506 - Discipline Policy

 

PACT Charter School

Original Creation Date: August 20, 1998
Last Approved By: PACT Charter School Board of Directors
Last Approved Date: December 7, 2023
Year Reviewed: 2023-2024


Discipline Approach at PACT

 

PURPOSE

School discipline refers to the consequences and strategies that are suitable for maintaining order and positive behavior in the school setting. At PACT Charter School, our goal is to ensure consistency, fairness, and unity when addressing disciplinary matters, all with the intention of fostering a safe, supportive, and conducive learning environment.

POLICY STATEMENT

Schools have a responsibility to create a friendly and inclusive learning environment that ensures equal educational opportunities for all students. The disciplinary process, in many ways, presents a valuable learning opportunity for students as it empowers them to learn from their mistakes and overcome challenges. Children thrive and learn best when they feel safe, valued, and successful.

Teachers are entrusted with the important task of managing their classrooms. The rules and consequences within each classroom will align with the expectations set school-wide. Teachers are most effective when they feel secure, appreciated, and successful in their roles.

Research and experience have shown that a positive approach to discipline, implemented with respect and involving student input, is highly effective. It is expected that early intervention will be used to redirect a student's behavior, and involving parents or guardians early on is consistent with the philosophy of our school (PACT).

Positive behavioral management is based on these simple foundations:

  • Safety is our top priority.
  • Students should attend school and be present in class as much as possible.
  • Making mistakes and facing logical consequences provide valuable learning opportunities.
  • Encouraging students to find solutions to problems promotes responsibility and fosters genuine confidence.
  • The main purpose of discipline is to address and correct behaviors rather than to punish children or seek revenge on behalf of others who may have been offended.

This discipline policy is adopted in accordance with the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, specifically Minnesota Statutes sections 121A.40-121A.56. In light of this, and in accordance with Minnesota Statutes section 121A.55, the school board, along with PACT administrators, teachers, employees, students, parents, community members, and other relevant individuals and organizations, have collectively developed this policy. It governs student conduct and applies to all students at PACT.

 

DEFINITIONS

"Non-exclusionary disciplinary policies and practices" means policies and practices that are alternatives to dismissing a pupil from school, including but not limited to evidence-based positive behavior interventions and supports, social and emotional services, school-linked mental health services, counseling services, social work services, academic screening for Title 1 services or reading interventions, and alternative education services. Non-exclusionary disciplinary policies and practices include but are not limited to the policies and practices under sections 120B.12; 121A.575, clauses (1) and (2); 121A.031, subdivision 4, paragraph (a), clause (1); 121A.61, subdivision 3, paragraph (r); and 122A.627, clause (3). 

 "Pupil withdrawal agreement" means a verbal or written agreement between an administrator and a pupil's parent to withdraw a student from the school to avoid expulsion or exclusion dismissal proceedings. The duration of the withdrawal agreement cannot be for more than a 12-month period. 

 

POLICY

The PACT Charter School Board of Directors has set clear rules for when a student can be dismissed from the school. They have also created written policies to follow the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act. These policies must include ways to discipline students that do not involve excluding them from school. The emphasis is on preventing dismissals by catching problems early. The policies are designed to address and prevent students from repeating inappropriate behavior.

PACT's policies recognize that the school is still responsible for educating a student even if they are dismissed.

The school must make sure that if a student wants to take advantage of alternative educational services during their dismissal, those services must be good enough to help the student progress and meet the graduation standards set by the state. These services should also help prepare the student for readmission to the school.

For cases where a student is expelled, excluded, or leaves the school by agreement, the school still has a responsibility.

If the student stays enrolled or is waiting to enroll in another school, the school must review their schoolwork and grades every quarter to make sure they are on track to be readmitted with their classmates. The school must also regularly communicate with the student's parent or guardian to make sure they are completing the assigned work through alternative educational services. These services are required until the student enrolls in another school or comes back to the same school.

If the student was receiving mental health services at the school, they can still get those services until they enroll in a new school.

The school must provide the student's parent or guardian with information on how to access mental health services in the community, including any free or low-cost options. This information should also be available on the school's website.

 

AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY

The PACT Charter School Board of Directors - The charter school board is responsible for maintaining order within the school and supporting all school personnel who adhere to the discipline policy.

