property and that any search for such evidence or goods would be unrelated to school discipline or to the health and safety of a student or the student body, he/she shall request police assistance; and procedures to obtain and execute a search warrant shall thereafter be followed. Anything found in the course of the search conducted in accordance with this policy which is evidence of a violation of the law or a violation of student conduct standards may be:

 

1. Seized and admitted as evidence in any hearing, trial,

suspension or dismissal proceeding. It should be tagged for identification at the time it is seized and kept in a secure

place by the principal or the principal's designee until it is

presented at the hearing. At the discretion of the principal,

the items seized may be returned to the parent or guardian of a student or, if it has no significant value, the item may be destroyed, but only with the express written permission of the director.

2. Any item seized may be turned over to any law enforcement officer. Any dangerous weapon or drug as defined in TCA 49-6-4202 shall be turned over to an appropriate law enforcement official after completion of an administrative proceeding at which its presence is reasonably required.

 

Whenever the possibility of uncovering evidence of a criminal nature exists, the principal or his/her designee may request the assistance of a law enforcement officer to:

 

1. Search any area of the school premises, any student or motor

vehicle on the school premises; or

2. Identify or dispose of anything found in the course of a search conducted in accordance with this policy.

 

The involvement of law enforcement officials is encouraged when there is reasonable cause to suspect that criminal evidence is about

to be uncovered.

 

________________

Legal References:TCA 49-6-4202 through TCA 49-6-4212

Board Policy # 6.303

DUE PROCESS

Short term, out-of-school suspension is a consequence that can be imposed, provided that due process of the student is accorded him/her as determined by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1975. The following procedures meet the due process requirement:

 

1.A principal may for disciplinary reasons, suspend a student for a period not exceeding ten days, under the following guidelines:

 

(a) The student shall be brought before the principal and orally notified of the specific charges against him, and be given an opportunity to present his version of the incident. If he denies the charges, he shall be given an explanation of the authorities' evidence.

(b) Immediately upon the suspension of a student, the principal shall send written notice to the director and other persons authorized by the board to investigate and to the student's parents or guardians. The notice shall set forth the length of time of the suspension and the specific charges constituting the reason for the suspension.

(c) If the student or his parents/guardians desire his readmission before the suspension is complete, they may apply for readmission and arrange a conference with the principal who may readmit the student or continue the  suspension as originally imposed. This readmission procedure applies to any suspension from school or from school-sponsored activities or from riding the school bus.

(d) A principal may not impose successive short-term suspensions that cumulatively exceed ten days for the same offense.

 

2. In emergency situations, a student may be suspended from school without a prior hearing where his continued presence poses a danger to persons or property in the school or an on-going threat of disrupting the academic process. However, a hearing shall be afforded the student as soon as practicable following the suspension, in accordance with the procedural guidelines as outlined above.

 

3. If the principal determines that the offense is of such nature that the student’s continued presence would be detrimental to the school or persons within the school, or if the violation is a zero tolerance offense, he/she shall refer the case to the Disciplinary

Hearing Authority.¹

 

Legal Reference

1. TCA 49-6-3401

 

Student Records

 

Rights Under Family Rights and Privacy Act For Elementary and Secondary Schools

 

The Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. 

They are:

(1).  The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the District receives a request for access.

Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal (or appropriate school official) a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect.  The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

(2). The right to request the amendment of the student’s education     records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask the Giles County School System to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

If the District decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the Giles County School System will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.

(3).  The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to extent the FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interest.  A school official is a person employed the Giles County School System as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the System has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Upon request, the Giles County School System discloses records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.

(4). The right to file a complaint with U.S. Department of Education  concerning alleged failures by the Giles County School System to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the Office that administrates FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

600 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C.  20202-4605

ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL

Administrators may choose to assign students in grades 6 through 12 to a 3 day or less assignment to the Alternative School.  Reasons for a 3 day assignment to Alternative School may include but are not limited to:

1.        A sixth tardy to class in any given semester.

2.        Possession of use of tobacco or tobacco products on a school site.

3.        Use of profanity.

4.        A third recorded violation of the student dress code during the school year.

5.        Not following a reasonable request for any school employee.

6.        Disruptive behavior on school ground or at a school sponsored event.

7.        Establishing a pattern of un-acceptable behavior at school. 

(3 or more office referrals)

8.        Any other reasonable or just cause.

NOTE:   A 3-day assignment to Alternative School is considered a “light to medium punishment”.  Students will receive due process.  A reasonable effort should be made to contact the parent or guardian before the assignment to Alternative School begins.  Students may not go on any school-sponsored activity for the period of time that he/she is assigned.  Assignment begins when the student has successfully completed the last assigned day.

GENERAL PROCEDURES AND GUIDELINES ARE AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW.