Admin

Procedures for Disciplinary Action

In order to protect student rights, certain procedures are followed with regard to disciplinary actions. These procedures are developed as suggested or required by law or regulation. School/classroom management strategies not covered by these specific procedures are encouraged.

Procedures for Levels I-III Offenses for Elementary and Secondary

A student accused of misconduct for a Level I-III offense, shall be afforded the following procedures. In emergency situations, these procedures may be modified so long as reasonable efforts are made to provide substantially similar opportunities for the procedural safeguards.
Please note, these procedures should be used in conjunction with the procedures set forth herein which align with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and the Board Policy JB, entitled, “Equal Educational Opportunities.”

LEVELS I-III PROCEDURES

Step 1: The student must be told by the principal or designee of the reason(s) for the referral.

Step 2: The student must be given the opportunity to present his/her side of the matter either verbally or in writing and must have the opportunity to present witnesses to the incident.

Step 3: The principal/designee shall make a determination as to whether the evidence supports the offense. If so, the principal/designee determines the appropriate discipline response according to the Code. The student shall be informed of the disciplinary response.

Step 4: The principal/designee shall report each suspension in writing to the student’s parent/guardian and to the area superintendent or designee. This report shall be mailed or delivery initiated within 24 hours of the start of the suspension or on the next regular workday. Reasonable efforts shall be made to contact the parent/guardian prior to the start of the suspension. If the parent/guardian cannot be reached prior to the start of the suspension, the principal or his designee may determine that the suspension will start without the prior contact with the parent/guardian, but continued reasonable efforts to contact the parent/guardian shall be made.

Step 5: After the discipline investigation is complete, the parent/guardian may request a copy of all documentary evidence upon which the proposed disciplinary consequence is based; however, if available and used as evidence for disciplinary purposes, video evidence may only be reviewed, a copy will not be provided.

Step 6: The student and parent/guardian have a right to request a conference with the principal or designee upon request of the parent/guardian to appeal the discipline imposed. All such requests must be made within three (3) school days of the first notification of a discipline referral. The principal shall have the discretion to adjust the discipline response.

Step 7: A meeting should be held each time any student with disabilities has been suspended from classroom or transportation for ten (10) days cumulative during a school year. The purpose is to determine if the placement is appropriate and if any changes need to be made in order to more effectively deal with the student’s behavior concern.

Step 8: At the discretion of the principal, a written behavior contract or safety plan may be required upon return of the student.

Step 9: If the parent/guardian feel that procedural safeguards were not provided, they may appeal by contacting an area administrator. The area administrator shall discuss the matter with the parent/guardian, and if appropriate, schedule a meeting between the principal, the area administrator, and the parent/guardian to further discuss the matter.

Step 10: The area administrator will make a recommendation to the principal’s supervisor to either uphold the principal’s decision or modify the decision based on the specific facts and charges upon which the consequences are based. The principal’s supervisor has the final decision-making authority for these types of appeals.


Procedures for Level IV Offenses for Elementary and Secondary

A student accused of a violation of the Code which, in the opinion of the principal or designee, may require expulsion from school or transportation, shall be afforded the procedural safeguards described below. In emergency situations, these procedures may be modified so long as reasonable efforts are made to provide substantially similar opportunities for these procedural safeguards.

Please note, these procedures should be used in conjunction with the procedures set forth herein which align with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and the Board Policy JB, entitled, “Equal Educational Opportunities.”

LEVEL IV PROCEDURES

Step 1: The principal or designee must inform the student of the reason(s) for consideration of expulsion.

Step 2: The student shall be given the opportunity to present his/her side of the matter either verbally or in writing and must have the opportunity to offer witnesses to the incident.

Step 3: The principal or designee shall make a determination in writing as to whether the evidence supports the offense. If so, the principal/designee determines the appropriate discipline response according to the Code. The student shall be informed of the Level IV offense. If the principal/designee determines that there are sufficient grounds for expulsion, then the principal/designee shall inform the student that he or she is being suspended from school for ten (10) days and a recommendation that the student be expelled is being considered.

