MISCONDUCT THAT MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION
A student is expected to behave at school, school activities, and the school bus stop. A student may be disciplined if they do anything at school, a school activity, or the bus stop (or attempt to do anything) that violates a school rule.
In all instances, school discipline should be reasonable, timely, fair, age-appropriate, and should match the severity of the student’s misbehavior. Any disciplinary or prosecutorial action taken against a student who violates this policy must be based on particular circumstances of the student’s misconduct.
In addition, students may be subject to discipline for violation of the Code even if that conduct occurs on property not owned or controlled by the Board but that is connected to activities or incidents that have occurred on property owned or controlled by the Board, or conduct that, regardless of where it occurs, is directed at a Board official or employee, or the property of such official or employee.
Listed below are some examples of offenses that may result in discipline. Other acts that are not listed below may result in discipline if a student should have known that the act might hurt, harass, or threaten others, damage property, disrupt class or school, or violate a criminal law. Consequences may range from a Warning through an Expulsion.
Some, but not all, of the acts that may result in discipline are:
D. cellular telephones, electronic communication devices, and other electronic devices, the use of (See following section CELLULAR TELEPHONES, ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DEVICES, AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES);
E. cheating (teacher shall also record a “zero” for each act of cheating);
F. chemical spray, pepper, mace; possession of;
G. computers or electronic devices, improper use of;
J. disruptive demonstration, participation in;
K. drug paraphernalia, possession of;
M. failure to give correct name;
N. false alarm, making of (this includes pulling a fire alarm);
O. falsifying or altering records (for example, computer records or attendance notes);
R. gang participation or display of gang-like behavior;
S. hazardous material, possession of;
U. hitting someone;
V. interference with school personnel;
W. interference with the movement of another student;
X. leaving school grounds without permission;
Y. physical force, use of against someone;
AA. recordings of fighting or acts of bullying, assault, or battery, whether staged or real; posting or disseminating or posting to the internet;
AB. repeated misconduct;
AC. school rule, violation of a; (e.g. dress code violation);
AE. sexual activity at school, at a school activity, or on a school bus;
AF. sexual or other harassment;
AH. threatening to hurt someone;
AI. tobacco, possession of;
AJ. toy or replica gun or knife, possession of;
AM. verbal abuse of another;
AN. other serious misconduct which will lead to disciplinary consequences include but are not limited to the aforementioned infractions.
Cellular Telephones, Electronic Communication Devices, And Other Electronic Devices
Parents are advised that the best way to get in touch with their child during the school day is by calling the child’s school office.
Students may possess a cellular telephone, electronic communication device (ECD), or other electronic device, such as, but not limited to, the following: personal digital assistant (PDA) , portable media player (PMP), iPod, iPad, Kindle, mp3 player, and other devices designed to receive and send an electronic signal, so long as they do so in strict compliance with this policy. Any student who fails to abide by the terms of this policy forfeits any right or privilege to possess any electronic device described in this policy.
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the cellular telephone, ECD, or electronic device. If the cellular telephone, ECD, or electronic device is confiscated, it will be released/returned to a parent unless an alternative arrangement is agreed to by the principal (or designee).
- A student may possess a cellular telephone, electronic communication device (ECD), and other electronic devices in school, on school property, at school-related functions, provided these items are powered off and concealed from view while school is in session.
- Students may not use cellular telephones, other ECDs, or other electronic devices on school property or at a school-sponsored activity to access and/or view Internet web sites that are otherwise blocked to students at school.
- When directed by the administrator or sponsor, cellular telephones, ECDs, and other electronic devices shall be powered off, and concealed from view during school activities occurring outside the student day.
- Cellular telephones, ECDs, and other electronic devices are to be powered off, and concealed from view on district buses, except as authorized by the driver.
- The requirement that cellular telephones, ECDs, and other electronic devices must be powered off, and concealed from view will not apply when the student obtains prior approval from a school administrator.
- The use of cellular telephones, ECDs, and other electronic devices in locker rooms, classrooms, bathrooms, and/or swimming pools is prohibited.
- The student who brings a cellular telephone, ECD, or other electronic device to school does so at his/her own risk. The student who possesses a cellular telephone, ECD, or other electronic device is responsible for its care.
