• Code of Student Conduct - Board Procedure 4300P

    Introduction

    Preamble

    The mission of Pitt County Schools (PCS) is to lead collaboration between school, home and community to foster student growth and success, both socially and academically, in order to develop productive, global citizens.  To help carry out this mission, PCS is committed to disciplinary practices that encourage the development of self-control, personal responsibility and respect for the dignity of all individuals and to maintaining fair, just, and effective discipline in order to establish a safe, positive learning environment where students have the opportunity to receive an appropriate public education. For purposes of this Code, a student is any person attending or enrolled in any of the Pitt County Schools.

    In order for fair, just, and effective discipline to be maintained in a safe, positive learning environment, PCS acknowledges that cooperative relationships must be established among students, parents and school personnel.  School personnel shall actively seek effective, positive methods and strategies to help each student learn to behave in a manner conducive to effective learning and that respects the rights of others.

    Each school principal shall be responsible for systematically identifying potential issues within their respective schools that may contribute to discipline problems and working collaboratively with students, parents, staff and when appropriate community partners to address these issues.  For purposes of this Code, principal shall mean the principal or his/her designee (e.g. an assistant principal), and parent shall mean a student’s parent(s), legal custodian(s), or legal guardian(s).

     

    Purpose and Overview

    The purposes of this Code, are as follows:

    • To set forth in one document, rules with respect to the conduct of students in the Pitt County Schools, as the Pitt County Board of Education deems proper and necessary for the positive governance and operation of the schools;
    • To ensure that students and their families aware of the basic rules governing conduct that are applicable to all Pitt County Schools and the consequences for violating these rules;
    • To ensure that students and their families are aware of due process rights available to students; and
    • To guide school personnel in the exercise of their legal disciplinary responsibilities.

    North Carolina law gives principals the authority to discipline students pursuant to this Code.  Principals also have authority to make rules for the governance and operation of their respective schools consistent with this Code.  (For example, a principal might have rules related to what portion of their facilities students may access during school hours to ensure that students are not in unsecured areas of the school.)  Additionally, teachers are authorized to make rules for the governance and operation of their respective classrooms that are consistent with this Code.  Parents and students may request a copy of an individual school’s rules, if the principal has adopted any, from the principal and a copy of classroom rules, if the teacher has adopted any, from the teacher.

     

    Parents and students should be aware that this Code governs disciplinary consequences at the school level and does not prevent or restrict the prosecution of students for violations of state or federal law.  Parents and students should also be aware that principals are required by North Carolina law to report certain offenses to law enforcement.

     

    When This Code Applies 

    This Code of Conduct applies to all students in the following circumstances:

    • While in any school building or on any school premises before, during, or after school hours;
    • While on any bus or other vehicle as part of any school activity;
    • While waiting at any school bus stop;
    • During any school-sponsored or extracurricular activity;
    • When subject to the authority of school employees; and / or
    • At any place or time when the student’s behavior has or is reasonably expected to have a direct or immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment.

     

    What Consequences are Imposed 

    Alternatives to Out of School Suspension or Expulsion

     

    Pitt County Schools recognizes the effectiveness of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and other progressive, alternative disciplinary measures such as restorative practices that build positive relationships.  These interventions, can be used as alternatives to out of school suspension or expulsion or in conjunction with out of school suspension or expulsion, and are intended to educate students about the harm caused by their actions, while seeking to reunite them with the school community. 

    The following list contains some examples of in-school interventions but is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  The availability of specific interventions may vary from school to school:

    • Teaching replacement behavior and coping strategies
    • Assigning a reflective activity, project, or essay related to the misbehavior
    • Warning (verbal or written)
    • Parental involvement / conferences
    • Isolation or time-out for short periods of time with supervision (i.e. CHOICE, bounce, time out, etc.)
    • Behavior improvement contracts
    • Conference (any combination of parent/student/school officials/counselors and teacher)
    • Individual or small group sessions with the school counselor
    • Exclusion from extracurricular activities
    • Detention (lunch, before and/or after school)
    • Restitution
    • Confiscation of unauthorized items
    • Mediation/ conflict resolution
    • Community service on school grounds with supervision (e.g., Project Equal)
    • Online discipline modules focused on instruction of social-emotional skills (e.g., ABE)
    • Bus suspension
    • In-school suspension (ISS)
    • A loss of privileges (e.g. student misconduct at after-school events and other school-sponsored extracurricular activities may lead to additional disciplinary action such as, but not limited to, being banned from extracurricular activities and events for the remainder of the school year)
    • Referral to community based alternative program (e.g., Project Bridges).

     

    Disciplinary Consequence Levels

    Offenses in this Code are leveled to indicate the severity of the violation.  The consequence levels described below provide a guide to teachers and administrators in using progressive interventions and responses to address inappropriate student behavior.   As school officials are determining the appropriate consequence and intervention to apply when addressing student misbehavior, the following factors should be considered:

    • Whether psychological or physical harm was caused to another person and the degree of such harm;
    • Whether harm was caused to school property or to the property of another person and the degree of such harm;
    • Whether the student expresses remorse for engaging in conduct in violation of this Code;
    • The student’s age; and / or
    • Whether the student has previously engaged in conduct in violation of this Code and been disciplined for the conduct but continues to engage in the same conduct in spite of school interventions.

    The following level of consequences and interventions are provided to ensure all students are treated with dignity and respect.  School officials will apply appropriate measures to hold students accountable while also restoring safe and respectful behaviors. 

     

     

     

     

    Offense Level

    Disciplinary Consequences

     

     

    S

    E

    V

    E

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    Y

     

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    C

    R

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    A

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    Level 1

     

    Level 1 rule violations are behaviors that do not significantly violate the rights of others and do not appear chronic.

    Consequences for a Level 1 rule violation may include but are not limited to one or more in-school interventions that are designed to provide programs and/ or in-school options for students who are at-risk or commit minor infractions an infrequent basis (e.g. teaching a replacement behavior, assigning a project or essay related to misbehavior, etc.).  These in-school interventions allow the student to attend school and not lose instructional time.

    Level 2

    Level 2 offenses are behaviors that violate the rights of others or put others at risk of harm. 

    Consequences for a Level 2 rule violation may include Level 1 consequences increased in intensity or frequency.  A Level 2 rule violation may also warrant in-school suspension and/or 1 to 5 days out of school suspension (OSS).  An OSS will only be issued after non-exclusionary discipline alternatives have been carefully considered, tried, and documented to the extent reasonable and feasible.  After non-exclusionary discipline alternatives have been exhausted, an OSS will only be issued if it is determined that exclusion through an OSS is necessary to protect the safety  of the school community; and the full impact of the decision to exclude a student on both the student and the school community is considered and documented.

     

    Level 3

    Level 3 rule violations are behaviors that significantly violate the rights of others or put others at risk of harm.

    Consequences for a Level 3 rule violation may include Level 1 or 2 consequences increased in intensity or frequency.

     

    A Level 3 rule violation may also warrant in-school suspension and/or 1 to 7 days out of school suspension (OSS). Principals may recommend alternative placement or long-term suspension based upon the presence of any aggravating factors. Also, at the discretion of the Principal, criminal charges or a juvenile petition may be pursued.

    Level 4

    Level 4 rule violations significantly compromise the safety and welfare of others. 

