Connecticut Seal

House Bill No. 7273

Public Act No. 07-122

AN ACT CONCERNING SUSPENSIONS AND EXPULSIONS BY LOCAL AND REGIONAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-233c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) Any local or regional board of education may authorize the administration of the schools under its direction to suspend from school privileges any pupil whose conduct on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity is violative of a publicized policy of such board or is seriously disruptive of the educational process or endangers persons or property or whose conduct off school grounds is violative of such policy and is seriously disruptive of the educational process. In making a determination as to whether conduct is seriously disruptive of the educational process, the administration may consider, but such consideration shall not be limited to: (1) Whether the incident occurred within close proximity of a school; (2) whether other students from the school were involved or whether there was any gang involvement; (3) whether the conduct involved violence, threats of violence or the unlawful use of a weapon, as defined in section 29-38, and whether any injuries occurred; and (4) whether the conduct involved the use of alcohol. Any such board may authorize the administration to suspend transportation services for any pupil whose conduct while awaiting or receiving transportation to and from school endangers persons or property or is violative of a publicized policy of such board. Unless an emergency exists, no pupil shall be suspended without an informal hearing by the administration, at which such pupil shall be informed of the reasons for the disciplinary action and given an opportunity to explain the situation, provided nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a more formal hearing from being held if the circumstances surrounding the incident so require, and further provided no pupil shall be suspended more than ten times or a total of fifty days in one school year, whichever results in fewer days of exclusion, unless such pupil is granted a formal hearing pursuant to sections 4-176e to 4-180a, inclusive, and section 4-181a. If an emergency situation exists, such hearing shall be held as soon after the suspension as possible.

(b) In determining the length of a suspension period, the administration may receive and consider evidence of past disciplinary problems which have led to removal from a classroom, suspension or expulsion of such pupil.

(c) Whenever any administration suspends a pupil, such administration shall [within] not later than twenty-four hours after the suspension notify the superintendent or such superintendent's designee as to the name of the pupil against whom such disciplinary action was taken and the reason therefor.

(d) Any pupil who is suspended shall be given an opportunity to complete any classwork including, but not limited to, examinations which such pupil missed during the period of suspension.

(e) For any pupil who is suspended for the first time pursuant to this section and who has never been expelled pursuant to section 10-233d, as amended by this act, the administration may shorten the length of or waive the suspension period if the pupil successfully completes an administration specified program and meets any other conditions required by the administration. Such administration specified program shall not require the pupil or the parent or guardian of the pupil to pay for participation in the program.

[(e)] (f) Whenever a pupil is suspended pursuant to the provisions of this section, notice of the suspension and the conduct for which the pupil was suspended shall be included on the pupil's cumulative educational record. Such notice shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record by the local or regional board of education if a pupil graduates from high school, or in the case of a suspension of a pupil for which the length of the suspension period is shortened or the suspension period is waived pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, such notice shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record by the local or regional board of education (1) if the pupil graduates from high school, or (2) if the administration so chooses, at the time the pupil completes the administration specified program and meets any other conditions required by the administration pursuant to said subsection (e), whichever is earlier.

Sec. 2. Section 10-233d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2007):

(a) (1) Any local or regional board of education, at a meeting at which three or more members of such board are present, or the impartial hearing board established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, may expel, subject to the provisions of this subsection, any pupil whose conduct on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity is violative of a publicized policy of such board or is seriously disruptive of the educational process or endangers persons or property or whose conduct off school grounds is violative of such policy and is seriously disruptive of the educational process, provided a majority of the board members sitting in the expulsion hearing vote to expel and that at least three affirmative votes for expulsion are cast. In making a determination as to whether conduct is seriously disruptive of the educational process, the board of education or impartial hearing board may consider, but such consideration shall not be limited to: (A) Whether the incident occurred within close proximity of a school; (B) whether other students from the school were involved or whether there was any gang involvement; (C) whether the conduct involved violence, threats of violence or the unlawful use of a weapon, as defined in section 29-38, and whether any injuries occurred; and (D) whether the conduct involved the use of alcohol.

