SB594 SUB1 Senate Bill 594 History

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SB594 SUB1


Senate Bill No. 594

(By Senators Edgell, Kessler, Hunter, Deem and Love)


[Originating in the Committee on Education;

reported February 21, 2008.]


A BILL to amend and reenact §18A-5-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §18A-5-1c, all relating to the authority of teachers and school personnel over students; exclusion and readmission of students from and to the classroom; creating more alternative learning centers or placements, subject to funding; requiring countywide meetings to discuss effective discipline policies; requiring local school improvement councils to review certain discipline- related issues; transmitting any determination of unfair or inconsistent discipline to the county superintendent; and establishing the Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §18A-5-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §18A-5-1c, all to read as follows:

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

(a) The teacher shall stand in the place of the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in exercising authority over the school and shall have control of all pupils students enrolled in the school from the time they reach the school until they have returned to their respective homes, except that where transportation of pupils is provided, the driver in charge of the school bus or other mode of transportation shall exercise such the authority and control over the children students while they are in transit to and from the school.
(b) Subject to the rules of the state board of Education, the teacher shall exclude from the school any pupil or pupils student known to have or suspected of having any infectious disease, or any pupil or pupils who have student who has been exposed to any infectious disease, and shall immediately notify the proper health officer or medical inspector of the exclusion. Any pupil student so excluded shall may not be readmitted to the school until the pupil student has complied with all the requirements of the rules governing those cases or has presented a certificate of health signed by the medical inspector or other proper health officer.
(c) The teacher may exclude from his or her classroom or school bus any pupil student who is guilty of disorderly conduct; who in any manner interferes with an orderly educational process; who threatens, abuses or otherwise intimidates or attempts to intimidate a school employee or a pupil student; who willfully disobeys a school employee; or who uses abusive or profane language directed at a school employee. Any pupil student excluded shall be placed under the control of the principal of the school or a designee. The excluded pupil student may be admitted to the classroom or school bus only when the principal, or a designee, provides written certification to the teacher that the pupil student may be readmitted and specifies the specific type of disciplinary action, if any, which was taken. If the principal finds that disciplinary action is warranted, he or she shall provide written and, if possible, telephonic notice of the action to the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s). When a teacher excludes the same pupil student from his or her classroom or from a school bus three two times in one school year semester and after exhausting all reasonable methods of classroom discipline provided in the school discipline plan, the pupil student may be readmitted to the teacher's classroom, the school or the school bus only after the principal, teacher and, if possible, the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of the pupil student have held a conference to discuss the pupil's student's disruptive behavior patterns and the teacher and the principal agree on a course of discipline for the pupil student and inform the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of the course of action. Thereafter, if the pupil's student's disruptive behavior persists, upon the teacher's request, the principal may, to the extent feasible, transfer the pupil student to another setting. The Legislature finds that isolating students or placing them in alternative learning centers may be the best setting for chronically disruptive students. The county board shall create more alternative learning centers or placements, subject to funding, to correct these students' behaviors so they can return to a regular classroom without engaging in further disruptive behavior.
(d) The Legislature finds that suspension from school is not appropriate solely for a pupil's student's failure to attend class. Therefore, no pupil a student may not be suspended from school solely for not attending class. Other methods of discipline may be used for the pupil student which may include, but are not limited to, detention, extra class time or alternative class settings.
(e) Corporal punishment of any pupil 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 corporal punishment, provide for the training of school personnel in alternatives to corporal punishment and provide for the involvement of parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in the maintenance of school discipline. The county boards of education shall provide for the immediate incorporation and implementation in the 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 state board. 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 of education 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 decisionmaking for students and any other program related to preventive discipline.
(g) For the purpose of this section:
(1) "Pupil or student Student" includes any child, youth or adult who is enrolled in any instructional program or activity conducted under board authorization and within the facilities of or in connection with any program under public school direction: Provided, That in the case of adults, the pupil-teacher student-teacher relationship shall terminate terminates when the pupil student leaves the school or other place of instruction or activity;
(2) "Teacher" means all professional educators as defined in section one, article one of this chapter and shall include includes the driver of a school bus or other mode of transportation; and
(3) "Principal" means the principal, assistant principal, vice principal or the administrative head of the school or a professional personnel designee of the principal or the administrative head of the school.
(h) Teachers shall exercise other authority and perform other duties prescribed for them by law or by the rules of the state board not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter and chapter eighteen of this code.
(i) Each county board is required to conduct at least two countywide meetings to engage parents, students, school employees and other interested parties in a positive and interactive dialogue regarding effective discipline policies. The meetings, which shall be official meetings of the board, shall be held in geographically diverse locations within each county to maximize public attendance and shall afford ample time for the dialogue.
(j) The local school improvement council required to be established at each school pursuant to section two, article five-a, chapter eighteen of this code shall:
(1) Review disciplinary practices and measures at the school;
(2) Examine fairness and consistency of disciplinary actions at the school; and
(3) Report findings to the county board at its meeting with the county board required by section fourteen, article five, chapter eighteen of this code and section two, article five-a of said chapter.
(k) If the local school improvement council at a school determines that student discipline at the school is not enforced fairly or consistently, the council shall transmit that determination in writing, along with supporting information, to the county superintendent. Within ten days of receiving the report, the superintendent, or designee, shall respond in writing to the council. The county board shall retain and file all the correspondence and maintain it for public review.
§18A-5-1c. Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel.

(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) The mission of public schools is to prepare students for equal and responsible citizenship and productive adulthood;
(2) Democratic citizenship and productive adulthood begin with standards of conduct in schools;
(3) Schools should be safe havens for learning with high standards of conduct for students; and
(4) Rights necessarily carry responsibilities.
(b) In recognition of the findings in this section, the following Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel is established:
(1) The right to attend a school and ride a bus that is safe, orderly and drug free;
(2) The right to learn and work in a school that has clear discipline codes with fair and consistently enforced consequences for misbehavior;
(3) The right to learn and work in a school that has alternative educational placements for violent or chronically disruptive students;
(4) The right to be treated with courtesy and respect;
(5) The right to attend a school and ride on a bus that is free from bullying;
(6) The right to support from school administrators when enforcing discipline policies;
(7) The right to support from parents, the community, public officials and businesses in their efforts to uphold high standards of conduct; and
(8) The responsibility to adhere to the principles in this Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel and to behave in a manner that guarantees that other students and school personnel enjoy the same rights.
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