Oregon School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline

Discipline Compendium

Oregon School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline

Category: Exclusionary Discipline: Suspension, Expulsion, and Alternative Placement
Subcategory: Limitations or Conditions on Exclusionary Discipline
State: Oregon

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LAWS

339.250. Duty of student to comply with rules; policies on discipline, suspension, expulsion, threats of violence or harm, firearms and physical force; student handbook or code of conduct; enforcement of policies.

(1) Public school students shall comply with rules for the government of such schools, pursue the prescribed course of study, use the prescribed textbooks and submit to the teachers' authority.

(2) Each district school board shall adopt written policies for the discipline, suspension or expulsion of any refractory student. The policies:

(a) May allow discipline, suspension or expulsion for conduct that includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Willful disobedience;

(B) Open defiance of the authority of a school employee;

(C) Possession or distribution of tobacco, alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances;

(D) Use or display of profane or obscene language;

(E) Willful damage or injury to school property;

(F) Use of threats, intimidation, harassment or coercion against a student or a school employee;

(G) Assault of a school employee or another student; or

(H) Intentional attempts, by word or conduct, to place a school employee or another student in fear of imminent serious physical injury.

(b) Must require consideration of the age of a student and the past pattern of behavior of a student prior to imposing the suspension or expulsion of a student.

(c) Must limit the use of expulsion to the following circumstances:

(A) For conduct that poses a threat to the health or safety of students or school employees;

(B) When other strategies to change student conduct have been ineffective, except that expulsion may not be used to address truancy; or

(C) When the expulsion is required by law.

(d) In addition to any limitations imposed by paragraph (c) of this subsection, for a student who is in fifth grade or lower, must limit the use of out-of-school suspension or of expulsion to the following circumstances:

(A) For nonaccidental conduct causing serious physical harm to a student or school employee;

(B) When a school administrator determines, based upon the administrator's observation or upon a report from a school employee, that the student's conduct poses a direct threat to the health or safety of students or school employees; or

(C) When the suspension or expulsion is required by law.

(e) When an out-of-school suspension is imposed as provided under paragraph (d) of this subsection, must require the school district to take steps to prevent the recurrence of the behavior that led to the out-of-school suspension and return the student to a classroom setting so that the disruption of the student's academic instruction is minimized.

(f) Must be limited so that:

(A) The duration of an expulsion may not be more than one calendar year.

(B) The duration of a suspension may not be more than 10 school days.

(g) Notwithstanding ORS 336.010, may require a student to attend school during nonschool hours as an alternative to suspension if the total number of hours does not exceed the equivalent of 10 school days.

(3) Pursuant to the policies adopted as provided by subsection (2) of this section, each school district shall develop a student handbook, code of conduct or other document that:

(a) Defines and helps create a learning environment that students respect;

(b) Defines acceptable norms of behavior for students and the types of behavior that are subject to discipline;

(c) Establishes procedures to address behavior or circumstances that pose a threat to the safety of students or employees of the school;

(d) Establishes a system of consequences that are designed to correct student misconduct and promote behavior within acceptable norms; and

(e) Makes the system of consequences known to the school community through the dissemination of information to students, parents, legal guardians and school district employees.

(4) Each district school board shall adopt written policies on managing students who threaten violence or harm in public schools. The policies adopted by a district school board under this section shall include all of the following:

(a) Staff reporting methods.

(b) Provisions that allow an administrator to consider and implement any of the following options:

(A) Immediately removing from the classroom setting any student who has threatened to injure another person or to severely damage school property.

(B) Placing the student in a setting where the behavior will receive immediate attention, including, but not limited to, the office of the school principal, vice principal, assistant principal, counselor or a school psychologist licensed by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission or the office of any licensed mental health professional.

(C) Requiring that a school obtain an evaluation of a student by a licensed mental health professional before allowing the student to return to the classroom setting. A student who is removed from the classroom setting for an evaluation may not be removed for more than 10 school days unless the administrator is able to show good cause that an evaluation could not be completed in that time period. The policy must describe the circumstances under which the district school board may enter into contracts with licensed mental health professionals to perform any evaluations required under this subparagraph.

(c) The requirement that an administrator provide to the parent or legal guardian of the student notification that describes the student's behavior and the school's response.

(d) A provision for the allocation of any funds necessary for the school district to implement the policies described in this subsection.

(5) In establishing and enforcing discipline, suspension and expulsion policies, a district school board shall ensure that the policy is designed to:

(a) Protect students and school employees from harm;

(b) Provide opportunities for students to learn from their mistakes;

(c) Foster positive learning communities;

(d) Keep students in school and attending class;

(e) Impose disciplinary sanctions without bias against students from a protected class, as defined in ORS 339.351;

(f) Implement a graduated set of age-appropriate responses to misconduct that are fair, nondiscriminatory and proportionate in relation to each student's individual conduct;

(g) Employ a range of strategies for prevention, intervention and discipline that take into account a student's developmental capacities and that are proportionate to the degree and severity of the student's misbehavior;

(h) Propose, prior to a student's expulsion or leaving school, alternative programs of instruction or instruction combined with counseling for the student that are appropriate and accessible to the student in the following circumstances:

(A) Following a second or subsequent occurrence within any three-year period of a severe disciplinary problem with the student; or

(B) When a parent or legal guardian applies for the student's exemption from compulsory attendance on a semiannual basis as provided in ORS 339.030 (2);

(i) To the extent practicable, use approaches that are shown through research to be effective in reducing student misbehavior and promoting safe and productive social behavior; and

(j) Ensure that school conduct and discipline codes comply with all state and federal laws concerning the education of students with disabilities.

(6) Except for policies adopted under subsection (7) of this section, any policies adopted under this section must provide for the dissemination of information about alternative programs of instruction or instruction combined with counseling, as described in subsection (5)(h) of this section, in writing to the student and the parent, legal guardian or person in parental relationship with the student at least once every six months, unless the information has changed because of the availability of new programs.

(7) Each district school board shall adopt a written policy involving firearms, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921. The policy shall:

(a) Require expulsion from school for a period of not less than one year of any student who is determined to have:

(A) Brought a firearm to a school, to school property under the jurisdiction of the school district or to an activity under the jurisdiction of the school district;

(B) Possessed, concealed or used a firearm in a school, on school property under the jurisdiction of the school district or at an activity under the jurisdiction of the school district; or

(C) Brought to or possessed, concealed or used a firearm at an interscholastic activity administered by a voluntary organization.

(b) Allow exceptions:

(A) For courses, programs and activities approved by the school district that are conducted on school property, including, but not limited to, hunter safety courses, Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, firearm-related sports or firearm-related vocational courses; and

(B) Identified by and adopted by the State Board of Education by rule.

(c) Allow a superintendent of a school district to:

(A) Modify the expulsion requirement for a student on a case-by-case basis.

(B) Propose alternative programs of instruction or instruction combined with counseling for a student that are appropriate and accessible to the student. If alternative programs are appropriate for a student, the superintendent shall ensure that information about programs of instruction or instruction combined with counseling is provided in writing to the student and the parent, legal guardian or person in parental relationship with the student at least once every six months, or at any time the information changes because of the availability of new programs.

(d) Require a referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency of any student who is expelled under this subsection.

(e) Require an annual reporting to the Department of Education of the name of each school that had an expulsion under this subsection and the number of students expelled from each school.

(8) Each district school board shall adopt and disseminate written policies for the use of physical force upon a student. The policies must allow an individual who is a teacher, administrator, school employee or school volunteer to use reasonable physical force upon a student when and to the extent the application of force is consistent with ORS 339.285 to 339.303.

(9)(a) The authority to discipline a student does not authorize the infliction of corporal punishment. Every resolution, bylaw, rule, ordinance or other act of a district school board, a public charter school or the Department of Education that permits or authorizes the infliction of corporal punishment upon a student is void and unenforceable.

(b) As used in this subsection:

(A) “Corporal punishment” means the willful infliction of, or willfully causing the infliction of, physical pain on a student.

(B) “Corporal punishment” does not include:

(i) The use of physical force authorized by ORS 161.205 for the reasons specified therein; or

(ii) Physical pain or discomfort resulting from or caused by participation in athletic competition or other such recreational activity, voluntarily engaged in by a student.

(10) For purposes of this section, calculations of the number of school days that a student is removed from a classroom setting shall be as follows:

(a) As a half day if the student is out of school for half, or less than half, of the scheduled school day; and

(b) As a full day if the student is out of school for more than half of the scheduled school day.

REGULATIONS

581-015-2415. Disciplinary removals of more than 10 school days (pattern or consecutive).

(1) A disciplinary removal is considered a change in educational placement and the school district must follow special education due process procedures if:

(a) The removal will be for more than 10 consecutive school days (e.g. expulsion); or

(b) The child will be removed for more than 10 cumulative school days from their current educational placement in a school year, and those removals constitute a pattern under OAR 581-015-2410(2).

(2) School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether to order a disciplinary removal under subsection (1) for a child with a disability who violates a code of conduct.

(3) Manifestation determination. Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct, the school district must determine whether the childs behavior is a manifestation of the students disability in accordance with OAR 581-015-2420.

(4) Manifestation. If the determination under subsection (3) is that the child's behavior is a manifestation of the childs disability, the school district must:

(a) Return the child to the placement from which the child was removed, unless:

(A) The parent and school district agree to a change of placement as part of the modification of the behavioral intervention plan under subsection (4)(b);

(B) The school district removes the child to an interim alternative educational setting under OAR 581-015-2425 for a weapons or drug violation or for infliction of serious bodily injury; or

(C) The school district obtains an order from an administrative law judge under OAR 581-015-2430 allowing a change in placement to an interim alternative educational setting for injurious behavior; and

(b) Either:

(A) Conduct a functional behavioral assessment, unless the school district conducted a functional behavioral assessment before the behavior occurred that prompted the disciplinary action, and implement a behavior intervention plan; or

(B) If the student already has a behavior plan, review the behavioral intervention plan and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior.

