MISCONDUCT THAT MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION (POLICY 5500.07)
A student is expected to behave at school, bus stops, on school buses and during school sponsored activities and may be disciplined if they do anything (or attempt to do anything) that violates a school rule including
A. hurt, harass or threaten others;
B. damage property;
C. disrupt class or school;
D. or violate a criminal law.
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.
Off-campus student misconduct can result in discipline in certain circumstances, including where the misconduct has a connection to school related activities or incidents or if the misconduct is directed at a Board official or employee or their property.
Recognizing that students may need additional support in the form of mental health services, Pinellas County Schools will ensure referrals for services are made in alignment with state and federal guidelines. Such referrals are not to be punitive or as a form of disciplinary action; however, may be made in conjunction with a disciplinary incident.
Students who commit violent or disruptive behaviors that may pose a threat to the safety of school staff, whether at school, on a school bus or bus stop or during a school sponsored activity, shall be assigned to an alternative education program or referred to mental health services identified by the school district, following the conclusion of a school-based threat assessment, district threat assessment or both. Pursuant to F.S. 1006.07(7), referral to mental health services shall be in consultation with the threat assessment team. Criminal penalties may also be imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies.
Any student or family who is interested in learning more about mental health services available in their school can speak to any student services staff member at the school. These staff can also help with referrals to community agencies. For more information on services available in the community, families can call 211 or visit their website at: https//211tbc.myresourcedirectory.com.
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 and includes minor fights or disturbances. Also see the Interagency Agreement between Pinellas County School Board and law enforcement regarding petty acts of misconduct.
Listed below are some acts of misconduct. These acts are not the only acts that may result in discipline (including suspension, reassignment or expulsion). They are only examples. Other acts that are not listed below may result in discipline (including suspension, reassignment or expulsion) 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:
C. bullying and cyberbullying
D. cheating (teacher shall also record a “zero” for each act of cheating);
E. chemical spray, pepper, mace; possession of;
F. computers or electronic devices, improper use of;
I. disruptive demonstration, participation in;
J. drug paraphernalia as defined by Florida Law, possession of;
L. failure to give correct name;
M. false alarm, making of (this includes pulling a fire alarm);
N. falsifying or altering records (for example, computer records or attendance notes);
Q. gang participation or display of gang-like behavior;
R. hazardous material, possession of;
T. hitting someone;
U. interference with school personnel;
V. interference with the movement of another student;
W. leaving school grounds without permission;
X. physical force, use of against someone;
Z. recordings of fighting or acts of bullying, assault, or battery, whether staged or real; posting or disseminating or posting to the internet;
AA. repeated misconduct;
BB. school rule, violation of a; (e.g. dress code violation);
DD. sexual activity at school, at a school activity, or on a school bus;
EE. sexual or other harassment;
GG. threatening to hurt someone;
HH. tobacco, or other tobacco substitutes, possession of;
II. toy or replica gun or knife, possession of;
LL. verbal abuse of another;
MM. other serious misconduct which will lead to disciplinary consequences include but are not limited to the aforementioned infractions.
Cell Phones 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 an electronic device, which is defined as a device designed to receive and send an electronic signal, so long as they do so in strict compliance with this policy and any rules that individual schools may impose. 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.
Pinellas County Schools recognizes the ever-increasing importance of technology in students’ lives and the beneficial role it can play for student education and communication when used responsibly. The possession and use of such devices should not interfere with academic instruction, student safety or a positive school climate.
At no point should an electronic device be used in a manner which infringes on the privacy rights of any other person; disrupts the educational process, school programs or activities; or violates Board Policy or federal/state law including but not limited to cyberbullying, sexual harassment, threats or cheating on tests or assignments.
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the cell phone or electronic device. If the cell phone 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 cell phone 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.
At the discretion and upon approval of the school administrator, students may use electronic devices on school property, on school buses, or at school-sponsored events according to the following guidelines:
A. Before school until the beginning of the school day.
B. During a student’s lunch period.
C. During passing periods.
D. During class for instructional activities, with permission from the teacher.
E. After school at the end of school day.
During official school hours the following rules apply:
A. Students MAY NOT use electronic devices at school or school-sponsored activities to take pictures or record audio or video of students or school staff (including teachers, administrators or staff) without the prior consent of the student or staff member.