    Consequences for Level 4 rule violations warrant 1 to 10 days out of school suspension and may warrant a recommendation for alternative placement and/or long-term suspension.  Also, at the discretion of the Principal, charges may be filed.  Project FIND should be offered as  a consequence ONLY for first time offenders for substance/drug/alcohol possession and/or use.

    Level 5

    Level 5 offenses are behaviors that significantly compromise the safety and welfare others and warrant a recommendation for long term suspension and/or require a suspension of a specific length under the North Carolina law.

    Level 5 rules violations will result in a 10 day out of school suspension and a recommendation for long term suspension or expulsion.  However, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.11, students who are fourteen (14) years of age or older who engage in Level 5 rules violations and whose behavior indicates that their continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or school staff may be suspended for 365 days.  

     


    1. OFFENSES

    Rule Violation

    Definition

    Maximum Consequence Level

     

    Aggressive Behavior

     

    No student shall intimidate, confront, posture, engage in a verbal confrontation, or behave in such a manner that would threaten physical or mental harm to others.

     

    3

     

    Assault Inflicting Serious Injury (No Weapons Involved)

     

    No student shall assault, or attempt to assault, or behave in a way likely to cause serious physical injury to a student or non-employee.

     

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Assault On or Physical Injury to a School Employee, School Official, or Volunteer

     

    No student shall assault, attempt to assault, or behave in a way likely to cause physical injury to any school employee, school official, independent contractor, or volunteer.

     

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Assault Involving a Weapon

     

    No student shall intentionally threaten or attempt by force or violence to do injury to the person of another that causes reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm through the use of one of the following: (1) any gun rifle, pistol, or other firearm; (2)  BB gun; (3)  stun gun; (4) air rifle; (5) air pistol; (6) bowie knife; (7) dirk; (8) dagger; (8) slingshot; (9) leaded cane; (10) switchblade knife; (11) blackjack; (12) metallic knuckles; (13) razors and razor blades; (14) fireworks; OR (15) any sharp-pointed or edged instrument with the exception instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips, and tools used solely for the preparation of food, instruction, and maintenance.

     

    5

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

     

     

    Bomb Threat or Bomb Hoaxes

     

    No student shall make, aid, and/or abet in making a bomb threat or perpetrating a bomb hoax against school system property by making a false report that a device designed to cause damage or destruction by explosion, blasting, or burning is located on school property. No student may knowingly or willfully cause, encourage, or aid another student to make a bomb threat or perpetrate a bomb hoax.  Any student who becomes aware that another student or other person intends to use a bomb, make a bomb threat, or perpetrate a bomb hoax must notify a teacher or the principal immediately.

    5

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Bullying, Discrimination, or Harassment

     

    No student shall engage in conduct in violation of Pitt County Board of Education Policy 1710/4021/7230 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/Policy%201710-4021-7230%20PROHIBITION%20AGAINST%20DISCRIMINATION%208.6.2018.pdf).

     

    3

     

     

    Classroom Disruption

     

    No student shall instigate, encourage, or engage in behavior that results in a disruption to the classroom environment such that classroom learning is prevented from occurring.  Examples of behavior coerced by this offense include but are not limited to talking out of turn in class, moving from the student’s assigned seating area or seat without permission, throwing objects, horseplay, teasing, or making rude noises.

     

    2

     

     

     

    Cyberbullying and Misuse of Social Media

    No student shall use a computer, computer network, or any other electronic device to engage in conduct in violation of Pitt County Board of Education Policy 1710/4021/7230 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/Policy%201710-4021-7230%20PROHIBITION%20AGAINST%20DISCRIMINATION%208.6.2018.pdf).  Examples of conduct that constitutes cyberbullying or misuse of social media include but are not limited to:

     

    A.    Building a fake profile or web site to intimidate or torment a school community member;

    B.    Posting or encouraging others to post on the Internet private, personal, or sexual information pertaining to a school community member;

    C.    Posting a real or doctored image of a school community member on the Internet;

    D.    Accessing, altering, or erasing any computer network, computer data, computer program, or computer software, including breaking into a password-protected account or stealing or otherwise accessing passwords;

    E.     Using a computer system for repeated, continuing, or sustained electronic communications, including electronic mail or other transmissions, to a school community member;

    F.     Making any statement, whether or true or false, intended to immediately provoke, or that is likely to provoke any third party to stalk or harass a school community member;

    G.    Copying or disseminating, or causing to be made, an unauthorized copy of any data pertaining to a school community member for the purpose of intimidating or tormenting the school community member;

    H.    Signing up a school community member for a pornographic internet website;

    I.       Without consent, signing up a school community member for electronic mailing lists or to receive junk electronic messages and instant messages with the intent to intimidate or torment the school community member.

    3

     

    Some forms of cyberbullying may also result in criminal charges (e.g. cyberbullying a school employee, stalking, communicating threats, or disclosure of private images). Principals have discretion to refer this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-366.4 requires any student who is criminally convicted of cyberbullying a school employee to be transferred to another school.

     

    Communicating Threats

     

    No student shall communicate a threat of violence or physical harm by words or actions towards any principal, teacher or other school employee, student, or person on school premises, buses, or any school activity. Furthermore, no student shall make a false threat of harm or violence, even jokingly, which causes or is reasonably likely to cause fear or a disruption of school activities.  Additionally, no student should engage in blackmail or attempt to extort money, personal property, or personal services.

     

    3

     

    Damage / Injury to Property

     

    No student shall intentionally damage or attempt to damage property belonging to another person or the school.

     

     

    2

     

     

     

    Dishonest Acts

     

    No student shall engage in dishonest acts, including but not limited to, cheating (i.e. giving or receiving of any unauthorized assistance on academic work), plagiarism (i.e. copying the language, structure, or idea of another and representing it as one's own work), text messaging information about an exam, taking pictures of exam, forging the signatures of a teacher or parent, or lying to a school official. 

     

    1

     

    Academic consequences (e.g. grade reduction) may also be imposed.

     

     

    Disorderly Conduct

     

    No student shall instigate, encourage, or engage in behavior that results in a major disruption to the school environment such that learning or school activities are prevented from occurring.  Examples of behavior that covered by this offense include but are not limited to refusing to disperse, creating chaos, or inciting a riot.

     

    4

     

    Disrespect/ Insubordination

     

    Students shall comply with the lawful direction or instruction of a staff member, contractor, or volunteer. Students shall not walk away from a staff member, contractor, or volunteer while being given lawful direction or instruction.  Students shall not speak to a school staff member, a contractor, or a volunteer in a manner that threatens or compromises the safety of the staff member, contractor, volunteer, or school community.

     

    2

     

    Disruption of School

     

    No student shall, by use of passive resistance, noise, threat, fear, intimidation, coercion, force, violence, or any other form of conduct intentionally cause the disruption of any lawful function, mission, or process of the school to which he/she is assigned, or to any other school in the Pitt County Schools system.  The type of conduct prohibited by this rule includes, but is not limited to:

     

    o   Occupying any school building, school grounds, or part thereof, with the intent to deprive others of its use;

    o   Blocking the entrance or exit of any school building, corridor, or room therein with intent to deprive others of lawful access or egress;

    o   Preventing students from attending a class or school activity;

    o   Blocking normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic on school premises, except under the direction of the principal; or

    o   Preventing or attempting to prevent by physical act or any other method   the convening or continued functioning of any school, class, meeting, assembly, or other activity on the school premises.