Chief Executive Director - The Chief Executive Director sets guidelines and directives to implement this policy, holds all school personnel, students, and parents accountable for following it, and supports school personnel in carrying out their duties. The Chief Executive Director also establishes guidelines for utilizing external agencies to assist students and parents. Any guidelines or directives related to this policy must be approved by the School Board of Directors and included as an attachment to the policy.

Executive Directors of Elementary and Secondary Education - The Executive Directors of Elementary and Secondary Education have the authority to create building rules and regulations necessary to enforce this policy, with final approval from the School Board of Directors. They provide guidance and support to all school personnel following this policy. The executive directors consult with parents of students who are not adhering to the policy. They also involve other professional employees in handling behavior issues and utilize appropriate agencies to assist students and parents. If necessary, an executive director can use reasonable force to restrain a student in order to prevent immediate harm or death.

Teachers - Teachers are responsible for creating a well-planned teaching/learning environment and have the primary responsibility for student behavior, with support from the administration, and parents. They enforce behavior policies and, if necessary, can use reasonable force to restrain a student to prevent immediate harm or death.

Other PACT Personnel - All other PACT Charter school personnel contribute to a respectful atmosphere within the school. Their responsibilities regarding student behavior are determined by the Chief Executive Director. If necessary, they can use reasonable force to restrain a student to prevent harm or death.

Parents or Legal Guardians - Parents and guardians are responsible for their children's behavior according to the law and community standards. They are expected to cooperate with school authorities and participate in addressing their children's behavior.

Students - All students are individually responsible for their behavior and must know and follow behavior policies.

Community Members - Community members are expected to contribute to a supportive environment where rights and responsibilities are recognized and fulfilled.

 

REPORTS ON THE USE OF REASONABLE FORCE

PACT must provide information about any reasonable force used on a student with a disability in order to correct or control the student and prevent immediate bodily harm or death to the student or someone else. This information should follow the definition of physical holding as described in Minnesota Statutes, section 125A.0941, paragraph (c), as outlined in section 125A.0942, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).

Starting from the school year 2024-2025, the school needs to report data annually by July 15th, using a format and method determined by the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). This data should relate to any reasonable force used on a student in general education to correct or restrain the student and prevent immediate bodily harm or death to the student or someone else. This should align with the definition of physical holding as described in Minnesota Statutes, section 125A.0941, paragraph (c).

Any reasonable force used under Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.582; 609.06, subdivision 1; and 609.379, that aims to restrict a child's movement through physical contact or confines a child alone in a room from which they cannot exit, must be reported to the Minnesota Department of Education. This includes physical holding or seclusion used by an unauthorized or untrained staff member and should be reported as a restrictive procedure.

 

STUDENT RIGHTS

All students have the right to get an education and the right to learn.



STUDENT CONDUCT AND SCHOOL RULES

These guidelines are in place to ensure that the school operates in an orderly and safe manner, provides the best learning opportunities for all students, creates a positive teaching environment, promotes responsibility and character development, and encourages healthy social interactions. 

  1. Please make sure to arrive on time and attend every class every day, unless you have a valid reason for being absent.
  2. If you are not able to come to school, please make arrangements to catch up on any work you miss.
  3. Follow the courses mandated by the state and local school authorities and do your best to finish them. Aim for satisfactory academic performance that matches your abilities, and make sure to finish all your homework and assignments.
  4. Always be honest when it comes to tests, assignments, and other school work.
  5. Take responsibility for your actions and treat others with respect and courtesy.
  6. Communicate with your peers and those in authority in a respectful way.
  7. Assist the school staff in maintaining a safe environment for everyone. If you have any information about disciplinary cases, please share it with the school staff and cooperate with them as needed.
  8. If you face disciplinary consequences, accept them with dignity and make a commitment to improving your performance and behavior.
  9. Follow all school policies, rules, and behavior expectations, as well as state and federal laws. This includes not engaging in any form of harassment or bullying. You can find the PACT Bullying Policy at 508 - Bullying Policy. 
  10. Assume that all rules and policies are still in effect until they are changed or revoked.
  11. Observe school rules regarding the appropriate use of electronic devices.
  12. Understand and follow school rules regarding behavior on the bus and during extracurricular or other school-related activities.
  13. Respect and take care of the school's property and the property of others.
  14. Do not use non-prescription drugs at school or school-related activities, unless it is in accordance with school policy and with written authorization from a parent/guardian.
  15. Do not use or possess alcohol, tobacco, controlled substances, or any other dangerous or illegal substances at school, on school property or buses, or during extracurricular or other school-related activities.
  16. Do not bring weapons or have them on school property.
  17. Dress and groom in a way that is safe, healthy, and decent, following the guidelines in Policy 504 - Dress Code Policy.
  18. Avoid spreading incorrect information in student newspapers or publications and refrain from using indecent or obscene language.
  19. Behave appropriately, both physically and verbally.
  20. Recognize and respect the rights of others.

