Administrative Rules and Procedures to Implement Policy 504.02

ELKHORN PUBLIC SCHOOLS DISCIPLINE CODE

I. GUIDELINES

The following rules and regulations are designed to establish order and to protect all members of the educational community in the exercise of their rights and responsibilities on school grounds or during an educational event or function off the school grounds. These statements are outlined for uniform understanding of the practices and procedures used in the Elkhorn Public Schools.

A. The Superintendent of Schools delegates the responsibility for maintaining discipline in the schools and the administration of appropriate corrective measures to building principals (designees) within the guidelines of Board Policy, Administration Regulation, and the Laws and Constitution of the State of Nebraska and the United States. All administrators, teachers and support staff members have the authority and responsibility to supervise or discipline at all times during the school day, in school vehicles or at activities in which the school is participating.

B. Areas of Prohibited Student Conduct — Any conduct which causes or which creates a reasonable likelihood that it will cause a substantial disruption in or material interference with any school function, activity or purpose, or that interferes or creates a reasonable likelihood that it will interfere with the health, safety or well-being, or the rights of themselves or others is prohibited.

C. The sanctions and enforcement of Elkhorn Public Schools rules and standards shall be based on Nebraska Statutes, The Student Discipline Act, Neb. Rev. Statute 79-4.171 (as amended) and Federal Gun-Free Schools Act. Administrative and teaching personnel may take other disciplinary actions regarding student behavior when deemed reasonably necessary to aid the student, further school purposes, or to prevent interference with the educational process, which may include but are not limited to, counseling, parent conferences, rearrangement of schedules, requirements that a student remain in school after regular hours to do additional work, detentions, restriction of extracurricular activity, or requirements that a student receive counseling, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension and expulsion.

II. STUDENT CONDUCT STANDARDS

A. GENERAL

1. Students shall not engage in or participate in any conduct which interferes with or prevents the accomplishment of the educational or related programs of the District.

2. Students shall obey and comply with the instructions and directives received from teachers, support staff, counselors or any administrators. If a student fails to obey or comply with the instructions and directives received, the student shall be deemed to be insubordinate and subject to disciplinary action.

3. Students shall not, either in the school building or during any school activity, throw any object or otherwise cause an object to strike another student. Any student violating this rule shall be subject to disciplinary action.

4. Students shall be present in classes at the times and at the places established by their class schedules or as otherwise directed by their teacher or school administrator.

5. Students shall receive a pass from a teacher when it becomes necessary to leave the classroom while classes are in session.

6. Students at all times shall have and demonstrate respect and obedience for teachers, support staff and administrators. Any act of disrespect or disrespectful back talk or conduct shall be a violation of this rule and shall be grounds for disciplinary action.

7. No betting, participation in games of chance, or other gambling activity will be permitted at any time in the school buildings, on school grounds, in school buses or at any school related activities, either on or outside of District property. Violation of this rule shall result in disciplinary action.

B. BUS/VAN TRANSPORTATION

1. Students shall obey the instructions of the bus/van driver. If a teacher, teacher assistant or administrator is a passenger on the bus, students shall also obey and comply with the instructions of the teacher, teacher assistant or administrator.

2. Students shall not fight, assault, strike or threaten any other persons on the bus/van.

3.  Students shall strictly observe the District Handbook Rules with regard to the use, possession and distribution of drugs, alcohol, nicotine, tobacco or vapor products such as e-cigarettes when either using or awaiting to use bus/van transportation provided by the District.

4. Students shall not conduct themselves on the bus/van or while waiting for the bus/van in any manner which endangers their own safety or the safety of the other passengers or the driver or other vehicles.

C. PROHIBITED STUDENT CONDUCT – GENERAL

The following shall constitute grounds for a short-term suspension, long-term suspension, expulsion, mandatory reassignment, or other disciplinary action, subject to the procedural provisions of Nebraska State Law when such activity occurs on school grounds, in a school owned or utilized vehicle, or during an educational function or event off school grounds, or at a school sponsored activity or athletic event.

