• 1.        STUDENT BEHAVIOR CODE:  JCDA & JCDA-R

    The Board expects students to always conduct themselves in an orderly, courteous, dignified, and respectful manner. 

    The Board recognizes that rules of student conduct and consequences for violations are necessary for the orderly operation of the District's schools. It will be the philosophy of the district, however, to handle all student disciplinary matters at the lowest supervisory level possible and in the most reasonable manner possible. No disciplinary action will be taken without all procedural rights being afforded to students and their parents/guardians as provided by State law, State Board of Education regulation, or policies of this district.

    Students have a responsibility to know and respect the policies, rules, and regulations of the school and district.  Violations of such policies, rules, and regulations, will result in disciplinary actions.  The Board directs students to the district's Behavior Code set forth in this policy and the student handbook for their individual school.

    The Board authorizes its school authorities to employ suspension and recommend expulsion, if necessary, to enforce this policy.

    The administration is directed to develop appropriate rules of student conduct that will include a general listing of offenses, required or recommended disciplinary action for violations, and the times and places when such rules will be in effect.

    Administrative Rule:    Application of this administrative rule

    The following rules are effective during the following times and in the following places.

    ·         on the school grounds during, and immediately before or immediately after, school hours

    ·         on the school grounds at any other time when the school is being used by a school group

    ·         off the school grounds at a school activity, function or event

    ·         en route to and from school or a school activity on a school bus or other school vehicle

    ·         at any time or in any place that has a direct and immediate effect on maintaining order and discipline in the Berkeley County School District

    Student conduct away from school grounds or school activities.  The Board expects administrators to take appropriate action when information becomes available about student misconduct away from school grounds or school activities that may have a direct and detrimental effect on or seriously threaten the discipline, educational environment, safety or general welfare of students, faculty, staff and/or administrators of the district. When assessing the impact of out-of-school behavior on a district school, the administrator should take into consideration the seriousness of the alleged out-of-school offense and the protection of students, faculty, staff and administrators from the effects of violence, drugs and/or disruptions.

    Administrators are directed to evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis. At a minimum, administrators or their designees should meet with the student upon his/her arrival at school, give the student notice of the concerns based on the reported out-of-school behavior and allow the student an opportunity to present his/her side of the story. Based upon all of the circumstances, including a finding that the alleged conduct will have a direct and immediate effect on the school or threatens the discipline, educational environment, safety or general welfare of students, faculty, staff and/or administrators of the school, the administration may either permit the student to attend classes as usual or may take appropriate disciplinary action including, but not limited to, in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension in order to conduct an investigation into the matter. The parents/legal guardians of students will be notified of any action taken by the administration and offered the opportunity for a conference with the administration.

    In the event the student is incarcerated based on his/her out-of-school conduct, the principal or his/her designee will notify the student that he/she is to meet with the administration prior to returning to school.

    At the conclusion of the inquiries to obtain more information on the matter, the administrator or his/her designee should take appropriate action which may include, but is not limited to, one or more of the following.

    ·         returning the student to his/her normal class schedule and removing all evidence of suspension

    ·         placing the student on probation and allowing the student to resume his/her normal class schedule

    ·         placing the student on probation, allowing the student to continue class work, but restricting the student's participation in extracurricular activities and/or designated school activities, for example, clubs, study halls, pep rallies, student government activities and so forth

    ·         suspending the student

    ·         recommending expulsion of the student from regular school and placement in the district's alternative school

    ·         recommending expulsion but allowing access to virtual school programs through the district’s alternative school (These students are only allowed on campus for exams that require a proctor in a virtual school accessed through our district’s alternative school). Students not able to successfully enroll will be expelled for remainder of the school year.

    ·         recommending expulsion of the student for the remainder of the year

    The disciplinary action taken must be supported by the evidence and take into full consideration the impact of the student's presence at school on the discipline, educational environment and safety or general welfare of other students, faculty, staff and/or administrators.

    Note regarding special education students: Administrators must ensure that all procedural safeguards afforded to special education students are also implemented in such circumstances.

    Levels of offenses.  The following is a general listing of offenses and the required or recommended disciplinary actions which should be taken as a result of such offenses being committed.

    Disorderly conduct - Level I

    Disorderly conduct is defined as any activity in which a student engages that tends to impede orderly classroom procedures or instructional activities, orderly operation of the school or frequency or seriousness of which disturbs the classroom or school.

    Acts of disorderly conduct may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         classroom tardiness (Refer to student handbook)

    ·         cheating on examinations or classroom assignments

    ·         lying

    ·         acting in a manner so as to interfere with the instructional process

    ·         abusive language between or among students

    ·         failure to complete assignments or carry out directions

    ·         use of forged notes or excuses

    ·         cutting class

    ·         school tardiness

    ·         unauthorized use of electronic devices excluding cell phones

    ·         Violation of Acceptable Use Policy (See Policy JAC & JAC-R)

    ·         truancy

    ·         use of obscene or profane language or gestures

    ·         other disorderly acts as determined at the school level, which are not inconsistent with Board policy

    The administration or teachers may apply sanctions in cases of disorderly conduct which may include, but are not limited to, the following.  Only certified administrators may issue a suspension.

    ·         verbal reprimand

    ·         withdrawal of privileges

    ·         demerits

    ·         detention

    ·         in-school suspension

    ·         out-of-school suspension

    ·         other sanctions approved by the Board or administration

    Disruptive conduct - Level II

    Disruptive conduct is defined as those activities engaged in by student(s) which are directed against persons or property and the consequences of which tend to endanger the health or safety of themselves or others in the school. Some instances of disruptive conduct may overlap certain criminal offenses, justifying both administrative sanctions and court proceedings.

