Policy 502.1 - Prohibition of Serious Student Misconduct


1. Disruption of School

A student shall not engage in violence, force, noise, coercion, threat, intimidation, fear, passive resistance, or any other conduct that results in or is intended to cause the substantial and material disruption or obstruction of any lawful mission, process, or function of the school. Neither shall the student urge other students to engage in such conduct for the purpose of causing the substantial and material disruption or obstruction of any lawful mission, process, or function of the school if such a disruption or obstruction is reasonably certain to result from the student's urging.

When conduct such as the following is intended to cause or results in a substantial and material disruption or obstruction of any lawful mission, process or function of the school it shall be considered disruption. (Note: The following list of conduct illustrates types of conduct that may be disruptive. It is not an exclusive list of such conduct.)

a. occupying any school building(s), school grounds (or part thereof) with the intent to deprive others of its use; ("School building(s)" and "School Grounds" are defined as: any and all property and facilities under the control of the school board, whether owned, leased, borrowed or used by the district. Such property specifically includes vehicles and other special purpose property whose use may be short term or intermittent.)

b. blocking the entrance or exit of any school building or corridor or room therein with the intent to deprive others of lawful access to or from, or use of, the building or corridor or room;

c. setting fire to or substantially damaging any school building or property;

d. causing to discharge, displaying, or threatening use of firearms, explosives, or other weapons or replicas on the school premises without prior written permission of the principal;

e. preventing or attempting to prevent the convening or continued functioning of any school, class, or activity or any lawful meeting or assembly on the school campus;

f. preventing students from attending a class or school activity; 

g. blocking normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic on a school campus except under the direct instructions from the principal (or a person to whom the principal has delegated authority);

h. repeatedly and/or intentionally making noise or acting in a manner so as to interfere seriously with the teacher's ability to conduct and/or with another student's ability to participate in class;

i. belonging or claiming to belong to a gang that may cause or advocate violent, destructive, or substantially disruptive behavior which is reasonably certain to interfere with the school, school activities, and is or would be detrimental to: the safe and proper operation of the educational system; the safety, well-being or education of another student(s); and/or to the safety or well being of faculty and staff;

j. having an inappropriate appearance;

k. sabotaging or attempting to sabotage computers, telephones or other communication hardware, software and data belonging to and/or used by students and/or District staff. [The term “sabotage” shall mean “knowingly and/or intentionally acting in a manner to undermine the operation of and/or destroy any software or hardware (equipment).”]

l.  inappropriate sexual conduct including harassment, indecent exposure, and visible display of affection. Possession of pornographic/obscene literature, items or materials:

m.  harassment in any form, of another person.

2. Damage or Destruction of District-Owned Property

A student shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause substantial damage to, destruction or theft of school property. A student shall not deprive the District, the custodian of the property, any faculty, staff member, or authorized student the right to use District-owned property.

In addition to other disciplinary action, student damage or destruction of District-owned property may result in a fine.

3. Damage or Destruction of Private Property

A student shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause substantial damage to, destruction or theft of private property of another person on the school grounds or during a school activity, function, or event off the school grounds.

4. Assault

A student shall not assault, batter, or cause, threaten to cause, or attempt to cause physical injury or intentionally behave in such a manner which could reasonably cause physical injury to: 

a. any person on the school grounds or in any building, vehicle or facility owned, leased or borrowed by the school district;

b. any person at a school activity, function or event;

c. a school district employee at any time or location. The Principal shall suspend a student who commits an assault against an employee on school district property while attending or engaged in school district activities. Notice of the suspension shall be sent to the Board President for review by the Board to determine whether further sanctions, which may include expulsion, should be imposed against the student).

For purposes of this policy, "assault" is defined as:

• an act which is intended to cause pain or injury to, or which is intended to result in physical contact which will be insulting or offensive to another, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act; or

• any act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, insulting or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act; or

• intentionally pointing any firearm toward another or displaying any dangerous weapon in a threatening manner toward another.

Neither self-defense nor action taken in the reasonable belief that action was necessary to defend or protect another person shall be considered intentional behavior in violation of this rule.

The act is not an assault when the person doing any of the above and the other person are voluntary participants in a sport, social or other activity, not in itself criminal, when the act is a reasonably foreseeable incident of such sport or activity, and does not create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or breach of the peace.

5. Possession of Weapons and Dangerous Instruments

A student shall not knowingly possess, handle, or transmit any object or chemical substance that can reasonably be considered or used as an offensive or defensive weapon or a replica thereof:

a. on the school grounds;

b. on or off the school grounds at a school activity, function or event; or

c. in any building, vehicle or facility owned, leased or borrowed by the school district.

For purposes of this policy, the term "Weapons and Dangerous Instruments" does not include standard school supplies like pens, pencils, compasses or pen knives. The term does include any firearm, (firearm includes an air-gun, any weapon designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or compressed gas, the frame or receiver of any such weapon, a muffler or silencer for such a weapon, or any explosive, incendiary or poison gas), any explosive (including firecrackers), any other knife, chemical substances, and other dangerous objects. The term also includes replicas which, in the opinion of school faculty or staff, are of no reasonable use to the students at a school, on the school grounds or at school events. Weapons under the control of law enforcement officials shall be exempt from this policy. The principal may allow authorized persons to display weapons or other dangerous objects for educational purposes. Such an authorized display shall also be exempt from this policy.

Students found to possess a weapon or dangerous object in violation of this rule shall be subject to immediate parental notification, confiscation of the weapon(s) or dangerous instrument, notification of law enforcement officials, and disciplinary action of to and including suspension or expulsion. However, if the weapon or dangerous instrument is a firearm, the student shall be expelled for not less than twelve months. The superintendent shall have the authority to recommend this expulsion requirement be modified on a case-by-case basis.