 

The PACT Pledge

PACT Charter School commits to create a challenging academic environment that encourages students to develop good character traits, in order to achieve educational excellence, be active citizens, and continue learning throughout their lives. Every year PACT students will agree and sign the PACT Pledge, which provides additional guidance on the expected character trait behavior.

 

BREAKING THE RULES OR NOT FOLLOWING SCHOOL GUIDELINES

 

Positive interventions for behavioral interactions are implemented to maintain a safe environment where staff and students can interact in ideal conditions for learning. The disciplinary consequences aim to achieve several outcomes: stop or change undesired behavior, provide a safe environment both physically and emotionally, treat individuals as unique, valued, and capable, offer opportunities for students to grow as responsible problem-solvers, and when possible and appropriate, administer fair consequences that repair the community and restore the offender's position. It's important to note that "fair" doesn't always mean the same consequences for everyone.

Here's how the process works:

  1. Students will be asked to solve the problems they have created.
  2. If a student cannot or chooses not to solve the problem, appropriate consequences will be imposed by school personnel.
  3. The consequences will depend on the situation and the individuals involved.
  4. School personnel will use their best judgment based on the available information.
  5. If a disciplined student or their parents/guardians feel that a consequence is unfair, they can request a "due process" hearing. This is an opportunity for concerned individuals to meet and share information related to the situation. If new information comes to light during the discussion, the consequences may be adjusted accordingly, but this may not always benefit the offender.
  6. Students with recurring or unchanged behavior issues may undergo administrative review, leading to additional consequences.

A school discipline plan should be effective and tailored to each unique situation and child. Consistency means addressing problems and misbehavior when they occur. However, it does not mean that every child and similar situation will be handled the same way with the same consequences. The administration has the discretion to assign disciplinary actions, including recommending expulsion from school.


When determining the appropriate disciplinary course of action, there are five critical considerations:

  1. The events leading up to the situation and any extenuating circumstances.
  2. The intentions of the offender, if they can be determined.
  3. The personality and temperament of the offender.
  4. The actual events that took place.
  5. The damage or harm caused by the misbehavior.

While we strive to keep students at school and work through problems, in cases where infractions occur and disciplinary action is necessary, PACT follows the guidelines outlined in the MN Fair Pupil Dismissal Act (policy 507), which includes a student's right to due process.

 

DISCIPLINARY ACTION OPTIONS

PACT's disciplinary approach aims to aid students in learning, problem-solving, and character development. Measures taken for discipline depend on the student and situation. Normally, rule-breaking prompts a discussion and verbal warning. However, more serious misconduct can result in stricter consequences like exclusion or expulsion. Students are encouraged to devise their own solutions, but disciplinary action may be necessary if the situation worsens or if a student cannot or will not resolve the issue. This can involve meetings with teachers, executive and assistant directors, counselors, or staff, confiscation of prohibited items, parental contact, conferences, class removal, in-school suspension, activity suspension, detention, loss of privileges, monitoring, referral to support services or external agencies, financial compensation, involving authorities, juvenile delinquency adjudication, out-of-school suspension, admission or readmission plans, Non-school Friday detention, expulsion, exclusion, or any other suitable disciplinary action as determined by the school.

 

RECESS AND OTHER BREAKS

"Recess detention" means when a student is kept from participating in recess or is made to wait a long time before joining recess as a consequence of their behavior. However, if the student chooses, they can have an alternative recess instead.

PACT wants to make sure that students have regular breaks from schoolwork and also wants to support teachers, executive directors, and other school staff in using strategies that have been proven to reduce excluding forms of punishment.

PACT should only use recess detention in specific cases:

  • When a student has caused or is likely to cause serious physical harm to others.
  • When the student's parent or guardian has agreed to recess detention.
  • When the student has an individualized education program and the team has determined that withholding recess is appropriate for their specific needs.
  • Recess should not be withheld from a student just because they haven't finished their schoolwork.

PACT requires school staff to try to inform the student's parent or guardian within 24 hours of using recess detention.

