The St. Mary Parish School Board recognizes the necessity for reasonable control and discipline over the conduct of students under its jurisdiction. All public schools shall endeavor to address student behavior with a focus on evidence-based interventions and supports. Schools shall endeavor to prioritize classroom- and school-based interventions in lieu of out-of-school disciplinary removals to address student misconduct in order to minimize the loss of academic instructional time.
Every employee of the public school system shall endeavor to hold each student to a strict accountability for any disorderly conduct in school, on the grounds of the school, while going to or returning from school, or during any school functions.
To assist the employees, the Board shall establish regulations for the use of disciplinary measures within the schools and continually monitor and appraise its usefulness.
Principals shall have both the authority and the duty to take disciplinary action whenever the behavior of any student(s) materially interferes with or substantially disrupts the maintenance of proper atmosphere for learning within the classroom, on a school bus or other parts of the school.
Reports to the Principal
Any teacher or other school employee may report to the principal any student who acts in a disorderly manner or is in violation of school rules, or any misconduct or violation of school rules by a student who may or may not be known to the teacher or employee.
- Incidents of alleged discipline violations shall be reported on the School Behavior Report form/School Bus Behavior Report form provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.
- The forms shall be submitted in accordance with procedures outlined by the School District, the Superintendent, and school system personnel. The principal shall review and act upon such information submitted, to determine if suspension or other disciplinary action is necessary.
Should the principal fail to act on any report of misconduct or school violation, he/she shall explain the reasons for doing so to the Superintendent or his/her designee and to the teacher or school employee, student, parent, or legal guardian reporting the violation.
STUDENT REMOVAL FROM THE CLASSROOM
A student may be immediately removed from a classroom by the teacher and placed in the custody of the principal or designee if the student's behavior prevents the orderly instruction of other students or poses an immediate threat to the safety or physical well-being of students or the teacher or when a student violates the school’s code of conduct.
- Upon the student being removed from class and sent to the principal's office, the principal or designee shall advise the student of the particular misconduct of which he or she is accused as well as the basis for such accusation, and the student shall be given an opportunity at that time to explain his or her version of the facts.
- The principal or designee shall conduct a counseling session with the student as may be appropriate to establish a course of action, consistent with School Board Policy to identify and correct the behavior for which the student is being disciplined.
- Any student removed from class in kindergarten through grade 6 shall not be permitted to return to class for at least thirty (30) minutes unless agreed to by the teacher.
- A student removed from class in grades 7 through 12 shall not be permitted to return to class during the same class period, unless agreed to by the teacher initiating the disciplinary action.
A student removed from the classroom shall be assigned academic assignments missed and shall receive either partial or full credit for such work, upon the recommendation of the student’s teacher, if it is completed satisfactorily and timely as determined by the principal or his/her designee.
Once removed, the student shall not be readmitted to the classroom until the principal has implemented at least one or more of the following disciplinary measures:
- Conferencing with the principal or his designee.
- Referral to counseling.
- Peer mediation.
- Referral to the school building level committee.
- Restorative justice practices.
- Loss of privileges.
- In-school suspension.
- Out-of-school suspension.
- Initiation of expulsion hearings.
- Referral for assignment to an alternative school setting.
- Requiring the completion of all assigned school and homework that would have been assigned and completed by the student during the period of out-of-school suspension.
- Any other disciplinary measure authorized by the principal with the concurrence of the teacher or the school building level committee pursuant to law and school board policy.
Battery Upon a School Employee
Whenever a student is formally accused of violating the provisions of R.S. 14:34.3 or school disciplinary rules, or both, by committing a battery on any school employee or is formally accused of violating the provisions of R.S. 14:38.2 or school disciplinary rules, or both, by committing an assault on any school employee:
- the principal shall suspend the student from school immediately and
- the student shall be removed immediately from the school premises without the benefit of the out-of-school procedures provided by this section; however,
- the necessary notifications and other procedures shall be implemented as soon as is practicable.
Additionally, whenever a teacher is struck by a student, the student, in addition to any other discipline given, shall be permanently removed from the teacher's classroom, unless the teacher objects, or unless the principal, with the concurrence of the building level committee, finds the striking incident to be entirely inadvertent.
No student suspended in accordance with the provisions of this policy shall be considered for readmission to the school to which the school employee, allegedly assaulted or battered, or both, by the student, is assigned until all hearings and appeals associated with the alleged violation have been exhausted.
