Roles in Discipline, Policy 5300.40

Roles in Discipline, Policy 5300.40

Role of the Police in the Warwick Valley Central School District

The Police Should be Called When:

  1. their assistance is needed in any life or property threatening situation;
  2. there is a possibility that a crime has been committed; or
  3. required to do so according to the disciplinary strategies and procedures.

Guidelines When Police Are Called

  1. The administration should turn over any pertinent/related/relevant data in its possession to the police.  In the event that the data to be turned over would constitute student records or student record information, such information should only be turned over to the police with written parental consent, or in the event there is a health or safety emergency, unless there is a subpoena or court order. This information will include relevant facts, as well as the names of individuals actually or possibly involved including student-witnesses.
  2. Unless there is a warrant or court order, the police will be asked to interview student-suspects or student-witnesses after school according to normal police procedures and not on school grounds without parental permission.
  3. The school should take no position as to whether or not prosecution should go forward in a particular case.
  4. The school should not impede a police investigation.
  5. The school shall not put itself in the position of advising students of their rights or possible consequences under the law.

Administrative Sanctions

  1. Administrative punishments will be imposed swiftly based on the weight of the evidence available to the school administration without having to wait for the outcome of a pending criminal case dealing with the same facts and circumstances.
  2. School officials may determine in-school sanctions based on “proof by a preponderance of the credible evidence” and not the stricter standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  3. School sanctions will conform to the student discipline strategies and procedures.

Parent Notification

Whenever the names of students (whether as witnesses to a crime or as alleged suspects) are given to the police (or any law enforcement agency), the administration shall notify the parent or guardian of this fact.


The Role of Homework in WVCSD Class Management and Policies

Teachers who employ a coherent, clearly established series of sound classroom management techniques have fewer discipline problems with students and are able to usually resolve those that occur in a fair, humane, and expeditious fashion. Homework, when properly used and integrated into the daily routine, can be considered one of these techniques and, hence, plays a role in our discipline structure.

We know that when students fall behind in classwork, they can become easily discouraged.  This negative feeling can fester and manifest itself in unacceptable student behavior.  Teachers, aware of this possibility, use an orderly flow of daily and long-range assignments to help students keep up with classwork, weave the completion of homework into their classroom management program, and consciously prepare students – teach students – to accept the responsibility for all of their classwork.  Further, this system can be easily modified to help those who need extra support.

Additionally, teachers who are well prepared for their classes are able to plan these appropriate out-of-class assignments which enhance their students’ understanding of the lesson, unit and course.  This timely work serves to reinforce the students’ recent learnings, build upon current material, and prepare the students for the next day’s classwork.  When students are well prepared, they are better able to participate in all of the class’ activities.  Following this pattern, students who are fully engaged in the process of education are too busy to be discipline problems in class or out of class.  These students value their time in school and use strategies of cooperation, not those of divisiveness.  Homework, while not the only factor in this cycle, is unquestionably one of its major components.

Differentiated Educational Programs

Students “learn” in many different ways and in a variety of settings. In addition, students who are placed in a setting where they are highly motivated and challenged, develop a caring, responsible attitude towards school and experience success will have fewer disciplinary problems. In recognition of these factors, the Warwick Valley School District offers students many alternate educational opportunities.

Some of these are listed below:

  • Tutorial programs during and after school
  • Computer “labs”
  • Alternative Class Programs
  • Transitional classrooms (elementary grades)
  • “Me-Me” Program
  • Flexible scheduling and/or programming at all levels
  • Honors and advanced placement classes
  • Talented and Gifted (TAG) programs
  • Special Art and Music opportunities
  • Wide-ranging extracurricular and co-curricular opportunities
  • BOCES vocational education opportunities
  • BOCES training for the high school equivalency diploma
  • Work-study programs through BOCES
  • BOCES Alternative PM Program
  • Career placement tests and counseling
  • ASVAB placement tests for the Armed Services
  • Special counseling and psychological services
  • Special Education programs
  • Special individual and small group assistance programs
  • assigned by the Committee on Special Education
  • Mediation programs for conflict/dispute resolution
  • National Honor Society
  • Home instruction by certified teachers
  • Summer school availability in neighboring facilities

Students may gain access to these programs either through the Guidance Department, the school administration, or directly with the personnel involved.

