When can a child be suspended?
A child can be suspended for conduct that violates the school system’s code of conduct. A copy of Baltimore City Public Schools’ Code of Conduct is available here.
It is important to note that the violation does not necessarily have to occur on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity; if the violation occurs outside of school but has a nexus to school activity, such as a threat posted on Facebook that causes another student to be afraid to attend school, the student can be suspended.
What types of suspensions are there?
In-school suspension: The exclusion of a student within the school building from his or her regular education program for up to, but not more than, 3 days per incident, and no more than 5 days per semester.
Short-term suspension: The removal of a student from school for up to but not more than 10 school days. Short-term suspensions more than 5 school days must be approved by the CEO.
Extended suspension: The temporary removal of a student from school between 11 and 45 school days, by the CEO or the CEO’s designee. A student may be referred for extended suspension if his or her presence in school presents a danger or severe disruption, additional time is needed to further investigate the incident, or a recommendation to expel the student has been made
Expulsion: The removal of a student from his or her regular school program by the CEO or the CEO’s designee for more than 45 schools days. A student may only be recommended for expulsion if an extended suspension is inadequate to address the behavior; the behavior has seriously endangered the health, welfare or safety of other students or school personnel; or the student’s continued presence in the school constitutes a significant safety risk. An expulsion may be permanent if the behavior results in serious injury or places others in substantial risk of serious injury or death.
What is a principal’s conference?
Prior to a short-term suspension, the principal or vice-principal must meet with the student and tell her/him the reason(s) s/he is being suspended. Any other appropriate personnel can be invited to this meeting. Maryland law does not require that the parent or guardian be notified of or included if the suspension is for ten days or less, but some local school system policies do require a parent or guardian to be present.
What is a suspension conference with the Superintendent’s Designee?
If the principal determines that an extended suspension or expulsion is warranted or required by school policy, the principal must immediately notify the local Superintendent’s Designee. The Superintendent’s Designee is required to make a thorough investigation of the matter.
After the investigation, if the Designee believes that an extended suspension or expulsion may be warranted, the Designee must:
Arrange for a conference with student and parent or guardian within 10 school days of the first day of removal,
At the conference, the Designee will review all of the evidence, including any paperwork and any witnesses from the school. Often the school only sends paperwork to the conference. The parent or guardian and/or student may present any relevant evidence to the Designee, including letters from other students or teachers who observed the incident and letters of recommendation from community, religious or mental health workers. The parent or guardian may also bring witnesses to the conference to testify on the student’s behalf.
Notify the parent or guardian and student in writing of the time and place of the conference, the nature of the charge, and the policy, rule or regulation violated, and
Inform the parent or guardian and the student, that they may present witnesses on the student’s behalf and have a representative or attorney present.
The Designee must tell the parent or guardian and student of her/his decision,either in writing or orally, within 10 school days of the removal. The Designee also should advise the parent or guardian of the right to appeal. If the parent or guardian wants to appeal the Designee’s decision, s/he must do so within 10 days of receiving the decision.
Will the student receive educational services during a suspension?
The school must provide the student with an opportunity to complete required schoolwork during the time s/he is suspended. If the student has a disability and receives an extended suspension, the student will be assigned to an alternative educational setting.
What if the child has a disability?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives extra protections to students with disabilities. If a student with a disability is suspended for more than 10 consecutive days, or if there is a pattern of short-term suspensions that total more than 10 days, the student is entitled to a “manifestation determination.” At an IEP meeting, members of the IEP team, including the parent, will decide if the behavior:
- Was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability; or
- Was a direct result of the schools’ failure to implement the student’s IEP.
If so, the student generally cannot be suspended for more than 10 days and must be allowed to return to his/her regular school. In the limited circumstances listed below, a student with a disability can be assigned to an Alternate Educational Setting (IAES) for up to 45 days, even if the behavior was a manifestation of his/her disability:
- The student inflicted serious bodily injury on another person while at school or a school function;
- The student carried or possessed a weapon to or at school or a school function; or
- The student knowingly possessed or used illegal drugs or sold or solicited the sale of a controlled substance while at school or at a school function.