Student Discipline Code

The Souderton Area School Board believes that responsible student conduct is an essential part of the educational process and all those involved in the schools – students, parents, teachers, and administrators – desire a learning environment free from disruptive influences.

The discipline code set forth in the chart that follows (entitled “Disciplinary Structure – Student Misconduct/Response Guideline”) organizes student misbehavior into four (4) categories from minor to major, depending upon the type of misbehavior, the effect of the misbehavior on the learning climate of the school and on the health or safety of others in the school.

  1. Minor misbehavior on the part of the student, which impedes orderly classroom procedure or interferes with the orderly operation of the school.
  2. Misbehavior whose frequency or seriousness tends to disrupt the learning climate of the school.
  3. Acts, whether on school property or off school property, including but not limited to attendance at school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities, field trips, transportation to and from school, and the like directed against persons or property but where the student’s conduct does not seriously endanger or pose a direct threat to himself/herself or to the health or safety of others in the school.
  4. Acts, whether on school or off school property, including but not limited to attendance at school-sponsored events, extracurricular activities, field trips, transportation to and from school, and the like, which result in violence to another’s person or property or which pose a direct threat to the safety of others in the school or to the student engaging in such conduct.

The second column of the Disciplinary Structure presents examples of misbehavior at each level. These examples are not all-inclusive but serve to describe the type of misbehavior at a particular level. Acts of misbehavior not listed as examples will be placed in the appropriate category and handled accordingly.

The third column of the Disciplinary Structure contains procedures for handling misbehavior at each level, while the fourth column presents disciplinary responses to the misbehavior by the teachers, principals, or other school authorities. The disciplinary responses are not all-inclusive, and it is expected that the maturity of the student, the degree or severity of the misbehavior, and the facts or circumstances surrounding the misbehavior will all be taken into consideration as the disciplinary response is determined. In some instances of misbehavior, however, disciplinary responses are mandatory because of the seriousness of the offenses.

This Discipline Code will be used in conjunction with existing policies of the Souderton Area School District affecting expected student behavior, which are outlined in more detail below. The provisions of the Discipline Code will be modified, when required by State and Federal Special Education Regulations, for those students who are classified as exceptional.

When a student is suspended or expelled from SAHS, he/she is automatically suspended or expelled from North Montco Technical Career Center. This is a reciprocal agreement.

Students should be aware that, according to the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, a person on the school campus during a period when he/she has been excluded from school is committing a defiant trespass offense.

Administrative Guidelines
In accordance with the Souderton Area School Board’s concern for maintaining a safe school environment, which encourages responsible conduct, the following definition of terms, regulations, and guidelines shall be used by all school district personnel when responding to student discipline related situations.

Definition of Terms (in alphabetical order):

Munition – any projectile, along with its fuse and primer, that can be fired from a gun or otherwise propelled as well as an chemical or explosive material used for defense or offense such as a rocket, grenade, mine, or the like.

Arson – the crime of maliciously burning a building or property of another, or burning one’s own property for some improper purpose.

Assault – a violent attack and/or unlawful attempt of threat to injure another person physically or verbally.

Bullying – repeated and systematic harassment or attacks on another, perpetrated by a student of group of students, in the school, on school ground, in school vehicles, to or from school, or at school sponsored activities or sanctioned events and that has the effect of:

  • Physically harming a students or damaging a student’s property
  • Knowingly placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property; or
  • Placing severe mental or emotional distress upon the student

Chemical Abuse Specialist – is a certified program specialist with expertise in the area of chemical dependence and school based assessment.

Cooperative Behavior - shall be defined as the willingness of a student to work with staff and school personnel in a reasonable and helpful manner, complying with requests and recommendations as outlined by the Student Support Team.

Destructive device – any explosive, incendiary or poison gas, including but not limited to, any bomb, grenade, rocket, missile, mine or device similar to any of the aforementioned instruments.

Distributing – deliver, sell, pass, share, or give any alcohol, drug, drug look-alike or mood altering substance from one person to another, or to aid therein.

Drug/Alcohol/Mood Altering Substance – shall include any alcoholic or malt beverage, any drug listed in Act 64 (1972) as a controlled substance, chemical, abused substance or medication for which a prescription is required under the law and/or any substance which is intended to alter mood. Examples of the above include but are not limited to beer, wine, liquor, marijuana, hashish, heroin, cocaine, crack, chemical solvents, glue, look-alike substances, and any capsules or pills not registered with the nurse, annotated within the student’s health record, and/or taken in accordance with the school district policy for the administration of medication to students in school.