1. Use of violence, force, coercion, threat, intimidation, or similar conduct in a manner that constitutes a substantial interference with school purposes;

2. Willfully causing or attempting to cause substantial damage to property, stealing or attempting to steal property of substantial value, or repeated damage or theft involving property of small value;

3. Causing or attempting to cause personal injury to a school employee, volunteer or to any student. Personal injury caused by accident, self-defense, or other action undertaken on the reasonable belief that it was necessary to protect some other person shall not constitute a violation of this subdivision;

4. Threatening or intimidating any student for the purpose of, or with the intent of, obtaining money or anything of value from such student;

5. Knowingly possessing, handling or transmitting any object or material that is ordinarily or generally considered a weapon;

6. Engaging in the unlawful possession, selling, dispensing or use, or being under the influence of, a controlled substance, inhalant or alcoholic liquor, or possession of drug paraphernalia;

7. Engaging in the selling, using, possessing or dispensing of an imitation controlled substance or material represented to be an alcoholic beverage, narcotic, drug, controlled substance or inhalant;

8. Truancy or failure to attend assigned classes or assigned activities;

9. Tardiness to school, assigned classes or assigned activities;

10. The use of language, written or oral, or conduct, including gestures, which is profane or abusive to students or staff members. Profane or abusive language or conduct includes, but is not limited to, that which is commonly understood and intended to be derogatory toward a group or individual based upon race, gender, national origin or religion;

11. Public indecency as defined in Nebraska statutes, except that this rule shall apply only to students at least 12 years of age;

12. Sexual harassment of any person;

13. Sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault any person if a complaint has been filed by a prosecutor in a court of competent jurisdiction alleging that the student has sexually assaulted or attempted to sexually assault any person, including sexual assault or attempted sexual assault which occur off school grounds not at an education function or event. For purposes of this rule, sexual assault shall mean sexual assault in the first or second degree or sexual assault of a child in the first, second, or third degree, as such crimes are defined in the statutes referenced in section 79-267;

14. Dressing in a manner wherein such dress is dangerous to the student’s health and safety or to the health and safety of others, or is distractive, indecent, lewd or vulgar, or which otherwise interferes with the educational process and the learning and teaching environment;

15. Violating any established behavioral expectations for students riding in school buses or vans or violating any other behavioral expectations established by school district staff;

16. Engaging in any other activity forbidden by the laws of the State of Nebraska which activity constitutes a danger to other students or interferes with school purposes; or

17. A repeated violation of any validly established rules if such violations constitute a substantial interference with school purposes.

D. DRUGS, TOBACCO, ALCOHOL

The use of illicit drugs and the unlawful possession or use of alcohol or tobacco by students is wrong and harmful. The Elkhorn Public Schools has established the following standards of conduct for students that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs, alcohol, nicotine, tobacco or vapor products such as e-cigarettes on school premises or property or as a part of any activities of any school in the Elkhorn Public Schools.  Compliance with the following standards of conduct is mandatory and sanctions up to and including expulsion and referral for prosecution will be imposed if the standards of conduct are violated. Further sanctions may be allowed under Activity Participants’ Standards of Conduct and Sanctions.

1. Standards of Conduct:

a. Possession of illicit drugs, controlled substances, medication drugs not prescribed by a physician, behavior-affecting substances, look-alike drugs, alcohol, alcohol beverages, look-alike alcoholic beverages, and/or drug paraphernalia for the use of drugs or for the manufacture of drugs is forbidden on school premises or property or at locations where any activities of any school in the District are conducted.

b. The use of illicit drugs, controlled substances, medication drugs not prescribed by a physician, behavior-affecting substances, look-alike drugs, alcohol, alcoholic beverages, look-alike alcoholic beverages, and/or drug paraphernalia whether intended for or with use of drugs or for the manufacture of drugs is prohibited on school premises or property or at locations where any activities of any school in the District are conducted.

c.  Possession or use of nicotine, tobacco, tobacco/nicotine products or look-alike tobacco/nicotine products, in any form (including smokeless tobacco products and vapor products such as e-cigarettes – type products) by students is prohibited on school property or premises or at any school activities.

d. All property, either owned by or under the custody of the District, including lockers, assigned or otherwise made available to students, and automobiles or other vehicles on property owned by the District may be inspected by school authorities at any time and any items found as a result of such an inspection will be turned over to the principal of the school where found for disposition.

