5114 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process

Policy 5114

Students

Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process


It is the goal of the Board of Education to ensure the safety and welfare of all students in attendance, and to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning.  In keeping with this goal, students are expected to comply with school rules and regulations, as well as Board policies.  Students may be disciplined for conduct on school grounds or at any school-sponsored activity that endangers persons or property, is seriously disruptive of the educational process, or that violates a publicized policy of the Board.  Students may be disciplined for conduct off school grounds if such conduct is seriously disruptive of the educational process and violates a publicized policy of the Board.

In working with students, emphasis shall be placed upon developing effective self-discipline as the most effective disciplinary approach.

A.    Definitions

1.    “Exclusion” shall be defined as any denial of public school privileges to a student for disciplinary purposes.

2.    “Removal” shall be defined as an exclusion from a classroom for all or a part of single class period, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond ninety (90) minutes.

3.    “In-School Suspension” shall be defined as an exclusion from regular classroom activity for no more than ten consecutive school days, but not exclusion from school, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond the end of the school year in which such in-school suspension was imposed.  Such suspensions shall be served in the school attended by the student. (or: Such suspensions may be served in any school building under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education. The Board has determined that in-school suspensions shall be served at all Newtown Schools.

4.    “Suspension” shall be defined as an exclusion from school privileges or from transportation services for no more than ten (10) consecutive school days, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond the end of the school year in which such suspension was imposed. All suspensions shall be in-school suspensions unless the administration determines for any student in grades three through twelve, inclusive, that (1) the student being suspended poses such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that the student (grades three to twelve, inclusive) shall be excluded from school during the period of suspension, or (2) that an out-of-school suspension is appropriate based on evidence of previous disciplinary problems that have led to suspensions or expulsion of the student and efforts by the administration to address such disciplinary problems through means other than out-of-school suspension or expulsion, including positive support strategies.

A student in grades preschool to two, inclusive, may be given an out-of-school suspension if it is determined by the administration that such suspension is appropriate based on evidence that the student’s conduct on school grounds is of a violent or sexual nature that endangers persons. In addition, a person’s duty as a mandated reporter to report suspected child abuse or neglect is not limited by this provision.

5.    “Expulsion” shall be defined as an exclusion from school privileges for any student in grades three to twelve, inclusive, for more than ten (10) consecutive school days and shall be deemed to include but not be limited to, exclusion from the school to which such student was assigned at the time such disciplinary action was taken, provided that assignment to a regular classroom program in a different school in the district shall not constitute a suspension or an expulsion.  Such period of exclusion may extend to the school year following the school year in which the exclusion was imposed, up to one calendar year.

6.    “Emergency” shall be defined as a situation under which the continued presence of the student in the school imposes such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that a hearing may be delayed until a time as soon after the exclusion of such student as possible.

7.    “Days” is defined as days when school is in session.

8.    “School-sponsored activity” is defined as any activity sponsored, recognized or authorized by the Board of Education and includes activities conducted on or off school property.

9.    “Possess” means to have physical possession or otherwise to exercise dominion or control over tangible property.

10.    “Deadly weapon” means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon metal or brass knuckles, any BB gun, any blackjack, any metal or brass knuckles, any police baton or nightstick, any dirk knife or switch knife, any knife having an automatic spring release device by which a blade is released from the handle, having a blade of over one and one- half inches in length, any stiletto, any knife the edged portion of the blade of which is four inches or over in length, any martial arts weapon or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument.

11.    “Firearm” means 1) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or 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; or 4) any destructive device.  For purposes of this definition “destructive device” means any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than 4 ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than ¼ ounce, mine, or device similar to any of the weapons described herein.

12.    “Vehicle” means a “motor vehicle” as defined in Section 14-1 of the Connecticut General Statutes, snow mobile, any aircraft, or any vessel equipped for propulsion by mechanical means or sail.

13.    “Martial arts weapon” means a nunchakum kama, kasari-fundo, octagon sai, tonfa or Chinese star.

14.    “Dangerous Drugs and Narcotics” is defined as any controlled drug in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes §21a-240.

15.    “Dangerous Instrument” is any instrument, article or substance that, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.