Professional Staff Development Opportunities

The Warwick Valley Central School District is committed both philosophically and by contract to make a wide range of in-service and staff development opportunities available to all District employees. In addition to programs specifically designed to increase an individual’s effective application of the District’s discipline policies, the Principal or other appropriate administrator in each school shall also review and/or highlight school conduct and discipline procedures at appropriate times during each school year (for example, at faculty meetings, at department chairperson meetings, at department staff meetings, at new staff meetings, and by memo).

Further, the Superintendent and the Warwick Valley Teachers’ Association can also address the topic of discipline, when appropriate, at their meetings.


The Roles of the Board of Education and the Superintendent in WVCSD Discipline Policy

It is the role of the Warwick Valley Central School District Board of Education to formulate policies to promote the educational objectives of the District, foremost among which is encouraging a climate of mutual respect and governance by self-discipline. Likewise, it is the Board’s responsibility to direct its agents to promulgate regulations to implement our policies, to review both policies and regulations periodically, and to revise them when necessary.

The Superintendent, acting as the Board’s agent, supervises the formulation of the document; works with his/her administrators to insure that their respective philosophies of discipline mesh with the Board’s position; fosters a “team approach” concerning discipline which involves, in a positive manner, the student, teacher, parent/family, administrator and himself/herself; and establishes a timely review of the policy with his/her staff.  Additionally, because the Superintendent advises the Board, he/she, too must understand the evolution of the policy as he/she helps the Board in its review and adoption procedures.  Finally, the Superintendent can be most persuasive in helping our students and their families to understand the role that discipline plays in our educational system and in our lives.

Suspensions

  1. Introduction

    The rights afforded to students in our District to attend the public schools are substantial as expressed in the New York State Constitution, Education Law, Policies of the Board of Education, and as set forth in the listing of our Students’ Rights & Responsibilities.  Furthermore, the School District believes that the school setting is the appropriate and desirable one for young people of school age. However, a student’s rights are subject to limitation, suspension and, in certain instances, permanent suspension from attendance in our schools when his/her conduct or condition is found to be violative of the provisions of these codes.  As section 3214(3a) of the Education Law provides, the Board, the Superintendent, a Principal or, in his/her absence, an acting Principal, may suspend a student from attendance and/or instruction where it is determined that the student:

    a. is insubordinate, disorderly, violent or disruptive, or exhibits conduct which endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others; or
    b. exhibits a physical, mental or emotional condition(s) which endangers the health, safety or morals of himself/herself or of other students.

    In other words, when a student’s misbehavior is deemed “serious,” the Principal has the responsibility and the authority to suspend the student from school for a period of one but not more than five school days.  The purposes of suspensions are to punish the student by removing him/her from the educational process and the school/social environment, emphatically and immediately catch the attention of both the student and his/her family to indicate that certain behavior(s) will not be tolerated in our school, set the stage for a disciplinary reinstatement conference which must include the student, the parent or guardian, and a school administrator (usually the Principal or Assistant Principal), to modify and redirect certain future behaviors toward more socially acceptable norms, and to clearly send a message to the rest of the student body, other parents, and the community that we will not tolerate inappropriate conduct in our school.

    Examples of why students might be suspended are (but are not limited to): using foul language in school, fighting, sexual abuse of students or staff, participating in the use or sale of illegal drugs, bringing alcoholic beverages onto school property, and carrying, displaying or using any type of weapon.

  2. Pre-Suspension Process

    Prior to being suspended from school on an immediate basis or when a proposed suspension is being considered, the student shall be confronted by a school official empowered to suspend (Building Principal, Acting Building Principal, Superintendent of Schools, District Superintendent, Board of Education), at which time the evidence upon which the decision to suspend is based shall be stated to the student, and the student shall be given the opportunity to explain his/her version of the facts. The student shall also be afforded the right to present other persons to the suspending authority in support of his/her version of the facts. If the student’s presence in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, s/he may be immediately suspended. If the student cannot be confronted at the time of the initial suspension due to safety concerns or mental or physical condition considerations, such confrontation shall occur following suspension, as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable.

