4091 - Student Suspension and Expulsion


I. PHILOSOPHY

Piute School Board of Education's beliefs concerning students' absences from school, from the instruction and learning environment of the classroom, have been defined in the Attendance Policy #4010. It is evident from the sanction of that policy that Piute School District's primary purpose is the education of all school age children within its jurisdiction in a safe and positive environment conducive to learning and that it is a shared responsibility to keep students in regular attendance to fully benefit from the educational opportunities offered in the District schools. However, when a student's conduct is inappropriate, disruptive, abusive, threatening, defiant, his/her removal from the classroom/vehicle/activity, should be carried out by the proper authorities.
Furthermore, Piute School District personnel believe that students need parameters of orderly conduct and academic expectations that will guide, mold, and help perfect the mental faculties and moral character of students in the Piute School District. It is expected that when students know the parameters, they should behave in accordance or accept the resulting disciplinary action.
Discipline must be fair and consistent in order to be effective. It is the shared responsibility of home and schools, and when either does not assume its share of the responsibility of discipline, the other cannot be entirely effective. However, Piute School District does set guidelines and policy to maintain appropriate discipline in the District schools. Discipline begins in the classroom where most behavior, tardiness, preparation and other individual student problems shall be handled by the classroom teacher. When problems persist or become progressively worse, other steps in the discipline chain must be taken to prevent situations from becoming disruptive for others involved. These may include, but are not limited to: conferences, counseling, parental involvement, referrals to Family Services or other outside agencies, in-school suspension, suspension outside facility, or even expulsion. Because suspension/expulsion removes the student from the learning environment of the classroom and the interaction with the teacher and others, removal should be used only when it is determined to be in the best interest of the offending student and necessary to the protection, safety and learning environment of other students.

II. LAW

(Utah Code 53A-11-901) School District discipline policies...
The Legislature recognizes that every student in the public schools should have the opportunity to learn in an environment which is safe, conducive to the learning process, and free from unnecessary disruption."
"To foster such an environment, each school board, shall adopt conduct and discipline policies for the public schools within the district."
"The local Superintendent and designated employees of the district shall enforce the policies for the public so that students demonstrating unacceptable behavior an their parents or guardians understand that such behavior will not be tolerated and will be dealt with in accordance with the district's discipline policies."
Causes for disciplinary action to be taken by Piute School District officials include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Poor attendance which affects the students' achievement and/or grades, threatens loss of credit, and possibly makes the student ineligible to participate in school activities and/or to graduate. (See Piute School District Policy #4010).
  2. Behavior that is disruptive in the classroom, on school grounds, on school vehicles, or in connection with school-related activities or events. (Disruptive meaning behavior that interferes with the learning atmosphere or that interferes with activity to the extent that authorities must deal with it). A habitually disruptive student is defined as one who has caused disruption in any of the above settings more than five times during the school year.
  3. Use or possession, sale or distribution of a controlled substance, imitation/counterfeit controlled substance, alcohol, tobacco, and/or drug paraphernalia at school, on campus or off in conjunction with a school approved activity, or on school authorized transportation. (School District Policies #4102, 4105, 4091 A)
  4. Continued willful disobedience or open and persistent defiance of proper authority.
  5. Willful destruction or defacing of school property.
  6. Behavior or threatened behavior which poses an immediate and significant threat to the welfare, safety, or morals of other students in the school, or to school personnel or to the operation of the school.
  7. Any serious violation affecting another student or staff member, including the possession of a weapon, explosive, firearm, projectile, or flammable material occurring in a school building, in or on school property, or in conjunction with any school activity.
    1. Crimes of theft, robbery, assault, or the commission of an act involving the use of force or
    2. A threat of force which, if committed by an adult, would be a felony or class A misdemeanor.
  8. Violation of District Policy 4091/B. (Gang Symbols, Gang Participation, and Weapons Possession).
  9. Behavior that was initiated, willful, and overt and required the attention of school personnel to deal with it.
Utah  Code 53A-11-904

III.    DISCIPLINARY ACTION

For the causes given above, the resulting discipline will vary. Each case shall be decided individually.
Penalties which may be imposed by the principal or vice-principal (or designee) include, but are not limited to: short term suspensions (any number of days from one to ten in school or another setting), to an expulsion by the school board or the school board's executive officer for up to one full school year. In extremely dangerous situations, a no-return expulsion by the board may be imposed.
Utah Code 53A-11-905 (1) and (2)


The suspension and expulsion process begins with the following, but the order of events and time frame may vary depending upon the incident and the responsiveness of parents.

  1. Fact finding. Verify and document student behavior. (excessive absences, behavior problems, etc.)
  2. Communication. Notify student and parent/guardian of the problem and the attempts made by all concerned parties to resolve the problem.
  3. Decision to suspend. When after attempts have not resolved the problem, the student shall be afforded Due Process as outlined in detail in section V. of this policy.
  4. a.that the student has been suspended
    1. the grounds for the suspension
    2. the period of time for which the student is suspended
    3. the time and place for the parent/guardian to meet with the suspending authority to review the suspension
    4. that the student has the right to appeal
  5. Note:    If an expulsion hearing is pending (not less than ten (10) or more than forty-five (45) days), the suspension may be extended by the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent ( or designee) until such hearing, following a meeting with the student's parents/guardian concerning the allegation and proposed disciplinary action.
  6. Utah Code 53A-I1-905-4 (c)
  7. Second suspension. If the behavior resulting in the first suspension persists, a second suspension may be made.
  8. Intervention by others. At the discretion of the principal, referral may be made to the appropriate school support agencies to seek assistance in resolving the problem. Such agencies include, but are not limited to, parents, Family Services, and the Juvenile Court.
  9. A recommendation for expulsion is initiated by the principal and is directed to the Piute School Board's executive officer.