(2) Expulsion proceedings pursuant to this section, except as provided in subsection (i) of this section shall be required whenever there is reason to believe that any pupil (A) on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity, was in possession of a firearm, as defined in 18 USC 921, as amended from time to time, or deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or martial arts weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, (B) off school grounds, did possess such a firearm in violation of section 29-35 or did possess and use such a firearm, instrument or weapon in the commission of a crime under chapter 952, or (C) on or off school grounds, offered for sale or distribution a controlled substance, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 21a-240, whose manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing, transporting or possessing with intent to sell or dispense, offering, or administering is subject to criminal penalties under sections 21a-277 and 21a-278. Such a pupil shall be expelled for one calendar year if the local or regional board of education or impartial hearing board finds that the pupil did so possess or so possess and use, as appropriate, such a firearm, instrument or weapon or did so offer for sale or distribution such a controlled substance, provided the board of education or the hearing board may modify the period of expulsion for a pupil on a case by case basis, and as provided for in subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section.

(3) Unless an emergency exists, no pupil shall be expelled without a formal hearing held pursuant to sections 4-176e to 4-180a, inclusive, and section 4-181a, provided whenever such pupil is a minor, the notice required by section 4-177 and section 4-180 shall also be given to the parents or guardian of the pupil. If an emergency exists, such hearing shall be held as soon after the expulsion as possible.

(b) For purposes of conducting expulsion hearings as required by subsection (a) of this section, any local or regional board of education or any two or more of such boards in cooperation may establish an impartial hearing board of one or more persons. No member of any such board or boards shall be a member of the hearing board. The hearing board shall have the authority to conduct the expulsion hearing and render a final decision in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-176e to 4-180a, inclusive, and section 4-181a.

(c) (1) In determining the length of an expulsion and the nature of the alternative educational opportunity to be offered under subsection (d), the local or regional board of education, or the impartial hearing board established pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, may receive and consider evidence of past disciplinary problems which have led to removal from a classroom, suspension or expulsion of such pupil.

(2) For any pupil expelled for the first time pursuant to this section and who has never been suspended pursuant to section 10-233c, as amended by this act, the local or regional board of education may shorten the length of or waive the expulsion period if the pupil successfully completes a board specified program and meets any other conditions required by the board. Such board specified program shall not require the pupil or the parent or guardian of the pupil to pay for participation in the program.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of section 10-220, local and regional boards of education shall only be required to offer an alternative educational opportunity in accordance with this section. Any pupil under sixteen years of age who is expelled shall be offered an alternative educational opportunity during the period of expulsion, provided any parent or guardian of such pupil who does not choose to have his or her child enrolled in an alternative program shall not be subject to the provisions of section 10-184. Any pupil expelled for the first time who is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and who wishes to continue his or her education shall be offered an alternative educational opportunity if he or she complies with conditions established by his or her local or regional board of education. Such alternative may include, but shall not be limited to, the placement of a pupil who is at least sixteen years of age in an adult education program pursuant to section 10-69. A local or regional board of education shall count the expulsion of a pupil when he was under sixteen years of age for purposes of determining whether an alternative educational opportunity is required for such pupil when he is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen. A local or regional board of education may offer an alternative educational opportunity to a pupil for whom such alternative educational opportunity is not required pursuant to this section.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d) of this section concerning the provision of an alternative educational opportunity for pupils between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, local and regional boards of education shall not be required to offer such alternative to any pupil between the ages of sixteen and eighteen who is expelled because of conduct which endangers persons if it is determined at the expulsion hearing that the conduct for which the pupil is expelled involved (1) possession of a firearm, as defined in 18 USC 921, as amended from time to time, or deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or martial arts weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, or (2) offering for sale or distribution on school property or at a school-sponsored activity a controlled substance, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 21a-240, whose manufacture, distribution, sale, prescription, dispensing, transporting or possessing with the intent to sell or dispense, offering, or administration is subject to criminal penalties under sections 21a-277 and 21a-278. If a pupil is expelled pursuant to this section for possession of a firearm or deadly weapon the board of education shall report the violation to the local police department or in the case of a student enrolled in a regional vocational-technical school to the state police. If a pupil is expelled pursuant to this section for the sale or distribution of such a controlled substance, the board of education shall refer the pupil to an appropriate state or local agency for rehabilitation, intervention or job training, or any combination thereof, and inform the agency of its action. Whenever a local or regional board of education notifies a pupil between the ages of sixteen and eighteen or the parents or guardian of such pupil that an expulsion hearing will be held, the notification shall include a statement that the board of education is not required to offer an alternative educational opportunity to any pupil who is found to have engaged in the conduct described in this subsection.

