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Policy 9200 - Student Discipline

The purpose of this policy is to establish and communicate disciplinary procedures and guidelines to staff, students, parents, and the community.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Howard County Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, engaging, and supportive school environment. The Board believes that the teaching of expected school behaviors is the shared responsibility of Howard County Public Schools (HCPSS) staff, parents, and community members. The Board believes in an environment where clear expectations for appropriate behaviors are communicated, appropriate behavior is taught, and inappropriate behaviors are addressed in a manner that is conducive to learning.

The Board believes effective discipline strategies meet students’ varied behavioral and developmental needs. The Board expects the use of a continuum of discipline strategies that fosters positive behaviors, and monitors and addresses any disproportionality. To this end, the Board’s student discipline policy sets forth the expectation of discipline that is fair, equitable, consistent, and reflective of a restorative approach.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish and communicate disciplinary procedures and guidelines to staff, students, parents, and the community.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Alternative Educational Setting – A location outside of the designated home school designed to accommodate the needs of students who have demonstrated the need for significant academic or behavioral support.

  2. Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) – A course of action developed as a result of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) for a specific student using positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports, to address problem behaviors exhibited by a student in the education setting.

  3. Corporal Punishment – Physical penalty or undue physical discomfort inflicted on the body of a student.

  4. Day – A calendar day unless otherwise indicated as a school day.

  5. Detention – The placement of a student in a non-standard, supervised setting during the school day, before or after school, or on Saturdays.

  6. Exclusion – The removal of a student to a supervised area for a limited period of time during which the student has an opportunity to regain self-control and is not receiving instruction including special education, related services, or support and is not physically prevented from leaving or returning to the classroom.

  7. Expulsion – The exclusion of a student from the student’s regular school program for 45 school days or longer as determined by the Superintendent/Designee.

  8. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) – Provision of regular, special education and related services designed to meet a student’s individual educational needs.

  9. Imminent Threat of Serious Harm – Likely or immediate danger of adverse and significant impact on physical or emotional well-being.

  10. Individualized Educational Program (IEP) – A written plan for a student with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  11. In-School Intervention – The opportunity afforded a student, after the student is removed to an alternate location within the school, to continue to:

    1. Appropriately progress in the general curriculum.

    2. Receive the special education and related services specified on the student’s IEP in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.

    3. Receive the accommodations and related services specified on the student’s 504 Plan if the student is eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitative Act of 1973.

    4. Receive instruction commensurate with the program afforded to the student in the regular classroom.

    5. Participate with peers as they would in their current education program to the extent appropriate.

  12. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

    1. Biological Parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive Parent – A person who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody, or control over the student but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian, as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article, §7-101 (c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article, §5-507.

  13. Restorative Practices – Processes that proactively build healthy relationships and a sense of community to prevent and address conflict and wrongdoing.

  14. School Day – Day, including a partial day, when a public agency is open and students are required to be in attendance for instruction.

  15. School Property – Any property owned or leased by the HCPSS or used by HCPSS for school-related activities. The concept of property extends to school activities such as field trips, use of parks and recreation facilities, proms at hotels, etc. School buses, bus stops, and facilities scheduled by the school system for student use are considered an extension of school property.

  16. School-Related Activity – Any school system activity, on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g. school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or an activity in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being present (e.g. spectator at a school event).

  17. Section 504 Plan – A written document developed for an eligible student that allows the student to receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

  18. Staff – All HCPSS school system and contracted employees.

  19. Student Support Team (SST) – A diverse group of school-based educators, that may include school counselors, psychologists, administrators, nurses, and teachers, that meet regularly to discuss the educational and behavioral needs of students. When necessary, this group also collaboratively develops interventions to support the specific needs of students.

  20. Suspension – The denial of a student’s right to attend regular classes or school for a specified period of time for cause. Suspension includes extended suspension, in-school suspension, short-term suspension, or long-term suspension.

