Vestavia Hills City Schools
Code of Conduct – Process, Violations, Actions
Students shall be treated with fairness in all discipline matters and shall be accorded procedural due process when the discipline measures of corporal punishment, short and long-term suspension or expulsion are applied. Before being punished for violation of a Board Procedure or local school rule and regulation, the local school principal or designee shall ensure that students are accorded the following minimal due process:
THE INFORMAL PROCESS
1. The student shall be given oral or written notice of the charge(s) against him/her.
2. The evidence supporting the charge(s) shall be explained to the student.
3. The student shall be given an opportunity to present his/her own version of the facts concerning the charge(s).
The disciplining authority (principal or teacher, etc.) may impose appropriate discipline measures immediately following the informal due process hearing stated above.
THE FORMAL PROCESS
When a student is facing possible long-term suspension (more than 10 school days) or expulsion, the Board shall ensure that the following formal due process procedures are accorded the student:
- The right to a hearing.
- The right to be represented by counsel.
- The right to cross-examine witnesses.
- The right to a written record of the hearing.
- The right to a written record of the Board's decision.
- If the Board does not render a decision within ten days, the student shall be returned to his/her regular school assignment.
The Board may place the student in the School System's alternative school based upon their discretion.
Prior to the application of the above procedures to an exceptional student (except gifted or speech impaired), said student's I.E.P. committee shall be convened to determine if the student's behavior warranting punishment is related to the handicap. In the event it is determined that the student's behavior is not related to the handicap, the student shall be treated as any other student, except that, an exceptional student may not be more than ten (10) school days without alternative educational program.
Legal Ref: U.S. Const. Amend. XIII; U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, 1; Ingraham v. Wright, 97 St. Ct. 1401 (1977); Goss v. Lopez, 95 S. Ct. 729 (1975); Carey v. Phipus, Goss v. Lopez, 98 S. Ct. 1042 (1978); Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education, 294 f.2d 150 (5th Cir. 1961); Board of Curators, Univ. of Missouri v. Horowitz, 98 S.Ct. 948 (1978); Goss v Lopez, 419 U.S. 465 (1975).
Interrogations and Searches of Students
INTERROGATIONS AND SEARCHES BY SCHOOL OFFICIALS
Refer to 6.15 of the Board Policy Manual
Refer to 6.15 of the Board Policy Manual
School officials may search selected vehicles while on school property when there is reasonable cause to believe that the vehicles contain articles that may endanger other individuals or are contrary to law or regulations of the Board.
By Law Enforcement Officials
The Board respects the rights of all persons in the schools and will uphold those rights. At the same time, school property cannot be regarded as a sanctuary from enforcement of the law.
School officials should seek to cooperate with law enforcement officials in their effort to enforce the law; however. school officials must not permit warrantless searches by law officials on school property.
Legal Ref: U.S. Const. Amend. IV; U.S. Const. Amend. XIV 1: Moore v. Student Affairs Committee of Troy State University, 284 F. Supp. 725, (M>D> Ala. 1970); Note from Moore: "It is settled that Fourth Amendment does not prohibit reasonable searches when the search is conducted by a superior charged with the responsibility of maintaining discipline or of maintaining security..."; New Jersey v. T.L.O.
Law Enforcement Access To Public Schools
In accordance with Section 290-2-1-01(1)(b) of the Alabama Administrative Code, it shall be the Procedure of the Vestavia Hills Board of Education to permit law enforcement agencies to make periodic visits to the Vestavia Hills City Schools for the purpose of detecting the presence of illegal drugs. Such visits shall be unannounced except to the superintendent of schools and principals of the individual schools that are subject to visitation.
REF: Section 290-2-1-01(1)(b) Alabama Administrative Code
Interrogation by Public Officials
INTERROGATION BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS
Law Enforcement Officials
When law enforcement officers make it known that they wish to talk to a student while under supervision of the school, the student will be called to the office of the principal, and in the presence of the officers, the school principal or his/her designated representative shall attempt to notify by telephone the student's parent or guardian of the situation. The student will then be informed that he/she may opt for one of the following choices:
1. The student may converse by phone with his/her parent or guardian.
2. The student may decline to talk with the officers until his/her parentIs) or guardian(s) is present.
3. The student may talk with the officers either in or outside the presence of a school official.
In case an arrest warrant is presented by law enforcement officers, the school principal or his/her designated representative shall make every effort to notify the parents or legal guardians of the student in question prior to the student's removal from the school premises.