  3. Types of Building Level Penalties

    In an effort to respond properly to a wide range of serious behavioral problems, we employ after school detention, in-school detention, and out-of-school suspension.  When a student poses a serious physical threat to himself/herself or others, when even his/her presence in the building may trigger an unwanted response from himself/herself or others, or when in-school detention is no longer appropriate for an individual, we then opt for an out-of-school suspension which effectively removes the student from the school grounds and after-school activities.  Although we cannot control how effectively the student uses  his/her time during in-school detention, we view the complete student-school separation as being the most serious of the two suspensions.

    Detention

    Teachers, principals and the superintendent may use recess or after school detention as a penalty for student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate. After school detention will be imposed as a penalty only after the student’s parent has been notified to confirm that there is no parental objection to the penalty and the student has appropriate transportation home following detention.

    In-School Detention

    The board recognizes the school must balance the need of students to attend school and the need for order in the classroom to establish an environment conducive to learning. As such, the board authorizes Building Principals and the Superintendent to place students who would otherwise be suspended from school as the result of a code of conduct violation in “in-school detention.”

    A student subjected to an in-school detention is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214; however, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the In School Detention to discuss the conduct, present his/her side of events and confront complaining witnesses, and the penalty involved prior to assigning the student to in-school-suspension.

    Suspension from Transportation Service

    If a student does not conduct himself/herself properly on a bus, the bus driver is expected to bring such misconduct to the attention of the Building Principal. The Building Principal will confront the Student about the alleged misconduct prior to effectuating a transportation suspension.  Students who become serious disciplinary problems may have their riding privileges suspended by the Building Principal or the superintendent.  In such cases, the student’s parent will become responsible for seeing that the child gets to and from school safely. Should the suspension from transportation be a long term suspension that amounts to a suspension from attendance; the school district will afford the student with a due process hearing in accordance with Education Law Section 3214.

    Suspension from Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Activities, and School Functions

    A student may be suspended from participating in extra-curricular or co-curricular activities (including a sports team) for an infraction of any of the provisions herein, for violating a Code of Conduct issued to participants in the activity by the activity supervisor, coach or athletic director.  Said suspending authority shall confront the student prior to suspension, offer the student notice of the reason for his/her suspension and provide an opportunity to present his or her version of the events.  Written notice of the student’s suspension from an extra-curricular, co-curricular activity or school function shall be sent by the suspending authority to the student and his/her parents by hand delivery or express mail to ensure receipt within 24 hours.  Said notice shall inform the parent and student of their right to an informal conference with the suspending authority at which they will have the opportunity to confront complaining witnesses and present evidence in the student’s defense.  Following said meeting, a final decision will be reached regarding the suspension.  Appeal of the suspension may be made to the student’s Building Principal within 14 days.  Upon the request of the student’s parent, the Building Principal shall allow the parent/guardian or other representative of the student the right to appear before him/her informally to discuss the conduct which led to suspension from the activity.

    If a student is suspended from school pursuant to §3214 of the Education Law, s/he shall not be permitted to participate in any extra-curricular or co-curricular activities, as well as any other school events or activities which take place on the days of suspension (including intervening weekends).

  4. The Reinstatement Conference

    In all cases, the school desires that each suspension have a reinstatement conference involving the Principal or Associate Principal, the parent, and the student. Typically, the incident(s) causing the suspension is (are) reviewed in detail, background data is shared including up-to-date teacher assessments, and a student-devised plan for immediate and long-term behavior improvement is created. The reinstatement conference is to be arranged by the parent. Whenever possible, the conference is made at the parent’s convenience.