IV.    ALTERNATIVES TO SUSPENSION/EXPULSION

Each local school board shall establish alternatives to suspension, policies that allow a student to remain in school by providing an in-school suspension program or encouraging the parent/guardian, or a designated adult with the consent of the student's teacher or teachers, to attend class(es) with the student for a period of time specified by suspending authority. If the parent or guardian does not agree to attend class with the student or fails to attend class with the student, the student shall be suspended in accordance with the conduct and discipline policies of the district.
Utah Code 53A-11-906 (H.B. 209, Passed 01/01/94, Approved 03/21/94, Effective 01/01/94, 
Laws of Utah 1994, Chapter 2S2).


V.    PROCEDURES OF SUSPENSION/EXPULSION

A suspension is the temporary removal of a student from class(es) or school. A suspension can be determined by the principal or vice-principal (or designee), the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent (or designee). The major function of suspension is to alert the parents/guardian that there is a serious problem that needs the attention and effort of the student, the parent/guardian, and the school.
It is important that contact with the parent/guardian be made, along with other minimal due process procedures, prior to suspension, namely the right to know what the alleged offense is and the right to provide an explanation.
There may be instances, however, when a student is subject to an immediate suspension without due process if his/her behavior presents an immediate danger to persons (himself/herself included) or property. In such cases, the due process procedures will be held as soon as practicable. The student still should be supervised until a responsible person is made aware of the suspension, and the school is given permission to release the student to the custody of an adult or to leave the premises.
An expulsion is the formal process of dismissing a student from school for an extended period of time, up to one year. Expulsion also transfers the primary responsibility of providing educational programs for the student during the expulsion period from the school to the home, and makes the parent/guardian responsible for compliance with the compulsory education act for the duration of the expulsion. A student can be expelled only by the Piute Board of Education or its designated executive officer.
Utah Code 53A-11-907 (2)

Before an expulsion, the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent (or designee) shall provide the student a hearing at which the student is afforded the following due process procedures:

  1. Prior notice of the charges and the proposed sanctions so as to afford a reasonable opportunity for preparation. The notice shall be in writing and the student shall be notified of the hearing date.
  2. Right to a hearing to be held in executive session.
  3. Right to an adult representative and/or legal counsel at the hearing.
  4. Opportunity to testify and to present evidence and witnesses in his/her defense.
  5. Opportunity to examine the evidence presented by the school administration and to question witnesses. (However, the Board or its executive officer may, upon a finding that good cause exists, determine that the disclosure of the identity of a witness and the testimony of that witness at the hearing would subject the witness to an unreasonable risk of harm. Upon this determination, the testimony of the witness may be presented at the hearing in the form of sworn declarations which shall be examined only by the governing board or the hearing officer. Copies of these sworn declarations which are edited in such a manner as to delete the name and identity of the witness, shall be made available to the pupil).
  6. A summary written record shall be maintained by any means. An electronic recording may be made; however, the
  7. electronic recording is not the official record of the hearing.
  8. All witnesses appearing at the hearing shall be placed under oath.
  9. If the executive officer conducting the hearing recommends expulsion, findings of fact in support of the recommendation shall be prepared.

The decision will be based exclusively on the evidence presented at the hearing. The final decision shall be communicated to the student and parent/guardian within ten (10) working days. School district officials and the student have the right to legal counsel at any step in the process.

VI.    RIGHT TO APPEAL

  1. The expelled student has the right to appeal the decision of the executive officer by requesting a review hearing before the Piute School Board of Education. This appeal must be in writing and must be received in the offices of the School District within 30 calendar days following receipt of the decision of the executive officer. (Pending a final decision by the District Board, the decision of the executive officer to expel shall remain in force).
  2. This review hearing will not be a hearing de novo and will be held within thirty (30) calendar days following receipt of the request for the hearing.
  3. The Superintendent will provide a copy of the record of the expulsion hearing to the Piute School Board of Education and to the appellant in addition to supporting documents and records within fifteen (15) working days of the student's request.
  4. The hearing before the Board shall be held in executive session.
  5. No evidence other than that contained in the record of the original hearing may be heard.
  6. The review of the Piute School Board of Education of the decision of the executive officer shall be limited to the following issues:
    1. Did school officials meet with the procedural requirements of the policy?
    2. Was the decision to expel the student supported by the findings of fact?
    3. Were the findings of fact supported by the evidence?
  7. Following the review hearing, the Board shall enter an order either affirming or reversing the decision of the executive officer.
  8. The decision of the Board of Education shall be binding upon the student and shall be served upon the student in writing by personal service or by certified mail.

Revised 3/9/99

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