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4301 - CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL

CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT – MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS Policy Code: 4301

PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS

In collaboration with our community and parents, the mission of the Durham Public Schools is to provide all students with an outstanding education that motivates them to reach their full potential and enables them to discover their interests and talents, pursue their goals and dreams, and succeed in college, in the workforce, and as engaged citizens.

To ensure the success of our mission, it is vital that everyone supports students with positive behavior. At the beginning of each year, principals ensure that students are aware of what constitutes positive behavior, how students will be supported if they begin to struggle with behavior, and that students are aware of school rules. In the event a disciplinary consequence is needed to redirect the behavior, schools will strive to implement consequences that can occur in school so that the student can remain in an educational environment.

In its 2014 publication “Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline,” the U.S. Department of Education offers three guiding principles to ensure safe and supportive school environments for effective teaching and learning to take place in schools:

Principle 1: Climate and Prevention.
Schools that foster positive school climates can help to engage all students in learning by preventing problem behaviors and intervening effectively to support struggling and at-risk students.

Principle 2: Expectations and Consequences.
Schools that have discipline policies or codes with clear, appropriate, and consistently applied expectations and consequences will help students improve behavior, increase engagement, and boost achievement.

Principle 3: Equity and Continuous Improvement.
Schools that build staff capacity and continuously evaluate the school’s discipline policies and practices are more likely to ensure fairness and equity and promote achievement for all students.

The Board recognizes the importance of school employees working with parents and guardians to help students learn and practice acceptable standards of behavior. School employees are encouraged to work with parents and guardians to participate in discussions on effective strategies for correcting misbehavior.

APPLICABILITY OF CODE

All students shall comply with the Code of Student Conduct while on educational property, which includes any school building or bus, school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property under the control of the Board of Education. Students may also be disciplined for conduct that occurs off educational property that violates this Code of Conduct if the conduct has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment.

DETERMINING INTERVENTIONS AND CONSEQUENCES FOR MISBEHAVIOR

Most student misconduct does not require the student to be removed from the educational environment. Before imposing any out-of-school suspension, principals should consider whether in-school interventions and/or in-school disciplinary consequences are appropriate and sufficient under the circumstances. In-school interventions and disciplinary consequences are designed to address misconduct and empower students to make better choices. Such interventions and consequences may include, for example: behavior contracts, peer mediation, in-school suspension, conflict resolution, detention, restitution, loss of privileges, school or community service, and/or other restorative practices. When, in the judgment of the school principal, a student’s behavior cannot be appropriately and sufficiently addressed through non-disciplinary interventions and/or in-school disciplinary consequences, the principal is authorized, but not required, to impose a short-term suspension or, for more serious violations of the Code of Conduct, to recommend a long-term disciplinary reassignment or a long-term suspension, provided such a consequence is consistent with this policy. Suspensions of greater than ten days and long-term disciplinary reassignments are reserved for serious misconduct which either threatens the safety of others within the school or threatens to substantially disrupt the educational environment.

In determining the appropriate consequence for a violation of this Code, principals shall consider all aggravating or mitigating circumstances they deem relevant. Aggravating factors are factors that increase the seriousness of a disciplinary violation and warrant increased consequences. Mitigating factors are factors that decrease the seriousness of a disciplinary violation and warrant decreased consequences. Examples of aggravating or mitigating circumstances that may be considered include but are not limited to:
• The student's age;
• The student's intent;
• The student's disciplinary history, including number of infractions and prior discipline for the same violation;
• The student's academic history;
• Whether the conduct caused a threat to safety;
• Whether school property or personal property was damaged;
• Whether the conduct caused a substantial disruption of the educational environment;
• Whether a weapon was involved; and
• Whether any injury resulted.

The Student Code of Conduct rules are leveled, indicating the severity of each violation and the type of intervention and/or consequence. Students may also receive in-school interventions and/or in-school disciplinary consequences for violation of any school-specific rules, provided students and parents are provided prior written notice of such rules (and the consequences for violating them), the rules are published on the school website and/or available for inspection at the school’s main office, and the rules are not in conflict with this or any other Board policy or state or federal law.

