The Vigo County School Corporation’s mission is to equip students with lifelong learning skills and prepare them to become productive and responsible citizens. Toward that end, the School Corporation desires to use progressive discipline of students in an effort to avoid interruption or disruption within educational programs and activities while also pursuing restorative goals that seek to avoid exclusionary punishment, if possible. In accordance with Indiana law, administrators and staff members may take the following actions:
- CLASSROOM CONSEQUENCE: A teacher may prescribe appropriate classroom-level correction to encourage compliance with expectations and policies.
- REMOVAL FROM CLASS OR ACTIVITY – TEACHER:
- A middle or high school teacher may remove a student from the teacher’s class or activity for a period of up to 1 school day if the student is assigned regular or additional work to be completed in another school setting.
- An elementary teacher may remove a student from the teacher’s classroom or activity for a period of up to one (1) school day if the student is assigned regular or additional work to be completed in another school setting.
- If a teacher removes a student from class under a) or b) above, the principal may place the student in one of the following settings: another appropriate class, another appropriate setting, or in-school suspension. The student may not be placed back into the original class until the principal has a meeting with the teacher, the student, and the student’s parents to determine an appropriate behavior plan for the student. If the parents do not attend this meeting within a reasonable time, the principal may place the student in another class or educational setting.
- A student may also lose bus transportation privileges as a consequence. (NOTE: Loss of bus transportation for students under an IEP or Section 504 plan may be considered equal to an out of school suspension.)
- ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENT/SUSPENSION FROM SCHOOL – PRINCIPAL: A school principal (or designee) may place the student in an alternative learning environment, which is the preferred consequence, or deny a student the right to attend school and/or take part in any school function for a period of up to 10 school days.
- EXPULSION: A student may be expelled from school for a period no longer than the remainder of the current semester plus the following semester.
NOTE: Students under IEPS or Section 504 shall receive separate considerations and may not be eligible for some forms of discipline.
GROUNDS FOR SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION:
The grounds for suspension or expulsion listed in Section A below apply when a student is:
- On school grounds immediately before, during, and immediately after school hours and at any other time when the school is being used by a school group (including summer school);
- Off school grounds at a school activity, function, or event; or
- Traveling to or from school or a school activity, function, or event.
A school activity, function, or event includes e-Learning, virtual instruction, and remote learning days.
A violation by a student listed in Sections A and B below is subject to a range of disciplinary consequences imposed by teachers or administrators intended to be progressive in nature and move to a more serious consequence with each violation of the same or similar rule. In recognizing that violations of certain rules and the resulting consequences will be dependent upon the age of the student, the number of prior violations and the severity of the violation, the principal of each building level shall develop the minimum and maximum consequences for each rule for their building that is to be approved by the board annually and published in the student handbook for each building. The appropriate consequence should be the least severe that will adequately address any danger to the student and other persons, prevent further disruption of activities, and promote student achievement.
- Student Misconduct and/or Substantial Disobedience
Grounds for suspension or expulsion are student misconduct and/or substantial disobedience. The following rules define student misconduct and/or substantial disobedience for which a student may be suspended or expelled:
- Using violence, force, noise, coercion, threat, intimidation, fear, passive resistance, or other conduct constituting an interference or disruption with school purposes or urging other students to engage in such conduct. The following enumeration is only illustrative and not limited to the type of conduct prohibited by this rule:
- Occupying any school building, school grounds, or part thereof with intent to deprive others of its use.
- Blocking the entrance or exits of any school building or corridor or room therein with intent to deprive others of lawful access to or from, or use of the building, corridor, or room.
- Setting fire to or damaging any school building or school property.
- Prevention of or attempting to prevent by physical act the convening or continued functioning of any school or education function, or of any meeting or assembly on school property.
- Intentionally making noise or acting in any manner so as to interfere with the ability of any teacher or any other person to conduct or participate in an education function.
- Engaging in any kind of aggressive behavior that does physical or psychological harm to another person or urging of other students to engage in such conduct. Prohibited conduct includes coercion, harassment, hazing, or other comparable conduct.