    1. In-School Suspension – The removal of a student from the student’s current education program, for up to but not more than 10 school days in one school year, for disciplinary reasons by the principal to another location within the school building.

    2. Short-Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for up to but not more than 3 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.

    3. Long-Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for between 4–10 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.

    4. Extended Suspension – The exclusion of a student from school for between 11 and 45 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the Superintendent/Designee.

IV. Standards

  1. This policy applies to all students while on school property, during a school-related activity, and/or otherwise subject to the authority of the HCPSS. This includes, but is not limited to, school buses, bus stops, school-sponsored events, field trips, athletic functions, and any other activity where school administrators have jurisdiction over students. This policy also applies to off-campus incidents in accordance with Policy 9280 Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses and Policy 1060 Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.

  2. The HCPSS Student Code of Conduct will establish the standards for student behavior and disciplinary consequences for violations of those standards.

  3. Students will be accorded due process by an administrator before discipline is administered. Due process includes:

    1. Gathering Facts:

      1. Meeting with the student.

      2. Informing the student of the allegations in a manner that ensures the student understands the allegations (ex. language, disability, age).

      3. Presenting and/or explaining the evidence to the student.

      4. Allowing the student an opportunity to present his/her version of the incident. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to provide a written or transcribed statement.

    2. Rendering a Decision:

      1. Notifying the student of the outcome of the investigation and disciplinary consequences.

      2. If the student is found to be in violation of HCPSS policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct and is subject to disciplinary consequences that warrant reallocation of the student’s time, (such as before or after school detention, exclusion, suspension or expulsion) the parent must be notified of the violation and disciplinary consequence. Notification must occur:

        1. Verbally or electronically before the end of that day.

        2. In writing within two school days.

      3. If a suspension or expulsion is part of the decision rendered, parents and students will be made aware of their right to appeal.

  4. Discipline will be administered using a range of consequences and response supports.

    1. As part of the range of consequences and supports, the school system will provide alternatives to suspensions that include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Use of appropriate restorative practices

      2. Referral to Student Support Teams

      3. Development of Behavioral Intervention Plans

      4. In-school intervention

      5. Detention

      6. Alternative educational setting.

    2. Administrators will administer appropriate discipline in accordance with the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, as follows:

      1. Non-exclusion from normal school activities, which includes:

        1. Staff/Administrative action.

        2. Reallocation of student’s time, including detention.

      2. Exclusion from normal school activities which includes:

        1. In-school intervention.

        2. In-school suspension.

        3. Out of school suspension.

      3. Expulsion.

    3. When determining an appropriate consequence for a violation listed in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, administrators will consider:

      1. The severity of the incident.

      2. The student’s previous violations, consequences, and/or supports for the same or related offenses.

      3. Whether the offense interfered with the rights, privileges, or property of others. (Chronic and extreme disruption)

      4. Whether the offense posed an imminent threat of serious harm to other students, staff, or others.

      5. Whether the student has a disability under Section 504 or an IEP and the possible impact of that disability on the student’s behavior.

      6. Whether the consequence is age appropriate.

      7. Any specific consequences articulated in other system policies.

    4. If a student violates state or local law or HCPSS policy and as a result of the commission of the violation damaged, destroyed, or substantially decreased the value of school property or property of another that was on school property at the time of the violation, the school may require the student or student’s parent to make restitution. Additionally, a student may be subject to other consequences related to any violation of state or local law.

  5. No employee or third party may inflict corporal punishment. The following are not considered to be corporal punishment:

    1. A principal, teacher, school security guard, or other school system staff is authorized by law to take reasonable action necessary to prevent violence in the school building, on the school property or on a school-sponsored trip, including intervening in a fight or physical struggle that takes place in his or her presence.

    2. A principal, teacher, school security guard, or other school system staff member may use no more than the degree of force that is reasonably necessary to prevent violence, restore order, protect himself/herself, the students involved in the fight or struggle, and other persons in the vicinity of the confrontation.

