509 – Student Behavior and Discipline
509.1 General Statement. The Board of Directors believes that there is a minimum standard of conduct which must be expected of students to maintain a favorable environment for learning. The Board also believes that students must assume the consequences for failing to meet the minimum standards of good conduct. It is the policy of the Board of Directors of the Urbandale Community School District to expect and require responsible behavior of all students in their dealings with school staff members, other students and visitors in the schools. District staff members, parents and students are charged with the responsibility to cooperate in developing mature, responsible individuals capable of self-control.
509.2 Goals. The goal of the District is to ensure the right of all students to a safe and productive educational environment in which they may learn the skills and attitudes necessary to develop and to mature as responsible adults accountable for their own actions. The school environment should encourage academic, social and emotional maturation and should promote the dignity and worth of each student.
509.3 Students’ Rights. Students shall be accorded basic rights, including the right to freedom of expression, so long as it does not disrupt the school environment or infringe on the rights of others. Students have the right to be treated fairly and courteously and to expect personal information to be treated confidentially.
509.4 Scope of School Rules. Rules relating to student behavior and discipline shall apply to all students while they are on school premises or vehicles, while they are participating in or attending District events and activities, and while they are away from school if their conduct directly affects the good order and management of the District.
509.5 Expected Behavior. Students are expected to conduct themselves taking into account the rights and welfare of others. Students are expected to: a) have regular and responsible attendance; b) respect the rights and property of others; c) abide by all federal, state and local laws and the rules, regulations and directives of the District; d) be courteous and respectful to others; e) refrain from possessing, using, being under the influence of or distributing tobacco products, beer, wine, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances not validly prescribed, and substances which are look-alikes for such products; and (f) refrain from possessing, using or distributing guns, knives, weapons, incendiary devices, other dangerous objects and items which are look-alikes for such objects.
509.6 Rules and Regulations. The administration, with input from parents, staff, students and community members shall adopt and implement rules and regulations to implement this policy. The rules and regulations shall be communicated annually to staff, students and parents.
509.7 Disciplinary Sanctions. The Board of Directors authorizes the following types of sanctions for breach of District policies, rules, regulations and directives:
- Denial or withdrawal of privileges. This sanction may be imposed by licensed staff members. Classified staff members may deny or withdraw privileges while students are under their supervision.
- Ineligibility for participation in co-curricular activities. This sanction may be imposed by the administration.
- Temporary Removal. Temporary removal from class and review of expected behavior with the student may be imposed by licensed staff members.
- Probation. Conditional attendance may be imposed by the administration during a trial period while other disciplinary sanctions are suspended. Breaches of conduct during the probationary period will result in further discipline.
- Detention. Licensed staff members may impose detentions, which are a requirement that a student remain after school or come to school early. The student shall be required to do school work during a detention period.
- Alternate Education Setting (In-School). The administration may temporarily remove a student from one or more classes while under supervision. The student shall be required to do school work and shall be ineligible to participate in all school competitions during the period of placement in the alternate setting.
- Out-of-School Suspension. The administration may impose out-of-school suspensions for up to 10 consecutive school days. The Board of Directors may impose out-of-school suspensions for periods of time in excess of 10 consecutive school days. During an out-of-school suspension, the student is excluded from school and from participating in all school activities for a designated period of time. Out-of-school suspensions shall be used only for serious or repeated violations of school rules. Students shall remain enrolled in the District and shall be given an opportunity to complete course work with credit during the period of suspension.
- Removal from class. The administration may remove a student from a class with loss of credit for the class for the balance of a semester for serious offenses or when other sanctions have failed to improve the student’s conduct.
- Expulsion. Only the Board shall have authority to expel a student, and the student may be readmitted only by the Board of Directors or in the manner prescribed by the Board of Directors. During an expulsion, the student is excluded from school and from participating in or attending all school activities for a period of time set by the Board, which may be for longer than the balance of a school year. Expulsions will be used only for unusually serious misconduct or after other sanctions have failed to improve the student’s conduct. A student who is expelled may be offered alternative educational opportunities. A student who is eligible for special education shall continue to receive a free appropriate public education.