    Acts of disruptive conduct may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         use of an intoxicant

    ·         fighting

    ·         vandalism (minor)

    ·         stealing

    ·         threats against others

    ·         trespass

    ·         repeated Level I violations

    ·         Violation of Acceptable Use Policy (See Policy JAC & JAC-R)

    ·         abusive language to staff, to include profane language

    ·         refusal to obey school personnel or agents (such as volunteer aids or chaperones) whose responsibilities include supervision of students

    ·         possession or use of unauthorized substances, including tobacco and tobacco products, non-prescriptions drugs, "look alike" drugs, and drug paraphernalia, including rolling papers

    ·         illegally occupying or blocking in any way school property with the intent to deprive others of its use

    ·         unlawful assembly

    ·         disrupting lawful assembly

    ·         harassment, intimidation or bullying

    ·         use or possession of laser pointers, fireworks, smoke bombs, pepper style sprays, and other similar devices or materials

    ·         inappropriate verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature

    ·         misuse of district technology resources

    ·         gambling

    ·         intimidating, threatening, or physically abusing another student

    ·         other disruptive acts as determined at the school level, which are not inconsistent with Board policy

    The administration may apply sanctions in cases of disruptive conduct which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         in-school suspension

    ·         withdrawal of privileges (a privilege, as defined by the Board, is a student's opportunity to participate in any function of the school beyond attending class, riding buses and participating in the school district's food service program)

    ·         temporary removal from class

    ·         out-of-school suspension

    ·         referral to outside agency

    ·         assignment to alternative school 

    ·         referral to SCIP as deemed appropriate

    ·         expulsion

    ·         restitution of property and damages, where appropriate, should be sought by local school authorities

    ·         other sanctions as approved by the Board or administration

    Criminal conduct - Level III

    Criminal conduct is defined as those activities in which students engage that result in violence to themselves or to another's person or property or which pose a direct and serious threat to the safety of themselves or others in the school. These activities usually require administrative actions which result in the immediate removal of the student from the school, the intervention of law enforcement authorities and/or action by the Board.

    Whenever a student is engaging or has engaged in activities including, but not limited to, one of the acts specified below, while on school property or at a school sanctioned or sponsored activity which a principal or his/her designee has reason to believe may result, or has resulted, in injury or serious threat of injury to a person or to his/her property, the principal or his/her designee is required to notify law enforcement officials.

    Acts for which principals may recommend students for expulsion include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         bomb threat

    ·         possession, use or transfer of weapons - a weapon is defined as a firearm (rifle, shotgun, pistol or similar device that propels a projectile through the energy of an explosive); a knife, razor, bludgeon, blackjack, metal pipe or pole, brass knuckles (to include multi-finger rings); incendiary or explosive device, including ammunition for a weapon such as bullets, shotgun shells, etc.; or any other type of device or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death.

    ·         sexual offenses (includes sexual acts that are associated with criminal charges)

    ·         arson

    ·         distribution, sale, purchase, manufacturing, use, being under the influence of or unlawful possession of alcohol or a controlled substance as defined in S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-53-110 through 44-53-270

    ·         unauthorized access, use, or attempted access or use of district computer systems

    ·         threatening to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon a teacher, principal or member of their immediate family

    Additional acts for which principals may recommend students for expulsion include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         vandalism (major)

    ·         Violation of Acceptable Use Policy (See Policy JAC & JAC-R)

    ·         theft, possession or sale of stolen property

    ·         disturbing the schools

    ·         possession, use, or transfer of "look-a-like" weapons

    ·         assault and battery

    ·         extortion

    ·         sexual acts (includes sexual acts that may not include criminal charges)

    ·         furnishing or selling unauthorized substances, as defined by Board policy

    ·         any other acts as determined by the Board or administration

    NOTE: In determining whether a student is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, the student's appearance, behavior, manner, presence of an odor of the substance, and statements made by the student as to the use of controlled substances or alcohol may be considered without regard to the amount of alcohol, controlled substance consumed.

    The administration may apply sanctions in cases of criminal conduct which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    ·         withdrawal of privileges (a privilege, as defined by the Board, is a student's opportunity to participate in any function of the school beyond attending class, riding buses and participating in the school district's food service program)

    ·         out-of-school suspension

    ·         assignment to alternative schools

    ·         expulsion

    ·         referral to SCIP as deemed appropriate

    ·         restitution of property and damages, where appropriate, should be sought by local school authorities

    ·         other sanctions as approved by the Board or administration

    Extenuating, mitigating or aggravating circumstances.  The Board confers upon the superintendent or his/her designee the authority to consider extenuating, mitigating or aggravating circumstances which may exist in a particular case of misconduct. The administrator should consider such circumstances in determining the most appropriate sanction.

    Discipline of disabled students.  Students identified as disabled pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act ("IDEIA") will be disciplined in accordance with federal and State law as set forth in the special education procedures developed by the administration.

    Tele-Communication Devices.  For purpose of this policy, Tele-Communication devices include mobile telephones and other such devices that emit an audible signal, vibrate, display a message or otherwise summon or deliver a communication to the possessor.

    Students who choose to bring Tele-Communicationdevices to school must keep them in their vehicles or lockers, or another appropriate location determined by the school principal.  During school hours and on school grounds, no student may use, make visible or have turned on, a Tele-Communicationdevice without the prior permission of the principal, as set forth below. "Turned on" includes a Tele-Communicationdevice that is activated and set or programmed to ring, vibrate or otherwise send a signal.

    The principal or his/her designee may authorize a student to otherwise possess a paging device if the student is an active member of an emergency service organization, needs the Tele-Communication device for a legitimate medical reason or otherwise needs the paging device for a legitimate reason, as determined by the principal.  In such cases, the student must have prior written consent from the principal or his/her designee.

    A person who finds a student in possession or use of a Tele-Communicationdevice in violation of this policy, must report the student to the school principal and turn the device over to administration. The principal or his/her designee must confiscate the device. The device will be returned to the student's parent/legal guardian. A student who violates this policy regarding use and possession of Tele-Communicationdevices is subject to discipline as follows.