B. Students may not use cell phones 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.
C. The use of cell phones and other electronic devices is prohibited in locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or swimming areas.
D. The student who brings a cell phone or other electronic device to school does so at their own risk. The student who possesses a cell phone or other electronic device is responsible for its care.
E. Any cell phone 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.
F. School Board staff are not responsible for preventing theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to cell phones 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.
Aggravated Battery * (BAT) – SESIR Level I / 03S – A battery where the attacker intentionally or knowingly causes more serious injury, such as: great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; uses a deadly weapon; or, where the attacker knew or should have known the victim was pregnant.
Alcohol * (ALC) – SESIR Level IV / 01 – Possession, sale, purchase, or use of alcoholic beverages. Use means the person is caught in the act of using, admits using or is discovered to have used in the course of an investigation. Alcohol incidents cannot be Drug-related.
Arson * (ARS) – SESIR – Level 1 / 26 – To intentionally damage or cause to be damaged, by fire or explosion, any dwelling, structure, or conveyance, whether occupied or not, or its contents. Fires that are not intentional, that are caused by accident, or do not cause damage are not required to be reported in SESIR.
Bullying * (BUL) – SESIR - Level IV / 38 – Systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation.
Burglary * (BRK) – SESIR – Level II / 27 – Unlawful entry into or remaining in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance with the intent to commit a crime therein.
Bus Misconduct / 14 – The act of engaging in conduct or behavior, which interferes with the orderly, safe, and timely transportation of students.
Campus Crime * (OMC) - SESIR / 19S – The act of any serious, harmful incident resulting in the need for law enforcement intervention not previously classified. Examples include student producing or knowingly using counterfeit money, participating in gambling activities, possessing child pornography, or possessing drug paraphernalia.
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/not use this code for students defying authority, disobeying or showing disrespect to others, using inappropriate language or gestures, minor fights or classroom disruptions.)
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.
Disruption Classroom / 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.
Disruption on Campus – Major * (DOC) – SESIR – Level III / 16S – The major disruption of all or a significant portion of campus activities, school-sponsored events, and school bus transportation. Disruptive behavior that poses a serious threat to the learning environment, health, safety, or welfare of others. Examples of major disruptions include bomb threats, inciting a riot, or initiating a false fire alarm.
Dress Code / 39 – The act of failing to comply with the established dress code policy. 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.
Drug Sale/Distribution * (DRD) – SESIR - Level II / 04D – The manufacture, cultivation, sale, or distribution of any drug, narcotic, controlled substance or substance represented to be a drug, narcotic, or controlled substance.
Drug Use/Possession Excluding Alcohol * (DRU) – SESIR – Level III / 04S – The use or possession of any drug, narcotic, controlled substance, or any substance when used for chemical intoxication. Use means the person is caught in the act of using, admits using or is discovered to have used in the course of an investigation.
Excessive Tardies to Class /School / 21 – The act of arriving late to a class or to school on a repeated basis.
Fighting/Major * (FIT) – SESIR – Level III / 05S – When two or more persons mutually participate in use of force or physical violence that requires either physical intervention or results in injury requiring first aid or medical attention. Lower-level fights, including pushing, shoving, or altercations that stop on verbal command are not required to be reported in SESIR.
Fighting/Minor (FIT) / 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.
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.
Harassment * (HAR) – SESIR - Level IV / 40 – (One-time, insulting behaviors) Any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of data or computer software, or written, verbal, or physical conduct that 1) places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or damage to his or 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 including any course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such a person and serves no legitimate purpose.
Hazing * (HAZ) – SESIR – Level III / 41 – Any action or situation that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student at a school with any of grades 6 through 12 for purposes of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any school-sanctioned organization. “Hazing” includes but is not limited to: (a) pressuring, coercing, or forcing a student to participate in illegal or dangerous behavior, or (b) any brutality of a physical nature, such as whipping, beating, branding, or exposure to the elements.