     

    3

     

     

     

    Distribution or Sale of Narcotics, Controlled Substances, and/or Chemicals

     

    No student shall distribute, sell, or attempt to distribute or sell any illegal or controlled substance. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to, narcotic drugs, hallucinogenic drugs, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, anabolic steroid, and other drug listed in Schedules I-VI of the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.

     

    5

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    False Fire Alarm/ Destruction of Fire Safety Equipment

     

    No student shall give a false fire alarm or damage a fire alarm, fire detection, or fire extinguishing system. Activating a fire alarm that creates danger to others or causes unnecessary evacuation is also prohibited.

     

     

     

    3

     

    Fighting

     

    The exchange of mutual aggressive physical conduct between students, with or without injury, is prohibited. 

     

     

    3

     

     

     

    Gangs and Gang-Related Activities

     

    No student shall commit any act which furthers gangs or gang-related activities. A gang is any ongoing organization, association or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts and having a common name or common identifying sign, colors or symbols. As used herein, the phrase “gang-related” shall mean any conduct engaged in by a student (1) on behalf of an identified gang, (2) to perpetuate the existence of any identified gang or (3) to effect the common purpose and design of any identified gang. Conduct prohibited by this policy includes:

     

    o   Wearing possessing, using, distributing, displaying, or selling any clothing, jewelry, emblems, badges, symbols, signs, or other items with the intent to convey or promote membership or affiliation in any gang;

    o   Communicating either verbally or nonverbally (gestures, handshakes, slogans, drawings, etc.), with the intent to convey or promote membership or affiliation in a gang;

    o   Tagging, or otherwise defacing school or personal property with symbols or slogans intended to convey or promote membership or affiliation in any gang;

    o   Requiring payment of protection, insurance or otherwise intimidating or threatening any person related to gang activity;

    o   Inciting other students to intimidate or to act with physical violence upon any other person related to gang activity;

    o   Soliciting others for gang membership; and/or

    o   Committing any other illegal act or other violation of school district policies in connection with gang-related activity.

     

    This rule shall be applied in a non-discriminatory manner based on the objective characteristics of the student’s conduct in light of the surrounding circumstances.  Clothing and other items described above may be confiscated by the principal.

     

    4

     

    Before being suspended for a first offense of wearing gang-related attire, a student will receive an individualized warning and will be allowed to immediately change or remove the attire that is in violation of this rule.

     

    Principals shall also conduct an intervention with the student and student’s parent to discuss the school’s observations and concerns, provide an opportunity to respond, and offer information and other resources. Such intervention may also include the school resource officer and others as appropriate.

     

     

     

    Hazing

     

    No student shall engage in hazing, or aiding and abetting in hazing, on and off campus. Hazing is subjecting students to personal indignity as part of an initiation or as a prerequisite for membership into any school group, including groups not formally recognized by the school. 

     

    3

     

    If hazing results in physical injury to the student being hazed, a principal has discretion to refer the matter to law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution under N.C.G.S. § 14-53.

     

    Horseplay

     

    Encouraging or engaging in any rough forms of play or similar behavior is prohibited.

     

    1

     

    Inappropriate Language

     

    No student shall engaging in cursing or use vulgar, profane, or obscene language.

     

    2

     

    Malicious Burning / Arson

     

    No student shall willfully and wantonly set fire to, burn, cause to be burned, procure the burning of, or aid or counsel the burning of any school building or other real or personal property owned, leased, or used by Pitt County Schools. Additionally, no student shall willfully and wantonly set fire to, burn, cause to be burned, procure the burning of, or aid or counsel the burning of any real or personal property belonging to any person affiliated with Pitt County Schools.

     

    5

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Misuse of Technology

     

    No student shall damage or make unauthorized changes to any Pitt County Schools’ computer programs or equipment as outlined in Pitt County Board of Education Policy 3225/4312/7320 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/3225-4312-7320%2012.5.16.pdf).

     

    2

     

    Over-the-Counter Medication

     

    No student shall unlawfully possess, distribute, sell, or attempt to distribute or sell any over-the counter medication. The proper use of a drug authorized by written parental permission shall not be considered a violation when the person for whom it is intended takes the drug. Parents of students in elementary and middle schools must turn in medication to the appropriate school personnel for safekeeping and dispensing. High school students may administer their own medication if the proper documentation is placed on file with the school.

     

    3

     

     

     

    Possession, Handling, Transmitting, or Use of Weapons (Other than Firearms or Destructive Devices) and/or Dangerous Objects

     

    No student shall possess, handle, transmit, or use any weapon or other dangerous object (not a firearm or destructive device), concealed or open, or that can reasonably be considered or used as a weapon or dangerous object on school property or at any school-sponsored activity on or off school property. 

     

    o   For purposes of this policy, “weapons and dangerous objects” include, but are not limited to, BB guns, paintball guns, stun guns or tasers, air rifles, air pistols, mace/pepper spray, knives, slingshots, leaded canes, blackjacks, metal knuckles, razors and razor blades, icepicks, fireworks, gunpowder, ammunition/ bullets, box cutters, or any sharp-pointed or sharp-edged instrument or any look-a-like weapon.

    o   Exceptions may include, but are not limited to, instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clippers, and tools used under supervision for instruction or for maintenance or the preparation of food. Principals shall have the latitude to determine that pocket knives inadvertently brought to school and not used or displayed by the student may be considered an exception.

     

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Possession, Handling, Transmitting, or Using a Firearm or Destructive Device

     

    No student shall possess, handle, transmit or use, whether concealed or open, a firearm, including but not limited to handgun, shotgun, rifle, pistol, or starter pistol; or any destructive device designed to destroy or damage property by explosion, blasting or burning, including but not limited to, dynamite cartridges, bombs, grenades, and mines on school property, whether operational or not.

     

    For purposes of a 365-day suspension, a “firearm” is (1) a weapon, including a starter gun that will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, (2) the frame or receiver of any such weapon, or (3) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer. A firearm does not include an inoperable antique firearm, a BB gun, a stun gun, an air rifle, or an air pistol. For purposes of a 365-day suspension, a “destructive device” is an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas (1) bomb), (2) grenade, (3) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, (4) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, (5) mine, or (6) similar device.

     

    5

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Unless modified by the superintendent, a 365 day suspension is mandatory if a student brings or possesses a firearm or destructive device on school property or at a school sponsored event.

     

     

     

    Possession of Alcohol, Alcoholic Beverages, and/or Pseudo Alcoholic Beverages

     

    No student shall possess, use, or transmit any alcohol, alcoholic beverages (i.e. malt beverages, fortified wine, unfortified wine, spirituous liquor, mixed drinks, or beer), or pseudo alcoholic beverages (e.g. non-alcoholic malt beverages). 

     

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement.

     

    Possession of Narcotics, Controlled Substances, Chemicals, Counterfeit Drugs, and Drug Paraphernalia

     

    No student shall possess, use, or transmit any narcotics, controlled substances as defined by the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, chemicals, counterfeit drugs, or drug paraphernalia

     

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement. First time offenders who have not previously participated in Project F.I.N.D. are eligible for Project F.I.N.D. as an alternative to long-term suspension. Students who violate this policy a second time may also be subject to a principal’s recommendation of alternative placement or long-term suspension.

