Student Code of Conduct

K-12 Discipline Expectations & Enforcement Guidelines

The District believes inappropriate student conduct causes material and substantial disruption to the school environment, interferes with the rights of others, and may present a threat to the health and safety of students, employees, and visitors on school premises. Appropriate classroom behavior allows teachers to communicate more effectively with students.

Students will conduct themselves in a manner fitting to their age level and maturity within the jurisdiction  of  the District; while on school owned and/or operated District or chartered vehicles; while attending or engaged in school activities; and while away from school grounds if misconduct will directly affect the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school or District. Consequences for the misconduct will be fair and developmentally appropriate in light of the circumstances.

Students may be disciplined for conduct which disrupts or interferes with the education program; disrupts the orderly and efficient operation of a school or school activity; disrupts the rights of other students to participate in or obtain their education; which is violent or destructive; or which interrupts the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere. Disciplinary measures include, but are not limited to, removal from the classroom, restriction from activities, detention, suspension, probation, alternative placement, long-term suspension, and expulsion. Discipline of special education students, including suspensions and expulsions, will comply with the provisions of applicable federal and state laws.

A. SCOPE

The Student Code of Conduct shall apply to each enrolled non-IEP student, in addition to and separately from any consequences administered by the criminal justice system:

  • while on District premises;
  • while in District-owned or operated vehicles, or in vehicles chartered in connection with any District-sponsored activity;
  • while attending or participating in District-sponsored activities, at home or away, or;
  • while away from District premises if such conduct would directly affect the good order, efficiency, management, or welfare of the District, its schools, or its students.

B. VIOLATIONS

A student shall be in violation of this Student Code of Conduct when a student:

  1. Uses, Possesses, or Distributes Alcohol/Nicotine/Drugs/Paraphernalia — It is the policy of the District (504.15) to maintain drug, alcohol, and tobacco/nicotine-free schools. Therefore, no student shall possess or distribute, alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco products, drugs (including synthetic marijuana), drug paraphernalia, or contraband.  Nor shall a student use alcohol, tobacco, or tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes), or drugs, or be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on District property or while attending or participating in a District or school-related activity.
  2. Possesses a Weapon — In addition to any weapon offenses proscribed by criminal law, it shall be a Student Code violation for any student to possess any weapon, including a firearm. “Firearm” as defined in Board Policy 502.9 generally includes (a) any weapon, including a starter gun, which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (b) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (c) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (d) any destructive device. The term “firearm” also includes but is not limited to, shotguns, short-barreled shotguns, rifles, and short-barreled rifles. The term “dangerous weapon” as defined by Iowa Code Section 702.7 is any instrument or device designed primarily for use in inflicting death or injury upon a human being or animal, and which is capable of inflicting death upon a human being when used in the manner for which it was designed. Additionally, any instrument or device of any sort whatsoever which is actually used in such a manner as to show an intention to inflict death or serious injury upon another, and which, when so used, is capable of inflicting death upon a human being, is a dangerous weapon. Dangerous weapons include, but are not limited to, any offensive weapon, pistol, revolver, or other firearm, dagger, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, or knife having a blade exceeding five inches in length, or any portable device or weapon directing an electric current, impulse, wave, or beam that produces a high- voltage pulse designed to immobilize a person. Any student who brings a firearm or dangerous weapon to school, onto District property, or to a school-sponsored activity shall be suspended immediately, recommended for expulsion from school for one year, and referred to a Level IV hearing. The superintendent may modify expulsion requirements on a case-by-case basis. A student receiving special education services who brings a dangerous weapon to school or school-sponsored activity shall be treated in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 as outlined in AR502.9. Possesses Ammunition/ Look-alike Weapon — Any student who brings to school ammunition, mace or similar items, a look-a-like weapon, or a weapon such as a BB gun, air pistol, or the like which is not a “firearm” or “dangerous weapon,” shall be subject to discipline at the discretion of the building administrator. “Look-alike weapon” includes any item which resembles or appears to be a weapon, including, but not limited to, squirt guns, water rifles or pistols, slingshots, toy guns, airsoft pistols, and toy grenades.
  3. Engages in Bullying, Harassment, Hazing — No student shall engage in bullying, harassment, or hazing behavior, including, but not limited to electronic, written, sexting, verbal or physical act or conduct which creates a hostile school environment and places a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property, has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health, has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance, or has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school, as outlined in Board Policy 504.4.
  4. Departs Closed Campus/ Parking Lots — No student shall leave their assigned attendance center until the completion of their regularly scheduled school day unless granted permission by the building administration. (Board Policy 505.14)
  5. Possession of Prohibited Electronic Devices-No student shall possess a beeper, pager, two-way radio, laser light, or other electronic device that is potentially disruptive to the learning environment. Students may possess cell phones. Each attendance center shall develop written rules addressing the use of cell phones and provide these rules to students and parents/guardians. A violation of these rules shall constitute a violation of this Student Code. In addition to or in lieu of any Student Code violation, the student’s phone may be confiscated by school personnel and placed in the school office for safe-keeping until the appropriate arrangements can be made for the return of the phone to the student’s parent/guardian.
  6. Dress Inappropriately –Please refer to Dress Appearance section of this handbook for the complete policy regarding dress requirements.
  7. Use of Obscenity — An “obscenity” is any word, image, depiction, gesture, or action that, for no legitimate purpose under the circumstances, (a) is overtly sexual, (b) appeals to prurient interests, and/or (c) is intended to shock, offend, disgust or bait a person of reasonable sensibilities
  8. Disobeys Classroom Rules or Engages in Disorderly Conduct or Fighting — Classroom and/or school rules include written rules, teacher and/or administrative instructions, and the general educational prohibition against all forms of cheating, fighting, or material disruptions to the learning environment.
  9. Theft of Property or Vandalism— Resulting in the destruction or defacing of any District property. This includes, but is not limited to graffiti.