Homicide (HOM) – SESIR - Level I / 28 – The unjustified killing of one human being by another.
Kidnapping (KID) – SESIR – Level I /29 – Forcibly, or by threat, confining, abducting, or imprisoning another person against their will and without lawful authority.
Larceny/Theft <$750 / 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.
Larceny/Theft * (STL) >$750 – SESIR - Level III / 12S – The unauthorized taking, carrying, riding away with, or concealing the property of another person, including motor vehicles, without threat, violence, or bodily harm. Incidents that fall below the $750 threshold are not reportable in SESIR, but instead should be reported as locally defined incidents according to district policies.
Leaving Campus without 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 Offenses / 19 – The act of any serious, harmful incident resulting in the need for additional staff and administrators’ intervention not previously classified.
Physical Attack * (Battery) (PHA) Student – SESIR - Level II / 42 – An actual and intentional striking of another person against their will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual
Physical Attack * (Battery) (PHA) Adult – SESIR - Level II / 42A – An actual and intentional striking of another person against their will, or the intentional causing of bodily harm to an individual
Physical Conflict (Adult) (Elementary Age) / 03 – A student who engages in unacceptable behavior or conduct which is disruptive to the educational process and results in physical conflict, including pushing, pulling, shoving, or striking an adult. Behaviors that result in physical conflict may be the result of difficulties with sensory processing, reaction to perceived or minor provocation, or retaliatory or defensive actions due to interpersonal/group dynamics. Said behavior does not constitute a fight, physical attack, aggravated battery, or other serious breach of conduct.
Physical Conflict (Student) (Elementary Age) / 02 – A student who engages in unacceptable behavior or conduct which is disruptive to the educational process and results in physical conflict, including pushing, pulling, shoving, or striking another student. Behaviors that result in physical conflict may be the result of difficulties with sensory processing, reaction to perceived or minor provocation, or retaliatory or defensive actions due to interpersonal/group dynamics. Said behavior does not constitute a fight, physical attack, aggravated battery, or other serious breach of conduct.
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.
Repeated Misconduct / 09 – Student misconduct that is chronic or continual even after the implementation of interventions and consequences.
Robbery * (ROB) – SESIR -Level II / 31 – The taking or attempted taking of 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 Assault (SXA) - Level II / 43 – An incident that includes fondling, indecent liberties, child molestation, or threatened rape. Both males and females can be victims of sexual assault.
Sexual Battery * (Rape) (SXB) – SESIR – Level I / 32 – 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 foreign object. Both males and females can be victims of sexual battery.
Sexual Harassment * (SXH) – SESIR – Level III /33 – (undesired sexual behavior) Unwanted verbal or physical behavior with sexual connotations by an adult or student 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 (6A-19.008(1) SBE Rule)
Sexual Offenses * (Other) (SXO) – SESIR – Level III / 34 – Other sexual contact, including intercourse, without force or threat of force. Subjecting an individual to lewd sexual gestures, sexual activity, or exposing private body parts in a lewd manner. (Law enforcement must be notified to investigate.)
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.
Threat/Intimidation * (TRE) – SESIR – Level III / 35 – An incident where there was no physical contact between the offender and victim, but the victim felt that physical harm could have occurred based on verbal or nonverbal communication by the offender. This includes nonverbal threats and verbal threats of physical harm which are made in person, electronically or through any other means.
Tobacco * (TBC) – SESIR – Level IV / 11 – The possession, use, distribution, or sale of tobacco or nicotine products on school grounds, at school-sponsored events, or on school transportation by any person under the age of 21. Tobacco incidents cannot be Drug-related.
Trespassing * (TRS) – SESIR – Level III / 36 – To enter or remain 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 Location / 23 – The act of being present in buildings, rooms, hallways, or other areas of a school campus restricted tostudent access during all or a portion of a day.
Vandalism (VAN) <$1K / 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 * (VAN) >$1K – SESIR – Level III / 17S – The intentional destruction, damage, or defacement of public or private/personal property without consent of the owner or the person having custody or control of it. Incidents that fall below the $1,000 threshold are not reportable in SESIR, but instead should be reported as locally defined incidents according to district policies.