16.    “Alternate education” means a school or program maintained and operated by the Board of Education that is offered to students in a nontraditional setting and addresses their social, emotional, behavioral and academic needs. Such program must conform to SBE guidelines and conform to C.G.S 10-15 & 16 (180 days/900 hours)

B.    Removal from Class
 
1.    All teachers are hereby authorized to remove a student from class when such student causes a serious disruption of the educational process within the classroom.
2.    Such teacher shall send the student to the office and shall immediately inform the building Principal or his/her designee as to the name of the student and the reason for removal.

C.    Exclusion from Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities

Participation in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities is a privilege and not an entitlement.  Students involved in such programs are expected to follow all school rules and demonstrate good citizenship.  Failure to do so may result in partial or complete exclusion from said activities and programs.  Activities include, but are not limited to, athletic programs, musical or drama productions, clubs, field trips, and school trips out-of-state and abroad.

D.    Suspension and Expulsion

1.    A student may be suspended (in-school) or suspended (out-of-school) or expelled (grade three to twelve, inclusive) for conduct on school property or at a school-sponsored activity that endangers persons or property, is violative of a publicized policy of the Board, or is seriously disruptive of the educational process, including but not limited to one or more of the following reasons:
a.    Conduct causing danger to the physical well-being of himself/herself or other people that is not reasonably necessary for self-defense;
b.    Intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical injury to another person that is not reasonably necessary for self-defense;
c.    Intentionally causing or attempting to cause damage or school property or material belonging to staff (private property);
d.    Stealing or attempting to steal private or school property or taking or attempting to take personal property or money from any other person;
e.    The use, either spoken or written on clothing, of obscene or profane language or gestures on school property or at a school-sponsored activity;
f.    Deliberate refusal to obey the directions or orders of a member of the school staff;
g.    Harassment and/or hazing/bullying on the basis of that person’s race, religion, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation;
h.    Open defiance of the authority of any teacher or person having authority over the student, including verbal abuse;
i.    Threatening in any manner, including orally, in writing, or via electronic communication, a member of the school including any teacher, a member of the school administration or any other employee, or a fellow student;
j.    Blackmailing a member of the school community, including any teacher, member of the school administration or any other employee or fellow student;
k.    Possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or martial arts weapon, as defined in Section 53a-3, such as a pistol, knife, blackjack, etc.;
l.    Possession of any weapon or weapon facsimile, including but not limited to knife, pistol, pellet guns and/or air soft pistols;
m.    Possession, transmission, distribution, selling, use or consumption of alcoholic beverages, dangerous drugs or narcotics or intoxicant of any kind or any facsimile of a dangerous drug, narcotic or intoxicant of any kind;
n.    Knowingly being in the presence of those who are in possession of using, transmitting, or being under the influence of any dangerous drug, narcotic, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant of any kind;
o.    Participation in any unauthorized occupancy by any group of students or others of any part of any school, school premises or other building owned by any school district after having been ordered to leave said school premises or other facility by the Principal or other person then in charge of said school building or facility;
p.    Participation in any walkout from a classroom or school building by any group of students and refusing to immediately return to said classroom or school building after having been directed to do so by the Principal or other person then in charge of said classroom or school building;
q.    Intentional incitement which results in an unauthorized occupation of, or walkout from, any school building, school premises, facility or classroom by any group of students or other persons;
r.    Repeated unauthorized absence from or tardiness to school;
s.    Intentional and successful incitement of truancy by other students;
t.    The use or copying of the academic work of another and the presenting of it as one’s own without proper attribution;
u.    Violation of school rules and practices or Board policy, regulation or agreement, including that dealing with conduct on school buses and the use of school district equipment;
v.    Violation of any federal or state law which would indicate that the violator presents a danger to any person in the school community or to school property;
w.    Lying, misleading or being deceitful to a school employee or person having authority over the student;
x.    Unauthorized leaving of school or school-sponsored activities;
y.    Unauthorized smoking.

E.    Suspension for Conduct Off School Grounds

1.    Students are subject to suspension for conduct off school property and outside of school-sponsored activities in accordance with law, for conduct that violates a publicized policy of the Board and is seriously disruptive of the educational process, including but not limited to the following:
 
a.    Conduct leading to a violation of any federal or state law if that conduct is determined to pose a danger to the student himself/herself, other students, school employees or school property.
b.    Adjudication as a delinquent or a youthful offender as the result of a felony if the conduct leading to the adjudication is determined to pose a danger to the student himself/herself, other students, school employees or school property.