- Any cellular telephone, ECD, or other electronic device left behind on a district school bus will be retained at the respective bus compounds until retrieved either by the student or parent possessing proper identification.
- School Board staff is not responsible for preventing theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to cellular telephones, ECDs, or other electronic devices brought onto its property, or left on school buses, including any electronic device confiscated due to inappropriate use.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS/ADMINISTRATIVE CODING
Some but not all definitions of terms and/or student conduct which are considered to be violations of the Code of Student Conduct are described in this section. The use of words, such as battery and arson, are not meant to be considered equivalent to or to carry the same standards and consequences as the same words, which are defined in the criminal context in the Florida Statutes. The School Board retains the flexibility and right to attach definitions found in Board Rule to such words without attaching any criminal standards set by the courts or legislature. When a student has committed an infraction, the misbehavior is to be classified according to the definition which best describes it.
The notation * next to the three letter violation code listed below represents the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR) definitions and guidelines required by the Department of Education. Some but not all offenses are SESIR related.
The number next to the violation represents the administrative coding of the offense which is entered into the student database.
Alcohol ALC* / 01 – The act of possessing, selling, purchasing, or using alcoholic beverages.
Arson ARS*/ 26 – The act of damaging or causing damage by fire or explosion, any dwelling, structure, or conveyance, whether occupied or not, or its contents.
Battery BAT*/03 S – The act of physical force or use of violence by an individual against a school system employee, volunteer, or student with or without provocation. The actual reckless or intentional touching, striking, or hitting and/or attempt to recklessly or intentionally touch, strike, or hit a school system employee, volunteer, or student with any portion of the actor’s person or with any object against the will or without the permission of the victim. A finding of battery must be serious enough to warrant consulting law enforcement and result in serious bodily harm. (To distinguish from Fighting (FIT), report an incident as Battery (BAT) only when the force or violence is carried out against a person who is not fighting back.)
Breaking and Entering BRK*/ Burglary BRG/ 27 – The act of unlawfully entering with force, or unauthorized presence in a building or other structure, or conveyance (vehicle) with evidence, of the intent to damage or remove property or harm a person(s).
Bullying BUL*/ 38 – The act of systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. It is further defined as unwanted and repeated written, verbal, or physical behavior, including any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, by a student or adult, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment: cause is comfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interferes with the individual’s school performance or participation; and may involve but is not limited to teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, sexual, religious, or racial harassment, public humiliation; or destruction of property.
Bus Misconduct / 14 – The act of engaging in conduct or behavior, which interferes with the orderly, safe, and timely transportation of students.
Campus Crime*/19 S – The act of any serious, harmful incident resulting in the need for law enforcement intervention not previously classified.
Cellular/Electronic/Communication Device / 37 – The act of utilizing any personal communication/electronic device such as, but not limited to alarm devices, pagers/beepers, cellular phones/camera phones, or other one-way/two-way communication devices without proper authorization on school grounds or in any building owned or operated by the School Board during school hours, or used causing disruption/interference with the orderly educational process, or disrupts or interferes with the safety to-life issue for students being transported on a district school bus. Misuse of a wireless communications device includes the possibility of the imposition of disciplinary action by the school or criminal penalties if the device is used in a criminal act.
Cheating / 15 – The act of inappropriately and deliberately distributing or using information, notes, materials, or work of another person in the completion of an academic exam, test, or assignment. Not telling the truth.
Dangerous Implement / 13 – The act of possessing or using devices which are designed to inflict or could inflict pain or injury to another individual. The act of possessing any item, although not specifically designed to do harm to another person, which is used to cause or attempt to cause injury, or is used to put someone in reasonable fear of injury, or the item is considered disruptive on a school campus.
Defiance of Authority/Willful Disobedience / Insubordination/ 07 – A flagrant or hostile act challenging the authority of a school staff member, bus driver, or any other adult in authority. The act of deliberately refusing, or failing to follow a direction or an order from a school staff member, bus driver, or any other adult in authority.
Destruction of School or Personal Property of Staff – The act of intentionally damaging/destructing of school property or personal property belonging to a staff member, including but not limited to, destruction or damage to home, automobile, and electronic devices.
Disruption Classroom/ Campus – Major * / 16 – The act of behaving inappropriately which disrupts the learning environment, which inhibits the instructor’s ability to teach, or interferes with other students’ opportunity to learn.