- Referral to other agencies. The administration shall determine whether a matter shall be referred to other agencies. In particular, possession or use of weapons and the use or possession of alcoholic liquor, wine, beer, or any controlled substance on school property shall be reported to local law enforcement officials.
- Restitution. The student may be required to make restitution for damaged, lost, or destroyed property.
The type and duration of the sanction shall be determined by giving consideration to the age of the student, the seriousness of the offense, extenuating circumstances, and the student’s prior disciplinary record.
509.7A Assaults Against Employees. A student who commits an assault against an employee shall be suspended by the principal, and may be recommended for expulsion. The District shall adhere to requirements of federal and state law for students requiring special education. The principal shall determine whether the suspension shall be an in-school alternate education setting or an out-of-school suspension based upon consideration of the student’s age, seriousness of the assault, extenuating circumstances, and the student’s prior disciplinary record. Notice of the suspension shall be provided to the Superintendent and to the Board President. The Board of Directors shall review the suspension to determine whether to hold a disciplinary hearing to determine whether or not to impose further sanctions against the student, which may include expulsion.
“Assault” for purposes of this section includes:
- an act which is intended to cause pain or injury to, or which is intended to result in physical contact which will be insulting or offensive to another, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act; or
- any act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, insulting or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act; or
- intentionally pointing any firearm toward another or displaying in a threatening manner any dangerous weapon toward another.
The Urbandale Community School District will not permit or tolerate the possession, display, or use of weapons and/or other dangerous objects by any person on school premises or vehicles, while the person is participating in or attending District events and activities, or while the person is away from school grounds if such conduct directly affects the good order and management of the District. Students who violate this policy may be subject to expulsion and/or other disciplinary action. Weapons shall be taken from students and others who bring them onto school premises, vehicles or to school activities. Items which may be illegal to possess shall be turned over to proper authorities. Violations of this policy will be reported to law enforcement agencies as required by law. Weapons under the control of law enforcement officials shall be exempt from this policy. The principal may allow authorized persons to display weapons for educational purposes on a limited basis and may allow the Iowa National Guard, United States reserve forces or training corps to perform honor guard services on school grounds.
Any object which could be used to injure another person and which has no school-related purpose will be considered a weapon. An object which has a school-related purpose but which is used to threaten or inflict injury will also be considered a weapon. Weapons include, but are not limited to, knives of all types, guns, firearms, metal pipes, chains, numchucks, throwing stars, metal knuckles, blackjacks, fireworks, explosives or other chemicals, simulated weapons, including toys that can reasonably be mistaken for a weapon.
Students may be subject to expulsion for violating this prohibition against weapons. The administration may impose a lesser sanction if in its judgment all of the circumstances surrounding the incident warrant a less severe sanction. The following serve as guidelines for the administration when weapons which are not firearms are involved.
- Suspension for three to five days for possession of a weapon.
- Suspension for five to ten days for display of a weapon.
- Suspension with recommendation to the Board for a suspension in excess of ten days or for expulsion for displaying a weapon in a threatening manner or for use of a weapon to inflict harm or injury to another person or for placing others in imminent danger.
Middle and High School Students:
- Suspension for at least five days for possession of a weapon.
- Suspension for ten days for display of a weapon.
- Suspension with recommendation to the Board for a suspension in excess of ten days or for expulsion for display of a weapon in a threatening manner or for use of a weapon to inflict harm or injury to another person or for placing others in imminent danger.
Any student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school will be expelled from school for a period of not less than one calendar year. The Superintendent shall have the authority to recommend this expulsion requirement be modified for a student on a case-by-case basis. For purposes of this policy, the term “firearm” is as defined by federal law and includes any weapon which is designed or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, a muffler or silencer for such a weapon, or any explosive, incendiary device, or poison gas.
509.8 Corporal Punishment Prohibited. Corporal punishment is prohibited in the District. Corporal punishment is defined as the intentional physical punishment of a student. It includes the use of unreasonable or unnecessary physical force, or physical contact made with the intent to harm or cause pain. It includes such actions as shoving, pinching, spanking, paddling or slapping a student.