  5. Suspension Cases Involving Disabled Students

    Except as authorized by law and in accordance with 5300.5 herein, students with disabilities shall not be subject to disciplinary action where it is determined that the conduct or condition underlying the alleged infraction of the disciplinary code is a manifestation of the student’s disability . A determination will be made by the CSE as to whether or not the alleged infraction may be caused by or related to the student’s disability in accordance with law.  In the event that it is determined that the alleged infraction is a manifestation of a disability, then the CSE shall review the student’s IEP and make appropriate recommendations regarding the performance of a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and/or updates to a Student’s Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)In the event that it is determined that the alleged infraction is not related to a disability, then the student will be subject to the appropriate penalties as established in the Discipline Code including suspension.

    When appropriate (and always after suspension), the District’s Committee on Special Education shall be apprised of the infraction(s) and resulting discipline.  In the event that the district’s Committee on Special Education determines that an incorrect assessment of the case was made or that the student was inappropriately disciplined, then the matter shall be reconsidered and the record appropriately modified (see Policy 5300.50).

  6. The Suspension Process

    The Student Suspension Process as it relates to pre-suspension, short-term suspension, long-term suspension, hearing procedures and the appeals process is in Policy 5300.30 and is referenced and incorporated herein as part of this Policy.  A student with a disability may be suspended for conduct that is a manifestation of their disability when the conduct involves weapons, drugs or serious bodily injury, as defined by 8 NYCRR 201.7. The District has the ability to suspend up to 45 school days.

  7. Red Flag Law

    Where a Building Principal believes that a student is likely to engage in conduct that may result in serious harm to themselves or others, after consultation with the Superintendent and legal counsel, such Building Principal may seek a Temporary and/or Final Extreme Risk Protection Order to prohibit a student’s access to firearms.

Conduct Prohibited on School District Property

In order to maintain public order on school property or at school-sponsored activities, the Board has prohibited the following conduct or acts on school property by students, teachers, staff members, licensees and/or invitees.

  1. the willful physical injury of any person or the threat to use force which would or could result in such injury;
  2. the harassment or coercion of any person;
  3. the willful disruption of the orderly conduct of classes or of any other school program or activity;
  4. the willful damage to, or destruction of, property.  Students have the responsibility to respect all school property and refrain from vandalism;
  5. the entry of any school building or upon any portion of the school premises unless such entry is made in connection with official business with the District or to attend an activity or function authorized thereby;
  6. the willful interference with lawful authorized activities of others;
  7. the possession, consumption, sale or exchange of alcoholic beverages, unauthorized drugs, controlled substances, or narcotics of any kind;
  8. the possession, display or use of any object that reasonably can be considered a weapon;
  9. the violation of any federal or state statute, local ordinance, or Board policy;
  10. the refusal or failure of any person to comply with a lawful order or direction of any official of the school district in the performance of his/her duties;
  11. the distribution or posting of any written material, pamphlets or posters without the prior approval of the Superintendent or designee; or
  12. loitering on or about any school building or grounds without written permission or in violation of posted rules.

In addition to appropriate disciplinary rules and procedures set forth in this regulation, school officials shall, where warranted, contact appropriate law enforcement officials when any prohibited conduct is a violation of criminal laws.

School Attendance and Participation in After-School Activities

The following guidelines will be used for participation in all after-school activities including athletic practices and competition, dances, proms, ceremonies, drama productions, one-time events (such as battle of the bands, talent show, etc.), and special occasions (such as homecoming):

  1. Students who, in the judgment of the administration, arrive late to school without an excuse, leave school early without an excuse or who have unexcused absences from school will be denied permission to participate in after-school activities as either a participant or a spectator.  Examples of excused and unexcused lateness and absences appear in the Attendance section of the Student Handbook.  Insofar as weekend or holiday events are concerned, attendance on the last school day preceding the event will be applicable.
  2. Students who have excused absences from school or who are sent home for medical reasons (or to the doctor/emergency room during the school day) may not participate in after-school activities on that day unless prior permission is obtained in writing from the school administration.