Level I – Level I is the least serious category of disciplinary rules. It is divided into Level I.A, and Level I.B. Level I.A rule violations may result in in-school interventions and/or in-school disciplinary consequences only; they may not result in out-of-school suspension. Level I.B rule violations should generally result in in-school interventions and/or in-school disciplinary consequences. If, however, a student refuses to participate in the in-school interventions or engages in persistent violations of a Level I.B rule, or if other aggravating factor(s) are present, an out-of-school suspension of no more than five (5) days is possible.

Level II – Level II rule violations involve more serious misconduct that may warrant in-school interventions, in-school disciplinary consequences, and/or short-term suspension of up to ten (10) days. Principals may recommend a long-term suspension based on the presence of aggravating factor(s). As an alternative to recommending a long-term suspension, a principal may recommend a long-term disciplinary reassignment. Any long-term suspension recommendation or long-term disciplinary reassignment recommendation is subject to the appeal procedure contained in Policy 4303.

Level III – Level III rule violations are more severe in nature and may support long-term suspension. As an alternative to recommending a long-term suspension, a principal may recommend a long-term disciplinary reassignment. Principals may impose a short-term suspension based on mitigating factor(s). Any long-term suspension recommendation or long-term disciplinary reassignment recommendation is subject to the appeal procedure contained in Policy 4303.

Level IV – Level IV rule violations involve “firearms” or “destructive devices” as defined by statute and compromise the safety and welfare of students and staff. Principals are required by North Carolina law to recommend a 365 day suspension for any Level IV rule violation.

Level V – Level V allows for expulsion of a student, as provided by state statute, for a violation of the Code of Conduct, if the student is fourteen (14) years of age or older and the student’s behavior demonstrates that that his/her continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees and the Board determines that there is no appropriate alternative education program. Additionally, any student who is a registered sex offender under N.C. General Statute 14-208 may be expelled consistent with state law.

CODE OF CONDUCT RULES AND CONSEQUENCES

Level I – In-School Interventions and/or In-School Discipline/Possible Short-Term Suspension in Some Cases

Note: Level I is divided into Level I.A, and Level I.B. Out-of-school suspension is not an option for Level I.A violations. The maximum possible suspension for any Level I.B rule violation is five (5) days.

Level 1.A – In-School Interventions and/or In-School Discipline Only/No Out-of-School Suspension

Rule I.A-1 Plagiarism. Plagiarism includes the copying of the language, structure, idea and/or thought of another and representing it as one's own original work.

Rule I.A-2 Electronic Devices. Unless specifically authorized by a teacher or school administrator, students shall not use, display, or have in the “on” position any personal electronic communication or entertainment device, including cell phones, pagers, music players, electronic games, or similar items, during instructional time or mandatory school assemblies and activities.

Any device possessed or used in violation of this policy may be confiscated and held for return to the student’s parent or guardian.

Laser pointers and other electronic devices that could damage eyesight or otherwise cause physical harm are specifically covered by this policy. Depending on the circumstances, such items may also constitute “weapons” under Rule III-3, and the student may be disciplined accordingly.

Students shall be personally and solely responsible for the security of their electronic devices or personal technology devices. The Durham Public Schools is not responsible for any electronic devices or personal technology devices that are lost, stolen or damaged while on school property or at school events.

