Puerto Rico School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Alternative placements

Discipline Compendium

Puerto Rico School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Alternative placements

Category: Exclusionary Discipline: Suspension, Expulsion, and Alternative Placement
Subcategory: Alternative placements
State: Puerto Rico

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LAWS

3 L.P.R.A. § 9812i. Alternative education.

Through the Office of the Secretary, the Department shall offer educational and support services to the regular adult population and to the at-risk children and youth population.

It shall offer innovative programs during regular and extended hours, to develop various academic and social skills. These offerings shall reflect the demands of the labor market, including the importance of English language proficiency at a conversational level, and shall be aligned with the needs of today's Puerto Rico.

For such purposes, the Department shall continue to offer educational services to the at-risk children and youth population through specific service centers such as the Alianza para la Educación Alternativa, Centros de Servicios de Apoyo Sustentable al Alumno, better known as "Proyecto C.A.S.A.," among others.

These alternative schools shall have the following standards:

(a) Recruiting and admission.

(b) Learning environments.

(c) Integral development of participating students and their learning.

(d) Program content design.

(e) Assessment of organizational effectiveness.

(f) Organizational competency.

(g) Partnerships and collaborations.

(h) These schools may receive any international, federal, or state accreditation available for the various programs.

18 L.P.R.A. § 13. Department of Education.

(k) The Department of Education shall use alternative educational environments for those students who have faced school violence problems so as to guarantee a safe school community.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3811. Declaration of public policy.

The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico recognizes the pressing need to encourage the support for successful alternative education models in order to address, in an integrated manner, the unique cognitive, academic, biopsychosocial, vocational, and entrepreneurial needs of the population of school dropouts and at-risk children or youths.

The goal of alternative education is to develop enterprising and productive citizens with high academic, community, and leadership competencies who are committed to their personal development as well as that of their family and community setting.

Based on the foregoing, this Legislative Assembly hereby resolves and declares that alternative education is governed in Puerto Rico by the following principles:

(a) All children and youths have the right to quality education.

(b) All school dropouts and at-risk children and youths represent a population with full potential for human development thus requiring an education adjusted to their socioeconomic and educational needs and to their unique interests.

(c) Taking into consideration the high incidence of school dropouts and at-risk children and youths, alternative education shall be considered a curriculum within the educational system in Puerto Rico.

(d) Alternative education for school dropouts and at-risk children and youths should be characterized by its focus on them, the promotion of opportunities for participation, academic preparation, physical and sports training, trust in their capabilities, discipline, respect for human dignity, the opportunity to explore and develop their talents, including the means of artistic expression, occupational education, and technological training that provides them with self-management tools.

(e) The State recognizes the benefits of partnerships with the municipalities of Puerto Rico and municipal consortiums, nonprofit government and nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit higher education institutions, both from the government and the nongovernment sectors, and their contributions to improve the quality of life of Puerto Rico. The Government and the entities and institutions that have purposes similar to the purposes of this chapter should establish a partnership so they can work in conjunction to expedite the resources and promote the conditions that shall guarantee the continuity of services.

(f) School dropouts and at-risk children and youths need varied education models of proven effectiveness in satisfying the needs and unique characteristics of this population.

(g) In order to effectively address the unique needs and interests of their students, alternative education entities shall have autonomy and flexibility relating to its administration, operations, and curriculum, in accordance with its objectives and education model, but shall be required to comply with the parameters and meet the requirements established both in this chapter and the regulations adopted thereunder. They shall also meet all the licensing requirements set forth by the Puerto Rico Education Council, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 1 of July 26, 2010, as amended.

Likewise, and considering that the traditional academic curriculums are not governed by inflexible parameters that prevent what should be their natural evolution, our aim is that, when the time comes, the alternative model may be transformed so as to embrace, support, and integrally fulfill the unique interests and needs of gifted students in Puerto Rico. This could be achieved by creating education centers specifically geared to this population, or by entering into collaboration agreements between existing institutions and other entities with the expertise and proven experience working with this population. We believe that this shall be the next logical step to be taken once this education model has proven its reliability.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3812. Objectives.

