Bethlehem A to Z heading

Code of Student Conduct

consequences and sanctions

XVII. Consequences and Sanctions
    A. Level I: Any misbehavior that represents an infraction of the established procedures that regulate the operation of the school
    and its educational process is considered a Level I infraction.
        1. Examples of Level I Infractions
            a. Dress code violations;
            b. Failure to complete homework/coursework;
            c. Unprepared for physical education;
            d. Inappropriate behavior in school, including on the bus and during lunch, recess, school assemblies, and other school
            sponsored events or activities;
            e. Swearing/inappropriate language;
            f. Use of unapproved electronic devices (those with no educational purpose) such as radios, CD players, mp3 players, cell
            phones, video games, pagers or laser pointers;
            g. Buying/selling items without prior approval of school district official;
            h. Abuse of student privileges ;
            i. Minor class disruptions;
            j. Failure of student leader (such as not limited to safety patrol, student government representative, athletic team leaders,
            class officer) to exemplify positive student behavior;
            k. Tardiness;
            l. Class cutting/leaving class without permission;
            m. Unexcused absence/truancy;
            n. Cheating/plagiarism;
            o. Insubordination.
    2. Level I Consequences: Building principal or designee may choose one or more of the following consequences.
            a. Loss of privileges (such as, but not limited to, parking, participation in student activities and events);
            b. Counseling;
            c. Detention;
            d. Parent contact/conference;
            e. Verbal reprimand;
            f. Confiscation of electronic devices;
            g. Removal, replacement or covering of item that violates dress code;
            h. Loss of student leadership position;
            i. Internal School Suspension
            j. Restricted Study Hall.
    B. Level II: Any misbehavior whose frequency and/or seriousness disrupts the educational process or poses a threat to the health
    and safety of others is considered a Level II infraction. These infractions may be reported to the NYS Education Department as
    violent and disruptive incidents.
        1. Examples of Level II Infractions
            a. Recurring or serious Level I infractions;
            b. Harassing/bullying/cyberbullying and cyberthreats/menacing;
            c. Physically aggressive behavior;
            d. Cutting detention;
            e. Physical altercation;
            f. Inappropriate use of computer or Internet access;
            g. Vandalism totaling less than $100;
            h. Possession, use, sale or distribution of tobacco products or alcohol ;
            i. Gambling.
        2. Level II Consequences: Building principal or designee may choose one or more of the following consequences.
            a. Continuation of Level I consequences;
            b. In-school suspension;
            c. Suspension from recess;
            d. Suspension from lunch;
            e. Removal from class;
            f. Off-Campus Intervention Program;
            g. External suspension;
            h. Suspension from transportation;
            i. Loss of computer or Internet privileges;
            j. Restitution;
            k. Principal's hearing;
            l. Filing of a Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) Petition.
    C. Level III: Any misbehavior that poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of self or others in school and may require
    police intervention is considered a Level III infraction. These infractions are reported to the NYS Education Department as violent
    and disruptive incidents.
        1. Examples of Level III Infractions
            a. Recurring or serious Level I or II infractions;
            b. Assault resulting in physical injury/serious physical injury;
            c. Vandalism totaling more than $100;
            d. Possession, use or threatened use of a weapon;
            e. Possession, use, sale or distribution of illegal drugs or unauthorized prescription drugs;
            f. Burglary;
            g. Arson;
            h. Bomb threat/false fire alarm/false 911 call;
            i. Homicide;
            j. Sexual offenses (forcible and other);
            k. Robbery;
            l. Kidnapping;
            m. Reckless endangerment;
            n. Larceny;
            o. Rioting;
            p. Possession of fireworks;
            q. Extortion;
            r. Hazing;
            s. Trespassing.
        2. Level III Consequence: Building principal or designee may choose one or more of the following consequences.
            a. Continuation of Level I or II consequences ;
            b. External suspension;
            c. Superintendent's hearing;
            d. Exclusion from school.
    D. Guidelines for Student Suspensions
        1. The Board of Education of the Bethlehem Central School District retains the authority to suspend students but places
        primary responsibility for the suspension of students with the Superintendent and the building Principals.