    First offense          

    ·         parent conference with administrator

    ·         Tele-Communicationdevice returned at conference ***

    ·         provide a copy of cell phone policy to parent or guardian

    Second offense

    ·         parent conference with administrator

    ·         student assigned one day ISS

    ·         Tele-Communicationdevice returned to parent/legal guardian after 30 calendar days ***

    Third offense

    ·         parent conference with administrator

    ·         student assigned one day out of school suspension

    ·         student prohibited from possessing or using any Tele-Communication device at school for the remainder of school year

    ·         Tele-Communicationdevice returned to parent/legal guardian at end of school year ***

    ***Cell phones will be returned to parent after school or by appointment.


    2.        STUDENT SUSPENSIONS:  JDD & JDD-R

     A student may be suspended for any reason listed in the student behavior code JCDA or administrative rule JCDA-R, for up to 10 school days for any one offense. Suspension means the student cannot attend school or be on the school grounds, cannot attend any program at the school in the daytime or at night, and cannot ride a school bus. In-school suspension will be defined as the exclusion of a student from regular classes for a period of not more than 10 days. The student will be provided school work in a room designated for in-school suspension and be supervised by designated school personnel. Unless otherwise specified, the term "suspension" as used herein will mean either suspension from school or in-school suspension.

    When a student is suspended, the parent/legal guardian of the pupil will be notified, in writing, of the reasons for such suspension and of a time and place when the administrator who initiated the suspension is available for a conference with the parent/guardian. The conference will be set within three days of the date of the suspension. After the conference, the parent/legal guardian may appeal the suspension as set forth in JDD-R.

    A periodic report of all such suspensions will be submitted to the superintendent or his/her designee.

    Administrative Rule:   Investigation of misbehavior.  When it appears that a student has engaged in misbehavior warranting suspension, an administrator will investigate the matter and interview everyone who has knowledge about what occurred. The student will be advised, verbally or in writing, of the accusations against him/her. The administrator also will advise the student of the evidence against him/her and provide the student the opportunity to tell his/her side of the story. If the student asks the administrator to talk to other witnesses, the administrator will do so, if possible.

    After completing the investigation, the administrator will determine if suspension is in order and the number of school days, from one to 10, that the suspension should run.  Normal suspension will not exceed five days. Permission from the Chief Administrative Officer will be needed for suspensions over five days. Students out of school due to a suspension will be allowed to complete missed assignments.  These assignments must be complete within three days of returning from the suspension.

    Seclusion/Restraint Guidelines. Seclusion and/or restraint of a student may be used for the management of behavior when any student poses a threat of imminent, serious, physical harm to self and/or others, and has the ability to cause such harm. BCSD adheres to the SC Department of Education’s Guidelines of the Use of Seclusion and Restraint. If parents have concerns, contact should be made with the school administration for resolution.

    Summary suspension.  If the administrator sees or is advised of any student misbehavior and concludes that the student should be removed from school immediately in order to restore order or to protect others at the school, the administrator may summarily suspend the student for up to two school days. In these cases, the administrator does not have to investigate the matter first. By the end of the next school day following the summary suspension, however, the administrator should investigate the matter as outlined above and determine what, if any, additional suspension days are appropriate. The total number of suspension days is not to exceed 10.

    If the administrator determines that the student should not have been suspended, arrangements will be made for the student to make up any work missed while on summary suspension and also to remove any reference to suspension from student's record.

    Sending a suspended student home during the school day.  When a student is suspended, the administrator will attempt to contact the parent/guardian to request that he/she pick up the student from school. If a parent/guardian cannot come for the student, the school may take the student home as long as a parent/guardian is at home to take charge of the student. If the administrator cannot reach the parent/ guardian, the student must stay at school until the end of the school day.

    If the student is summarily suspended, he/she may be removed from the school grounds immediately. Depending upon the student's age, however, it may be necessary to keep the student at school until the parent/guardian can be reached.

    Notification to parent/guardian.  By the end of the next school day following any suspension, the administrator will notify the parent/guardian in writing of the following:

    ·         the acts committed by the student

    ·         the rule(s) violated

    ·         the length of the suspension

    ·         the time and place when the administrator will be available to meet with the parent/guardian for a conference. The conference is to be held not more than 3 school days after the date of suspension and, if possible, before the student is to return to school.

    Suspension appeals.  If, after the conference with the administrator, the parent/guardian believes the student's suspension was unjustified, the suspension may be appealed as follows:

    ·         To the principal if the decision to suspend was initially made by a school level administrator other than the principal.

    ·         To the superintendent’s designee if the suspension was imposed by the principal.

    The appeal will be conducted as an informal hearing.  The administrator, parent/guardian, and student may be present.  The parent/guardian, student, and administrator will be allowed to address the principal/superintendent's designee who hears the appeal.  Within five (5) school days of the hearing, the principal/superintendent's designee will render a decision as to whether the suspension was proper.  If the principal/superintendent's designee decides that the suspension was not proper, all absences resulting from the suspension will be excused and the record cleared. 

    In cases where the appeal was held by the principal, the student may, if he/she chooses, petition the superintendent's designee for a second appeal.  Any such petition must be in writing and served on the superintendent's designee within three (3) school days of the student's receipt of the decision of the principal.  The petition must state the specific basis upon which the student is requesting a second appeal.  If the superintendent's designee receives such a petition, he/she will review the suspension and the appeal, and determine whether to conduct a second appeal conference.  Within three (3) school days of receipt of the petition, the superintendent's designee will respond, in writing, noting whether or not a second appeal conference will be conducted.  If a second appeal conference is conducted, the superintendent's designee will provide a written decision on the appeal within three (3) school days, following the conference.  The decision of the superintendent's designee ends the appeals process for suspensions. 

    Limits on suspension.  A student may not be suspended for more than a total of 30 school days in one school year. An administrator may not suspend a student from school during the last 10 school days of the school year if the suspension would result in the loss of course credit, unless the Board approves, or if the student is an actual threat to the class or the school, or a hearing is granted by the end of the next school day following the suspension.


    3.        STUDENT EXPULSIONS:  JDE & JDE-R

    A student may be expelled for any reason listed in the Student Behavior Code, JCDA or administrative rule JCDA-R; for the commission of any crime, gross immorality, gross misbehavior or the violation of any other written rules and regulations established by the board or the state board of education; or when the presence of the student is deemed to be detrimental to the best interests of the school. Expulsion means the student cannot attend school or be on the school grounds, cannot attend any program at the school in the daytime or at night, and cannot ride a school bus.

