Student Discipline Procedures

APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY ACADEMY AT MIDDLE FORK STUDENT DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES

I. Introduction

The Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork (hereinafter "Academy" or "school") recognizes its obligations to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment conducive to learning, as well as to provide due process, as required by law and as appropriate to the circumstances, to students who face disciplinary action. This policy shall be applied consistent and in conjunction with the Academy's Student Behavior Policy/Code of Student Conduct.

II. Policy Scope

This policy shall apply to all students of the Academy.

III. Definitions

  1. Day: Unless otherwise indicated, "day" means a day on which the Academy is fully open for school business.

  2. Dean: The Dean of Appalachian State University's Reich College of Education.

  3. Expulsion: An expulsion is the indefinite exclusion of a student from school enrollment for disciplinary purposes. Expulsion may be appropriate when the student's continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees. During the expulsion, the student is not entitled to be present on Academy property and is not considered a student of the Academy.

  4. Long-Term Suspension: A long-term suspension is the disciplinary exclusion of a student from attending the Academy for more than 10 school days. The following shall not be considered long-term suspensions and do not require the due process procedures set forth in this policy:
    1. The changing of a student's location to another room or place on the school premises, including but not limited to an Alternative Learning Center Assignment and an Alternative School Assignment.
    2. Absence based on failure to submit a school health assessment form within 30 days of entering school, as required by the Academy Student Health Care Policy.

  5. Parent: A parent, legal guardian, or other custodian having charge or control of a student attending the Academy.

  6. Principal: The Principal of the Academy.

  7. Short-Term Suspension: A short-term suspension is the disciplinary exclusion of a student from attending the Academy for up to 10 school days. The following shall not be considered short-term suspensions and do not require the due process procedures set forth in this policy:
    1. The removal of a student from class by the classroom teacher, the Principal, or other authorized school personnel for the remainder of the subject period or for less than one-half of the school day.
    2. The changing of a student's location to another room or place on the school premises, including but not limited to an Alternative Learning Center Assignment and an Alternative School Assignment.
    3. Absence based on failure to submit a school health assessment form within 30 days of entering school, as required by the Academy Student Health Care Policy.

  8. 365-Day Suspension: A 365-day suspension is the disciplinary exclusion of a student from the Academy for 365 calendar days. A 365-day suspension may be imposed only for certain firearm and destructive device violations, in accordance with the procedures set forth in this policy.

IV. General Approach to Discipline

  1. The Academy will address misbehavior and violations of disciplinary or conduct rules in a manner that prioritizes student development and education. While disciplinary procedures may result in the imposition of sanctions in appropriate cases, the primary objectives of these disciplinary procedures are to uphold honor, integrity, and personal responsibility and to promote student learning, safety, health, and wellbeing. School discipline must balance these interests to provide a safe and productive learning environment, to continually teach students to respect themselves, others and property, and to conduct themselves in a manner that fosters their own learning and the learning of those around them.

  2. While the Academy believes that suspension or expulsion may be an appropriate and necessary consequence in certain situations, the Academy also recognizes that excessive use of suspension and expulsion may have a negative impact on academic achievement and promotion rates. The Academy will balance all of these interests as it makes decisions regarding student discipline.

V. Determination of Appropriate Disciplinary Consequence

The Academy Principal has the primary authority and responsibility for determining what disciplinary consequences are appropriate when it is determined that a student has violated the Student Behavior Policy/Code of Student Conduct, other Academy policy, or other applicable standards and rules. In determining whether suspension or expulsion is an appropriate consequence, the Principal shall consider the student's culpability and dangerousness, the harm caused by the student, and any other mitigating or aggravating factors the Principal finds relevant.

  1. Culpability of Student. In assessing the culpability of the student for his or her behavior, the Principal may consider criteria including but not limited to the following:
    1. The student's age;
    2. The student's ability to form the intent to cause the harm that occurred or could have occurred; and
    3. Evidence of the student's intent when engaging in the conduct.

  2. Dangerousness of the Student. In assessing the dangerousness of the student, the Principal may consider criteria including but not limited to the following:
    1. The student's disciplinary or criminal record related to anti-social behavior or drugs and alcohol;
    2. Whether a weapon was involved in the incident and, if a weapon was involved, whether the student had the ability to inflict serious injury or death with the weapon; and
    3. Evidence of the student's ability to cause the harm that was intended or that occurred.

  3. Harm Caused by the Student. In assessing the severity of the harm caused by the student, the Principal may consider criteria including but not limited to whether any of the following occurred:
    1. Someone was physically injured or killed;
    2. Someone was directly threatened or property was extorted through the use of a weapon;
    3. Someone was directly harmed, either emotionally or psychologically;
    4. Educational property or others' personal property was damaged; or
    5. Students, Academy employees, or parents were aware of the presence of a weapon or of dangerous behavior on the part of the perpetrator.