The act of displaying disruptive behavior that poses a serious threat to the learning environment, health, safety, or welfare of others. This type of violation significantly disrupts all or portions of the campus activities, school sponsored events and school bus transportation. Examples: Bomb threat in which emergency services respond, inciting a riot, initiating false fire alarm, (Do not use this code for students defying authority, disobeying or showing disrespect to others, using inappropriate language or gestures, minor fights or classroom disruptions.)
Dress Code / 39 – The act of failing to comply with the established dress code policy.
Drug Use/Possession * / 04 – (excluding alcohol) – The act of using or possessing any drug, narcotic, controlled substance, or substance represented to be a drug, narcotic, or controlled substance as defined under Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, including, but not limited to, marijuana, hallucinogens, inhalants, or any substance represented to be an illegal substance, such as “designer drugs,” or caffeine pills, tablets, or caplets, or any substance which is represented to be any such substances or any substance when used for chemical intoxication.
Drug Sale/Distribution * 04 S – (excluding alcohol) – The act of manufacturing, cultivating, selling (or intent to sell), or distributing any drug, narcotic, controlled substance or substance represented to be a drug.
Excessive Tardies to Class /School/ 21 – The act of arriving late to a class or to school on a repeated basis.
Felony Off-Campus – The formal charge by state attorney officials of a student for the alleged commission of a felony or a delinquent act which would be classified as a felony if committed by an adult at a time and place where students are not subject to control of the school. (A recommendation for expulsion may be considered only if student is convicted.)
Fighting – Minor – 05 – The act of two or more persons mutually participating in use of force or physical violence that may or may not result in injury. This may include pushing, shoving, or altercations that stop upon verbal command.
Fighting – Major */ 05 S – The act of two or more persons mutually participating in use of force or physical violence that requires physical restraint or result s in injury requiring first aid or medical attention.
Forgery – Non-Criminal / 25 – The act of making a false or misleading written communication to a school staff member with either the intent to deceive or under circumstances which would reasonably be calculated to deceive the staff member, or producing, possessing, or distributing any false document, item, or record represented to be an authentic school document, item, or record.
Gang-Related Activity/Apparel/Appearance – The act of engaging in any verbal, written, or physical act which is associated with becoming a member of a gang, being a member of a gang, or participating in gang identified rituals or behaviors. Wearing or displaying any clothing, jewelry, accessories, makeup, tattoo, or any other appearance or apparel which may be considered gang related in any manner which is associated with being a member of or participating in a gang or gang related activity
Harassment (Bullying) */ 38 – The act of inflicting physical hurt and/or offensive, abusive, intimidating or other insulting behavior on the part of one or more students towards a student(s) that may or may not be repeated over time.
Harassment */ 38 – The act of threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that 1) places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property, 2) has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or 3) has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school.
Harassment (Cyberbullying) */ 38 – The act of using information and communication technologies such as, but not limited to e-mail, cell phone, pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal web sites and defamatory personal pooling web sites to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to threaten or harm others or which substantially disrupts or interferes with the operation of a school or an individual’s academic performance.
Harassment (Racial) */38 – The act of discriminating against another person which discrimination is prohibited by law – race, color, gender, national origin or sexual orientation, including any verbal, nonverbal, graphic, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward any student based upon race, when such repetitive conduct substantially interferes with a student’s academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment. Racial harassment may include, but is not limited to epithets and slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts and/or written or graphic material that show hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.
Hazing* – The act of recklessly or intentionally endangering the mental or physical health or safety of a high school student for purposes, including, but not limited to initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization operating under the sanction of the high school and in accordance with Section 1006.63, Florida Statues.
Homicide */28 – The unjustified killing of one human being by another.
Horseplay – The act of engaging in rowdy, rough behavior that interferes with the safe or purposeful order of the school.
Kidnapping * / 29 – Forcibly, or by threat, confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against his/her will and without lawful authority.
Leaving Campus w/o Permission / 06 – The act of leaving school grounds without proper administrative authorization.
Missed Detention /18 – The act of not attending a teacher or administratively assigned detention.
Missed Saturday School/ 20 – The act of not attending administratively assigned Saturday School.