    If procedures for expulsion are initiated, the parent of the pupil will be notified in writing of the time and the place of a hearing before the district hearing officer. At the hearing, the parent will have the right to legal counsel and to all other regular legal rights, including the right to question any and all witnesses presented by the administration. If the student and parents intend to bring a legal representative, the district hearing officer must be notified at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled date of the hearing. The right to appeal the decision to the Berkeley County Board of Education is reserved to either party.

    The hearing will take place within 15 days of the written notification at a time and place designated by the hearing officer. A decision will be rendered in an expedient manner not to exceed a 10-day response period. The student may be suspended from school and all activities during the time of the expulsion procedures.  Every expelled student will have the right to petition for readmission for the succeeding school year.  The hearing officer will expel any student who brings a weapon to school. For purposes of this policy, weapon means a firearm. The term firearm is defined extensively in the U.S. Code but generally means a weapon (gun) or destructive device (explosive, incendiary).

    The period of expulsion will be no less than one year from the date of expulsion.  The board directs the superintendent to bring recommendations for expulsion consistent with this policy except that the superintendent, on a case-by-case basis, may modify this expulsion requirement.  The district will refer each expelled student to the local county office of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

    Administrative Rule:   Investigation and action taken by the principal.  If after an administrator or his/her designee investigates a report of student misbehavior he/she decides to recommend expulsion, the administrator should suspend the student and, following the notification requirements established in Policy JDD-R, notify the student's parent/guardian of his/her right to meet with the administrator within three school days of the date of the suspension. If after meeting with the parent/guardian (or if the parent/ guardian has not come in for a meeting by the third school day) the administrator still intends to recommend expulsion, the matter will be referred directly to the district hearing officer. This procedure will be followed in all cases, regardless of the offense charged.

    Notice of expulsion recommendation.  By the end of the third school day following receipt of an expulsion recommendation, the hearing officer will notify the student and his/her parent/guardian, in writing, of the following:

    ·         the rule(s) infraction alleged to have occurred

    ·         a summary of the evidence against the student

    ·         the right of the student to request copies of witnesses’ statements from the administrator

    ·         the right of the student to a hearing before the hearing officer on the evidence

    ·         the time and place of the hearing, which must be held within 10 school days of the date of notification (unless the parent/guardian or his/her representative agrees otherwise)

    ·         the procedure to be followed at the hearing, including the right to be represented by counsel

    ·         the right of the student, the parent/guardian or the student’s representative to examine the student’s records upon request

    ·         A response form will be enclosed with the notice on which the parent/guardian is asked to advise the hearing officer whether they intend to appear, whether they will be represented by legal counsel, and whether they wish to waive an evidentiary hearing and merely address the hearing officer. If the response form is not signed and returned to the hearing officer within 48 hours of the scheduled date of the hearing, the hearing may proceed as scheduled whether or not the student, the parent/guardian, or the student's representative is present, or the hearing may be postponed.

    Hearing procedure.  The administrator, the administrator's representative, the student, the parent/guardian and/or the student's representative may be present at the hearing. If the hearing officer and the parent/guardian agree, the student may be dismissed during portions of the hearing. The administrator and the student or their representatives will be allowed to testify, present other witnesses or witnesses' statements, and, within the discretion of the hearing officer, cross-examine the other party's witnesses. The hearing officer may ask the witnesses questions. The parent/guardian and/or the student's representative will be given an opportunity to argue their position or express their views on the case. A tape recording of the testimony and written minutes summarizing the hearing will be kept on file by the hearing officer. At the request of the student's representative, a certified court report may be retained, at district expense, to record the proceedings.

    Action following the hearing.  Within 10 school days of the hearing, the hearing officer will decide whether the student committed the alleged rule(s) violation or misconduct, based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, and the appropriate punishment. If the hearing officer determines that grounds for expulsion exist, he/she may expel the student for the remainder of the current year, permanently expel, or give punishment other than expulsion including but not limited to suspension or probation.

    Probation means special restrictions have been placed on the student's right to attend school. Violations of these restrictions may result in suspension and a recommendation for expulsion.

    The hearing officer will report his/her decision in writing to the parent/guardian, the superintendent and the school. If the hearing officer determines that grounds for expulsion do not exist, all absences resulting from the suspension will be excused and the student's record cleared. The student will be allowed to make up all missed work.

    Appeals.  The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed by the student to the Berkeley County Board of Education, if written notice of appeal is made to the superintendent within 15 school days of notification of hearing officer's decision. An appeal will normally be limited to the established record, and no new testimony will be allowed unless the board desires to hear additional testimony. The board may reverse or alter the decision of the hearing officer. If the recommendation for expulsion is rejected on appeal, all absences resulting from the suspension will be excused and the student's record cleared. The student will be allowed to make up all missed work.

    Petitions for readmission.  Students who have been expelled for the remainder of the current school year may make a written request to the superintendent or his/her designee for readmission. This request must be made at least 30 calendar days before the beginning of the school year or the second semester, as the case may be. The request must state, in detail, the reasons why the student should be allowed to return to school.

    If the superintendent or his/her designee approves a return to school, administrative action will be taken to reinstate the student. All students returning from expulsion will be placed on probation for one year, a condition of which will be that the student and parent/guardian will participate in the development of a behavior management plan satisfactory to the principal.

    If the superintendent or his/her designee denies the student's request or in all cases of permanent expulsion, the student may make a written request to the board for readmission and may include a request to appear before the board. If the request is denied by the board, the student may submit another request prior to the following school year.


    4.        SEARCHES, STUDENT INTERROGATIONS, AND ARRESTS: JCAB & JCAB-R

    The Board recognizes that both State law and the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protect citizens, including students, from unreasonable searches and seizures.  The Board accordingly directs all district personnel to conduct searches and seizures on district property or during district sponsored events in accordance with applicable federal and state law.  The Board’s express intention for this policy is to enhance security in the schools, prevent students and other persons on school grounds from violating Board policies, school rules, and state and federal laws, and to ensure that legitimate privacy interests and expectations are respected consistent with the need of the district to maintain a safe environment conducive to education. 