At the end of each school year, the school must gather information about each recess detention, including the student's age, grade, gender, race or ethnicity, and special education status. This information should be available to the public if requested. The school is encouraged to use this data for professional development on using discipline methods that don't exclude students.

The charter school cannot keep a student from participating in scheduled mealtimes or make them wait excessively. This rule doesn't change any existing responsibilities that the charter school or school has under Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.111, or other state or federal laws.

 

REMOVING STUDENTS FROM CLASS

The teacher is responsible for running the classroom and has the power to manage it. It is their job to try different ways to improve disruptive student behavior, like talking to the student, giving them a break in a different area, using positive rewards, giving detention or other consequences, or contacting their parents. If these strategies don't work or if the teacher believes it's necessary based on the student's behavior, they can remove the student from class by following the steps outlined below.

Reasons for removing a student from class may include, but are not limited to:

  • Purposeful behavior that significantly disrupts the rights of others to receive an education, like interfering with the teacher's ability to teach or communicate effectively with students, or preventing other students from learning.
  • Purposeful behavior that puts people at risk, including school staff, the student themselves, other students, or school property.
  • Purposeful violation of any school rules, regulations, policies, or procedures, including this policy.
  • Other behavior that, in the teacher or administration's discretion, requires the student to be removed from class.

A student must be immediately removed from class if they engage in assault or violent behavior. "Assault" refers to an action done with the intention to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death, or intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily harm to someone else.

If a student is removed from class the school will notify their parent or guardian about the removal and try to arrange a meeting to discuss the underlying problem.

Procedures for removing a student from class:

  1. The teacher will ask the student to leave and give them directions on where to go and what they should do when they get there. The teacher will decide if the student needs to be accompanied.
  2. If the student refuses or is unable to leave on their own, the administration will be called to remove the student, and the teacher will relocate the other students to continue learning in a different environment. If possible, the other students should be unaware of the incident.
  3. The parents will be contacted, and appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken.

The length of the removal from class (not exceeding five class periods for a violation of a conduct rule) will be determined by the Executive Director in consultation with the teacher.

Special provisions for disabled students:

  1. There will be consideration of whether further assessment is needed.
  2. There will be consideration of whether the current Individualized Education Program (IEP) of a disabled student who is removed from class or disciplined needs to be reviewed.
  3. If necessary, the IEP team will meet to make any necessary changes.

Procedures for addressing suspected chemical abuse problems of students on school premises:

  1. Suspected chemical abuse will be reported to the pre-assessment team, as required by Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.26.
  2. The teacher reporting procedures will be determined by the chemical abuse pre-assessment team on an as-needed basis, as specified by Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.29.

Victims of bullying who respond with behavior that is not allowed under the school's behavior policies have access to a remedial response, in accordance with Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.031.

 

Grounds for Dismissal 

"Dismissal" refers to when a student is denied their current educational program, including exclusion, expulsion, and suspension. Dismissal does not mean being removed from class. The school cannot deny a student involved in a dismissal proceeding their right to due process or equal protection under the law, which may result in suspension, exclusion, or expulsion. The school cannot dismiss a student without first trying non-exclusionary disciplinary policies and procedures unless the student poses an immediate and significant danger to themselves or others or to property. 

Violations that lead to suspension, depending on their severity, may also be grounds for actions leading to expulsion or exclusion. A student may be dismissed for any of the following reasons, but it is not an exhaustive list:

 

Behaviors typically receiving a suspension in or out of school for three (3) days or less:

Fighting;

Threats/intimidation;

Harassment

Extortion;

Sexting;

Theft or vandalism under $500;

Property offenses;

Possession of stolen property;

Repeated disordered behaviors towards other students, staff, etc., typically receive a lesser disciplinary action.

 

Behaviors typically receiving suspension out of school for (4) days or more (and possibly expellable violations):

Suspected substance use or possession;

Assault;

Terroristic threats;

Theft or vandalism over $500;

Repeated behaviors typically receive a suspension for three (3) days or less.

 

Behaviors typically receiving a suspension for five days or more (and possibly expellable violations):

Weapons possession or use (subject to the PACT Charter School 805 - Weapons Policy & Procedure);

Arson; Pyrotechnics;

Possession of drug paraphernalia (subject to the PACT Charter School 538 - Chemical Use & Abuse Policy & procedure);

Drug or alcohol distribution/ intent to distribute (subject to the PACT Charter School 538 - Chemical Use & Abuse Policy & procedure);

Sexual assault;

Severe physical assault;

Bomb threats;

Bombs or incendiaries.

 

PROHIBITED DISCIPLINARY DISMISSALS

A student enrolled in the following programs is not subject to dismissals under the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act:

  • Kindergarten through Grade 3.

This section does not apply to a dismissal from school for less than one school day, except as provided under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 125A, and federal law for a student receiving special education services. However, expulsions and exclusions may only be used after all resources of Nonexclusionary discipline have been exhausted, and only in cases where there is an ongoing serious safety threat to the child or others.

 

SUSPENSION PROCEDURES

"Suspension" means when the school administration, following rules established by the School Board of Directors, prohibits a student from attending school for a maximum of ten (10) school days. However, if a suspension is longer than five (5) school days, the administrator imposing the suspension must provide the Chief Executive Director with a reason for the longer duration. This definition does not apply to a dismissal for one (1) school day or less where a student with a disability does not receive regular or special education instruction during that dismissal period.

During a suspension, the school administration must allow the suspended student to complete all assigned school work and receive full credit for satisfactorily completing the assignments. The administrator may assign a school employee to work with the student's teachers, ensuring the suspended student receives timely course materials, completes daily and weekly assignments, and receives feedback from teachers.

If a student is removed from school for a total of more than ten (10) days in a school year, the school must try to arrange a meeting with the student and their parent or guardian before further removal from school. With the parent or guardian's permission, a mental health screening for the student may be arranged at their expense. The purpose of this meeting is to assess the student's need for additional services or determine if the student should be assessed or diagnosed for a mental health disorder.

The definition of suspension under Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.41, subdivision 10, does not apply to a student's dismissal from school for one school day or less, except as provided under federal law for a student with a disability. Each suspension action may include a readmission plan. 

The plan shall include, where appropriate:

  • A provision for implementing alternative educational services upon readmission which must not be used to extend the current suspension. 
  • A readmission plan must not obligate a parent or guardian to provide psychotropic drugs to their student as a condition of readmission. 
  • School administration must not use the refusal of a parent or guardian to consent to the administration of psychotropic drugs to their student or to consent to a psychiatric evaluation, screening, or examination of the student as a ground, by itself, to prohibit the student from attending class or participating in a school-related activity or as a basis of a charge of child abuse, child neglect, or medical or educational neglect. 

The school administration may not impose consecutive suspensions against the same student for the same course of conduct, or incident of misconduct, except where the student will create an immediate and substantial danger to self or to surrounding persons or property or where the school is in the process of initiating an expulsion, in which case the school administration may extend the suspension to a total of fifteen (15) days.

A child with a disability may be suspended. When a child with a disability has been suspended for more than five (5) consecutive days or ten (10) cumulative school days in the same year, and that suspension does not involve a recommendation for expulsion or exclusion or other change in placement under federal law, relevant members of the child's IEP team, including at least one of the child's teachers, shall meet and determine the extent to which the child needs services in order to continue to participate in the general education curriculum, although in another setting, and to progress toward meeting the goals in the child's IEP. That meeting must occur as soon as possible, but no more than ten (10) days after the sixth (6th) consecutive day of suspension or the tenth (10th) cumulative day of suspension has elapsed.

Alternative education services must be provided to a pupil who is suspended for more than five (5) consecutive school days. Alternative educational services may include but are not limited to, special tutoring, modified curriculum, modified instruction, other modifications or adaptations, instruction through electronic media, special education services as indicated by appropriate assessments, homebound instruction, supervised homework, or enrollment in another school or in an alternative learning center under Minnesota Statutes, section 123A.05 selected to allow the student to progress toward meeting graduation standards under Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.02, although in a different setting.

The school administration shall not suspend a student from school without an informal administrative conference with the student. The informal administrative conference shall take place before the suspension, except where it appears that the student will create an immediate and substantial danger to self or to surrounding persons or property, in which case the conference shall take place as soon as practicable following the suspension. At the informal administrative conference, a school administrator shall notify the student of the grounds for the suspension, provide an explanation of the evidence the authorities have, and the student may present the student's version of the facts. A separate administrative conference is required for each period of suspension.

After school administration notifies a student of the grounds for suspension, school administration may, instead of imposing the suspension, do one or more of the following:

  1. strongly encourage a parent or guardian of the student to attend school with the student for one day;
  2. assign the student to attend school on a Non-School Friday as supervised by the executive director or designee; and
  3. petition the juvenile court that the student is in need of services under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 260C.