Not Cooperating / 22 – The act of failing to follow the directions of a teacher, administrator, staff, or volunteer in the school setting. Behavior that violates this rule would be considered minor and would not rise to the level of defiance of authority or insubordination, and would not necessarily require a referral to an administrator unless the behavior becomes chronic.
Other Offense / 19 – The act of any serious, harmful incident resulting in the need for additional staff and administrators’ intervention not previously classified.
Profanity/Obscene/Abusive Language/ 08 – The act of using any profane, vulgar, or unnecessary crude utterance or gesture, whether directed toward a classmate, staff member, teacher, administrator, and volunteer.or merely done overtly.
Public Display of Affection PDA – The act of failing to refrain from public displays of affection in school. The practice of embracing and kissing in school is considered in poor taste and disruptive to the educational environment.
Repeated Misconduct /09 – student misconduct that is chronic or continual even after the implementation of interventions and consequences.
Robbery */ 31 – The act of taking or attempting to take anything of value that is owned by another person or organization, under the confrontational circumstances of force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
Sexual Battery */ 32 – The act of forced or attempted oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by using a sexual organ or an object simulating a sexual organ, or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any body part or object.
Sexual Harassment */ 33 – The act of unwanted and repeated verbal or physical behavior with sexual connotations that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment, cause discomfort or humiliation or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation. An incident when one person demands a sexual favor from another under the threat of physical harm or adverse consequence.
Sexual / Lewd Behavior* /34 – The act of making unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other inappropriate verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature toward student(s) and/or staff, volunteer when such conduct substantially interferes with academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment. Subjecting an individual to lewd, sexual gestures, comments, sexual activity, or exposing private body parts in lewd manner.
Skipping Class /Skipping School / 10 – The act of not reporting to class or school without receiving proper prior approval and/or following the established procedures for checking out of school.
Stealing/Larceny/Theft less than $300 / 12 – The act of unauthorized taking, carrying, riding away, or concealing the property of another person, including motor vehicles, without threat, violence or bodily harm.
Stealing/Larceny/Theft $300 or more */ 12 S – The act of unauthorized taking, carrying, riding away, or concealing the property of another person, including motor vehicles, without threat, violence or bodily harm.
Strike/Student / 02 – actual and intentional striking of a student against his/her will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual.
Strike / Adult/ 03 – actual and intentional striking of an adult against his/her will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual.
Threat/Intimidation */ 35 – The act of threatening or causing physical harm to another person with or without the use of a weapon that includes all of the following elements:
1. intent-an intention that the threat is heard or seen by the person who is the object of the threat;
2. fear-a reasonable fear or apprehension by the person who is the object of the threat that the threat could be carried out; and
3. capability-the ability of the offender to actually carry out the threat directly or by a weapon or other instrument that can easily be obtained.
Tobacco 17 yrs. or under */ Tobacco 18 yrs. or older / 11 S – The act of possessing, using, distributing, or selling tobacco products on school grounds, at school-sponsored events, or on school transportation.
Trespassing */ 36 – The act of entering or remaining on school grounds/campus, school transportation, or at a school-sponsored event/off campus without authorization or invitation and with no lawful purpose for entry.
Unauthorized Area / 23 – The act of being present in buildings, rooms, hallways, or other areas of a school campus restricted to student access during all or a portion of a day.
Vandalism less than $1000 / 17 – The act of intentional destruction, damage, or defacement of public or private property without consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it.
Vandalism $1000 or more * / 17 S – The act of intentional destruction, damage, or defacement of public or private property without consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it.
Weapons */ 13 S – The act of possessing, storing, distributing, selling, or purchasing any instrument or object that can inflict serious harm on another person, or that can place another person in reasonable fear or apprehension of serious harm or be used to intimidate another person. See Misconduct that Requires Specific Consequences.
MISCONDUCT THAT REQUIRES SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES
There are some things that result in a specific consequence if a student is found to have done them. These include acts involving:
- use of tobacco products;
- illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, and harmful substances;
- bombs and bomb threats;
- chemical and biological attacks or threats;
- guns, weapons, and dangerous objects;
- violent acts resulting in serious injury;
- felony charges and convictions.
