The School District is committed to promoting a safe, healthy, and supportive school and learning environment for all students. To achieve this goal, the District plays a significant role in supporting positive student conduct and behavior with respect to students, district personnel, and members of the community. This expectation extends to when students are on District property, on property within the jurisdiction of the School District (including vehicles), or while attending school activities.
In order to promote a safe, healthy, and supportive school and learning environment, this policy prohibits student conduct and behavior that causes material or substantial disruption to the school environment, interferes with the rights of others, presents a threat to the health and safety of students, employees, or visitors, constitutes a crime or a violation of the Safe School Zones Act, or violates the District’s established expectations for student conduct and behavior. Responses to violations of established expectations for student conduct and behavior will be designed to maximize academic, emotional, and social success while at the same time ensuring the safety of all students, staff and school visitors. To attain this objective, the Board endorses the adoption of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) as the underlying framework for implementing a system of graduated responses which incorporates in-school support and disciplinary consequences.
Established Expectations for Student Conduct and Behavior
The School Board delegates to the Superintendent, in consultation with building administrators, the responsibility of adopting and implementing age-appropriate expectations for student conduct and behavior for each school. These will include school-wide approaches, as well as small group and individualized interventions that target a student’s specific areas of need.
Whenever appropriate, and consistent with safety concerns, the ConVal School District shall seek to improve student conduct and behavior through alternatives other than the use of exclusionary discipline practices (i.e., suspension or expulsion).
The District maintains a proactive, progressive response system of age-appropriate supports which are designed to promote acceptable behavior, correct student misconduct, reduce incidents of future misconduct, and safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of students and staff. The following are examples of in-school supports that may be offered to students before, in conjunction with, or after disciplinary consequences:
A. Elementary School In-School Supports
The supports offered to students at the elementary schools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Preventive Classroom Management – Preventive classroom management includes the implementation of a variety of strategies that support students to be successful in the classroom (e.g., having an organized classroom, establishing clear routines and procedures, setting high expectations, stating expected behaviors positively, modeling expected behaviors).
- In-Class Regulation Support – Students are supported to build and practice a “toolbox” of regulation strategies that they can select from when they feel dysregulated (e.g., breathing strategies, movement/sensory activities, mindfulness strategies, positive time away from the class).
- Precorrection – A precorrection is a quick reminder that describes the expected behavior for a task, activity, or transition that is about to happen. The goal of precorrection is to proactively prompt expected behavior before problem behaviors occur.
- Positive Reinforcement – Recognizing when a student exhibits an expected behavior (e.g., offering behavior-specific praise).
- Active Adult Supervision – Staff circulate among and interact with students, acknowledging when students demonstrate expected behaviors by providing positive reinforcement.
- Conference – Teachers or administrators meet with students and/or their parents/guardians to debrief a particular situation or incident in order to support students to reflect on a particular situation or incident, etc.
- Reflection – Students reflect on what happened, what they were thinking/feeling, what action they took, what their action accomplished, and what they would do differently next time.
- Adult Mentorship – Staff members serve as mentors who coach students to make positive behavior changes, monitor the students’ behavior, and provide the presence of a trusted adult at school (e.g., Check In/Check Out).
- Social Skills/Behavior Instruction – A social skills curriculum is targeted to address specific areas of need for an individual student or a small group of students (e.g., asking for help, taking turns, sharing, initiating play, making friends).
- Reinforcement Systems – Reinforcement systems include providing instruction on the expected or desired behavior and then developing a plan for reinforcing that behavior such as:
- Token Economies – Students earn tokens when they exhibit the expected behavior. Tokens can be used to obtain an item or a preferred activity.
- School-to-Home Communication – When students meet a daily/weekly goal for behavior, the school calls home or sends a positive note home.
- Schedule Modification – This involves modifying student schedules to better support their readiness to learn and demonstrate appropriate behaviors (e.g., build regular movement breaks into a student’s schedule, build a weekly time with the school counselor into the student’s schedule).
- Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA) – FBA is an assessment that is designed to uncover the reason(s) why students are engaging in problem behaviors.
- Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) – Following an FBA, intervention plans are designed to support students in reducing problem behaviors through the use of appropriate replacement behaviors.
- Wrap-Around Services – This intervention involves developing a plan of support that organizes systematic and integrated services across school, home, and community settings.
B. Middle and High School In-School Support
In addition to the supports listed for elementary school, the supports offered to students at the middle and high school include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Social Skills/Behavior Instruction – A social skills curriculum targets specific areas of need for an individual student or a small group of students (e.g., organizational skills and goal setting, interpersonal communication skills, problem-solving, coping with feelings).
