All decisions related to student behavior are guided by the Wilkes County Board of Education's educational objective to teach responsibility and respect for cultural and ideological differences and by the board's commitment to creating safe, orderly, and inviting schools. Student behavior policies are provided in order to establish (1) expected standards of student behavior; (2) principles to be followed in managing student behavior; (3) consequences for prohibited behavior or drug/alcohol policy violations; and (4) required procedures for addressing misbehavior.
The reasons for managing student behavior are to (1) create an orderly environment in which students can learn; (2) teach expected standards of behavior; (3) help students learn to accept the consequences of their behavior; and (4) provide students with the opportunity to develop self-control. The following principles apply in managing student behavior.
- Student behavior management strategies will complement other efforts to create a safe, orderly, and inviting environment.
- Positive behavioral interventions will be employed as appropriate to improve student behavior.
- Responsibility, integrity, civility, and other standards of behavior will be integrated into the curriculum.
- Disruptive behavior in the classroom will not be tolerated.
- Consequences for unacceptable behavior will be designed to help a student learn to comply with rules, to be respectful, to accept responsibility for his or her behavior, and to develop self-control.
- Strategies and consequences will be age and developmentally-appropriate.
B. Communication of Policies
Board policies related to student behavior are codified mainly in the 4300 series. The superintendent shall incorporate information from such policies into a Code of Student Conduct that notifies students of the behavior expected of them, conduct that may subject them to discipline, and the range of disciplinary measures that may be used by school officials. At the discretion of the superintendent, the Code of Student Conduct may include additional rules needed to implement the board's student behavior policies. Each school shall create a student behavior management plan that will elaborate further on processes for addressing student misbehavior and the use of intervention strategies and consequences (see policy 4302, School Plan for Management of Student Behavior). The Code of Student Conduct must incorporate by reference any additional student behavior standards, prohibited conduct, or disciplinary measures identified in individual school behavior plans developed in accordance with policy 4302, provided such measures are consistent with law and board policy. The Code of Student Conduct must not impose mandatory long-term suspension or expulsion for specific violations unless otherwise provided in state or federal law.
At the beginning of each school year, principals shall make available to each student and parent all of the following: (1) the Code of Student Conduct; (2) any board policies related to behavior that are not part of the Code of Conduct; (3) any related administrative procedures; (4) any additional discipline-related information from the school's student behavior management plan, including behavior standards, prohibited conduct, or disciplinary measures; and (5) any other school rules. This information must be available at other times upon request and must be made available to students enrolling during the school year and their parents.
For the purpose of board policies related to student behavior, all references to "parent" include a parent, a legal guardian, a legal custodian, or another caregiver adult authorized to enroll a student under policy 4120, Domicile or Residence Requirements.
Students must comply with the Code of Student Conduct in the following circumstances:
- while in any school building or on any school premises before, during, or after school hours;
- while on any bus or other vehicle as part of any school activity;
- while waiting at any school bus stop;
- during any school-sponsored activity or extracurricular activity;
- when subject to the authority of school employees; and
- at any place or time when the student’s behavior has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment.
D. Consequences for Violations
Violations of the Code of Student Conduct must be dealt with in accordance with the guidelines established in the school's behavior management plan (see policy 4302, School Plan for Management of Student Behavior).
- Minor Violations
Minor violations of the Code of Student Conduct are those less severe infractions involving a lower degree of dangerousness and harm. Examples of minor violations include the use of inappropriate or disrespectful language, noncompliance with a staff directive, dress code violations, and minor physical altercations that do not involve a weapon or an injury. Aggravating circumstances, however, may justify treating an otherwise minor violation as a serious violation.
Minor violations of the Code of Student Conduct may result in disciplinary measures or responses up to and including short-term suspension. Further information regarding the procedures for short-term suspensions is provided in policy 4351, Short-Term Suspension. Other disciplinary measures or responses may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- parental involvement, such as conferences;
- isolation or time-out for short periods of time;
- behavior improvement agreements;
- instruction in conflict resolution and anger management;
- peer mediation;
- individual or small group sessions with the school counselor;
- academic intervention;
- in-school suspension;
- detention before and/or after school or on Saturday;
- community service;
- exclusion from graduation ceremonies;
- exclusion from extracurricular activities;
- suspension from bus privileges; and
- placement in an alternative school.
The parent or guardian is responsible for transportation that may be required to carry out a consequence.
- Serious Violations
Serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct may result in any of the consequences that may be imposed for minor violations. In addition, serious violations that threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment may result in long-term suspension, and serious violations that threaten the safety of students, school employees, or school visitors may result in long-term suspension or expulsion. Certain violations involving firearms or explosive devices may result in a 365-day suspension. Further information regarding the standards and procedures for long-term suspensions, 365-day suspensions, and expulsions is provided in policies 4351, Short-Term Suspension, and 4353, Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, Expulsion.
The superintendent is responsible for supervising the enforcement of the Code of Student Conduct to ensure that school disciplinary policies are uniformly and fairly applied throughout the school system.
Legal References: G.S. 115C-47, -276(r), -288, -307, -390.1, -390.2
Cross References: Goals and Objectives of the Educational Program (policy 3000), Counseling Program (policy 3610), Domicile or Residence Requirements (policy 4120), Student Behavior policies (4300 series)
Adopted: June 16, 2014
Revised: August 3, 2015