H.B. 240
Mar 8, 2021
Short Title: Standards of Student Conduct. (Public)
Sponsors: Representative Torbett.
Referred to:
7 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
8 SECTION 1.(a) G.S. 115C-390.1 reads as rewritten:
9 "§ 115C-390.1. State policy and definitions.
10 …
11 (b) The following definitions apply in this Article:
12 (1) Alternative education services. – Part or full-time programs, wherever
13 situated, providing direct or computer-based instruction that allow a student
14 to progress in one or more core academic courses. Alternative education
15 services include programs established by the local board of education in
16 conformity with G.S. 115C-105.47A and local board of education public
17 school unit board policies.
18 …
19 (4) Educational property. – Any school building or bus, school campus, grounds,
20 recreational area, athletic field, or other property under the control of any local
21 board of education or charter school.public school unit.
22 …
23 (9) Principal. – Includes the principal and the principal's designee.designee, or if
24 there is no designated principal, the staff member designated by the public
25 school unit board with the highest decision-making authority at an individual
26 school.
27 (9a) Public school unit board or board. – The governing entity of a public school
28 unit.
29 …
30 (11) School personnel. – Any of the following:
31 a. An employee of a local board of education.public school unit board.
32 b. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function under
33 a contract or written agreement with the public school system unit to
34 provide educational or related services to students.
35 c. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function for
36 another agency providing educational or related services to students.
General Assembly Of North Carolina Session 2021
1 …
2 (14) Superintendent. – Includes the superintendent and the superintendent's
3 designee.designee, or if there is no superintendent, the staff member with the
4 highest decision-making authority and that staff member's designee.
5 …."
6 SECTION 1.(b) G.S. 115C-390.2 reads as rewritten:
7 "§ 115C-390.2. Discipline policies.
8 (a) Local boards of education Public school unit boards, in consultation with teachers,
9 school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies, shall adopt policies to
10 govern the conduct of students and establish procedures to be followed by school officials in
11 disciplining students. These policies must be consistent with the provisions of this Article and
12 the constitutions, statutes, and regulations of the United States and the State of North Carolina.
13 Prior to adopting these policies, public school unit boards shall review current federal guidance
14 on school discipline practices issued by the United States Department of Education.
15 (a1) No later than September 1 of each year, each public school unit board shall provide
16 the Department of Public Instruction with a copy of its most up-to-date student discipline
17 policies.
18 (b) Board policies shall include or provide for the development of a Code of Student
19 Conduct that notifies students of the standards of behavior expected of them, conduct that may
20 subject them to discipline, and the range of disciplinary measures that may be used by school
21 officials.
22 (c) Board policies may authorize suspension for conduct not occurring on educational
23 property, but only if the student's conduct otherwise violates the Code of Student Conduct and
24 the conduct has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly
25 and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment.
26 (d) Board policies shall not allow students to be long-term suspended or expelled from
27 school solely for truancy or tardiness offenses and shall not allow short-term suspension of more
28 than two days for such offenses.
29 (e) Board policies shall not impose mandatory long-term suspensions or expulsions for
30 specific violations unless otherwise provided in State or federal law.
31 (f) Board policies shall minimize the use of long-term suspension and expulsion by
32 restricting the availability of long-term suspension or expulsion to those violations deemed to be
33 serious violations of the board's Code of Student Conduct that either threaten the safety of
34 students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment.
35 Examples of conduct that would not be deemed to be a serious violation include the use of
36 inappropriate or disrespectful language, noncompliance with a staff directive, dress code
37 violations, and minor physical altercations that do not involve weapons or injury. The principal
38 may, however, in his or her discretion, determine that aggravating circumstances justify treating
39 a minor violation as a serious violation.
40 (g) Board policies shall not prohibit the superintendent and principals from considering
41 the student's intent, disciplinary and academic history, the potential benefits to the student of
42 alternatives to suspension, and other mitigating or aggravating factors when deciding whether to
43 recommend or impose long-term suspension.
44 (h) Board policies shall include the procedures to be followed by school officials in
45 suspending, expelling, or administering corporal punishment to any student, which shall be
46 consistent with this Article.
47 (i) Each local board shall publish all policies, administrative procedures, or school rules
48 mandated by this section and make them available to each student and his or her parent at the
49 beginning of each school year and upon request. This information shall include the full range of
50 responses to violations of disciplinary rules, including responses that do not remove a student
51 from the classroom or school building. Public school unit boards may require students and
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1 parents or guardians to sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of such policies,
2 procedures, or rules.
3 (j) Local boards of education Public school unit boards are encouraged to include in their
4 safe schools plans, adopted pursuant to G.S. 115C-105.47, research-based behavior management
5 programs that take positive approaches to improving student behaviors.
6 (k) School officials are encouraged to use a full range of responses to violations of
7 disciplinary rules, such as conferences, counseling, peer mediation, behavior contracts,
8 instruction in conflict resolution and anger management, detention, academic interventions,
9 community service, and other similar tools that do not remove a student from the classroom or
10 school building.
11 (l) Board policies shall state that absences under G.S. 130A-440 shall not be suspensions.
12 A student subject to an absence under G.S. 130A-440 shall be provided the following:
13 (1) The opportunity to take textbooks and school-furnished digital devices home
14 for the duration of the absence.
15 (2) Upon request, the right to receive all missed assignments and, to the extent
16 practicable, the materials distributed to students in connection with the
17 assignment.
18 (3) The opportunity to take any quarterly, semester, or grading period
19 examinations missed during the absence period.
20 (m) Nothing in this section or any section of this Chapter shall be construed as regulating
21 a public school unit board's discretion to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes."
22 SECTION 1.(c) G.S. 115C-390.3 reads as rewritten:
23 "§ 115C-390.3. Reasonable force.
24 …
25 (c) Notwithstanding any other law, no officer, member, or employee of the State Board
26 of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, or of a local board of education, public
27 school unit board, individually or collectively, shall be civilly liable for using reasonable force
28 in conformity with State law, State or local rules, or State or local policies regarding the control,
29 discipline, suspension, and expulsion of students. Furthermore, the burden of proof is on the
30 claimant to show that the amount of force used was not reasonable.
31 (d) No school employee shall be reprimanded or dismissed for acting or failing to act to
32 stop or intervene in an altercation between students if the employee's actions are consistent with
33 local board policies. Local boards of education Public school unit boards shall adopt policies,
34 pursuant to their authority under G.S. 115C-47(18), or as otherwise provided by law, which
35 provide guidelines for an employee's response if the employee has personal knowledge or actual
36 notice of an altercation between students."
37 SECTION 1.(d) G.S. 115C-390.4 reads as rewritten:
38 "§ 115C-390.4. Corporal punishment.
39 (a) Each local board of education public school unit board shall determine whether
40 corporal punishment will be permitted in its public school administrative unit. Notwithstanding
41 a local board of education's board's prohibition on the use of corporal punishment, school
42 personnel may use physical restraint in accordance with federal law and G.S. 115C-391.1 and
43 reasonable force pursuant to G.S. 115C-390.3.
44 …
45 (c) Each local board of education public school unit board shall report annually to the
46 State Board of Education, in a manner prescribed by the State Board of Education, on the number
47 of times that corporal punishment was administered. The report shall be in compliance with the
48 federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, and shall include the
49 following:
50 …."
51 SECTION 1.(e) G.S. 115C-390.6 reads as rewritten:
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1 "§ 115C-390.6. Short-term suspension procedures.
2 …
3 (e) A student is not entitled to appeal the principal's decision to impose a short-term
4 suspension to the superintendent or local board of education. public school unit board. Further,
5 such a decision is not subject to judicial review. Notwithstanding this subsection, the local board
6 of education, public school unit board, in its discretion, may provide students an opportunity for
7 a review or appeal of a short-term suspension to the superintendent or local board of
8 education.public school unit board."