    Searches.  As authorized by State law, district and school administrators and officials may conduct reasonable searches on district property of lockers, desks, vehicles, and personal belongings such as purses, book bags, wallets, and satchels, with or without probable cause, subject to the limitations and requirements of this policy. 

    The district administration is directed to ensure compliance with S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-1150, which requires that administrators must receive training in the “reasonableness standard” under existing law and in district procedures regarding searches.  The district administration is further authorized and directed to establish procedures to be followed in conducting searches.  The Board further directs district administration to ensure that notice is posted in compliance with S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-1160 advising that any person entering the premises of any school in the district shall be deemed to have consented to reasonable search of his/her person and effects. 

    All searches must comply fully with the “reasonableness standard” set forth in New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 328 (1985).  This reasonableness standard recognizes that balancing the privacy interests of students with the substantial need of teachers and administrators to maintain order in the schools does not require that searches be based on probable cause to believe that the subject of the search has violated or is violating the law.  Rather, the appropriateness of a search depends on the reasonableness, under all the circumstances, of the search.  Determining the reasonableness of any search shall involve a two-fold inquiry.  First, a district or school administrator or official must determine that the search is justified at its inception and second, that the scope and conduct of the search is reasonably related to the circumstances justifying the search at its inception.  In other words, all searches hereunder must be determined to: (1) have reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will disclose evidence the student, or other person, has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the district or school; and (2) be limited in scope and conduct to the extent that the measures utilized to carry out the search are reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive in light of the age and sex of the person searched and the nature of the suspected infraction of the law or district or school rules. 

    The Board further prohibits any district employee, including district administrators and officials, from conducting a strip search. 

    Searches involving the use of metal detectors shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Policy JCAC and Administrative Rule JCAC-R.

    Any contraband items or evidence of a violation of law or district or school rules may be retained by school officials and/or turned over to an appropriate law enforcement agency, as required by law.

    Contacting law enforcement.  As required by S.C. Code Ann. § 59-24-60, school administrators shall contact law enforcement immediately upon notice that a person is engaging or has engaged in activities on school property or at a school sanctioned or sponsored activity, which may result, or results in, injury or serious threat of injury to the person, another person, or his/her property.  Such reportable activities or conduct may include, but are not limited to, the examples of criminal conduct referenced in Level III of Board Policy JCDA. 

    The Board recognizes that, when law enforcement authorities are contacted pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 59-24-60, the law enforcement authorities must make the determination whether they will conduct an investigation into the matter.  If the law enforcement authorities determine an investigation is appropriate, school officials will make reasonable efforts to discuss the scope and methods of the investigation with the law enforcement authorities as they affect school operations in an effort to minimize any disruption to the school and its students.

    School officials may contact law enforcement authorities for assistance in addressing concerns other than those which must be reported pursuant to § 59-24-60.  In such circumstances, the principal or his/her designee shall confer with the superintendent or his/her designee prior to involving law enforcement authorities, other than a school resource officer.  The superintendent or his/her designee shall consult with appropriate school officials and law enforcement authorities to determine that the proposed involvement and methods of law enforcement are reasonable, consistent with this policy, and will have a minimally disruptive effect on school operations and student rights.

    Interrogations by school personnel and school resource officers.  Administrators and teachers, as well as school resource officers, may question students about any matter pertaining to the operation of a school and/or enforcement of its rules.  The questioning shall be conducted discreetly and under circumstances which will avoid, to the extent practical under the circumstances, unnecessary embarrassment to the person being questioned.  School resource officers shall act consistently with law enforcement guidelines should any routine questioning turn into a criminal investigation.  Any student who answers falsely or evasively or who refuses to answer an appropriate question may be disciplined. 

    Interrogations by law enforcement.  When law enforcement officers find it necessary to question a student during the school day regarding matters not connected to the school, the principal or his/her designee shall cooperate with law enforcement and shall request to be present, so long as his/her presence does not impede the investigation.  The principal or his/her designee should make a reasonable attempt to contact the student’s parent/legal guardian and request his/her presence.  Should this attempt fail, the principal or his/her designee shall continue to make a reasonable attempt to notify the student’s parent/guardian that law enforcement questioning took place on school grounds.  However, school officials shall not act in such a manner which will interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation.  Additionally, normal visitor’s protocol must be followed by law enforcement officials at all times.  Interrogations of students by law enforcement should generally take place in a private area, whether or not the principal or his/her designee is present.

    Custody or arrest.  Law enforcement authorities have the right to enter the school to take a student into custody or to make a lawful arrest of a student provided that they act pursuant to lawful procedure.  If a student is arrested or taken into custody at school, school officials will make a reasonable effort to notify the parents/legal guardians immediately.

    Administrative Rule:   In order to recognize and protect student rights and expectations to privacy, safety, and an educational environment conducive to learning, as well as to enhance security in schools and prevent students from violating Board policies, school rules, and federal and state laws, district officials, including principals and their designees, are authorized to conduct reasonable searches according to the procedures outlined herein and in Board policy JCAB. 

    If a search yields evidence that a Board policy, school rule, or federal or state law has been violated, appropriate disciplinary action

    shall be taken, and in cases where the evidence suggests conduct which must be reported to law enforcement under

    S.C. Code Ann. § 59-24-60, the appropriate law enforcement authorities shall be immediately notified. 

    Searches of a person or a person’s belongings or effects.  Procedures for searching a person or a person’s belongings must be reasonable.  A reasonable search is one which is both based on a reasonable suspicion and is reasonably related in scope.  For reasonable suspicion to exist, school officials conducting a search must be able to articulate why, based on all the circumstances, they objectively and reasonably suspect the search of the person or personal property is likely to yield evidence of a violation of law or district or school rules.  In formulating a reasonable suspicion, a school official may rely on information he or she considers reliable, including reports from students, as well as the official’s own observations, knowledge, and experience; however, a mere hunch or guess that a search will uncover evidence of a violation of law or district or school rules is insufficient to justify a search. 