  4. Other Factors. The Principal shall consider any other relevant factors, including but not limited to any mitigating or aggravating factors as set forth in the Academy's Student Behavior Policy/Code of Student Conduct; and whether any alternative education services, counseling, or other programs should be part of the consequence for the student's violation of policy, rules, or standards.

After considering the above factors, the Principal shall make a decision or recommendation consistent with this policy, stating the nature of the offense, the substance of the evidence involved, and the specific disciplinary consequence.

VI. Short-Term Suspension

  1. Authority to Impose Short-Term Suspension

    The Principal or designee has the authority to determine when a short-term suspension is an appropriate consequence and to impose the suspension consistent with the procedures outlined in this policy.

  2. Pre-Short-Term Suspension Rights of Student

    1. Except in the circumstances described below, a student must be provided with an opportunity for an informal hearing with the Principal or designee before a short-term suspension is imposed. The Principal or designee may hold the hearing immediately after giving the student oral or written notice of the allegations against him or her. At the informal hearing, the student has the right to be present, to be informed of the allegations and the basis for the accusations against him or her, and to make statements in defense or mitigation of the allegations.
    2. The Principal or designee may impose a short-term suspension without first providing the student with an opportunity for a hearing if the presence of the student (a) creates a direct and immediate threat to the safety of other students or staff or (b) substantially disrupts or interferes with the education of other students or the maintenance of discipline at the school. In such cases, the Principal or designee shall give the student notice of the allegations and an opportunity for an informal hearing as soon as practicable.

  3. Student Status and Rights During a Short-Term Suspension
    1. A student who is placed on a short-term suspension will not be permitted to be on school property or to take part in any school function during the period of suspension without prior approval from the Principal.
    2. A student under a short-term suspension must be provided with the following:
      1. The opportunity to take textbooks home for the duration of the suspension;
      2. Upon request, the right to receive all missed assignments and, to the extent practicable, the materials distributed to students in connection with such assignments; and
      3. The opportunity to take any quarterly, semester, or grading period examinations missed during the suspension period.

  4. Notice of Short-Term Suspension to Parent

    1. When imposing a short-term suspension, the Principal or designee shall provide the student's parent with notice that includes the reason for the suspension and a description of the student conduct upon which the suspension is based. The Principal or designee must give this notice by the end of the day during which the suspension is imposed when reasonably possible, but in no event more than two days after the suspension is imposed. If English is the second language of the parent, the notice must be provided in English and in the parent's primary language, when the appropriate foreign language resources are readily available. Both versions must be in plain language and easily understandable.
    2. The initial notice may be by telephone, but it must be followed by timely written notice. The written notice must include all of the information listed above and may provided by hand delivery, fax, e-mail, or any other method reasonably designed to give actual notice. Academy officials also shall maintain a copy of the written notice in the student's educational record.

  5. Administrative Review for Short-Term Suspension

    A student or the parent of a student placed on short-term suspension may request an administrative review of that decision by the Dean or Dean's designee. This review shall be an informal meeting conducted in private. The following individuals shall attend: the student, the student's parent(s), the Principal or Principal's designee, and the Dean or Dean's designee. The Principal or Principal's designee shall present the information shared in the Notice described above and the student and/or the student's parent(s) shall have an opportunity to respond. The response may include any additional mitigating factors the student or parent(s) believe should be considered. The decision of the Dean or Dean's designee shall be final.

  6. Short-Term Suspensions of Students With Disabilities

    Multiple short-term suspensions for a student with disabilities will be addressed in accordance with the Academy's Discipline of Students With Disabilities Policy and other applicable state and federal law.

VII. Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, and Expulsion

  1. Grounds for the Principal to Recommend
    1. Long-Term Suspension. The Principal may recommend long-term suspension for a student who willfully engages in a serious violation of the Code of Student Conduct and the violation either (1) threatens the safety of students, staff, or school visitors, or (2) threatens to substantially disrupt the educational environment. The Principal may recommend long-term suspension for a minor violation if aggravating circumstances justify treating the student's behavior as a serious violation.
      1. If the offense leading to the long-term suspension occurred before the final quarter of the school year, the exclusion must be no longer than the remainder of the school year in which the offense was committed.
      2. If the offense leading to the long-term suspension occurred during the final quarter of the school year, the exclusion may include a period up to the remainder of the school year in which the offense was committed and the first semester of the following school year.
    2. 365-Day Suspension. The Principal may recommend a 365-day suspension only if the Principal identifies the type of firearm or destructive device involved and evidence substantiating that the student brought it onto school property or to a school activity or possessed it on school property or at a school activity.
    3. Expulsion. The Principal may recommend an expulsion if the Principal identifies the basis for determining that there is clear and convincing evidence that the student's continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees.