Human Resource Department Officials
When Human Resource Department officials make it known that they wish to talk with a student while under the supervision of the school. the principal or his/her designated representative shall seek to determine if the visit relates to child abuse or neglect. If so, after presenting appropriate identification, the Department of Human Resource's official shall be permitted to talk with the student in accordance with the following procedure:
Procedure for Handling Child Abuse/Neglect
All educators are required to report immediately suspected cases of child abuse/neglect to the Department of Pensions and Security. The following guidelines are suggested if child abuse/neglect is suspected:
1. The educator should immediately notify the principal.
2. The principal/educator should consult with the counselor.
DHR caseworkers will proceed to investigate the reported case. If the investigation is to begin at the school, the DHR caseworker will report to the school office and identify himself/herself to the principal or designated representative. Child abuse/neglect investigations are highly confidential, and the student's rights to privacy must be respected, Only those persons including the principal or designee necessary to conduct the investigation should be present in any interview. After an evaluation/intervention has been made, the caseworker will provide feedback to the principal and arrange monitoring procedures as needed. Educators will report further incidents of abuse/neglect regarding that child to the assigned caseworker.
Special Information Regarding Neglect Cases:
1. Teachers should document and date specific instances or examples of neglect. Ex: On Wednesday, January 14, 1984, John Doe came to school with no coat, wearing unclean clothes and shoes with large holes.
2. Keep a running account of the above examples over a period of time.
Contact the parents and express concern over the neglect and make suggestions as to how they can help or see help by calling Child Welfare at DHR.
Right to Privacy Considerations:
1. A student's school record continues to be protected by the terms of the Family Rights and Privacy Act and the policies of the Board. The School System needs a parental release form, court order or other legal document which gives school personnel the permission to release information in school records to DHR caseworkers.
2. In return, DHR personnel should share needed information with school officials. The school
principal or counselor could be designated as a confidential person to receive this information and use it in the best interest of the student.
Student Code of Conduct - Classification Violations and Actions
STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT CLASSIFICATION OF VIOLATIONS
The School's primary goal is to educate, not to discipline. However, when the behavior of an individual
student comes in conflict with the rights of others, corrective actions are necessary for the benefit of the
individual and of the school.
Instruction should occur in an environment that is conducive to learning. Effective instruction requires good
order and discipline which may be described as the absence of distraction, friction and disturbances which
interfere with the effective functioning of the student, class, and school.
We believe that every student is entitled to an education which shall be offered in an orderly, healthy
atmosphere, and to firm, fair treatment in all matters pertaining to school life.
We further believe that every student shall comply with all rules and regulations having to do with behavior
established by the State and the Vestavia Hills Board of Education. In a democracy there exist many
privileges and freedoms, all of which are dependent upon adherence to certain rules and regulations. It
should be made very clear that any student, by his own failure to comply with school regulations, may lose
his right to a public education.
As students progress in our public schools, it is reasonable to assume that an increase in age and maturity
will result in the student assuming greater responsibility for their actions. It is recognized that differences in
age and maturity require different types of disciplinary implementation; however, these general rules and
regulations shall apply to all students in grades K-12.
Violations of the Code of Student Conduct are grouped into three (3) classes - minor, intermediate and
major and are applicable to all elementary (K-5) and secondary (6-12) students of the School System.
Before determining the classification of violation, the principal or his/her designee will consult with the
involved student(s) and school personnel. Once the classification of the violation is determined, the principal
or his/her designee will implement the disciplinary procedure.
Each classroom teacher will deal with General classroom disruption by taking in-class disciplinary action, by
telephoning the parent(s) or guardian(s) when feasible, and/or by scheduling conferences with the parent(s)
or guardian(s) and other school staff. Only when the action taken by the teacher is ineffective, or the
disruption is severe, should the student be referred to the principal or his/her designee. Failure to bring
notebook, pencil, homework; or failure to do work in class are not cause for disciplinary referrals; however,
defiance of a teacher in regard to these areas is cause for discipline referral. Parents or guardians should be
notified by the teacher of students who consistently exhibit poor work habits, and/or these students should
be referred to a guidance counselor. The following provides a description of disciplinary problems which may
occur and administrative options which may be taken by school officials:
MINOR OFFENSES-CLASS I
1.01 Excessive distraction of other students. Any conduct and/or behavior which is disruptive to the
orderly education process in the classroom or any other students. Examples: talking excessively,
interrupting class functions, chewing gum, provoking other students.
1.02 Minor intimidation/harassment of a student.
1.03 Participation in games of chance for minor sums of money and/or other things of little value.
1.04 Excessive tardiness. Repeatedly reporting late to school or class.
1.05 Unintentional and/or non-directed use of profane or obscene language.
1.06 Non-conformity to dress code. (See File Dress Code)
1.07 Minor disruption on a school bus.
1.08 Inappropriate public display of affection. Including, but not limited to embracing and kissing.
1.09 Unauthorized absence from class or classes.
1.10 Continued refusal to complete class assignments.
1.11 Failure to follow instructions. Examples: Failure to carry correspondence home, failure to obey
directions in the hallways, assemblies, etc.