    3. Expectations for School Resource Officers are defined in the School Resource Officers (SRO) Agreement Between the Howard County Department ofPolice and the Howard County Public School System.

  6. Disciplinary procedures for students with disabilities who are receiving special education services or services under Section 504 will be in accordance with current state and federal laws.

  7. Disciplinary infractions that constitute violations of criminal statutes will be reported to appropriate officials of the Howard County Police Department and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). (COMAR 13A.08.01.15)

  8. Records of students’ disciplinary infractions and the consequences for those infractions will be maintained on an ongoing basis according to approved procedures including Policy 3050 Records Management and Policy 9050 Student Records; this includes students with disabilities receiving special education services or services under Section 504.

  9. All searches and seizures conducted on school property will take place in accordance with Section 7-308 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Policy 9020 Students’ Rights and Responsibilities and Policy 9260 Student Search and Seizure.

  10. Minimum education services during short-term, long-term, or extended suspension and expulsion will be provided as follows:

    1. Each principal will assign a school staff person to be the liaison between the appropriate teachers and the students on suspension or expulsion. This liaison will communicate weekly, by phone or email, with those suspended/expelled students and their parents regarding classwork assignments and school-related issues. The liaison will also check on the status of any intervention, mandatory assessment, and/or counseling the student was supposed to receive during the suspension.

    2. Any student suspended from school for up to three school days (short-term suspension) will be provided the opportunity to complete the academic work they miss during the suspension period without penalty; all students who receive short-term suspensions, and their parents, will be provided with contact information for the liaison responsible for ensuring that requirements described are met.

    3. Any student suspended from school for four or more school days (long-term or extended) or expelled, who is not placed in an alternative educational program will receive daily classwork and assignments during the period of suspension or expulsion. Work submitted during the period of suspension or expulsion will be reviewed and corrected by teachers on a weekly basis and returned to the student.

    4. A suspended student will complete and return classwork and assignments in a time frame equivalent to the period of suspension or in accordance with the student’s IEP or 504 plan in order to receive full credit.

    5. Any student who is expelled or suspended is precluded from participation in or attendance at all after-school HCPSS school-related and extracurricular activities held during the period of the suspension or expulsion.

    6. If a graduating senior is suspended for ten (10) school days or fewer, and the period of suspension includes the day of commencement, the student may appeal directly to the Superintendent in order to participate in the commencement ceremony. If a decision is to be made prior to commencement exercises, the appeal must be filed no later than two school days prior to the commencement ceremony.

  11. Suspension or Expulsion

    1. A principal/designee may suspend a student enrolled in grades 3 through 12 for up to ten (10) consecutive school days for each offense. The Superintendent/Designee will issue suspensions exceeding ten (10) consecutive school days.

    2. At the request of a principal, the Superintendent/Designee may suspend a student enrolled in grades 3 through 12 for more than ten (10) school days or expel the student for 45 school days or more.

      1. An extended suspension may occur when the Superintendent/Designee has determined that either:

        1. The student’s return to school prior to the completion of the suspension period would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to students, staff, or others; or

        2. The student has engaged in chronic and extreme disruption of the educational process that has created a substantial barrier to learning for other students across the school day, and other available and appropriate behavioral and disciplinary interventions have been exhausted.

      2. Expulsion may occur when the Superintendent/Designee has determined that the student’s return to school prior to the completion of the expulsion period would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to other students, staff, or others.

      3. The Superintendent/Designee will limit the duration of the exclusion to the shortest period practicable; and

      4. The HCPSS will provide the excluded student with comparable educational services and appropriate behavioral support services to promote successful return to the student’s regular academic program.

    3. For a student enrolled in grades prekindergarten–grade 2, the following apply:

      1. A principal/designee may suspend a student for up to no more than five (5) school days only when the school administration, in consultation with a school psychologist or other mental health professional, determines that a student is an imminent threat of serious harm to other students or staff that cannot be reduced or eliminated through intervention and supports.

