Student discipline - here's what you need to know!
One area in which we receive lots of questions is the area involving student discipline. We thought we'd put together this list of items for you so that you'll know what the law and our contract say about disciplining students:
- You have the right to exclude disruptive students from your classroom for the remainder of the day and up to the following two days for EACH disruptive event. The purpose of this law is for you to have a tool to protect the learning environment for the other students in your class. Under the law, you must have tried other interventions first (except for emergency situations), but those interventions could have occurred on prior days. The student cannot be returned to your class without your permission, or until you and your administrator have met to discuss how to deal with the behavior. When you use this tool, be sure to inform your principal that you are exercising the "two-day exclusion law" so that it's clearly understood what you're doing. There is no limit as to the number of times you use this exclusion, except for students on a behavior IEP. If the student has an IEP for behavior (not just an academic IEP), then you're limited to excluding him/her for up to 10 days per year. Important note: Under NO circumstances can any disruptive student be returned to your room prior to the end of the class period, unless you have given your permission. (RCW 28A.600.020 and LWEA Contract Section 18.4)
- You must be notified of students who have exhibited, or have a history of, violent or threatening behavior. These students must be identified to the student's assigned staff and to other staff members who have a need to know (such as librarians, counselors, or specialists who have contact with the student) as soon as the information about the student is known. (LWEA Contract Section 18.7)
- State law requires the school to inform teachers of any incoming transfer student's history of disciplinary actions, criminal or violent behavior, or other behavior that indicates the student could be a threat to the safety of educational staff or other students. (RCW 28A.225.330)
- Principals must communicate the disciplinary action taken by the principal to the school personnel who referred the student to the principal for disciplinary action. (RCW 28A.600.020)
- A student committing an offense such as an assault, malicious harassment, malicious mischief, or other crimes against a teacher shall not be assigned to that teacher's classroom for the duration of the student's attendance at that school or any other school where the teacher is assigned. (RCW 28A.600.460)
- You have the right to report a student to the police if that student has threatened or assaulted you. Just because you are a teacher, you do not give up your rights under the law as a citizen.
- You have the right to obtain an anti-harassment protection order against a student (or a student's parent) if those individuals engage in behaviors that are abusive; threatening; seriously alarm, annoy, or harass; or would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. (RCW 10.14.020)