Step 4: The principal shall report in writing to the student’s parent/guardian and the district that the student has been suspended for ten (10) days and a recommendation that the student be expelled from school is being considered. The report shall be mailed or delivery initiated within 24 hours of the start of the initial ten (10) day suspension or on the next regular school day. Reasonable effort shall be made to contact the parent/guardian prior to the start of the suspension. If the parent/guardian cannot be reached prior to the start of the suspension, the principal or a designee may determine that the suspension will start without the prior contact with the parent/guardian.

Step 5: The student and parent/guardian have a right to request a conference with the principal or designee to review the Level IV offense. All such requests must be made within three (3) school days of the first notification of suspension that the parent/guardian receives.

Step 6: After the discipline investigation is complete, the parent/guardian may request a copy of all documentary evidence upon which the proposed expulsion is based; however, if available and used as evidence for disciplinary purposes, video evidence may only be reviewed, a copy will not be provided.

Step 7: The area administrator shall convene a Discipline Team Meeting (DTM) as soon as possible. The OCPS employees present at the DTM shall include the area administrator, principal or designee and other appropriate personnel, including, but not limited to, a counselor, school psychologist, administrative dean, or Positive Pathways Transition Center staff. The school will also request that the parent/guardian and student attend the DTM.
The purpose of the DTM is to:
  1. Review all documentary evidence upon which the proposed expulsion is based;
  2. Ensure the student received due process during the investigation;
  3. Provide the student and parent/guardian the opportunity to present new information and/or explain the student’s involvement; and
  4. Determine whether a referral will be made to an alternative program/school or expulsion.
Step 8: No later than one (1) school day prior to the DTM, parents/guardian/students must notify the school principal or designee of all parties that will attend the DTM on behalf of the student. The parent/guardian/student may elect to bring parties to the DTM of their choosing. If the parent/guardian retains legal counsel the Office of Legal Services must be notified prior to the DTM at (407) 317-3411.

Step 9: If the decision is made by the area administrator to verify the Level IV and the consequence is a full exclusion, without continuing educational services, the Superintendent may invoke Section 1006.08, Florida Statutes, and either extend the student’s suspension or temporarily administratively place a student in an alternative setting pending the final decision of expulsion from the Board.
If a decision is made by the area administrator to verify the Level IV and the consequence is an alternative placement, Section 1006.08, Florida Statutes, will be invoked and the student will be administratively placed at the alternative school within Orange County. It is important to note, once the student is withdrawn from their home school the only OCPS school the student may attend is the school designated by the area administrator at the DTM, however, the parent/guardian may instead elect to enroll their child in home school, or Florida Virtual School, private school, or another county, if permissible.

Step 10: If the decision is made by the area administrator to verify the Level IV and the parent/guardian believes the student is entitled to further procedural safeguards or would like to dispute documentary evidence upon which the proposed expulsion is based, the parent/guardian may request an administrative hearing by providing notice of such request to the applicable area administrator or designee. Failure of the parent/guardian to request an administrative hearing from the applicable area administrator or his/her designee within fourteen (14) days after the Discipline Team meeting shall be deemed a waiver of any challenge to the procedures utilized by the Discipline Team in making its decision. Administrative hearings shall be granted or denied within fifteen (15) days from the time they are requested unless an extension is agreed upon in writing. The area administrator and the principal or designee may attend the administrative hearing. The parent/guardian shall notify the applicable area administrator of all parties attending the administrative hearing on behalf of the student no later than three (3) school days prior to the administrative hearing. If the parent/guardian retains legal counsel the Office of Legal Services must be notified prior to the Administrative Hearing at (407) 317-3411.
If the student is recommended for a full exclusion without educational services, the administrative hearing will be governed by the provisions in Sections 120.569 and 120.57(2), Florida Statutes.

Step 11: The Administrative Hearing Officer will either recommend to uphold the DTM decision or recommend to overturn the decision based on the specific facts and charges upon which the proposed consequence is based. Both the principal or designee and the parent/guardian shall have the right, but not obligation, to submit a recommended order to the Administrative Hearing Officer containing proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law. The Administrative Hearing Officer may, in his/her discretion, use a proposed order submitted by either the principal/designee or the parent/guardian; provided however, the Administrative Officer may reject both proposed orders and issue his/her own order.

