115C-390.2. Discipline policies.

(a) Local boards of education shall adopt policies to govern the conduct of students and establish procedures to be followed by school officials in disciplining students. These policies must be consistent with the provisions of this Article and the constitutions, statutes, and regulations of the United States and the State of North Carolina.

(b) Board policies shall include or provide for the development of a Code of Student Conduct that notifies students of the standards of behavior expected of them, conduct that may subject them to discipline, and the range of disciplinary measures that may be used by school officials.

(c) Board policies may authorize suspension for conduct not occurring on educational property, but only if the student's conduct otherwise violates the Code of Student Conduct and the conduct has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the schools or the safety of individuals in the school environment.

(d) Board policies shall not allow students to be long-term suspended or expelled from school solely for truancy or tardiness offenses and shall not allow short-term suspension of more than two days for such offenses.

(e) Board policies shall not impose mandatory long-term suspensions or expulsions for specific violations unless otherwise provided in State or federal law.

(f) Board policies shall minimize the use of long-term suspension and expulsion by restricting the availability of long-term suspension or expulsion to those violations deemed to be serious violations of the board's Code of Student Conduct that either threaten the safety of students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment. Examples of conduct that would not be deemed to be a serious violation include the use of inappropriate or disrespectful language, noncompliance with a staff directive, dress code violations, and minor physical altercations that do not involve weapons or injury. The principal may, however, in his or her discretion, determine that aggravating circumstances justify treating a minor violation as a serious violation.

(g) Board policies shall not prohibit the superintendent and principals from considering the student's intent, disciplinary and academic history, the potential benefits to the student of alternatives to suspension, and other mitigating or aggravating factors when deciding whether to recommend or impose long-term suspension.

(h) Board policies shall include the procedures to be followed by school officials in suspending, expelling, or administering corporal punishment to any student, which shall be consistent with this Article.

(i) Each local board shall publish all policies, administrative procedures, or school rules mandated by this section and make them available to each student and his or her parent at the beginning of each school year and upon request.

(j) Local boards of education are encouraged to include in their safe schools plans, adopted pursuant to G.S. 115C-105.47, research-based behavior management programs that take positive approaches to improving student behaviors.

(k) School officials are encouraged to use a full range of responses to violations of disciplinary rules, such as conferences, counseling, peer mediation, behavior contracts, instruction in conflict resolution and anger management, detention, academic interventions, community service, and other similar tools that do not remove a student from the classroom or school building.

(l) (Applicable to children enrolling in the public schools for the first time beginning with the 2016-2017 school year) Board policies shall state that absences under G.S. 130A-440 shall not be suspensions. A student subject to an absence under G.S. 130A-440 shall be provided the following:

(1) The opportunity to take textbooks and school-furnished digital devices home for the duration of the absence.

(2) Upon request, the right to receive all missed assignments and, to the extent practicable, the materials distributed to students in connection with the assignment.

(3) The opportunity to take any quarterly, semester, or grading period examinations missed during the absence period. (2011-282, s. 2; 2015-222, s. 4.5.)