1.12 Unauthorized use of school or personal property.
1.13 Littering or defacing school property.
1.14 Drop out Procedure. A state drop out Procedure with regard to unexcused absences went into effect
in the 1993-94 school year.
1.15 Violation of local school rules and regulations regarding the use of electronic communication
devices as defined in BOE Students Procedures Manual.
1.16 Any other violation which the principal may deem reasonable to fall within this category
after consideration of extenuating circumstances.
DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS - CLASS I ELEMENTARY
1. In school conference and parental contact when granted in the opinion of the principal.
2. Parental contact and disciplinary action.
3. In-school disciplinary action such as probation, detention.
DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS - CLASS I SECONDARY STUDENTS (Grade 6-12)
1. In-school conference and parental or guardian contacts when warranted in the opinion of the principal.
Special circumstances may warrant disciplinary action as outlined under subsequent offenses.
2. In-school disciplinary action such as probation, detention, completion of extra academic assignments,
non-academic work assignments (either before or after school with parental consent), Saturday
School, in-school suspension, or suspension at the discretion of the principal or his/her designee.
3. Detention time for each school year is at the discretion of the principal.
*Class I Violations may warrant police contact.
INTERMEDIATE OFFENSES-CLASS II
2.01 Use of obscene manifestation verbal written towards another person.
2.02 Leaving class or campus without permission.
2.03 Unsolicited written or verbal proposition to engage in sexual acts.
2.04 Gambling. The intentional, unlawful participation in gambling activities involving amount of more then
2.05 0pen defiance of a teacher or School Board employee. Any verbal or non-verbal refusal to comply
with a lawful direction or order of a School Board employee.
2.06 Unauthorized access to a computer system or knowledge of restricted computer passwords.
2.07 Indirect Threats. The indirect intentional, threat by word or act to do violence to another student,
coupled with an apparent ability to do so, or the doing of some act which creates a well-founded fear in the
person that such harm is likely.
2.08 Verbal Abuse. Speech or other expression intended to insult or stigmatize others on the basis of their
sex, race, color, handicap, religion, sexual orientation or national or ethnic origin.
2.09 Possession of a pocket knife, small or key chain variety, or similar instruments that would
not normally be considered a weapon (see Class III Offense).
2.10 Possession of firearm facsimiles. Discharge, possession, transfer, or sale of any facsimile or
toy-type replica of a firearm or any other item resembling a firearm.
2.11 Disrespect to a School Board employee. Any verbal or nonverbal conduct and/or behavior directed
toward a School Board employee that is rude or discourteous.
2.12 Possession of fireworks, firecrackers or stink bombs.
2.13 Possession of obscene pornographic or sexually explicit material.
2.14 Illegal Organization. Any on-campus fraternities, sororities, secret sororities or non-school affiliated
2.15 Intentionally providing false information to a School Board employee. Intentionally providing
false information to a School Board employee including giving false student information, data, and
concealment of information directly relating to school business. This includes but is not limited to forgery of
any school document, parent or guardian notes, or other related material.
2.16 Possession and/or use of tobacco products including lighters and matches. This is applicable to
2.17 Unjustified activation of a fire alarm system or fire extinguisher. Unjustified activation of a fire
2.18 Fighting -any physical conflict between two or more individuals.
2.19 Assault and battery on students. Actually and intentionally touching or striking another student
against the will of the other.
2.20 Trespassing. Willfully entering or roaming in any structure, conveyance, or property without being
2.21 Vandalism. Intentionally doing some act that results in injury or damaging by means of real, personal,
or public property belonging to another.
2.22 Stealing-Larceny. The intentional unlawful taking and carrying away of personal property valued less
than $100.00, or possession of stolen property with the knowledge it is stolen.
2.23 Extortion. Verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatening to accuse
another of any crime or offense.
2.24 Inciting student disorder and/or malicious mischief.
2.25 Cheating. The use or attempted use of any deceptive or dishonest method of improving a grade.
2.26 Possession of a cell phone or other electronic device that interrupts the classroom
environment, which includes use of or sound emitting from it.
2.27 Bullying/intimidation/harassment of another student in any form including but not limited
to verbal, written, or action.
2.28 Unauthorized and inappropriate taking of pictures or video on school board property.
2.29 Any other offense, which the principal may reasonably deem to fall into this category.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION/INTERMEDIATE OFFENSES CLASS II
ELEMENTARY STUDENTS (K-5)
1. Parental or guardian contact.
2. Any or all disciplinary options so may be applied.
3. Suspension for one to five days.
4. Suspension from six to ten days with the approval of the Superintendent
5. Recommendation for referral to an Alternative School.
6. Recommendation for expulsion.
* Class II Violations may warrant police contact.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION/INTERMEDIATE OFFENSES CLASS II
SECONDARY STUDENTS (6-12)
1. Parental or guardian contact and disciplinary action.
2. Suspension for one to five days.
3. Suspension from six to ten days with the approval of the Superintendent.
4. Recommendation for referral to an Alternative School.
5. Recommendation for expulsion.
* Class II Violations may warrant police contact.