509.9 Reasonable Physical Force and Confinement. School personnel may exercise reasonable and necessary physical force, not designed or intended to cause pain, to quell a disturbance or to prevent an act that threatens physical harm to any persons, to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object within a student’s control, for the purposes of self-defense or defense of others, to protect property, or to remove a disruptive student from class, from school premises or from school-sponsored activities, to prevent the student from the self-infliction of harm, and to protect the safety of others. Reasonable force is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss. If an employee uses physical restraint, the employee shall not obstruct the airway of any child nor shall the employee use any prone restraints (those in which the student is held face down to the floor) unless otherwise allowed by Iowa law. Employees who find themselves involved in the use of a prone restraint as the result of responding to an emergency must take immediate action to end the prone restraint. In determining the reasonableness of the force used, the following factors shall be considered:
- The nature of the student’s behavior or misconduct provoking the use of physical force.
- The size and physical, mental and psychological condition of the student.
- The instrumentality used in applying the physical force.
- The motivation of the employee using physical force.
- The extent and nature of injury to the student, if any, resulting from the contact.
Incidental, minor and reasonable physical contact may be used to maintain order and control.
School personnel may physically confine or detain a student in a time-out room or some other enclosure, whether within or outside the classroom, from which the student’s egress is restricted provided the area is approved by the administration in conformity with Iowa laws and regulations, reasonable break periods are afforded the student to attend to bodily needs, and the period of detention and confinement is reasonable, considering the age, size and physical and mental condition of the student, adequate and continuous adult supervision is provided, and material restraints are not applied to the student. The safety of the student shall be observed at all times. If a period of physical confinement or detention exceeds the shorter of 60 minutes or a typical class period, staff members shall evaluate the continued need for physical confinement and detention and shall obtain administrator approval for any continued confinement and detention. If a student is physically restrained or confined, it shall be reported to the principal, the District shall maintain documentation for each occurrence, and the District shall attempt to notify the student’s parent or guardian on the same day and shall provide written documentation to the parent or guardian.
509.10 Procedures for Suspensions. An administrator may impose an in-school alternate education setting or out-of-school suspension for a period of time not to exceed ten (10) consecutive school days. The student shall be told orally and/or in writing of the charges against the student. If the student denies the charges, the student shall be given an opportunity to explain his/her side of the story and shall be given an explanation of the evidence against the student. If the administrator finds it advisable, the student may be allowed to confront witnesses against the student and/or call witnesses on behalf of the student; however, the administrator shall not be obligated to compel persons to give statements.
There need be no delay between the time of notice of the charges and the student’s opportunity to respond. The notice to the student and the informal hearing must generally precede the imposition of the suspension. However, students whose presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting school may be immediately removed from school with the above procedures to be followed as soon as practicable.
A written notice of the suspension shall be mailed or personally delivered to the student’s parent or guardian no later than the end of the school day following suspension.
If a student who requires special education has been suspended for more than ten (10) days on a cumulative basis in one school year, the student shall be provided alternative programming. The administration shall comply with requirements of law relating to suspensions of students requiring special education.
509.11 Procedures for Long-Term Suspensions and Expulsions. The Board of Directors, following a recommendation of the Superintendent, building principal or associate principal, may suspend a student for a period of time to be determined by the Board (not to exceed the balance of the school year) or may expel a student from school. Written notice of the charges prompting the administrative recommendation and notice of the District policy, rule or regulation alleged to have been violated or a statement that the recommendation is for repeated violations of District rules shall be mailed or delivered personally to the parent or guardian and to the President of the Board. The notice shall also give the time and place for a hearing before the Board of Directors. The hearing shall be scheduled for a time within ten (10) school days after the sooner of the notice being mailed or delivered or the student being removed from school.
The hearing shall be before a majority of the members of the Board. The student may be accompanied to the hearing or be represented by parents, guardians, legal counselor or other representative. The administration and/or the Board may also be advised by legal counsel or other representatives of their choice.
The hearing shall follow the outline as set out below as nearly as possible:
- The administration shall present evidence in support of the recommendation. The student or the student’s representative shall have the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses called by the administration.