Weapons * (WPO) – SESIR – Level II / 13S – Possession of a firearm or any instrument or object as defined by Section 790.001, F.S., or district code of conduct that can inflict serious harm on another person or that can place a person in reasonable fear of serious harm.
MISCONDUCT THAT REQUIRES SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES (POLICY 5500.08)
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.
There are some acts that result in a specific consequence if a student is found to have done them. If the acts are considered a serious threat to school safety, or are violent misdemeanor or felony criminal offenses, they will be reported to law enforcement. Further, a Threat Assessment Team consisting of personnel required by F.S. 1006.7(7) will review the incident. The Threat Assessment Team will consult with law enforcement when a student exhibits a pattern of behavior, based upon previous acts or the severity of an act, that would pose a threat to school safety. More information is contained within School Safety Policy 8405.
Petty acts of misconduct 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 and includes minor fights or disturbances.
Students who commit violent or disruptive behaviors that may pose a threat to the safety of school staff, whether at school, on a school bus or bus stop or during a school sponsored activity, shall be assigned to an alternative educational program or referred to mental health services identified by the school district. Pursuant to F.S. 1006.07(7), referral to mental health services shall be in consultation with the Threat Assessment Team. Criminal penalties may also be imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies.
Any student or family interested in learning more about the mental health services available in their school can speak to any student services staff member at the school. These staff can also help with referrals to community agencies. For more information on services available in the community families can call 211 or visit their website at https://211tbc.myresourcedirectory.com/.
The following acts require specific consequences:
I. Tobacco, Nicotine and Vaping
Use of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products, as well as smoking any lit or unlit product or device, on school grounds is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
For purposes of this policy, “use of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products” shall mean all uses of tobacco, including cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, or any other matter or substances that contain tobacco, nicotine or vaping substance as well as any uses of electronic cigarette/cigar, vaping devices or any other product designed to imitate any of the products mentioned herein regardless of whether it contains tobacco, nicotine or vaping substance.
”Use of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products” shall not include use of nicotine patches or nicotine gum for their intended purposes, so long as Florida law does not prohibit the student, based upon the student’s age, from possessing nicotine patches or nicotine gum.
If a student is found to be using any form of tobacco, nicotine or vaping product, including use of any lit or unlit product or device, at school, at any school-sponsored activity, at a bus stop, or on the bus, the student will receive educational interventions, opportunities for diversion programs, along with progressive consequences for each offense.
The student must complete all components of the programs outlined in each offense level below in order to satisfactorily meet the requirements described. However, any therapeutic or educational interventions described herein can be made available to students and families, as needed, at any time during this process.
School-based consequences (i.e. In-School Suspension (ISS), work detail, detention) and complete an online intervention program to be signed off or acknowledged by a parent/guardian when completed.
One (1) day Out of School Suspension (OSS) with reintegration process conducted by school staff OR attend the Alternative Placement Program (APP) at any of the available locations in the district. The student will also be assigned to an after-school tobacco/vaping cessation class. Parents/Guardians must register the student for the class and are encouraged to attend with the student.
Two (2) days OSS with reintegration process conducted by school staff or attend the APP at any of the available locations in the district. Students will complete a mandatory FACE IT (Families Acting Collaboratively to Educate and Involve Teens) program or another district educational program with the parent or guardian.
Failure to abide by the progressive steps, as outlined above, or continual offenses may result in additional consequences. Consequences may range from suspension to additional tobacco/vaping cessation curriculum and/or possible referral to an outside agency for therapeutic intervention.
II. Illegal Drugs, Alcoholic Beverages, Harmful, and Other Substances
As used in this policy, “illegal drugs” include:
1. 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, and
2. 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-028), and
3. 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 their prescription medication to anyone else, and
4. controlled substances found in the possession of a minor that are only available for purchase by individuals of certain legal ages of majority, and
5. any substance that a student possesses, sells or distributes that they represent to be an illegal drug (i.e. “fake drug”).
B. Policy on Possession or Use of Illegal Drugs or Alcohol
1. Possession or Use
A student may not possess or use illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages or be under the influence of them on school property including a school bus, at a bus stop, or at any school activity, including a field trip.