2.    In making a determination as to whether conduct is “seriously disruptive of the educational process,” the administration, Board of Education or impartial hearing board may consider, but such consideration shall not be limited to; (1) whether the incident occurred within close proximity of a school; (2) whether other students from the school were involved or whether there was any gang involvement; (3) whether the conduct involved violence, threats of violence or the unlawful use of a weapon as defined in Section 29-38 and whether any injuries occurred, and (4) whether the conduct involved the use of alcohol, narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate or marijuana.

F.    Mandatory Expulsion

It shall be the policy of the Board to expel a student, grades preschool, and kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, for one full calendar year if:

1.    The student, on grounds or at a school-sponsored activity, was in possession of a firearm, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921*, as amended from time to time, or deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or martial arts weapon, as defined in C.G.S. 53A-3; or the student, off school grounds, did possess such firearm in violation of C.G.S. 29-35 or did possess and use such a firearm, instrument or weapon in the commission of a crime; or the student, on or off school grounds offered for sale or distribution a controlled substance, as defined in subdivision (9) of C.G.S. 21a-240, whose manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing, transporting or possessing with intent to sell or dispense, offering or administering is subject to criminal penalties under C.G.S. 21-277 and 21a-278.

*A firearm; currently defined by 18 U.S.C. 921, is any weapon that can expel a projectile by an explosive action and includes explosive devices, incendiaries, poison gases, and firearm frames, receivers, mufflers or silencers.

2.    Such a student shall be expelled for one calendar year if the Board of Education or impartial hearing board finds that the student did so possess or so possess and use, as appropriate, such a weapon or firearm, instrument or weapon or did so offer for sale or distribution such a controlled substance.

3.    The Board may modify the period of a mandatory expulsion on a case-by-case basis.

4.    A firearm, as defined by C.G.S. 53a-3 includes any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, a gravity knife, billy, black jack, bludgeon or metal knuckles.

5.    A student enrolled in a preschool program provided by the Board of Education, state or local charter school or interdistrict magnet school shall not be expelled from such school except that a student shall be expelled for one calendar year from such preschool program pursuant to the mandatory expulsion requirement in compliance with the Gun-Free School Act, as described in this section.

G.    Suspension Procedure

1.    The administration of each school shall have the authority to invoke suspension for a period of up to ten days or to invoke in-school suspension for a period of up to ten school days of any student for one or more of the reasons stated in paragraph C, above, in accordance with the procedure outlined in this paragraph.  Suspensions shall be in-school suspensions unless the administration determines that the student being suspended poses such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that the student shall be excluded from school during the period of suspension.  The administration may also consider a student’s previous disciplinary problems when deciding whether an out-of-school suspension is warranted, as long as the school previously attempted to address the problems by means other than an out-of-school suspension or an expulsion.

The administration is expected to use the guidelines developed and promulgated by the Commissioner of Education to help determine whether a student should receive an in-school or out-of-school suspension.

The administration shall also have the authority to suspend a student from transportation services whose conduct while awaiting or receiving transportation violates the standards set forth in paragraph C, above. The administration shall have the authority to immediately suspend from school any student when an emergency exists as that term is defined in paragraph A, above.

If an emergency situation exists, the hearing outlined in paragraph G (3) shall be held as soon as possible after the exclusion of the student.

2.    In the case of suspension, the administration shall notify the student’s parents and the Superintendent of Schools not later than twenty-four (24) hours of the suspension as to the name of the student who has been suspended and the reason therefore.  Any student who is suspended shall be given an opportunity to complete any class work including, but not limited to, examinations which such student missed during the period of his/her suspension.

3.    Except in the case of an emergency, as defined in paragraph A, above, a student shall be afforded the opportunity to meet with the administration and to respond to the stated charges prior to the effectuation of any period of suspension or in-school suspension.  If, at such a meeting the student denies the stated charges, he/she may at that time present his/her version of the incident(s) upon which the proposed suspension is based.  The administration shall then determine whether or not suspension or in-school suspension is warranted.  In determining the length of a suspension period, the administration may receive and consider evidence of past disciplinary problems which have led to removal from a classroom, in-school suspension, or expulsion.