Step 12: If the recommendation of the Administrative Hearing Officer is to uphold the Level IV, the student/parent/guardian may request a meeting with the principal’s supervisor to discuss the recommendation of the area administrator and Administrative Hearing Officer. The principal’s supervisor will review the documentary evidence and procedural safeguards and provide a recommendation to the Superintendent for review. The Superintendent shall then review the principal’s supervisor’s recommendation and shall have the authority to recommend to the Board that the student be expelled or take whatever action he/she deems appropriate. The Superintendent shall notify the parent/guardian and the principal or designee prior to the Board meeting at which the Board will consider his/her recommendation.

Step 13: The parent/guardian shall have the right to appear before the Board. Factual evidence which was not properly presented either at the DTM or the Administrative Hearing may not be presented to the Board. The parent/guardian/student is limited to challenging whether the facts as found at the DTM may appropriately lead to the consequence under the Code.


Procedures for Students Who Commit Serious Acts of Misconduct Eligible for Services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Suspension/Removal)

Students who commit serious acts of misconduct eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Students with Disabilities) are subject to being suspended/removed from school for up to ten (10) days, cumulative or collective, when the misconduct meets the definition of a Level III or Level IV offense as defined in the Code. This removal is permitted whether or not the behavior causing the offense is related to the student’s disability. The school district has the right to obtain relief from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to remove a student with dangerous behavior.

Students with disabilities may be subjected to short-term or long-term removals depending on the disciplinary offense of the Code. The general guide for a school to follow is that a disabled student may be suspended/removed from a school for up to 10 school days within a school year without providing services identified in the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). A manifestation determination is not required until the student has been suspended/removed in most circumstances for ten (10) days; cumulative or collective. However, IEP teams should review a student’s misconduct as early as possible to determine the need for additional behavior supports and/or services. The Discipline Team meeting should occur in conjunction with the manifestation meeting if the behavior may be a Level IV offense.

Regardless of the misconduct, OCPS shall not cease educational services to a disabled student after the student has been suspended/removed from school for more than ten (10) school days, total, in a school year.

Please note, these procedures should be used in conjunction with the procedures set forth herein which align with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and the Board Policy JB, entitled, “Equal Educational Opportunities.”

IDEA PROCEDURES

Step 1: The student must be told by the principal or designee of the reason(s) for consideration of a suspension/removal.

Step 2: The student must be given the opportunity to present his/her side of the matter either verbally or in writing and must have the opportunity to present witnesses to the incident.

Step 3: The principal or designee shall promptly make a determination in writing as to whether or not the student is guilty of the misconduct. If the principal’s or designee’s determination is that the student committed a Level IV offense, the school staff shall convene a Discipline IEP Team meeting and a manifestation determination meeting. Both meetings should be noticed to the parents. In some cases it is appropriate for a Discipline IEP Team meeting to be convened for a Level III offense and/or conduct a manifestation determination. The procedures for the Discipline IEP Team meeting in the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Staffing Procedures Handbook must be followed.

Step 4: Once a student has been removed for ten (10) days, cumulative or collective, the IEP Team must meet to develop and/or review the student’s Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) and Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP). [Note Procedures for Discipline in the Staffing Procedures Handbook.] The IEP Team must include the parent (as defined by IDEA), student (if appropriate), not less than one general education teacher, not less than one special education teacher, a representative of the district qualified to provide or supervise the provision of specially designed instruction (usually the staffing specialist), and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results (may be a person already listed in the section). The IEP Team may also include persons such as a guest of the parent, the principal or designated administrator, counselor, psychologist, social worker, speech therapist, an area administrator, and/or persons with specialized knowledge of the student. Other school or learning community/district personnel may be invited if appropriate. The Procedural Safeguards must be provided at the meeting and parents must receive a copy.

Any student who has been removed for more than ten (10) school days must receive appropriate services in accordance with the student’s IEP; however, the manner in which services are delivered may vary based upon the student’s discipline placement.