        2. The Superintendent, Principals, or their designees are assigned responsibility to following the procedures appropriate for
        student suspension as follows:
            a. Keep careful records of all violations of school regulations. This should include names, dates, circumstances, investigation
            and disposition.
            b. Utilize support personnel to find ways of helping the student and/or parents/person(s) in parental relation to solve the
            problem (teachers, guidance, psychologists, social worker, attendance officer, etc.).
            c. Utilize school and community agencies that might prove helpful.
            d. Record all attempts to deal with problems, including conferences with parents/person(s) in parental relation, teacher
            observations, record of referrals to other personnel and agencies and their reports.
            e. When the building principal has exhausted all available alternatives and resources and feels that the student's continued
            presence in school would constitute a threat or danger to himself/herself or other students or that the student is "violent
            and/or disruptive" as defined in accordance with law and Commissioner’s Regulations, the matter should also be referred to
            the superintendent of schools.
            f. Teachers are required to immediately report and refer violent students to the building principal or superintendent for a
            violation of the code of conduct and a minimum suspension period pursuant to Education Law Section 2801. However, the
            suspending authority may reduce such period on a case-by-case basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law.
            g. A "disruptive student" is defined in Education Law as an elementary or secondary student under 21 years of age who is
            substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the
            classroom.
            h. As further enumerated in the Commissioner’s Regulations, “repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational
            process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom” shall mean engaging in conduct that
            results in the removal of the student from the classroom by the teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law and the provisions set
            forth in the code of conduct on four (4) or more occasions during a semester, or three (3) or more occasions during a
            trimester, as applicable.
            i. Pursuant to the code of conduct, a minimum suspension period shall be established for students who repeatedly are
            substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interfere with the teacher’s authority over the
            classroom. However, the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case-by-case basis to be consistent with any
            other state and federal law.
            j. When a student is removed from class by a teacher or has been suspended and is of compulsory attendance age,
            immediate steps shall be taken to provide alternative instruction that is of an equivalent nature to that provided in the
            student's regularly scheduled classes. "Immediate" does not mean instantaneously, but it does mean that the school
            administrator should act promptly, with due regard for the nature and circumstances of the particular case.
                1) Suspension: Five School Days or Less
                    i. Students who bring a weapon to school. Any student, found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property will be
                    subject to suspension from school for at least one calendar year.
                    ii. Before being suspended, the student will have an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214.
                    iii. The superintendent has the authority to modify the penalty. The superintendent may consider the following:
                        1. The student's age;
                        2. The student's grade in school;
                        3. The student's prior disciplinary record;
                        4. The superintendent's belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective;
                        5. Input from parents, teachers and/or others;
                        6. Other extenuating circumstances.
            k. Students who commit violent acts other than bringing a weapon to school.
            l. Any student who is found to have committed a violent act, other than bringing a weapon onto school property, shall be
            subject to suspension from school for at least five days. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the
            student and the student's parents will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all
            students subject to a short-term suspension.
            m. If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student's parents will be given
            the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension.
            n. The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding
            whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year
            suspension for possessing a weapon.
            o. Students who are repeatedly substantially disruptive of the educational process or repeatedly substantially interfere with
            the teacher's authority over the classroom.
            p. Any student who repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the
            teacher's authority over the classroom, will be suspended from school for at least three days.
                1) For purposes of this code of conduct, "repeatedly is substantially disruptive" means engaging in conduct that results in
                the student being removed from the classroom by teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law 3214 (3-a) and this code on four
                or more occasions during a semester, or three or more occasions during a trimester.
            q. The student and the student's parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to
            all students subject to a short-term suspension.
                1) If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student's parent will be given
                the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students and subject to a long-term suspension.
                2) The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether
                to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension
                for possessing a weapon.
            r. When a student may be suspended from school for a period of five (5) school days or less, the suspending authority shall
            immediately provide the student with notice of the charged misconduct. If the student denies the misconduct, the
            suspending authority shall provide an explanation of the basis for the proposed suspension.
                1) Administration shall also immediately notify the legal guardians in writing that the student may be suspended from
                school.
                2) Written notice shall be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or equivalent means reasonably calculated
                to assure receipt of such notice within 24 hours of the decision to propose suspension at the last known address of
                addresses of the parents/persons in parental relation.
                3) Where possible, notification shall also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone
                number(s) for the purpose of contacting parents/or legal guardians.