4.    No student shall be suspended more than ten times or a total of fifty (50) days in one school year, whichever results in fewer days of exclusion, unless a hearing as provided in paragraph H(5) is first granted.

5.     No student shall be placed on in-school suspension more than fifteen times or a total of fifty (50) days in one school year, whichever results in fewer days of exclusion, unless a hearing as provided in paragraph H(5) is first granted.

H.    Expulsion Procedures

1.    The Board of Education may, upon recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools, expel any student for one or more of the reasons stated in this policy if in the judgment of the Board of Education, such disciplinary action is in the best interest of the school system.

2.    Upon receipt of a recommendation for expulsion from the Superintendent of Schools the Board shall, after giving written notice, at least five (5) business days before such hearing, to the student and his parents or guardian, if said student is less than 18 years of age, conduct a hearing prior to taking any action on the expulsion of said student, provided however, that in the event of an emergency as defined in this policy, the student may be expelled prior to the hearing but in such case even a hearing shall be held as soon after the expulsion as possible.  The notice shall include information concerning the student’s and his/her parent’s/guardian’s legal rights and concerning legal services that are provided free of charge or at a reduced rate that are available locally (CT Legal Service a source of such services) and how to access such services. An attorney or other advocate may represent any student subject to expulsion proceedings. The parent/guardian of the student has the right to have the expulsion hearing postponed for up to one week to allow time to obtain representation, except that if an emergency exists, such hearing shall be held as soon after the expulsion as possible. 

3.    A quorum of the Board of Education will be present for an expulsion hearing.  A student may be expelled if a majority of the Board members sitting in the expulsion hearing vote to expel.

4.    A special education student’s handicapping conditions shall be considered before making a decision to expel.  A Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting must be held to determine whether the behavior or student actions violative of Board of Education standards set forth in policy governing suspension and expulsion are the result of the student’s handicapping condition.

5.    The procedure for any hearing conducted under this paragraph shall at least include the right to:
 
a.    Notice prior to the date of the proposed hearing which shall include a statement of the time, place and nature of the hearing and a statement of the legal jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held and a statement that students under sixteen years old who are expelled and students between sixteen and eighteen who have been expelled for the first time and who comply with conditions set by the Board of Education, must be offered an alternative educational opportunity; 
b.    A short and plain statement of the matters asserted, if such matters have not already been provided in a statement of reasons requested by the student;
c.    The opportunity to be heard in the student’s own defense;
d.    The opportunity to present witnesses and evidence in the student’s defense;
e.    The opportunity to cross-examine adverse witnesses;
f.    The opportunity to be represented by counsel at the parents’/student’s own expense; and
g.    Information concerning legal services provided free of charge or at a reduced rate that are available locally and how to access such services;
h.    The opportunity to have the services of a translator, to be provided by the Board of Education whenever the student or his/her parent or legal guardian do not speak the English language;
i.    The prompt notification of the decision of the Board of Education, which decision shall be in writing if adverse to the student concerned.

6.    The record of the hearing held in any expulsion case shall include the following:
 
a.    All evidence received and considered by the Board of Education;
b.    Questions and offers of proof, objections and ruling on such objections;
c.    The decision of the Board of Education rendered after such hearing; and
d.    A copy of the initial letter of notice of proposed expulsion, a copy of any statement of reasons provided upon request, a statement of the notice of hearing and the official transcript, if any or if not transcribed, any recording or stenographic record of the hearing.

