Section V – Procedures Relating to Disciplinary Action or Re-entry
To protect student rights, certain procedures are followed with regard to disciplinary actions. These procedures are developed as suggested or required by law or regulation. School and classroom discipline in areas not covered by these specific procedures are encouraged.
Discipline shall be maintained without the use of corporal punishment, which is prohibited in the school district (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Policy S-DISC). However, staff is authorized by state law to use reasonable force in the exercise of lawful authority to restrain or correct students and maintain order. (N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.3 and 391.1).
Procedures for Short-term Suspensions (1–10 days)
Procedures for Short-term Suspensions (1-10 days)
A student accused of misconduct, which in the opinion of the principal (includes principal’s designee) would require a shortterm suspension from school, shall be afforded the procedures below. A student must be given an opportunity to complete assignments, take textbooks home, and take major tests or exams missed during the period of suspension. Details of the processes to be followed are provided in Policy Policy S-SUSP: In the event schools are closed due to unforeseen circumstances (weather, power outage, etc.) that day(s) of out of school suspension will not be counted. OSS days only count on days that school is in session.
Step 1: The student must be notified by the principal/designee of the alleged rule violation.
Step 2: The student must be given the opportunity to have an informal hearing with the principal/designee, to be informed of the basis for the charges and to present his/her version of the events and any defense. The informal hearing will typically occur immediately after the student is informed of the charges, but may be delayed until after the start of the short-term suspension if the student’s continued presence on campus is a safety concern or substantially disrupts or interferes with the education of the other students or the maintenance of discipline at the school.
Step 3: The principal/designee shall make a decision as to whether or not a student is guilty of the misconduct, and if so, what disciplinary response will be imposed. Initial notices to impose suspension may be communicated orally to the parent; written notification must follow.
Step 4: The principal/designee shall report each suspension in writing to the student’s parent/guardian. This report shall be sent to the parent by email, regular mail or other reliable means by the end of the day of the suspension when reasonably possible. Otherwise, it must be sent no more than 2 days later. Reasonable efforts shall be made to contact parents or guardians prior to the start of the suspension. If parents or guardians cannot be reached prior to the start of the suspension, the principal/designee may start the suspension without contacting them. In this event, the principal must continue efforts to reach the parent/guardian.
Step 5: At the discretion of the principal, a written behavior contract may be required upon the return of the student to school.
Appeal of Short-term Suspensions
Parents may appeal the imposition of any short-term suspension of three (3) days or more. The parental appeal will require designated staff to promptly review the suspension and render a decision to uphold or modify the suspension. The principal will review the suspension if it was imposed by a principal designee. The learning community superintendent will review the suspension if it was imposed or upheld by the principal. The decision of the learning community superintendent is final and may not be appealed to the superintendent or the Board. (CMS Board of Education Policy S-SUSP). The written request may be in the form of a letter, an email, or by utilizing the form in the Code of Student Conduct (page 43). We do not accept these notices by telephone. In your notice, you must include the reasons you believe this disciplinary action is not appropriate for your child. In addition, please include a current telephone number and/or email address. The OSS shall not be postponed pending the outcome of the appeal.
Students are not entitled to appeal a principal’s decision to impose a short-term suspension to the superintendent or the Board of Education.
Procedures for Long-term Suspensions (more than 10 days) or 365-day Suspensions and Disciplinary Reassignments
A student accused of a willful violation of the Code of Student Conduct which, in the opinion of the principal/designee, may require a long-term suspension or 365-day suspension from school, shall be afforded the procedural safeguards described below. A suspension of more than 10 days is appropriate only when the student willfully engages in conduct that threatens the safety of students, staff or school visitors, or threatens to substantially disrupt the educational environment. The procedures for a short-term suspension must be employed, as well as the following additional steps, prior to the imposition of a long-term suspension. Only the superintendent or his/ her designee (the learning community superintendent) may impose a period of long-term suspension or 365-day suspension. A student serving a long-term suspension will not be provided assignments or permitted to take tests/exams missed during the period of suspension. Students covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will continue to receive special education services.