Rule I.A-3 Student Dress Code: The primary goal of the Durham Public Schools is to provide a safe learning environment where all students are able to achieve at their highest potential. The personal appearance of every student is an important component of establishing a safe environment for optimal learning and respect for one another. Students are expected to adhere to standards of dress and appearance that are compatible with an effective learning environment. In support of these goals and expectations the Board establishes the following dress code for students:

a. Students are prohibited from wearing clothing, jewelry, book bags, or other articles of personal appearance which:

1. depict profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, or violence;
2. promote use or abuse of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol;
3. create a threat to the health or safety of the student or others;
4. are prohibited under the Gangs and Gang Activities Policy (III-7);
5. are reasonably likely to create a substantial and material disruption to the educational process or to the operation of the school, including but not limited to items that are reasonably expected to intimidate other students on the basis of race (for example the Confederate battle flag, swastika, and Ku Klux Klan or KKK), color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religious affiliation.

b. The following specific items are also not permitted:

1. clothing worn in such a manner so as to reveal underwear, cleavage, or bare skin between the upper chest and mid-thigh;
2. bare feet, bedroom slippers;
3. spaghetti straps, strapless tops, halter tops;
4. see-through, mesh garments;
5. trousers, slacks, shorts worn below hip level;
6. clothing that is excessively baggy or tight;
7. skirts and shorts shorter than mid-thigh;
8. sunglasses worn inside school building;
9. hats, caps, hoods, sweat bands and bandanas or other head wear worn inside school building; and
10. any other article of appearance that is physically revealing or provocative.

c. If a student's dress or appearance violates this dress code, the principal or principal's designee may require the student to change his or her dress or appearance. A second or repeated violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action.

d. This policy does not apply to school sanctioned uniforms and costumes approved by the principal for athletic, choral, band or dramatic performances.

e. The principal may make reasonable accommodations to this rule for religious, cultural, educational, or medical reasons so long as the clothing in question is not prohibited under section (a.1) through (a.5) of this rule.

1. depict profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, or violence;
2. promote use or abuse of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol;
3. create a threat to the health or safety of the student or others;
4. are prohibited under the Gangs and Gang Activities Policy (III-7);
5. are reasonably likely to create a substantial and material disruption to the educational process or to the operation of the school.

Rule I.A-4 Minor Disruptive Behavior. Students shall not interrupt or interfere with teaching, learning, or the orderly conduct of school activities. Minor disruptions may include, for example, running in the halls, making excessive noise, leaving a classroom or mandatory school event without permission, or being in unauthorized areas of the school. Any disruptive behavior that threatens the safety of students, staff, or others in the school environment may be considered “serious” disruptive behavior and subject to more serious consequences under Rule II-13.

Rule I.A-5 Attendance. Students shall attend school regularly. Students shall be considered truant and subject to discipline whenever they are absent from class or school without valid excuse.

In-School Interventions and/or In-School Discipline/Possible Suspension of up to 5 Days with Aggravating Factors

Rule I.B-6 Cheating. Cheating is prohibited. Cheating includes the actual giving or receiving of any unauthorized aid or assistance or the actual giving or receiving of unfair advantage on any form of academic work.

Rule I.B-7 Falsification. Falsification is prohibited. Falsification includes the verbal or written statement of any untruth.

Rule I.B-8 Gambling. Students shall not participate in any unauthorized games of chance in which money or other items of value may be won or lost.

Rule I.B-9 Inappropriate Language. Cursing or use of vulgar, profane or obscene language is prohibited.

Rule I.B-10 Non-Compliance with Directions. Students shall comply with all reasonable directions of principals, teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, and all other school personnel who are authorized to give such directions.

Rule I.B-11 Disrespect of Others. Students shall not engage in taunting, name-calling, humiliation, or other disrespectful words or conduct that mistreat staff, students, or others and interfere with a peaceful and safe environment. If sufficiently serious, disrespectful words and conduct may also be subject to consequences under Rule II-1 (Threat/False Threat), Rule II-2 (Bullying and Harassment), or Rule II-3 (Sexual Assault or Harassment).

Rule I.B-12 Disruptive or Indecent Images, Literature or Illustrations. The possession or distribution of images, literature or illustrations that are vulgar, indecent or obscene or that significantly disrupt the educational process is prohibited. Students who receive such items electronically but promptly report them to a teacher or administrator and do not otherwise share or transmit them will not be in violation of this rule, Rule II-3 (Sexual Assault or Harassment), or Rule II-11 (Sexting).