7.    Rules of evidence at expulsion hearings shall assure fairness, but shall not be controlled by the formal rules of evidence, and shall include the following:
a.    Any oral or documentary evidence may be received by the Board of Education but, as a matter of policy, irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence may be excluded.  In addition, other evidence of past disciplinary problems which have led to removal from a classroom, in-school suspension, suspension, or expulsion may be received for considering the length of an expulsion and the nature of the alternative educational opportunity, if any, to be offered;
b.    The Board of Education shall give effect to the rules of privilege by law;
c.    In order to expedite a hearing, evidence may be received in written form, provided the interest of any party is not substantially prejudiced thereby;
d.    Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts;
e.    A party to an expulsion hearing may conduct cross-examination of witnesses where examination is required for a full and accurate disclosure of the facts;
f.    The Board of Education may take notice of judicially relevant facts in addition to facts within the Board’s specialized knowledge provided, however, the parties shall be notified either before or during the hearing of the material noticed, including any staff memoranda or data, and an opportunity shall be afforded to any party to contest the material so noticed;
g.    A stenographic record or tape-recording of any oral proceedings before the Board of Education at an expulsion hearing shall be made provided, however, that a transcript of such proceedings shall be furnished upon request of a party with the cost of such transcript to be paid by the requesting party.  Findings of fact made by the Board after an expulsion hearing shall be based exclusively upon the evidence adduced at the hearing.
h.    Decisions shall be in writing if adverse to the student and shall include findings of fact and conclusions necessary for the decision.  Findings of fact made by the Board after an expulsion hearing shall be based exclusively upon the evidence adduced at the hearing.

8.    For any student expelled for the first time and who has never been suspended, except for a student who has been expelled based on possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, the Board of Education may shorten the length of or waive the expulsion period if the student successfully completes a Board specified program and meets any other conditions required by the Board.  Such a Board specified program shall not require the student or the parent/guardian of such student to pay for participation in the program.

I.    Notification

1.    All students and parents within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education shall be informed, annually, of Board Policy governing student conduct by the delivery to each said student of a written copy of said Board Policy.

2.    The parents or guardian of any minor student either expelled or suspended shall be given notice of such disciplinary action no later than 24 hours of the time of the institution of the period of expulsion or suspension.

3.    The notice of an expulsion hearing shall be given at least five (5) business days before such hearing to the student and his/her parents or guardians, if said student is less than 18 years of age shall include information concerning the parent’s/guardian’s and the student’s legal rights and concerning legal services that are provided free of charge or at a reduced rate that are available and how to access such services. The notification shall include a statement that an attorney or other advocate may represent any student subject to expulsion proceedings. The parent/guardian of the student shall be notified of the right to have the expulsion hearing postponed for up to one week to allow time to obtain representation, except that if an emergency exists, such hearing shall be held as soon after the expulsion as possible. 

J.    Students with Disabilities

A special education student’s IEP and/or 504 disability shall be considered before making a decision to suspend.  A student with disabilities may be suspended for up to ten school days in a school year without the need for the district to provide any educational services. A disabled student may be additionally removed (suspended) for up to ten school days at a time for separate acts of misconduct as long as the removals do not constitute a pattern. During any subsequent suspension of ten days or less of a student with disabilities, the district shall provide services to the disabled student to the extent determined necessary to enable the student to appropriately advance in the general education curriculum and toward achieving his/her IEP goals.  In cases involving removals for ten days or less, school personnel (school administration) in consultation with the child’s special education teacher, shall make the service determination.

If the disabled student’s suspensions beyond ten school days in a school year constitute a pattern because of factors such as the length of each removal, the total amount of time the child is removed and the proximity of the removals to one another, the IEP team (PPT) shall conduct a manifestation determination.  Meetings of a student’s IEP team (PPT) are required to develop a behavioral assessment plan or to review and modify as necessary one previously developed when the disabled student has been removed (suspended) from his/her current placement for more than ten school days in a school year and when commencing a removal (suspension) that constitutes a change in placement.

Whenever a student is suspended, notice of the suspension and the conduct for which the student was suspended shall be included on the student’s cumulative educational record.  Such notice shall be expunged from the record by the Board if the student graduates from high school.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the following procedures shall apply to students who have been identified as having one or more disabilities under the IDEA and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (a “student with disabilities”):

1.    If a student with disabilities engages in conduct that would lead to a recommendation for expulsion, the district shall promptly convene an IEP team (PPT) meeting to determine whether the misconduct was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the District’s failure to implement the IEP.  A student may be suspended for up to ten days pending the IEP team (PPT) determination.