C. PROCEDURE FOR STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT VIOLATIONS

If a student violates the Student Code of Conduct, the District may utilize the following procedures to impose upon the student the consequences listed in Part D below. Five levels of review are in place to determine consequences for Code violations:

  • Level I: The student’s classroom staff
  • Level II: The building administrator(s) of the student’s attendance center Level III: An intermediate hearing officer
  • Level IV: The superintendent
  • Level V: The Board of Directors
  • Violations of Paragraphs B1(Alcohol/Tobacco/Drugs/Paraphernalia); B2(Weapons); B3 (Ammunition/Look-alike Weapons); B4 (Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing); and B5 (Closed Campus/Parking Lot) shall be referred directly to Level II. District personnel may initially administer all other violations at either Level I or Level II, as deemed appropriate. In determining appropriate consequences, decision-makers at all five levels may consider the student’s total record and the totality of the circumstances of the specific violation.

LEVEL I – CLASSROOM

Most Student Code violations may and should be handled by the classroom teacher and support staff through problem solving techniques, proactive interventions, and parent involvement. The teacher may impose any of the Level I consequences listed in Part D.

In cases where these efforts have been tried and failed, the violation is significant, or the violation is one requiring a Level II referral, the student will be referred to the building administrator’s office. Documentation should be kept by the teacher of the violation(s) justifying the referral and of any history pertinent to the referral, such as dates and details of parent/guardian contacts and previously failed intervention efforts, and should include the child’s name, date, sex, grade, race, IEP status, and the teacher’s name.

The student shall have three school days from the date of any Level I decision to appeal to the building administrator of the student’s attendance center.

LEVEL II BUILDING ADMINISTRATOR(S)

In the event of an appeal from a Level I decision, the building administrator, or his/her designee (the “administrator”) shall review the Level I documentation and decision, hear and consider any additional statements or evidence presented by or on behalf of the student and the teacher, if any, and shall, within a reasonable amount of time, issue a decision affirming, canceling or modifying the consequences imposed. The administrator shall have sole discretion whether to stay imposition of any Level I consequence pending the outcome of his/her decision.

In the event of a direct Level II referral, the Administrator may investigate and document the alleged violation and may dismiss the referral, may impose any of the Level I or Level II consequences listed in the Student Code of Conduct, and/or may refer the student to Level III with a recommendation for a Level III consequence listed in the Student Code of Conduct (ex. Temporary out-of-school suspension with recommendation for Level III consequence).