Rule I.B-13 Use of Tobacco. Students shall not possess, smoke, or use tobacco products at school, on a school bus, at any school-related activity, or on school grounds at any time. For purposes of this policy, “tobacco products” include cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, and any other items containing or reasonably resembling tobacco or nicotine. The first violation of this policy will result in a warning to the student and conference with the student's parent/guardian or custodian in person or by telephone. Every effort should be made to hold the conference within three days of the violation. Further violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action.

Rule I.B-14 Misconduct on a School Vehicle. While riding a school bus or other school vehicle, students shall observe the directives of the school bus driver. The following conduct is specifically prohibited:

a. Delaying the bus schedule;
b. Refusing to obey the driver's instructions;
c. Tampering with or willfully damaging the school vehicle;
d. Getting off at an undesignated stop;
e. Failing to observe established safety rules and regulations;
f. Willfully trespassing upon a school bus; and
g. Any other physical or verbal disturbance that interrupts or interferes with the safe and orderly operation of the vehicle.

Violations of this rule may result in removal from school transportation as well as other disciplinary consequences available under this policy. Students are responsible for complying with the entire Code of Student Conduct and are also subject to consequences for other rule violations for misconduct occurring on a school bus or other school vehicle.

 Level II – In-School Interventions, In-School Discipline, or Short-Term Suspension/Possible Long-Term Disciplinary Reassignment or Long-Term Suspension with Aggravating Factors

Rule II-1 Threat/False Threat. No student shall make any threat by means of speech, writing, act, or conduct that conveys a serious expression of intent to cause harm or violence. Furthermore, no student shall make a false threat of harm or violence, even in jest, which causes or is reasonably likely to cause fear or a disruption to school activities.

Rule II-2 Bullying and Harassment. No student shall engage in bullying or harassment as defined under Board Policy 4411, Bullying and Harassment.

Rule II-3 Sexual Assault or Harassment. No student shall engage in any sexual assault, sexual violence, or sexual harassment against any person, including any conduct prohibited by Board Policy 4410, Sexual Harassment.

Rule II-4 Fighting/Physical Aggression. No student may intentionally hit, shove, scratch, bite, block the passage of, or throw objects at a student or other person. No student shall take any action or make any comments or written messages intended to cause others to fight or which might reasonably be expected to result in a fight.

A student who is attacked may use reasonable force in self-defense, but only to the extent necessary to get free from the attack and notify proper school authorities. A student who exceeds reasonable force may be disciplined even though someone else provoked the fight.

Rule II-5 Hazing. No group or individual shall require a student to wear abnormal dress, play abusive or ridiculous tricks on him/her, frighten, scold, swear, harass or subject him/her to personal indignity.

Rule II-6 Theft or Damage to Property. No student may steal or attempt to steal or knowingly be in possession of stolen property or intentionally damage or attempt to damage any school property or private property while under school jurisdiction.

Rule II-7 False Fire Alarms. No student shall set off, attempt to set off, or aid and abet anyone in setting off a fire alarm at school.

Rule II-8 Trespassing. No student may be on the campus of another school in the Durham Public Schools during the school day without the knowledge and consent of the officials of the school she/he is visiting. Students who remain after school or come on any school campus after the school day or while school is closed without permission will be considered trespassers. Any student who has been suspended from school or received a disciplinary reassignment shall be considered trespassing if she/he appears on any school property during the suspension period or during the disciplinary reassignment without the express permission of the principal.

Rule II-9 Misuse of Technology. Individual users of school-provided Internet service and technology devices (on school property and/or through the Learning Environment Extension Program) or users of personal technology devices on school property pursuant to a Bring Your Device to School program are expected to abide by Durham Public Schools Policy 3040, Technology Acceptable Use. Violations of that policy may include, among other things:
a. Sending or displaying vulgar, obscene, crude, or threatening messages or pictures;
b. Using obscene language;
c. Harassing others;
d. Damaging computers, computer systems, software, or computer networks;
e. Using another's ID/password;
f. Using technology resources to violate any state or federal law.

