Title: Suspension of Students
Adopted: November 26, 1984
Last Revised: May 14, 2013
SUSPENSION OF STUDENTS
Suspension should be a stop-gap only long enough in duration to allow the development of a re-entry plan that supports the safety, health, and academic and social-emotional wellbeing of the student and the school community. Out-of-school suspension, in particular, should only be used when unavoidable as a safety measure, such as in the case of imminent likelihood of harm.
In-school suspension is the temporary removal of a student for disciplinary purposes from their regular classroom to the direct supervision of school personnel for at least half of a school day. Out-of-school suspension is the temporary removal of a student from their regular school for disciplinary reasons for at least half of a school day.
The Portland Board of Public Education (“Board”) delegates to principals the authority to suspend students but asserts that suspensions of any length constitute significant disruptions to a student’s learning. Alternatives to suspension should be preferred whenever possible. Alternatives to suspension could include, but are not limited to problem-solving, restitution and restoration, skills instruction, counseling, and behavior planning.
Suspensions for students in grade 6 or above longer than five (5) days, inclusive of both in-school and out-of-school suspension, may only be imposed with approval of the Superintendent. Suspensions longer than ten (10) days, inclusive of both in-school and out-of-school suspension, may only be imposed by the Board.
Out-of-school suspensions for students in grade 5 and below may only be imposed as provided in 20 M.R.S.A. Section 1001(9-A) (firearms violations) or when the principal determines that there is an imminent danger of serious physical injury to the student or others and less restrictive interventions would be ineffective. An out-of-school suspension for a student in grade 5 or below may not exceed three (3) days.
Prior to a suspension, except as hereinafter provided:
- The student shall be given oral or written notice of the reason for suspension;
- The student shall be given an explanation of the evidence forming the reason for suspension; and
- The student shall be given an opportunity to present their version of the incident.
However, students whose presence pose an immediate and serious safety threat may be immediately removed from school. In such cases, the notice of reason for suspension, explanation of evidence and the student’s opportunity to present their version of the incident shall be arranged as soon as practicable after removal of the student from school.
The student’s parents/guardians shall be notified of any in-school or out-of-school suspension as soon as practicable by telephone (if possible) and by written notice sent by mail. Email and other forms of communication may be used in addition in order to make the process as accessible as possible to families. Interpretation and translation will be provided as needed. A copy of the written notice shall also be sent to the Superintendent. The family shall be given an opportunity to inform the plans for re-entry and for subsequent supports.
Students are not allowed on school property during any out-of-school suspension except with the prior authorization of the principal or Superintendent, which could be necessary for access to services such as an in-school health clinic.
Administration will coordinate between faculty, student, and family to ensure that the student has information about and access to schoolwork and assessments that take place during the suspension and are essential to meeting content standards.
School administration, faculty, and student support staff shall collaborate with the student and family to create a re-entry plan that helps address underlying problems, restore relationships, prevent recurrence, and maintain the safety, health, and academic and social-emotional well-being of the student and the school community.
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