2. Definitions Under This Rule:

a. Illicit drugs are any drugs the possession or use of which is illegal under the laws of the State of Nebraska.

b. Controlled substances are those substances defined in Nebraska RRS, Sec. 28-401 and include but are not limited to “uppers”, “downers”, barbiturates, amphetamines, LSD, heroin, hashish, hallucinogenics, cocaine, crack or any other substances which are derivative of any of the foregoing.

c. Any substance which alters the mood or behavior and which is not taken for medical purposes under a licensed physician’s direction (including over-the-counter medications, e.g., No Doz, Binaca, etc.)

d. Any drugs which may have a tendency to alter the physical condition of the user such as steroids.

e. Alcoholic beverages shall include any substances subject to the jurisdiction of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.

f. Tobacco includes any tobacco products used for smoking, chewing or other consumption whether the product be a product which is used by smoking or which is used otherwise such as snuff.

g.  Nicotine includes any nicotine or products such as e-cigarettes. 

i. Distribution shall mean any sale, transfer, handling, administering or giving, or making available any item covered by this rule.

j. Paraphernalia shall include all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used or intended for the use or designed for use in the manufacturing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing substances into the human body.

k. Look-alike drugs shall be any substance that is not a controlled substance but which, by the appearance of the dosage unit including, but not limited to, color, shape, size or markings, or by representations made, induce a person to believe the substance is a controlled substance.

l. Look-alike alcohol products shall include any beverages containing any alcoholic content whatsoever or any alcoholic beverages which are represented to contain an alcoholic content whether or not such alcoholic content is present in the beverage.

m. Look-alike tobacco/nicotine products shall include any packaging that contains any tobacco content whatsoever, or any tobacco products which are represented to contain a tobacco/nicotine content whether or not such tobacco/nicotine content is present in the packaging.

n. Possession of any item is when the student either has on his or her person or under his or her control or within any school property assigned to him or her a substance prohibited under this rule on school premises or property or at any activity in the school district.

o. Use is defined to include not only the use but also where there is reason to believe that a student has used any of the items prohibited by this rule and the results of the use are still present while the student is on school premises or property or in attendance at a school related activity. The factors which may be considered under this definition are those including odor, physical conduct, or physical or mental conditions or actions.

3. Sanctions

The sanctions and enforcement of Elkhorn Public Schools’ rules or standards shall be in accordance with the Student Discipline Act, Special Education Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Elkhorn Public Schools may impose more severe sanctions than the minimums listed on the following page depending on the severity of any violations or for the purpose of excluding students from school premises and property for the safety of the employees or to protect the orderly process of the district’s educational programs. Any student who is in violation of the Elkhorn Public Schools Drug, Alcohol, Nicotine and Tobacco Standards of Conduct will have further sanctions placed against them under the Elkhorn Public Schools Activities Code if they participate in extra curricular activities including, but not limited to, sports, clubs, contests, performances, homecoming, prom, dances and any other school sponsored activities.  The administration will set the date for sanctions. Written notification of the sanctions will be sent to the student and parent/guardian.

Conduct Violation

a. Possession or use of alcohol, drugs, look-alike drugs, look-alike alcoholic beverages, behavior-affecting substances and/or drug paraphernalia. Distribution of illicit drugs, alcohol, behavior-affecting substances, look-alike drugs, look-alike alcoholic beverages or drug paraphernalia.

Minimum Sanctions

a. Five day out-of-school suspension. However the student may return to school after a day out-of-school suspension if a chemical evaluation is completed by the student and verified by school officials.

Conduct Violation

b. Additional violations of standards of conduct;

(1) For second and other additional violations of standards of conduct.

(2) Three or more violations of the standards of conduct.

Minimum Sanctions

(1) Ten day out-of-school long-term suspension. However, the student may return to school after five days if a chemical evaluation is completed and verified by school.

(2) Ten day out-of-school long-term suspension with possible recommendation for expulsion.

Conduct Violation

c. Possession or use of tobacco/nicotine or look-alike tobacco/nicotine or products and/or vapor products such as e-cigarettes.