    Additionally, the search must be reasonable in its method and scope.  A search must be carried out in such a manner that it targets the object of the search or the suspected evidence of a violation of law or district or school rules.  The proper scope of the search is a case by case determination and is generally limited to the places in which it is reasonably suspected that the object of the search may be found.  A search may be as extensive as is reasonably required to locate the object(s) of the search and may extend to all areas, containers, and personal effects in which the object of the search may be found.  In addition, when determining the reasonableness of the scope and manner of a search, the school officials must take into account the age, sex, and other special circumstances concerning the object of the search and the person involved, as well as the nature of the suspected infraction.  Should the school official determine that a pat-down search is necessary, the school official, who must be the same sex as the person searched, shall escort the person to a private area to conduct the pat-down search.  A witness must be present during all such searches.  If a student refuses to comply, the student’s parent/guardian and/or the police will be contacted. Under no circumstances, however, is a strip search by a school official permitted.

    Searches of lockers, desks, and other school property.  The district provides lockers, desks, and other school property to students for their use.  Because the district retains ownership of this property, school officials may conduct searches of such property, including random and unannounced searches, with or without reasonable suspicion, when such search is determined by school officials to be otherwise reasonable in light of the needs of the school.  However, objects belonging to students contained in such school property shall not be opened or searched except as provided in the section above.  Students shall be notified expressly in writing in the student handbook that such school property may be searched at any time.  In conducting searches of school property, student property shall be respected and not damaged.

    Searches of vehicles on school property.  Students are permitted to park on school premises as a matter of privilege, not of right.  Accordingly, all students desiring to park their vehicles on school premises must first obtain a parking permit from the designated school administrator.  In order to obtain a parking permit, the student must sign a form acknowledging that he/she understands and agrees to the terms regarding the use of parking lots set forth below.  Vehicles which do not have a permit in plain view are subject to being towed at the student’s expense.

    Because parking on school premises is a privilege, the school retains authority to conduct routine inspections of the exterior of vehicles parked on school property at any time.   In conducting an inspection of the exterior of a vehicle, school officials may observe those things inside vehicles which are in plain view. 

    The interiors of student vehicles, including such things as trunks, glove compart­ments, and personal belongings within a vehicle, may be searched whenever a school official has reason to believe a student is violating Board policies, school rules or federal or state law, as described in the “reasonable­ness standard” set forth in the section above.  When a school official needs to gain access to the interior of a vehicle parked on school premises, for purposes of conducting a search in compliance with “reasonableness standard,” he/she shall first ask the student to provide access.  If a student refuses to provide the school official with access to the interior of his/her vehicle, he/she may be subject to disci­plinary action, including loss of all parking privileges, and possible towing of the vehicle at the student’s expense.

    Use of trained dogs.  The exposure of student containers, packages, lockers, vehicles, desks, book bags, satchels, and other similar personal belongings to a reliable and trained “dog sniff,” when not in a student’s possession, in most circumstances is neither a search nor a seizure.  This is so because a dog sniff of the above items only does not expose non-contraband items into view and discloses only the presence or absence of contraband.  Sniffing of an individual by trained dogs, however, may constitute a search, and their use on school property may be disruptive and threatening to students and school personnel. 

    Accordingly, school officials shall only utilize trained dogs on district property under the following circumstances: 

    ·         Only trained and proven reliable dogs may be utilized on school grounds;

    ·         Dogs will be under the control, direction, and supervision of a trained dog handler and will be on a leash or subject to appropriate restraint at all times;

    ·         Dogs will only be utilized when determined to be reasonable under all the circumstances by the school principal or his/her designee;

    ·         Dogs will not sniff an individual unless determined to be reasonable in all respects under the section above; however, actual physical contact between dogs and individuals should be avoided. 

    In all circumstances, school officials shall make reasonable efforts to minimize the exposure of students to dogs.  Should a dog alert its handler to the presence of any contraband, school officials may conduct a search in accordance with the procedures set forth above. 

     

    5.        HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION OR BULLYING: JCDAAAA

    The district prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying of a student by another student or students, staff, or third parties that interferes with or disrupts a student’s ability to learn and the school’s responsibility to educate its students in a safe and orderly environment whether in a classroom, on school premises, on a school bus or other school-related vehicle, at an official school bus stop, at a school-sponsored activity or event, whether or not it is held on school premises, or at another program or function where the school is responsible for the student.

    The district expects students to conduct themselves in an orderly, courteous, dignified and respectful manner. Students and employees have a responsibility to know and respect the policies, rules and regulations of the school and district.

    Definitions.  "Harassment, intimidation, or bullying" is defined as a gesture, an electronic communication, or a written, verbal, physical, or sexual act that a reasonable person should know will have the effect of either of the following:

    ·         harming a student, physically or emotionally, or damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of personal harm or damage to his/her property

    ·         insulting or demeaning a student or group of students in such a way as to cause substantial disruption in, or substantial interference with, the orderly operation of the school

    Reporting.  Any student who believes he/she has been subject to harassment, intimidation, or bullying should file a complaint with the principal or his or her designee.  Such a complaint may also be filed by a student's parent/legal guardian.  If an employee receives a complaint of harassment, intimidation, or bullying or observes any behavior which could amount to harassment, intimidation, or bullying, the employee must transmit the complaint to the school's principal or other designated contact person as soon as practicable.  

    Although reports by students or employees may be made anonymously, formal disciplinary action may not be taken solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

    The district will be responsible for ensuring that reasonable efforts are made to prevent public disclosure of the names of all parties involved in harassment, intimidation, or bullying allegations, except to the extent necessary to carry out an investigation and comply with statutory obligations.

    Investigations.  All complaints will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and confidentially.  The investigation shall include appropriate steps to determine what occurred and to take actions reasonably calculated to end the harassment, intimidation, or bullying and prevent such misconduct from occurring again.  The student and his/her parent/legal guardians shall be informed that appropriate actions were taken and shall be advised how to report any subsequent problems.