     

     

    Possession of Pornographic, Profane, and/or Violent Material

    No student shall have or possess any pornographic or profane material, including but not limited to pictures, magazines, CDs, DVDs, electronic text, electronic images, and / or sexually explicit or graphically violent materials (including but not limited to documents or instructions concerning the creation and / or use of weapons).  Students will promptly disclose to their teacher or other school employee any message or material they unintentionally access that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.

    3

     

    Possession or Use of Nicotine Containing Products and Paraphernalia

     

    No student shall use or possess any form of nicotine, including any tobacco product or electronic cigarette and / or any paraphernalia connected to the use of nicotine containing products.  Examples of paraphernalia connected to the use of nicotine containing products includes but is not limited to lighters, matches, cartridges for electronic cigarettes, and/or components of electronic cigarettes.

     

    2

    Prescription Drugs

    No student shall possess, sell, transport, or deliver any non-controlled prescription drugs for which the student does not possess a lawful and legitimate prescription

     

    As outlined in Pitt County Board of Education Policy 6125 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/6125%202017.9.25.pdf), the proper use of a drug authorized by valid medical prescription shall not be considered a violation when the drug is taken by the person for whom the drug was prescribed. Parents of students in elementary and middle school must turn in such medication to the appropriate school personnel for safekeeping and dispensing. The only exception is for any student authorized to carry rescue medications) such as, but not limited to, asthma inhalers or insulin). High school students may administer their own medication if proper documentation is placed on file with the school, with the exception of Schedule I and II controlled substances (such as, but not limited to, Ritalin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Adderall, Concerta) that must be transported by parents to school personnel for safekeeping and dispensing.

    4

     

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement. First time offenders who have not previously participated in Project F.I.N.D. are eligible for Project F.I.N.D. as an alternative to long-term suspension. Students who violate this policy a second time may also be subject to a principal’s recommendation of alternative placement or long-term suspension.

     

    Refusal to Submit to a Search

     

    No student shall refuse to submit to a search by school personnel when reasonable suspicion exists.  Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4342 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/4342%208.1.16.pdf) provides additional information.

     

    4


     

    Sexual Harassment

     

    No student shall engage in conduct prohibited by Pitt County Board of Education Policy 1710/4021/7230 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/Policy%201710-4021-7230%20PROHIBITION%20AGAINST%20DISCRIMINATION%208.6.2018.pdf). Students who engage in sexual harassment of other students or employees in violation of Policy 1710/4021/7230 are subject to discipline for a level 3 offense, and in certain instances, additional disciplinary action, up to and including long term suspension and expulsion.

     

    3-5

     

    Sexual Misconduct

     

    No student shall engage in consensual sexual activities, inappropriate exposure, fondling of private areas of the body, or similar behavior.

     

    3

     

    Simple Assault on a Student or Any Person Other than School Employee, School Official, or Volunteer

     

    No student shall assault another student or any person other than a school employee, school official, or volunteer or behave in a way likely to cause minor injury to a student or person other than a school employee, school official, or volunteer.

     

    3

     

    School/ Class Attendance

     

    No student shall be tardy to class, skip class/school, or leave campus without permission.

     

    1

     

    Student Dress Code Violation

     

    Students shall comply with guidelines for appropriate dress and appearance as outlined in the Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4316 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/4316%202018-5-24.pdf).  Students new to Pitt County Schools will be given a one-week grace period from enrollment to obtain and wear the proper attire.

     

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    Theft/ Attempted Theft/ Possession of Stolen Property

     

    Students shall not steal, attempt to steal, or be in possession of property belonging to another person or the school.  Examples of attempted theft include, entering without authorization, any locker, book bag, pocketbook, or other receptacle containing items of personal property of any other student, school employee, or person.

     

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    Threats, Hoaxes, and Other Acts of Terror

    No student shall

    o   Make a report that he or she knows or should know is false, that any device, substance or material designed to cause harmful or life threatening illness or injury to another person, is located on school property or at the site of a school activity;

    o   With intent to perpetrate a hoax, conceal, place, disseminate or display on school property or at the site of a school activity any device, machine, instrument, artifact, letter, package, material, or substance, so as to cause a reasonable person to believe the same to be a substance or material capable of causing harmful or life-threatening illness or injury to another person;

    o   Threaten to commit an act of terror on school property or at the site of a school activity that is designed to cause, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death to another person, when the threat is intended to cause, or actually causes, a significant disruption to the instructional day or a school-sponsored activity;

    o   Make a report that he or she knows is false, that an act of terror designed to cause, or likely to cause, serious injury or death to another person on school property or at the site of a school-sponsored activity is imminent, when that report is intended to cause, or actually causes, a significant disruption to the instructional day or a school-sponsored activity; or

    o   Aid abet, and/or conspire to commit any of the acts described in the previous bullets.

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    Trespassing

     

    No student shall be on any Pitt County School campus during a suspension period or at other unauthorized time.

     

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    Unauthorized Use of Electronic or Communication Devices

     

    No student shall have in sight, have turned on, or use any unauthorized personal communication or electronic device on school property during school hours without permission from a school official.  These devices include, but are not limited to, cellular/ smart phones, tablets, scanners, laser pointers, radios, compact disc cassette players, cameras, handheld video games, and video recording devices. 

     

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    Administrators may confiscate items if used without permission & return them to the parent at the end of the school day.

     

     

     

    Under the Influence (But Not in Possession) of Controlled Substances, Alcoholic Beverages, or Non-Controlled Prescription Drugs

     

    No student shall be under the influence of any controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or non-controlled prescription drug for which the student does not possess a lawful and legitimate prescription.

     

     

     

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    N.C.G.S. § 115C-288 requires principals to report this Code of Conduct violation to law enforcement. First time offenders who have not previously participated in Project F.I.N.D. are eligible for Project F.I.N.D. as an alternative to long-term suspension. Students who violate this policy a second time may also be subject to a principal’s recommendation of alternative placement or long-term suspension.

     

     

    How School Staff Impose Discipline 

    General Guidelines for Staff

    A school climate conducive to serious study and respect for oneself, other people and property is essential for a school to meet the needs of youth. Principals have the authority and responsibility to take whatever reasonable disciplinary and legal action is necessary to establish and maintain appropriate student behavior in accordance with Board policy.