In the event a student engages in any of the these activities or otherwise violates Policy 3040, his/her access privileges may be revoked and other disciplinary measures may result

Rule II-10 Failure to Report a Weapon, Dangerous Instrument, Firearm, or Destructive Device. The safety of students and staff is the school system’s highest priority. Students therefore have an affirmative obligation to report as soon as possible to a teacher, school administrator, or other school employee if they become aware that another person has or intends to bring to school property any weapon, dangerous instrument, firearm, or destructive device, as those terms are defined in Rules III-3 and IV-1. Depending on the relevant circumstances and any aggravating or mitigating factors, such failure to report may result in disciplinary consequences including disciplinary reassignment or an out-of-school suspension.

Rule II–11 Sexting. Students shall not transmit any sexually explicit messages or any nude, partially nude, sexually explicit, or sexually suggestive photographs, video recordings, or other visual depictions of themselves or others. Students are reminded that, in addition to violating this Code of Student Conduct, the transmission of such images or messages to, among, or depicting minors may cause grave psychological or emotional harm and may violate state or federal child pornography laws, even when sent or received consensually. Depending on the circumstances, the transmission of such images or messages may also constitute sexual harassment under Rule II-3 and Policy 4410. Students who receive such images or messages electronically but promptly report them to a teacher or administrator and do not otherwise share or transmit them will not be in violation of this rule, Rule II-3 (Sexual Assault or Harassment), or Rule I.C-12 (Disruptive or Indecent Images, Literature or Illustrations).

Rule II-12 Indecent Exposure/Sexual Behavior. No student shall engage in behavior which is lewd, overly affectionate, or of a sexual nature. This includes both consensual behaviors and behaviors directed towards others without their consent.

Rule II–13 Serious Disruptive Behavior. Students shall not interrupt or interfere with teaching, learning, or the orderly conduct of school activities in any manner that threatens the safety of students, staff, or others in the school environment. Serious disruptive behavior may include, for example, throwing objects or engaging in horseplay that could reasonably result in physical injury. Disruptive behavior that does not threaten the safety of others may be subject to consequences under Rule I.A-4.

 

Level III–Short Term Suspension/Possible Long-Term Disciplinary Reassignment or Long-Term Suspension Based on Aggravating Factor(s)

Rule III–1 Assault. No student may cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to any other student, school employee, or other person. For the purposes of this policy, “serious physical injury” refers to such injuries as broken bone(s), loss or chipping of teeth, loss or impairment of vision, loss of consciousness, internal injuries, scarring or other disfigurement, significant bleeding, lacerations resulting in stitches, significant bruising, severe or prolonged pain, any injury requiring hospitalization for any period of time, and/or any injury resulting in medical treatment beyond simple first aid procedures. Whether a student intended to cause serious physical injury may be inferred from the relevant circumstances.

Rule III–2 Coercion or Extortion. No student may use force or violence or threat of force or violence to obtain money, property, or personal services from another student, school employee, or other person.

Rule III–3 Weapons and Dangerous Instruments Other than Firearms and Destructive Devices. No student shall possess, handle, conceal, brandish, or transmit any weapon or dangerous instrument at school or school events or at any other time when such conduct has or is reasonably likely to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment. For purposes of this policy, a “weapon” or “dangerous instrument” is any of the following:

a. Any gun, pistol, or rifle that does not meet the technical definition of “firearm” under Rule IV-1, including any BB gun, stun gun, air rifle, air pistol, or inoperable antique firearm;
b. Gunpowder, bullets, or ammunition;
c. Fireworks, firecrackers, or other explosive devices that do not meet the technical definition of “destructive devices” under Rule IV-1;
d. Any knife of any kind regardless of size;
e. Mace or pepper spray;
f. Metallic knuckles;
g. Tasers or other electric shock devices;
h. Razors or razor blades (except for safety razors designed and used only for personal shaving);
i. Slingshots;
j. Darts or blowguns;
k. Blackjacks, billy clubs, or leaded canes;
l. Ice picks;
m. Box cutters or other sharp pointed or edged instruments except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files, and clips or tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction, and maintenance;
n. Copies or replications of weapons that could reasonably be perceived to be real weapons; and
o. Any other item that is possessed, handled, concealed, brandished, or transmitted for the purpose of causing, attempting to cause, or threatening physical injury