MAJOR OFFENSES - CLASS III
3.01 Stealing - Larceny - Grand Theft. - The intentional unlawful taking and/or carrying away of property
valued at $100.00 or more belonging to or in the lawful possession or custody of another.
3.02 Drugs. Unauthorized possession, use, transfer, sale of, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The
possession of drug paraphernalia is also included.
3.03 Illegal school entry or Burglary of school property. Entering or remaining in a structure or
conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein during the hours the premises are closed to the
3.04 Criminal mischief - Willful and malicious injury or damages at or in excess of $200.00 to public
property, or to real or personal property belonging to another.
3.05 Sexual acts. Acts of a sexual nature including, but not limited to battery, intercourse, indecent
exposure, attempted rape, or rape.
3.06 Aggravated battery - Intentionally causing bodily harm, disability or permanent disfigurement; use of
a deadly weapon.
3.07 Inciting, promoting, publicizing, or participating in major student disorder. Leading,
encouraging, or assisting in (major) disruptions, which result in destruction or damage of private or public
property or personal injury to participants or other.
3.08 Offensive touching of another person.
3.09 Possession by student of deadly weapon or firearm in a school building, on school grounds,
on school buses, or at other school sponsored functions. Any student who is determined by the Board
of Education (a) to have brought a deadly weapon or firearm to school; or (b) to have had a deadly weapon
or firearm in his/her possession in a school building, on school grounds, on a school bus or on a school
sponsored function shall be expelled from school for a period of at least one year.
The term "deadly weapon" as used in this Procedure means a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made
or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious physical injury, and such term includes, but is not
limited to, a bazooka, hand grenade, missile or explosive or incendiary device; a pistol, rifle or shotgun; or a
switch-blade knife, gravity knife, stiletto, sword or dagger; or any club, baton, billy, block-jack, bludgeon or
For purposes of this Procedure, the term "firearm" shall mean:
1. Any weapon (including a starter gun), which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a
projectile by the action of an explosive;
2. The frame or receiver or any weapon;
3. Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
4. Any destructive device, including explosives.
3.10 Direct threats. The direct, intentional threat by word or act to do violence to another student, coupled
with an apparent ability to do so, or the doing of some act which creates a well-founded fear in the person
that such violence is imminent.
3.11 Weapons. Possession of a knife, gun of any kind, or other object as defined by state law to be a
deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or the possession of a knife or other object which is used in a
threatening manner and is perceived by the individual being threatened as capable of inflicting physical harm.
3.12 Possession of prohibited objects. Possession of any switchblade, metallic knuckles, tear gas gun,
chemical weapon or device, martial arts weapon, or any other similar object.
3.13 Terrorist threat. A person commits the crime of making a terrorist threat when he/she threatens by
any means to commit any crime of violence or to damage any property by doing any of the following:
1. Intentionally or recklessly:
- Terrorizing another person.
- Causing the disruption of school activities.
- Causing the evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or other
serious public inconvenience.
An objective standard governs whether a statement is a threat falling outside first amendment protection,
that is: "Whether a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to
whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of intent to harm or assault".
Accordingly, alleged threats should be considered in light of their entire factual context, including the
surrounding events and the reaction of the listener.
The ordinary, reasonable and prudent person considers a threat to be an expression of an intention to inflict
evil or injury, on another. Therefore, under this Procedure, a statement of threat, even if made in jest, may
constitute a violation of this Procedure. Examples specifically include, but are not limited to, statements such
as "I am going to blow up this school", "I will shoot you", "I am going to cut you with a knife", or simply "I
am going to beat you up".
3.14 Bomb threats. Any such communication(s) which has the effect of interrupting the educational
3.15 Explosives. Preparing, possessing or igniting on School Board property, explosives (including live
projectiles), which have the potential to cause serious bodily injury or property damage.
3.16 Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual
favors, and any other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition (either explicitly or implicitly)
of employment, educational opportunity or other benefits provided by the school system;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the
individual's employment, educational opportunities, or other benefits provided by the school system; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance
or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, learning or educational environment.
Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment, depending on individual circumstances;
- Verbal harassment or abuse of a sexual nature, including graphic comments, the display of sexually
suggestive objects or picture, and sexual propositions;
- Repeated unwelcome solicitation of sexual activity or sexual contact;
- Unwelcome, inappropriate sexual touching;
- Demands for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats
with regard to an individual's employment or educational status.
Any violation of Sexual Harassment Procedure IN shall be deemed to be a violation of this Procedure.
3.17 Sabotage of a computer or computer system which results in but is not limited to the
- Unauthorized access to a computer system resulting in data modification or disclosure of restricted
- Computer tampering which causes a major disruption in the educational process. The student must also
pay restitution for the cost of repairs.
