ALPINE BOARD OF EDUCATION FILE CODE: 5131*
Alpine, NJ 07620 Policy
CONDUCT / DISCIPLINE
The board believes that an effective instructional program requires an orderly school environment and that the effectiveness of the educational program is, in part, reflected in the behavior of pupils.
The board of education expects pupils to conduct themselves in keeping with their level of maturity, with a proper regard for the rights and welfare of other pupils, for school personnel, for the educational purpose underlying all school activities, and for the care of school facilities and equipment.
The board of education believes that standards of pupil behavior must be set cooperatively by interaction among the pupils, parents/guardians, staff and community, and produce an atmosphere that encourages pupils to grow in self‑discipline. Such an atmosphere must include respect for self and others, as well as for district and community property.
The best discipline is self‑imposed, and pupils must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, and for the consequences of their misbehavior. Staff members who interact with pupils shall place emphasis on the pupils' ability to grow in self‑discipline.
The chief school administrator shall develop general guidelines for pupil conduct on school property, at any school-sponsored function, or on a school bus, and shall direct development of detailed regulations suited to the age level of the pupils and the physical facilities of the school. He/she shall develop and implement a code of student conduct which establishes standards, policies and procedures for positive student development and student behavioral expectations on school grounds, including on a school bus or at school sponsored functions, and as appropriate, conduct away from school grounds. Board policy requires each pupil of this district to adhere to the rules and regulations established by the administration and to submit to such disciplinary measures as are appropriately assigned for infraction of those rules. Therefore, each staff member shall supervise student behavior and shall enforce the chief school administrator's regulations developed to implement this policy. Any teacher or other professional staff's authority shall extend over every student in the entire school, at any time and at all school functions regardless of location.
The chief school administrator shall provide to pupils and their parents/guardians the rules of this district regarding pupil conduct and the sanctions that may be imposed for breach of those rules. Provisions shall be made for informing parents/guardians whose primary language is other than English.
In developing regulations to implement this policy, the chief school administrator shall provide appropriate recognition for pupils who consistently maintain high standards of self‑discipline and good citizenship. In developing the standards procedures to implement this policy, the chief school administrator shall ensure that the code of student conduct:
A. Is based on parent, student and community involvement which represents, where possible, the composition of the schools and community;
B. Is based on locally determined and accepted core ethical values;
C. Is board approved.
The regulations developed by the chief school administrator shall:
A. Require that pupils conform to reasonable standards of socially acceptable behavior; respect the person, property and rights of others; obey constituted authority and respond to those who hold that authority;
B. Establish the degree of order necessary to the educational program in which pupils are engaged.
The board will annually review and update the code of student conduct and this process shall include:
A. Parent, student and community involvement which represents, where possible, the composition of the schools and community;
B. Consideration of the findings of the annual reports of student conduct, suspensions and expulsions; and incidences reported under the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System.
The chief school administrator shall annually:
A. Disseminate the code of student conduct to all staff, students and parents;
B. Report on the implementation of the code of student conduct to the board of a education at public meeting in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.1(a) 5, i-iv.
C. Report to the New Jersey Department of Education on student conduct, including all student suspension and expulsion and incidences reported under the Electronic Violence and Vandalism Reporting System.
Pupils who display chronic behavioral or academic problems may be referred to the child study team by the chief school administrator for possible identification as disruptive or disaffected. Such referrals shall be in strict accordance with the due process regulations prescribed by the
administrative code. Pupils so identified shall be provided with appropriate programs and services as prescribed by the child study team.
A pupil whose presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property, or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process, may be suspended or expelled, following due process.
Any pupil who is guilty of continued and willful disobedience, of open defiance of the authority of any teacher or person having authority over him/her, of the habitual use of profanity or of obscene language, or who shall cut, deface or otherwise injure any school property, shall be liable to punishment and to suspension or expulsion from school following due process.
Conduct which shall constitute good cause for suspension or expulsion of a pupil guilty of such conduct shall include, but not be limited to, those infractions defined in Policy 5114.
Teaching staff members and other employees of this board of education having authority over pupils shall take such lawful means as may be necessary to control the disorderly conduct of pupils in all situations and in all places where such pupils are within the jurisdiction of this board of education.
Any pupil who commits an assault (as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:12‑1) upon a board member, teacher, administrator or other employee of the board of education, or another student or any
other person on any property used for school purposes shall be suspended from school immediately according to procedural due process, and suspension or expulsion proceedings shall begin no later than 10 school days from the date of the pupil's suspension.
In accordance with statute and code, penalties shall be assigned for use, possession and distribution of proscribed substances and drug paraphernalia. The penalties shall be graded according to the severity of the offense. Infractions shall be reported to the local law enforcement agency in accordance with the district's memorandum of agreement. Confidentiality shall be protected in accordance with federal and state law.