9 SECTION 1.(f) G.S. 115C-390.8 reads as rewritten:
10 "§ 115C-390.8. Long-term suspension procedures.
11 (a) When a student is recommended by the principal for long-term suspension, the
12 principal shall give written notice to the student's parent. The notice shall be provided to the
13 student's parent by the end of the workday during which the suspension was recommended when
14 reasonably possible or as soon thereafter as practicable. The written notice shall provide at least
15 the following information:
16 …
17 (6) The extent to which the local board policy permits the parent to have an
18 advocate, instead of an attorney, accompany the student to assist in the
19 presentation of his or her appeal.
20 …
21 (8) A reference to the local board policy on the expungement of discipline records
22 as required by G.S. 115C-402.
23 (b) Written notice may be provided by certified mail, fax, e-mail, or any other written
24 method reasonably designed to achieve actual notice of the recommendation for long-term
25 suspension. When school personnel are aware that English is not the primary language of the
26 parent or guardian, the notice shall be written in both English and in the primary language of the
27 parent or guardian when the appropriate foreign language resources are readily available. All
28 notices described in this section shall be written in plain English, and shall include the following
29 information translated into the dominant non-English language used by residents within the local
30 school administrative unit:public school unit:
31 …
32 (d) The formal hearing may be conducted by the local board of education, public school
33 unit board, by the superintendent, or by a person or group of persons appointed by the local board
34 or superintendent to serve as a hearing officer or hearing panel. Neither the board nor the
35 superintendent shall appoint any individual to serve as a hearing officer or on a hearing panel
36 who is under the direct supervision of the principal recommending suspension. If the hearing is
37 conducted by an appointed hearing officer or hearing panel, such officer or panel shall determine
38 the relevant facts and credibility of witnesses based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
39 Following the hearing, the superintendent or local board shall make a final decision regarding
40 the suspension. The superintendent or board shall adopt the hearing officer's or panel's factual
41 determinations unless they are not supported by substantial evidence in the record.
42 (e) Long-term suspension hearings shall be conducted in accordance with policies
43 adopted by the board of education. public school unit board. Such policies shall offer the student
44 procedural due process including, but not limited to, the following:
45 …
46 (g) Unless the decision was made by the local board, the student may appeal the decision
47 to the a local board of education in accordance with G.S. 115C-45(c) and policies adopted by the
48 board. public school unit board. Notwithstanding the provisions of G.S. 115C-45(c), a student's
49 appeal to the board of a decision upholding a long-term suspension shall be heard and a final
50 written decision issued in not more than 30 calendar days following the request for such appeal.
51 …
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1 (i) A decision of the local board to uphold the long-term suspension of a student is
2 subject to judicial review in accordance with Article 4 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.
3 The action must be brought within 30 days of the local board's decision. A person seeking judicial
4 review shall file a petition in the superior court of the county where the local board made its
5 decision. Local rules notwithstanding, petitions for judicial review of a long-term suspension
6 shall be set for hearing in the first succeeding term of superior court in the county following the
7 filing of the certified copy of the official record."
8 SECTION 1.(g) G.S. 115C-390.9 reads as rewritten:
9 "§ 115C-390.9. Alternative education services.
10 (a) Students who are long-term suspended shall be offered alternative education services
11 unless the superintendent provides a significant or important reason for declining to offer such
12 services. The following may be significant or important reasons, depending on the circumstances
13 and the nature and setting of the alternative education services:
14 …
15 (5) Educationally appropriate alternative education services are not available in
16 the local school administrative public school unit due to limited resources.
17 …
18 (b) If the superintendent declines to provide alternative education services to the
19 suspended student, the student may seek review of such decision by the local board of education
20 public school unit board as permitted by G.S. 115C-45(c)(2). If the student seeks such review,
21 the superintendent shall provide to the student and the local board, in advance of the board's
22 review, a written explanation for the denial of services together with