2. 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 the student 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.
If a student is at a school function where there are illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages in a specific area, then the student may be considered in the 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. If the student is at school or a school function and becomes aware that another student has an illegal substance, the student is expected to alert school staff or a chaperone immediately.
C. Policy on 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.
D. Consequences for Violation
1. Elementary School Students
If a student in elementary school violates this policy for the first or second time, after consultation with the Area Superintendent/Chief, the principal will suspend the student either in-school or out-of-school for no more than three (3) consecutive days. If the student’s parent agrees that the student 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.
2. Middle School and High School Students
If a student in middle or high school violates this policy, the student will be suspended out-of-school for no more than three (3) consecutive days for one offense and reassigned to an alternative program, for one (1) or two (2) semesters, unless the student meets the following criteria:
- It is the student’s first alcohol or drug offense while enrolled as a Pinellas County Schools’ student, and
- The student was not selling or intending to sell illegal substances, and
- The student was not charged with a felony during the incident.
If the student meets the listed criteria their parent or guardian will be offered an opportunity to participate in the Pinellas County Schools’ drug/alcohol educational program. If the student’s parent/guardian agrees that they will complete the program, the student’s suspension may be reduced. The program specialist will document and provide evidence that the student successfully completed the program within the allocated period of time. If a student fails to successfully complete the program, the student will be immediately assigned to an alternative school program.
A student with two (or more) alcohol or drug offenses will be suspended out-of-school for three (3) days and reassigned to an alternative disciplinary program. Depending on the severity of the offense, the student may also be recommended for expulsion. Consequences for offenses noted above are cumulative across a student’s academic career. Illegal substance controlled under F.S. Chapter 893 may result in criminal penalties being imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies.
3. Waiver Of The Discipline
Any student who is subject to discipline or expulsion for unlawful possession or use of any substance controlled under F.S. Chapter 893 may be entitled to a waiver of the discipline or expulsion under the following conditions:
a. If the student divulges information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who supplied such controlled substance, or if the student voluntarily discloses their unlawful possession of such controlled substance prior to their arrest. Any information divulged which leads to such arrest and conviction is not admissible in evidence in a subsequent criminal trial against the student divulging such information.
b. If the student commits themselves, or is referred by the court in lieu of sentence, to a State-licensed residential drug abuse program and successfully completes the program.
III. Firearm (gun), Weapon, Threat or False Report
In accordance with F.S. 1006.13, students found to have committed one of the following offenses will be expelled, with or without continuing educational services, from the student’s regular school for a period of not less than 1 full year, and referred to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system. Criminal penalties may be imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies. Additionally, a school-based threat assessment, a district threat assessment, or both will be conducted.
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) consecutive days for one offense and recommended for expulsion. Guns shall mean firearms as defined by F.S. 790 and include any object which will or is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
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) consecutive days for one offense and recommended for expulsion. Weapons are defined by F.S. 790 as any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slingshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly weapon, other than a common pocketknife (foldable knife with a blade of four (4) inches or less which is considered a dangerous object), plastic knives, or blunt bladed table knives.
C. Threat or False Report
Any student who makes a threat or false report as defined by F.S. 790.162, 790.163, and 836.10, involving school or school personnel’s property, school transportation, or a school sponsored activity, will be suspended for no more than three (3) consecutive days for one offense and recommended for expulsion. Threats may include but are not limited to: bomb threats; threats to use firearms in a violent manner; threats to kill or do bodily injury; and/or threats to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. In addition, if a student makes a statement or posts statements on social media alluding to the student bringing a firearm or other weapon to school, on school transportation, or to a school-sponsored event, even if the student does not actually bring the firearm or weapon, the student will be presumed to cause a disruptive environment which will lead to disciplinary action. Criminal penalties may be imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies.
D. Possession by Knowledge
If a student is at a school function where there is a gun or weapon, they may be considered to be in possession of the gun or weapon if the principal believes the evidence shows that the student knew about the gun or weapon and chose to remain in the specific area where the gun or weapon is located. The student is expected to alert a school staff member or chaperone immediately.
