Administrative and teaching personnel may take actions regarding student behavior, other than those specifically provided in this policy and the Student Discipline Act, which are reasonably necessary to aid the student, further school purposes, or prevent interference with the educational process. Such actions may include, but need not be limited to, counseling of students, parent conferences, rearrangement of schedules, requirements that a student remain in school after regular hours to do additional work, restriction of extracurricular activity, or requirements that a student receive counseling, psychological evaluation, or psychiatric evaluation upon the written consent of a parent or guardian to such counseling or evaluation. Disciplinary consequences may also include in-school suspension, Saturday School, and any other consequence authorized by law. District administrators may develop building-specific protocols for the imposition of student discipline.
In this policy, references to "Principal" shall include building principals, the principal's designee, or other appropriate school district administrators.
Any statement, notice, recommendation, determination, or similar action specified in this policy shall be effectively given at the time written evidence thereof is delivered personally to or upon receipt of certified or registered mail or upon actual knowledge by a student or his or her parent or guardian.
Any student who is suspended or expelled from school pursuant to this policy may not participate in any school activity during the duration of that exclusion including adjacent school holidays and weekends. The student activity eligibility of a student who is mandatorily reassigned shall be determined on a case-by-case basis by the principal of the building to which the student is reassigned.
The Principal may exclude students from school or any school function for a period of up to five school days (short-term suspension) on the following grounds:
1. Conduct constituting grounds for expulsion as hereinafter set forth; or,
2. Other violations of rules and standards of behavior adopted by the Board of Education or the administrative or teaching staff of the school, that occur on or off school grounds, if such conduct interferes with school purposes or there is a connection between such conduct and school.
The following process applies to short-term suspension:
1. The Principal shall make a reasonable investigation of the facts and circumstances. Short-term suspension shall be imposed only after a determination that the suspension is necessary to help any student, to further school purposes, or to prevent an interference with school purposes.
2. Prior to commencement of the short-term suspension, the student will be given oral or written notice of the charges against the student. The student will be advised of what he or she is accused of having done, be given an explanation of the evidence the authorities have, and be given an opportunity to explain the student's version of the facts.
3. Within 24 hours or such additional time as is reasonably necessary following the suspension, the Principal will send a written statement to the student, and the student's parent or guardian, describing the student's conduct, misconduct or violation of the rule or standard and the reasons for the action taken. An opportunity will be given to the student, and the student's parent or guardian, to have a conference with the Principal ordering the short-term suspension before or at the time the student returns to school. The Principal shall determine who, in addition to the parent or guardian, is to attend the conference.
4. Students who are short-term suspended will be given the opportunity to complete classwork, including but not limited to examinations.
Students may be emergency excluded from school pursuant to the board's separate policy on emergency exclusion or state law.
Weapons and/or Firearms
Students may be disciplined for the possession of weapons and/or firearms pursuant to the board's separate policy on weapons and firearms or state law.
Students may be excluded by the Principal from school or any school function for a period of more than five school days but less then twenty school days (long-term suspension) for any conduct constituting grounds for expulsion as hereinafter set forth. The process for long-term suspension is set forth below.
1. Meaning of Expulsion. Expulsion means exclusion from attendance in all schools, grounds and activities of or within the system for a period not to exceed the remainder of the semester in which it took effect unless the misconduct occurred (a) within ten school days prior to the end of the first semester, in which case the expulsion shall remain in effect through the second semester, or (b) within ten school days prior to the end of the second semester, in which case the expulsion shall remain in effect for summer school and the first semester of the following school year, or (c) unless the expulsion is for conduct specified in these rules or in law as permitting or requiring a longer removal, in which case the expulsion shall remain in effect for the period specified therein. Such action may be modified or terminated by the school district at any time during the expulsion period.
2. Summer Review. Any expulsion that will remain in effect during the first semester of the following school year will be automatically scheduled for review before the beginning of the school year. The review will be conducted by the hearing officer who conducted the initial expulsion hearing, or a hearing officer appointed by the Superintendent in the event no hearing was previously held or the initial hearing officer is no longer available or willing to serve, after the hearing officer has given notice of the review to the student and the student's parent or guardian. This review shall be limited to newly discovered evidence or evidence of changes in the student's circumstances occurring since the original hearing. This review may lead to a recommendation by the hearing officer that the student be readmitted for the upcoming school year. If the school board or board of education or a committee of such board took the final action to expel the student, the student may be readmitted only by action of the board. Otherwise the student may be readmitted by action of the Superintendent.