- Peer Mediation/Peer-to-Peer Problem Solving – Trained students serve as neutral mediators helping peers to address interpersonal issues by going through a process that focuses on identifying any underlying root causes and then deciding on fair ways to resolve the issue or conflict.
- Restorative Meeting – Restorative meetings focus on implementing a victim-sensitive process for problem solving that shows the school community members involved how they can deal with the consequences of the wrongdoing and repair the harm done.
- Counselor Intervention – The School Counselor and Student Support Counselor provide social-emotional support and/or services that enable students to progress consistent with the educational, social-emotional, career, and transitional goals of all students. Support services are provided in 1:1 meetings, in small groups, and in co-taught, in-class environments.
- Schedule Modification – This involves modifying student schedules to better support their readiness to learn and demonstrate appropriate behaviors (e.g., rearrange class schedule).
- Youth Employment and Empowerment Services (YEES) – YEES is a state-certified program that facilitates communication between the family, school, and community and coordinating resources that are available to identified students.
- Wrap-Around Services – Involves developing a plan of support that organizes systematic and integrated services across school, home, and community settings.
In-school support is not considered a disciplinary consequence. Any educator or staff member may refer a student to an administrator for in-school support. The examples listed above are not exclusive, and administrators may implement other supports that they deem appropriate. The decision to provide in-school support is final and not appealable. Except in the case where support requires parental consent and the parent has withheld consent, a student’s refusal to accept or participate in an in-school support may constitute cause for the administrator implementing a disciplinary consequence or an additional disciplinary consequence.
Graduated Disciplinary Consequences
The ConVal School District maintains a system of graduated disciplinary consequences that are available for implementation when responding to student misconduct that does not warrant suspension or expulsion. When an administrator determines that a disciplinary consequence is warranted, the administrator may determine, at their sole discretion, an appropriate consequence. Administrators will seek to implement graduated disciplinary consequences (sanctions) when doing so will not be detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of students or staff.
The following are examples of graduated disciplinary consequences that may be administered. When appropriate, graduated disciplinary consequences may be paired with in-school support.
A. Elementary School Graduated Disciplinary Consequences
The graduated disciplinary consequences that may be administered at elementary schools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Planned Ignoring – The student remains in the setting, but the teacher appears to ignore the student misbehavior rather than allow it to gain time and attention.
- Withdrawal of Materials – If a student misuses a material, the material is taken away for a specified amount of time.
- Time Away from Activity/Group – Students are able to observe, but cannot participate in, an activity for a specified amount of time.
- Loss of Privilege – Students are not allowed to use a specific material or piece of equipment as a result of a misbehavior. For example, if a student repeatedly walks up the slide on the playground, the student may be told that they cannot use the slide for the rest of the day or week. Students may not be allowed to participate in a particular activity. For example, a student may not attend an extra-curricular activity as a result of their misbehavior.
- Apology – Students need to provide a verbal or written apology to those impacted by their misbehavior.
- Restitution/Community Service – Students are responsible for repairing the harm or damage done as a result of their inappropriate behavior.
- Parent Contact – The teacher and/or the administrator contacts a parent/guardian to let them know about their child’s inappropriate behavior, as well as any disciplinary consequences that will be implemented as a result of their inappropriate behavior.
- Time in Office – Students are removed from the classroom and need to spend time in the office so that the administrator can talk with the student about their inappropriate behavior.
- Administrator Letter to Parent – Inappropriate behavior by students is documented and shared with parent(s)/guardian and becomes part of their disciplinary record.
- During-School Detention
- After-School Detention
B. Middle and High School Graduated Disciplinary Consequences
In addition to the graduated disciplinary consequences identified for elementary school students, graduated disciplinary consequences that may be administered for middle and high school students include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Temporary Removal from Class
- Academic Consequence — Such action may include requiring students to redo an assignment or retake an assessment for a reduced grade when caught cheating.
- Police Report – A report to police is made when a student may have committed a criminal act on school property or while attending a school-sponsored activity.
- Superintendent Involvement
These graduated disciplinary consequences shall be administered in a manner which does not result in the student’s loss of access to their educational programming. Any staff member may refer a student to the administrator for disciplinary consequences. The decision of an administrator shall be final and shall not be appealable.
Neither in-school supports nor graduated disciplinary consequences shall be deemed a precondition for a suspension or expulsion which is permitted under the law without prior in-school supports or graduated discipline.