If a secondary student arrives at school or at a school function 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 they will be considered to be in possession of the gun or weapon.
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.
IV. Dangerous Objects:
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, electric weapons such as a taser, or spring guns of any sort (whether operable or inoperable). For the purposes of this policy, a dangerous object does not include instruments used during school for school projects such as scissors or cutting instruments during an art class.
Any student who brings a dangerous object to school, to any school function, or on any school-sponsored transportation, or any student who possesses 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 either in-school or out of school for no more than three (3) consecutive days and recommended for reassignment and expulsion, and a school-based threat assessment, district threat assessment, or both will be conducted.
Any student who brings or possesses 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 either in-school or out of school for no more than three (3) consecutive days for one offense and recommended for reassignment, and a school-based threat assessment, district threat assessment, or both will be conducted.
V. Computer Crimes
Computer crimes consist of the act of accessing or causing to be accessed any school or district computer, computer system, computer network or electronic device (“Computer System”) with knowledge that such access is not authorized or the manner of use exceeds authorization and includes the purposeful introduction of any virus or computer or the manner of use exceeds authorization and includes the purposeful introduction of any virus or computer contaminant into the Computer System. Any computer crime that threatens to harm or destroys, injures or damages Board Computer Systems is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will result in suspension, reassignment or recommendation for expulsion. Criminal penalties may also be imposed as determined by law enforcement agencies.
VI. Felony Charges and Convictions for Off-Campus Conduct (Policy 5500.08)
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 the student were an adult, the student may be suspended either in-school or out-of-school for no more than three (3) consecutive days for one offense and recommended for reassignment or expulsion. Before suspending the student, the principal will call the student and the 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 the student 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 three (3) 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 their own behalf but they do not have to do so. If the student does not speak on their own behalf, they 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 their 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, the student will be assigned to an alternative educational program.
E. Expulsion Upon Finding of Guilt
If the court determines that a student is guilty, the Board may expel the student. During the student’s expulsion, the student may still attend the alternative program to which they have been assigned.
Disciplinary Actions (Policy 5500.10)
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 they serve 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 or email. If the administrator is unable to contact the student’s parent by telephone or receive a response via email, 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 they have detention.
A student can be assigned and sent to designated rooms or programs (examples: IC, ABC) in their school during the school day. A student will receive full credit for class work completed while in the assigned room or program and their absence will be coded as Intervention (INT).
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 their 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 can be suspended either in-school of out-of-school for no more than three (3) consecutive days for one offense without permission from the Area Superintendent/Chief including reassignments and expulsions. If a student is suspended they cannot be on school grounds or attend any school activities. The administrator may consider the following before deciding to suspend a student:
A. has the student been sent to the administrator at least once before?
B. has the student’s parent been told that their behavior is a problem and that they may be suspended?
C. has the student been referred to their guidance counselor?
D. has the student been given a work assignment before?
E. 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/Chief 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 to the Area Superintendent/Chief within five (5) days of being notified of the transfer recommendation. The Area Superintendent/Chief will review the situation and decide whether the student will be transferred. The student or parent cannot appeal the Area Superintendent’s/Chief’s decision.
If the principal, after completing an investigation, determines that a student has done something wrong that requires removal from the school, including but not limited to violent or disruptive behavior, the principal will make a recommendation to the Area Superintendent/Chief. If the Area Superintendent/Chief 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. Recognizing that students may need additional support in the form of mental health services, Pinellas County Schools will ensure referrals for services are made in alignment with state and federal guidelines.
- How long does a student have to attend the alternative program?
- For one (1), two (2), or three (3) semesters. If a student does not behave or does not complete their work at the alternative school, the student may have to stay there even longer. Students may be offered the opportunity to enter into an early workback agreement if there are extenuating circumstances.
- What if a student gets reassigned a second time?
- If the student is a general education student, they will be reassigned for one (1), two (2), or three (3) semesters. Most second reassignments will be to TELESCHOOL. If a student is an ESE student they may be returned to an appropriate alternative school.
- Can a student go back and visit their regular school or other schools while they are reassigned to an alternative school?