                4) Such notice shall provide a description of the charges for which suspension is proposed and shall inform the student
                and the parent/legal guardian of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the building principal that
                will include the right of the student to confront complaining witness(es) in accordance with the provisions of Education
                Law 3214(3)(b).
                5) Both the notice and the informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the
                parent/legal guardian. The notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place before the student is
                suspended unless the student's presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing
                threat of disruption to the academic process.
                6) If the student's presence does pose such a danger or threat of disruption, the notice and opportunity for an informal
                hearing shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably practicable.
                7) After the hearing, the principal shall advise the parents that if they are not satisfied with the decision and wish to
                pursue the matter, they must file a written appeal to the superintendent within five business days, unless they can show
                extraordinary circumstances preventing them from doing so.
                8) The superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within 10 business days of receiving the appeal.
                If the parents are not satisfied with the superintendent’s decision, they must file a written appeal to the Board of
                Education via the district clerk within 10 business days of the date of the superintendent's decision, unless they can
                show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so.
                9) Only final decision of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision. Written appeals
                must be addressed/delivered to:
                President, Board of Education
                Bethlehem Central School District
                District Offices
                Delmar, New York 12054
        3. Suspension: More than five school days
            a. When the superintendent determines that a suspension for more than five days may be warranted, he or she shall give
            reasonable notice to the student and the student’s parents of their right to a fair hearing. At the hearing the student shall
            have the right to be represented by counsel, the right to question witnesses against him or her and the right to present
            witnesses and other evidence on his or her behalf.
            b. The superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his or her discretion, designate a
            hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas
            in conjunction with the proceeding before him or her.
            c. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required. A tape recording shall be
            deemed a satisfactory record.
            d. The hearing officer shall make findings of fact and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the
            superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the superintendent may accept all or any part
            thereof.
            e. An appeal of the decision of the superintendent may be made to the Board of Education which will make its decision
            based solely upon the record before it. All appeals to the Board must be in writing and submitted to the district clerk
            within 10 business days of the date of the superintendent’s decision, unless the parents can show that extraordinary
            circumstances precluded them from doing so. The Board may adopt, in whole or part, the decision of the superintendent.
            Final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision.
            f. Where the basis for a suspension is, in whole or in part, the possession on school grounds or school property by the
            student of any firearm, rifle, shotgun, dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, or any of the weapons, instruments or
            appliances specified in Penal Law 265.01, the hearing officer or the superintendent shall not be barred from considering
            the admissibility of such weapon, instrument or appliance as evidence, notwithstanding a determination by a court in a
            criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding that the recovery of such weapon, instrument or appliance was the result of an
            unlawful search or seizure.
            g. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required and a tape recording shall
            be deemed a satisfactory record. When a student has been suspended and is of compulsory attendance age, immediate
            steps shall be taken to provide alternative instruction that is of an equivalent nature to that provided in the student’s
            regularly scheduled classes. Although the alternative instruction need not match in every respect the instructional program
            previously offered to the student, it must be adequate enough so that the student may complete his/her course work.
            h. In the case of a potential long term suspension and/or disciplinary change in educational placement of a student
            classified as having a disability or a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes as defined pursuant to law
            and regulation, a referral to the District Committee on Special Education will be made to determine if the behavior giving
            rise to the suspension is directly related to the disability. Suspension and/or disciplinary change in educational placement
            of students with disabilities and students presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes shall be in accordance with
            federal and state law and due process requirements.
        4. Referral to Juvenile Justice System
            a. PINS Petitions: The district may file a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition in Family Court on any student under
            the age of 18 who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:
                1) Being habitually truant and not attending school as required by part one of Article 65 of the Education Law.
                2) Engaging in an ongoing or continual course of conduct that makes the student ungovernable, or habitually disobedient
                and beyond the lawful control of the school.
                3) Knowingly and unlawfully possesses controlled substances in violation of penal Law 221.05. A single violation of 221.05
                will be a sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition.
                4) Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Offenders:
                The superintendent is required to refer the following students to the County Attorney for a juvenile delinquency
                proceeding before the Family Court:
                    i. Any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school; or
                    ii. Any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status under the Criminal Procedure Law 1.20
                    (42).
                    iii. The superintendent is required to refer students age 16 and older or any student 14 or 15 years old who qualify for
                    juvenile offender status to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

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