      2. The Superintendent/Designee may expel a student from school only if required by federal law.

    4. Upon receipt of a written report from a principal requesting an extended suspension or expulsion, the Superintendent/Designee will promptly make a thorough investigation of the matter.

    5. Any student expelled or suspended from school will remain off all HCPSS properties for the duration of the expulsion or suspension unless prior authorization has been granted by the school principal.

    6. A student suspended or expelled from school will be allowed to return to school on the day that the terms and conditions of the suspension or expulsion are met whether or not the student or parent has filed an appeal of the suspension or expulsion.

  12. Failure to comply with expected student behaviors while on school buses or to interfere with safe transport of students is a violation of this policy. Student infractions of this policy, while on school buses, may lead to the principal/designee suspending transportation privileges temporarily or permanently.

  13. In accordance with Policy 9000, a student who is reassigned at the request of parents, and who does not meet expectations described in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct (including, but not limited to attending regularly and on time, showing academic commitment, and following behavioral expectations), may be returned to the student’s designated school at any time during the school year. Such decision is made by the current principal after due consideration and proper notification to the student, parents, the principal of the designated school, and the Superintendent/Designee.

  14. The HCPSS will provide training and resources to enable staff to implement this policy.

  15. Staff, students, parents, and community members will be informed of the provisions of this policy on an annual basis.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/Designee will ensure staff receives training and resources necessary to implement this policy.

  2. The Superintendent/Designee will notify all school administrators annually of the provisions of this policy.

  3. The Superintendent/Designee will ensure students, parents, school security guards, staff members, and School Resource Officers are notified of the provisions of this policy annually.

  4. Principals/designees and the Superintendent/Designee will determine appropriate disciplinary action for a student based on the severity of the infraction and on a range of consequences.

  5. Principals/designees and the Superintendent/Designee will ensure that students with IEPs will receive a FAPE during extended suspensions and/or expulsions.

  6. Principals will ensure violations of criminal statutes are reported to the appropriate officials of the Howard County Police Department and the MSDE.

  7. Principals will ensure disciplinary records are maintained according to school system policy and approved procedures.

  8. Students will comply with all school rules and procedures and will exhibit the expected student behaviors delineated in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • 18 U.S.C. §921 and §924

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Family Law Article, Section 5-507 (License for child placement agency)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-101(c) (Informal kinship care)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-305 (Suspensions and expulsions)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-305.1 (Student enrolled in public prekindergarten program, kindergarten, first grade, or second grade – Suspension or expulsions prohibited; exceptions)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-305.6 (Corporal Punishment and Code of Conduct)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-307 (Principals, teachers, and school guards intervening in fights)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-308 (Searches of students and schools)

  • COMAR 13A.05.01, Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.11, Disciplinary Action

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.15, Reporting Delinquent Acts

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.17, School Use of Reportable Offenses

C. Relevant Data Sources

  • Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Discipline Summary Reports

  • System and School Discipline Data

D. Other

  • Bus Conduct Report Form

  • HCPSS Student Code of Conduct

  • Instructional Intervention Team and Student Support Team Process Guide

  • Parental Rights, Maryland Procedural Safeguards Notice

  • School Improvement Handbook

  • School Resource Officers (SRO) Agreement Between the Howard County Department of Police and the Howard County Public School System

  • Special Education Procedural Safeguards Booklet

  • Student/Parent Handbook

VIII. History

ADOPTED: November 21, 1989

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

  • August 14, 2014

  • September 19, 2017

REVISED:

  • September 8, 1994

  • November 12, 1998

  • January 14, 1999

  • May 12, 2005

  • May 11, 2006

  • December 13, 2007

  • May 9, 2013

  • June 12, 2014

  • June 7, 2018

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2018