- Distribution of restricted computer passwords.
- Introduction of unauthorized software into computer system.
3.18 Unjustified activation of a fire alarm system. (See Terrorists Threats)
3.19 Igniting fireworks, firecrackers or activating stink bombs.
3.20 Multiple Class II Offenses.
3.21 Imitation of controlled substances. - Unauthorized possession, transfer, use or sale of a substance
other than a drug, which by dosage unit, appearance (including color, size, shape and/or markings) and/or
by representations made, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the substance is a controlled
3.22 Other Class III Violations. The Legislature of the State of Alabama has found a compelling public
interest in ensuring that schools are made safe and drug-free for all students and school employees. The
Legislature found the need for a comprehensive safe school and drug-free school Procedure to be adopted by
the State Board of Education and all 128 City and County school boards in Alabama. All of said school systems are required to modify their policies, practices or procedures so as to ensure a safe school environment free of illegal drugs, alcohol or weapons. The
Legislature has enacted the following laws relative to school safety and student discipline which are set forth
in the Code of Alabama 1975, as last amended:
Title 16 1-24.1 Title 16 1-24.3 Title 16 I 24
Title 13A-I0-15 Title 13A-8-71
Copies of the five statutes enumerated above are attached hereto, marked as Exhibits A, B, C, D, and E and
are incorporated into this Procedure by reference as though set out fully herein. (Click Link Below)
Anything contained in this Procedure to the contrary notwithstanding, any student found to be in
violation of any provision of the laws designated as Exhibits A, B, C, D, and E shall be considered to have
committed a Class III offense in violation of this Procedure and shall be disciplined accordingly.
3.23 Any other offense which the principal may deem reasonable to fall within this category after
consideration of extenuating circumstances.
DISCIPLINARY ACTION/MAJOR OFFENSES - CLASS III ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
(K-5) SECONDARY STUDENT (6-12)
The disciplinary action for such offenses will be suspension and/or recommendation for expulsion by the
principal as authorized in the procedures previously stated.
- Suspension for up to ten (10) days with the approval of the Superintendent and/or recommendation for
expulsion with parent contact and conference.
- Recommendation for referral to an Alternative School with the approval of the principal or superintendent.
- Recommendation for expulsion.
* Class III Violations may warrant police contact.
It is the finding of the Alabama Legislature that the people of Alabama have two basic expectations of their
public schools: (1) that students be allowed to learn in a safe classroom setting where order and discipline
are maintained; and (2) that students learn at the level of their capabilities and achieve accordingly. The
Legislature finds further that every child in Alabama is entitled to have access to a program of instruction
which gives him or her the right to learn in a non-disruptive environment. No student has a right to be
unruly in his or her classroom to the extent that such disruption denies fellow students of their right to learn.
The teacher in each classroom is expected to maintain order and discipline. Teachers are hereby given the
authority and responsibility to use appropriate means of discipline as may be prescribed by the local Board
of Education. So long as teachers follow approved Procedure in the exercise of their responsibility to
maintain discipline in their classroom, such teacher shall be immune from civil or criminal liability. (Title 16-28A(1), Code of Alabama, 1975)
If any part, section or subdivision of this Procedure shall be held unconstitutional or invalid for any
reason, such holding shall not be construed to invalidate or impair the remainder of this Procedure, which
shall continue in full force and effect notwithstanding such holding.
General Conduct at School:
All students within the Vestavia Hills School District are charged with the responsibility of conducting
themselves in a manner consistent with good citizenship. Students are expected to respect themselves, to
respect others and to respect property.
According to legal rulings, students may be disciplined for offenses such as those listed above in the
Procedure IDEA not only when they occur during the school day on school premises, but also when they
occur off campus during school-sponsored activities or school related functions. Students who threaten
school employees or damage employees' property away from the school are also subject to disciplinary action.
RECEIPT OF COPY Code of Conduct PROCEDURE
The Board shall provide at the commencement of each academic year a copy of this Procedure to all
teachers, staff, parents and students. The signature of the student and parents shall document receipt of
this Procedure on a receipt form to be provided by the Board.
POSSESSION OF DEADLY WEAPONS AND FIREARMS PROCEDURE
The Board of Education of the City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, finds a compelling public interest in ensuring that schools owned and operated by it are made safe for all students and school employees. .
II. LEGAL AUTHORITIES
A. FEDERAL LAW
- Improving America's Schools Act of 1994: On October 20,1994, the United States Congress approved and enacted the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Public Law 103-382).
- Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 GFSA: Part F-Gun Possession of IASA is cited as the "Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994." In summary, this Act requires states to have in effect a state law requiring local education agencies (LEA) to expel from school for a period of not less than one year a student who is determined to have brought a weapon to school under the jurisdiction of the LEASE in the state.