  2. Notice of Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, or Expulsion

    The Principal must provide to the student's parent written notice of the Principal's recommendation for long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion by the end of the day during which such action is recommended when reasonably possible, or as soon thereafter as practicable. The Principal also shall provide a copy of the notice to the Dean or Dean's designee. The notice must be written in plain English and, when appropriate language resources are readily available, also in the parent's native language. The notice must contain the following information:
    1. The type of action recommended – i.e., long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion;
    2. A description of the incident and the student's conduct that led to the recommendation;
    3. The specific provision(s) of the Code of Student Conduct that the student allegedly violated;
    4. The specific process by which the parent may request a hearing to contest the recommendation and the deadline for making the request;
    5. The process by which the hearing will be held, including all due process rights to be accorded the student during the hearing;
    6. Notice of the right to retain an attorney to represent the student in the hearing process; and
    7. Notice of the right to review and obtain copies of the student's educational records prior to the hearing.

      The written notice may be provided by hand delivery, fax, e-mail, U.S. mail, certified mail, or any other method reasonably designed to give actual notice. Academy officials also shall maintain a copy of the written notice in the student's educational record.

  3. Student Status Upon Notice of Recommended Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, or Expulsion

    1. If the conduct of the student poses a continuing danger to persons or property, or an ongoing threat of disrupting the Academy's educational environment, the student may be suspended immediately and until completion of the hearing process described below. A student should not be suspended out of school for more than five (5) days without permission from the Dean or Dean's designee.
    2. If the student does not pose a continuing danger or threat as described in the preceding paragraph, the student may remain in class, or be assigned in-school suspension or to an alternative learning center assignment, until completion of the hearing process described below.

  4. Hearing Process for Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, or Expulsion

    1. Any student or the parent of a student who has been recommended for long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion may request a hearing, prior to the imposition of any such sanction, before a hearing panel constituted by the Dean in accordance with this policy.
    2. The student or student's parent must submit a written request for hearing to the Dean within three (3) days of the Principal's notice. If a hearing is not requested by the student or parent, or if a hearing is requested and the student or parent do not attend the hearing as scheduled, the parent and student are deemed to have waived the right to a hearing. In that case, the Principal's recommendation shall be implemented.
    3. Upon receipt of the written request for hearing, the Dean shall constitute a three-person hearing panel. The panel members will be administrators and/or faculty members selected based on factors including, but not limited to, their credentials, familiarity with K-5 education in general, familiarity with Appalachian's Reich College of Education and the Academy, availability, and their ability provide a fair and impartial hearing. The Dean shall designate one of the hearing panel members to serve as chair.
    4. The Dean or Dean's designee shall arrange for a hearing to be held in a timely manner, taking into account the scheduling preference of the student, parent(s) and Academy administrators.
      1. The hearing will be scheduled within five (5) days after the Dean receives a written request for hearing.
      2. If a hearing is scheduled and the student or parent requests a postponement, or if the hearing is scheduled beyond the five-day period, the hearing shall be scheduled. In that case, however, the student shall not have the right to return to school pending the hearing.
    5. The hearing will be informal and conducted in private. No individual who is under the direct supervision of the Principal recommending suspension or expulsion may serve on a hearing panel.
    6. The hearing chair shall be responsible for making a record of the hearing, including any findings or conclusions made by the hearing panel. The student or student's representative may make their own audio recording of the hearing.
    7. Prior to the hearing, the student, the student's parents, and the student's attorney, if applicable, will have an opportunity to review all evidence to include any audio or video recordings of the incident and, consistent with federal and state student records laws and regulations, the information that may be presented as evidence against the student, including statements made by witnesses whose names are withheld in accordance with other applicable provisions of this policy.
    8. The hearing must be attended by the hearing panel members, the Principal or Principal's designee, the student, and any persons the panel chair deems necessary to a fair and impartial consideration of the matter. The student has the right to be present at all times during the hearing when evidence is being presented, to be accompanied their parents and/or an attorney. Witnesses should be present only when providing information.
    9. The purpose of the hearing will be to determine the facts relevant to the alleged violations and the credibility of witnesses, based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
      1. Formal rules of procedure and evidence do not apply. The panel may rely on evidence that a reasonably prudent person would consider in the conduct of serious affairs.
      2. The panel, Academy representatives, and the student or their representative may question the witnesses presented by the other side. The panel chair may require that all questions be posed through the chair.
      3. . The chair has the authority to limit questioning by any person if the questioning is unproductive, unnecessarily lengthy, repetitive or irrelevant.
      4. The chair has the authority to exclude any person, including an attorney representing a student, if the person acts in a disrespectful manner or causes undue delay, disruption, or other interference of the proceeding.
    10. If the student admits or does not deny engaging in the conduct that is the basis for the suspension nor expulsion, the sole purpose of the hearing will be to determine whether the behavior and all relevant factors warrant imposition of the suspension or expulsion. Otherwise, Academy representatives have the burden of proving the misbehavior and the violation of policy, the Code of Student Conduct, school standards or school rules. The standard of proof shall be preponderance of the evidence.
    11. Academy representatives will present the school's case first. Academy officials may withhold witness names or other identifying information if identification of a witness could threaten the witness's safety or would violate any rights of confidentiality or privacy of the witness under state or federal law. In presenting its case, Academy representatives shall explain the basis for the recommended consequence.
    12. After Academy representatives have presented the school's case, the student or their representative (parent or attorney) may present relevant evidence including, but not limited to, evidence relating to the alleged disciplinary infraction, the student's intent at the time of the incident, the student's dangerousness, harm caused by the student, any mitigating or aggravating factors involved, the student's disciplinary and academic history, and the potential benefits to the student of alternatives to suspension. Such evidence may include oral testimony by the student or witnesses, written statements, and other documents.
    13. After Academy representatives and the student complete the presentation of their cases, the panel chair shall close the hearing. The hearing panel shall then deliberate in private to consider the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing. If the hearing panel determines that a violation occurred, the panel also shall determine the appropriateness of the recommended consequences for the violation.
    14. Absent extenuating circumstances, the hearing chair shall issue a written decision within ten (10) days of the hearing. The decision shall be based on substantial evidence presented at the hearing. The chair shall send via certified mail to the student's parent a copy of the decision, notification of what information will be included in the student's official record, the procedure for expungement of the suspension or expulsion record as provided in this policy, and notice of the right to petition for readmission as provided in this policy.

