West Virginia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Corporal Punishment

Discipline Compendium

West Virginia School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Corporal Punishment

Category: Conditions on Use of Certain Forms of Discipline
Subcategory: Corporal Punishment
State: West Virginia

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§18A-5-1. Authority of teachers and other school personnel; exclusion of students having infectious diseases; suspension or expulsion of disorderly students; corporal punishment abolished.

(e) Corporal punishment of any student by a school employee is prohibited.

(f) Each county board is solely responsible for the administration of proper discipline in the public schools of the county and shall adopt policies consistent with the provisions of this section to govern disciplinary actions. These policies shall encourage the use of alternatives to discipline practices, provide for the training of school personnel in alternatives to discipline practices and provide for encouraging the involvement of parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in the maintenance of school discipline. To promote a teaching and learning environment free from substantial classroom disturbances, each county board shall ensure that each school implements a tier system policy, with teacher input, to provide a framework for student behaviors and punishments. The policy shall be clear and concise with specific guidelines and examples. The principal shall support the teacher in the discipline of the students if proper cause and documentation is provided following the schoolwide discipline policy. The teacher may not be reprimanded if their actions are legal and within the structure of the county board’s policy for student behavior and punishment. The county board policies shall also include an appeal procedure whereby a teacher may appeal to the county superintendent if a school principal refuses to allow the exclusion of a student from the classroom or if a teacher believes the school principal has prematurely ended the exclusion of a student from the classroom.

The county boards shall provide for the immediate incorporation and implementation in schools of a preventive discipline program which may include the responsible student program and a student involvement program which may include the peer mediation program, devised by the West Virginia Board of Education. Each county board may modify those programs to meet the particular needs of the county. The county boards shall provide in-service training for teachers and principals relating to assertive discipline procedures and conflict resolution. The county boards also may establish cooperatives with private entities to provide middle educational programs which may include programs focusing on developing individual coping skills, conflict resolution, anger control, self-esteem issues, stress management and decision making for students and any other program related to preventive discipline.

§18A-5-8. Authority of certain aides to exercise control over students; compensation; transfers.

(a) Within the limitations provided in this section, any aide who agrees to do so shall stand in the place of the parent or guardian and shall exercise such authority and control over students as is required of a teacher as provided in section one [§ 18A-5-1] of this article. The principal shall designate aides in the school who agree to exercise that authority on the basis of seniority as an aide and shall enumerate the instances in which the authority shall be exercised by an aide when requested by the principal, assistant principal or professional employee to whom the aide is assigned.

(b) The authority provided for in subsection (a) of this section does not extend to suspending or expelling any student, participating in the administration of corporal punishment or performing instructional duties as a teacher or substitute teacher. However, the authority extends to supervising students undergoing in-school suspension if the instructional duties required by the supervision are limited solely to handing out class work and collecting class work. The authority to supervise students undergoing in-school suspension does not include actual instruction.


§126-99-5. Severability.

Section 4. Use of Physical Punishment Prohibited

W. Va. Code § 18A-5-1(e) prohibits school employees from using corporal (bodily) punishment on any student. No physical punishment of any kind can be inflicted upon a student. This includes:

. hitting or striking a student on their physical person;

. requiring physical activity as a punishment (this does not apply to physical activity within the structure and context of extracurricular activities);

. use of noxious stimuli (e.g., pepper spray), denial of food or water, or other negative physical actions to control behavior; and

. seclusion–a removal in which a student is left unsupervised in any space as an intervention or consequence to inappropriate behavior.

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