JICD Student Discipline
Statement of Philosophy
A primary task of the school is to create a stimulating learning climate for all students. Such a climate includes a broad exposure to the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society. That the school community is educating the young for citizenship is reason for scrupulous protection of the constitutional freedoms of the individuals involved. The school environment should afford opportunities for students to exercise their rights and assume their responsibilities for citizenship.
The rights of an individual are preserved only by the protection and preservation of the rights of others. Students are responsible for the manner in which their rights are exercised and must accept the consequences for actions that extend beyond the legitimate boundaries of those rights.
The Veazie School Committee believes that the best discipline is self-discipline and that the school environment should allow students, insofar as practicable, to make responsible decisions about their behavior. The School Committee believes that giving students the opportunity to practice self-discipline in school will lead to their making more responsible choices when not in school.
Students Rights and Responsibilities
Each student has the right to a free public education and the responsibility to attend school regularly and not to interfere with or threaten the education of others.
Every student has the right to express opinions either verbally or symbolically as long as that expression does not infringe upon the rights of others.
Students have the right to determine their patterns of dress and grooming provided that such dress and grooming does not interfere with the health and safety of themselves or others and does not interfere with the educational process of the school. Students must also be in compliance with the school committee’s dress code policy.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, no suspension shall be enforced against any student until that student has been afforded due process.
Minor infractions of the above code of conduct are to be handled in accord with the disciplinary procedures developed by the administration. More serious infractions may be punishable by either suspension or expulsion as specified in Title 20-A, section 1001, subsection 9.
School personnel may use a reasonable degree of force to control a student who creates a disturbance or to remove the student from the scene of the disturbance. Corporal punishment, however, is expressly prohibited.
Student Due Process Hearings
The Committee recognizes that procedural safeguards are essential to ensure that students are afforded due process when they are faced with possible suspension or expulsion.
A. The Veazie School Committee grants authority to principals and assistant principals to suspend students up to a maximum of 10 days per incident for serious infractions of school rules.
Prior to the suspension, except as hereinafter provided:
A. The student shall be given oral or written notice of the charge(s).
B. The student shall be given an explanation of the evidence forming the basis for the charge(s); and
C. Students shall be given an opportunity to present their version of the incident.
However, students whose presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the instructional process may be immediately removed from school. In such cases, the notice of charges, explanation of evidence, and the student’s opportunity to present his/her version of the incident shall be arranged as soon as practicable after removal of the student from school.
Code of Conduct
The objective of this code is to establish such rules of student conduct which have been deemed by the School Committee to be necessary for the successful accomplishment of the mission of the school. Rules of student conduct and administrative procedures for use in the schools shall be based upon but not limited to the following:
A. No student shall intentionally threaten, assault, or cause physical injury to other students or any school personnel.
B. No student shall steal or intentionally damage any school or private property either on school premises, on any school bus, or during any school-sponsored activity.
C. No student shall distribute, dispense, possess, use, or be under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, malt beverage, fortified wine, or other intoxicating liquor. Nor shall a student manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or be under the influence of any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, anabolic steroid, any other controlled substance defined in federal and state laws/regulations, any look-alike substance, or any substance that is represented to be a controlled substance. These prohibitions apply to any student who is on school property, who is in attendance at school or at any school-sponsored activity, or whose conduct at any time or place directly interferes with the operations, discipline, or general welfare of the school. This policy is not intended to interfere with the student use of prescription medications taken as prescribed by a medical professional.
D. No student is allowed to use or possess tobacco in the building, on the school grounds, or at any school activity.
E. A student shall not by use of violence, force, noise, coercion, intimidation or any other conduct cause disruption of any school function; nor shall any student urge others to engage in any such disruptive conduct.
F. A student shall not possess, handle, or transmit a knife, razor, gun or any other object that can reasonably be considered a weapon.
G. As students pursue their freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, they shall refrain from libel, slander, obscenity, personal attacks, or incitement to illegal action(s).
No student shall be expelled from school except by action of the Veazie School Committee. The Veazie School Committee shall expel students as provided in 20-A MRSA Section 1001 (9) and (9A). The Veazie School Committee also has the authority to readmit an expelled student on satisfactory evidence that the behavior which was the cause of the student being expelled will not likely recur.
The parents/guardians and the student if 18 years of age or older shall be notified by certified letter and regular mail of the Committee’s expulsion hearing. The hearing shall be in a properly called executive session and may also be attended by persons designated by the Superintendent to present information in the case.
The notice of hearing shall include:
A. The date, time, and location of the hearing;
B. A description of the charge(s):
C. A statement that the student may be represented by legal counsel;
D. A statement that the student or his/her representative may cross-examine any witnesses presented by the administration at the hearing; and
E. A statement that the parents/guardians and student may present evidence, including witnesses and documents, on the student’s behalf.
Disciplinary Removal of Students with Disabilities
When removing students with disabilities from their regular school programs, whether as a result of a suspension, an expulsion, or any other removal covered by state and federal special education laws, it shall be the policy of the Veazie School Committee to comply fully with all applicable state and federal special education laws that govern such removals.
The Superintendent, in consultation with the director of special education and other school administrators, may develop and promulgate procedures for implementing this policy and may, from time to time, amend those procedures as necessary.
Any suspension(s) or expulsion of an exceptional student exceeding ten(10) accumulated days over the course of any one school year shall be deemed a change of placement. When such suspension(s) or expulsion(s) is a permissible response to behavior that is not considered related in any way to the student’s exceptionality, a PET meeting must first be convened. The PET will review the factors and determine the need for further evaluations or change of program or placement.
If an identified exceptional student is to be referred to the school committee for a permissible suspension or expulsion in cumulative excess of ten (10) days for the year, the findings and determinations of the P.E.T. shall be forwarded to the school committee and entered into the record of the suspension/expulsion hearing before the school board.
In the event of a behavior episode that presents a significant risk of injury or harm to others, a school unit may obtain a court order from a court of competent jurisdiction to terminate or suspend services to an exceptional student when the Pupil Evaluation Team has determined that the behavior is related to the student's exceptionality.
Reference: Title 20, Chapter 15, Section 473
Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA Section 1001 (9) (9A)
34 CRF Section 300.121; .519-.529 (March 1999, as amended)
Maine Dept. of Ed Reg. Ch. 101 Section 14 (Me.
Spec Ed. Reg) (Nov. 1999, as amended)