- Engaging in violence and/or threat of violence against any student, staff member, and/or other persons. Prohibited violent or threatening conduct includes threatening, planning, or conspiring with others to engage in a violent activity.
*Zero tolerance if directed toward school staff
- Causing or attempting to cause damage to school property, stealing or attempting to steal school property.
- Causing or attempting to cause damage to private property, stealing or attempting to steal private property.
- Causing or attempting to cause physical injury or behaving in such a way as could reasonably cause physical injury to any person. Self-defense or reasonable action undertaken on the reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect oneself and/or another person is not a violation of this rule.
- Threatening or intimidating any person for any purpose, including obtaining money or anything of value.
*Zero tolerance if threat or intimidation is directed toward school staff
- Threatening (whether specific or general in nature) injury to persons or damage to property, regardless of whether there is a present ability to commit the act.
*Zero tolerance if threat is directed to school staff
1 Zero Tolerance: The Board of School Trustees hereby adopts a policy of Zero Tolerance for those specific acts of misconduct identified in this policy by an asterisk (*). All middle and high school principals who have preliminarily found that a student has committed one or more of those specific acts of misconduct shall suspend such student from school in the manner provided hereinafter in this policy and by Indiana law, unless the student’s disabilities require a different procedure. The principal shall file a written charge with the Hearing Officer requesting that the student be expelled from school for the maximum period permitted by Indiana law. All elementary principals may exercise their individual discretion whether or not to exercise this action regarding filing an expulsion request for all rules, with the exception relative to possession of a firearm or destructive device. When filing an expulsion request, the principal shall forward a written charge requesting the Hearing Officer to expel the student from school for the maximum period permitted by Indiana law.
- Failing to report the actions or plans of another person to a teacher or administrator where those actions or plans, if carried out, could result in harm to another person or persons or damage property when the student has information about such actions or plans.
- Possessing, handling, or transmitting a knife or any object that can reasonably be considered a weapon, is represented to be a weapon, or looks like a weapon.
- Possessing, using, transmitting, or being affected by any controlled substance, prescription drug, narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, alcoholic beverage, intoxicant or depressant of any kind, or any paraphernalia used in connection with the listed substances. Also prohibited is the consumption of any of the stated substances immediately before attending school or a school function or event. [Low THC Extract products as defined by state law are included in this rule and/or violations of the school corporation administration of medication policy are included in this rule.] [Low THC Extract products as defined by state law are excluded from this rule.]
*Zero Tolerance Rule
- Exception to Rule 11: a student may possess and self-administer prescribed medication for the disease or condition if the student’s parent has filed a written authorization with the building principal. The written authorization must be filed annually. The written authorization must be completed by a physician and must include the following information:
- The nature of the student’s disease or medical condition shall or may require administration of the prescribed medication during the school day.
- The student has been instructed in how to self-administer the prescribed medication.
- The student is authorized to possess and self-administer the prescribed medication.
This exception, however, does not apply to use of prescribed medication by anyone other than the individual to whom the prescription is written, nor does this exception permit the unlawful distribution of prescribed medication.
- Possessing, using, or transmitting any substance which is represented to be or looks like a narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, alcoholic beverage, stimulant, depressant, or intoxicant of any kind.
*Zero Tolerance Rule
- Possessing, using, transmitting, or being affected by caffeine-based substances other than beverages, substances containing phenylpropanolamine (PPA)*, stimulants of any kind, or any other similar over-the-counter products.
*Zero Tolerance issue if the substance contains PPA
- Possessing, using, distributing, purchasing, or selling tobacco or nicotine- containing products of any kind or in any form. These products include e- cigarettes, vaping devices, any type of look-alike products or other related products or devices associated with tobacco or nicotine use or electronic nicotine delivery systems.
- Offering to sell or agreeing to purchase a controlled substance or alcoholic beverages.
- Failing to comply with directions of teachers or other school personnel during any period of time when the student is properly under their supervision, where the failure constitutes an interference with school purposes or an educational function.