Except when the school system has no other school of suitable grade level for the student to attend, no student found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of violating the provisions of R.S. 14:34.3 or 38.2, or both, or found guilty at a school system expulsion hearing of committing a battery or assault on any school employee, or both, shall be assigned to attend or shall attend the school to which the school employee battered or assaulted by the student is assigned.
Notwithstanding any provision of R.S. 17:158 to the contrary, a school system shall not be required to provide transportation to any student reassigned to attend a school pursuant to the provisions of this section if providing such transportation for the pupil student will result in additional transportation costs to the school system.
Saturday Intervention Sessions
Each city, parish, or other local public school board may adopt a policy that requires the parent or legal guardian of a student removed from the classroom to attend after school or intervention sessions with the student. Such a policy, if adopted, shall be enumerated in the code of conduct and shall include accommodations for parents and legal guardians who demonstrate a documented inability to attend due to work or disability or other health matters pertaining to the parent or legal guardian or a family member under his care.
The school board may refer a parent who fails to attend such session to the court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with Chapter 2 of Title VII of the Louisiana Children's Code. Each time a parent is referred to the court of competent jurisdiction, the court may impose a fine of not less than twenty five dollars and not more than two hundred fifty dollars, forty hours of court approved school or community service activities, or a combination of forty hours of court-approved school or community service and attendance at a court-approved family counseling program by both a parent or legal guardian and the student, and may suspend any recreational license issued by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The principal or his/her designee shall provide oral or written notification to the parent or legal guardian of any student removed from the classroom. Such notification shall include a description of any disciplinary action taken.
- When a student has been removed from a classroom, the teacher may require the parent(s), or legal guardian(s) of the student to have a conference with the teacher or the principal or his designee. Conferences with parents may be held by telephone or virtual means. The student should not be kept out of the classroom past the suspension period assigned by the principal.
- Upon the student's third removal from the same classroom, the teacher and principal shall discuss the student's disruptive behavior patterns and the potentially appropriate disciplinary measures to be taken before the principal implements such measures.
- In addition, a conference between the teacher or other appropriate school employee(s) and the student's parent(s), or legal guardian(s) shall be required prior to the student being readmitted to that same classroom. The conference may be in person or by telephone or other virtual means. If such conference is required by the school, the school shall give written notice to the parent. If the disruptive behavior persists, the teacher may request that the principal transfer the student into another setting.
In accordance with school district policy, in any case where a teacher, principal, or other school employee is authorized to require the parent(s), tutor(s), or legal guardian(s) of a student who is under the age of eighteen and not judicially emancipated or emancipated by marriage to attend a conference or meeting regarding the student's behavior, and after notice, the parent(s), tutor(s), or legal guardian(s) willfully refused to attend, the principal, or his or her designee, shall file a complaint, in accordance with statutory provisions, with a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction.
- Notice of the conference, specifying the time and date of the conference, shall be given by contacting the parent(s), tutor(s), or legal guardian(s) by telephone at the telephone number shown on the student's registration card or by sending a certified letter to the address shown on the student's registration card.
- Prior to any suspension, the school principal, or designee, shall advise the student in question of the particular misconduct of which he or she is accused as well as the basis for such accusation, and the student shall be given an opportunity at that time to explain his or her version of the facts to the school principal or designee.
- In each case of suspension or expulsion, the school principal or designee, shall contact by telephone at the telephone number shown on the student's registration card or send a certified letter at the address shown on the student's registration card to the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of the student in question giving notice of suspension or expulsion, the reasons thereof and establishing a date and time for conference with the principal or designee as a requirement for readmitting the student provided that in the case or expulsion, the contact with the parent or guardian shall include a certified letter.
- If a parent, tutor, or legal guardian fails to attend the required conference within five (5) school days of mailing the certified letter or other contact with the parent, the truancy laws shall be effective. On not more than one occasion each school year when the parent, tutor, or legal guardian refuses to respond, the principal may determine
whether readmitting the student is in the best interest of the student.
- On any subsequent occasions in the same school year, the student shall not be readmitted unless the parent, tutor, or legal guardian, court, or other appointed representative responds.