Suspension of Students
It is the stated objective of the ConVal School District to reduce the need for suspensions and expulsions through the use of responses such as in-school supports and graduated disciplinary consequences. The District reserves suspension for those matters which threaten to disrupt the educational community, which disrupt the educational community, which represent repeated or significant violations of the conduct or behavioral standards of the District, which threaten to endanger the health, safety, or welfare of students or staff, or which endanger the health, safety, or welfare of students or staff.
There are three forms of suspension: short-term suspension of five (5) days or fewer, short-term suspensions between six (6) and ten (10) days, and long-term suspension for more than ten (10) days.
As required by RSA 193:13(a), educational assignments shall be made available to the suspended pupil during the period of suspension.
Standards for Short-Term Suspension up to Five (5) School Days [Level One]
A short-term suspension of up to five (5) school days shall be reserved for:
- Misconduct that presents a low level of detriment to the health, safety, or welfare of the student committing the act and a low level of detriment to the health, safety, or welfare of other students or staff.
- Repeated and willful disregard of the rules of the school that has not been remediated through in-school support and graduated lesser forms of discipline.
- Such other infraction as the school administrator deems to warrant a short-term suspension of up to five (5) days.
Examples of misconduct which may result in a suspension of up to five (5) days include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Nicotine Products/Paraphernalia
- Social Media Violations/Harassment
- Physical Assault
- Sexual harassment without unwanted physical contact
- Possession of a controlled drug without a valid prescription
- Repeated violation of any conduct standard
- Conduct that is repeatedly disruptive to classroom or school activities
- Dishonesty, including cheating on school assignments or assessments
The examples provided above are not an exhaustive list, and any similar form of misconduct may result in a suspension of up to five (5) school days. The school administrator shall have discretion in determining the number of days that the misconduct warrants, up to five (5) days.
In addition, school administrators shall have the discretion to refrain from issuing a suspension when they determine that student conduct may be remediated through in-school support and/or a lesser consequence. In considering the length of the suspension, school administrators shall consider:
- The extent to which the conduct presented a threat or risk to, the health, safety, or welfare of other students or school personnel, the integrity of the educational process, or the functioning of the school.
- Whether the conduct was disruptive to the school environment and if so, the nature and extent of the disruption.
- The extent to which the misconduct is a repeat incident.
The administrator may implement the suspension on the day of the infraction, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. Suspensions of no more than five (5) days may be made by an assistant principal. Prior to such suspension, the person ordering the suspension must, orally or in writing, inform the student of the charge(s) and give the student an opportunity to respond to the charges. If the student refutes the charge(s), evidence of the misconduct shall be presented to the student. A suspension of five (5) days or fewer is not appealable.
Standards for Short-Term Suspension up to Ten (10) School Days [Level Two]
A short-term suspension between six (6) and ten (10) school days shall be reserved for:
- Behavior or misconduct that threatens significant harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the student, or other students or staff;
- Behavior or misconduct that results in significant harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the student, or other students or staff; or
- Repeated and willful disregard of the expectations for behavior that has not been remediated through in-school supports and graduated lesser forms of discipline (which may include a Level One suspension).
- Misconduct that involves or threatens disruption of the school environment.
- Such other infraction as the principal deems to warrant a short-term suspension between six (6) and ten (10) days.
Examples of misconduct which may result in a Level Two suspension, include but are not limited to, the following:
- Multiple Level One infractions, whether in combination or repeated infractions
- Drug/alcohol policy violations
- Assault resulting in physical injury
- Repeated bullying
- Repeated sexual harassment
- Sexual harassment involving unwanted physical contact
- Disruption of the school day (Threats of Violence)
The examples provided above are not an exhaustive list, and any similar form of misconduct may result in a suspension of between six (6) and ten (10) school days. The school administrator shall have discretion in determining the number of days that the misconduct warrants. In addition, the school administrator shall have the discretion to issue lesser forms of discipline when they determine that the student conduct may be remediated through in-school supports and/or a lesser consequence. In considering the length of the suspension, the school administrator shall consider:
- The extent to which the conduct presented a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of other students or school personnel.
- Whether the conduct was disruptive to the school environment, and if so, the nature and extent of the disruption.
- The extent to which the misconduct is a repeat incident and whether prior disciplinary measures have been unsuccessful.
The administration reserves the right to implement the suspension during the day of the infraction, depending on the nature and severity of the violation and/or the potential results of the violation. Prior to such suspension, the person ordering the suspension must, orally or in writing, inform the student of the charge(s) and give the student an opportunity to respond to the charges. If the student refutes the charge(s), evidence of the misconduct shall be presented to the student.