6. Participation in Gangs and Gang Activities

Membership in a gang, claiming membership in a gang, or participation in gang activities will not be tolerated. Such conduct that causes or advocates violent, destructive, and substantially disruptive behavior which interferes with the school and/or school activities is detrimental to the safe and proper operation of the educational system. Consequently, the school will keep district schools, its students and personnel free from the violent, destructive, seriously disruptive behavior and resulting harmful effects of gangs or gang related activities.

The Lewis Central Community School District believes that gang and gang activities are most successfully dealt with on a community-wide basis and affirms its intention to work cooperatively with all appropriate community agencies.

As used in this policy "Gang Activity" shall mean any illegal activity and any activity prohibited by school policy, including wearing of any distinctive gang clothing, colors, insignia, or device. It also includes the promotion of the gang, the recruitment of members, the collection of "dues" or other funds or property for the support of the gang or gang activities.

7. Student Appearance

Inappropriate student appearance causes material and substantial disruption to the school environment and/or presents a threat to the health and safety of students, employees, and visitors on school property or on property within the jurisdiction of the school district.

Students are expected to adhere to standards of cleanliness and dress that are compatible with the requirements of a good learning environment. The standards will be those generally acceptable to the community as appropriate in a school setting.

The District expects students to be clean and well groomed and wear clothes in good repair and appropriate for the time, place and occasion. Clothing or other apparel promoting products, illegal for use by minors and clothing displaying obscene material, profanity, or reference to prohibited conduct are not allowed.

While the primary responsibility for appearance lies with the students and their parents, appearance disruptive to the education program will not be tolerated. When, in the judgment of a principal, a student's appearance or mode of dress unduly disrupts the educational process or constitutes a threat to health or safety, the administration may take appropriate disciplinary action and/or require modifications in the student's appearance.

8. Use and/or Possession of Tobacco

A student shall not use or possess tobacco in any school building(s) or on school grounds ("School Buildings" and "School Grounds" are defined as: any and all property and facilities under the control of the School Board, whether owned, leased, borrowed or used by the district. Such property specifically includes vehicles and other special purpose property whose use may be short term or intermittent.) Disciplinary action for such use may include suspension and/or expulsion from school.

9. Possession, Use and/or Being Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages and/or Controlled Substances ("Controlled" substances" shall include all such items as defined in Iowa Code Section 204.101, including but not limited to: marijuana; prescription drugs without a valid prescription; and steroids.) 

The use, being under the influence of, possession, distribution and/or giving the impression of the use, being under the influence of, possession or distribution of alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, controlled substances, drug look-a-likes and apparatus used for the administration of the same by students is prohibited:

a. in school buildings or on school grounds;

b. at school events;

c. in any situation in which the school is responsible for student conduct and well being.

Such activities are detrimental to the health and safety of the student(s) and the community and will not be permitted or tolerated.

Disciplinary action for violations of this rule may include suspension and/or expulsion from school.

10. Disciplinary Actions for Violations of this Policy

Any serious student misconduct (exemplified by activities listed as items 1-9 herein) may result in disciplinary action. All disciplinary action taken against students will include appropriate protection of such student's due process rights. The degree of protection of such student rights may vary with the seriousness of the type and severity of the violation but will always include:

a. informing the student (and/or their parents) of the rule violated and the nature of the violation; AND

b. providing an opportunity for the student to explain their conduct ("tell their side of the story").

For any disciplinary action that involves suspension from school, transportation, and/or extracurricular activities or expulsion from school, refer to the District's policies Suspension by Administrator (Policy 502.3) and Suspension/Expulsion by Board (Policy 502.4).

The purpose of discipline is to modify individual behavior through positive and supportive actions whenever possible. Allowable disciplinary actions include, but are not limited to:

a. Any action designed to appropriately punish or modify behavior deemed appropriate by a building administrator that does not violate school policies, regulations or state or federal law.

b. Limited time away from normal school activities.

c. Loss of special privileges including participation in extracurricular activities.

d. Detention before or after school. (Notification will be given twenty-four hours prior to the detention date unless head of household contact is made that same day and the student's transportation needs are resolved.)

e. Referral to a licensed substance abuse program for counseling and treatment.

f. Required attendance on a non-teaching day.

g. In-school suspension.

h. Probation.

i. Individual management plan.

j. Out-of-school suspension.

k. Recommendation to the Superintendent and the Board of Directors for long term suspension or expulsion from school.

Adopted: 05/22/89
Modified: 04/08/91; 01/23/95; 08/21/95; 07/19/99; 12/21/09; 12/16/19
Reviewed: 03/19/91; 01/09/95; 08/07/95; 06/28/99; 04/18/05; 12/07/09; 10/06/14; 12/02/19

Legal References:
Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565 (1975).
Brands v. Sheldon Comm. School Dist., 671 F. Supp. 627 (N.D. Iowa 1987).
Sims v. Colfax Comm. School Dist., 307 F. Supp. 485 (Iowa 1970).
Bunger v. Iowa High School Athletic Association, 197 N.W. 2d 555 (1972).
Board of Ed. of the Ind. School Dist. of Waterloo v. Green, 259 Iowa 1260, 147 N.W. 2d 854 (1967).
Iowa Code §§282.4, .5; 708.1 (1993).
Iowa Code § 279.8 (1995)
1982 Op. Att'y Gen. 227

Cross-References: Series 502 Student Behavior and Disciple
Policy 501.1 Compulsory Attendance
Policy Primer - Volume 7, Number 5 - July 8, 1994
Refer to Student Handbook
Refer to Activities Handbook (Code of Conduct)

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