    • Teachers have the responsibility and authority for disciplining students, except in those cases requiring the attention of the principal.
    • Principals should review the processes related to the imposition of discipline set forth in Subsections D and E below.
    • Principals must fully investigate student discipline matters in accordance with Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4340 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/4 340%202017.9.25.pdf) and consider the mitigating and aggravating factors in determining the disciplinary action warranted. For purposes of this Code, mitigating and aggravating factors include, (a) whether psychological or physical harm was caused to another person and the degree of such harm, (b) whether harm was caused to school property or to the property of another person and the degree of such harm, (c) whether the student expresses remorse for engaging in conduct in violation of this Code, (d) the student’s age, (e) whether the student has previously engaged in conduct in violation of this Code and been disciplined for the conduct but continues to engage in the same conduct in spite of school interventions.
    • If, in questioning a student, the principal determines that a law enforcement officer should carry out the questioning, the principal shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the parents (except in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect by the parent) to give them an opportunity to be present during questioning.
    • In-school disciplinary actions must not unreasonably compromise the educational environment for others.
    • Per Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4353 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/NC01001178/ Centricity/Domain/242/4353%202017.9.25.pdf) the Board believes that suspension and expulsion may be an appropriate and necessary consequence in certain situations, but the Board also recognizes that excessive use of suspension and expulsion may have a negative impact on academic achievement and graduation rates. Thus, the Board encourages principals and other school administrators to find ways to reduce suspension and expulsion rates in schools.
    • Principals may require a student to attend an after school detention program, such as Project Equal, for a stated period of time and purpose, provided the parent or guardian has received at least one day’s notice and has assumed responsibility for the transportation home.
    • The principal may recommend an alternative learning program for a student based on the totality of the circumstances.
    • A student may be recommended for suspension from school long-term (more than 10 days) by the principal, in accordance with provisions of law and Board policy 4353 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/ cms/lib/NC01001178/Centricity/Domain/242/4353%202017.9.25.pdf). The superintendent shall review the circumstances for the recommended long-term suspension. Following the review, the superintendent may impose the suspension if it is consistent with board policies and appropriate under the circumstances; may impose another penalty authorized by board policy; or may decline to impose any other penalty
    • The Board, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, may expel a student, as provided by state statute, for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, if the student is fourteen (14) years of age or older and the student’s behavior indicates that his/her continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or school staff and the Board determines that there is no appropriate alternative education program. Additionally, the Board may, pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.11 and Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4260 (https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/cms/lib/N C01001178/Centricity/Domain/198/4260.pdf), expel any student who is a registered sex offender and subject to N.C.G.S. § 14-208.18.
    • Principals are to use discretion in disciplining disabled students whose behaviors may be related to their disabilities, especially those with moderate to severe impairments. Refer to Subsections D and E below and the Section 504 Procedures Manual and the Exceptional Children’s Program’s “Guidelines for the Discipline of Students with Disabilities.”
    • Principals shall report system-required data on each student suspended or expelled to the superintendent.

     

    Mandatory Reportable Offenses

    If principals have personal knowledge or actual notice from school personnel that certain acts have occurred on school property, principals are required by state law to immediately report the acts to law enforcement and the superintendent.  Reportable acts, are as follows:

    1. Assault resulting in serious personal injury;*
    2. Assault involving use of a weapon;*
    3. Assault on school officials, employees, and volunteers;
    4. Making bomb threats or engaging in bomb hoaxes;
    5. Willfully burning a school building;
    6. Homicide;*
    7. Kidnapping;
    8. Unlawful, underage sales, purchase, provision, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages;
    9. Possession of a controlled substance in violation of law;
    10. Possession of a firearm;
    11. Possession of a weapon;
    12. Rape;*
    13. Robbery with a dangerous weapon;*
    14. Sexual assault (not involving rape or sexual offense);*
    15. Sexual offense;* or
    16. Taking indecent liberties with a minor.*

    *Denotes offenses that are used by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in determining whether a school is persistently dangerous.

     

    Investigating Alleged Student Misconduct

    Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4340 and 4341: Principals should refer to Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4340 and 4131when investigating alleged student misconduct. Both policies may be accessed at https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/Page/2183.

     

    Investigative Process: Where alleged student misbehavior is appropriately referred to the principal, the principal shall take the following steps:

    • Investigate the facts and circumstances related to the alleged misbehavior;
    • Offer the student an opportunity to be heard on the matter; and
    • Determine whether a Pitt County Board of Education policy, school standard, school rule, or this Code has been violated.

     

    Truthfulness Expected of Witnesses: All employees and students, including students alleged to have engaged in misconduct, are expected to respond fully and truthfully to any questions or issues raised in the course of the investigation and any related proceedings.

     

    Imposition of Disciplinary Consequences: If the principal determines that a violation has occurred, the principal shall implement an appropriate consequence in accordance with the school’s plan for managing student behavior, the Code of Student Conduct, or applicable board policy. The principal has final authority regarding in-school discipline and short-term suspensions. Additional information regarding the imposition of suspensions, including short-term suspensions, and expulsions as disciplinary consequences is discussed below. 

     

    Parental Notification: Where the school’s student behavior management plan contemplates parental involvement in student discipline or requires parental notification, a student is to be suspended (short-term, long-term, or 365 day), a student is to be expelled, or the principal must report the matter to law enforcement, the principal shall notify the parents. Additionally, if in questioning a student, the principal determines that a law enforcement officer should carry out the questioning, the principal shall make a reasonable attempt to notify the parents (except in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect by the parent) to give them an opportunity to be present during questioning.  All records of parental contact should be maintained in a student’s records and retained at least through the end of the school year. 

     

    Due Process and Student Rights in the Context of Short-Term Out of School Suspensions

     

    Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4351 and 4352: Principals should refer to Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4351 and 4352 when contemplating short-term suspension. Both policies and other policies may be accessed at https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/Page/2183.

     

    Definition of Short-Term Suspensions: A short-term suspension is a disciplinary exclusion of a student from attending his or her assigned school for up to 10 school days. A short-term suspension does not include (1) the removal of a student from class by the classroom teacher, the principal, or authorized school personnel for the remainder of the subject period or for less than one-half of the school day, (2) the changing of a student’s location to another room or place on the school’s premises, or (3) a student’s absence under N.C.G.S. § 130A-440 (i.e. for failure to submit a school health assessment within 30 days of entering school).  A student who is placed on short-term suspension will not be permitted to be on school property or to take part in any school function during the period of suspension without prior approval from the principal. 

     

    When Short-Term Suspension Begins:

     

    1. Removal During the School Day: In accordance with Board Policy 4352, the principal may remove from school grounds a student who has been suspended during the school day, under the following circumstances:
    2. The parent has been notified and is able to make arrangements for the student to leave school or agrees to the student’s using public transportation or driving himself or herself home;
    3. The parent has been notified and is available to receive the student, and the principal is able to arrange for transportation from the school to the home; or
    4. The principal involves law enforcement in the removal of the student from school grounds because such action is necessary to provide a safe, orderly school environment.

    Suspension to Begin on Subsequent School Day: If none of the circumstances specified in subsection a) exist, the suspension will begin on the next school day.

     

    Pre-Suspension Rights of the Student: Except in the circumstances described below, a student must be provided with an opportunity for an informal hearing with the principal before a short-term suspension is imposed. The principal may hold the hearing immediately after giving the student oral or written notice of the charges against him or her.  At the informal hearing, the student has the right to be present, to be informed of the charges and the basis for the accusations against him or her, and to make statements in defense or mitigation of these charges.  The principal may impose a short-term suspension without first providing the student with an opportunity for a hearing if the presence of the student (1) creates a direct and immediate threat of safety to other students or staff or (2) substantially disrupts or interferes with education of other students or the maintenance of discipline at the school.  In such cases, the principal or designee shall give the student notice of the charges and an opportunity for an informal hearing as soon as practicable.

     

    Student Rights During the Suspension: A student under a short-term suspension must be provided with (1) the opportunity to take textbooks home for the duration of the suspension; (2) upon request, all missed assignments and, to the extent practicable, the materials distributed to students in connection with such assignments, and (3) the opportunity to take any quarterly, semester, or grading period examinations during the suspension period.

     

    Notice to Parent(s): When imposing a short-term suspension, the principal shall provide the student’s parent(s) with notice that includes the reason for the suspension and a description of the student’s conduct upon which the suspension is based. The principal must give this notice by the end of the workday during which the suspension is imposed when reasonably possible, but in no event, more than two days after the suspension is imposed.  If English is the second language of the parent, the notice must be provided in English and in the parent’s primary language, when the appropriate foreign language resources are readily available.  The initial notice may be by telephone, but it must be followed by timely written notice.  The written notice must include all of the information listed above and may be sent by fax, e-mail, or any other method reasonably designed to give actual notice.  School officials also shall maintain a copy of the written notice in student’s educational record.