- In any case where a teacher, principal, or other school employee is authorized to require the parent, tutor, or legal guardian of a student who is under the age of eighteen and not judicially emancipated or emancipated by marriage to attend a conference or meeting regarding the student's behavior and after notice, the parent, tutor, or legal guardian willfully refuses to attend, the principal or his or her designee shall file a complaint, in accordance with statutory provisions with a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction or any other applicable ground when in his or her judgment doing so is in the best interest of the student.
- The principal shall promptly advise the superintendent or his or her designee of all such suspensions, stating the reasons for the suspensions. No suspended student shall be allowed to leave the school premises during the school day until parent, guardian, or other proper authorities assume responsibility for him or her, unless immediate removal from school due to danger or threat of disruption to academic process is warranted.
- The principal shall be required to suspend immediately a student who is found carrying or possessing a firearm, and/or weapons, or other dangerous instruments. Upon the seizure by any teacher, principal, school security guard, or other school administrator of any firearm, knife (2 and ½ inches or longer), or other dangerous instruments which could be used as a weapon or inflict injury, the principal or his or her designee shall be required to report the confiscation to appropriate law enforcement officials.
- Additionally, the principal shall immediately recommend the student's expulsion to the Superintendent, as state law has mandated expulsion for certain offenses.
- The principal and other appropriate personnel shall be required to file written documentation of all suspensions. Said documentation shall include the circumstances surrounding any suspension, the reason for suspension, and any other pertinent facts concerning the disciplinary action.
- The principal shall file copies of his report with the Superintendent, other appropriate personnel and the parent or guardian, and he shall retain a copy for his records.
- The Superintendent may review any suspension given. The decision of the Superintendent of Schools on the merit of the case, as well as the term of suspension, shall be final, reserving the right of the Superintendent of Schools to remit any portion of the time of suspension. Additionally, the courts have the authority to remit or extend the amount of time a student has been suspended.
- Any student suspended shall receive no credit for school work missed while suspended. Special circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In an effort to curb violence in schools, law enforcement officials may be called at the discretion of the administrator. (If an arrest is made, an attempt will be made to contact a parent/guardian).
Students who regularly disrupt the normal school environment shall be considered as delinquent and may be reported by appropriate school personnel to the juvenile court. Any student that exhibits disruptive behavior, an incorrigible attitude, or any other discipline problems in general may be recommended by the principal for expulsion, assignment to an appropriate alternative educational placement, or transfer to adult education if the student is:
- Seventeen (17) years of age or older with less than five (5) units of credit toward graduation;
- Eighteen (18) years of age or older with less than ten (10) units of credit toward graduation; or
- Nineteen (19) years of age or older with less than fifteen (15) units of credit toward graduation.
Recusal of Administrator In Discipline Matters
Any school administrator or administrator's designee who is required to make a recommendation, decide an issue, or take action in a matter involving the discipline of a student shall recuse himself/herself whenever a member of the immediate family of the administrator or administrator's designee is involved in any manner in the discipline matter. In case of recusal, the action to be taken shall be done so by the Superintendent or an impartial designee of the Superintendent.
Immediate family means the individual's children, brothers, sisters, parents, and spouse and the children, brothers, sisters, and parents of the spouse.
- Suspension shall mean that student is temporarily prohibited from participating in his/her usual placement within school. This usually involves temporary removal from regular class activities and all other school-sponsored activities.
- In-school suspension shall mean removing a student from his normal classroom setting but maintaining him/her under supervision within the school. Students participating in in-school suspension may receive credit for work performed during the in-school suspension. However, any pupil student who fails to comply fully with the rules for in-school suspension may be subject to immediate out-of-school suspension.
- Out-of-school suspension means the removal of a student from all classes of instruction on public school grounds and all other school-sponsored activities.
- Detention shall mean activities, assignments, or work held before the normal school day, after the normal school day, or on weekends. Failure or refusal by a student to participate in assigned detention shall subject the student to immediate out-of-school suspension. Assignments, activities, or work which may be assigned during detention include, but are not limited to, counseling, homework assignments, behavior modification program, or other activities aimed at improving the self-esteem of the student.
- Expulsion unless otherwise defined as a permanent expulsion and as except otherwise provided by State discipline laws, "expulsion" shall be defined as a removal from all regular school settings for a period of not less than one school semester. During an expulsion the superintendent shall place the pupil student in an alternative school or in an alternative educational placement.
- Virtual instruction shall mean instruction provided to a student through an electronic delivery medium including but not limited to electronic learning platforms that connect a student in a remote location to classroom instruction.