Any pupil who is convicted or adjudicated delinquent for possession of a firearm or a crime while armed with a firearm or found knowingly in possession of a firearm on any school property or on a school bus or at a school-sponsored function shall be immediately removed from the school's regular education program for a period of not less than one calendar year. The chief school administrator may modify this suspension on a case-by-case basis. Each pupil so removed shall be placed in an alternative educational program or on home instruction and shall be entitled to a hearing before the board. The hearing shall take place no later than 30 days following the day the pupil is removed from the regular education program and shall be closed to the public.
The chief school administrator shall be responsible for the removal of such students and shall also notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of a possible violation of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice.
The chief school administrator shall determine at the end of the year whether the student is prepared to return to the regular education program, in accordance with procedures established by the commissioner of education.
Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying
The board of education expects pupils to treat each other with civility and respect, and will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Like other disruptive or violent behaviors, this conduct interferes with a pupil's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its pupils in a safe environment.
The board prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying against any pupil.
“Harassment, intimidation or bullying” is defined as any gesture or written, verbal or physical act, or any electronic communication that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristics, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory handicap, and/or for another causation or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function on a school bus or that impacts the educational program of the school and that:
- A reasonable person should know, under the circumstances, will have the effect of harming a pupil or damaging the pupil's property, or placing a pupil in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property; or
- Has the effect of insulting or demeaning any pupil or group of pupils in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school and its educational program.
Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying (continued)
“Electronic communication” means any communication that is transmitted by means of an electronic device, including but not limited to a telephone, cellular phone, computer, or pager takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus.
Any school employee, pupil or volunteer who has witnessed, or has reliable information that a pupil has been subjected to harassment must report the incident to the chief school administrator or his/her designee who are responsible for receiving complaints alleging violations of this policy. All other members of the school community, including students, parents, volunteers and visitors, are encouraged to report any act that may be a violation of this policy. While submission of the report form is not required, the reporting party is encouraged to use the report form available from the school district office. Oral reports also shall be considered official reports. A written summary of the official oral report will be prepared by the chief school administrator or his/her designee. Reports may be made anonymously, but formal disciplinary action may not be based solely on the basis of an anonymous report. The chief school administrator or his/her designee is responsible for determining whether an alleged act constitutes a violation of this policy. In so doing, the chief school administrator and or his/her designee shall conduct a prompt, thorough and complete investigation of the alleged incident.
The board of education shall not tolerate an act of reprisal or retaliation against any person who reports an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for a person who engages in reprisal or retaliation shall be determined by the chief school administrator after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act in accordance with applicable law and the policies and procedures of the board of education.
Some acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying may be isolated incidents requiring that the school respond appropriately to the individuals committing the acts. Other acts may be so serious or parts of a larger pattern of harassment, intimidation or bullying that they require a response either at the classroom, school building or school district levels or by law enforcement officials.
In considering whether a response beyond the individual level is appropriate, the chief school administrator should consider the nature and circumstances of the act, the level of harm, the nature of the behavior, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred. Institutional (i.e., classroom, school building, school district) responses can include: school and community surveys, mailings, focus groups, adoption of research-based bullying prevention program models, training for certificated and non-certificated staff, participation of parents and other community members and organizations, small or large group presentations for fully addressing the actions and the school's response to the actions, in the context of the acceptable student behavior and the consequences of such actions and the involvement of law enforcement officers.
In determining the appropriate response to students who commit one or more acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, the chief school administrator should consider the following factors: the developmental and maturity levels of the parties involved, the levels of harm, the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behaviors, past incidences or past or continuing patterns of behavior, the relationships between the parties involved and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. Concluding whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. It is only after meaningful consideration of these factors that an appropriate consequence should be determined, consistent with the case law, Federal and State statutes,
Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying (continued)
regulations and policies, and district policies and procedures. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for students who commit acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying may range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion and reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.
Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a student found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying range from positive behavioral interventions up to and including suspension or expulsion, as permitted under N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1, Discipline of Pupils. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a school employee found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be disciplined in accordance with district policies, procedures and agreements. Consequences and appropriate remedial action for a visitor or volunteer, found to have falsely accused another as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying shall be determined by the school administrator after consideration of the nature and circumstances of the act, including reports to appropriate law enforcement officials.
The chief school administrator shall develop appropriate procedures addressing:
- A mechanism for reporting acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying, including a means of anonymous reporting;
- The prompt investigation of reports of such acts, identifying chief school administrator or his/her designee as the person responsible for the investigation;
- The range of ways in which a school will respond once an incident of harassment, intimidation or bullying is identified;
- Consequences, discipline and remedial action for a person who commits an act of harassment, intimidation or bullying, who engages in an act of reprisal or retaliation against a person who reports such action, or who falsely accuses another of bullying as a means of harassment, intimidation or bullying.