     

    No Right of Appeal: The principal has the authority to determine when a short-term suspension is an appropriate consequence and to impose the suspension, so long as all relevant board policies and procedures are followed. In accordance with N.C.G.S. §§ 115C-390.6(e) and 115C-45(c)(1), a student is not entitled to appeal the principal’s decision to impose a short-term suspension to either the superintendent or board unless the decision is appealable on some other basis. 

     

    Due Process and Student Rights in the Context of Long-Term Suspensions, 365-Day Suspensions, and Expulsion

     

    Applicable Board Policies: Principals should refer to Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4353 and 4370 when contemplating long-term suspensions, 365-day suspensions, and expulsions. Both policies and other policies referenced in this subsection may be accessed at https://www.pitt.k12.nc.us/Page/2183.

     

    Definitions

    1. Long-Term Suspension: A long-term suspension is the disciplinary exclusion of a student from attending his or her assigned school for more than 10 school days. Neither (1) a disciplinary reassignment of a student to a full-time educational program that meets the academic requirements of the standard course of study established by the State Board of Education and that provides the student with the opportunity to make timely progress toward graduation and grade promotion nor (2) an absence under G.S. 130A-440 (for failure to submit a school health assessment form within 30 days of entering school) is a long-term suspension requiring the due process procedures set out in this policy.  Upon the recommendation of the principal, the superintendent may impose a long-term suspension on a student who willfully engages in a serious violation of this Code and the violation either (1) threatens the safety of students, staff, or school visitors, or (2) threatens to substantially disrupt the educational environment. The principal may recommend long-term suspension for a minor violation if aggravating circumstances justify treating the student’s behavior as a serious violation.  If the offense leading to the long-term suspension occurred before the final quarter of the school year, the exclusion must be no longer than the remainder of the school year in which the offense was committed. If the offense leading to the long-term suspension occurred during the final quarter of the school year, the exclusion may include a period up to the remainder of the school year in which the offense was committed and the first semester of the following school year.
    2. 365-Day Suspension: A 365-day suspension is the disciplinary exclusion of a student from attending his or her assigned school for 365 calendar days. The superintendent may impose a 365-day suspension only for certain firearm and destructive device violations, as identified in Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4333 (Weapons, Bomb Threats, Terrorist Threats, and Clear Threats to Safety).
    3. Expulsion: An expulsion is the indefinite exclusion of a student from school enrollment for disciplinary purposes. Upon the recommendation of the superintendent, the board may expel a student who is 14 years of age or older for certain types of misbehavior as provided in Pitt County Board of Education Policies 4325 (Drugs and Alcohol), 4330 (Theft, Trespass, and Damage to Property), 4331 (Assaults, Threats, and Harassment), and 4333 (Weapons, Bomb Threats, Terrorist Threats, and Clear Threats to Safety), if the student’s continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees. Additionally, a student who is subject to Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4260 (Student Sex Offenders) may be expelled if the student’s continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees. During the expulsion, the student is not entitled to be present on educational property and is not considered a student of the school system.

     

    Determination of Appropriate Consequence

    Principal’s Recommendation: The principal may impose a short-term suspension or any other consequence that is consistent with Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4351 (Short-Term Suspension), the school’s plan for management of student behavior, and this Code. If the principal determines that a suspension of more than 10 days (either long-term or 365-day) or an expulsion is an appropriate consequence, the principal shall propose the disciplinary penalty based upon a review of the student’s culpability and dangerousness and the harm caused by the student, plus any other mitigating or aggravating factors the principal finds relevant.

    Culpability of Student-In assessing the culpability of the student for his or her behavior, the principal may consider criteria such as:

    1. The student’s age;
    2. The student’s ability to form the intent to cause the harm that occurred or could have occurred; and
    3. Evidence of the student’s intent when engaging in the conduct.
    4. Dangerousness of the Student-In assessing the dangerousness of the student, the principal may consider criteria such as:
    5. The student’s disciplinary or criminal record related to antisocial behavior or drugs and alcohol;
    6. Whether a weapon was involved in the incident and if a weapon was involved, whether the student had the ability to inflict serious injury or death with the weapon;
    7. Evidence of the student’s ability to cause the harm that was intended or that occurred; and
    8. Whether the student is subject to Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4260 (Student Sex Offenders).
    9. Harm Caused by the Student-In assessing the severity of the harm caused by the student, the principal may consider criteria such as whether any of the following occurred:
    10. Someone was physically injured or killed;
    11. Someone was directly threatened or property was extorted through the use of some weapon;
    12. Someone was directly harmed, either emotionally or psychologically;
    13. Educational property or others’ personal property was damaged; or
    14. Students, school employees, or parents were aware of the presence of a weapon or of dangerous behavior on the part of the perpetrator.

    After considering the above factors, the principal shall make a recommendation to the superintendent, stating the nature of the offense, the substance of the evidence involved, and the length of the suspension recommended. The principal also must consider and make a recommendation as to whether any alternative education services, counseling, or other programs should be part of the consequence for violating board policy, the Code of Student Conduct, school standards, or school rules.

    If the principal recommends a 365-day suspension, he or she must identify the type of firearm or destructive device involved and the evidence substantiating that the student brought it to the school grounds or to a school activity or possessed it on school grounds or at a school activity.

    If the principal recommends an expulsion, he or she shall identify the basis for determining that there is clear and convincing evidence that the student’s continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety other students or employees.

     

    Notice to the Student’s Parent: The principal must provide to the student’s parent written notice of the recommendation for long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion by the end of the workday during which the long-term suspension or expulsion is recommended when reasonably possible or as soon thereafter as practicable. The notice must contain the following ten elements:

    1. The notice type (i.e. notice of long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion);*
    2. A description of the incident and the student’s conduct that led to the recommendation;
    3. The specific provision(s) of the Code of Student Conduct that the student allegedly violated;
    4. The specific process by which the parent may request a hearing to contest the decision and the deadline for making the request;*
    5. The process by which the hearing will be held, including all due process rights to be accorded the student during the hearing;
    6. Notice of the right to retain an attorney to represent the student in the hearing process and of the requirement that the principal be advised in advance of the decision to have an attorney present so that the school attorney may be in attendance as well
    7. Notice that an advocate, instead of an attorney, may accompany the student to assist in the presentation of the appeal
    8. Notice of the right to review and obtain copies of the student’s educational records prior to the hearing;
    9. A reference to Policy 4345, Student Discipline Records, regarding the expungement of disciplinary records; and
    10. The identity and phone number of a school employee whom the parent may call to obtain assistance in receiving a translation of the English language information included in the document.*

     

    *The asterisk denotes information that must be provided on the notice in both English and Spanish. Principals should be advised that it may be necessary to provide additional translations if the student’s parents speak a language other than English or Spanish. 

     

    Superintendent’s Decision: Within three days of receiving notice from the principal of the recommendation for long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion, the student or student’s parent may request an administrative hearing. A decision will be rendered before the long-term suspension is imposed.

    If the student or parent makes a timely request for a hearing, the superintendent shall confirm that the charges against the student, if substantiated, could warrant the recommended disciplinary action and immediately refer the matter to the hearing officer who shall give the student and parent and the principal reasonable notice of the time and place of the hearing. It is suggested that a hearing be held within five school days of the principal making the recommendation and in no event later than 10 school days.