2.    If the District, parent and relevant members of the IEP team (PPT) determine that the misconduct was not caused by the disability, the Superintendent may proceed with a recommendation for expulsion.  During any period of expulsion, a student with disabilities under the IDEA shall receive an alternative educational plan consistent with the student’s educational needs as determined by the IEP team (PPT) in light of such expulsion and the student’s IEP. The services must continue to the extent determined necessary to enable the disabled student to appropriately advance in the general education curriculum and to advance toward achieving the goals of his/her IEP, and be provided a free appropriate public education.

3.    If the District, parent and relevant members of the IEP team (PPT) determine that the misconduct was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the disability, or the conduct in question was the direct result of the District’s failure to implement the student’s IEP, the Superintendent shall not proceed with the recommendation for expulsion.  The IEP team (PPT) shall consider the student’s misconduct and revise the IEP to prevent a recurrence of such misconduct and to provide for the safety of the other students and staff.  A functional behavioral assessment shall be conducted, if not previously done, and a behavioral intervention plan implemented or revised, if in existence.  The student shall be returned to the placement from which he/she was removed unless agreed otherwise by the District and parent.

4.    Should a parent of a student with disabilities who is eligible for services under the IDEA (or the student himself/herself if eighteen years of age or older) file a request for a due process hearing to contest an expulsion under subparagraph (2) above or a proposed change in placement under subparagraph (3), unless the parents (or student if eighteen years of age or older) and the Board otherwise agree, the child shall stay in the interim alternate educational setting, if so placed by student authorities, pending decision in said due process hearing and any subsequent judicial review proceedings.

5.    Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding subparagraph (4), a student with disabilities may be assigned to an interim alternative educational setting for not more than forty-five (45) school days if the student brings a weapon to school or to a school function or knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function, or has inflicted serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a school function.  For purposes of this paragraph, “weapon” means a device instrument, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, but excludes a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 ½ inches in length.  “Serious bodily injury” is defined as bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty.  The interim alternative placement shall be determined by the IEP team (PPT).  If a due process hearing is requested, the student shall remain in said interim alternative placement pending a decision in the due process hearing, unless the Board and the parents otherwise agree, or the Board obtains a court order.

6.    In order for the district to unilaterally obtain a 45-day change in placement from a federal judge of Connecticut hearing officer, it must prove by substantial evidence that maintaining the current placement of the student is substantially likely to result in injury to the child or others.  The school must also prove that it has made reasonable efforts to minimize the risk of harm the student presents in the current placement.

K.    Alternative Educational Opportunity

The Board of Education recognizes its obligation to offer any student under the age of sixteen (16) who is expelled an alternative educational opportunity which shall be equivalent to alternative education, as defined, with an individualized learning plan, during the period of expulsion.  Any parent or guardian of such student who does not choose to have his or her child enrolled in an alternative educational program shall not be subject to the provision of Section 10-184 of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Any expelled student who is between the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) not previously expelled and who wishes to continue his or her education shall be offered such an alternative educational opportunity if he or she complies with conditions established by the Board of Education.  Such alternative educational opportunity may include, but shall not be limited to, the assignment of a student (who is seventeen (17) years of age or older) to an adult education program or placement of such student in a regular classroom program of a school other than the one from which the student has been excluded.  Any student participating in an adult education program during a period of expulsion shall not be required to withdraw from school under C.G.S. 10-184. In determining the nature of the alternative education opportunity to be offered under this Section, the Board of Education may receive and consider evidence of past disciplinary problems which have led to removal from a classroom, suspension, or expulsion.

The Board of Education is not obligated to provide such alternative educational opportunity to any student eighteen years of age or older.  The Board of Education is also required to offer such alternative educational opportunity, as defined, to any student between the ages of sixteen and eighteen who is expelled because of conduct which endangers persons, and involved the following, on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event:
 
1.    Possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or martial arts weapon, or

2.    Offering an illegal drug for sale or distribution.

If the Board expels a student for the sale or distribution of a controlled substance, the Board shall refer the student to an appropriate state or local agency for rehabilitation, intervention or job training, or any combination thereof, and inform the agency of its action.  If a student is expelled for possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instruments (those that can be used to cause death or serious injury) or martial arts weapons the Board shall report the violation to the local police department. 

This provision shall not apply to students requiring special education who are described in subdivision (1) of sub-section (e) of C.G.S. 10-76a.  The alternative educational opportunity for any such student shall be established by the IEP team (PPT) in accordance with the procedures described above.