- 18 USC 92Ha): The term "firearm" is defined in Section 92 I (a) of Title 18, United States Code.
B. STATE LAW
1. Code of Alabama. 1975:
(a) Title 16-1-24.1 (Act 94-784): This law provides that the State Board of Education shall require local systems to modify their policies, practices or procedures so as to ensure a safe school environment tree of weapons. These modifications shall include the
formulation of a discipline plan setting forth policies, practices and procedures dealing with students or other persons who bring weapons on a school campus.
(c) If a person is found to have violated a local board of education Procedure concerning weapons, the person may not be readmitted to the public schools of this state until (1) criminal charges or offenses arising from the conduct, if any, have been disposed of by appropriate authorities and (2) the person has satisfied all other requirements imposed by the local board of education as a condition for readmission.
(b) Title 13A-ll-72 (Act 94-817): This law provides that no person shall knowingly with intent to do bodily harm carry or possess a deadly weapon on the premises of a public school. Possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to do bodily harm on the premises of a public school in violation of subsection (c) of this section is a Class C felony.
(c) Title 16-1-24.3 (Act 95-756): All City Boards of Education shall develop and implement local policies and procedures requiring the expulsion for students, for a period of one year, who are determined to have brought to school or have in their possession a firearm in a school building, on school grounds, on school buses or at other school-sponsored functions.
(d) Title 16-28-40 (Act 94-820): This law provides in pertinent part as follows:
(e) (1) Any person over the age of14 who is convicted of the crime of possession of a pistol on the premises of a public school, or a public school bus, or both, under Section 13A-ll-72 shall be denied issuance of a driver's permit or license for the operation of a motor vehicle for 180 days from the date the person is eligible and applies for a permit or license for the operation of a motor vehicle. (2) If a person over the age of 14 years possesses a driver's license on the date of conviction, the Department of Public Safety, within five days of receipt of a notice of conviction from the court, shall send notice to the licensee that his or her driver's license will be suspended. The notice shall state that the license will be suspended for 180 days, commencing on the 30th day that the person was not convicted of the crime. Upon the appropriate date, the department shall suspend the license.
(e)Title 13A-II-72(g): This statue defines "deadly weapon" and reads as follows:
(g) The term "deadly weapon" as used in this section means a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious physical injury, and such term includes, but is not limited to, a bazooka, hand grenade, missile or explosive or incendiary device; a pistol, rifle or shotgun; or a switch-blade knife, gravity knife, stiletto, sword or dagger; or any club, baton, billy, black-jack, bludgeon or metal knuckles.
C. LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD POUCY
1. Procedure IDEB: Procedure IDEB was approved and adopted by The Board of Education of the City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama on November 10, 1988. It was revised on March 24,1993 and again on July 26,1995. The Board now further amends Procedure IDEB.
A. FIREARMS: For purposes of this Procedure, the term "firearm" shall mean a firearm as defined in 18 USC Section 921 (a)(3), including the following:
- Any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
- The frame or receiver of any such weapon;
- Any firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or
- Any destructive device, including the following:
(a) Any explosive, incendiary or poison gas-(i) bomb, (ii) grenade, (Hi) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four O1,lIlces, (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one quarter ounce, (v) mine, or (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses (i) through (v);,
(b) Any type of weaponry whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel of more than one-half inch diameter; and
(c) Any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described in foregoing sub-paragraphs (a) or (b) and from which such a destructive device may be readily assembled.
B. DEADLY WEAPON: The term "deadly weapon" as used in this Procedure means a firearm or anything manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious physical injury and such term includes, but is not limited to, a bazooka, hand grenade, missile or explosive or incendiary device; a pistol, rifle or shotgun; or a switch-blade knife, stiletto, sword or dagger; or any club, baton, billy, black-jack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, knives or any kind and length, razors or razor blades, box openers, any items which may be used as clubs and all sharp or pointed objects designed for use as weapons.
- DEADLY WEAPONS AND FIREARMS ARE PROHIBITED IN A SCHOOL BUILDING ON SCHOOL GROUNDS ON SCHOOL BUSES OR AT OTHER SCHOOL-SPONSORED FUNCTIONS
Deadly weapons and firearms are prohibited in a school building, on school grounds, on school buses or at other school-sponsored functions. No student shall be permitted to have any deadly weapon or firearm in his or her possession in a school building, on school grounds, on school buses or at other school-sponsored functions at any time.
V. DISCIPLINE MEASURES
Any student who is determined by the Board of Education (a) to have brought a deadly weapon or firearm to school: or (b) to have had a deadly weapon or firearm in his or her possession in a school building, on school grounds, on a school bus or at a school-sponsored function shall be expelled from school for a period of at least one year. Notwithstanding the foregoing (and in accordance with The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 and Title 16-1-24.3, Code of Alabama. 1975). the Board of Education of The City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama and the Superintendent of Education may modify the expulsion requirement for a student on a case-bycase basis.