1. Notice of Long-Term Suspension: When a principal decides to recommend that a long-term suspension be imposed, parents must be provided written notice of the recommendation by the end of the workday (when reasonably possible; otherwise as soon as is practicable).
2. Discipline Team Meeting: Except for serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct for which the superintendent may recommend that the student be expelled, a Discipline Team Meeting (DTM), which consists of the principal/designee, the learning community administrator, the parent/guardian and the student, may be convened at the school within the 10-day short-term suspension. A Learning Community Superintendent has the discretion to approve a DTM to be held after the 10-day short-term suspension. The purpose of this meeting is for the team to review the investigation completed by the school, the principal’s recommended consequences, the due process procedures afforded, and any information provided by the student and the parent/guardian. Neither attorneys nor non-attorney advocates are permitted to attend. During the DTM, the community administrator may recommend that additional consequences be imposed. At this point the community superintendent will make a preliminary decision about the disciplinary consequence. Parents will be informed in writing of the community superintendent’s decision.
3. Disciplinary Reassignment: If the decision of the learning community superintendent is to make a disciplinary reassignment of the student to an alternative school without any additional days of suspension, the student is not entitled to a due process hearing. Disciplinary reassignments are not long-term suspensions. After being assigned to Turning Point Academy, the student is required to attend school there. Each day the student does not attend will be counted as an unexcused absence. A parent may be prosecuted in a criminal action if a student between the ages of 7 and 16 has more than 10 unexcused absences. In addition, the student could be referred by the school to the Department of Juvenile Justice for the filing of a petition asking the court to find him or her to be undisciplined. The student may request an appeal of the school assignment to the Board by contacting the Student Discipline and Behavior Support Department. A form for this purpose is in the back of this book. The assignment will be immediately effective pending the appeal and remains in effect until a decision is rendered in the appeal. As provided in Board Policy S-RASG, a student may not be represented by an attorney at the Board hearing at which the student appeals a disciplinary reassignment.
4. Preliminary Decision to Impose Long-Term Suspension/Right to a Due Process Hearing: For serious rule violations for which a decision to impose a long-term suspension is likely, a DTM will not be held and the learning community superintendent will make a preliminary decision on what consequence to impose based on the principal’s investigation of the facts of the case. If the parent/guardian agrees with the preliminary decision of the learning community superintendent to impose a long-term suspension, then that decision shall become final and a due process hearing will not take place. If the parent/guardian disagrees with the decision of the learning community superintendent to impose a long-term suspension, the student is entitled by law to a hearing before a hearing officer. This hearing may be requested by making a written request to the community administrator within three business days. A form for this purpose is in the back of this book.
5. Due Process Hearing If parents request a due process hearing, the hearing will be scheduled within the initial 10 days of suspension. If parents/guardians miss the deadline or request a later hearing date or their scheduling conflicts cause the hearing to take place after the initial 10-day suspension, then the learning community superintendent shall impose the long-term suspension before the hearing occurs.
Notice: Written notice will be sent to parents/guardians advising them of the date, time and location of the hearing. The notice will describe the hearing process and advise parents/guardians of the student’s rights under law. Details of the notice are provided in Policy S-SUSP. The notice will be sent by email, US mail, hand delivery or other reliable means. For children in foster care, notice must also be sent to the foster parents and the Youth and Family Services (DSS) guardian. If neither the student nor parent appears at the scheduled hearing, they will have waived the right to the hearing and the superintendent will proceed with imposing the disciplinary consequences.
At the Hearing: The due process hearing will be held at the learning community offices or other designated location and the student will be able to exercise the rights identified in the notice, including the right to have an opportunity to present his/her version of the events, provide witnesses (or written witness statements) on his/her behalf, question the witnesses presented by the school administration and be represented by counsel (at the parent’s own expense). Students shall also have the right to review before the hearing the evidence that may be presented by the district, as allowed by federal and NC law. The hearing officer shall make a written determination of the facts, based on substantial evidence presented at the hearing.