Step 5: The IEP Team will determine whether or not the offense is related to the student’s disability, e.g., the manifestation determination, based on federal statutes and regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), as well as Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules. The manifestation determination must be made within 10 days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation to the Code.
If the IEP Team determines that the child’s conduct was the direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the IEP, immediate steps must be taken to remedy those deficiencies. 34 CFR 300.530(e)(3).

Step 6: The IEP team will determine appropriate alternatives for allowing the student to continue to receive FAPE and services during the removal. These alternatives may include but are not limited to:
  • Modification of the IEP including BIP in current placement
  • Transfer to a more restrictive placement for a designated period of time
  • Reduced or modified school day (After School Academy, Saturday School, etc.)
  • In-school suspension program
  • Individual/group counseling with school personnel
  • Virtual Instruction
  • Placement on Home Instruction or Teleclass
  • Special school placement
  • Other options or some combination of the above
Step 7: OCPS can immediately remove students from their current educational placement to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) for no more than forty-five (45) school days for violation of the Code for certain drugs, weapons, and infliction of serious bodily injury upon another person while at school, on school premises, or at a function under the jurisdiction of OCPS regardless of a determination if the behavior was a manifestation of the student’s disability.Step 8: The staffing specialist shall inform the parent/guardian of:
  1. The due process rights of disabled students should they disagree with the recommendations of the IEP Team.
  2. The right to request a due process hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) if the parent/guardian believes the student’s procedural safeguards have been violated.
  3. The school district’s right to request a due process hearing for a student exhibiting dangerous behavior or to petition the court for a change in placement.
  4. Either party’s right to request an expedited due process hearing to challenge a disciplinary decision or manifestation determination. Stay put during the proceedings will be in accordance with the Discipline IEP Team decision.

Points of Clarification

  1. Children not yet identified as ESE students may assert protections under these procedures if OCPS knew or should have known that the child might have a disability. Parental consent for evaluation should be requested in these meetings, if an evaluation is not already in progress, during the disciplinary proceedings.
  2. When the behavior is not a manifestation of the disability, the student may be disciplined under the regular education guidelines. However, educational services must continue.
  3. Students with behavior problems can be removed to another placement through the IEP process.
  4. Bus suspensions and partial day removals may count as removal/suspensions.

Procedures for Students Who Commit Serious Acts of Misconduct Eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Suspension/Removal)

Students eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be subjected to short-term or long-term removals depending on the disciplinary offense of the Code of Student Conduct. The general guide for a school to follow is that a Section 504 eligible student may be suspended/removed from a school up to ten (10) school days within a school year without providing services identified in the student’s Section 504 Individual Accommodation Plan. A manifestation determination is not required until the student has been suspended/removed for ten (10) days, cumulative or collective.

A student with a Section 504 Individual Accommodation Plan may be recommended for expulsion as defined for all students when the behavior, as determined by the Section 504 team, is not a manifestation of the student’s disability.

OCPS is not required to hold a manifestation determination meeting for use of illegal drugs or alcohol committed by a student eligible under Section 504. The student may be disciplined in the same manner as non-disabled students for use of illegal drugs or alcohol and will receive the same due process and consequences as other students.

Please note, these procedures should be used in conjunction with the procedures set forth herein which align with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and the Board Policy JB, entitled, “Equal Educational Opportunities.”

504 AND ADA PROCEDURES

Step 1: The student must be told by the principal or designee of the reason(s) for consideration of a suspension/removal.

Step 2: The student must be given the opportunity to present his/her side of the matter either verbally or in writing and must have the opportunity to present witnesses to the incident.

Step 3: The principal or designee shall promptly make a determination in writing as to whether or not the student is guilty of the misconduct. If the principal’s or designee’s determination is that the student committed an offense that will result in suspension of 10 days (cumulative or collective) the school staff shall convene a Section 504 Discipline Team meeting and a manifestation determination meeting. The procedures for the Section 504 Discipline Team meetings located on the OCPS Section 504 website must be followed.

Step 4: Once a child has been removed for ten (10) days, the Section 504 Team must convene a meeting to review the student’s conduct. The Section 504 team must be composed of personnel empowered to make placement decisions for students requiring accommodations pursuant to Section 504. The Section 504 Team may include, in addition to the parent/guardian and student, if appropriate, persons such as a guest of the parent, the principal or designated administrator, school-based Section 504 representative, counselor, general education teacher, psychologist, social worker, speech therapist, an area administrator, and/or persons with specialist knowledge of the student. Other school or learning community/district personnel may be invited if appropriate. The Procedural Safeguards must be provided at the meeting and parent/guardian must receive a copy.

Step 5: The Section 504 Team will determine whether or not the offense is related to the student’s disability, e.g., the manifestation determination. NOTE: If a student with an active Section 504 Plan has been referred for ESE testing, the manifestation team must treat the student as an ESE student and follow the Procedures for Students who Commit Serious Acts of Misconduct Eligible for Services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Suspension/Removal).
If the Section 504 Team determines that the student’s behavior is not a manifestation of the disability, the student may be disciplined in the same manner as their non-disabled peers, which may include a full exclusion from school without continuing education services.
If it is determined that the student’s behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability, federal law does not permit a school district to cease all educational services. The student may be excluded with services (as with students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The Section 504 Team must review the Section 504 Plan and make modifications with the intent to reduce inappropriate behaviors, when appropriate.

Procedures for Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972

A student accused of sexual harassment pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX) definition and Board Policy JB, entitled “Equal Educational Opportunities,” shall be afforded the following procedures. In emergency situations, these procedures may be modified so long as reasonable efforts are made to provide substantially similar opportunities for the procedural safeguards.

These procedures must be implemented for sexual harassment claims if they meet the definition under Title IX and/or Board Policy JB before any discipline consequence is given to the respondent, unless an emergency removal of the respondent is required due to an immediate threat of physical health or safety to others. The definition for “sexual harassment” as outlined in Title IX and Board Policy JB includes: (1) an OCPS employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the school on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; (2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or (3) sexual assault as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).

The initiation of these procedures does not prohibit the school from implementing supportive measures which are designed to protect the safety of all parties and/or the educational environment.

The student discipline investigation as detailed throughout this Code shall be conducted after these Title IX procedures have been completed. Nothing in the section prohibits the school from implementing discipline consequences if the respondent is found to have committed an offense in the Code through the discipline investigation, regardless of whether the Title IX complaint was dismissed.

For reference, as used in this section, the “complainant” is the individual who is the alleged victim and the “respondent” is the individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of the conduct.

TITLE IX PROCEDURES

Step 1: A school must follow these procedures within twenty-four (24) hours or no more than two (2) school days when the school has actual knowledge of sexual harassment occurring in an OCPS education program or activity. Education activity or program includes location, events, or circumstances over which OCPS has exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred. A report may be made by any person with knowledge of sexual harassment incidents occurring.
If the school believes the alleged sexual harassment constitutes a crime, the matter shall be immediately reported to the School Resource Officer or appropriate law enforcement agency. If the alleged sexual harassment may constitute child abuse it shall be immediately reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). If the alleged sexual harassment is against an OCPS employee, the Title IX Coordinator or school administrator shall immediately notify OCPS Professional Standards.

Step 2: The school-based Title IX Coordinator must promptly notify the complainant of available supportive measures and explain the process for filing a formal complaint. If there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety to others, then the respondent shall be removed from the school under the emergency removal provisions in Title IX and/or Board Policy JB.

Step 3: The complainant or parent/guardian of the complainant must file a formal written complaint with the school alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting an investigation of the allegations within ten (10) school days of the alleged misconduct occurring. The school-based Title IX Coordinator may also file the formal written complaint on behalf of the complainant if a written complaint is not received from the complainant or parent/guardian. At the time of filing the complaint the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the educational program or activity of the school where he/she is filing the complaint in order for the school to investigate under Title IX and Board Policy JB; however, this provision does not prohibit the school from continuing with a discipline investigation.

Step 4: If a formal complaint is filed, the school must immediately determine if: (1) the allegations meet the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX and/or Board Policy JB; (2) the conduct occurred in an OCPS education program or activity; and (3) the allegation is against a person in the United States. If the allegations meet the above criteria the school shall continue with the following procedures as detailed herein and provided in Board Policy JB. If the allegations do not meet the above criteria the school shall dismiss the formal complaint and conduct a discipline investigation as detailed in the Code. The complainant must be notified of the dismissal within twenty-four (24) hours or no more than two (2) school days.
The complainant may request an appeal from the decision of the school to dismiss the formal complaint as outlined under Title IX and Board Policy JB, The request for an appeal should be provided to the principal within two (2) school days of notice of the dismissal. Failure to request an appeal within two (2) school days shall be deemed a waiver of the appeal.

Step 5: If the complaint is not dismissed, then the school must provide the respondent and complainant and his/her parent/guardian written notice of the allegations against the respondent upon the receipt of the sexual harassment complaint within two (2) school days. The respondent and complainant may elect to have an advisor of their choice to assist them throughout the Title IX process. The advisor may be an attorney, but is not required to be.

Step 6: The respondent shall be afforded the opportunity to prepare a response regarding the complaint and provide that response during the initial interview. The respondent shall have no less than two (2) school days from the date of the written notice to prepare a response and conduct the initial interview; the time to provide the response and conduct the initial interview shall not exceed five (5) school days. This time may be modified for good cause as outlined in Title IX and/or Board Policy JB.

Step 7:
The Title IX Coordinator/Investigator must conduct a Title IX investigation into the allegations of the sexual harassment. Both the respondent and complainant will be given an equal opportunity to: present witnesses; present evidence; and inspect and review all evidence related to the investigation once the investigation is complete. The investigation must be completed and evidence provided to the respondent and complainant within five (5) school days of the initial interviews with the complainant and respondent, whichever interview is later.

Step 8: After the evidence is provided, the respondent and complainant will be given ten (10) school days to review and submit a written response to the evidence for the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator to consider before the Title IX Coordinator/investigator completes his/her investigative report. If a response is not received within ten (10) days the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator will deem the non-response as a waiver and continue with his/her investigative report.

Step 9: After reviewing the evidence and responses, the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator shall create an investigative report summarizing his/her findings. The investigative report will be provided to the respondent and complainant for review. Both the respondent and complainant will have no more than two (2) school days to provide written relevant questions to the Title IX Coordinator/investigator to be asked of any party or witness. The party or witness has no more than two (2) school days to respond to the questions. Responses will be provided to the complainant and respondent by the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator. The respondent and complainant will then have no more than two (2) school days to provide no more than five (5) written relevant follow-up questions. The party or witness has no more than two (2) school days to respond to the follow-up questions. The respondent and complainant will have ten (10) days from receipt of the investigative report to provide a written response to the investigative report.

Step 10: The investigative report and written responses will be provided to the Principal/Decision-maker. If a response is not received within ten (10) days, the Principal/Decision-maker will deem the non-response as a waiver and continue with his/her determination of responsibility.

Step 11: The Principal/Decision-maker shall issue a written determination regarding the responsibility of the respondent to the respondent and complainant within three (3) school days. The Principal/Decision-maker shall apply the preponderance of the evidence standard when making his/her determination. The school-based Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for the implementation of all remedies stated in the written determination. The determination of responsibility will become final after two (2) school days if an appeal of the determination is not requested. Step 12: If either the respondent or complainant do not agree with the Principal/Decision-maker’s determination, either party may appeal the decision in writing to the Principal/Decision-maker. A request for an appeal must be made within two (2) school days of issuance of the determination of responsibility. An appeal will be granted if: (1) procedural issues affected the outcome; (2) there is new evidence that becomes available that could affect the outcome; or (3) there was a conflict of interest or bias by the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator or Principal/Decision-maker against the respondent or complainant. The respondent and complainant shall have three (3) school days to submit a written statement challenging or supporting the determination of responsibility issued by the Principal/Decision-maker. If a statement is not received within three (3) school days, the appeals decision-maker will deem the non-response as a waiver and continue with his/her decision regarding the appeal. The appeals decision-maker will review the statements, if available, the investigative report, and the determination of responsibility before submitting his/her written decision to the respondent and complainant. The written appeals determination describing the result and rationale for the decision must be provided simultaneously to the complainant and respondent and his/her parent/guardian within five (5) school days. The decision of the appeals decision-maker will become final upon issuance.