A written notice containing the grounds for suspension, a brief statement of the facts, a description of the testimony, a readmission plan, and a copy of the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.40-121A.56, shall be personally served upon the student at or before the time the suspension is to take effect, and upon the student’s parent or guardian by mail within forty-eight (48) hours of the conference.

The school administration will try their best to inform the student's parent or guardian about the suspension by calling them as soon as possible after the suspension occurs.

If a student is suspended without having a meeting with school administrators first, and it is believed that the student is an immediate and serious threat to others or property, they will receive a written notice of the suspension within 48 hours. The notice will be given to both the student and their parent or guardian. If the notice is sent by mail, it will be considered delivered once it is mailed.

If the student is facing expulsion or exclusion, they may be suspended while waiting for the decision from the School Board of Directors. In this case, educational services should be provided to the student during the suspension if it lasts for more than five consecutive school days.

 

PROCEDURES FOR EXPULSION AND EXCLUSION

  1. "Expulsion" means that a student is banned from attending school for up to twelve (12) months, starting from the date of expulsion. The School Board of Directors has the authority to make this decision.
  2. "Exclusion" means that a student is not allowed to enroll or re-enroll in school for a period that does not go beyond the current school year. The School Board of Directors has the authority to make this decision.
  3. All expulsion and exclusion processes will follow the guidelines of the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, specifically Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.40-121A.56.
  4. A hearing must be held before any expulsion or exclusion is imposed unless the student and parent or guardian waive their right to a hearing in writing.
  5. The student and parent or guardian will receive written notice of the school's intention to start expulsion or exclusion proceedings. This notice will be given in person or by mail and will include full details of the situation, a list of witnesses and their statements, the date, time and location of the hearing, a copy of the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.40-121A.56, information about disciplinary actions that were tried before resorting to expulsion, and the student and parent or guardian's rights: (1) to have a representative of their choice, including legal counsel, at the hearing, (2) to review the student's records before the hearing, (3) to present evidence, and (4) to question and challenge witnesses. The school must inform the student's parent or guardian that free or low-cost legal assistance may be available and that a list of legal assistance resources is provided by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on its website.
  6. The hearing will be scheduled within ten (10) days after the written notice is served unless the school, student, parent, or guardian requests an extension for a valid reason. The extension cannot exceed five (5) days.
  7. All hearings will be held at a time and place that is reasonably convenient for the student, parent, or guardian. The hearings will be closed unless the student, parent, or guardian asks for an open hearing.
  8. The school will pay for recording the hearing, but if a party wants a transcript, they will have to pay for it.
  9. The student has the right to choose their own representative, including a lawyer, but they will have to pay for it. The school will inform the student's parent or guardian that they may be eligible for free or low-cost legal assistance and provide them with a list of legal aid resources from MDE. The School Board of Directors may appoint a lawyer to represent the school in the hearing.
  10. If the student chooses a representative who is not their parent or guardian, that representative must have written authorization from both the student and the parent or guardian to access and receive copies of the student's records.
  11. All expulsion or exclusion hearings will be conducted by an independent hearing officer chosen by the charter school. The hearing will be fair and unbiased. Testimony will be given under oath, and the hearing officer will have the authority to issue subpoenas and administer oaths.
  12. Before the hearing, the student, parent or guardian, or authorized representative will have access to all school records related to the student, including any tests or reports that support the proposed dismissal action.
  13. The student, parent or guardian, or authorized representative has the right to require the presence of any school employee, agent, or any other person who may have evidence related to the proposed dismissal action. They also have the right to question and cross-examine any witnesses who testify for the school.
  14. The student, parent or guardian, or authorized representative has the right to present evidence and testimony, including expert psychological or educational testimony.
  15. The student cannot be forced to testify in the dismissal proceedings.
  16. The hearing officer will review the evidence presented and make a recommendation based on that evidence. This recommendation will be given to the School Board of Directors and shared with the parties involved within two days after the hearing ends.
  17. The School Board of Directors will make their decision based on the findings and recommendations from the hearing officer. They will announce their decision at a meeting within five days of receiving the findings and recommendation. The board may allow the parties to express any objections or comments about the hearing officer's findings and recommendations, but no new evidence can be presented. The decision made by the board must be in writing, based on the information presented at the hearing, and include enough details to explain the reasons for the decision to the parties involved and the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education.
  18. If a party disagrees with the expulsion or exclusion decision made by the School Board of Directors, they can appeal the decision to the Commissioner within twenty-one days of the board's action, according to Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.49. However, the decision made by the school board will still be enforced during the appeal process to the Commissioner.
  19. The school must inform the appropriate public service agency if a student is suspended, expelled, or excluded while under their supervision.
  20. The school is required to report any expulsion or exclusion through the MDE electronic reporting system within 30 days of the action taking effect. This report must include details such as the alternative educational services provided to the student, the reason for the action, the effective date, and the duration of the expulsion or exclusion. Additionally, the report should include information about the student's age, grade, gender, race, and special education status. The report must also include the state student identification numbers of the affected students.
  21. If a student does not return to school within 10 school days after being dismissed, a school administrator will send a letter to the student and their parent or guardian informing them of their right to attend and be reinstated in the charter school.