- Failing to completely and truthfully respond to questions from a staff member regarding school-related matters including potential violations of the student conduct rules or state or federal law. (NOTE: If the staff member is a uniformed law enforcement officer, the student may have the right to be silent under the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions.)
- Falsely accusing any person of sexual harassment, or of violating a school rule, and/or a state or federal law.
- Engaging in any activity forbidden by the laws of Indiana that constitutes an interference with school purposes or an educational function.
- Aiding, assisting, agreeing or conspiring with another person to violate these student conduct rules or state or federal law.
- Engaging in academic dishonesty, including cheating, intentionally plagiarizing, wrongfully giving or receiving help during an academic examination, and wrongfully obtaining test copies or scores.
- Taking, recording, displaying and/or distributing pictures (digital or otherwise), video or audio recordings of a student or staff member without the consent of that student or staff member.
- Possessing sexually related materials which include images displaying uncovered breasts, genitals, or buttocks.
- “Sexting” or using a cell phone or other personal communication device to possess or send text or email messages containing images reasonably interpreted as indecent or sexual in nature. In addition to taking any disciplinary action, phones will be confiscated, and any images suspected to violate criminal laws will be referred to law enforcement authorities.
- Engaging in pranks or other similar activity that could result in harm to another person.
- Using or possessing gunpowder, ammunition, or a flammable substance.
- Violating any board policy or administrative rules that are reasonably necessary in carrying out school purposes or an educational function, including, but not limited to:
- engaging in sexual behavior on school property;
- engaging in sexual harassment of a student or staff member;
- disobedience of administrative authority;
- willful absence or tardiness of students;
- engaging in speech or conduct, including clothing, jewelry or hair style, that is profane, indecent, lewd, vulgar, or refers to drugs, tobacco, alcohol, sex, or illegal activity;
- violation of the school corporation’s acceptable use of technology policy or rules;
- violation of the school corporation’s administration of medication policy or rules;
- possessing or using a laser pointer or similar device.
- Possessing or using an electronic device (e.g. cellular phone, tablet computer, pager, digital camera, electronic equipment) in a manner which constitutes an interference with a school purpose or educational function, an invasion of privacy, or an act of academic dishonesty, or is profane, indecent, or obscene. In addition to being disciplined, students who use an electronic device in a manner which is inconsistent with this rule may have the device confiscated by school administration. Such device will be returned to the parent.
- Possessing or using on school grounds during school hours an electronic device, a cellular telephone, or any other telecommunication device, including a look-a- like device, in a situation not related to a school purpose or educational function or using such device to engage in an activity that violates school rules. This rule is not violated when the student has been given clear permission from a school administrator or a designated staff member to possess or use one of the devices listed in this rule. In addition to being disciplined, students who use an electronic device in a manner which is inconsistent with this rule may have the device confiscated by school administration. Such device will be returned to the parent.
- Any student conduct rule the school building principal establishes and gives notice of to students and parents.
Bullying another student will be grounds for disciplinary action ranging from correction, suspension, or expulsion. Bullying is defined as overt, repeated acts or gestures, including verbal or written communication transmitted; physical act committed; or any other behaviors committed by a student or group of students against another student with intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the other student.
- Bullying committed by students toward other students is strictly prohibited. Engaging in bullying conduct described in this rule by use of data or computer software that is accessed through any computer, computer system, computer network, or cellular telephone or other wireless or cellular communication device, is also prohibited.
- For purposes of this rule, bullying is defined as overt, unwanted, repeated acts or gestures, including verbal or written communications or images transmitted in any manner including electronically or digitally, physical acts committed, aggression, or any other similar behaviors that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment that:
- places the targeted student in reasonable fear of harm to the targeted
student’s person or property;
- has a substantially detrimental effect on the targeted student’s physical or
- has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s
academic performance; or
- has the effect of substantially interfering with the targeted student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, and privileges provided by the school.
- This rule may be applied regardless of the physical location of the bullying behavior when a student committing bullying behavior and the targeted student attend a school within the school corporation and disciplinary action is reasonably necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or prevent an unreasonable threat to the rights of other students to a safe and peaceful learning environment.
