Students/Suspensions

California Education Code

The California Education Code is the written law and guiding principle that guides decisions about suspensions from school. A suspension is a temporary removal from school.

Intent of the Law

EC §48900.5.

Suspension shall be Imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct. However, a pupil. including an individual with exceptional needs as defined in Section 56026, may be suspended for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900 upon a first offense, if tile principal or superintendent of schools determines that the pupil violated subdivision (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) of Section 48900 or that the pupil's presence causes a danger to persons or property or threatens to disrupt the instructional process.

School Jurisdiction

EC §48900(s)

A pupil may not be suspended or expelled for any of the acts enumerated in this section, unless that act is related to school activity or school attendance occurring within a school under the jurisdiction of the superintendent or principal or occurring within any other school district A pupil may be suspended or expelled for acts that are enumerated in this section and related to school activity or attendance that occur at any time, including. but not limited to, any of the following:

1  While on school grounds.

2  While going to or coming from school.

3  During the lunch period whether on or off the campus.

4  During, or while going to or coming from, a school sponsored activity.

Alternatives to suspension

EC §48900 (v)

A superintendent of the school district or principal may use his or her discretion to provide alternatives to suspension or expulsion , including, but not limited to, counseling and an anger management program, for a pupil subject to discipline under this section.

EC §48900 (w)

It is the intent of the Legislature that alternatives to suspension or expulsion be imposed against any pupil who is truant, tardy, or otherwise absent from school activities.

EC §48900 (u)

As used In this section, "school property· Includes, but is not limited to, electronic files and databases.

EC §48900.6.

As part of or instead of disciplinary action prescribed by this article, the principal of a school, the principal's designee, the superintendent of schools, or the governing board may require a pupil to perform community service on school grounds or, with written permission of the parent or guardian of the pupil, off school grounds. during the pupil's non-school hours. For the purposes of this section, "community service" may Include, but Is not limited to. work performed In the community or on school grounds in the areas of outdoor beautification, community or campus betterment, and teacher, peer, or youth assistance programs. This section does not apply If a pupil has been suspended, pending expulsion, pursuant to Section 48915. However, this section applies if the recommended expulsion Is not Implemented or Is, itself, suspended by stipulation or other administrative action.

Lawful Causes of Suspension

EC §48900

A pupil may not be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion, unless the superintendent or the principal of the school In which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed an act as defined pursuant to any of subdivisions (a) to (r), Inclusive:

(a) (1) Caused, attempted t o cause, or threatened to cause physical Injury to another person.

(a) (2) willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self defense.

(b) Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished any firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of any object of this type, the pupil had obtained written permission to possess the Item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal.

(c) Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished , or been under the influence of, any controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11 053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind.

(d) Unlawfully offered , arranged, or negotiated to sell any controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind, and e it her sold, delivered, or otherwise furnished to any person another liquid, substance, or material and represented the liquid, substance, or material as a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant.

(e) Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion.

(f) Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property or private property.

(g) Stolen or attempted to steal school property or private property.

(h) Possessed or used tobacco, or any products containing tobacco or nicotine products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars. miniature cigars, clove cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, chew packets, and betel. However, this section does not prohibit use or possession by a pupil of his or her own prescription products.

(i) Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity.

(j) Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell any drug paraphernalia, as defined In Section 11014.5 of the Health and Safety Code.

(k) Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators. school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties.

(l) Knowingly received stolon school property or private property.

(m) Possessed an imitation firearm. As used in this section, "imitation firearm" means a replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to conclude that the replica is a firearm.

(n) Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault as defined in Section 261, 266c, 286, 288, 288a, or 289 of the Penal Code or committed a sexual battery as defined in Section 243.4 of the Penal Code.

(o) Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a pupil who is a complaining witness or a witness in a school disciplinary proceeding for the purpose of either preventing that pupil from being a witness or retaliating against that pupil for being a witness, or both.

(p) Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell, or sold the prescription drug Soma.

(q) Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing. For purposes of this subdivision, "hazing" means a method of initiation or pre-initiation into a pupil organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational Institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or

(r) Engaged In an act of bullying, including, but not limited to, bullying committed by means of an electronic act, as defined in subdivisions (f) and (g) of Section 32261, directed specifically toward a pupil or school personnel.

(t) A pupil who aids or abets, as defined in Section 31 of the Penal Code, the infliction or attempted infliction of physical injury to another person may suffer suspension, but not expulsion, pursuant to this section. except that a pupil who has been adjudged by a juvenile court to have committed, as an aider and abettor, a crime of physical violence in which the victim suffered great bodily injury or serious bodily injury shall be subject to discipline pursuant to subdivision (a).