The decision of the School administrator is final and there is no right of appeal of a suspension of ten (10) days or fewer.
Interventions after Suspension
Students who are suspended for bullying shall be provided with targeted interventions, which shall also be considered a remedial measures. These may include, but are not limited to, the in-school supports bulleted above. Students who engage in repeated bullying after such targeted interventions may be subject to long-term suspension or expulsion, depending on the misconduct.
Standards for Long-Term Suspensions [11 to 20 days] [Level Three]
The Superintendent is designated and authorized by the School Board to extend a suspension for a period of ten (10) additional consecutive school days up to a total of twenty (20) consecutive school days (including the prior ten (10) days) following a hearing before the Superintendent for the following misconduct:
- Misconduct that threatens or results in significant harm to the health, safety, or welfare of the student, other students, or the school staff.
- Misconduct that causes, or threatens to cause, substantial disruption to the school environment.
- Criminal conduct on school property or at a school function
The Superintendent or their designee is authorized to extend a suspension for a period from an eleventh (11th ) day up to a total of twenty (20) days based on the extreme nature of a situation.
Examples of misconduct which may result in a total suspension of up to twenty (20) days include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Any substantial threat to the school community
- Persistent and continual disregard of district policies
- An act that constitutes an act of theft, destruction, or violence as defined in RSA 193-D [The Safe School Zones Act]
- Bullying pursuant to school district policy when the student has not responded to targeted interventions and poses an ongoing threat to the safety or welfare of another student
- Possession of a firearm [pending an expulsion recommendation], BB gun, paintball gun, or look-alike weapon
- The sale of drugs, either on or off campus
- Sexual assault, other than a felony if committed by an adult
- Possession of a knife or other weapon on campus or at a school activity
- Physical injury to staff or another student
- Any misconduct which is pending the Superintendent’s recommendation for an expulsion hearing
A student who repeats any of the long-term suspension infractions listed above may be referred to the School Board for an expulsion hearing. A student who has been referred to the School Board for expulsion may be subject to either a Level Two or Level Three suspension as an interim disciplinary measure, pending the hearing before the School Board.
Any time a student is suspended more than ten (10) school days in any school year, upon the student’s return to school the District shall develop an intervention plan designed to proactively address the student’s misconduct.
Prior suspensions for drug/alcohol, weapons, or fighting violations may be considered aggravating factors in making disciplinary decisions.
When the District contemplates a suspension, which will result in cumulative suspension days for the school year of more than twenty (20) days in total, the District shall arrange for and provide alternative educational services to the student for the duration of their suspension. The alternative educational services shall be designed to enable the student to advance from grade to grade.
No student shall be penalized academically solely by virtue of missing class due to suspension.
Before any long-term suspension [more than 10 days] may be implemented, except as provided for below, students and their parent/guardian must be informed in writing of the charges, and a hearing must be scheduled before the Superintendent or designee, at which the student shall be permitted to be represented by a parent, other adult, or counsel (at student expense) to refute any charges or evidence against them, offer evidence, explanations or mitigating circumstances, cross-examine witnesses, and call witnesses of their own. The long-term suspension process shall comply with the requirements of Ed 317, as amended from time to time by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The failure on the part of students and/or their parent/guardian to show at a hearing without just cause shall constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing.
Long-term suspensions are appealable to the School Board unless determined by the Board. Any appeal of a long-term suspension to the Board shall be made in writing and received by the Superintendent within ten (10) days after the issuance of the decision being appealed.
The Board shall hold a hearing on the appeal. The long-term suspension shall remain in force while the appeal is pending, unless the Board stays the suspension while the appeal is pending. The Board may affirm, reverse, shorten, lengthen, or otherwise modify the terms of the long-term suspension, and, when appropriate under the law of the state, may expel the student. The decision of the School Board shall be in writing.
Standards for Expulsion of Students
Expulsion decisions may only be made by the School Board after written notice of the Superintendent’s recommendation for expulsion has been provided to the student’s parent/guardian or to the adult student. The written recommendation shall set forth the basis for the Superintendent’s recommendation.
Additionally, expulsion may only occur after a hearing by the Board which affords the minimum due process required by the regulations of the State Board of Education. The hearing shall be conducted in a nonpublic session unless the parent/guardian or adult student requests a public hearing.