- The student or the student’s representative may present evidence to refute the recommendation. The administration shall have the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses called by the student or the student’s representative.
- The parties may present rebuttal evidence.
- The administration may make a brief closing statement.
- The student or the student’s representative may make a brief closing statement.
The hearing shall be administrative in nature and shall not be governed by formal rules of evidence or procedure. The Board of Directors shall not be required to compel the attendance of witnesses to give testimony at the hearing. If any participant at the hearing conducts himself/herself in a disruptive manner, the Board may exclude the participant and proceed with the hearing.
The hearing shall be in closed session of the Board of Directors unless an open session is requested by the student or the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor. In the event an open session is requested, it shall be deemed a waiver of confidentiality of any information regarding the student used at the hearing.
If the student or his/her representative fails to appear at the hearing, or if the student desires to make no response, the administration shall nevertheless submit evidence in support of the recommendation.
Minutes and an audio recording shall be made of the hearing.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall meet in executive session to consider all relevant evidence introduced at the hearing and arrive at a decision. The Board shall then meet in open session and by roll call vote entered in the minutes, make a decision on the merits. The Board may adopt, modify, or deny the administration’s recommendation. Written findings of fact and conclusions of law shall be sent to or personally delivered to the parent or guardian or student or his/her representative within ten (10) days of the decision.
At the time of suspension or expulsion, the Board may determine whether the student should have access to alternative programs or whether the student should be excluded from all programs of the District.
A student may be readmitted to school following a suspension or expulsion by the Board of Directors only upon action by the Board of Directors or in the manner prescribed by the Board of Directors.
A student or parent has the right to appeal the Board’s decision as provided in Chapter 290 of the Code of Iowa.
If the student has been identified as a child requiring special education, the Board shall first comply with requirements of law relating to suspensions and expulsions of students requiring special education. In such cases, the IEP team shall first meet to determine if the behavior was a manifestation of the disability. The IEP team shall also determine the alternative program for a student receiving special education who is suspended or expelled for over ten (10) consecutive school days.
509.12 Transportation Privileges. In order to provide safe and efficient transportation for all students riding in school vehicles, students must conduct themselves in a responsible manner at all times. Students shall not obstruct the aisles or doors, harass the driver or other passengers, move about the vehicle, push or shove while entering or exiting, or engage in any other misconduct prohibited by District rules or rules of the driver. The administration shall adopt rules and regulations relating to conduct on school vehicles and disciplinary procedures for misconduct on school vehicles. If the administration suspends bus privileges for up to ten (10) consecutive school days, the procedures of Section 509.10 shall apply. The procedures of Section 509.11 shall apply to suspensions in excess of ten (10) consecutive school days.
509.13 Child Care Program. The administration shall adopt rules and regulations relating to conduct of students participating in child care programs sponsored by the District. The privilege of participating in child care programs may be withdrawn by the administration for breach of these rules and regulations. The procedures of Section 509.10 shall apply to withdrawal of privileges, including withdrawal for more than 10 days.
509.14 Appeals. Appeals of disciplinary actions may be taken by using the Student Complaint procedures set forth in Policies 536 and 229. The appeal shall not stay the operation of the punishment while the appeal is pending.
Date of Revision: March 26, 2018
Legal References: 20 U.S.C. §1415, §3351; 123.47B, Chapters 124 and 124A, 256B.6, 279.8, 279.8A, 279.9, 279.9A, 279.9B, 279.49, 279.58, 280.3, 280.8, 280.9B, 280.14, 280.17A, 280.17B, 280.21, 280.21B, 280.22, 280.24, 280.25, 280.26, 282.3, 282.4, 282.5, 285.10, Chapter 287, 299.1, 299.1A, 299.1B, 299.8, 299.9, 708.1, 724.4A, 724.4B, Code of Iowa; 281 I.A.C. Chapter 6, 12.3(8), 12.5(13), 36.14(4), 36.15(1), 41.12(2), 41.15(1), 43.40, 43.43(6), Chapter 36.15(1), 41.12(2), 41.15(1), 43.40, 43.43(6), Chapter 102, Chapter 103
URBANDALE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS