State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_115C > GS_115C-391

§ 115C‑391.  Corporalpunishment, suspension, or expulsion of pupils.

(a)        Local boards ofeducation shall adopt policies not inconsistent with the provisions of theConstitutions of the United States and North Carolina, governing the conduct ofstudents and establishing procedures to be followed by school officials insuspending or expelling any student, or in disciplining any student if theoffensive behavior could result in suspension, expulsion, or the administrationof corporal punishment. Local boards of education shall include a reasonabledress code for  students in these policies.

The policies that shall beadopted for the administration of corporal punishment shall include at aminimum the following conditions:

(1)        Corporal punishmentshall not be administered in a classroom with other children present;

(2)        The student bodyshall be informed beforehand what general types of misconduct could result incorporal punishment;

(3)        Only a teacher,substitute teacher, principal, or assistant principal may administer corporalpunishment and may do so only in the presence of a principal, assistantprincipal, teacher, substitute teacher, teacher assistant, or student teacher,who shall be informed beforehand and in the student's presence of the reasonfor the punishment; and

(4)        An appropriateschool official shall provide the child's parent or guardian with notificationthat corporal punishment has been administered, and upon request, the officialwho administered the corporal punishment shall provide the child's parent orguardian a written explanation of the reasons and the name of the second schoolofficial who was present.

Each local board shall publishall the policies mandated by this subsection and make them available to eachstudent and his parent or guardian at the beginning of each school year.Notwithstanding any policy adopted pursuant to this section, school personnelmay use reasonable force, including corporal punishment, to control behavior orto remove a person from the scene in those situations when necessary:

(1)        To quell adisturbance threatening injury to others;

(2)        To obtain possessionof weapons or other dangerous objects on the person, or within the control, ofa student;

(3)        For self‑defense;

(4)        For the protectionof persons or property; or

(5)        To maintain order onschool property, in the classroom, or at a school‑related activity on oroff school property.

(b)        The principal of aschool, or his or her delegate, shall have authority to suspend for a period of10 days or less any student who willfully violates policies of conductestablished by the local board of education. When a student is suspended underthis subsection for a period of 10 days or less, the principal, or his or herdelegate, shall give notice to the student's parent or guardian of thestudent's suspension and the student's rights under this subsection. The noticeshall be given by telephone, telefax, e‑mail, or any other methodreasonably designed to achieve actual notice. A student suspended under thissubsection shall be provided all of the following:

(1)        The opportunity totake textbooks home for the duration of the suspension.

(2)        The right to inquireabout homework assignments for the duration of the suspension.

(3)        The opportunity totake any quarterly, semester, or grading period examinations missed during thesuspension period.

(c)        The principal of aschool, with the prior approval of the superintendent, shall have the authorityto suspend for periods of times in excess of 10 school days but not exceedingthe time remaining in the school year, any pupil who willfully violates thepolicies of conduct established by the local board of education. The pupil orhis parents may appeal the decision of the principal to the local board ofeducation.

(d)        NotwithstandingG.S. 115C‑378:

(1)        A local board ofeducation may, upon recommendation of the principal and superintendent, expelany student 14 years of age or older whose behavior indicates that thestudent's continued presence in school constitutes a clear threat to the safetyof other students or employees. The local board of education's decision toexpel a student under this section shall be based on clear and convincingevidence. Prior to ordering the expulsion of a student pursuant to thissubdivision, the local board of education shall consider whether there is analternative program offered by the local school administrative unit that mayprovide education services for the student who is subject to expulsion. At anytime after the first July 1 that is at least six months after the board'sdecision to expel a student under this subsection, a student may request thelocal board of education to reconsider that decision. If the studentdemonstrates to the satisfaction of the local board of education that thestudent's presence in school no longer constitutes a threat to the safety ofother students or employees, the board shall readmit the student to a school inthat local school administrative unit on a date the board considersappropriate.

(2)        A local board ofeducation may expel any student subject to G.S. 14‑208.18. The localboard of education's decision to expel a student under this subdivision shallbe based on clear and convincing evidence. Prior to ordering the expulsion of astudent pursuant to this subdivision, the local board of education shallconsider whether there is an alternative program that may be offered by thelocal school administrative unit to provide educational services. As providedby G.S. 14‑208.18(f), if the local board of education determines that astudent shall be provided educational services on school property, the studentmust be under the supervision of school personnel at all times.

(d1)      A local board ofeducation or superintendent shall suspend for 365 calendar days any studentwho:

(1)        Brings ontoeducational property or to a school‑sponsored curricular orextracurricular activity off educational property, or

(2)        Possesses oneducational property or at a school‑sponsored curricular orextracurricular activity off educational property,

a weapon, as defined in G.S. 14‑269.2(b),14‑269.2(b1), 14‑269.2(g), and 14‑269.2(h). The local boardof education upon recommendation by the superintendent may modify thissuspension requirement on a case‑by‑case basis that includes, butis not limited to, the procedures established under Article 9 of this Chapterfor the discipline of students with disabilities and may also provide, orcontract for the provision of, educational services to any student suspendedpursuant to this subsection in an alternative school setting or in anothersetting that provides educational and other services.

(d2)     (1)        Thesuperintendent shall, upon recommendation of the principal, remove to analternative educational setting, as provided in subdivision (4) of thissubsection, any student who is at least 13 and who physically assaults andseriously injures a teacher or other school personnel. If no appropriatealternative educational setting is available, then the superintendent shall,upon recommendation of the principal, suspend for no less than 300 days but nomore than 365 days any student who is at least 13 and who physically assaultsand seriously injures a teacher or other school personnel.

(2)        The superintendentmay, upon recommendation of the principal, remove to an alternative educationalsetting any student who is at least 13 and who does one of the following:

a.         Physically assaultsa teacher or other adult who is not a student.

b.         Physically assaultsanother student if the assault is witnessed by school personnel.

c.         Physically assaultsand seriously injures another student.

If noappropriate alternative educational setting is available, then thesuperintendent may, upon recommendation of the principal, suspend this studentfor up to 365 days.

(3)        For purposes of thissubsection, the conduct leading to suspension or removal to an alternativeeducational setting must occur on school property or at a school‑sponsoredor school‑related activity on or off school property. This subsectionshall not apply when the student who is subject to suspension or removal wasacting in self‑defense. If a teacher is assaulted or injured and as aresult a student is suspended or removed to an alternative educational settingunder this subsection, then the student shall not be returned to that teacher'sclassroom unless the teacher consents. If a student is suspended under thissubsection, the board may assign the student to an alternative educationalsetting upon the expiration of the period of suspension.

(4)        If thesuperintendent removes the student to an alternative educational setting, asprovided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, and the conduct leading to theremoval occurred on or before the ninetieth school day, the board shall removethe student to that setting for the remainder of the current school year andthe first 90 school days in the following school year. If the superintendentchooses to remove the student to an alternative educational setting, asprovided in subdivision (1) of this subsection, and the conduct leading to theremoval occurred after the ninetieth school day, the board shall remove thestudent to that setting for the remainder of the current school year and forthe entire subsequent school year. Notwithstanding these requirements, thesuperintendent may authorize a shorter or longer length of time a student mustremain in an alternative educational setting if the superintendent finds thiswould be more appropriate based upon the recommendations of the principals ofthe alternative school and the school to which the student will return.

(d3)      A local board ofeducation or superintendent shall suspend for 365 calendar days any studentwho, by any means of communication to any person or group of persons, makes areport, knowing or having reason to know the report is false, that there islocated on educational property or at a school‑sponsored curricular orextracurricular activity off educational property any device designed todestroy or damage property by explosion, blasting, or burning, or who, withintent to perpetrate a hoax, conceals, places, or displays any device, machine,instrument, or artifact on educational property or at a school‑sponsoredcurricular or extracurricular activity off educational property, so as to causeany person reasonably to believe the same to be a bomb or other device capableof causing injury to persons or property. The local board upon recommendationby the superintendent may modify either suspension requirement on a case‑by‑casebasis that includes, but is not limited to, the procedures established underArticle 9 of this Chapter for the discipline of students with disabilities andmay also provide, or contract for the provision of, educational services to anystudent suspended under this subsection in an alternative school setting or inanother setting that provides educational and other services. For purposes ofthis subsection and subsection (d1) of this section, the term "educationalproperty" has the same definition as in G.S. 14‑269.2(a)(1).

(d4)      A local board ofeducation or superintendent may suspend for up to 365 days any student who:

(1)        By any means ofcommunication to any person or group of persons, makes a report, knowing orhaving reason to know the report is false, that there is located on educationalproperty or at a school‑sponsored curricular or extracurricular activityoff educational property any device, substance, or material designed to causeharmful or life‑threatening illness or injury to another person;

(2)        With intent toperpetrate a hoax, conceals, places, disseminates, or displays on educationalproperty or at a school‑sponsored curricular or extracurricular activityoff educational property any device, machine, instrument, artifact, letter,package, material, or substance, so as to cause any person reasonably tobelieve the same to be a substance or material capable of causing harmful orlife‑threatening illness or injury to another person;

(3)        Threatens to commiton educational property or at a school‑sponsored curricular orextracurricular activity off educational property an act of terror that islikely to cause serious injury or death, when that threat is intended to causea significant disruption to the instructional day or a school‑sponsoredactivity or causes that disruption;

(4)        Makes a report,knowing or having reason to know the report is false, that there is about tooccur or is occurring on educational property or at a school‑sponsoredcurricular or extracurricular activity off educational property an act ofterror that is likely to cause serious injury or death, when that report isintended to cause a significant disruption to the instructional day or a school‑sponsoredactivity or causes that disruption; or

(5)        Conspires to commitany of the acts described in this subsection.