Decision Following the Hearing: The superintendent/designee shall make a final decision regarding the disciplinary consequences after the due process hearing has occurred (or, if no request is received, after the deadline has passed for requesting a hearing.) The superintendent/designee will not review the initial 10-day (short-term) suspension. A student shall be informed of the determination promptly.
6. Appeal of Long-Term Suspension: If the student disagrees with the decision of the superintendent/designee to impose a suspension of more than 10 days, he/she is entitled to appeal to the Board of Education. This appeal must be submitted in writing within 10 days of receiving the superintendent’s decision. The disciplinary consequence remains in effect throughout all appeals. The student may appeal to the Board even if he/she did not request a due process hearing. A form for this purpose is located in the back of this book. Students under a long-term suspension from another district, who are seeking admission to CMS, may not appeal their long-term suspension through the CMS process.
7. Board Hearing: The Board hearing will be conducted and a decision rendered within 30 days of receiving the notice of the appeal, unless the student requests that the hearing be delayed. Students are entitled to be represented by counsel (at the parent’s own expense) at hearings appealing a long-term suspension.
Procedures for Suspension of Students with Disabilities
Procedures for Suspension of Students with Disabilities
Please see the Handbook on Parents Rights for the additional procedural safeguards to be followed for students with disabilities. Parents or students who need a copy of this handbook may contact the principal or obtain a copy through the learning community offices.
Procedures for Expulsion
Procedures for Expulsion
N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.11 gives the Board of Education authority to expel any student over 14 years of age whose behavior indicates that the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a clear threat to the safety of other students or employees.
Step 1: After the due process hearing has occurred or is waived, the superintendent/designee may make a recommendation to the Board of Education that the student be expelled. A period of long-term suspension may also be imposed by the Superintendent pending the Board decision on the expulsion recommendation.
Step 2: The parent/guardian will receive written notice of the hearing before a panel of the Board of Education. The notice shall include the date, time, location of the hearing, and a summary of the charge against the student, and the student’s rights at this proceeding.
Step 3: A hearing will be held at the offices of the Board of Education, where the student will be able to exercise the rights identified in the notice. The student will have the opportunity to explain why his/her presence is not a clear threat to the safety of others, provide statements or documents on his/her behalf, and question the information presented by the superintendent/designee. The student has the right to be represented by counsel at this hearing, at the parent’s expense.
Step 4: The Board of Education will determine whether the statutory requirements were met and if there are alternative programs that would meet the needs of the student and maintain the safety of the educational environment.
Step 5: The decision of the Board of Education will be provided to the parent/guardian in writing within 7 to 10 days of the hearing.
Procedures for Re-entry or Enrollment of Expelled Students or Students Suspended for 365 Days
Procedures for Re-entry or Enrollment of Expelled Students or Students Suspended for 365 days
Following the Board of Education’s decision to expel a student, the student shall have no right to attend Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools until such time as the student can demonstrate that he/she no longer constitutes a threat to the safety of other students and staff. The student shall have a right to request that the Board of Education readmit the student any time after 180 calendar days from the date of the expulsion decision. Similarly, students subject to a 365-day suspension may request readmission after 180 days from the start of the suspension. The Board will schedule a hearing to consider these requests. Students will be notified of the date of the hearing. If a decision to allow the student to re-enter is made, the CMS triage process will be utilized. Students who have a 365-day suspension or expulsion from another district can seek entrance in CMS, utilizing the procedures for reentry. If a student is denied admission, the student may request the board to reconsider the decision after 180 days from the date of the 365-day suspension or expulsion.
Procedures for Re-entry or Enrollment of Students from Alternative Settings
Procedures for Re-entry or Enrollment of Students from Alternative Settings
Alternative settings are considered by CMS to be incarceration settings, previous/current alternative education programs, and group homes. Mental health treatment facilities and foster placements are not considered by CMS to be an alternative setting.