The District promotes a safe and supportive learning environment in schools, to protect students and staff from conduct that poses a serious threat to school safety. District staffs are encouraged to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies unless otherwise required by law. School based administrators shall provide consistent school-based discipline, where appropriate and authorized by policy.
Certain acts are considered a serious threat to schools safety and must be reported to law enforcement. These acts include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Possession or use of a bomb and making of a bomb threat;
- Chemical and biological attacks or threats;
- Possession or use of a gun, weapon, or firearm.
Petty acts of misconduct and misdemeanors including, but not limited to, minor fights or disturbances, should ordinarily not be referred to law enforcement and should not ordinarily result in student arrest. Petty acts of misconduct are those that an administrator reasonably believes do not pose a threat to the safety of students, staff, volunteers, or other persons, or a threat of harm to Board property.
Tobacco and Nicotine
Use of tobacco and nicotine products on school grounds is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
A. Illegal Use of Tobacco
Smoking by minors within 1,000 feet of a school is illegal. Also, if a student is caught smoking inside a school building s/he will receive a written citation from the School Resource Officer. The first time a student receives a citation the court may fine the student up to $100. For any additional citations, the court may fine a student up to $500.
B. Violation of Code of Student Conduct
In addition to possible fines, if a student is caught using any form of tobacco or nicotine product at school, at any school-sponsored activity, at a bus stop, or on the bus, the student will be suspended for three (3) days. The first time a student is caught, s/he can avoid the suspension by completing a smoking treatment program approved by the principal.
For purposes of this policy, “use of tobacco and nicotine products” shall mean all uses of tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, or any other matter or substances that contain tobacco or nicotine as well as any uses of electronic cigarette/cigar or any other product designed to imitate any of the products mentioned herein regardless of whether it contains tobacco or nicotine. Such use shall not include use of smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum for their intended purposes. If a student is found with a lit cigarette, pipe, or cigar the student will be considered to be using tobacco.
Illegal Drugs, Alcoholic Beverages, Harmful, and Other Substances
A. Elementary School Students
If a student is an elementary student when s/he violates this policy for the first or second time, the principal will suspend the student for no more than three (3) days. If the student’s parent agrees that s/he will complete an approved drug or alcohol educational program, the student’s suspension may be reduced. The program specialist must provide proof that the student successfully completed the educational program within the allocated period of time.
B. Middle School and High School Students
If a student is in middle or high school when s/he violates this policy s/he will be suspended for no more than three (3) days and reassigned to an alternative program, for one (1) or two (2) semesters. If this is the student’s first offense and s/he was not SELLING OR INTENDING TO SELL DRUGS - OR - charged with a felony offense, the student and his/her parent will be offered an opportunity to participate in the Pinellas County Schools drug/alcohol educational program. If the student’s parent agrees that s/he will complete this program, the student’s suspension may be reduced. The program specialist must provide proof that the student successfully completed the program within the allocated period of time. Failure to successfully complete the program will result in the student’s immediate assignment to an alternative school program. If the student is caught a third time while s/he is still a student in the District, the student will be suspended and may be recommended for expulsion.
A student may not possess illegal drugs (including prescription drugs that are not the student’s own) or alcoholic beverages use them or are under the influence of them:
1. on school property,
2. on a school bus or at a bus stop,
3. at any school activity,
4. before a student arrives on school grounds,
5. before a student arrives at any school activity, or
6. on any field trip.
D. Purchase, Sale and Distribution
A student may not sell, purchase, or distribute illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages. Additionally, a student may not be involved in negotiating the sale or purchase of illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages at school, at a school activity, or on a school bus, even if the sale/purchase does not actually take place.
E. Definition of Illegal Drugs
“Illegal drugs” include any drug that is illegal under Florida law such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as well as prescription drugs for which a student does not have a valid prescription.
“Illegal drugs” also includes any illegal or legal substances that may be used as an intoxicant, hallucinogen, mind-altering agent, or may be used for any other unsafe purpose. Examples include, but are not limited to, inhalants, over-the-counter drugs, bath salts, and spice cannabinoid (JWH-018).
“Illegal drugs” also include any prescription drug that is not used as prescribed or that is in the possession of someone whose name is not on the prescription. This means that a student may not give his/her prescription medication to anyone else.
F. Possession Based upon Knowledge
If a student arrives at school or a school activity in a car that contains illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages, and the principal believes there is evidence that s/he knew about the illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages, then the student will be considered as being in possession of the illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages.
