Student Discipline Code

The Souderton Area School Board believes that responsible student conduct is an essential part of the educational process and that all those involved in the schools — students, parents, teachers, and administrators — desire a learning environment free from disruptive influences.

The Board further believes that a discipline code, established in accord with the school laws of Pennsylvania and guidelines established by the Department of Education, will aid in maintaining that environment.

Finally, the Board believes that a discipline code must be fairly and consistently administered, encourage responsibility and self discipline, differentiate between minor and serious offenses, and provide for responses that are appropriate to the misbehavior.

The Discipline Code which follows organizes student misbehavior into four categories from minor to major, depending upon the effect of the misbehavior on the learning climate of the school and on the health or safety of others in the school.

Level    I.    Minor misbehavior on the part of the student which impedes orderly classroom procedure or interferes with the orderly operation of the school.

Level   II.   Misbehavior whose frequency or seriousness tends to disrupt the learning climate of the school.

Level  III.   Acts, whether on or off school property, including but not limited to attendance at school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities, field trips, transportation to and from school, and the like, directed against persons or property whose conduct does not seriously endanger or pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the school.

Level  IV.   Acts, whether on or off school property, including but not limited to attendance at school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities, field trips, transportation to and from school, and the like, which result in violence to another’s person or property or which pose a direct threat to the safety of others in the school.

The second column presents examples of misbehavior at each level. These examples are not all inclusive but serve to describe the type of misbehavior at a particular level. Acts of misbehavior not listed as examples will be placed in the appropriate category and handled accordingly.

The third column of the Disciplinary Structure contains procedures for handling misbehavior at each level, while the fourth column presents disciplinary responses to the misbehavior by the teachers, principals, or other school authorities. The disciplinary responses, also, are not all inclusive, and it is expected that the maturity of the student, the degree or the severity of the misbehavior, and the facts or circumstances surrounding the misbehavior will all be taken into consideration as the disciplinary response is determined. In some instances of misbehavior, however, disciplinary responses are mandatory because of the seriousness of the offenses.

This Discipline Code will be used in conjunction with existing policies of the Souderton Area School District such as Student Dress, Student Smoking, Drug Use, Interrogations and Investigation, and Suspensions and Expulsions. The provisions of the Discipline Code will be modified, when required by State and Federal Special Education Regulations, for those students who are classified as exceptional.

Discipline Administrative Guidelines

In accordance with the Souderton Area School Board’s concern for maintaining a safe school environment which encourages responsible conduct, the following definition of terms, regulations, and guidelines shall be used by all school district personnel when responding to student discipline related situations.

DEFINITION OF TERMS:

Ammunition — any projectile, along with its fuse and primer, that is fired from a gun or otherwise propelled as well as any chemical or explosive material used for defense or offense such as a rocket, grenade, mine, or the like.

Arson — the crime of maliciously burning a building or property of another, or burning one’s own property for some improper purpose.

Assault — a violent attack and/or unlawful attempt or threat to injure another person physically or verbally.

Expulsion — the exclusion from school by the Board of Education for a period exceeding ten school days and which may be permanent expulsion from the school rolls. All expulsions require a prior formal hearing in accordance with the procedures outlined under Policy #233.

Extortion— the act of obtaining money, information, or property from another by coercion, intimidation, or the threat of future harm. The threat is not limited to physical violence but may include that of ruining a person’s reputation.

False Imprisonment — the unlawful detention or confinement of another. Key to the concept is submission to authority, ­a common practice in hazing.

False Reporting — any seeming crisis signal or warning given that is groundless or lacks authenticity (e.g. a bomb threat, a fire alarm, or 911 call where no bomb, fire, or emergency exists).

Fighting (Level III) — a physical conflict between two or more individuals which is minor in nature and where serious bodily injury has not occurred, a conflict easily resolved by an administrator; (Level IV) - a brawl or physical conflict between two or more individuals where serious bodily injury has occurred and which is deemed appropriate for police intervention.