    Consequences for Engaging in Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying.  If the investigation determines that harassment, intimidation, or bullying has occurred, the administration will take reasonable, timely, age-appropriate, and effective corrective action.  Examples of corrective action include, but are not limited to the following:

    ·         disciplinary action against the aggressor, up to and including termination of an employee or expulsion of a student

    ·         special training or other interventions

    ·         apologies

    ·         dissemination of statements that the school does not tolerate harassment, intimidation, or bullying

    ·         independent reassessment of student work

    ·         tutoring.

    Individuals, including students, employees, parents/legal guardians, and volunteers, may also be referred to law enforcement officials. The district will take all other appropriate steps to correct or rectify the situation.

    Consequences for Retaliation or False Accusations.  The district prohibits retaliation or reprisal in any form against a student or employee who has filed a complaint or report of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The district also prohibits any person from falsely accusing another as a means of harassment, intimidation, or bullying. The consequences and appropriate remedial action for such conduct will be determined by the principal or his/her designee and may range from positive behavioral interventions to disciplinary actions, up to and including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees. 

    Notification and Distribution of District Expectations.  The principal of each school annually will ensure that appropriate staff members review the policy on harassment, intimidation, and bullying with all students.  Information on these topics should be shared in an age-appropriate manner and may occur during student assemblies, in the classroom setting, or in group or individual sessions with a guidance counselor or school resource officer.

    Annually, this policy will be disseminated to all staff members, students, and parents/legal guardians along with a statement explaining that it applies to all applicable acts of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that occur on school property, at district- or school-sponsored functions, on school buses or other district vehicles and at school bus stops.

    The superintendent will ensure that information regarding this policy is incorporated into the school district’s training program and that volunteers who have frequent contact with students are likewise informed of the policy.

     

    6.        SCHOOL BUS CONDUCT:  JCDAD

    Students are subject to both the Student Behavior Code under school board policy and this School Bus Rider Discipline Code.

    The riding of a school bus by students is a privilege. Eligible students are initially granted the privilege of school transportation service; however, after the initial service all eligible students must earn the privilege by following this Discipline Code and the Student Behavior Code. The school board expects that while students are utilizing the student transportation services, they will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the district’s Student Behavior Code. All school bus riders must cooperate fully with their school bus drivers and aides/monitors and must conduct themselves properly at all times.

    School bus drivers have responsibility for the supervision of students on the bus and when they are in the immediate vicinity of the school bus during loading and unloading. School bus drivers shall report to the appropriate school principal, or the district’s designee, the name of any student whose conduct interferes with the safe driving, operation, loading, or unloading of the bus; who acts disruptively; or who violates the Student Behavior Code or laws. The principal, or the district’s designee, has the responsibility of investigating reports made by the bus driver regarding incidents of student misconduct and any student disciplinary actions taken by a school bus driver. The principal, or the district’s designee, as authorized by state law and regulation and school district policy, has the authority to deny school bus transportation to a student and to issue sanctions for conduct that is persistently or flagrantly detrimental to the safe and/or orderly operation of a school bus or in violation of the Student Behavior Code or laws.

    Misconduct includes disorderlydisruptive, and criminal conduct as set forth in the Administrative Rule (JCDAD-R) and includes, but is not limited to, the following behavior on or around a bus or at a bus stop while the bus is present:

    ·         getting on or off the bus at an unauthorized stop without permission;

    ·         eating and/or drinking on the bus;

    ·         standing or sitting improperly while the bus is moving;

    ·         violating any safety procedures;

    ·         intentionally riding a bus other than the assigned one without permission from the principal or the district’s designee;

    ·         continually making loud noises, yelling, and the like;

    ·         pushing, tripping, engaging in general horseplay;

    ·         encouraging others to misbehave;

    ·         defacing property (writing or marking on the bus);

    ·         littering inside the bus;

    ·         possessing and/or using any tobacco product or other illegal substances on the bus;

    ·         throwing objects out of bus;

    ·         throwing objects inside of the bus;

    ·         throwing objects at the bus;

    ·         refusing to sit in an assigned seat;

    ·         using profanity, abusive language, and/or obscene gestures;

    ·         having hands, arms, head, and so forth, out of the bus windows and/or doors;

    ·         using rude, discourteous behavior directed toward the driver or other passengers;

    ·         disobeying the bus driver or the aide/monitor;

    ·         harassing, threatening, intimidating, or physically abusing or hitting another student; and

    ·         fighting.

    Repeated offenses will result in increasingly more severe penalties. Serious misconduct may result in other disciplinary action without regard to number of offenses, up to and including suspension or expulsion from school, in accordance with board policy.

     

    7.        STUDENT DRESS CODE:   JCDB

    Middle and High Schools.   In order to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to learning, instills discipline and avoids safety hazards, the Berkeley County School District establishes the following guidelines for students:

    ·         Walking shorts are appropriate for school.  No short shorts, miniskirts/dresses are acceptable.

    ·         No sunglasses may be worn in the building, with the exception of RX sunglasses.

    ·         No hats, head stockings, or handkerchiefs are permitted to be worn in the building.  (If there is a medical reason for a student to wear one of the above listed, a letter from a physician will need to be provided to the principal.)

    ·         No tank tops, halter tops, fish-net shirts, cut-off shirts, or bare midriffs are permitted.

    ·         No gloves may be worn in the building.

    ·         Suspenders are to be hooked and to be on shoulders in the proper location.

    ·         Pants must be worn at an appropriate waist level and may not be made of any see-through material.

    ·         Belts must be worn at an appropriate level and buckled and tucked in loops.

    ·         No clothing with vulgar or obscene symbols, language or wording is permitted.  No clothing with advertisements for, or messages or pictures depicting or suggesting alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or sex is permitted.

    The principal may create further guidelines regarding student dress which are consistent with this policy.

    The administration will make the final judgment on the appropriateness of clothing and/or appearance, and reserves the right to prohibit students from wearing any articles of clothing or other items which lead to or may foreseeably result in disruption of or interference with the school environment.  In the event the administration determines a student's dress is inappropriate for school in accordance with this policy, the administration will either require the student to change or will inform the student not to wear the garment to school again.