Likewise, if a student is at a school function and are in a specific area or room where there are illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages, then s/he may be considered in possession of the illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages if the principal believes the evidence shows that the student knew about the illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages and chose to remain in the area or room. If student is in his/her own hotel room and become aware that another student in the room has an illegal substance, s/he is expected to alert a school staff chaperone immediately to request a room change.
G. Guilty of Unlawful Sale or Possession
If a student has been found guilty or delinquent for the unlawful sale or possession of any controlled substance as defined in F.S. Chapter 893, the student may be suspended for no more than three (3) days and recommended for expulsion.
H. Fake Drugs
If a student is caught in possession of or caught distributing a substance that is represented to be an illegal drug, s/he will be suspended for no more than three (3) days. The student may ask to have the suspension reduced by participating in a work back program which would include the completion of an approved drug or alcohol assessment.
I. Attempted Suicide
If a student attempts suicide with or without illegal drugs, it will be treated as a mental health issue. A mental health assessment will be conducted before deciding what to do.
Bombs and Bomb Threats
If a student is involved in the making of a bomb, plans for a bomb or a fake bomb, for use at school or at a school activity or while the student is at school or a school activity, s/he will be suspended for no more than three (3) days, recommended for expulsion, and reported to law enforcement for prosecution. The same actions will be taken if a student makes a bomb threat by any means that causes a disruption.
Chemical and Biological Attack or Threats
If a student is involved in the making of a chemical or biological attack or threat against the school, a school function, or anybody at school or a school function, s/he will be suspended for no more than three (3) days, recommended for expulsion, and reported to law enforcement for prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. This applies whether or not the attack or threat is real or fake.
Guns, Weapons, and Dangerous Objects
Any student who brings a gun to school, to any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, or any student who possesses or exhibits a gun at school, at any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, shall be suspended for no more than three (3) days and recommended for expulsion for not less than one (1) full year. Guns shall mean firearms as defined by F.S. 790 and include any objects (whether operable or inoperable), including starter guns, which will fire a projectile by the action of an explosive, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any firearm muffler or silencer, or any destructive device. Guns also include any weapons which are designed to or may readily be converted to such purpose.
Any student who brings a weapon to school, to any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, or any student who possesses or exhibits a weapon at school, at any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, shall be suspended for no more than three (3) days and recommended for expulsion. Weapons as defined by F.S. 790 are any objects such as, but not limited to, the following: dirks, metallic knuckles, slingshots, billies, tear gas guns, chemical weapons or devices, knives or other deadly weapons, other than common pocketknives (blade of four (4) inches or less which are considered a dangerous object), plastic knives, or blunt bladed table knives.
Guns and weapons are not allowed in a vehicle on school property, at a school bus stop, or at a school activity. If a student is a secondary student who arrives at school or a school activity in a car that contains a gun or weapon, and the principal believes there is evidence that the student knew about the gun or weapon, then s/he will be considered to be in possession of the gun or weapon.
If a student is an elementary or secondary student at a school function and are in a specific area or room where there is a gun or weapon, then s/he may be considered to be in possession of the gun or weapon if the principal believes the evidence shows that s/he knew about the gun or weapon and chose to remain in the area or room. If a student is in his/her own hotel room and become aware that another student in the room has a gun or weapon, s/he is expected to alert a school staff chaperone immediately to request a room change.
The principal may give a student written permission to possess a gun or weapon while on campus or at a school function when the gun or weapon is part of the curriculum of the school. An example of this is when a gun or rifle may be part of JROTC drill and firing ranges.
Dangerous objects include, but are not limited to, common pocketknives with a blade of four (4) inches or less, ice picks, razor blades, box cutters, air guns, bb guns, pellet guns, or spring guns of any sort (whether operable or inoperable).
Any student who brings a dangerous object to school, to any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, or any student who possesses or exhibits a dangerous object at school, at any school function, or on any school sponsored transportation, with use or threatened use in an offensive or defensive manner, will be suspended for no more than three (3) days and recommended for expulsion.
Any student who brings, possesses or exhibits a dangerous object at school, or to any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, without the use or threatened use in an offensive or defensive manner, is guilty of a serious breach of conduct and that student MAY be suspended from school for no more than three (3) days and may be recommended for reassignment or expulsion.
