Colorado School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Alternatives to Suspension

Discipline Compendium

Colorado School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Alternatives to Suspension

Category: In-School Discipline
Subcategory: Alternatives to Suspension
State: Colorado

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22-32-109.1. Board of education–specific powers and duties–safe school plan–conduct and discipline code–safe school reporting requirements–school response framework–school resource officers–definitions.

(1) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Action taken" means a specific type of discipline, including but not limited to the following categories of discipline:

(I) In-school suspension;

(II) Out-of-school suspension;

(III) Classroom removal in accordance with board policy;

(IV) Expulsion;

(V) Referral to law enforcement; or

(VI) Any other form of discipline, which shall be officially identified as part of a board policy.

(b) "Bullying" means any written or verbal expression, or physical or electronic act or gesture, or a pattern thereof, that is intended to coerce, intimidate, or cause any physical, mental, or emotional harm to any student. Bullying is prohibited against any student for any reason, including but not limited to any such behavior that is directed toward a student on the basis of his or her academic performance or against whom federal and state laws prohibit discrimination upon any of the bases described in section 22-32-109 (1)(ll)(I). This definition is not intended to infringe upon any right guaranteed to any person by the first amendment to the United States constitution or to prevent the expression of any religious, political, or philosophical views.

(b.5) "Community partners" means, collectively, local fire departments, state and local law enforcement, local 911 agencies, interoperable communications providers, the safe2tell program described in section 24-31-606, C.R.S., local emergency medical service personnel, local mental health organizations, local public health agencies, local emergency management personnel, local or regional homeland security personnel, and school resource officers.

(2) Safe school plan. In order to provide a learning environment that is safe, conducive to the learning process, and free from unnecessary disruption, each school district board of education or institute charter school board for a charter school authorized by the charter school institute shall, following consultation with the school district accountability committee and school accountability committees, parents, teachers, administrators, students, student councils where available, and, where appropriate, the community at large, adopt and implement a safe school plan, or review and revise, as necessary in response to any relevant data collected by the school district, any existing plans or policies already in effect. In addition to

the aforementioned parties, each school district board of education, in adopting and implementing its safe school plan, may consult with victims' advocacy organizations, school psychologists, local law enforcement, and community partners. The plan, at a minimum, must include the following:

(a) Conduct and discipline code.

(II) In creating and enforcing a school conduct and discipline code pursuant to subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (a), each school district board of education, on and after August 1, 2013, shall:

(A) Impose proportionate disciplinary interventions and consequences, including but not limited to in-school suspensions, in response to student misconduct, which interventions and consequences are designed to reduce the number of expulsions, out-of-school suspensions, and referrals to law enforcement, except for such referrals to law enforcement as are required by state or federal law;

(B) Include plans for the appropriate use of prevention, intervention, restorative justice, peer mediation, counseling, or other approaches to address student misconduct, which approaches are designed to minimize student exposure to the criminal and juvenile justice system. The plans shall state that a school administration shall not order a victim's participation in a restorative justice practice or peer mediation if the alleged victim of an offending student's misconduct alleges that the misconduct constitutes unlawful sexual behavior, as defined in section 16-22-102 (9), C.R.S.; a crime in which the underlying factual basis involves domestic violence, as defined in section 18-6- 800.3 (1), C.R.S.; stalking as defined in section 18-3-602, C.R.S.; or violation of a protection order, as defined in section 18-6-803.5, C.R.S.;

(C) Ensure that the implementation of the code complies with all state and federal laws concerning the education of students with disabilities, as defined in section 22-20-103 (5); and

(D) Ensure that, in implementing the code, each school of the school district shows due consideration of the impact of certain violations of the code upon victims of such violations, in accordance with the provisions of title IX of the United States Code and other state and federal laws.

22-32-144. Restorative justice practices–legislative declaration.

(1) The general assembly hereby finds that:

(a) Conflicts and offenses arising during the school day interrupt learning, threaten school safety, and often lead to suspensions, expulsions, and an increase in the likelihood of a student dropping out of school;

(b) Students who drop out of high school face diminished job opportunities, lower lifetime earnings, and increased unemployment and more often require public assistance. They are more likely to participate in criminal activity, resulting in higher incarceration rates, and they face much greater challenges to becoming productive, contributing members of their communities.

(c) School conflicts can result in offenses that violate school rules and local laws and damage relationships among members of the school and surrounding community;

(d) Restorative justice, which requires the offender to accept responsibility and accountability for his or her actions, teaches conflict resolution, repairs the harm from the offense, reduces classroom disruptions, suspensions, expulsions, and consequent dropouts, promotes school safety, and enables victims, offenders, and community members to rebuild the community and restore relationships; and

(e) The general assembly has a vital interest in reducing classroom disruptions, suspensions, expulsions, and dropout rates and in assisting victims, reducing referrals to the justice system, and building safer, more cohesive school communities to promote learning.

(2)(a) Therefore, the general assembly supports and encourages the use of restorative justice as a school's first consideration to remediate offenses such as interpersonal conflicts, bullying, verbal and physical conflicts, theft, damage to property, class disruption, harassment and internet harassment, and attendance issues.

(b) The general assembly encourages each school district to implement training and education in the principles and practices of restorative justice to ensure that capable personnel and resources are available to successfully facilitate all steps of the restorative justice process.