Minimum Sanctions

c. First violation – two day in-school suspension.
Second violation – two day out-of-school suspension.
Third violation – five day out-of-school suspension with possible recommendation for expulsion.

Conduct Violation

d. Possession, use, dispensing, delivering, or administering anabolic steroids.

Minimum Sanctions

d. First violation – thirty day suspension from all extra curricular activities.
Second and subsequent violations – one calendar year suspension from all extracurricular activities.

E. FIGHTING

The District is committed to maintaining a safe, educational environment free from disruptions and distractions. For this reason, any student involved in a fight in school or on school grounds during school hours will be suspended (following procedures as stated in Section IV below) except that the principal may waive the suspension if the principal at his/her discretion determines that a student was acting solely in self-defense. Parents/guardians will be notified immediately. The suspension will be no less than two full school days for students in grades 6-12, and may be less than two full school days for students in grades K-5. In instances where the fighting behavior is repetitive, there may be additional action taken.

F. GUNS AND WEAPONS

A student knowingly or intentionally in possession, use or transmission of a firearm, other dangerous weapon or look-alike weapon on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity or athletic event shall be expelled for a period of not less than one year. The Superintendent may modify this expulsion requirement on an individual basis.

G. SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The District is committed to an environment free from sexual harassment and intimidation for students. Sexual harassment refers to behavior which is not welcome, which is personally offensive, which debilitates morale, and which therefore interferes with the educational program of its victims and their co-students. Sexual harassment by a student may result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension and/or expulsion.

H. HARASSMENT

Any intentionally hurtful, demeaning or disparaging acts, words, symbolic representations, or behavior used by a student or students against another student or students that is disruptive of the educational process. This includes, but is not limited to, verbal, physical, visual, or graphic actions such as name-calling, taunting, mocking, slandering, humiliating, defaming, teasing, pestering; and making derogatory remarks, demeaning jokes, disparaging drawings or notes.

I. BULLYING

Any intentionally hostile or offensive verbal, written, graphic, demonstrative, or physical act that has the purpose of exerting domination over another student through the act of intimidating, frightening, hazing, oppressing, or adversely controlling the student, and that is disruptive of the educational process. This may include, but is not limited to, verbal, graphic, or written activities such as name-calling, taunting, blackmailing, inciting to fight, terrorizing or physical activities such as poking, blocking or impeding, following, hair pulling, mock hitting motions, intentionally bumping, tripping, and damaging clothing.

J. THREATS (VERBAL OR WRITTEN)

All threats, including those alleged to be jokes, will be taken seriously and are subject to investigation and disciplinary action. Investigation procedures for threats will be determined by the principal or designee, will take into account the age of the student and may include the following: documentation of the threat (specifics), questioning of student(s) involved, locker search and other searches, involvement of the School Resource Officer and/or other appropriate law enforcement authorities, notification of the parent or guardians (including those of the student making the threat and those of the student(s) being threatened), and determination of the sanction which may include but is not limited to parent conferences, rearrangement of schedule, detention, restriction of extracurricular activity, suspension, mandatory reassignment or expulsion.

Level One Threat – Using a threat as part of a common expression and the recipient does not feel threatened, frightened or coerced.

Level Two Threat – Using an expressing or gesture or picture (drawing, etc.) with the intent or impact of threatening, frightening or coercing another person(s) and the recipient(s) feels threatened, frightened, or coerced.

Level Three Threat – Threatening to kill or injure another person or persons and describing how it will be done in words or pictures.

K. Vandalism

School facilities (buildings, grounds, fields, etc.) are built and maintained by public funds and as such are deserving of the respect and care of the entire student body. Any student found defacing or vandalizing the building or district property will face the following possible consequences:

1. Repair the damage by the student.

2. Payment to replace or repair the damage.

3. Suspension or expulsion of the student depending on the severity of the case (following procedures as stated in Section IV below).

L. Computers

Student direct or indirect use of computers, which result in offensive, personal or commercial messages or damage to, misuse of, or interference with computer programs, the computer network or computer stored information belonging to the district or to other students, may result in disciplinary actions.