This chapter has the following objectives:

(1) To recognize alternative education as an academic curriculum within the education system of Puerto Rico;

(2) To establish a structure within a clear and efficient legal framework to guarantee the quality of the alternative education offered in Puerto Rico, as well as the availability of funds therefor;

(3) To validate educational services that take into consideration the characteristics of the development stage of school dropouts or at-risk children and youths not being addressed by the mainstream curriculum, in order to allow for the optimum development of their potential, knowledge, attitudes, and competencies through alternative education;

(4) To promote development and support to the career, entrepreneurial, and business training process of participants, taking as basis the business or job expectations and needs of the population, their qualified entry into the changing labor market, and their self-management capabilities, giving priority to those actions geared to their social and financial improvement, and to the involvement of students in the community;

(5) To establish quality standards and accountability mechanisms for alternative education entities by overseeing the use of the funds allocated for such purposes and the attainment of definite results;

(6) To contribute to the documentation of effective alternative education practices to help improve the education system in general; and

(7) To promote the collection of individual historical data of participants of the alternative education programs, and the collection of the pertinent statistics for the benefit of the education system of Puerto Rico.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3813. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning stated hereinbelow:

(a) Partnership.- Means the "Alternative Education Partnership, Inc".

(b) At-risk.- Means those students whose profiles show any of the following indicators, and who do not show any changes upon interventions conducted by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico:

(14) Those other indicators to be identified in the future by the Alternative Education Commission.

(c) Alternative Education Commission.- Means an entity composed of seven (7) persons that shall serve as the regulatory and oversight entity of the public policy on alternative education in Puerto Rico.

(d) Alternative education.- Means a curriculum within the education system geared to the population of school dropouts or at-risk children and youths, in an integrated manner that addresses their unique interests, needs, and development levels in cognitive, academic, biopsychosocial, vocational, and entrepreneurial areas, which promotes values and the optimum development of their potential.

(e) Alternative education entities.- Means educational centers and/or basic level schools, with their corresponding institutional units, whether newly created or existing ones, from the government and non-government sector, that offer alternative education programs in Puerto Rico. These entities shall be held accountable for the use of state funds and shall produce measurable results in accordance with the established indicators and metrics, which shall be developed under quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as comply with the applicable laws and regulations.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3816. Functions and duties of entities of alternate education.

For the purpose of implementing the public policy on alternative education in Puerto Rico, and to guarantee a high-quality level as well as the promotion thereof, alternative education entities shall have the following functions:

(a) To promote the development of alternative education, ensuring that the models and programs to be used and taught are aligned with the purposes of the public policy set forth in this chapter and certified by the Commission.

(b) To submit reports to the Custodian Agency and the Commission, as established in § 3820 of this title.

(c) To render reports to the Commission on the use and results of any other funds, gifts, or public or private transfers received which are directed to the public policy on alternative education established in this chapter.

(d) To collaborate with the Department of Education to promote the permanence of students in school, and the use of effective practices and models to improve the education system in general.

(e) To meet the requirements and rules adopted by the Commission with respect to alternative education in Puerto Rico.

(f) To promote collaboration agreements with municipalities or municipal consortiums in Puerto Rico and other government or nongovernmental organizations to broaden its services.

(g) The operations of alternative education institutions under this chapter shall be subject to the oversight and audits to be conducted by the Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3817. Functions and powers of the Department of Education.

The Department of Education shall have the following functions and powers:

(c) To receive and evaluate financial reports from the alternative education entities and make the semiannual disbursements as the Custodian Agency of the budget allocation earmarked in this chapter.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3818. Funds for alternative education in Puerto Rico.

Beginning Fiscal Year 2012-2013, twelve million dollars ($12,000,000) shall be annually appropriated to the Alternative Education Partnership, Inc. to attain the purposes of this chapter. The Partnership shall use a portion of this budget for professional development programs for its teaching personnel, and the establishment of student information systems, pursuant to the provisions of § 3815 of this title. Any surplus in the appropriated budget may be used in subsequent fiscal years for purposes related to this chapter.

This shall be a recurring appropriation to the Partnership and the Department of Education shall be the custodian agency thereof. This entails that the funds shall be received by the Department of Education to be allocated semiannually to the Alternative Education Partnership, Inc., upon the filing of the financial statements referred to in § 3817(c) of this title.

Furthermore, the sum of seven million dollars ($7,000,000) shall be annually appropriated in the budget of the Department of Education for the operation of C.A.S.A Project. Any surplus in the appropriated budget may be used in subsequent fiscal years for purposes related to this chapter.

The Department of the Treasury shall deduct one percent (1%) from the budget appropriated under this chapter to the Alternative Education Partnership, Inc. and C.A.S.A Project, and shall remit it to the Puerto Rico Education Council to defray the operating expenses of the Alternative Education Commission.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3819. Uses allowed for the appropriations to alternative education entities .

The funds provided by this chapter shall be used by participating alternative education entities for the following:

(a) The distribution of funds, through per student grants or allocations to organizations of proven effectiveness, to continue with the implementation and development of alternative education programs.

(b) Grants for the creation of new programs or the improvement of recently-created programs.

(c) Grants or contracts for training and technical assistance related to alternative education.

(d) Grants or contracts for the implementation of information dissemination strategies to raise the public's awareness of the alternative education concept.

(e) Grants or contracts for external evaluations, investigations, and studies that contribute to the documentation and collection of statistics on alternative education.

(f) Promotion and networking with alternative education systems or entities in other states of the United States and in other countries.

(g) Contracting of resources to procure additional funding for alternative education in Puerto Rico.

(h) Administrative and/or operating expenses required for the implementation of this chapter.

(i) Any other use related to the purposes of this chapter.

18 L.P.R.A. § 3820. Reports.

The alternative education entities shall submit annual reports to the Alternative Education Commission, which, in turn, shall draft another annual report with the information received, to be submitted to the Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico, on the transactions carried out and the manner in which the funds provided for herein have been used. Once the Commission has been constituted, it shall require alternative education entities to file a first report. After filing the first report, said entities shall file an annual report on or before September 30 of each year.

The Commission may require alternative education entities to file any other special report, provided it is requested fifteen (15) days in advance.

REGULATIONS

Regulation Num. 8115. Article IX, G. Infractions and corrective or disciplinary measures.

2.b.1) Concepts

a) This process can only be used by the Principal when:

(1) he knows that student performance is out of compliance with Class II or Class III in accordance with the Children Act, or if the student is to be tried as an adult or is involved in an act that is establishing serious criminal offense, or

(2) when the Principal has grounds to believe that a student may be an actual or imminent harm to another student or other persons or school property.

3.a) Corrective or Disciplinary Methods for Informal Complaints

The Principal shall have power to impose the following corrective or disciplinary measures:

6) Suspension of one (1) to fifteen (15) school days.

3.b) Corrective or Disciplinary Methods for Formal Complaints

The Secretary of Education, or his authorized representative, shall have power to impose any disciplinary or corrective measures for which the Principal is authorized, plus those described below:

4) Expulsion–permanent separation of the Public Education System.

5.a.3. Misbehavior Against Institutional Order

a. Impeding or limiting other students from completing their homework- all students who obstruct or impede other students from doing their school work will incur this violation

c. Challenge Authority–a student is in violation if they disobey a directive or direct order for lawful purposes and that has been issued by a person with authority to do so. […]

j. Mutiny–It is a violation when two or more students working together, without legal authorization, make use of force and violence to disturb the institutional peace or threaten to use force or violence accompanied by the ability to do it.

5.a.5. Corporal Offense

a. Assault- Assault–anyone who employs force or violence against another person to do harm.

b. Mutilation–any student who illegally and maliciously deprives or disables and disfigures a person or a body part.

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