(3) For purposes of this section, "restorative justice" means practices that emphasize repairing the harm to the victim and the school community caused by a student's misconduct. Restorative justice practices may include victim-initiated victim-offender conferences attended voluntarily by the victim, a victim advocate, the offender, school members, and supporters of the victim and the offender, which program provides an opportunity for the offender to accept responsibility for the harm caused to those affected by the act and to participate in setting consequences to repair the harm. Consequences recommended by the participants may include, but need not be limited to, apologies, community service, restitution, restoration, and counseling. The selected consequences shall be incorporated into an agreement that sets time limits for completion of the consequences and is signed by all participants.

(4) Each school district is encouraged to develop and utilize restorative justice practices that are part of the disciplinary program of each school in the district.

22-33-105. Suspension, expulsion, and denial of admission.

(4) The board of education of each district shall establish, as an alternative to suspension, a policy that allows the pupil to remain in school by encouraging the parent, guardian, or legal custodian, with the consent of the pupil's teacher or teachers, to attend class with the pupil for a period of time specified by the suspending authority. If the parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not agree to attend class with the pupil or fails to attend class with the pupil, the pupil shall be suspended in accordance with the conduct and discipline code of the district.

22-33-106. Grounds for suspension, expulsion, and denial of admission.

(1.2) Each school district is encouraged to consider each of the following factors before suspending or expelling a student pursuant to a provision of subsection (1) of this section:

(a) The age of the student;

(b) The disciplinary history of the student;

(c) Whether the student has a disability;

(d) The seriousness of the violation committed by the student;

(e) Whether the violation committed by the student threatened the safety of any student or staff member; and

(f) Whether a lesser intervention would properly address the violation committed by the student.

22-33-106.1. Suspension–expulsion–preschool through second grade–definitions.

(1) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Charter school" means a charter school that is authorized by a school district board of education pursuant to part 1 of article 30.5 of this title 22 or an institute charter school that is authorized by the state charter school institute pursuant to part 5 of article 30.5 of this title 22.

(b) "Enrolling entity" means:

(I) A community-based preschool program that includes students who are funded through the "Colorado Preschool Program Act", article 28 of this title 22, or students who are funded with state or federal money to educate children with disabilities;

(II) A school district; or

(III) A charter school.

(2) Notwithstanding any provision of this article 33 to the contrary, an enrolling entity may impose an out-of-school suspension or expel a student enrolled in preschool, kindergarten, first grade, or second grade only if:

(a) The enrolling entity determines that the student has engaged in conduct on school grounds, in a school vehicle, or at a school activity or sanctioned event that:

(I) Involves the possession of a dangerous weapon without the authorization of the public school or enrolling entity, if different;

(II) Involves the use, possession, or sale of a drug or controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102 (5); or

(III) Endangers the health or safety of others;

(b) The enrolling entity determines that failure to remove the student from the school building would create a safety threat that cannot otherwise be addressed; and

(c) The enrolling entity, on a case-by-case basis, considers each of the factors set forth in section 22-33-106 (1.2) before suspending or expelling the student. The enrolling entity shall document any alternative behavioral and disciplinary interventions that it employs before suspending or expelling the student.

(3) If an enrolling entity imposes an out-of-school suspension on a student who meets the criteria specified in subsection (2) of this section, the out-of-school suspension shall not exceed three school days unless the executive officer or chief administrative officer of the enrolling entity, or designee of either, determines that a longer period of suspension is necessary to resolve the safety threat or recommends that the student be expelled in accordance with section 22-33-105 (2)(c).

(4) This section does not prevent an enrolling entity from excluding, removing, or disenrolling a student for reasons unrelated to student discipline.

(5) For purposes of this section, if an enrolling entity requests that a parent remove a child for disciplinary reasons from the school grounds for any length of time during a school day, the request constitutes a suspension and is subject to the requirements of this section.

(6) The state board shall annually review the data concerning the number of students who are suspended or expelled pursuant to this section and, if available, the reasons for the suspensions and expulsions.

22-33-201. Legislative declaration.

The general assembly hereby finds that except when a student's behavior would cause imminent harm to others in the school or when an incident requires automatic expulsion as defined by state law or a school's conduct and discipline code, expulsion should be the last step taken after several attempts to deal with a student who has discipline problems. The general assembly further finds that school districts should work with the student's parent or guardian and with state agencies and community-based nonprofit organizations to develop alternatives to help students who are at risk of expulsion before expulsion becomes a necessary step and to support students who are unable to avoid expulsion.

22-33-202. Identification of at-risk students.

(1) Each school district shall adopt policies to identify students who are at risk of suspension or expulsion from school. Students identified may include those who are truant, who have been or are likely to be declared habitually truant, or who are likely to be declared habitually disruptive. The school district shall provide students who are identified as at risk of suspension or expulsion with a plan to provide the necessary support services to help them avoid expulsion. The school district shall work with the student's parent or guardian in providing the services and may provide the services through agreements with appropriate local governmental agencies, appropriate state agencies, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education entered into pursuant to section 22-33-204. The failure of the school district to identify a student for participation in an expulsion-prevention program or the failure of such program to remediate a student's behavior shall not be grounds to prevent school personnel from proceeding with appropriate disciplinary measures or used in any way as a defense in an expulsion proceeding.

(2) Each school district may provide educational services to students who are identified as at risk of suspension or expulsion from school. Any school district that provides educational services to students who are at risk of suspension or expulsion may apply for moneys through the expelled and at-risk student services grant program established in section 22-33-205 to assist in providing such educational services.


No relevant regulations found.

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