    If neither the student nor the parent appears for a scheduled hearing after being given reasonable notice of the time and place of the hearing, the student and parent are deemed to have waived the right to a hearing.

    If the student and parent fail to make a timely request for a hearing or if they waive the right to a hearing by failing to appear for a duly scheduled hearing, the superintendent shall review the circumstances of the recommended long-term suspension. Following this review, the superintendent (1) may impose the long-term or 365-day suspension if it is consistent with board policies and appropriate under the circumstances, (2) may impose another appropriate penalty authorized by board policy, or (3) may decline to impose any penalty.

    If the student or parent requests a postponement of the hearing, or if the request for the hearing is untimely, the hearing will be scheduled, but the student does not have the right to return to school pending the hearing.

    Any hearing held will follow the hearing procedures outlined in Section A of Pitt County Board of Education Policy 4370 (Student Discipline Hearing Procedures). The hearing officer shall determine the relevant facts and credibility of witnesses based on substantial evidence presented at the hearing. The superintendent shall adopt the hearing officer’s factual determinations unless they are not supported by substantial evidence in the record and decide whether to uphold, modify, or reject the principal’s recommendation. The superintendent shall immediately inform the principal of the decision regarding the recommended disciplinary penalty of a long-term or 365-day suspension and, when applicable, of any modifications to the penalty recommended by the principal.

    The superintendent shall send notice of the decision via certified mail to the student and parent. This notice must include:

    • The basis of the decision with reference to any policies or rules that the student violated;
    • Notice of what information will be included in the student’s official record pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-402;
    • Notice of the student’s right to appeal the decision and the procedures for such appeal;
    • If the decision is to suspend the student for 365 days, notice of the student’s right to petition the board for readmission under N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.12;
    • If applicable, notice that the superintendent or designee is recommending to the Board that the student be expelled and any required notifications related to the expulsion if the student did not already receive such notice from the principal;
    • If the student is to be suspended, notice of the superintendent or designee’s decision on whether to offer alternative education services to the student during the period of suspension, and, as applicable, a description of the services to be offered or the reason justifying the superintendent or designee’s decision to deny such services.

    Following issuance of the decision, the superintendent shall implement the decision by authorizing the student’s return to school upon the completion of any short-term suspension or by imposing the suspension reflected in the decision.

    The superintendent shall offer alternative education services to any student who receives a long-term or 365-day suspension unless the superintendent provides a significant or important reason for declining to offer such services. Alternative education services are part-time or full-time programs that provide direct or computer-based instruction to allow the student to progress in one or more core academic courses. Such services may include programs described in Policy 3470/4305 (Alternative Learning Programs/Schools) 

    The student may appeal to the board the superintendent’s decision not to provide alternative education services, as permitted by G.S. 115C-45(c)(2). Any appeal to the board must be made in writing within five days of receiving the superintendent’s decision. The superintendent shall inform the board chairperson of the request for an appeal and arrange in a timely manner a hearing before the board. In advance of the hearing, the superintendent shall provide to the student and parent and to the board a written explanation for the denial of services along with any documents or other information supporting the decision. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to Policy 2500, Hearings Before the Board. The board will provide to the student and parent and to the superintendent written notice of its decision within 30 days of receiving the appeal.

    If the superintendent determines that expulsion is appropriate, the superintendent shall submit to the board a recommendation and the basis for the recommendation along with any proposal for alternative education services.

     Hearings Before the Board

    Long-Term of 365-Day Suspensions: A student or his or her parent may appeal an imposed long-term or 365-day suspension. The student or parent must appeal to the board in writing within three days of receiving the superintendent’s decision. The superintendent shall inform the board chairperson of the request for an appeal and shall arrange a hearing before the board within 10 days of the request. The suspension need not be postponed pending the outcome of the appeal. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to Section B of Policy 4370, Student Discipline Hearing Procedures. The board will provide to the student and parent and to the superintendent written notice of its decision not more than 30 calendar days after receiving the appeal.

    1. Expulsions: The student or parent may request a hearing within five days of receiving notice of the superintendent’s recommendation that the student be expelled. The hearing will be scheduled with the board within 10 days of the superintendent’s receipt of the hearing request. The superintendent shall notify the student and parent of the date, time, and place of the hearing. Any appeal of a long-term or 365-day suspension will be addressed in the same hearing. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to Section B of Policy 4370.

    If a hearing is not requested by the student or parent, the superintendent shall submit written evidence to support his or her recommendation to the board. The board may elect to request a hearing or to request additional records and documents.

    When the board decides to expel a student, the board will document the basis for its determination that there is clear and convincing evidence that the student’s behavior indicates that the student’s continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees. The board also will consider and make a written determination of whether alternative education services are to be provided to the expelled student. Regardless of whether the school system provides alternative education services, the board expects school system administrators to work with other agencies to help the student and parent identify other types of services that may be of assistance to the student.

    The board will send via certified mail to the student’s parent a copy of the decision, notification of what information will be included in the student’s official record, the procedure for expungement of this information under N.C.G.S. § 115C-402, and notice of the right to petition for readmission pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.12.

     

    Educational Services for Students with Disabilities During Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, or Expulsion: Students with disabilities recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will receive educational services during periods of suspension or expulsion to the extent required by Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities and state and federal law.

     

    Long-Term Suspensions or Expulsions and School Records

    1. Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-402(b), any student who has been suspended for a period of more than ten (10) days or has been expelled following the procedures set forth above, shall have notice of said suspension or expulsion and the conduct for which the action was taken placed upon his or her school record.
    2. Said notice shall be removed from the record of the student if (a) the student or parent requests the removal, (b) the student either graduates from high school or is not expelled or suspended again for a period of two years after his or her return to school, (c) the superintendent or superintendent’s designee determines that maintenance of the record is no longer needed to maintain safe and orderly schools, and (d) the superintendent or superintendent’s designee determines that maintenance of the record is no longer needed to adequately serve the child.
    3. Notwithstanding number two above, a superintendent or superintendent’s designee may remove notice of suspension or expulsion from a student’s official record without a request from the student or parent if all the other above criteria are met.

     

    Requests for Readmission of Students Suspended for 365-Days or Expelled

    1. Requests by Students Suspended for 365 Days: A student who is serving a 365-day suspension may submit a request to the superintendent for readmission any time after the 180th calendar day of his or her suspension. Upon receipt of the request, the superintendent or designee shall offer the student an opportunity for an in-person meeting to be held within five days. The student may provide documents in support of the request, such as signed statements from individuals knowledgeable about the student or documents verifying that the student is participating in or has completed counseling or rehabilitation programs. If the student demonstrates to the satisfaction of the superintendent or designee that the student’s presence in school no longer constitutes a threat to the safety of other students or employees, the superintendent must readmit the student.

    Within 30 days of the student’s request, the superintendent or designee shall provide written notice of his or her decision to the student, the student’s parents, and the board. If the superintendent or designee decides to readmit the student, the notice will include the date of readmission, the school or program to which the student will be assigned, and any reasonable restrictions placed on the readmission. If the superintendent or designee rejects the request for readmission, the notice will advise the parents of the right to appeal the decision to the board. Any appeal to the board must be made in writing within five days of receipt of the superintendent or designee’s decision. The superintendent or designee shall inform the board chairperson of the request for an appeal and arrange in a timely manner a hearing before the board. The hearing will be conducted in accordance with Policy 2500, Hearings Before the Board. The board will provide to the student, the student’s parent, and the superintendent or designee written notice of its decision within 30 days of receiving the appeal of the superintendent or designee’s decision.