Additional Guidelines

  1. No recipient or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
  2. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for Code of Student Conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or this part, constitutes retaliation.
  3. Schools are required to keep confidential the identity of the following individuals: any individual who makes a report or complaint of sex discrimination; any individual who makes a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment; any complainant; any respondent; any individual reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination; and any witness. Disclosure of the aforementioned individuals may be permitted according to the FERPA or as required by law.
  4. A Code of Student Conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith during the course of the grievance process does not constitute retaliation. A determination regarding responsibility alone is insufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.


Procedures for Felony Suspension

Section 1006.09(2), Florida Statutes, allows the principal to suspend a student enrolled at his/her school who has been formally charged with a felony or similar offense by a prosecuting attorney and the incident for which he/she has been charged occurred off of school property, and under circumstances in which the student would not already be subject to the rules and regulations of OCPS, and the incident would have an adverse impact on the educational program, discipline or welfare in the school in which the student is enrolled.

FELONY SUSPENSION PROCEDURES

Step 1: Determine that the student has actually been formally charged with a felony (or has been charged with an offense in juvenile court which, if the student were an adult, would be classified as a felony) by notifying an area administrator who will contact the State Attorney’s office for confirmation.

Step 2: If the student attempts to return to school, the principal must decide whether the student’s return would have an adverse impact on the school. The principal should consider the possibility of harm to the accused student or to others created by the presence of the accused student in the school. Felony suspension should be used only when the principal identifies and documents a definite adverse impact on other students or on the accused student. In determining “adverse impact”, the principal should consider the nature of the alleged offense (e.g., a student charged with rape, robbery, murder, etc.). The principal should also consider the publicity of the offense or any other circumstances which might increase the possibility that the student’s presence would pose a threat to the students and staff and substantially disrupt the school. The principal should also consider whether the student’s continued attendance would pose a threat to the student charged with the felony.

Step 3: The principal must contact the area administrator to schedule the hearing within ten (10) schools days of receiving the notice of the felony charges against the student. A hearing is conducted by the principal/designee and area administrator in every felony suspension procedure. It is not necessary for the parent/guardian to request a hearing.

Step 4: If a felony suspension related to the documented adverse impact is imposed, the parent/guardian must be notified in writing of the following:
  1. Recommendation for suspension until the determination of student’s guilt or innocence, or dismissal of charges.
  2. Specific charges against a student.
  3. The date and time of a hearing with the area administrator.
  4. Pending the hearing, the student is temporarily suspended.
  5. If the hearing results in a felony suspension, the student will need to be temporarily placed at an alternative education site until the outcome of the felony charge has been determined.
  6. Conditions under which a waiver of felony suspension may be granted in the case of unlawful use of an illegal controlled substance as provided in Section 1006.09(2)(b), Florida Statutes:
a. If there is not an adverse impact on the school.
b. If the student divulges information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who supplied the controlled substance to him.
c. If the student voluntarily discloses his/her unlawful possession of such controlled substances prior to his/her arrest.
d. If the student commits himself/herself, or is referred by the court in lieu of sentence, to a state- licensed substance abuse program and successfully completes the program.

Step 5: The hearing will be conducted by the area administrator and must be attended by the principal/designee, the student, the parent/guardian, and the student’s representative or counsel (if applicable). The student may speak in his/her own defense, may present any evidence indicating his or her eligibility for waiver of disciplinary action, and may be questioned on his/her testimony. However, the student shall not be threatened with punishment or later punished for refusal to testify. The person conducting the hearing is not bound by courtroom procedure or testimony and no transcript of the testimony shall be required. The purpose of the hearing is not to determine the student’s guilt or innocence of the felony. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether knowledge of the offense with which the student has been charged would have an adverse impact on the educational program, discipline, or welfare of the school.