The use of corporal punishment is prohibited. However, school personnel may use reasonable force to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment. Any use of reasonable force shall be in accordance with School Board policy and State Board of Education rules. The prohibition against the use of corporal punishment also extends to parents or guardians on school grounds. The following types of discipline may be used, as well as those found in the school discipline plan at each school.
A student can receive a detention either before school or after school. The school will give the student’s parent twenty-four (24) hours’ notice before s/he serves the detention. For elementary and middle school students, the administrator must contact the student’s parent and have a conversation with the student’s parent before the student serves the detention. For high school students, the administrator must make an effort to contact the student’s parent by telephone. If the administrator is unable to contact the student’s parent by telephone, the student will still be required to serve the detention. The administrator must document that an attempt to contact the student’s parent was made. The student’s parent is responsible for the student’s transportation when s/he has detention.
A student can be assigned and sent to designated rooms or programs (examples: IC, ABC) in his/her school during the school day. A student will receive full credit for class work completed while in the assigned room or program and his/her absence will be a Code 6. A student will not be in-school suspended for more than three (3) consecutive days without the principal first consulting the area superintendent.
Student Work Assignments
If the student’s parent and a school administrator agree, the administrator can assign the student to a work detail at the school for up to ten (10) hours for each offense. The principal will decide who will supervise the student’s work.
A student can be sent to Saturday School if an administrator has contacted the student’s parent and had a conversation with them at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance.
Removal from Class
A teacher may require that a student be removed from class if it has been documented that his/her behavior has seriously disrupted the teaching or learning in the classroom. If a student is removed from a class the principal may place the student in another appropriate classroom, in-school suspension, an alternative education program, or the principal may recommend the student for suspension or expulsion.
A student cannot be returned to that teacher’s classroom unless the teacher consents or a school-based placement review committee has determined that doing so is the best or only available alternative. A decision on whether to return a student to the classroom must be made by the teacher or the committee within (5) days of the removal.
Parent Shadows Student
With reasonable notice, and if the principal and the parent agree, the parent will attend classes with a student for a day or specific period of time.
A student will not be out-of-school suspended for more than three (3) consecutive days without the principal first consulting the area superintendent. If a student is suspended s/he cannot be on school grounds or attend any school activities. The administrator may consider the following before deciding to suspend a student:
- has the student been sent to the administrator at least once before?
- has the student’s parent been told that his/her behavior is a problem and that s/he may be suspended?
- has the student been referred to his/her guidance counselor?
- has the student been given a work assignment before?
- has the student been referred to an outside agency for assistance?
There are circumstances under which the administration will suspend a student on the first offense.
A student may be transferred to another school, including an alternative school (such as Pinellas Secondary, TELESCHOOL, adult school, etc.). The principal must recommend the student’s transfer in writing to the Area Superintendent for the student’s area and provide the student’s parent with a copy of the recommendation. The student’s parent may appeal a transfer by submitting their appeal in writing to the principal within two (2) school days of being notified of the transfer recommendation. If the recommendation of transfer is upheld by the principal then the parent may appeal in writing to the Area Superintendent within two (2) school days of receiving the principal’s decision. The Area Superintendent will review the situation and decide whether the student will be transferred. The student or parent cannot appeal the Area Superintendent’s decision.
If the principal after completing an investigation determines that a student has done something wrong that may require removal from the school the principal will make a recommendation to the area superintendent. If the area superintendent supports the recommendation for reassignment then the student will be suspended for no more than three (3) days and then sent to an alternative school.
An expulsion means that a student cannot attend any District school except as allowed by the Board. If a student commits an offense that is considered exceedingly serious, (a student causes critical human injury, extensive property damage, or excessive school disruption) the Board may decide not to allow the student to attend any school, including TELESCHOOL. In this instance referrals to community resources will be made. If a student is serving an expulsion during the last semester of his/her senior year, s/he is not allowed to participate in his/her home school graduation ceremony.