Fireworks (Level III) — any various combinations of explosives and combustibles used to generate      colored lights, smoke, or noise - those devices legal for sale under the state law; (Level IV) - those devices not legal for sale under the state law.

Forgery — the making, completing, executing, authenticating, issuing, altering, or transferring of any  writing of another without his/her authority,

Gambling — placing a wager or betting money on the outcome of a game, contest, or other event.

Harassment — to disturb or irritate someone with annoyances, insults, taunts, threats, or demands in order to gain a desired end or create worry and/or other mental suffering.

In-School Suspension — removal of a student from the regular school program while providing him/her with planned and supervised instruction in the basic subjects.

Insubordination — a rebellious attitude which implies open defiance or refusal to submit to authority.

Paging/Portable Communication Device — a communication/telecommunications device that emits an audible signal, vibrates, displays a message, or otherwise summons or delivers a communication to the processor.

Propellant — a device used to emit a substance which may or may not be used for self defense including but not limited to mace, pepper spray, and hair spray.

Saturday Detention — a school detention held on Saturday which may be assigned only by an administrator for a Level III or Level IV offense and/or repeated violations of Levels I and II. Hours, procedures, requirements, transportation, etc. are detailed under each school’s behavioral practices.

School — includes the distance a student travels to and from a specific district building within the time parameter of that student’s school responsibilities (e.g. sports, detention, and other school-sponsored activities); school bus; school buildings or surrounding property owned by the school district; and school sponsored events (e.g. athletic events, trips, concerts, dances, meetings, etc.).

School Probation — refer to school probation as defined under Administrative Guidelines in the Drug and Alcohol Policy.

School Property — shall include buildings, facilities, and grounds on the school campus, school buses, school parking areas, and any facility being used for a school function or school sponsored trip.

Search and Seizure — lockers are the property of the school held in trust by the student. When an  administrator suspects that a situation exists or materials are present which could be injurious to the health, safety, and welfare of pupils, he/she has the right and duty to inspect student lockers in accordance with those procedures outlined under Policy #226.

Sexual Harassment — unwanted or uninvited sexually oriented words or actions that hurt or humiliate someone and/or behavior which causes a person to feel uncomfortable or offended. Sexual harassment may be physical, verbal, and/or nonverbal and is illegal in schools and workplaces because it violates federal and state laws.

Smoking — use of tobacco in any form is strictly prohibited in all district buildings and on all school  property twenty-four hours a day as set forth under Policy #222. Offenders will be disciplined in accordance with procedures outlined under each school’s behavioral practices.

Student — any individual enrolled in the Souderton Area School District.

Suspension of Privileges — exclusion of a student for a stipulated period of time from activities which   include but are not limited to extracurricular activities, recess, attendance at school functions such as dances or sporting events as a spectator, use of passes during the school day, attendance at assembly programs, and/or lunch in the cafeteria.

Suspension (Temporary or Full) — the exclusion from school for a period of from one to ten consecutive school days during which time the student is not permitted to participate in any extracurricular activities or be on school property. Prior to a “full suspension”, an informal hearing must be offered to the student and his/her parent or guardian in accordance with informal hearing procedures set forth under Policy #233.

Theft/Shoplifting — the taking and removing of another’s personal property with the intent of permanently depriving the owner.

Truancy — being absent from school without permission from a parent or school official.

Vandalism — the willful or malicious destruction of public or private property which requires restitution of property and damages.

Weapon or Dangerous Instrument — any tool or instrument which is employed to get the better of another and is capable of causing death and/or inflicting serious bodily injury upon a person — this includes but is not limited to any knife, cutting instrument, slingshot, firearm, air gun,  pellet gun, ammunition, nunchuks, metal knuckles, straight razor, explosive, poisonous gas, poison, or any other item, or look-alikes fashioned with the intent to use, harm, threaten, or harass another person.