School Newspapers, Distribution of Non-School Publications and Materials and Symbolic Expression

Overview

The free and vigorous exchange of ideas is crucial to the democratic and the educational processes and shall be encouraged in the schools.

  1. School Newspaper

    Each building’s official school newspaper affords students an opportunity to participate in the activity of learning how to report the news events of the school as well as for the sincere expression of all facets of student opinion. The following guidelines shall apply to materials published in our school newspapers:

    1. All materials shall be subject to prior review by the official advisor of each school newspaper and by the Principal of the building where the newspaper is published. Their decisions regarding publication shall be made within three school days.
    2. Either the advisor to the school newspaper or the Building Principal, as well as the Superintendent of Schools or Board of Education, may prohibit the publication of school newspaper materials, advertisements or articles to the extent that they:*
      1. clearly endanger the health, safety or welfare of students;
      2. imminently threaten to disrupt the educational process of the school;
      3. constitute libelous, obscene, vulgar, indecent, lewd writing; or
      4. threaten any person or group in the school or advocate discrimination on the basis of gender, veteran status, age, race, color, religion, creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation or disability;
      5. substantially interfere with or impinge upon the rights of other students;
      6. might reasonably be perceived to advocate illegal or controlled substance use, sexual conduct that would endanger the physical and/or mental well-being of individuals or conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of the community;
      7. associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.
    3. Newspaper ads will be limited to products and services, must conform to Paragraph 1.b., subsections 1-7 above, and must identify the purchaser of the ad and advertiser if they are not one in the same.
    4. Appeals Procedure: In the event that the newspaper advisor or another school official renders a decision that certain material shall not be printed in the school newspaper, the student shall be entitled to a review of that decision by the Superintendent of Schools, whose decision shall be final in this matter and shall be rendered within three school days of the request for review of the initial decision to prohibit such publication. *Hazelwood School District vs. Kuhlmeier (1988)
  2. Non-School Publications and Materials

    Publications or materials other than the official school newspaper(s) may be distributed by students at locations beyond the limits of the school grounds and on occasions other than at school-sponsored activities without the authorization of school officials.

    Distribution of printed materials other than the school newspaper such as handouts, flyers, petitions, leaflets, or other literature on school grounds requires approval by the building administration.  Approval will only be denied on the basis of Paragraph 1, Subsection b (1-7).

    Two copies of the material to be distributed must accompany the request at least three school days prior to the time of distribution.

    The application for approval of distribution must be made to the Building Principal who, if approval is granted, shall establish the time and place of distribution to assure that the process will not be disruptive of education in the building.

    If the request is denied by the Principal, it shall be so stated in writing with the reasons for the denials.  An appeal to the Superintendent of Schools shall be based on the Principal’s denial whereupon the Superintendent shall rule upon the suitability of the material within three school days of his/her receipt of the appeal.

    Commercial materials may not be distributed within the school by students or others.

  3. Symbolic Expressions

    Students, in light of constitutionally protected free speech rights, may wear political buttons, arm bands or badges of symbolic expression so long as the same conform to the limits set forth herein under “school newspaper” and “dress code.”


 

Ref:

  • Educational Law §§2801; 3214
  • 8 NYCRR §§100.2(l)1, 2

August, 1994

Revised: July 10, 1995

Revisions promulgated by Superintendent: July 14, 1997

Revisions promulgated by Superintendent: July 13, 1998

Revised:  June 14, 1999

Revised:  June 12, 2000

Revised:  November 13, 2000

Revised:  June 25, 2001

Revised:  July 1, 2002

Revised:  June 23, 2003, effective July 1, 2003

Revised:  June 21, 2004, effective July 1, 2004

Revised:  June 20, 2005, effective July 1, 2005

Revised:  February 13, 2006, effective July 1, 2006

Revised:  July 1, 2006

Revised:  June 18, 2007, effective July 1, 2007

Revised:  June 9, 2008, effective July 1, 2008

Revised:  June 24, 2009, effective July 1, 2009

Revised:  June 30, 2010, effective July 1, 2010

Revised:  September 4, 2012