Investigations at School
Law enforcement may have the lawful authority to question and arrest students on school property. If a student is a suspect in a criminal investigation by the police that may result in a student’s arrest or criminal charges, an administrator will make an effort to contact the student’s parent before the police begin questioning the student unless law enforcement confirms that prior notification of a parent would jeopardize public safety. If a parent cannot be located, the police may go ahead with questioning. If the student’s parent is contacted, the police may allow the student’s parent to be present during the student’s questioning.
A school representative will ordinarily, when reasonably available, be present, in the absence of a parent, during suspect interrogation of students on campus by outside law enforcement concerning a non-school related offense. The law enforcement officer, parent, or student may direct that the school representative not be present. The school representative shall not be expected or required to advocate on behalf of the student, and neither the representative nor the School Board is responsible for the manner or outcome of the interrogation. The parties recognize that police interrogation is a law enforcement function. Chapter 39, F.S., prescribes different procedures in the case of child protective investigations, which shall be followed whenever applicable.
If a student is suspected of violating the Code of Student Conduct, school officials can question the student without first contacting the student’s parent. The student does not have a right to have his/her parent present or a right to an attorney when the student is questioned.
C. Victim or Witness
If a student is a victim or a witness, the police or administrative investigators are allowed to question the student without first contacting his/her parent. If the investigation involves child abuse, the official conducting the investigation will decide who can be present during the student’s interview.
D. Removal of Student from School Property
If a student is a witness, the police cannot remove the student from school property without a subpoena or first obtaining the consent of the student’s parent. If the student is subject to arrest, with or without a warrant, the officer can remove the student without his/her parents’ consent or the consent of school officials. The administrator will try to notify the student’s parent as soon as possible unless law enforcement confirms parent notification would jeopardize public safety.
If a student needs to be taken into protective custody, the police can remove the student. Anytime a student is taken from school by a police officer, the police officer must sign a Release Order, giving the original to the school, a copy to be filed with the Area Superintendent’s office, and a copy for your parents unless law enforcement confirms parent notification would jeopardize the student’s safety.
Felony Charges and Convictions for Off-Campus Conduct
A. Notice of Felony Charges and Hearing
If a student commits a crime off campus and a prosecuting attorney formally charges the student with a felony or with a delinquent act that would be a felony if s/he were an adult, s/he may be suspended for no more than three (3) days by the principal. Before suspending the student, the principal will call him/her in with his/her parent to discuss the charges against the student. This discussion will be a “hearing” that will take place after the principal notifies the student’s parent in writing by certified mail that the principal has received notice that s/he has been charged by the prosecuting attorney. That written notice will tell the student’s parent of the specific charges against the student and advise them that they have a right to the “hearing”.
B. Hearing Procedures
The “hearing” must take place within five (5) school days but no sooner than two (2) school days from the postmark date or the delivery date of the certified notice to the student’s parent. At the “hearing” the principal will listen to witnesses called by the principal and the student also may present witnesses. The student may speak on his/her own behalf but s/he does not have to do so. If the student does not speak on his/her own behalf, s/he cannot be threatened with punishment or later be punished for not speaking.
The “hearing” will not be conducted like a court proceeding. There will be no “rules of evidence” nor will there be a court reporter to provide a transcript of the “hearing.” After the “hearing” the principal will let the student and his/her parent know, in writing, if the student is being suspended for no more than three (3) days. The decision to suspend the student cannot occur without conclusive evidence that the prosecuting attorney has formally filed a felony charge against the student. The principal must also determine that the student’s presence at school, after being formally charged for the incident, will have an adverse impact on the school.
C. Types of Charges That May Justify Suspension
The types of charges that may justify suspension under this provision are:
1. any felony involving violence,
2. rape or sexual battery,
3. lewd and lascivious act on a student under sixteen (16) years of age,
4. concealed weapon,
5. armed robbery,
6. sale of illegal drugs,
7. possession of a bomb,
8. any felony involving the use of a firearm,
9. battery on school system employee or official, or
10. aggravated battery.
11. There may be other charges that will justify suspension under this provision, if the principal determines that the student’s presence at school after being charged will have an adverse impact on the school.
D. Extension of Three (3) Day Suspension
If the principal suspends a student for three (3) days, the Superintendent may extend the student’s suspension until the outcome of the criminal charges that have been filed against the student is complete. During the student’s suspension, pending the outcome of the criminal charges, s/he will be assigned to an alternative educational program.
E. Expulsion upon Finding of Guilt