A student who in any way encourages another student to bring weapons to school also endangers the safety of others. No student shall knowingly or willfully cause, encourage, or aid any other student to possess, handle, or transmit any of the weapons or facsimiles of weapons listed above. This section shall not apply to students who are members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps and who are carrying arms or weapons in the discharge of their official class duties; nor does this section apply to weapons used in school-approved instruction or ceremonies. The principal must give prior approval for these exceptions to apply.

Rule III–4 Bomb Threat. No student shall make or aid and abet anyone in making a false report concerning the existence of a bomb or any other dangerous object on school premises or at the site of school activities. No student shall with the intent to perpetrate a hoax conceal, place or display on school property or the site of school activities any device or artifact so as to cause any person reasonably to believe the same to be a bomb or other destructive device.

Rule III–5 Controlled Substances and Drug Paraphernalia. No student shall possess, use, transmit, conspire to transmit, or be under the influence of any controlled substance or drug paraphernalia. For purposes of this policy, “controlled substance” includes any narcotic, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoid, anabolic steroid, alcoholic beverage, or other substance used or possessed with the intention of bringing about a state of exhilaration or euphoria or of otherwise altering the student's mood, perceptions, or behavior.

No student shall possess or transmit any counterfeit controlled substance that reasonably resembles or is held out to be an actual controlled substance. No student shall be at school with the odor of alcohol or illicit drugs about their person.

The proper use of a drug authorized by valid medical prescription from a legally authorized health care provider shall not be considered a violation of this rule when the drug is taken by the person for whom the drug was prescribed and in the manner in which the drug was prescribed.

When a first infraction of this policy involved only possession, use, and/or being under the influence of a substance prohibited by this policy, an alternative to long-term suspension shall be offered such as drug education and counseling or a combination of short-term suspension and drug education counseling. If the student fails to complete the drug education and counseling offered as an alternative consequence within the required time, the principal may recommend a long-term suspension or disciplinary reassignment for the original conduct and failure to complete the alternative consequence. If mitigating factors are present, the principal may, but is not required to, offer an alternative to long-term suspension for second or subsequent infractions of this policy.

Rule III–6 Threats, Hoaxes, and Other Acts of Terror.

a. No student shall make a report that he or she knows or should know is false, that any device, substance, or material designed to cause harmful or life-threatening illness or injury to another person, is located on school property or at the site of a school activity.

b. No student shall, with the intent to perpetrate a hoax, conceal, place, disseminate or display on school property or at the site of a school activity any device, machine, instrument, artifact, letter, package, material, or substance, so as to cause a reasonable person to believe the same to be a substance or material capable of causing harmful or life-threatening illness or injury to another person.

c. No student shall threaten to commit an act of terror on school property or at the site of a school activity that is designed to cause, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death to another person, when the threat is intended to cause, or actually causes, a significant disruption to the instructional day or a school-sponsored activity.

d. No student shall make a report that he or she knows or should know is false, that an act of terror designed to cause, or likely to cause, serious injury or death to another person on school property or at the site of a school-sponsored activity is imminent, when that report is intended to cause, or actually cause, a significant disruption to the instructional day or a school-sponsored activity.

e. No student shall aid, abet, and/or conspire to commit any of the acts described in this section.

Rule III–7 Gangs and Gang Activities. The Board of Education believes that gangs and gang-related activities pose a serious safety threat to students and staff members of the Durham Public Schools. Even absent acts of violence, gang-related activities disrupt the educational environment and increase the risks of future violence. In light of these serious concerns, the school system will not tolerate any gang-related activities as outlined in this policy.