Drug Paraphernalia – includes any utensil or item which in the school’s judgment can be associated with the use/abuse of narcotic drugs, alcohol, or mood altering substances. Examples may include, but are not limited to cigarette-rolling papers, roach clips, pipes, and bowls.

Expulsion – shall be any exclusion from school for a period in excess of ten (10) school days and may be permanent expulsion from the school rolls. Refer to Policy #233.

Extortion – the act of obtaining money, information, or property from another by coercion, intimidation, or threat of future harm. The threat is not limited to physical violence but may include that of ruining a person’s reputation.

False Imprisonment – the unlawful detention or confinement of another. Key to the concept is submission to authority – a common practice in hazing.

False Reporting – any seeming signal, or warning given that is groundless or lacks authenticity (e.g., a bomb threat, a fire alarm, or 911 call where no bomb, fire, or emergency exists).

Fighting 
(Level III) – a physical conflict between two or more individuals which is minor in nature and where serious bodily injury has not occurred, a conflict easily resolved by an administrator.
(Level IV) – a brawl or physical conflict between two or more individuals where serious bodily injury has occurred and which is deemed appropriate for police intervention.

Firearm – any instrument which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such instrument; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or any destructive device.

Fireworks 
(Level III) – any various combinations of explosives and combustibles used to generate colored lights, smoke, or noise – those devices legal for sale under the state law.
(Level IV) – those devices not legal for sale under the state law.

Forgery – the making, completing, executing, authenticating, issuing, altering, or transferring of any writing of another without his/her authority.

Gambling – placing a wager or betting money on the outcome of a game, contest, or other event.

Harassment – to disturb or irritate someone with annoyances, insults, taunts, threats, or demands in order to gain a desired end or create worry and/or mental suffering.

In-School Suspension – removal of a student from the regular program while providing him/her with planned and supervised instruction in the basic subjects.

Insubordination – a rebellious attitude which implies open defiance or refusal to submit to authority.

Look-alike substances – any non-controlled substance that in its overall finished dosage appearance is substantially similar in size, shape, color, marking, or packaging to a specific controlled substance.

Out of School Suspension – students are removed from school for the term of the out-of-school suspension. A temporary, out of school suspension may last for not more than three (3) consecutive school days. A full out of school suspension may last for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days. Refer to Policy #233.This means that to go to 5 days, must have informal hearing, correct?

Outside Referral – referral to an education or treatment agency not operated by the school district wherein students are evaluated in an effort to determine the extent of the drug/alcohol problem and appropriate intervention techniques applied. (Example: Penn Foundation)

Paging Portable Communication Device – A telecommunications device that emits an audible signal, vibrates, displays a message, or otherwise summons or delivers a communication to the processor.

Possession – found on the person of the student, in the student’s locker or vehicle, or under the student’s control while he/she is on School District property, at a school-sponsored function or while the student is on his/her way to or from school.

Probation – a specified period of time whereby a student must adhere to prescribed conditions of behavior. Conditions of probation will be presented to both the student and parent in writing. A student subject to probation under this policy shall continue to attend school but shall be required to observe certain conditions, which may include but need not be limited to:

  • Prohibition of any further violation of this policy.
  • Prohibition of participation in athletic, extracurricular, social, or leadership activities. This may include exclusion from commencement activities.
  • Reporting at stated periods to appropriate persons for counseling.
  • Participating in after school hour’s maintenance and/or rehabilitation programs.
  • Other conditions reasonably related to insuring a correction of the misbehavior or misconduct for which the probation was imposed.

Propellant – A device used to emit a substance that may or may not be used for self-defense including but not limited to mace, pepper spray, and hair spray.

Reasonable suspicion – specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech and/or body odors of the student or an anonymous tip.

Sale – the exchange of a determined amount of money or its equivalent.

Saturday Detention – a school detention held on Saturday and which may be assigned only by an administrator for a Level III or Level IV offense and/or repeated violations of Levels I and II. Hours, procedures, requirements, transportation, etc. are detailed under each school’s behavioral practices.

School – includes the distance a student travels to and from a specific district building within the time parameter of that student’s school responsibilities (i.e., sports, detention, and other school sponsored activities); school bus; school buildings or surrounding property owned by the school district; and school sponsored events (e.g., athletic events, trips, concerts, dances, meetings, etc.).

School District Property – shall include buildings, facilities, and grounds on the school campus, school buses, school parking areas, and any facility being used for a school function or school sponsored trip.