3. Suspension of Enforcement of an Expulsion: Enforcement of an expulsion action may be suspended (i.e., "stayed") for a period of not more than one full semester in addition to the balance of the semester in which the expulsion takes effect, and as a condition of such suspended action, the student may be assigned to a school, class, or program/plan and to such other consequences which the school district deems appropriate.
4. Alternative School or Pre-expulsion Procedures. The school shall either provide an alternative school, class or educational program for expelled students or shall follow the pre-expulsion procedures outlined in Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-266.
Grounds for Long-Term Suspension, Expulsion or Mandatory Reassignment:
The following conduct constitutes grounds for long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment, subject to the procedural provisions of the Student Discipline Act, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-254 through 79-296, when such activity occurs on school grounds, in a vehicle owned, leased, or contracted by a school being used for a school purpose or in a vehicle being driven for a school purpose by a school employee or by his or her designee, or at a school-sponsored activity or athletic event:
1. Use of violence, force, coercion, threat, intimidation, or similar conduct in a manner that constitutes a substantial interference with school purposes;
2. Willfully causing or attempting to cause substantial damage to property, stealing or attempting to steal property of substantial value, or repeated damage or theft involving property;
3. Causing or attempting to cause personal injury to a school employee, to a school volunteer, or to any student. Personal injury caused by accident, self-defense, or other action undertaken on the reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect some other person shall not constitute a violation of this subdivision;
4. Threatening or intimidating any student for the purpose of or with the intent of obtaining money or anything of value from such student;
5. Knowingly possessing, handling, or transmitting any object or material that is ordinarily or generally considered a weapon (see also board policy on weapons and firearms);
6. Engaging in the unlawful possession, selling, dispensing, or use of a controlled substance or an imitation controlled substance, as defined in section 28-401, a substance represented to be a controlled substance, or alcoholic liquor as defined in section 53-103.02 or being under the influence of a controlled substance or alcoholic liquor (note: the term “under the influence” for school purposes has a less strict meaning than it does under criminal law; for school purposes, the term means any level of impairment and includes even the odor of alcohol on the breath or person of a student; also, it includes being impaired by reason of the abuse of any material used as a stimulant);
7. Public indecency as defined in section 28-806, except that this prohibition shall apply only to students at least twelve years of age but less than nineteen years of age;
8. Engaging in bullying as defined in section 79-2,137 and in these policies;
9. Sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault any person if a complaint has been filed by a prosecutor in a court of competent jurisdiction alleging that the student has sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault any person, including sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults which occur off school grounds not at a school function, activity, or event. For purposes of this subdivision, sexual assault means sexual assault in the first degree as defined in section 28-319, sexual assault in the second degree as defined in section 28-320, sexual assault of a child in the second or third degree as defined in section 28-320.01, or sexual assault of a child in the first degree as defined in section 28-319.01, as such sections now provide or may hereafter from time to time be amended;
10. Engaging in any other activity forbidden by the laws of the State of Nebraska which activity constitutes a danger to other students or interferes with school purposes; or
11. A repeated violation of any of the following rules, or a single violation if the conduct is forbidden by Nebraska law, if such violations constitute a substantial interference with school purposes:
a. The use of language, written or oral, or conduct, including gestures, which is profane or abusive to students or staff members. Profane or abusive language or conduct includes, but is not limited to, that which is commonly understood and intended to be derogatory toward a group or individual based upon race, gender, national origin, or religion;
b. Dressing or grooming in a manner which violates the school district’s dress code and/or is dangerous to the student's health and safety, a danger to the health and safety of others, or which is disruptive, distracting or indecent to the extent that it interferes with the learning and educational process;
c. Violating school bus rules as set by the school district or district staff;
f. Possession of pornography;
g. Sexting or the possession of sexting images (a combination of sex and texting - the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically);
h. Engaging in initiations, defined as any ritualistic expectations, requirements, or activities placed upon new members of a school organization for the purpose of admission into the organization, even if those activities do not rise to the level of “hazing” as defined below. Initiations are prohibited except by permission of the superintendent.