EC §48900.2.

In addition to the reasons specified in Section 48900, a pupil may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has committed sexual harassment as defined in Section 212.5. (Grades 4-12 only)

 EC §48900.3.

In addition to the reasons set forth in Sections 48900 and 48900.2, a pupil in any of grades 4 to 12, inclusive, may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has caused, attempted to cause, threatened to cause, or participated in an act of, hate violence, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 233.

EC §48900.4.

In addition to the grounds specified in Sections 48900 and 48900.2, a pupil enrolled in any of grades 4 to 12, inclusive, may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school In which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has intentionally engaged in harassment, threats, or Intimidation, directed against school district personnel or pupils, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonably expected effect of materially disrupting class work, creating substantial disorder. and invading the rights of either school personnel or pupils by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment.

EC §48900.7.

(a) In addition to the reasons specified in Sections 48900, 48900.2, 48900.3, and 48900.4, a pupil may be suspended from school or recommended for expulsion if the superintendent or the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled determines that the pupil has made terroristic threats against school officials or school property, or both.

(b) For the purposes of this section, "terroristic threat" shall include any statement, whether written or oral, by 8 person who willfully threatens to commit 8 crime whicl1 will result in death, great bodily Injury to another person, or properly damage in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000}, with the specific intent that the statement is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for Ills or her immediate family's safety, or for the protection of school district property, or the personal property of the person threatened or his or her immediate family.

EC §48915 (a)

Except as provided in subdivisions (c) and (e), the principal shall recommend the expulsion of a pupil for any of the following acts committed at school or at a school activity off school grounds, unless the principal finds that expulsion is inappropriate, due to the particular circumstance:

1. Causing serious physical injury to another person, except in self-defense.

2. Possession of any knife or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the pupil.

3. Unlawful possession of any controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code, except for the first offense for the possession of not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis.

4. Robbery or extortion.

6. Assault or battery, as defined in Sections 240 and 242 of the Penal Code, upon any school employee.

EC §48915 (c)

The principal shall immediately suspend, pursuant to Section 48911, and shall recommend expulsion of a pupil that he or she determines has committed any of the following acts at school or at a school activity off school grounds:

1. Possessing, selling, or otherwise furnishing a firearm. This subdivision does not apply to an act of possessing a firearm if the pupil had obtained prior written permission to possess the firearm from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal. This subdivision applies to an act of possessing a firearm only if the possession is verified by an employee of a school district.

2. Brandishing a knife at another person.

3. Unlawfully selling a controlled substance listed in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11 053) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code.

4. Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900 or committing a sexual battery as defined in subdivision (n) of Section 48900.

5. Possession of an explosive.

Board Policies and Administrative Regulations

The full and complete texts of the Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education Polices and Administrative Regulations are found at the District Website under Board of Education.

District Code of Conduct

Each year the District is obligated to inform parents of the district standards lor student conduct and behavior. This Code of Conduct is found in the Parent/Student Handbook. The Code of Conduct also states the minimum and maximum consequence for each violation of the Code of Conduct. It is not unusual for parents to bring this handbook to an expulsion hearing and question the administrator about how a decision was made, or that a decision was made that was contrary to district policy or practice. Keep these points in mind:

1. Read, know, and follow the Code of Conduct as an operating manual. Be familiar and refer to the Parent/Student Hand book located on the Alhambra Unified School District website.

2. Document and log your interaction with students on Power School.

3. Remember that all student records are available to the parent. Be sure that your written comments are professional, accurate, objective, and state just the facts.

4. Depending on the violation and the incident, it is best to use progressive discipline. Start with the minimum intervention and progress to wards the maximum if the behavior docs not improve.

5. Review the Code of Conduct annually. Keep a copy near your desk as a quick reference.

IDEA, Suspensions, Expulsions, and the Special Education Student

General Overview

Unless specifically excluded in the IEP/504, a special education student may be suspended from school for violations of California Education Code just like his/her general education peers. Do not rely solely on the Power School schedule of classes 10 identify a student with special needs. The administrator should consult with the psychologist when a special education student:

1. has a second (2nd) violation of education code resulting in suspension; and/or,

2. has reached seven (7) days of cumulative days of suspension in one year.

3. to determine if a behavioral plan has, or needs to be, put into place that address suspension behaviors.

4. requires changes or amendments to the student's placement and/or related services, these are determined by the IEP/504 team (i.e., bus transportation, schedule/class changes, placement change).

If a student is suspended for 5 consecutive days or 7 cumulative days a manifestation IEP /504 meeting must be held.

The purpose of the IEP for Behavior Interventions is:

1. to conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and develop a Behavior Support Plan (BSP) if one does not exist; OR.