VI. EXPULSION PROCEDURE
If a student is expelled for violation of this Procedure IDEB, then in such event the expulsion procedure to be followed shall be those steps set forth in Expulsion Procedure IDE; provided however, the Board of Education shall schedule the expulsion hearing at the earliest possible date, which shall not be later than five (5) school days. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Expulsion Procedure IDE, the expulsion hearing scheduled and held by the Board shall be no later than five (5) school days following the principal's suspension and recommendation for expulsion of the student in violation of this Procedure.
VII. NOTIFICATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS
The school principal shall notify the appropriate law enforcement authority, which may include city police, the Jefferson County Sheriff and the Jefferson County District Attorney, of
violations of this Procedure. In addition, the school principal shall notify the parents of students who violate this Procedure. Law enforcement authorities are encouraged to refer violators of this Procedure to the appropriate authority in the judicial system when such action is feasible.
VIII. STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Discipline of students with disabilities who violate this Procedure shall be administered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the requirements of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
IX. INTENTS AND PURPOSES
The intents and purposes of The Board of Education of the City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama in the approval and adoption of this Procedure IDEB are to:
A. To ensure that schools are made safe and deadly weapon and firearm-free for all students and school employees; and
B. To comply with the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994; and
C. To comply with Act No. 95-756 of the 1995 Alabama Legislature codified at Title 16-1-24.3, Code of Alabama. 1975.
In the case of any ambiguity, this Procedure shall be interpreted so that, in all respects, The Board of Education of the City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama shall continue to be eligible for the receipt of funds under the Improving America's Schools Act and any other legislation which requires the adoption and implementation of a Procedure containing the terms and provisions of this Procedure.
X. CLASSIFICATION OF OEFENSE
Possession by a student of a deadly weapon or firearm in a school building, on school grounds, on school buses or at other school-sponsored functions in violation of this Procedure IDEB shall constitute a major offense-Class m violation under Student Code of Conduct classification of Violations Procedure IDEA.
In the event any provision of this Procedure shall be held invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not invalidate or render unenforceable any other provision hereof.
Legal Ref: Public Law 103-382, "Improving America's Schools Act of 1994;" Part F, Section 14601, Gun-Free Requirements: Legislative Acts 94-820, 94-817
Students may be detained for disciplinary purposes at the discretion of the local school principal and professional staff of individual schools. Provided a student is detained after regular school hours, the student must be given notice of such detention in time to notify parents or guardians and arrange for necessary transportation. Students shall not be required to remain after school for more than one (1) hour daily for detention purposes. Transported students shall not be detained after school on an involuntary basis without reasonable prior notification of the parents or guardians.
Provided an elementary student is detained after regular school hours, the above provisions shall be observed, and in addition, the local school principal or professional staff member shall notify said student's parents or guardians prior to detention.
Legal Ref: The Code of Alabama, 16-1-14
Out of School Suspension
The Board recognizes its authority to maintain good order and discipline within the schools of the school system. Therefore, the Board gives the school principal the authority to suspend a student. The principal shall advise the superintendent of all student suspensions.
The principal shall make an immediate effort (same day) to contact the student's parents or guardians about the suspension. No suspended student shall be allowed to leave the school premises during the school day until the student's parent, guardian, or proper school authorities assume responsibility for him/her. When a student's parent, guardian. or other designated individual(s) cannot be notified, the student must remain on the school premises until the end of the school day. At the end of the school day, the student will return home via normal transportation methods.
Procedures and Regulations Authority
The school principal or designee has the authority to suspend students from school for up to five (5) days and up to ten (10) days with the permission of the superintendent when an expulsion recommendation is to be considered.
Prior to suspension, the student will be made aware of the charges and supporting evidence and given an opportunity to respond to them. The local school principal shall complete and provide the student with a copy of the School System's Notice of Suspension Form prior to departure from campus with copies to the student's parent or guardians within forty-eight (48) hours stating the reason(s) for such action.
Immediate removal of the student from school premises is justified only when his/her presence threatens himself/herself. endangers school property, or seriously disrupts the orderly educational process. If immediate removal is necessary, the parents or guardians must be notified by phone or personally by the attendance supervisor or other school officials. In extreme emergencies, principals are given the authority to call upon law enforcement officials to remove such students. The principal shall advise the superintendent by phone regarding forced removals and shall follow the oral contact with a written confirmation to the superintendent.
The suspension of a student shall not exceed five (5) school days except as follows:
1. Any student suspended more than three times during a school year shall be required to appear with parents or guardians before the superintendent and school principal to explain his/her situation. The Superintendent or designee shall schedule the conference within five (5) school days after being notified by the school principal. If the student or parents or guardians fail to appear as ordered, expulsion proceedings may be initiated.
