Schools must be places where effective learning can occur. Schools must maintain standards of conduct and discipline because students and school personnel have a right to a safe and orderly learning environment. Therefore, students are prohibited from engaging in behaviors which are illegal, life or health threatening, or which impede the orderly operation of the classroom or school. Prompt and effective disciplinary action must be taken to correct these behaviors.
Fairness requires that all students be treated in a consistent, objective, and non-discriminatory manner. However, the student's grade, maturity, performance in school, and his/her contrition, as well as the gravity of the offense, prior infractions, deterrence, protection of the school community, effectiveness of prior disciplinary intervention strategies, etc., may be factors that are considered that could warrant the use of a certain option including the penalty for a particular offense. Depending upon the above referenced factors and other factors, the minimum penalties for certain offenses set forth in this plan may be exceeded.
THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENTS AND PARENTS
Students and parents have rights that schools must observe, but they must also understand that personal responsibilities accompany individual rights. Furthermore, the rights of students must be viewed in relationship to the safety and welfare of the majority of students in the schools. Above all, schools must maintain adequate discipline to conduct a quality educational program.
STUDENT AND PARENT RIGHTS
- The Right to an Education: Every citizen in the State of Wisconsin has a right to a free, public education, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.
- The Right to Due Process of Law: A student has the right to due process whenever disciplinary actions that deny the right to an education are imposed. These disciplinary actions are suspension or expulsion. Due process in a suspension case includes an explanation to the student of the reason for the suspension and the opportunity for the student to respond. Written notice to the parent or guardian of the suspension and the reason therefor will follow. Procedural due process, in cases of expulsion, includes a notice of charges, a hearing, and an opportunity to challenge or otherwise explain conduct.
- The Right to Free Speech and Expression: All citizens are guaranteed self-expression by the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
- The Right to Privacy - Property of Students: Students shall have privacy of personal possessions unless appropriate school personnel have reasonable cause to believe a student possesses any object or material which is or could be disruptive or are prohibited by law or school policy. Guarantees of freedom from search and seizure of property are not unlimited, but must be balanced by the responsibility of the school to protect the safety and welfare of students. Lockers are the property of the school system on temporary loan and the principal may inspect student lockers per Board of Education policy 4132.
- The Right Not to be Discriminated Against: Students shall have the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of the students’ sex, race, religion, origin, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or physical, mental or learning disability. If a student or his/her parents feel that the student has been treated in a discriminatory manner, the student or his/her parents can contact the District’s Affirmative Action Officer to file a complaint or take other action.
[NOTE: The City of Madison defines gender expression in Madison City Ordinance Sec. 3.23 (2)(t) as follows:
Gender Identity is the actual or perceived condition, status or acts of 1) identifying emotionally or psychologically with the sex other than one’s biological or legal sex at birth, whether or not there has been a physical change of the organs of sex; 2) presenting and/or holding oneself out to the public as a member of the biological sex that was not one’s biological or legal sex at birth;
This means that gender identity refers to an individual’s fundamental sense of themselves as being male or female, masculine or feminine. Gender identity does not always correspond to biological sex.
The City of Madison’s Ordinance Sec. 3.23 (2)(t) continues its definition of gender identity with an explanation of what is referred to as gender expression.
3) lawfully displaying physical characteristics and/or behavioral characteristics and/or expressions which are widely perceived as being more appropriate to the biological or legal sex that was not one’s biological or legal sex at birth, as when a male is perceived as feminine or a female is perceived as masculine; and/or 4) being physically and/or behaviorally androgynous.
This means that gender expression refers to the things like clothing and behavior that manifest a person’s fundamental sense of themselves as masculine or feminine, and male or female. This can include but not be limited to dress, posture, hairstyle, jewelry, and vocal inflection.]
It should be noted that, depending upon the nature of the offense, the police may be involved. An example of certain offenses for which the police may be involved include possession of a firearm, physical attacks, sexual assaults, bomb threats, arson, etc.
Students also have certain responsibilities, both as citizens and as members of the school community. These responsibilities are present whether the student is in the school building or traveling to or from school via transportation provided by the school system. In order to guarantee these rights, each person must assume responsibility for his or her own behavior and refrain from infringing upon the rights of others.
- Active Participation: Students have the responsibility of actively engaging in the serious business of learning. For example, they must attend school regularly and be on time. They must remain in class until excused, pay attention to instructions, complete assignments to the best of their ability, and exert every effort to achieve mastery of the lessons.
- Obedience to Laws and Rules: The laws of society and school rules have been created to guarantee every person's rights. Students must assume personal responsibility for obedience to these laws and rules.
- Responsible Exercise of Free Speech and Expression: While students have rights according to the First Amendment to express themselves they should express opinions in a manner which is not offensive, illegal, obscene, or inconsistent with the educational goals of the school. The rights of others should be respected, and there can be no interference with the orderly educational process.