2. to review and modify an existing BSP to address the behavior.

The purpose of the IEP/504 meeting for Manifestation Determination is to review the relationship between the student's disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action.

The IEP/504 team must consider all relevant information including:

1. evaluation and diagnostic results;

2. information supplied by the parent;

3. observations of the student; and,

4. the student's IEP/504 and placement.

The appropriate Special Education Director MUST BE contactod whenever a manifestation IEP is going to be scheduled.

A special education student may be recommended for expulsion from the school district for violations of California Education Code just like his/her general education peers as long as certain conditions are met. These conditions are reviewed at the Manifestation Determination IEP/504 meeting. At this IEP/504 meeting the team is responsible for determining if the behavior in question is a manifestation of the student' s disability or not. The discussion at the IE P/504 meeting will focus on these questions and at the conclusion of the meeting; the team will make one of two determinations :

1. If the IEP/504 team determines that the student's behavior was a manifestation of his/her disability, the student will not be recommended for expulsion. However, the IEP/504 team can make other recommendations such as change of placement, additional services, and a behavior plan. The following questions should be considered by the IEP/504 team:

• Did the student's disability impair understanding the potential impact and outcome of this behavior?

• Did the disability impair the student's ability to control tbe behavior?

• Pursuant to the IEP/504 did the student understand the rules of conduct?

2. If the IEP/504 team determines that the student's behavior was not a manifestation of his/her disability, the student will be disciplined in the same manner as general education students; and, therefore the recommendation for expulsion can proceed. The following questions should be considered by the IEP/504 team:

• Was there a behavior plan in place prior to the incident? If not, would one probably have prevented this behavior?

• Pursuant to the IEP/504, was the student in the correct placement prior to the incident?

• Pursuant to the IEP/504, is the student currently in the correct placement?

• Pursuant to the IEP/504, were all supports and services provided prior to the incident?

• Pursuant to the IEP/504, are supports and services currently in place?

• Was the student receiving FAPE and was the IEP/504 being fully implemented?

Students with 504 Plans

Students determined to be disabled under Section 504 adhere to the same procedural rights available to special education students as described above. Contact the Director or Student Services for a consultation and directives on how to proceed with 504 students who arc being recommended for expulsion.

Students Not Yet Eligible for Special Education and a Recommendation to Expel

A student not determined eligible for special education who is recommended for expulsion may assert IDEA protections if the district had knowledge that the student is disabled before the student violated the education code that resulted in a recommendation to expel.

The district will be deemed to have knowledge that a student may be disabled if:

1. the parent expressed concern in writing to school/district personnel;

2. the students' behavior or performance demonstrated the need for special education assessment and or services;

3. the parent requested a special education evaluation; or,

4. school district personnel expressed concern about the student to other district personnel pursuant to the district referral system. In this case, the district may:

a. delay disciplinary proceedings until the completion of the IEP/504 process;

b. maintain the student in the placement determined by the district. and/or,

c. placement may be changed pending the assessment if the student bas committed an Education Code violation of 48915 or other serious offense

The district will not be deemed to have knowledge if, as a result of having the above information, if the district

1. conducted an evaluation and detem1ined that the student was not disabled; or,

2. provided prior written notice to the parent of its determination that an evaluation was not necessary.

If the district did not have knowledge that the student may be disabled before the behavior and violation of education code, in most cases the student:

1. may not assert IDEA protections; and

2. may be disciplined like his/her general education peers.

If a parent requests special education evaluation at the time of the disciplinary action, the district must adhere to all Education code timelines and:

1. complete the evaluation;

2. convene an IEP/504 team meeting to determine eligibility;

3. and, if the student is eligible develop an IEP/504:

a. delay disciplinary proceedings until the completion of the IEP/504 process;

b. maintain the student in the placement determined by the district, and/or,

c. placement may be changed pending the assessment if the student has committed an Education Code violation of 48915 or other serious offense

If the student is not eligible for special education, disciplinary action will proceed.

District Protocols for Suspensions

Referral

Most violations of the Education Code are brought to the attention of the administrator by a staff member, usually a teacher. Staff members often will send a written statement on the district referral form with a description of the alleged misbehavior. Sometimes students will tell the administrator that there has been some misbehavior that needs the attention of the administrator. On occasion, members of the community may call the school or the district with a ''tip." All of these methods are known as the source of the referral.