No student shall commit any act which furthers gangs or gang-related activities. A gang is any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts and having a common name or common identifying sign, colors, or symbols. As used in this policy, the phrase “gang-related” means any conduct engaged in by a student (1) on behalf of an identified gang, (2) to perpetuate the existence of any identified gang, or (3) to carry out the common purpose and design of any identified gang. Conduct prohibited by this policy includes:

a. Wearing, possessing, using, distributing, displaying, or selling any clothing, jewelry, emblems, badges, symbols, signs or other items with the intent to convey or promote membership or affiliation in any gang;
b. Communicating either verbally or non-verbally (gestures, handshakes, slogans, drawings, etc.), with the intent to convey or promote membership or affiliation in a gang;
c. Tagging, or otherwise defacing school or personal property with symbols or slogans intended to convey or promote membership or affiliation in any gang;
d. Requiring payment of protection, insurance, or otherwise intimidating or threatening any person related to gang activity;
e. Inciting other students to intimidate or to act with physical violence upon any other person related to gang activity;
f. Soliciting others for gang membership;
g. Committing any other illegal act or other violation of school district policies in connection with gang-related activity.

The Superintendent or his/her designee shall regularly consult with law enforcement officials to maintain current examples of gang-related activities, including but not limited to gang names and particularized examples of potential gang indicators including symbols, hand signals, graffiti, clothing/accessories, and behaviors.

Each principal shall maintain current examples of gang-related activities in the main office of the school. In addition, guides shall be included in each main school office to assist students, parents, and teachers in identifying gang symbols and practices. In providing this information for students and parents, the Board acknowledges that not all potential gang indicators connote actual membership in a gang.

This policy shall be applied in a non-discriminatory manner based on the objective characteristics of the student’s conduct in light of the surrounding circumstances.

Before being suspended for a first offense of wearing gang-related attire, a student will receive an individualized warning and will be allowed to immediately change or remove the attire that is in violation of this policy. Unless the student has been specifically notified of a prohibited item of attire, a student will receive this warning the first time he or she is observed wearing a particular item in violation of this policy.

In a situation where a student has violated this policy or is otherwise suspected of gang affiliation, the principal shall conduct an intervention involving the principal/assistant principal, the student and the student’s parent or legal guardian. Such intervention may also include the school resource officer and others as appropriate. The purpose of such intervention is to discuss the school’s observations and concerns and to offer the student and the parents information and an opportunity to ask questions or provide other information.

Rule III–8 Arson. Starting a fire or attempting to start a fire on school property is prohibited unless specifically authorized by school officials.

Level IV – Suspensions Required under State Law

Rule IV–1 Firearms/Destructive Devices. No student shall bring onto school property or possess a firearm or destructive device. A firearm is any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, or any firearm muffler or firearm silencer. The definition of firearm under this rule does not include an inoperable antique firearm, BB gun, stun gun, air rifle, or air pistol.

A destructive device is an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge or more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or similar device.

A student shall not be found in violation of this policy if it is determined that the student took or received the firearm or destructive device from another person at school or found the firearm or destructive device at school, provided that the student delivered or reported the firearm or destructive device as soon as practicable to a law enforcement officer or a school employee and had no intent to use such firearm or destructive device in a harmful or threatening way.

Violation of this Rule will result in a recommendation for 365-day suspension.


Level V – Expulsion. A student fourteen (14) years of age or older may be expelled for a violation of this Code of Conduct if the Board determines the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees, and that there is no appropriate alternative educational program. Additionally, any student who is a registered sex offender under N.C. General Statute 14-208 may be expelled.

REPORTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT:

As required by state law, when a principal has personal knowledge or actual notice from school personnel that an act has occurred on school property involving assault resulting in serious personal injury, sexual assault, sexual offense, rape, kidnappings, indecent liberties with a minor, assault involving the use of a weapon, possession of a firearm in violation of the law, possession of a weapon in violation of the law, possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law, assault on a school employee, robbery, armed robbery, homicide, manslaughter, or death by vehicle, the principal shall report the act to the appropriate local law enforcement agency, notify parents/guardians of any alleged student victim of a violent crime and notify the Superintendent or designee. Notification must occur in writing or by electronic mail by the end of the workday in which the incident occurred, when reasonably possible, but not later than the end of the following workday. The Superintendent must also provide the information to the Board of Education.

The principal may also notify law enforcement of any other potential criminal conduct or incidents which may jeopardize the safety, security, or well-being of students, staff, or others and may request assistance from law enforcement when necessary to secure and ensure the immediate safety of persons in the school environment. Any student disciplinary issues stemming from the same misconduct should be handled by school administrators, not school resource officers or other law enforcement officials.

Principals should not refer to law enforcement any routine school disciplinary matters, such as tardies, loitering, noncompliance, the use of inappropriate language, dress code violations, minor classroom disruptions, and disrespectful behaviors.

DEFINITIONS

Alternative Education Services – part or full-time programs, wherever situated, providing direct or computer-based instruction that allows a student to progress in one or more core courses.

Board – the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.

Day or Days – school days excluding teacher workdays, holidays, vacations days and weekends.

Destructive Device – an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas:
1. Bomb.
2. Grenade.
3. Rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces.
4. Missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one quarter ounce.
5. Mine.
6. Device similar to any of the devices listed.

Disciplinary Reassignment – reassignment of a student for a defined length of time to a full-time educational program that meets the academic requirements of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and provides the student with the opportunity to make timely progress towards graduation and grade promotion.

Expulsion – permanent exclusion of a student from registering, enrolling or attending any Durham Public School. This exclusion also includes riding in a school-owned or operated vehicle and prohibits the student from participating in school activities or entering any school property.

Firearm – any of the following:
1. A weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
2. The frame or receiver of any such weapon.
3. Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer.
The term “firearm” does not include an inoperable antique firearm, BB gun, stun gun, air rifle, or air pistol.

Long-Term Suspension – exclusion from the school to which the student was assigned at the time of the disciplinary action and from participation in school activities or events for a period in excess of ten days but not to exceed the remainder of the school year, except that if the offense leading to the long-term suspension occurs in the final quarter of the school year, the exclusion may extend to the end of the first semester of the following school year.

Parent – includes the natural parent, legal guardian, legal custodian or other caregiver adult who is acting in the place of a parent and is entitled under state law to enroll the student in school.

Principal – includes the principal and the principal’s designee.

School Personnel – includes the following:
1. Any Board employee;
2. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function under a contract or written agreement with the school system to provide educational or related services to students;
3. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function for another agency providing educational or related services to students.

Short-Term Suspension – exclusion from school and participation in school activities or events for up to ten days.

Superintendent – includes the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designee.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS

The Superintendent is authorized to develop regulations to administer this policy.


Cross Reference: Sexual Assault or Harassment Policy, Bullying and Harassment Policy, Suspension and Expulsion Policy, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Policy, Technology Acceptable Use Policy

Legal Reference: G.S. 115C-288, G.S. 115C-390.1 – 115C.390.2, United States Department of Education, Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline, (January 8, 2014).

Adopted: August 12, 1992
Revised Effective: September 27, 1995
Revised Effective: July 1, 1999
Revised Effective: February 24, 2000
Revised Effective: June 7, 2001
Revised Effective: September 13, 2001
Revised Effective: December 13, 2001
Revised Effective: September 12, 2002
Revised Effective: July 1, 2003
Revised Effective: January 24, 2008
Revised Effective: March 27, 2008
Revised Effective: February 24, 2011
Revised Effective: July 12, 2011
Revised Effective: December 20, 2012
Revised Effective: July 1, 2016
Revised Effective: August 24, 2017
Revised Effective: June 28, 2018
Revised Effective: August 9, 2018