§ 115C-288.  Powers and duties of principal.

(a) To Grade and Classify Pupils. - The principal shall have authority to grade and classify pupils, except as provided in G.S. 115C-83.7(a). In determining the appropriate grade for a pupil who is already attending a public school, the principal shall consider the pupil's classroom work and grades, the pupil's scores on standardized tests, and the best educational interests of the pupil. The principal shall not make the decision solely on the basis of standardized test scores. If a principal's decision to retain a child in the same grade is partially based on the pupil's scores on standardized tests, those test scores shall be verified as accurate.

A principal shall not require additional testing of a student entering a public school from a school governed under Article 39 of this Chapter if test scores from a nationally standardized test or nationally standardized equivalent measure that are adequate to determine the appropriate placement of the child are available.

(b) To Make Accurate Reports to the Superintendent and to the Local Board. - The principal shall make all reports to the superintendent. Every principal of a public school shall make such reports as are required by the boards of education, and the superintendent shall not approve the vouchers for the pay of principals until the required monthly and annual reports are made: Provided, that the superintendents may require teachers to make reports to the principals and principals to make reports to the superintendent: Provided further, that any principal or supervisor who knowingly and willfully makes or procures another to make any false report or records, requisitions, or payrolls, respecting daily attendance of pupils in the public schools, payroll data sheets, or other reports required to be made to any board or officer in the performance of his duties, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and the certificate of such person to teach in the public schools of North Carolina shall be revoked by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

(c) To Improve Instruction and Community Spirit. - The principal shall give suggestions to teachers for the improvement of instruction.

(d) To Conduct Fire Drills and Inspect for Fire Hazards. - It shall be the duty of the principal to conduct a fire drill during the first week after the opening of school and thereafter at least one fire drill each school month, in each building in his charge, where children are assembled. Fire drills shall include all pupils and school employees, and the use of various ways of egress to simulate evacuation of said buildings under various conditions, and such other regulations as shall be prescribed for fire safety by the State Fire Marshal, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education. A copy of such regulations shall be kept posted on the bulletin board in each building.

It shall be the duty of each principal to inspect each of the buildings in his charge at least twice each month during the regular school session. This inspection shall include cafeterias, gymnasiums, boiler rooms, storage rooms, auditoriums and stage areas as well as all classrooms. This inspection shall be for the purpose of keeping the buildings safe from the accumulation of trash and other fire hazards.

It shall be the duty of the principal to file two copies of a written report once each month during the regular school session with the superintendent of his local school administrative unit, one copy of which shall be transmitted by the superintendent to the chairman of the local board of education. This report shall state the date the last fire drill was held, the time consumed in evacuating each building, that the inspection has been made as prescribed by law and such other information as is deemed necessary for fire safety by the State Fire Marshal, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education.

It shall be the duty of the principal to minimize fire hazards pursuant to the provisions of G.S. 115C-525.

(e) To Discipline Students and to Assign Duties to Teachers with Regard to the Discipline, General Well-being, and Medical Care of Students. - The principal shall have authority to exercise discipline over the pupils of the school under policies adopted by the local board of education in accordance with G.S. 115C-390.1 through G.S. 115C-390.12. The principal may use reasonable force pursuant to G.S. 115C-390.3 and may suspend students pursuant to G.S. 115C-390.5. The principal shall assign duties to teachers with regard to the general well-being and the medical care of students under G.S. 115C-307 and Article 26A of this Chapter.

(f) To Protect School Property. - The principal shall protect school property as provided in G.S. 115C-523.

(g) To Report Certain Acts to Law Enforcement and the Superintendent. - When the principal has personal knowledge or actual notice from school personnel that an act has occurred on school property involving assault resulting in serious personal injury, sexual assault, sexual offense, rape, kidnapping, indecent liberties with a minor, assault involving the use of a weapon, possession of a firearm in violation of the law, possession of a weapon in violation of the law, or possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law, the principal shall immediately report the act to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the State Board of Education shall not require the principal to report to law enforcement acts in addition to those required to be reported by law.

For purposes of this subsection, "school property" shall include any public school building, bus, public school campus, grounds, recreational area, or athletic field, in the charge of the principal.

The principal or the principal's designee shall notify the superintendent or the superintendent's designee in writing or by electronic mail regarding any report made to law enforcement under this subsection. This notification shall occur by the end of the workday in which the incident occurred when reasonably possible but not later than the end of the following workday. The superintendent shall provide the information to the local board of education.

Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to interfere with the due process rights of school employees or the privacy rights of students.

(h) To Make Available School Budgets and School Improvement Plans. - The principal shall maintain a copy of the school's current budget and school improvement plan, including any amendments to the plan, and shall allow parents of children in the school and other interested persons to review and obtain such documents in accordance with Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(i) To Evaluate Licensed Employees and Develop Mandatory Improvement Plans. - Each school year, the principal assigned to a low-performing school that has not received an assistance team shall provide for the evaluation of all licensed employees assigned to the school. The principal also shall develop mandatory improvement plans as provided under G.S. 115C-333(b) and G.S. 115C-333.1(b) and shall monitor an employee's progress under a mandatory improvement plan.

(j) To Transfer Student Records. - The principal shall not withhold the transfer of student records, except as is provided in G.S. 115C-403(b).

(k) To Sign Driving Eligibility Certificates and to Notify the Division of Motor Vehicles. - In accordance with rules adopted by the State Board of Education, the principal or the principal's designee shall do all of the following:

(1) Sign driving eligibility certificates that meet the conditions established in G.S. 20-11.

(2) Obtain the necessary written, irrevocable consent from parents, guardians, or emancipated juveniles, as appropriate, in order to disclose information to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

(3) Notify the Division of Motor Vehicles when a student who holds a driving eligibility certificate no longer meets its conditions.

(l) To Establish School Improvement Teams. - Each school year, the principal shall ensure that a school improvement team is established under G.S. 115C-105.27 for the purpose of developing, reviewing, and revising a school improvement plan.

(m) To Address the Unique Needs of Military-Connected Students. - The principal shall develop a means for serving the unique needs of students identified as military-connected students as required in G.S. 115C-12(18)f. (1955, c. 1372, art. 17, ss. 6, 8; 1957, c. 843; 1959, c. 573, s. 13; c. 1294; 1965, c. 584, s. 15; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 975, s. 4; 1987, c. 572, s. 3; 1993, c. 327, s. 1; c. 539, s. 883; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 716, s. 7.1; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 18, s. 18.27; 1997-443, s. 8.29(t); 1998-5, s. 7; 1998-220, s. 13; 1999-243, s. 7; 1999-373, s. 2; 2001-424, s. 28.17(b); 2005-22, s. 5; 2009-410, s. 1; 2011-145, s. 7.13(s), (t); 2011-248, s. 1; 2011-282, s. 11; 2011-348, s. 5; 2011-391, s. 14(b); 2012-142, s. 7A.1(g); 2012-149, s. 7; 2012-194, s. 55(c); 2014-15, s. 2; 2015-264, s. 82; 2023-151, s. 12.3.)