    NO STUDENT WILL BE SUSPENDED WITHOUT PRIOR NOTIFICATION TO PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN OF PREVIOUS WARNINGS.


    8.        SCHOOL ATTENDANCE, COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AGES AND STUDENT ABSENCES:   JBD

    The board expects children to attend school regularly.  Regular attendance is necessary if students are to make the desired and expected academic and social progress.  However, the board recognizes that some absences are unavoidable.

    Attendance is the presence of a student on days when school is in session. Schools may count students present only when they are actually at school, on home based or medical homebound instruction, or are present at a school activity which is authorized by the school. This may include field trips and similar curriculum-related activities.

    The school year is 180 school days in length.  Subject to this policy and administrative rule, students must attend a minimum of 170 school days of a year-long class, 85 school days of a 90-day class; and 42 school days of a 45-day class.

    Compulsory Attendance Ages.  State law requires all children between the ages of five and 17 to attend a public or private school or kindergarten or be homeschooled. A parent or guardian whose child or ward is not six years old on or before the first day of September of the school year may waive kindergarten attendance for his or her child.  For this purpose, the parent/guardian must sign and provide to the district a written waiver form.  The signed waiver will be placed in the child's permanent record when the child enters school. 

    In order to enforce the compulsory school attendance law and encourage regular school attendance, the Berkeley County Board of Education has adopted this policy.

    Student Absences.  Under State Board of Education regulations, there are two types of absences: lawful and unlawful:

    Lawful Absences:   Lawful absences include but are not limited to the following circumstances.

    ·  Absences caused by a student's own illness and whose attendance in school would endanger his or her health or the health of other students.

    ·  Absences due to an illness or death in the student's immediate family.

    · Absences due to a recognized religious holiday of the student's faith.

    · Absences that are due to activities that are approved in advance by the principal.

    · Dental or physician appointment that cannot be scheduled after the regular school day.

    ·  Absences resulting when the student encounters unusual circumstances as determined by the principal.  Whenever possible, the student must obtain approval in advance from the principal for such absences. 

    Unlawful Absences:   Unlawful absences include but are not limited to the following circumstances. 

    · Absences of a student without the knowledge of the parent or guardian.

    · Absences of a student without acceptable cause, with the knowledge of parent or guardian.

    Suspension will not be counted as an unlawful absence for truancy purposes.

    Excuses and Make-Up Work.  Students will be expected to present a written excuse, signed by parent or guardian or certified medical practitioner, in all cases of absence.  If a student fails to bring a valid excuse to school for an absence, the student will receive an unlawful absence.

    A student will be allowed to make up work missed during the absence as long as the student or his/her parent/guardian makes appropriate arrangements with the teacher(s) within five school days of the student's return to school.  The student should complete the make-up work within ten days after his/her return to school, although the teacher may provide additional time in which to complete the work to the extent additional time is appropriate and reasonable.

    Any student who fails to bring a valid excuse (within three days) to school automatically receives an unexcused and unlawful absence. A valid excuse must list the dates of absences, the date of the excuse, the reason for absence, and telephone number and signature of the parent or guardian or certified medical practitioner. The school will keep the content of excuses confidential to the extent appropriate.  Principals shall have discretion to accept medical excuses beyond three days, as they determine appropriate under the circumstances.

    False excuses will be referred to school administration for disciplinary action and the absence may be considered unlawful.

    Truant.  A child ages 6 to 17 years meets the definition of a truant when the child has 3 consecutive unlawful absences or a total of 5 unlawful absences.

    Habitual or Chronic Truants.  The district may refer habitual and chronic truants to Family Court in accord with Administrative Rule JBD-R and State law.  A "habitual" truant is a child, ages 12 to 17 years,who fails to comply with the intervention plan developed by the school, the child, and the parent(s) or guardian(s) and who accumulates two or more additional unlawful absences.  A "chronic" truant is a child, ages 12 to 17 years, who has been through the school intervention process, has reached the level of a "habitual" truant, has been referred to Family Court and placed on an order to attend school, and continues to accumulate unlawful absences.

    Intervention Plans.  When a student has 3 consecutive unlawful absences or a total of 5 unlawful absences, the principal or his/her designee shall make every reasonable effort to meet with the parent/guardian to identify the reason for the student's continued absence.  School officials must develop a written intervention plan to address the student's continued absence in conjunction with the student and parents/guardians to improve future attendance.  The intervention plan will be consistent with this policy, Administrative Rule JBD-R, and State Board of Education regulations. 

    Approval of Absences in Excess of 10 Days and Approval of Credit.  The Board authorizes school principals to promptly approve or disapprove any student's absence, lawful, unlawful, or a combination thereof, of more than 10 days for students in grades K-12.   Principals may require submission of a statement from a certified medical practitioner for any absences in excess of 10, should the circumstances warrant it.  For purposes of awarding credit for the year, principals must approve or disapprove absences in excess of ten days regardless of whether the absences are lawful, unlawful, or a combination of lawful and unlawful absences.  This decision may be appealed through the superintendent to the Berkeley County Board of Education.

    In order to receive one Carnegie unit of credit, a student must be in attendance at least 120 hours per unit regardless of the number of days missed.  Students whose absences are approved should be allowed to make up any work missed in order to satisfy the 120 hour requirement.  Examples of make-up work may include after-school, summer school, weekend makeup, or extended year programs.  All make-up work should be completed within 30 days from the last day of the course; however, the superintendent or his/her designee may extend the time for completion of the requirements due to a student's extenuating circumstances.

    Medical Homebound.  The principal or his/her designee shall be responsible for facilitating medical homebound instruction for eligible students experiencing a prolonged illness or injury, which requires the students to be absent from school.

    Students Beyond Compulsory Attendance Age.  Students that are 17 years of age and above do not fall within the compulsory school attendance law. However, their attendance shall be monitored by the respective school principals. All students must meet the state department of education attendance requirements for promotion or to receive credit toward a high school diploma.