L.    Other Considerations

1.    If a student is expelled, notice of the expulsion and the conduct for which the student was expelled shall be included on the student’s cumulative educational record.  Such notice, except for the notice of an expulsion of a student in grades nine through twelve, inclusive, based on possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record by the Board if the Board determines that the student’s conduct and behavior in the years following such expulsion warrants an expungement or if the student graduates from high school.

2.    If a student’s expulsion is shortened or the expulsion period waived based upon the fact that the student was expelled for the first time, had never been suspended, and successfully completed a Board specified program and/or met other conditions required by the Board, the notice of expulsion shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record if the student graduates from high school or, if the Board so chooses, at the time the student completes the Board specified program and meets any other conditions required by the Board.

3.    If a student in grades kindergarten to eight, is expelled based on possession of a firearm or deadly weapon, the Board may expunge from the students’ cumulative education record the notice of the expulsion and the conduct for which the student was expelled if the Board determines that the conduct and behavior of the student in the years following such expulsion warrants an expungement.

4.    The Board may adopt the decision of a student expulsion hearing conducted by another school district provided such Board of Education held a hearing pursuant to C.G.S.10-233d(a). Adoption of such a decision shall be limited to a determination of whether the conduct which was the basis for the expulsion would also warrant expulsion under the policies of this Board.  The student shall be excluded from school pending such hearing.  The excluded student shall be offered an alternative education opportunity in accordance with item K above.

5.    Whenever a student against whom an expulsion hearing is pending withdraws from school and after notification of such hearing but before the hearing is completed and a decision rendered, (1) notice of the pending expulsion hearing shall be included on the student’s cumulative educational record and (2) the Board shall complete the expulsion hearing and render a decision.

6.    A student expelled for possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or martial arts weapon shall have the violation reported to the local police department.

7.    The period of expulsion shall not extend beyond a period of one calendar year.  A period of exclusion may extend into the next school year.

8.    An expelled student may apply for early readmission to school.  Such readmission shall be at the discretion of the Board of Education or their designee. Readmission decisions shall not be subject to appeal to Superior Court. The Board or their designee may condition such readmission on specified criteria.

9.    Any student who commits an expellable offense and is subsequently committed to a juvenile detention center, The Connecticut Juvenile Training School or any other residential placement for such offense may be expelled by the local Board of Education. The period of expulsion shall run concurrently with the period of commitment to a juvenile detention center, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School or any other residential placement.

Readmission of Student from a Residential Placement
A District student who has committed an expellable offense who seeks to return to a District school, after participating in a diversionary program or having been detained in a juvenile detention center, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School or any other residential placement, for one year or more, in lieu of expulsion from the District, shall be permitted to return to the appropriate school setting within the District.  Further, the District shall not expel the student for any additional time for the offense(s).

Students and parents shall be notified of this policy annually.

Legal Reference:    Connecticut General Statutes
4-176e through 4-180a.  Contested Cases.  Notice.  Record, as amended
10-233a through 10-233f Suspension, removal and expulsion of students, as amended by PA 95-304, PA 96-244, PA 98-139, PA 07-66, PA 07-122, PA 08-160, PA 09-82, PA 09-6 (September Special Session), PA 10-111, PA 11-126, PA 14-229, PA 15-96 and PA 16-147.
53a-3 Definitions.
53a-217b Possession of Firearms and Deadly Weapons on School Grounds.
PA 94-221 An Act Concerning School Discipline and Safety.
PA 15-96 An Act Prohibiting Out-of-School Suspensions and Expulsions for Students in Preschool and Grades Kindergarten to Two.
GOALS 2000: Educate America Act, Pub. L. 103-227.
18 U.S.C. 921 Definitions.
Title III - Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Sec. 314 (Local Control Over Violence)
Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 as amended by the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994
P.L. 105-17 The Individuals with Disabilities Act, Amendments of 1997.
Kyle P. Packer PPA Jane Packer v. Thomaston Board of Education.
20 U.S.C. Section 7114, No Child Left Behind Act
P.L. 108-446 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004


Policy adopted: June 24, 2015                     
Policy revised: May 17, 2016, August 15, 2017                         
NEWTOWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Newtown, Connecticut