(f) (1) Whenever a pupil is expelled pursuant to the provisions of this section, notice of the expulsion and the conduct for which the pupil was expelled shall be included on the pupil's cumulative educational record. Such notice, except for notice of an expulsion based on possession of a firearm or deadly weapon as described in subsection (a) of this section, shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record by the local or regional board of education if a pupil graduates from high school, except as provided for in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) In the case of a pupil for which the length of the expulsion period is shortened or the expulsion period is waived pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section, such notice shall be expunged from the cumulative educational record by the local or regional board of education (A) if the pupil graduates from high school, or (B) if the board so chooses, at the time the pupil completes the board specified program and meets any other conditions required by the board pursuant to said subdivision (2), whichever is earlier.

(g) A local or regional board of education may adopt the decision of a pupil expulsion hearing conducted by another school district provided such local or regional board of education or impartial hearing board shall hold a hearing pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section which shall be limited to a determination of whether the conduct which was the basis for the expulsion would also warrant expulsion under the policies of such board. The pupil shall be excluded from school pending such hearing. The excluded student shall be offered an alternative educational opportunity in accordance with the provisions of subsections (d) and (e) of this section.

(h) Whenever a pupil against whom an expulsion hearing is pending withdraws from school after notification of such hearing but before the hearing is completed and a decision rendered pursuant to this section, (1) notice of the pending expulsion hearing shall be included on the pupil's cumulative educational record and (2) the local or regional board of education or impartial hearing board shall complete the expulsion hearing and render a decision. If such pupil enrolls in school in another school district, such pupil shall not be excluded from school in the other district pending completion of the expulsion hearing pursuant to this subsection unless an emergency exists, provided nothing in this subsection shall limit the authority of the local or regional board of education for such district to suspend the pupil or to conduct its own expulsion hearing in accordance with this section.

(i) Prior to conducting an expulsion hearing for a child requiring special education and related services described in subparagraph (A) of subdivision (5) of section 10-76a, a planning and placement team shall convene to determine whether the misconduct was caused by the child's disability. If it is determined that the misconduct was caused by the child's disability, the child shall not be expelled. The planning and placement team shall reevaluate the child for the purpose of modifying the child's individualized education program to address the misconduct and to ensure the safety of other children and staff in the school. If it is determined that the misconduct was not caused by the child's disability, the child may be expelled in accordance with the provisions of this section applicable to children who do not require special education and related services. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (d) and (e) of this section, whenever a child requiring such special education and related services is expelled, an alternative educational opportunity, consistent with such child's educational needs shall be provided during the period of expulsion.

(j) An expelled pupil may apply for early readmission to school. Except as provided in this subsection, such readmission shall be at the discretion of the local or regional board of education. The board of education may delegate authority for readmission decisions to the superintendent of schools for the school district. If the board delegates such authority, readmission shall be at the discretion of the superintendent. Readmission decisions shall not be subject to appeal to Superior Court. The board or superintendent, as appropriate, may condition such readmission on specified criteria.

(k) Local and regional boards of education shall submit to the Commissioner of Education such information on expulsions for the possession of weapons as required for purposes of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, 20 USC 8921 et seq. , as amended from time to time.

Approved June 11, 2007