Step 6: Following the hearing, the area administrator will provide the student and parent/guardian with a decision in writing as to whether or not the felony suspension will be made. In arriving at a decision, the area administrator will consider conditions under which a waiver may be granted and may grant a waiver when he/she determines such actions to be in the best interest of the school and student. The letter should also instruct the parent/guardian and student to provide documentation to the principal of the satisfactory resolution of the charges. The area administrator has the authority to modify the decision to either grant or deny a waiver at any time prior to adjudication of the student’s guilt by a court. However, any modification that is adverse to the student shall be made only following a hearing conducted in accordance with the procedure described.

Step 7: If the decision by the district is to impose the felony suspension, an area administrator will make arrangements to place the student in an alternative education setting.

Step 8: If the charges are dropped (nolle prosequi) or the student is adjudicated not guilty or not delinquent by the court, the student may return to their zoned school upon presenting documentation of the court’s decision.

Step 9: If the student is adjudicated guilty or delinquent by the court, the area superintendent may provide a recommendation for expulsion to the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall review the recommendation and shall have the authority to recommend to the Board that the student be expelled through the normal expulsion procedure or assigned to an alternative program/school for one (1) year from the date of adjudication.

Notice: Florida law prohibits any student who commits, and is adjudicated guilty of or delinquent for, or is found to have committed, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld, or pleads guilty or nolo contendere, of any kind of the felony offenses specified by Section 1006.13, Florida Statutes, [homicide, assault-battery-culpable negligence, kidnapping-luring or enticing-false imprisonment-custody offense, sexual battery, lewdness-indecent exposure, abuse, robbery, sudden snatching, carjacking, home invasion robbery] against another student from attending school with, or riding the same school bus as, the victim or any sibling of the victim, or if a “no contact” order is issued by the court and notification is reported by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Procedures for Early Re-entry of Fully Expelled Students

Following Board action to fully expel a student, the student shall not have the right to attend public schools (including virtual and charter schools) in Orange County, Florida, unless the Board, in its sole discretion and acting upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, revokes the existing expulsion based upon an early re-entry plan. A student who receives an early re-entry back to Orange County Public Schools will attend an alternative placement site. Failure of the student to abide by an early re-entry plan may be grounds to reactivate the expulsion.

It is intended that the procedure to be followed in developing early re-entry plans shall be flexible, but shall require a commitment on the part of the student and his/her parent/guardian to cooperate with school authorities in reasonably assuring that the behavior which led to the original expulsion will not recur.

Early re-entry plans are to be developed when appropriate, following the procedures described below.

EARLY RE-ENTRY PROCEDURES

Step 1: A request for an early re-entry plan may be made at the midpoint of the expulsion to the area superintendent. If a request for early re-entry is received, a review of the expulsion and other school records relating to the performance of the student will be made by the area superintendent/designee to determine the probability of success of an early re-entry.

Step 2: The following documents shall be required to determine eligibility for an early re-entry plan:
  1. Documentation of third party counseling relating to the offense;
  2. Positive community service;
  3. Minimum of 2.0 GPA for current course work;
  4. Consistent attendance and no disciplinary behaviors at the student’s current school of enrollment;
  5. Review from Orange County Public Schools Department of Student Services as to the student’s well-being; and
  6. An indication from the parents/guardians that they understand and accept the conditions set forth in the re-entry plan.
  7. Other documentation as required by Orange County Public Schools.

Step 3: After review of this information, the area superintendent will consider the request. If the area superintendent does consider that an early re-entry would be in the best interest of the student and of the school system a meeting shall be held with the area superintendent/designee, area administrator, alternative placement site principal/designee, parent/guardian, and student to develop a written early re-entry plan which details the conditions for an alternative placement site.

Step 4: Following completion of the re-entry plan which is acceptable to the school administrator who will be responsible for supervision of the student, the plan shall be submitted to the Superintendent.

Step 5: If the Superintendent approves the early re-entry of the student, he/she shall submit the recommendation to the Board. The parent/guardian will be notified of the action taken by the Board.