- Any student or parent who has knowledge of conduct in violation of this rule or any student who feels he/she has been bullied in violation of this rule should immediately report the conduct to the principal or designee who has responsibility for all investigations of student misconduct including bullying. A student or parent may also report the conduct to a teacher or counselor who will be responsible for notifying the principal or designee. This report may be made anonymously.
- The Principal or designee shall investigate immediately all reports of bullying made pursuant to the provisions of this rule. Such investigation must include any action or appropriate responses that may be taken immediately to address the bullying conduct wherever it takes place. The parents of the bully and the targeted student(s) shall be notified on a regular, periodic basis of the progress and the findings of the investigation and of any remedial action that has been taken.
- The Principal or designee will be responsible for working with the school counselors and other community resources to provide information and/or follow-up services to support the targeted student and to educate the student engaging in bullying behavior on the effects of bullying and the prevention of bullying. In addition, the school administrator and school counselors will be responsible for determining if the bullying behavior is a violation of law required to be reported to law enforcement under Indiana law based upon their reasonable belief. Such determination should be made as soon as possible and once this determination is made, the report should be made immediately to law enforcement.
- False reporting of bullying conduct as defined in this rule by a student shall be considered a violation of this rule and will result in any appropriate disciplinary action or sanctions if the investigation of the report finds it to be false.
- A violation of this rule prohibiting bullying may result in any appropriate disciplinary action or sanction, including suspension and/or expulsion.
- Failure by a school employee who has a responsibility to report bullying or investigate bullying or any other duty under this rule to carry out such responsibility or duty will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment with the school corporation.
- Counseling, corrective discipline, and/or referral to law enforcement will be used to change the behavior of the perpetrator. This includes appropriate intervention(s), restoration of a positive climate, and support for victims and others impacted by the bullying.
- Educational outreach and training will be provided to school personnel, parents, and students concerning the identification, prevention, and intervention in bullying.
- All schools in the corporation are encouraged to engage students, staff and parents in meaningful discussions about the negative aspects of bullying. The parent involvement may be through parent organizations already in place in each school.
- The superintendent or designee will be responsible for developing detailed administrative procedures consistent with the Indiana Department of Education guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of this rule.
- Possessing A Firearm or A Destructive Device
- No student shall possess, handle or transmit any firearm or a destructive device on school property.
- The following devices are considered to be a firearm under this rule:
any weapon that is capable of expelling, designed to expel, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by means of an explosion.
- For purposes of this rule, a destructive device is:
an explosive, incendiary, or overpressure device that is configured as a bomb, a grenade, a rocket with a propellant charge of more than four ounces, a missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, a mine, a Molotov cocktail or a device that is substantially similar to an item described above,
a type of weapon that may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant through a barrel that has a bore diameter of more than one-half inch, or
a combination of parts designed or intended for use in the conversion of a device into a destructive device.
A destructive device is NOT a device that although originally designed for use as a weapon, is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device.
- The penalty for possession of a firearm or a destructive device: suspension up to 10 days and expulsion from school for at least one calendar year with the return of the student to be at the beginning of the first semester after the one-year period. The superintendent may reduce the length of the expulsion if the circumstances warrant such reduction.
- The superintendent shall immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when a student engages in behavior described in this rule.
- Possessing A Deadly Weapon
- No student shall possess, handle or transmit any deadly weapon on school property.
- The following devices are considered to be deadly weapons for purposes of this rule:
a weapon, taser or electronic stun weapon, equipment, chemical substance, or other material that in the manner it is used, or could ordinarily be used, or is intended to be used, is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury;
an animal readily capable of causing serious bodily injury and used in the commission or attempted commission of a crime; or
a biological disease, virus, or organism that is capable of causing serious bodily injury.
- The penalty for possession of a deadly weapon: up to 10 days suspension and expulsion from school for a period of up to one calendar year.
- The superintendent may notify the appropriate law enforcement agency when a student engages in behavior described in this rule.