i. Engaging in hazing as defined by state law and this policy. Hazing is defined as any activity by which a person intentionally or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health or safety of an individual for the purpose of initiation into, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in any school organization. Under state criminal law, hazing activities include, but are not limited to, whipping, beating, branding, an act of sexual penetration, an exposure of the genitals of the body done with the intent to affront or alarm any person, a lewd fondling or caressing of the body of another person, forced and prolonged calisthenics, prolonged exposure to the elements, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or harmful substance not generally intended for human consumption, prolonged sleep deprivation, or any brutal treatment or the performance of any unlawful act that endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any person. For purposes of school rules, hazing also includes any activity expected of someone joining a group, team, or activity that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person's willingness to participate; personal servitude; restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one's skin; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault;
j. Bullying which shall include cyber-bullying, defined as the use of the internet, including but not limited to social networking sites such as Facebook, cell phones or other devices to send, post or text message images and material intended to hurt or embarrass another person. This may include, but is not limited to; continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender; sending or posting threats, sexual remarks or pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech); ganging up on victims by making them the subject of ridicule in forums, and posting false statements as fact intended to humiliate the victim; disclosure of personal data, such as the victim's real name, address, or school at websites or forums; posing as the identity of the victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them; sending threatening and harassing text, instant messages or emails to the victims; and posting or sending rumors or gossip to instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target;
k. Violation of the district’s computer acceptable computer use policy are subject to discipline, up to and including expulsion; and
l. Any other violation of a rule or regulation established by a school district staff member pursuant to authority delegated by the board.
Due Process Afforded to Students Facing Long-term Suspension or Expulsion
The following procedures shall be followed regarding any long-term suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment
1. On the date of the decision to discipline, the Principal shall file with the Superintendent a written charge and a summary of the evidence supporting such charge.
2. The Principal shall serve the student and the student's parents or guardian with a written notice by registered or certified mail or personal service within two school days of the date of the decision to recommend long-term suspension or expulsion. The notice shall include the following:
a. The rule or standard of conduct allegedly violated and the acts of the student alleged to constitute a cause for long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment, including a summary of the evidence to be presented against the student;
b. The penalty, if any, which the principal has recommended in the charge and any other penalty to which the student may be subject;
c. A statement that, before long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment for disciplinary purposes can be invoked, the student has a right to a hearing, upon request, on the specified charges;
d. A description of the hearing procedures provided by the act, along with procedures for appealing any decision rendered at the hearing;
e. A statement that the principal, legal counsel for the school, the student, the student's parent, or the student's representative or guardian has the right (i) to examine the student's academic and disciplinary records and any affidavits to be used at the hearing concerning the alleged misconduct and (ii) to know the identity of the witnesses to appear at the hearing and the substance of their testimony; and
f. A form on which the student, the student's parent, or the student's guardian may request a hearing, to be signed by such parties and delivered to the principal or superintendent in person or by registered or certified mail.
3. When a notice of intent to discipline a student by long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment is filed with the superintendent, the student may be suspended by the principal until the date the long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment takes effect if no hearing is requested or, if a hearing is requested, the date the hearing examiner makes the report of his or her findings and a recommendation of the action to be taken to the superintendent, if the principal determines that the student must be suspended immediately to prevent or substantially reduce the risk of (a) interference with an educational function or school purpose or (b) a personal injury to the student himself or herself, other students, school employees, or school volunteers.
4. Nothing in this policy shall preclude the student, student's parents, guardian or representative from discussing and settling the matter with appropriate school personnel prior to the hearing stage.
5. If a hearing is requested within five days after receipt of the notice, the Superintendent shall appoint a hearing officer who shall follow the "hearing procedures" outlined below.
6. If a hearing is requested more than five school days following the receipt of the written notice, but not more than thirty calendar days after receipt, the Superintendent shall appoint a hearing officer who shall follow the "hearing procedures" outlined below, except that the time constraints set forth may differ as provided by law and this policy. The student shall be entitled to a hearing but the consequence imposed may continue in effect pending final determination.
7. If a request for hearing is not received within thirty calendar days following the mailing or delivery of the written notice, the student shall not be entitled to a hearing.
In the event a hearing is requested, the hearing, hearing procedures, the student's rights and any appeals or judicial review permitted by law shall be governed by the applicable provisions of the Nebraska Student Discipline Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-254 to 79-294). The school district will provide parents with copies of the relevant statutes upon request.
Adopted on: August 10, 2009
Reviewed on: August 11, 2014
Reviewed on: Mar 14, 2016
Revised on: June 13, 2016