Misuse of computers may include but is not limited to:

1. Installation of any new software, freeware and/or shareware on district computers.

2. Misconduct committed while logged in their (the student’s) account.

3. Violation of the copyright laws.

4. Doing harm to individuals or their work.

5. Misconduct committed while using the district’s e-Learning or Blackboard system.

III. REPORTING LAW VIOLATIONS

Under state law, district administrators are required to contact police whenever it is known or suspected that a student has violated the Nebraska Criminal Code. Cases of law violations or suspected law violations by students will be reported to the Elkhorn Police Department and to the students’ parents or guardian as soon as possible. The school district shall refer all incidents of student discipline for violation of the Federal Gun-Free Schools Act to the Elkhorn Police Department.

IV. SANCTIONS

The Superintendent, the principal or their designees are delegated full authority and are authorized to take all action appropriate or necessary to implement student disciplinary sanctions in the Elkhorn Public Schools. The decision to exclude would be made after the principal or designee has investigated the facts, given the student oral or written notice of the charges again him/her, and provided an opportunity for the student to present his/her version. A complete copy of due process procedures is available upon request from the building principal.

A. SHORT TERM SUSPENSIONS

Such short-term suspension shall be made only after the administrator has made an investigation of the alleged conduct or violation and determined that such suspension is necessary to help any student to further school purposes or to prevent an interference with school purposes. Before such short-term suspension shall take effect the student shall be given oral or written notice of the charges against him/her and an explanation of the evidence the authorities have. He/she shall have an opportunity to present his/her version of the incident. The administrator shall, as soon as is reasonably possible following the suspension, send a written statement to the student and the student’s parents or guardian describing the student’s conduct, misconduct, or violation and the reason for the action taken. The administrator shall make a reasonable effort to hold a conference with the parents or guardian before or at the time the student returns to school.

B. EXCLUSIONS

Any student may be excluded from school under the following circumstances:

1. If the student has a dangerous communicable disease transmittable through normal school contacts and poses an eminent threat to the health and safety of the school community;

2. If the student’s conduct presents a clear threat to the physical safety of himself, herself, or others, or is so extremely disruptive as to make temporary removal necessary to preserve the rights of other students to pursue an education.

Exclusions from school shall last not longer than necessary to avoid the dangers herein before described. Procedures for short-term suspension shall be followed, and, if longer than five (5) school days, procedures for long-term suspension or expulsion shall be substantially followed subject to being modified to the extent necessary to accomplish the hearing and determination within ten (10) school days after the date of the initial exclusion.

C. LONG-TERM SUSPENSION, EXPULSION AND MANDATORY REASSIGNMENT

1. Long-Term Suspension shall mean the exclusion of a student from attendance in all schools in this district for a period exceeding five school days but less than twenty school days.

2. Expulsion shall mean exclusion from attendance in all schools within the system for a period of time not to exceed the remainder of the semester in which it took effect, unless the misconduct occurred within ten (10) school days prior to the end of the first semester, in which case the expulsion shall remain in effect through the second semester, or within ten (10) school days prior to the end of the second semester, in which case the expulsion shall remain in effect for summer school and the first semester of the following school year. Such action may be modified or terminated by the school district at any time during the expulsion period. In addition, the following shall apply to any expulsion:

In the case of a student bringing a weapon to school in violation of the Federal Gun-Free Schools Act, such student shall be expelled from school for a period of not less than one year. Said expulsion may be reduced by the Superintendent on a case-by-case basis and to be in compliance with state law.

Any expulsion that will remain in effect during the first semester of the following school year shall be automatically scheduled for review before the beginning of the school year. The review shall be conducted by the hearing examiner after the hearing examiner has given notice of the review to the student and the student’s parent or guardian. This review shall be limited to newly discovered evidence or evidence of changes in the student’s circumstances occurring since the original hearing. This review may lead to a recommendation by the hearing examiner that the student be readmitted for the upcoming school year. If the Board of Education or a committee of such Board took the final action to expel the student, the student may be readmitted only by action of the Board. Otherwise, the student may be readmitted by action of the Superintendent, 79-4,196.