(d5)      When a student isrecommended for expulsion or suspension for more than 10 days, the local boardshall give written notice to the student's parent. For the purposes of thissubsection, the word "parent" shall mean parent, guardian, caregiver,or other person legally responsible for the student. The written notice shallbe provided to the student's parent by the end of the workday during which thesuspension for more than 10 days or expulsion is recommended when reasonablypossible, but in no event later than the end of the following workday. Thewritten notice shall provide at least the following information:

(1)        A description of theincident leading to the recommendation that the student be expelled orsuspended for more than 10 days;

(2)        The specificprovisions of the student conduct policy or rule alleged to have been violated;

(3)        The specific processby which the parent may request a hearing to contest the suspension for morethan 10 days or expulsion, including the number of days within which thehearing must be requested;

(4)        The process by whicha hearing will be held, including, to the extent provided by law, the student'sopportunity to examine evidence and present evidence, to confront and cross‑examinewitnesses supporting the charge, and to call witnesses to verify the student'sversion of the incident;

(5)        The parent ispermitted to retain an attorney to represent the student in the hearingprocess;

(6)        The extent to whichthe local board policy permits the parent to have an advocate to accompany thestudent to assist in the presentation of his or her appeal instead of anattorney; and

(7)        The parent has aright to review the student's educational records prior to the hearing.

Written notice may be providedby certified mail, telefax, e‑mail, or any other written method reasonablydesigned to achieve actual notice of the recommendation for expulsion orsuspension for more than 10 days. If English is the second language of theparent or guardian, the notice shall be written in the parent or guardian'sfirst language when the appropriate foreign language resources are readilyavailable and in English. Both versions shall be in plain language and shall beeasily understandable.

(e)        A decision of asuperintendent under subsection (c), (d1), (d2), (d3), or (d4) of this sectionmay be appealed to the local board of education. A decision of the local boardupon this appeal or of the local board under subsection (d) or (d1) of thissection is final and, except as provided in this subsection, is subject tojudicial review in accordance with Article 4 of Chapter 150B of the GeneralStatutes. A person seeking judicial review shall file a petition in thesuperior court of the county where the local board made its decision.

(f)         Local boards ofeducation shall ensure they have clear policies governing the conduct ofstudents. At a minimum, these policies shall state the consequences of violentor assaultive behavior, possessions of weapons, and criminal acts committed onschool property or at school‑sponsored functions. These policies shallprovide that when notice is given to students or parents of a suspension ofmore than 10 days or expulsion, this notice shall identify what informationwill be included in the student's official record and the procedure forexpungement of this information under G.S. 115C‑402. The State Boardshall develop guidelines to assist local boards in this process.

(g)        Notwithstanding theprovisions of this section, the policies and procedures for the discipline ofstudents with disabilities shall be consistent with Article 9 of this Chapterand with federal laws and regulations.

(h)        Notwithstanding anyother law, no officer or employee of the State Board of Education or of a localboard of education shall be civilly liable for using reasonable force,including corporal punishment, in conformity with State law, State or localrules, or State or local policies regarding the control, discipline,suspension, and expulsion of students. Furthermore, the burden of proof is onthe claimant to show that the amount of force used was not reasonable.  (1955, c. 1372, art. 17, s.5; 1959, c. 573, s. 12; 1963, c. 1223, s. 5; 1965, c. 584, s. 14; 1971, c.1158; 1979, c. 874, s. 1; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987, c. 572, ss. 1, 2; c. 827,s. 52; 1989, c. 585, s. 7; 1993, c. 509, s. 4; 1995, c. 293, ss. 1, 2; c. 386,s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 716, s. 21; 1997‑443, s. 8.29(q)(1);1998‑220, ss. 7‑9; 1999‑257, ss. 6‑8; 1999‑387,ss. 1‑3; 2001‑195, s. 2; 2001‑244, s. 1; 2001‑363, s.2(c); 2001‑487, s. 75; 2001‑500, ss. 4, 5, 6.1; 2006‑69, s. 3(l);2007‑466, ss. 1, 2; 2008‑117, s. 12.1; 2009‑61, s. 1.)