A. Local Board Authority. Each local board of education has both the responsibility and authority to adopt policies designed to create safe schools. In the context of school discipline, by the beginning of school year 2014-2015, each local board shall review and revise its student discipline policies and regulations with the goal of maintaining an environment of order, safety, and discipline necessary for effective learning.
C. Suspension and Expulsion.
(a) Except as provided in § C(1)(b) of this regulation, a student enrolled in a public prekindergarten program, kindergarten, first grade, or second grade may not be suspended or expelled from school.
(b) A student described under § C(1)(a) of this regulation may only be:
(i) Expelled from school if required by federal law; or
(ii) Suspended for not more than 5 school days per incident if the school administration, in consultation with a school psychologist or other mental health professional, determines that there is an imminent threat of serious harm to other students or staff that cannot be reduced or eliminated through interventions and supports.
(c) The principal or school administration shall promptly contact the parent or guardian of a student suspended or expelled under § C(1)(b) of this regulation.
(2) In-School Suspension.
(a) An in-school removal is not considered a day of suspension as long as the student is afforded the opportunity to continue to:
(i) Appropriately progress in the general curriculum;
(ii) Receive the special education and related services specified on the student's IEP, if the student is a student with a disability in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01;
(iii) Receive instruction commensurate with the program afforded to the student in the regular classroom; and
(iv) Participate with peers as they would in their current education program to the extent appropriate.
(b) A student may not receive an in-school suspension unless the student has been informed of the reasons for the suspension and has been given an opportunity to respond before the suspension becomes effective.
(c) The school principal shall provide the student's parents with written notification of the in-school suspension action taken by the school.
(d) After 10 days of cumulative in-school suspension, the student, the student's parents or guardian, and the principal shall confer.
(e) The student's school of current enrollment shall make provision for the student's education during the period of in-school suspension.
(f) Local school systems shall develop policies pertaining to a student's participation in extracurricular activities if the student receives an in-school suspension.
(g) Local school systems shall develop and implement a behavioral program of positive interventions to address the causes of misbehavior as part of the in-school suspension.
(3) Suspension for Not More Than 10 Days.
(a) In accordance with the rules and regulations of the local board, each principal of a public school may suspend for cause, for not more than 10 school days, any student in the school who is under the direction of the principal, except as provided in § C(1) of this regulation.
(b) The student or the student's parent or guardian promptly shall be given a conference with the principal and any other appropriate personnel during the suspension period.
(c) At or before the conference, the student shall receive oral or written notice of the charges against him or her. If the student denies the charges, the student has the right to an explanation of the evidence supporting the charges and an opportunity to present the student's side of the story.
(d) A student whose presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process may be removed immediately from school, if the notice and conference required by this subsection is provided as soon as possible.
(e) If the principal finds that an extended suspension or expulsion is warranted, the principal immediately shall report the matter in writing to the local superintendent.
(4) Suspension for More than 10 Days or Expulsion.
(a) At the request of a principal, a local superintendent or the designated representative may suspend a student for more than 10 school days or expel the student, except as provided in § C(1) of this regulation.
(b) Upon receipt of a written report from a principal requesting an extended suspension or expulsion, the local superintendent or designated representative promptly shall make a thorough investigation of the matter.
(c) If after the investigation the local superintendent or designated representative finds that an extended suspension or an expulsion is warranted, the superintendent or designated representative promptly shall arrange a conference with the student and the students parent or guardian.
(d) The process described in § C(3)(a)-(c) of this regulation shall be completed by the 10th school day of the initial suspension. If additional time is necessary to complete the process, either because of delays due to parent or guardian unavailability or due to the complexity of the investigation, the student shall be allowed to return to school, unless the local superintendent or designated representative determines that the students return to school would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to other students or staff.
(e) If the student is not allowed to return to school after the 10th day, the superintendent or designee shall notify the student and the parent or guardian within 24 hours and provide the reasons for the delay in the process and the denial of reentry and send a copy of the notice to the State Superintendent of Schools;
(f) If after the conference the local superintendent or designated representative finds that an extended suspension or an expulsion is warranted, the student or the students parent or guardian may appeal to the local board within 10 days after the determination.
(g) If an appeal is filed, the local board or its designated committee or hearing officer shall have 45 days from the date the appeal was received to hear the appeal and issue a decision, as follows:
(i) This timeline period may be extended if the parent, guardian, or his/her representative requests additional time; and
(ii) This timeline shall also apply in the event that the local board elects to use a hearing examiner.
(h) If due to extraordinary circumstances or unusual complexity of a particular appeal, the local board determines that it will be unable to hear an appeal and issue a decision within 45 days, it may petition the State Superintendent for an extension of time.
(i) The student or the students parent or guardian or representative:
(i) Shall be provided the school systems witness list and a copy of the documents that the school system will present at the hearing 5 days before hearing; and
(ii) May bring counsel and witnesses to the hearing.
(j) Unless a public hearing is requested by the parent or guardian of the student, a hearing shall be held out of the presence of all individuals except those whose presence is considered necessary or desirable by the board.
(k) The appeal to the local board does not stay the decision of the county superintendent.
(l) The decision of the local board is final.
(5) A student expelled or suspended from school shall remain away from the school premises during those hours each school day when the school the student attends is in session, and may not participate in school-sponsored activities. The expelled or suspended student may return to the school premises during the prohibited hours only for attendance at a previously scheduled appointment, and if the student is a minor then only if accompanied by the student's parent or guardian.
(6) A student suspended or expelled from school shall be allowed to return to school on the day that the terms and conditions of the suspension or expulsion are met whether or not the student, parent, or guardian has filed an appeal of the suspension.
(7) If a student has been suspended or expelled, the principal may not return the student to the classroom without conferring with the teacher who referred the student to the principal, if the student was referred by a teacher, other teachers as appropriate, other appropriate school personnel, the student, and the student's parent or guardian.
(8) If a student's disruptive behavior results in action less than suspension, the principal shall confer with the teacher who referred the student to the principal before returning the student to that teacher's classroom. The principal may satisfy this requirement by consulting with the teacher before returning the student to the classroom.
(9) A local superintendent may deny attendance to a student who is currently expelled or on extended suspension from another school system for a length of time equal to that expulsion or extended suspension. A school system shall forward information to another school system relating to the discipline of a student, including information of an expulsion or extended suspension of the student, on receipt of the request for information.