3. Mandatory reassignment shall mean the involuntary transfer of a student to another school in connection with any disciplinary action.

D. PROCEDURES – Procedures to be followed if an administrator makes a decision to discipline a student by long-term suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment:

1. On the date of the decision, a written charge and a summary of the evidence supporting such charge shall be filed with the Superintendent. The school shall, within two school days of the decision, send a written notice by registered or certified mail or personal delivery to the student and the student’s parent or guardian, informing them of the rights established under this act;

2. Such written notice shall include the following:

a. The rule or standard of conduct allegedly violated and the acts of the student alleged to constitute a cause for long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment, including a summary of the evidence to be presented against the student;

b. The penalty, if any, which the principal has recommended in the charge, and any other penalty to which the student may be subject;

c. A statement that the student shall have a right to a hearing, upon request, on the specified charges, before long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment, for disciplinary purposes can be invoked;

d. A description of the hearing procedures provided by this act, along with procedures for appealing any decision rendered at the hearing;

e. A statement that the principal, legal counsel for the school, the student, the student’s parents or the student’s representative or guardian shall have the right (1) to examine the student’s academic and disciplinary records and any affidavits to be used at the hearing concerning the alleged misconduct, and the right (2) to know the identity of the witnesses to appear at the hearing and the substance of their testimony, and;

f. A form on which the student, student’s parents, or guardian may request a hearing to be signed by such parties and delivered to the principal or superintendent in person or by registered or certified mail; and

g. Nothing in this act shall preclude the student, the student’s parents, guardian or representative from discussing and settling the matter with appropriate school personnel prior to the hearing stage.

If a hearing is requested within five days of the receipt of the written notice by the student, the student’s parents or guardian as described in these rules and regulations, the superintendent shall appoint a hearing examiner and all of the provisions of the Nebraska statutes which relate to such a hearing shall be adhered to. (See Section 79-4,170 to 79-4,205, R.R.S., et seq.)

Extended Suspensions: If the principal determines that the student must be suspended immediately to prevent or substantially reduce the risk of interference with an educational function or school purpose or a personal injury to the student himself or herself, other students, school employees or school volunteers, and a notice of intent to discipline the student by long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment is filed with the Superintendent, the student may be suspended by the principal until the date the long-term suspension, expulsion or mandatory reassignment takes effect if no hearing is requested or, if a hearing is requested, the date the hearing examiner makes the report of his or her findings and a recommendation of the action to be taken is made by the superintendent.

E. OTHER DISCIPLINARY ACTION

Administrative and teaching personnel may take other disciplinary actions regarding student behavior when deemed reasonably necessary to aid the student, further school purposes, or to prevent interference with the educational process, which may include, but are not limited to, counseling, parent conferences, rearrangement of schedules, requirements that a student remain in school after regular hours to do additional work, detentions, restriction of extracurricular activity, or requirements that a student receive counseling, etc.

F. ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL PROGRAM

Effective July 1, 1997, the Elkhorn Public Schools shall provide an alternative education program for students who have been expelled under the EPS Discipline Code. This program will enable the student to continue academic work for credit and also include the standard of behavior and cooperation required of the student to complete the alternative education program. If the student fails to meet any of the conditions of the alternative education program, the district may, without further obligation, terminate the program after a due process hearing, as required in statutory provisions for suspension and expulsion of students, unless waived by the parent or guardian.

The expelled student will be provided the opportunity to complete a program of study. This could be a program generated by the school district, or an arrangement for correspondence courses in English and/or math through a university. The Elkhorn Public Schools will select and define the program for an individual expelled student. If the parent/or guardian should refuse to participate, the district has no further obligation with regard to provision of an alternative program. Any costs associated with the program may be assigned to the parent/guardian and then reimbursed if the program is satisfactorily completed by the student. The student may receive semester credit upon successful completion of the program as identified and explained to the student and parent/guardian prior to the beginning of the program. The building principal or designee will be the program coordinator.

Legal Reference:
79-266 RRS and NDE Rule 17

Adopted: November 17, 1997
Revised: January 15, 2001
Revised: July 9, 2001
Revised: April 10, 2006
Revised: August 14, 2006

Revised: June 2, 2014