- Unlawful Activity
A student may be suspended or expelled for engaging in unlawful activity on or off school grounds if 1) the unlawful activity may reasonably be considered to be an interference with school purposes or an educational function, or 2) the student’s removal is necessary to restore order or protect persons on school property. This includes any unlawful activity meeting the above criteria that takes place during weekends, holidays, other school breaks, and the summer period when a student may not be attending classes or other school functions.
- Legal Settlement
A student may be expelled if it is determined that the student’s legal settlement is not
in the attendance area of the school where the student is enrolled.
LEGAL REFERENCES: I.C. 20-33-8 I.C. 35-31.5-2-86
I.C. 35-47.5-2-4 I.C. 35-47-1-5
SUSPENSION AND EXPULSION PROCEDURES
When a principal (or designee) determines that a student should be suspended, the following procedures will be followed:
- A meeting will be held prior to the suspension of any student. At this meeting the student will be entitled to:
- a written or oral statement of the charges;
- if the student denies the charges, a summary of the evidence against the student will be presented; and,
- the student will be provided an opportunity to explain his or her conduct.
- The meeting shall precede suspension of the student except where the nature of the misconduct requires immediate removal. In such situations, the meeting will follow the suspension as soon as reasonably possible following the date of the suspension.
- Following the suspension, the parent or guardian of a suspended student will be notified in writing. The notification will include the dates of the suspension, describe the student’s misconduct, and the action taken by the principal.
- During the suspension, the student is required to complete all school work assigned during the suspension. The principal or designee will ensure the student receives notice of all assignments due during the suspension and will provide teacher contact information to the student so the student may contact the teacher if the student has any questions about the assignments. For any assignments and/or school work completed by the student during the student’s suspension period, credit will be given to the student to the same extent and in the same manner as students who are not suspended receive.
When a principal (or designee) recommends to the superintendent (or designee) that a student be expelled from school, the following procedures will be followed:
- The superintendent (or designee) may conduct an expulsion meeting, or may appoint one of the following persons to conduct the expulsion meeting:
- legal counsel
- a member of the administrative staff who did not expel the student during the current school year and was not involved in the events giving rise to the expulsion.
- An expulsion will not take place until the student and the student’s parent are given notice of their right to appear at an expulsion meeting conducted by the superintendent or the person designated above. Failure to request and to appear at this meeting will be deemed a waiver of rights administratively to contest the expulsion or to appeal it to the Superintendent.
- The notice of the right to an expulsion meeting will be in writing, delivered by certified mail or by personal delivery, and contain the reasons for the expulsion and the procedure for requesting the meeting.
- At the expulsion meeting, the principal (or designee), will present evidence to support the charges against the student. The student or parent will have the opportunity to answer the charges against the student, and to present evidence to support the student’s position. The student or student’s family has no right to counsel during an expulsion meeting.
- If an expulsion meeting is held, the person conducting the expulsion meeting will make a written summary of the evidence heard at the meeting, take any action found to be appropriate, and give notice of the action taken to the student and the student’s parent.
- The expulsion examiner shall provide to the student and parent the school corporation list of alternative education programs located in the county or in an adjacent county and of virtual charter schools in which the student may enroll during the student’s expulsion at the expulsion meeting. If no expulsion meeting is held or the student or parent do not attend the expulsion meeting, the expulsion examiner shall mail the list to the student and parent to the student’s residence.
Option 1 for school boards that hear all student expulsion appeals:
RIGHT TO APPEAL
The student or parent has the right to appeal an expulsion decision to the school board within 10 days of the receipt of notice of the action taken. The student or parent appeal to the school board must be in writing. If an appeal is properly made, the school board at the appeal hearing will consider the written summary of the expulsion meeting and the arguments of the school administration and the student and/or the student’s parent. The School Board will then take any action deemed appropriate.
Option 2 for school boards that have voted not to hear student expulsion appeals:
NO RIGHT TO APPEAL
The student or parent has no right to appeal an expulsion decision to the school board as the school board has voted not to hear student expulsion appeals.
LEGAL REFERENCE: I.C. 20-33-8-18