The student shall have three school days from the date of any Level II decision affirming, modifying or imposing only Level I or Level II consequences to appeal, in writing, to the director of secondary education for middle or high school students, or to the director of elementary education for elementary school students, or their designees (the “education director”). The education director shall review the Level II documentation and decision, hear and consider any additional statements or evidence presented by or on behalf of the student or the building administrator, if any, and shall, within a reasonable amount of time, issue a decision affirming, canceling or modifying the consequences imposed. The education director shall have sole discretion whether to stay imposition of any Level II consequence imposed pending the outcome of his/her decision.

The student shall have three school days from the date of the education director’s decision to appeal, in writing, to the superintendent, or his/her designee (the “superintendent”), who will review the education director’s documentation and decision, hear or consider any additional statements or evidence of the student or the education director, if any, and shall, within a reasonable amount of time, issue a decision affirming, canceling or modifying the consequences imposed. The superintendent shall have sole discretion to stay the imposition of any enforcement step, pending the outcome of his/ her decision.

Any appeal from the superintendent’s decision or the decision of his or her designee must be made to the Board of Directors, in writing, within five days of the decision.

LEVEL III INTERMEDIATE HEARING

Upon referral for a Level III consequence a full, fair and impartial hearing will be conducted by the superintendent- appointed hearing officer(s) governed by appropriate due process procedures. If the student is unable to pay the costs of an attorney, he/she may contact Legal Services for assistance. The hearing officer(s) will review the administrator’s documentation, Level I or II decision, if any, and Level III recommendation, hear or consider any additional statements  or evidence of the student or the administrator, if any, and shall, within a reasonable amount of time, issue a decision affirming, canceling, modifying or imposing any of the consequences permitted under Part D. The hearing officer(s) shall have sole discretion to stay the imposition of any enforcement step, pending the outcome of his/her decision. Legal Counsel for the school District may be present at any proceeding that occurs at this level.

Any appeal from the hearing officer’s decision must be made to the superintendent (Level IV), in writing, within five days of the decision.

LEVEL IV SUPERINTENDENT

Level IV appeals will be conducted by the superintendent, governed by such reasonable due process procedure as determined to be appropriate under the circumstances. The superintendent may recommend affirming, canceling, modifying, or imposing any of the consequences permitted under Part D. Legal counsel for the District may be present at any proceedings that occur at this level.

Any appeal from the superintendent’s decision must be made to the Board of Directors (Level V), in writing, within five days of the decision.

LEVEL V BOARD OF DIRECTORS HEARING

Final appeals from Level II, III, and IV will be conducted either by the full Board of Directors or by a hearing  panel of the Board of Directors governed by such reasonable due process procedure it believes appropriate under the circumstances. The Board of Directors or its designated hearing panel may affirm, cancel, modify, or impose any of the consequences permitted under Part D. In accordance with state law and Board Policy 502.3 , any long-term (more than 10 days) suspension or an expulsion must be determined by a majority of the Board of Directors in accordance with appropriate due process and open meetings standards. Legal counsel for the District and/or the Board will generally be present at any Level V proceeding.

D. CONSEQUENCES FOR STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT VIOLATIONS

The purpose of consequences is to modify student behavior, through positive and supportive actions whenever possible. While consequences are most effective when the parent or guardian of the student is supportive of those measures, they are essential even without parent/guardian support. Consequences may include any reasonable discipline, duties, behavior modification, or combination thereof that does not violate school policies or regulations. Consequences administered at each level may include any and all consequences listed in any lower level. Examples of consequences include, without limitation:

LEVEL I CONSEQUENCES AND STUDENT SUPPORTS

  • Verbal reprimand.
  • Conference with student.
  • Problem-solving, using students within the classroom.
  • Utilizing other staff members as resources within the building.
  • Specific instruction by the teacher to change or modify behavior.
  • Parent contact and cooperative agreement on action.
  • Contract developed between the student, teacher, parents, school administrator, and school counselor to establish rules and consequences for classroom behavior.
  • Before or after-school detention with prior parent permission for make-up work.
  • Behavior Modification Plan which specifies actions to be taken to address behavior.
  • Referral to student assistance behavior team to determine Response to Intervention.
  • Warn the student that if the same or similar violation occurs again within the same school year, the student may be subject to further discipline. Any such warning will remain in effect for the school year in which it is received.
  • Temporary removal from class – Teacher sends the student to the office of the building administrator for a period of time not to exceed one (1) day. The building administrator shall review with the student and the classroom teacher readmission to class or any further consequences.
  • Denial of special privileges like films, field trips, parties, or school sponsored programs.
  • Conflict Resolution – School officials and trained conflict managers review with the student the Student Code of Conduct violation(s) and the loss of privileges.
  • School counselor, nurse or agency referral.
  • Written Redirect Notice by SRO that a student’s behavior is in violation of the Iowa Code and the District’s policy, and further conduct may result in a referral to Juvenile Court.

LEVEL II CONSEQUENCES

  • Probation – Imposes conditional attendance for a specified length of time during a trial period. Breach of the specific conditions of probation may result in more severe consequences. Terms and conditions of probation will be provided in writing to the student and/or parent. This probation is intended to be separate from and in addition to any probation that may be imposed by any criminal justice system.
  • Change in Student Schedule – Adjusted student schedule, as part of disciplinary action taken at the building level.
  • In-School Suspension – Temporarily isolates a student from one or more classes while under proper administrative supervision.
  • Temporary Out of School Suspension –Suspends student out of school for up to ten (10) days. A temporarily out of school suspended student shall be given the opportunity to make-up work and receive credit on the same basis as other absentees. Suspended days will be counted as absences. The initiative to make up the work must be made by the student. The building administrator shall attempt to hold a conference as soon as practicable with the parent(s) or guardian(s) to discuss the reasons for the suspension.
  • Detention/Extended School Day – the administrator schedules a student to remain after school, or come to school early, or be in detention during school recess or lunch period. (Notification will be given twenty-four hours prior to the detention time unless parent/guardian contact is made that same day and the student’s transportation needs are resolved).
  • Extended School Week – the administrator schedules make-up time on a day or days when regular school is not in session to complete classroom work missed for discipline reasons.
  • Extended School Year – the administrator schedules make-up time after the end of the regular school year ends for time missed from the classroom for discipline reasons.
  • Building or District Service – administrator assigns job tasks at the building or District level appropriate for the Student Code of Conduct violation. A school employee must supervise tasks.
  • Student Assistance Behavior Program – The student may be required to work with other students and/or staff to help the student to develop appropriate skills to be successful in the school environment.
  • Mentor – A person who has a specific student assigned to him or her for help and guidance in changing the behavior.
  • Referral to Community/Social Agency – Those agencies supported by state or private funds which provide referral services with substance use/abuse problems, and behavioral problems or other special needs.
  • Community Service – Student is required to provide services to the District or other civic or charitable organization in lieu of further disciplinary action.
  • Referral to Attendance Hearing Officer or Mediator – For conference with, and consideration for mediation and/or prosecution of students and/or parents/guardians for violations of the District’s truancy policy.

LEVEL III and LEVEL IV CONSEQUENCES

  1. Alternative Placementstudent is placed in the Sioux City Alternative School. District personnel will meet with the student and parent/guardian to develop a transition plan to reenter the student in his or her regular attendance center.
  2. Long-term Out of School Suspension –suspends student out of school in excess of ten (10) days. An extended out of school suspended student shall be given the opportunity to make-up work and receive credit on the same basis as other absentees.
  3. Exclusion – removal from District property and all school functions, but student is allowed to continue receiving assignments and turning in work for credit .
  4. Expulsion – conditional, time-limited, or permanent removal the student from the District.

E. DISCIPLINE AND PERSONAL CONDUCT STANDARDS

In addition to student conduct expectations, the conduct of employees and visitors is expected to reflect the behavioral expectations of the District of modeling fairness, equity, and respect as the District provides opportunities for students to exercise self-discipline and practice cooperative classroom behavior.  Students, parents/guardians, and staff are all responsible for creating an atmosphere where all individuals feel a sense of respect, safety, and belonging.  The consequences for unacceptable behavior for students are generally set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and for staff in the Employee Handbook.  Consequences for others will be determined by the District in conjunction with District or Board policy and applicable law.    

Parents, guardians, and community members who have concerns about the District or the School Board may refer to the guidance published by the Iowa Department of Education.