Students transitioning into CMS who have not been in a traditional school setting for 30+ calendar days or have been in an alternative setting will be referred to the triage interview process facilitated by the Student Discipline and Behavior Support department. The triage interview process includes a face-to-face interview with the student and his/her parent/guardian where information is collected about the student’s circumstances. The parent or student may provide a letter of support from an advocate, previous placement, or a community support person. There is no right for representative counsel to attend a triage meeting. The information gathered in this process will be compiled and forwarded to the appropriate learning community office. The learning community superintendent will make the decision regarding where the student will be assigned to school. Within five business days (or as close thereto as feasible), the learning community will send the decision to the parent/guardian and will notify identified school staff and the Student Discipline and Behavior Support department. Assignment decisions made through this process may be appealed to the Board.
Students charged with a violent criminal offense (identified by CMS) will be referred to the triage interview process regardless of the setting from which they are returning, including if they are returning from a mental health setting.
Point of Exit is Point of Entry
Point of Exit is Point of Entry
Withdrawing from and later re-enrolling in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will not circumvent a reassignment to an alternative school for disciplinary purposes. Students who are reassigned to an alternative school or mandatory program for a specified amount of time must regularly attend and successfully complete this reassignment before returning to the regular school environment. Students who leave CMS while assigned to an alternative school and return at a later date will automatically be assigned to the alternative school or program upon re-enrolling in CMS.
Procedures for Expungement of Records
Procedure for Expungement of Long-term and Short-term Suspension Records
As required by North Carolina law, all suspensions and expulsions must be included in a student’s education record. These records may be expunged if all the following conditions have been met: 1) the parent or student (age 16 or over) make such a request in writing to the Student Discipline and Behavior Support Department located at the 1901 Herbert Spaugh Lane Charlotte, NC 28208: and 2) the student graduates high school or is not expelled or suspended again during the 2-year period starting on the date of the student’s return to school after the expulsion or suspension; and 3) the superintendent (or designee) determines that the maintenance of the record is not necessary to maintain safe and orderly schools and the records are no longer needed to adequately serve the student. Student records in the current school year cannot be expunged before June 30th of that school year due to North Carolina discipline reporting procedures.
Alternative Discipline Programs
Alternative Discipline Programs *Assignment to any of the programs listed below is based upon availability.
Student Assistance Program (SAP): The Student Assistance Program focuses on prevention and brief intervention for students with known or suspected substance related challenges. SAP counselors can provide, or provide referrals for: screening, assessment, brief intervention, and treatment. They also provide consultation and workshops for school staff and parent groups, and prevention lessons for students. All students referred to SAP due to a Code of Conduct violation will have a substance misuse screening. Based on the results of the screening, the SAP counselor will recommend interventions which may include individual or small group psycho-education, the Positive Options Program (POP), individual counseling or therapy, substance abuse treatment, etc. Students and parents can refer themselves to the Student Assistance Program in the absence of any rule violations by contacting the SAP counselor assigned to their school or by contacting the CMS Mental Health Program Manager at 980-344-0414.
Short-Term Suspension Centers: Parents/guardians of students who have received a referral for a level II or III offense warranting an out-of-school suspension will be given the option to attend one of the short-term suspension centers. Students suspended for a period of one to ten days will receive the option of attending a short-term suspension center where they can complete their school assignments and receive credit for attending school. It is also designed to provide a structured, restorative, and individualized learning environment. This is a voluntary placement; therefore, transportation will not be provided. At the discretion of the Community Superintendent, or designee, certain offenses may exclude a student from being able to attend a short-term suspension center. A form with additional information is located in the back of this book.
Positive Options Program (POP): POP is one of the interventions that may be recommended by the Student Assistance Program counselor. POP is an eight-hour class for students, and guardians of students, with known or suspected substance misuse. The classes cover topics such as decision making, risk-taking behaviors, boundaries, communication skills, and substance misuse and addiction. The student and guardian must attend the POP class together, and failure to attend POP may result in additional disciplinary consequences.