  5. Petition for Readmission

    1. All students suspended for 365 days or expelled may, after 180 calendar days from the date of the beginning of the student's suspension or expulsion, request in writing readmission to the Academy.
    2. A student's request for readmission shall be submitted in writing to the Principal. The student shall submit with the request a full and complete copy of the student's criminal and/or juvenile court record, if any, or the student and the student's parent may sign an agreement authorizing the Principal or the Principal's designee to obtain a copy of the student's criminal and/or juvenile court record, if any. In addition, the student may provide any other documents supporting the request for readmission.
    3. The Principal or Principal's designee shall review and investigate the student's request for readmission. Within thirty (30) days of receiving the request, the Principal or designee shall provide to the Dean a copy of the student's request for readmission, the supporting documentation, and the Principal's recommendation.
    4. The Dean shall constitute a hearing panel to review the student's request, the supporting documentation, and the Principal's recommendation.
      1. The hearing panel composition shall be determined in the same manner as hearing panels to consider long-term/365-day suspensions or expulsions under this policy.
      2. The hearing panel, at its discretion, may render its decision based on the written records or it may offer the student, the student's parent(s), and the Principal the opportunity to appear before the panel in closed session to make oral presentations regarding the request for readmission.
      3. After considering the information specified in this section, the hearing panel shall render a decision in writing.
    5. The student shall be readmitted if the student demonstrates to the satisfaction of the hearing panel that the student's presence in school no longer constitutes a threat to the safety of other students or staff.
    6. If the hearing panel grants the student's request for readmission, it shall establish the date for the student's readmission, generally the beginning of the next semester or academic quarter.
    7. The hearing panel may place reasonable conditions on the student's readmission.
    8. A decision of the hearing panel not to readmit a suspended or expelled student pursuant to this section shall be final.
    9. If the hearing panel decides to deny the request for readmission, the student may subsequently request readmission not more often than every six months.

  6. Requests to Expunge Records of Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, or Expulsion

    A long-term suspension, 365-day suspension, or expulsion imposed pursuant to this policy shall become part of the student's official record. The Dean may expunge any such record if the following conditions are met:
    1. One of the following persons makes a request for expungement:
      1. The student's parent; or
      2. The student, upon reaching the age of 16 years or emancipation.
    2. The student either graduates from high school or is not expelled or suspended again during the two-year period commencing on the date of the student's return to school after the expulsion or suspension.
    3. The Dean determines that the maintenance of the record is no longer needed to maintain a safe and orderly educational environment for other students and staff of the Academy.
    4. The Dean determine that maintenance of the record is no longer needed to adequately serve the child.

VIII. Education Services for Students with Disabilities During Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension or Expulsion

Students with disabilities recognized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will receive educational services during periods of suspension or expulsion to the extent required by Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities and state and federal law.

IX. Other References

Academy Student Behavior Policy/Code of Student Conduct
Academy Discipline of Students With Disabilities Policy
N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.12 (expungement of records)
N.C.G.S. § 115C-402 (request for readmission)

X. Authority

N.C.G.S. § 116-239.8(b)
UNC Policy Manual, The Code, Section 502

XI. Original Effective Date

August 27, 2018

XII. Revision Dates