 

ADMISSION OR READMISSION PLAN

A school administrator needs to create and enforce a plan for admitting or readmitting students who have been excluded or expelled from school. The plan should include steps to help improve the student's behavior. This may involve completing a program on character education, social and emotional learning, counseling, social work services, mental health services, referrals for special education or 504 evaluation, and evidence-based academic interventions. The plan should also make reasonable efforts to involve parents in the admission or readmission process and may explain the consequences if the student does not improve their behavior. However, parents cannot be required to provide sympathomimetic medication for their child as a condition for readmission.

 

NOTIFICATION OF POLICY VIOLATIONS

Any violations of this policy and the resulting disciplinary actions will be communicated according to the Pupil Fair Dismissal Act or other applicable laws. The teacher, executive directors and assistants, or other charter school official may also provide additional notification as they see fit.

Additionally, the school must report any exclusions or expulsions, physical assaults on charter school staff by students, and pupil withdrawal agreements to the MDE Commissioner within 30 days of the action. This report should include information about the disciplinary actions taken in response to the assault, along with the reasons, effective date, and duration of the exclusion, expulsion, or other sanction. It should also include the student's age, grade, gender, race, and special education status.

 

STUDENT DISCIPLINE RECORDS

The school's policy is to keep complete and accurate records of student discipline. The collection, sharing, and maintenance of these records will follow the school's policies and federal and state laws, including the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and Minnesota Statutes, chapter 13.

 

STUDENTS WITH DISABILITES 

Students who are identified as eligible for special education services under the IDEA or Section 504 will also follow this policy unless their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan specifies any necessary changes.

Before taking any disciplinary actions, such as expulsion or exclusion, against a student with a disability, the child's IEP team including parent(s) will conduct a manifestation determination to review whether the behavior is related to the disability and if the school failed to implement the IEP. If the behavior is not related to the disability, the school will proceed with discipline as if the student did not have a disability, unless the student's educational plan says otherwise. If the behavior is related to the disability, the team will assess the behavior and create a plan to address it. If the school hasn't assessed the behavior before, they will do so now. If a plan already exists, the team will review and adjust it as needed.

When a student with an IEP is excluded or expelled for behavior that is not related to their disability, the school will still provide special education and related services during the exclusion or expulsion period.

 

OPEN ENROLLED STUDENTS

If a student from another district is enrolled in our school through the Enrollment Option Program (Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.03) or Enrollment in Nonresident Charter school (Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.08), their enrollment may be ended at the end of the school year under certain circumstances. This includes if the student is considered a habitual truant, has received appropriate truancy services, and their case has been referred to juvenile court. Additionally, if a nonresident student over the age of seventeen is enrolled through the Enrollment Options Program and is absent without a valid reason for fifteen or more school days, and has not officially withdrawn from school, their enrollment may also be terminated.

 

DISCIPLINE COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

Policy Communication:

  • The school shall ensure that this Discipline Complaint Procedure is communicated to all students, parents, guardians, and school staff through various means, including the school website, student handbooks, and other relevant publications.
  • Clear and explicit instructions for filing a complaint under Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.49, must be made readily available to all stakeholders.

Submission of Complaint:

  • Any concerned party (students, parents, guardians, or school staff) may file a complaint if they believe that the requirements of the Minnesota Pupil Fair Dismissal Act, along with local behavior and discipline policies, are not being appropriately implemented or are being discriminatorily applied.
  • Complaints can be submitted in writing or electronically to the Chief Executive Director.
  • The complaint should include detailed information about the alleged violation and any relevant supporting documentation.