Any student may be expelled from the District by the Board for an act that poses an ongoing threat to the safety of students or school personnel and that constitutes:
- A repeated act that would otherwise warrant long term suspension but for its repetition
- Any act of physical or sexual assault that would be a felony if committed by an adult
- Any act of violence pursuant to RSA 651:5, XIII
- Criminal threatening pursuant to RSA 631:4, II(a)
- An act of theft, destruction, or violence in a Safe School Zone
- Possession of a pellet or BB gun, paintball gun, rifle, or handgun
- Any act of similar or greater severity as those acts listed above
Furthermore, any student who brings or possesses a firearm as defined in section 921 of Title 18 of the United States Code on school campus, on school transportation, or to any District activity or event as defined in RSA 193-D:1 without written authorization from the Superintendent or designee shall be expelled from school by the local school board for a period of no less than twelve (12) months.
In considering whether expulsion is warranted, the Board shall consider:
- The student’s age
- The student’s disciplinary history
- Whether the student is a student with a disability
- The seriousness of the violation or behavior committed by the student
- Whether the school district has implemented positive behavioral interventions subsequent to a ten (10) day suspension
- Whether a lesser intervention would properly address the violation or behavior committed by the student
A student expelled from school in another New Hampshire school district or another state shall not be eligible to enroll in the ConVal School District for the period of such expulsion. If the expulsion is for an indefinite period, the student or their parent/guardian may petition the School Board for enrollment provided they reside in the District or agree to pay tuition. If the student is denied enrollment, the expulsion may be appealed to the State Board of Education. The Superintendent is authorized to modify an expulsion and any reenrollment requirement on a case-by-case basis.
Any expulsion shall be subject to review by the School Board if requested prior to the start of each school year. Any parent/guardian or adult student has the right to appeal any such expulsion by the School Board to the State Board of Education at any time while the expulsion remains in effect.
Implementation and Notice
The Superintendent shall ensure that established expectations for student conduct and behavior shall be published annually in each school’s student handbook, which are submitted, reviewed, and approved annually by the School Board.
These expectations will be made available to parents/guardians at the beginning of the school year, and be publicly available on the school or district website. Expectations for student conduct and behavior will also be made available in another language or presented orally upon request.
Additionally, building principal(s) shall ensure student awareness of the established expectations for student conduct and behavior and other District policies through print, postings and/or periodic announcements.
The Superintendent shall designate personnel to explore and pursue relevant State or Federal grants, technical assistance, and professional development opportunities available to facilitate the implementation of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) for social, emotional, and behavioral health and wellness.
Consistent with the Board’s statutory authority, and other Board policies regarding review of administrative rules, regulations and procedures, the School Board retains the authority to modify, supersede, or suspend any provision of the established expectations for student conduct and behavior.
Parental Notification of Simple Assaults
Pursuant to RSA 193-D:4, I (b), the Superintendent is directed to adopt and implement procedures requiring notice to parents/guardians of each student involved in a simple assault (victim and perpetrator) occurring during the school day, when such assault causes: any form of bodily injury, including bruising or discoloration, or would otherwise constitute a disciplinable offense. For purposes of this policy, “simple assault” shall have the same meaning as that provided in RSA 631:2-a (a simple assault occurs when one purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact to another; or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or negligently causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon).
Disciplinary Removal of Students with Disabilities
If a student is disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the New Hampshire RSA 186-C, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or any other law providing special rights to students with disabilities, those laws shall govern and shall supersede these local policies to the extent these local policies are inconsistent with those laws. Accordingly, any class or activity removal, suspension or expulsion of a child with a disability as defined in Ed 1102.01(t) shall be in accordance with Ed 1124.01 and federal law.
RSA 189:15, Regulations
RSA 193:13, Suspension & Expulsion of Pupils
RSA Chapter 193-D, Safe Schools Zones
18 U.S.C. § 921, Et seq., Firearms
20 U.S.C. § 7151, Gun-Free Schools Act
RSA 631:4, Criminal Threatening
RSA 651:5, XIII “Act of Violence”
NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 306.04(f), Student Discipline Policy
NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed. 306.04(g), Suspension & Expulsion
NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 306.04(a)(3), Discipline
NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 306.04(f), Student Discipline Policy
NH Code of Administrative Rules, Section Ed 317.04, Suspension and Expulsion of Pupils Assuring Due Process Disciplinary Procedures
In re Keelin B., 162 N.H. 38, 27 A.3d 689 (2011)
Category: Priority – Required by Law
1st Read: July 13, 2021
2nd Read: July 20, 2021
Adoption: July 20, 2021