Turning Point Academy (High School): Turning Point Academy is available as an alternative education option for students with long-term or 365-day suspensions and/or as a disciplinary reassignment for students who have committed serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct. 45 days is the minimum assignment. Course offerings and programs at Turning Point Academy are not as inclusive as those in students’ home schools. Staff works with students, their families and the student’s home school to develop a personal behavior plan and curriculum to be implemented during the assignment to Turning Point Academy. Students are assigned to Turning Point Academy for a determined period of time or until they meet stated goals and then return to the home school. Transportation will be provided. Parent/guardians are expected to participate in parent engagement activities for the duration of the student's assignment.
Turning Point Academy (Middle School): Turning Point Academy is available as an alternative education option for students with long-term or 365-day suspensions and / or as a disciplinary reassignment for students who have committed serious violations of the Code of Student Conduct. 45 days is the minimum assignment. The focus of the middle school is the social-emotional development of students through a prescribed social-emotional curriculum. Course offerings and programs by Turning Point Academy are not as inclusive as those in the students’ home schools. Staff work with students, their families and the students’ home school to develop a personal behavior plan, extend counseling services and determine curriculum to be implemented during the assignment to Turning Point Academy. Students are assigned to Turning Point Academy for a determined period of time or until they meet stated goals and then return to the home school. Transportation will be provided. Parent/guardians are expected to participate in parent engagement activities for the duration of the student's assignment.
Compass: A minimum 15-day alternative learning reassignment program through Turning Point Academy for students who violate a rule with a Level III response in the Code of Student Conduct. Students would be re-assigned following a Discipline Team Meeting. The purpose of the program is to provide a layer of consequences between home schools and long-term reassignments, to support scholars with positive decision making prior to returning to their home schools, and to support scholars with social, emotional, and academic support.
Violence Interventions Program (VIP): The Violence Interventions Program (VIP) is an intervention aimed at helping students involved in aggressive behaviors that disrupt the school’s learning environment. The program requires the involvement of the student's parent or guardian as a collaborative effort to provide a wrap-around for impacted students. VIP focuses on raising awareness of youth violence through group discussion, providing interventions to modify inappropriate behavior, and exploring the effects of youth violence on students’ emotional and social well-being. VIP aims to help students by providing a safe and supportive learning environment where they can explore how to deal with their emotions and behaviors healthily. The program seeks to partner with students and families to maintain safe schools and positive learning environments conducive to their academic success and personal growth.
Sexual Harassment Interventions Program (SHIP): The Sexual Harassment Interventions Program (SHIP) supports students in group discussions on relationship boundaries, digital citizenship, responsible decision-making, and understanding district expectations and federal law concerning sex discrimination and sexual misconduct. The program requires the involvement of the student's parent or guardian as a collaborative effort to provide a wrap-around for impacted students. SHIP aims to create awareness of the types of sexual harassment and its impact on students' emotional and social well-being. SHIP explores inappropriate sexual behavior’s effects on others while teaching social and self-awareness competencies. The program aims to partner with students and families to maintain safe schools and positive learning environments conducive to their academic success and personal growth.
Social Media Awareness Responsibility Training: The Social Media Awareness Responsibility Training (SMART) is an intervention designed for students that promotes digital citizenship, social awareness, and self-management while engaging in online activity. SMART engages students and families in focused discussions, teaching responsible decision-making skills to deter behavior negatively impacting their school environment. The program requires the involvement of the student's parent or guardian as a collaborative effort to provide a wrap-around for affected students. SMART provides interventions for inappropriate behavior and explores the impact of cyberbullying on students’ emotional and social well-being. The program aims to provide education and intervention to help students and their families understand and address the issue of cyberbullying responsibly and constructively.
Community Service Program: Community Service is designed to allow the student an opportunity to work at a school and/or in the community. Each student and parent/guardian will receive a consent form explaining the rules, expectations, and parameters of the community service assignment. In addition to providing an alternative for students who are in violation of the Code of Student Conduct, performing community-service hours helps to educate the students on the value of service and boost their social capital.