(5) No manifestation. If the determination under subsection (3) is that the child's behavior is not a manifestation of the childs disability:

(a) The school district may proceed with disciplinary action applicable to children without disabilities under section (1) of this rule, in the same manner and for the same duration in which the procedures would be applied to children without disabilities.

(b) If the school district takes such action applicable to all children, the school district must:

(A) On the date on which the decision is made to remove the student under subsection (5), notify the parents of that decision and provide the parents with notice of procedural safeguards under OAR 581-015-2315.

(B) Provide services to the student in an interim alternative educational setting, determined by the IEP team, in accordance with OAR 581-015-2435; and

(C) Provide, as appropriate, a functional behavioral assessment, and behavior intervention services and modifications that are designed to address the behavior violation so that it does not recur.

(6) Placement pending due process hearing. If a parent requests a due process hearing because of a disagreement with the manifestation determination or any decision about placement related to the disciplinary removal in section (1) of this rule, the child remains in the interim alternative educational setting pending the decision of the administrative law judge under OAR 581-015-2445, or until the end of the disciplinary removal under subsection (1), whichever occurs first, unless the parent and school district agree otherwise.

581-015-2420. Manifestation determination.

(1) In determining whether the child's behavior is a manifestation of the child's disability, the school district, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team (as determined by the parent and the district) must review all relevant information in the students file, including the child's IEP, any teacher observations, and any relevant information provided by the parents to determine:

(a) If the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to, the childs disability; or

(b) If the conduct in question was the direct result of the school districts failure to implement the IEP.

(2) If the school district, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP team determine that either subsection (1)(a) or (b) is applicable for the child, the conduct must be determined to be a manifestation of the childs disability.

(3) If the basis for the teams determination is that the school district did not implement the childs IEP, the school district must take immediate steps to remedy those deficiencies.

581-021-0065. Suspension.

(1) Students may be suspended when such suspension contains within its procedures the elements of prior notice (OAR 581-021-0075), specification of charges, and an opportunity for the student to present his or her view of the alleged misconduct. The suspending official shall notify the student's parent or guardian of the suspension, the conditions for reinstatement, and appeal procedures, where applicable. These procedures may be postponed in emergency situations relating to health and safety.

(2) Emergency situations shall be limited to those instances where there is a serious risk that substantial harm will occur if suspension does not take place immediately.

(3) School district boards shall provide students suspended under emergency conditions with the rights outlined in section (1) of this rule as soon as the emergency condition has passed.

(4) In all suspensions ordered by the executive officer of the school district or designated representative, the district school board shall have the right of final review if the action is not taken by the school board itself.

(5) School district boards shall limit suspension to a specific maximum number of days. That maximum shall not exceed ten school days.

(6) School district boards shall adopt policies that require consideration of the age of a student and the past pattern of behavior of a student prior to imposing the suspension or expulsion of a student. For students in fifth grade or lower, the policies must limit the use of out-of-school suspension to the following circumstances:

(a) for non-accidental conduct causing serious physical harm to a student or school employee;

(b) when a school administrator determines, based upon the administrators observation or upon a report from a school employee, that the students conduct poses a direct threat to the health or safety of students or school employees; or

(c) when the suspension or expulsion is required by law

(7) When an out of school suspension is imposed for a student who is fifth grade or younger, district policies must require schools to take steps to prevent the recurrence of the behavior that led to the out-of-school suspension and return the student to a classroom setting so that the disruption of the students academic instruction is minimized.

(8) School district boards or designated representatives shall specify the methods and conditions, if any, under which the student's school work can be made up. Students shall be allowed to make up school work upon their return from the suspension if that work reflects achievement over a greater period of time than the length of the suspension. For example, the students shall be allowed to make up final, mid-term, and unit examinations, without an academic penalty, but it is within the districts' discretion as to whether the students may be allowed to make up daily assignments, laboratory experiments, class discussions or presentations.

(9) In special circumstances a suspension may be continued until some specific pending action occurs, such as a physical or mental examination, or incarceration by court action.

581-021-0070. Expulsion.

(1) Each district school board shall adopt written policies that limit the use of expulsion to the following circumstances:

(a) For conduct that poses a threat to the health or safety of students of school employees;

(b) When other strategies to change student conduct have been ineffective, except that expulsion may not be used to address truancy; or

(c) When the expulsion is required by law

(d) In addition to any limitations imposed by paragraphs (a) to (c) of this subsection, board policies must limit the use of expulsion for students in fifth grade or lower to the following circumstances:

(i) For nonaccidential conduct causing serious physical harm to a student or school employee;

(ii) When a school administrator determines, based upon the administrators observation or upon a report from a school employee, that the students conduct poses a direct threat to the health or safety of students or school employees.

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