- Avoidance of Illegal or Dangerous Items: Students must not bring materials or objects to school or to school activities that are or could be disruptive or are prohibited by law or school policy. All non-essential educationally related items that are brought to school by students shall be stored in the students' lockers throughout the school day.
- Support school officials in their efforts to develop and maintain well-disciplined schools
- Teach the child socially acceptable standards of behavior
- Teach the child to have respect for law, authority, and the rights and property of others
- Teach the child to be accountable for his/her own actions and help the child to grow and develop into a self-controlled, self-disciplined citizen
- Share the responsibility for student conduct with the school
- Maintain an active interest in the student's school work and activities
- Advocate for quality education for the child
- Require prompt and regular attendance at school
Removing a Student from Class: A teacher may remove a student from the classroom/class for conduct or behavior which (a) violates the Classroom Code of Conduct or Student Conduct and Discipline Plan; (b) violates the behavioral rules and expectations set forth in the Student Handbook of the respective school; (c) is disruptive, dangerous or unruly; (d) otherwise interferes with the ability of the teacher to teach effectively; or (e) is incompatible with effective teaching and learning in the class.
- Maintain an appropriate educational environment for the class as a whole: Teachers have the responsibility to communicate behavior and academic expectations as clearly as possible
- Be familiar with the IEP of any student in his/her classroom
- Intervene in minor disruptions while maintaining classroom supervision by interventions such as:
- talking to the student
- communicating with parents/guardians
- referral to an appropriate support services staff person for assessment or intervention
- sending a formal report of needed improvement to parents/guardians
- withholding privileges
- peer separation
- Follow Procedures for Temporary Removal of a Student From the Classroom
- Warn a student that continued misbehavior might lead to temporary removal from class, except where the behavior is extreme, then an immediate response is required
- If determined that short-term removal is appropriate:
- instruct the student to go to the principal or other designated staff for the period of removal with a call or a note of explanation, or
- obtain coverage for the class and escort the student to the main office, or
- seek assistance from other available staff and
- within twenty-four hours of the removal, ensure that the parent has been notified and submit to the building principal or designee a short and concise written explanation of the basis for the removal
- Procedures for Long-Term Removal of a Student From the Classroom
After the teacher has removed the child from the class for the short-term and when the teacher believes that long-term removal is necessary, notify the building administrator in writing of:
- a record of teacher interventions and parent/guardian contacts
- the basis for the removal recommendation
- the alternatives, approaches and other steps considered or taken to avoid the need for removal
- the impact, positive and negative on the removed student
- the impact, positive and negative on the rest of the class
- Follow Procedures for Short-Term Removal of a Student from the Classroom
- When the student arrives at the main office, give the student an opportunity to briefly explain the situation
- Within 24 hours of the removal, ensure that a good faith effort has been made to inform the student’s parents by phone or in person that the student was removed from class; ensure that written notice of the incident which occurred is provided to parents within 72 hours specifying:
- the class from which the student was removed
- the duration of the removal
- the basis for the removal as stated by the teacher and any consequences that were imposed
- Ensure that the student is supervised during the short-term removal
- Refer, if appropriate, to a support services staff person for assessment or intervention
- Speak to the student, prior to allowing him/her to resume his/her normal schedule, to determine whether the student is or appears to be ready and able to return to class
- Follow Procedures for Long-Term Removal of a Student from the Classroom
- Consult with the teacher making the recommendation
- Inform the student’s parents of the request and make a decision within the requisite laws (such as IDEA) and MMSD policies to:
- return the student to the class, or
- place the student in another instructional setting, or
- place the student in another class in the school, or
- recommend to the appropriate Assistant Superintendent placement of the student in an MMSD alternative education program (final placement will be determined by the Assistant Superintendent for Alternative Programs)
- Meet with the parents within three business days of the long-term removal request and inform the parents and/or student:
- the basis for the removal
- the alternatives considered
- the basis for any decision
- Inform referring teacher of outcome
- Notify staff, students and parents of the Code of Conduct including both the I. Classroom Code of Conduct and II. The Student Conduct and Discipline Plan
- Annually meet with staff to arrive at a consensus regarding the implementation and application of this plan
- Annually publish this plan in the student Handbook and on the MMSD web site
- Provide a written brochure
Class / Classroom
A class is any class, immediate area around a classroom door, meeting, or activity, which students attend, or any educational/school environment in which they participate under the control or direction of a school district employee/teacher.
A person holding a license or permit issued by the state superintendent whose employment by a school district requires that he or she hold that license or permit.
Removal from class for greater than one day. (Student may also be suspended from the school environment)
The act by the teacher of separating the student from the instructional provider to another supervised environment within the school setting for violation of the Code of Conduct.
Removal from class for one day or less to another supervised area within the school setting.