2. If an incident or violation, or series of incidents or violations are serious enough to warrant
suspension, said suspension may not exceed ten (10) complete school days pending Board action on an expulsion recommendation. Provided the Board does not render a decision within the ten (10) school day period. the student shall be readmitted to school until such time that the Board renders a decision. The principal. after expulsion recommendation consideration, may readmit the student to school within the ten (10) school day period based on mutual agreement of the principal and superintendent. In such case, the principal and superintendent will have decided not to recommend expulsion.
1. While suspended. a student may not attend school functions or enter school property for any reason during or after the school day except to attend a school function open to the general public on a paying basis.
2. When a student is suspended, his/her teachers must be notified immediately concerning the date and duration of the suspension. Teachers shall not give make-up work to students who are suspended from school.
3. A suspended student must comply with the full length of the suspension unless the principal approves an alternative.
Provided an exceptional student (except gifted or speech impaired) commits an offense which warrants short-term (less than five (5) school days) suspension, said student's I.E.P. Committee shall be convened to determine if the offense is related to the handicap; if not, the student may be suspended for less than five (5) school days as any other student. Special education students suspended or expelled for more than five (5) school days shall be provided an alternative educational program.
When a student returns to school after the first suspension in an academic year, the readmission must be preceded by a pre- or post-conference with the principal or designee. The conference must include the parents or guardians, unless otherwise approved by the principal. A student returning after the required conference with the superintendent and school principal is not required to submit to a second conference with the school principal.
The student is readmitted on approval of the principal or designee and is given admission slip to return to class.
Legal Ref: The Code of Alabama, 16-1-4; Goss v. Lopez, 95 S. Ct. 729 (1973)
In School Suspension
In-school suspension is a structured disciplinary action in which a student is isolated or removed from regular classroom and extracurricular activities but is not dismissed from the school setting nor counted absent during the period of in-school suspension. The principal or designee has the authority to assign students to the in-school suspension program for a reasonable and specified period of time not to exceed five (5) days. The principals and their staffs should determine the scope of in-school suspension in their respective schools. The parent or guardian must be notified by the procedure outlined in the out of school suspension Procedure filed JDD. In addition, the local school principal shall ensure that the following safeguards are met:
1. The student must be supervised by a member of the professional staff during in-school suspension.
2. The confinement area assigned to the student should conducive to completing school be adequate and assignments.
3. The student shall be responsible for completing all class assignments, homework, examinations, etc. that are applicable to other students in his/her class(es), except that, students on in-school suspension shall not be permitted to complete assignments that require class attendance (oral reports, recitations, etc.) and shall be graded accordingly.
4. The days a student is absent from class(es) cannot be counted as part of the eighteen (18) class sessions of the excessive absence Procedure.
5. A student to be suspended with a recommendation for expulsion may not be placed on in-school suspension.
Alternative School Program
The alternative school program is designed for students who are not able to function in the structure of a regular school setting or who are potential dropouts.
A decision to place a student in the alternative school program will be based on a review of all student records and a meeting of the parent(s) or guardian(s) with appropriate school representatives to review the records fully and to discuss the matter.
The school system will require students in alternative education programs to meet state graduation requirements. The system will maintain evidence of student accomplishments and progress in the programs.
A student may be expelled from school if an offense is serious enough to warrant such action. The authority to expel a student is retained solely by the Board of Education.
If a student is suspended and recommended for expulsion the local school principal shall notify, in writing, the student and parent or legal guardian of the action taken and the cause of such action. A copy of this notification shall be sent to the Superintendent of schools.
The Superintendent may extend the suspension of the student pending the decision of the Board to expel said student. If the Board does not render a decision within a reasonable time, the student may be readmitted to school until such time as the Board reaches a decision.
The Board of Education hearing relative to expulsion, as well as all preliminary steps concerning said hearing, shall comply with the applicable procedural due process criteria, (see Board Procedure JCAA). The hearing shall be of an adversary type, thus, legal counsel, cross-examination, and similar variables associated with adversary proceedings shall be included if so desired by the student's parent or guardian (or student himself if 18 or older).
The Superintendent of Schools shall notify, in writing, the parent or guardian of action taken by the Board.
After being expelled from school, a student shall be prohibited from participating in or attending all school-related functions or activities during school hours.
Expulsion of Exceptional Students:
Exceptional students may be expelled from school if an offense is serious enough to warrant such action. It should be noted, however, that such an extreme action will result in a change of placement and the IEP Committee will have to be convened to consider an alternative instructional program.
Legal Ref: The Code of Alabama, 16-1-14; Goss v. Lopez, 95 S. Ct. 729 (1973)
The Code of Alabama can be a dynamic document. Based on its ability to be changed during the year, procedures referencing The Code of Alabama may not be current. The most current code will apply regardless of what the procedure manual indicates.