School Sponsored Function – shall include alternative educational opportunity programs (i.e. Co-op Program) or any school related activity subject to the school’s jurisdiction.

Sexual Harassment – unwanted or uninvited sexually orientated words or actions that hurt or humiliate someone and/or behavior which causes a person to feel uncomfortable or offended. Sexual harassment may be physical, verbal, and/or non-verbal and is illegal in schools and work places because it violates federal and state laws.

Student – any individual enrolled in the Souderton Area School District.

Student Assistance Program (SAP) – is a multi-disciplinary team minimally composed of the school psychologist, a school administrator, a guidance counselor, the school nurse, and two teachers. This team has been trained to understand and work on the issues of adolescent chemical use, abuse, and dependency and will play a primary role in the identification and referral process of students coming to their attention through the procedures outlined in this policy and its Guidelines.

Suspension of Privileges – exclusion of a student for a stipulated period of time from activities which include, but are not limited to: extra-curricular activities, graduation ceremony, parking, use of the library, attendance at school functions such as dances or sporting events as a spectator, use of passes during the school day, attendance at assembly programs, and/or lunch in the cafeteria. A level III or IV violation of the discipline code during the 4th quarter may result in suspension of the privilege to participate in proms and / or graduation ceremonies.

Terroristic Act – shall mean an offense against property or involving danger to another person. As used in this provision, property offenses include, but are not limited to, arson, burglary, robbery, theft, forgery, fraudulent practices (including institutional vandalism) and criminal mischief. As used in this provision, danger to persons includes, but is not limited to, homicide, assault, kidnapping, sexual offenses and any other offense involving danger to persons as defined in the Pennsylvania criminal statutes.

Terroristic Threat – shall mean a threat to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another, or to cause evacuation of a building, place or assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.

Theft/Shoplifting – the taking and removing of another’s personal property, with the intent of permanently depriving the owner.

Tobacco - a lighted or unlighted cigarette, cigar and pipe; other lighted smoking products; and smokeless tobacco in any form

Truancy – being absent from school without permission from a parent or school official.

Uncooperative Behavior – is resistance or refusal – verbal, physical, or passive – on the part of the student to comply with the reasonable request or recommendations of school personnel. Defiance, assault, deceit, and flight shall constitute examples of uncooperative student behavior. Uncooperative behavior shall also include the refusal to comply with recommendations as outlined by the Student Support Team or a licensed drug and alcohol facility.

Under the Influence of Alcohol – when the student has either admitted to the use of alcohol or if the alcohol concentration in the student’s blood or breath is 0.02% or higher, as measured by a breathalyzer test. When a school employee has reasonable suspicion that a student is under the influence of alcohol and seeks the administration of a breathalyzer test, the student must submit to the test. If the student refuses to submit to a breathalyzer, the student will be deemed to be under the influence. For purposes of this provision, refusing to submit shall mean that the student: (1) failed to consent to the administration of the test; (2) failed to appear for the test; (3) failed to remain at the testing site until the testing process was complete; (4) failed to cooperate with any part of the testing process, including, but not limited to, providing a sufficient specimen for testing purposes; or (5) provided an adulterated, substituted or altered sample. Breathalyzers may be administered by either school employees or the police. Under the Influence of

Under the Influence of Drugs/Mood Altering Substances – when the student has either admitted to the use of drugs or mood-altering substances or if the presence of drugs or other prohibited substance is detected in the student’s urine. When the school employee has reasonable suspicion that a student is under the influence of a drug and/or mood altering substance and seeks the administration of a urine test/breathalyzer, the student must submit to the test. If the student refuses to submit to the urine test/breathalyzer, the student will be deemed to be under the influence. For purposes of this provision, refusing to submit shall mean that the student: (1) failed to consent to the administration of the test; (2) failed to appear for the test; (3) failed to remain at the testing site until the testing process was complete; (4) failed to cooperate with any part of the testing process, including, but not limited to, providing a sufficient specimen for testing purposes; or (5) provided an adulterated, substituted or altered sample . Urine tests may be administered by either school employees or the police.

Use – to consume, take, or partake of in any quantity or form

Vandalism – the willful or malicious destruction of public or private property which requires restitution of property and damages.

Weapon – including but not limited to, any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nunchaku stick, metal knuckles, straight razor, slingshot, poison, drug, ammunition, firearm, shot gun, rifle, air guns, destructive device and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of or designed to harm, threaten or harass students, staff members, parents or patrons of the school district, including look-alike weapons .