Investigation

Once the administrator has been notified that there is an alleged violation, s/he should begin an investigation to dete1mine if there is sufficient evidence or truth to support the allegation. Those violations that are a matter of safety weapons, fights, illegal substances) have a sense of urgency and timeliness to protect students and staff, reduce injuries, preserve evidence, or prevent property damage. These require immediate attention. Other possible alleged violations can wait for the investigation to begin the following day or days. When conducting your investigation, keep these points in mind:

1. Keep your investigation confidential and as private as possible.

2. Interview the student named in the referral first, then others as needed. 3. Have the student write a written statement. Make sure student and adult witnesses write neatly and legibly. All statements must be written in black ink.

3. Have all student and adult witnesses write first and last name of students and staff involved in the written statements.

4. Make student and adult witnesses print and sign all statements using their first and last names. The administrator must also print and sign his/her name.

5. Document. your investigation; sign, put (he date, and time on phone calls, on your notes and referral forms.
6. If there is sufficient cause for suspension, proceed as required.

6. Have student write his/her statement and sign the suspension form before he/she leaves school campus.

Pre-Suspension Conference

Call in the student and let him/her know the findings of your investigation and your decision to suspend him/her. Complete the "Report of Suspension" form with the student. Education Code requires that a conference be held with the student before suspending the student unless there are compelling reasons that prohibit it. Document as required.

Suspension Report

The district uses a standardized form to inform parents of the student's suspension. This form is downloadable on Power School under Custom Screens. Make sure that the form is complete and accurate. Do not fill out the form when angry, upset, or hurried for time. Remember that this is a legal document and will be reviewed by parents.

Parent Contact

It is very important that the administrator contact the parent as soon as possible after a decision to suspend the student is made. Contact the parent using the phone numbers available on Power School or emergency cards. If you are able to contact the parent, indicate that information on the form.

1. If you cannot locate the parent by phone, use the contact numbers on the emergency card. It is assumed that the individuals on the card are of such a relationship that you could give the message to the individual.

2. If you attempt to contact the parent at a place of work and can only leave a message, leave your name, phone number, and that you are calling from the student's school.

3.  Document your attempts to contact the parent on the form. If messages are left, document with whom the message was left and the date and time the message was left.

Post-Suspension Conference

It is very important that the administrator meets with the parent and student to review the incident and discuss expectations related to behavior. The student, regardless of age, should always be present at this conference. The parent may request that the student leave for some portion of the meeting. This may be very appropriate with younger students.

Some Do's for the conference

1. Be calm, professional, and objective.

2. Be respectful and try to understand the parents' concerns.

3. Have your facts about the incident.

4. Be ready to explain how you conducted your investigation and how you came to your decision.

5. Ask the student if s/he has anything to add at this time.

6. Explain school rules, district expectations, and education codes as needed.

7. Review the student's grades, progress, and attendance.

8. Review progressive discipline and further consequences should the behavior not change.

9. Update your telephone contacts.

10. Be respectful, calm, professional, and objective.

Some Don'ts for the conference

1. Don't lose your cool, yell at the parent, get personal, or be disrespectful.

2. Don't discuss the disciplinary action you took with another student, The correct answer is, "Under the federal laws of confidentiality, I con 't discuss another student wilh you. 1 con tell you that appropriate action was taken. " [The Federal Educational Records Privacy Act (FERPA)]

3. Don't disclose the names of other students, including their ELL or special education status, or action taken. (FERPA.)

4. Don't comment on the parent 's abilities as a parent.

5. Don' t make indefensible, inappropriate comments.

Instructions for Completing the Suspension Report

1. Power School will import all demographic information for student including name, birth date, ID number, gender, and whether student is a special ed student/504 plan.

2. Was a police report filed? Check Yes. No, pending. If yes, type in the report number.

3. Was the student arrested or cited? Check Yes or No. Type in citation number.

4. Type in the date of the first day of suspension. Generally, the first day of suspension will be the following school day.

5, Fill in the date the student is expected to return to school (watch weekend/holiday dates.)

6. Fill in the total days of suspension for this incident. 1-4 days are standard; 5 is maximum and expulsion is usually recommended and/or you have consulted with Student Services.

7. Fill in the total days of suspension this year including the current suspension.

8. Using the drop down menu, select education code(s) student violated.

9. Write a short and precise description of the behavior that resulted in suspension. (See page 14 for more details about this section.)

10. Have the student check the appropriate box. Thee student can write his/her version. Have the student check the box him/herself.

11. Have the student sign the report. If there is no signature, explain why.

12. Check one of the boxes indicating if expulsion is recommended.

13. Schedule the parent conference and give the office phone number.

14. Sign the report yourself.

15. If Expulsion is being recommended, the principal of the school must sign the suspension form.

16. Indicate if you contacted the parent. If necessary, indicate why contact was not made.

17. Once the student returns from suspension, check if a conference was held or not.

 

Suspension Form

 


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