- No. A student cannot go back to their school, or visit any other school, or be on any property leased or owned by the Board. A student cannot attend any school activity (sports events, graduation, performances, banquets, etc.), even as a spectator without permission from the Area Superintendent/Chief.
- What if a student is reassigned to attend an alternative school for the last semester of their senior year?
- If a student is reassigned to attend an alternative school during the last semester of school before they graduate, the following rule applies:
The student’s parent may appeal to a District Review Committee to ask for permission to participate in the student’s regular school’s graduation ceremony. The Committee will consider the following factors:
1. the nature of the offense
2. the student’s discipline history
3. the student’s performance, attendance, and discipline record in the alternative program
4. other factors it considers to be mitigating or aggravating
- When will the District Review Committee meet?
- No later than ten (10) days before the last day of school.
- Who sits on the District Review Committee?
- The District Review Committee shall consist of the Area Superintendents/Chiefs and Directors of Operations and the President of the County Council of PTAs or a designee. Area Superintendents/Chiefs and Directors shall not vote on an appeal involving a school from their area. The PTA representative shall also not hear an appeal from a school with which they are associated.
- Can a student appeal the decision of the District Review Committee to anyone?
- What if a student is reassigned after the District Review Committee has met?
- Then the principal will decide whether the student can attend graduation and end of the school year activities considering the same factors considered by the District Review Committee. The student cannot appeal the principal’s decision.
- Can a student appeal their reassignment to an alternative school?
- No, a student can only appeal the out-of-school suspension. If the suspension is removed, the reassignment will not occur.
- How does a student appeal a suspension linked to a reassignment?
- Within five (5) school days of being suspended, the student or their parent writes a letter to the principal explaining why the student thinks they should not be suspended. The student’s parents may prefer to have the appeal with the principal by telephone. The principal will write to the student’s parents within five (5) school days to tell them whether the student’s suspension is being upheld.
If the principal upholds a student’s suspension, the student or their parents may write a letter to the Area Superintendent/Chief appealing the suspension within five (5) school days of receiving the principal’s decision. The Area Superintendent/Chief will review the facts of the case and determine whether the student was given due process. The Area Superintendent/Chief will not reinvestigate the incident. The student cannot appeal the Area Superintendent’s/Chief’s decision.
- What does a student do about class work during the out-of-school suspension before they begin to attend the alternative school?
- Your withdrawal grade will be established at the time of reassignment from the regular school. The alternative school staff will assign all work after that time.
- What if a student is reassigned at the end of the semester during high school—how does that affect their classes?
- If a student’s suspension begins fifteen (15) days or less before the end of the semester, then the regular school staff will supply the student’s regular class work, and they will also supply review and testing material and arrange for the student to take their exams. In addition, if there are less than thirty (30) school days left in a semester then the period of reassignment will include the remainder of the current semester in addition to the designated semesters of reassignment.
- Can reassignment affect a student’s curriculum?
- Students in honors, advanced placement or magnet courses who are expelled or re-assigned to an alternative school must be aware that their curriculum will be impacted. While every attempt is made to match schedules, it is rarely possible to replicate every class. Students taking these classes must be aware that, when engaging in serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct, they are jeopardizing their academic plan and the completion of some classes may be delayed.
An expulsion means that a student cannot attend any District school except as allowed by the Board. If a student is serving an expulsion during the last semester of their senior year, the student is not allowed to participate in their home school graduation ceremony. 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.
- Can a student go back and visit their traditional school or other schools while they are expelled?
- No. A student cannot go back to their school, or visit any other school, or be on any property leased or owned by the Board. A student cannot attend any school activity (sports events, graduation, performances, banquets, etc.).
- May a student attend other schools or programs that are not run by the District during the expulsion?
- Yes, a student can attend local Juvenile Services Programs, PACE, Urban League, or other such programs, but acceptance is entirely up to that program’s staff. Other public schools and most private schools will not allow a student to enroll during the expulsion period.
- Can a student return to a traditional school upon completion of expulsion?
- Yes, a student may enroll in a traditional school upon successful completion of expulsion.