    If the request for readmission is denied, no subsequent requests from that student will be considered during that 365-day suspension.

     

    1. Requests by Expelled Students: A student who has been expelled may submit a request to the board for readmission any time after 180 calendar days from the start date of the student’s expulsion. The board chairperson immediately will forward the request to the superintendent, who shall arrange in a timely manner a hearing before the board. The hearing will be conducted in accordance with Policy 2500. After considering the student’s request and the superintendent or designee’s recommendation regarding readmission, if the board determines that the student has satisfactorily demonstrated that his or her presence in school no longer constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees, the board will readmit the student. The board will notify the student, the student’s parents, and the superintendent in writing of its decision within 30 days of the submission of the request for readmission.

    If the board decides to readmit the student, the notice will include the date of readmission, the school or program to which the student will be assigned, and any reasonable restrictions placed on the readmission. If the student was expelled as a result of assaulting or injuring a teacher, the student will not be returned to that teacher’s classroom following readmission without the teacher’s consent.

    If the expelled student’s request for readmission is denied, the board will not consider a subsequent request for readmission of that student until six months after the submission of the previous request.

     

    Disciplinary Policies Pertaining to Suspension for Students who have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or Section 504 Plans

     

    Definitions

     

    Child With a Disability: Unless otherwise stated, a “child with a disability” as used in this section refers to both a child identified as disabled in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and a child found eligible for services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).

     

    Suspension: “Suspension” refers to out-of-school suspension. However, if a child with a disability serving an in-school suspension fails to receive the special education and related services as indicated in the child’s IEP or 504 Plan during the term of in-school suspension, the in-school suspension shall be treated as an out-of-school suspension for purposes of this policy.

     

    Out of School Suspensions Up to Ten (10) Days in a School Year (Short-Term Suspensions): A child with a disability may be subject to out-of-school suspension for up to 10 cumulative school days in a school year, and the same disciplinary rules and procedures shall be followed as for non-disabled children. There is no requirement that the team (IEP OR 504) conduct a manifestation determination review (MDR) at this time, nor is there a requirement that the child receive any educational services beyond what the district may choose to offer to non-disabled students.

     

    Out-of-School Suspensions Greater than Ten (10) Cumulative School Days in a School Year, Long-Term Suspensions, and Expulsions: If a child with a disability is subject to a series of short-term suspensions that exceeds ten (10) cumulative school days, is recommended for alternative placement, long-term suspension, or is recommended for expulsion, the school shall immediately, if possible, but not later than 10 school days after the decision to take such disciplinary action, require the IEP team to meet to complete a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR).

     

    1. If manifestation is not found, the child may be suspended pursuant to the same disciplinary rules and procedures followed for non-disabled children. The IEP team must determine what would be the appropriate services for the child to receive during the term of his suspension, in order to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the annual goals in the child’s IEP. The IEP team must also determine what would be the appropriate services for the child in the event there is a subsequent disciplinary reassignment by the Superintendent or designee. These services must enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the annual goals of the child’s IEP.
    2. If manifestation is found, the child’s placement is not to be changed and the child must return to his or her current placement immediately. The child shall not be “administratively reassigned” to an alternative school if a manifestation has been determined to exist.  In addition, when manifestation is found, the IEP team must ensure a Functional Behavioral Assessment is completed (if one has not already been completed during the current school year) and develop a Behavior Intervention Plan; if there is an existing Behavior Intervention Plan, the team may elect to review and revise that Plan in lieu of developing a new one, if appropriate.
    3. Regardless of the team’s decision regarding manifestation, the district must offer educational services to any child with a disability under the IDEA who has been subject to out-of-school suspensions beyond ten (10) cumulative days in the school year. These services shall be designed to enable the child to continue to participate in the general education curriculum and to progress toward meeting the annual goals of the child’s IEP.  If these services are offered prior to the manifestation determination meeting described above, the IEP team at the MDR meeting shall review, as appropriate, the services offered and determine if any additional services are warranted.

     

    Special Circumstances for Interim 45-Day Placement for Violation of the Code of Conduct Involving Weapons, Drugs, or Serious Bodily Injury: In special circumstances, a student with a disability under the IDEA may be removed from his or her current placement and assigned to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) for up to forty-five (45) school days for Code of Conduct violations involving a weapon, drugs, or serious bodily injury. A manifestation determination review must be held but the student can be removed for up to 45 days in an IAES.  See criteria below for legal definitions of the special circumstances.

     

    Criteria for IAES Eligiblity: The Principal, with prior approval from the Director of the Exceptional Children’s Department, shall make the determination as to whether to implement an Interim Alternative Educational Placement (IAES), and shall determine the length of removal to the IAES, provided it does not exceed forty-five school days. Such a placement may be implemented only in the following circumstances:

     

    1. The student carries or possesses a weapon at school, on school premises, or to or at a school function under the jurisdiction of Pitt County Schools. For purposes of this provision only, a weapon is defined as “a device, instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, except that such a term does not include a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2.5 inches in length.”
    2. The student knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance, while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of PCS.
    3. The student has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function under the jurisdiction of PCS. For purposes of this provision only, serious bodily injury is an injury that involves a substantial risk of death; extreme physical pain; a protracted and obvious disfigurement; or a protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

     

    Emergency 45-Day Interim Alternative Placement of Dangerous Student: In an emergency situation, where maintaining the current placement of the child is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or to others, the school district may seek a judicial order from a court or hearing officer for a change in the child's placement to an appropriate IAES for not more than 45 days, as provided by law.

     

    Parental Notice of Rights: In all actions involving suspension for more than 10 days of a child identified and served under the IDEA, the school shall notify the child’s parent/guardian, not later than the day on which the decision to take disciplinary action is made, of the disciplinary action and of all due process rights available to the parent/guardian pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-109.1-109.9 and 20 U.S.C. § 1415.

     

    In all actions involving suspension for more than 10 days of a child identified and served under Section 504, the parent/guardian shall have available all the rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The parent/guardian shall be notified of the action and of their rights as soon as practicable under the circumstances.

     

    Consideration of Student Records by Decision-Maker: Whenever the school initiates disciplinary procedures applicable to a child with a disability, it shall provide a copy of the child’s special education and disciplinary records for consideration by the individual(s) making the final determination regarding the disciplinary action.

     

    Students Not Yet Determined Eligible for Special Education: If a child who has not been determined to be eligible for special education services under the IDEA commits a violation of school rules that would result in suspension or expulsion from school, the school may not exclude the child from school to the same extent that it would exclude a nondisabled child for the same offense, if the school had knowledge that the child was disabled before the violation occurred. A school is deemed to have knowledge of a child’s disability if:

    1. The parent/guardian has expressed a concern in writing to school officials that the child is in need of special education;
    2. The parent/guardian has requested an evaluation to consider eligibility for special education;
    3. The child’s teacher or other school staff have expressed concern about a pattern of behavior by the student to the EC Director or other supervisory personnel; or
    4. Prior to the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action, the behavior and performance of the child clearly and convincingly established the need for special education. Prior disciplinary infractions alone do not constitute clear and convincing evidence.