Investigation Initiation:

  •  Upon receiving the complaint the Chief Executive Director will respond in writing that the complaint was received and will be investigated.
  • The school shall begin investigating the complaint within three school days of receiving it.
  • The School Board will be notified of the submission of the complaint and will designate the personnel responsible for managing the investigation, such personnel will include one board member. 
  • The personnel handling the investigation will maintain and regulate access to all related records, ensuring confidentiality.

Complaint Review and Determination:

  • The investigating personnel shall thoroughly examine the complaint, gather additional information from involved parties, and review relevant school policies and procedures.
  • A written determination shall be issued to the complainant, which includes findings and conclusions regarding each allegation made in the complaint.
  • This determination will be provided within a reasonable timeframe, taking into consideration the complexity of the complaint, but generally no later than 20 school days from the date of the complaint submission.

Corrective Action Plan:

  • If the investigation finds that the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.40 to 121A.61, including local policies, were not appropriately implemented, the school shall develop and implement a corrective action plan.
  • The corrective action plan should outline steps to correct any student's record if necessary and provide relevant staff with training, coaching, or other accountability practices to ensure future compliance with policies.

Protection Against Reprisal or Retaliation:

  • The school strictly prohibits any reprisals or retaliatory actions against any person who asserts, alleges, or reports a complaint.
  • Procedures for investigating and applying appropriate consequences for any person found to have engaged in reprisal or retaliation will be in place.
  • Whistleblower protection measures shall be enforced to safeguard individuals making complaints from any adverse actions.

This Discipline Complaint Procedure aims to uphold the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in matters related to student discipline and behavior, ensuring that all parties have a mechanism to address concerns and seek corrective actions when needed.

 

REVIEW OF DISCIPLINE POLICY

The executive directors and representatives of parents, students and staff in each school building shall confer at least annually to review this discipline policy, determine if the policy is working as intended, and to assess whether the discipline policy has been enforced. Any recommended changes shall be submitted to the chief executive director for consideration by the school board, which shall conduct an annual review of this policy.



Legal References 

 

Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act) Minn. Stat. § 120B.02 (Educational Expectations and Graduation Requirements for Minnesota Students) 

Minn. Stat. § 120B.232 (Character Development Education) 

Minn. Stat. § 121A.26 (School Preassessment Teams) 

Minn. Stat. § 121A.29 (Reporting; Chemical Abuse) 

Minn. Stat. §§ 121A.40-121A.56 and 121A.575 (Pupil Fair Dismissal Act)

Minn. Stat. § 121A.575 (Alternatives to Pupil Suspension) Minn. Stat. § 121A.582 (Student Discipline; Reasonable Force) Minn. Stat. §§ 121A.60 (Definitions) 

Minn. Stat. § 121A.61 (Discipline and Removal of Students from Class) Minn. Stat. § 122A.42 (General Control of Schools) 

Minn. Stat. § 123A.05 (State-Approved Alternative Program Organization) Minn. Stat. § 124D.03 (Enrollment Options Program) 

Minn. Stat. § 124E.03 (Applicable Law) 

Minn. Stat. Ch. 125A (Special Education and Special Programs) Minn. Stat. § 152.22, Subd. 6 (Definitions) 

Minn. Stat. § 152.23 (Limitations) 

Minn. Stat. Ch. 260A (Truancy) 

Minn. Stat. Ch. 260C (Juvenile Safety and Placement) 

20 U.S.C. §§ 1400-1487 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq. (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, § 504) 34 C.F.R. § 300.530(e)(1) (Manifestation Determination)

Contact Us

PACT Charter School | District Offices
7250 East Ramsey Parkway NW
Ramsey, MN 55303 

PACT Charter School | Elementary Campus
7250 East Ramsey Parkway NW
Ramsey, MN 55303 

PACT Charter School | Secondary Campus
7729 - 161st Avenue Northwest
Ramsey, MN 55303 

Main phone line: 763-712-4200
Fax: 763-712-4201

Absence: attendance@pactcharter.org

MAP & DIRECTIONS

School Hours

Elementary Campus
8:15 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

Secondary Campus
8:00 a.m. - 3:05 p.m. 

Office Hours

School Days
7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Non-School Fridays
7:30 a.m. - Noon

School Breaks | Summer Hours
Closed

Summer Hours
Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Newsletter Subscription

Sign up to receive PACT news in your inbox:

  Subscribe to News