The chief school administrator shall take all necessary steps to publicize this policy, and shall inform pupils and staff that harassment, intimidation or bullying is prohibited on school property or any school-sponsored function. This information shall also be incorporated into the student handbook and employee training programs.
Disabled pupils are subject to the same disciplinary procedures as non-disabled pupils and may be disciplined in accordance with their IEP. However, before disciplining a disabled pupil, it must be determined that:
A. The pupil's behavior is not primarily caused by his/her educational disability;
B. The program that is being provided meets the pupil's needs.
Staff shall comply with state and federal law and the regulations of the New Jersey administrative code in dealing with discipline and/or suspension of all pupils with disabilities.
Dissemination and Implementation
This policy shall be posted on the district website and parents/guardians and students notified that the policy is available on the district website.
The chief school administrator shall ensure that the rules for this policy are applied consistently and uniformly, and that all disciplinary sanctions are carried out with necessary due process. At a public meeting the chief school administrator shall, on an annual basis, provide the board of education with a numerical summary of all out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and removal of students for violations of student conduct.
The board shall review all related policies on a regular basis.
Legal References: N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-60 et al. Disclosure of juvenile information; penalties for
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 Definition of assault
N.J.S.A. 2C:33‑19 Paging devices, possession by pupils
N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5 Unlawful possession of weapons
N.J.S.A. 18A:6‑1 Corporal punishment of pupils
N.J.S.A. 18A:11‑1 General mandatory powers and duties
N.J.S.A. 18A:36-19a Newly enrolled pupils; records and identification
N.J.S.A. 18A:25‑2 Authority over pupils
N.J.S.A. 18A:36-19a Newly enrolled students; records and identification
N.J.S.A. 18A:37-1 et seq. Discipline of Pupils
N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-1 et seq. Substance Abuse
N.J.S.A. 18A:54‑20 Powers of board (county vocational schools)
N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.8 Discipline/suspension/expulsions
N.J.A.C. 6A:16-1.1et seq. Programs to Support Student Development
-4.1, -5.1, -6.1, -6.2, -7.1
N.J.A.C. 6A:32-12.1 Reporting requirements
N.J.A.C. 6A:32-12.2 School-level planning
P.L. 2007, c.129 amends N.J.S.A. 18A:37-15 and includes electronic communication in the definition of public school ”harassment, intimidation or bullying”.
20 U.S.C.A. 1415(k) Individual with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997
Bethel School District No. 403, v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986)
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier 484 U.S. 260 (1988)
Honig v. Doe, 484 U.S. 305 (1988)
See also Commissioners' Decisions indexed under “Pupils – Punishment of” in Index
to N.J. School Law Decisions
Manual for the Evaluation of Local School Districts (September 2002)
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107-110,20 U.S.C.A. 6301 et seq.
L.W. v.Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education, N.J. No A-111-05 (Feb. 22, 2007). 2007 N.J. LEXIS 184. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a school district may be held liable under the New Jersey Law against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.A.S. 10:5-1 to -49, when students harass another student because of his perceived sexual orientation. A district school will be liable for such harassment if it knew or should of the harassment but failed to take reasonable remedial actions. The matter was remanded to the Director of the Division of Civil Rights.
A Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law
Enforcement Officials Revisions 1999,2007
Cross References: *1220 Ad hoc advisory committees
*1410 Local units
*3541.33 Transportation safety
*4131/ Staff development; inservice education/visitation conferences
4148 Employee protection
*4231/ Staff development; inservice education/visitation conferences
4248 Employee protection
5000 Concepts and roles in pupil personnel
5010 Personal goals and objectives for pupils
*5020 Role of parents/guardians
*5113 Absences and excuses
*5114 Suspension and expulsion
*5124 Reporting to parents/guardians
*5127 Commencement activities
*5131.6 Drugs, alcohol, tobacco (substance abuse)
*5131.7 Weapons and dangerous instruments
5132 Dress and grooming
5145.2 Freedom of speech/expression
*5145.4 Equal educational opportunity
*5145.6 Pupil grievance procedure
*5145.11 Questioning and apprehension
*5145.12 Search and seizure
*6145 Extracurricular activities
*6164.4 Child study team
*6171.4 Special education
*6172 Alternative educational programs
*Indicates policy is included in the Critical Policy Reference Manual.
Conduct, Discipline, Pupil Conduct, Student Conduct, Weapons, Vandalism, Harassment
Reviewed: August 28, 2003
Revised: August 28, 2003, December 18, 2003, January 4, 2007, Legal Update February 1, 2007, Legal Update March 1, 2007, Legal Update October, 2007, Legal Update April 15, 2008,
Legal Update January 9, 2009.