(b) Subject to the rules of the State Board of Education, the teacher shall exclude from the school any student known to have or suspected of having any infectious disease, or any student who has been exposed to any infectious disease, and shall immediately notify the proper health officer or medical inspector of the exclusion. Any student so excluded may not be readmitted to the school until he or she has complied with all the requirements of the rules governing those cases or has presented a certificate of health signed by the medical inspector or other proper health officer.
(c) The teacher may exclude from his or her classroom or school bus any student who is guilty of disorderly conduct; who in any manner interferes with an orderly educational process; who threatens, abuses or otherwise intimidates or attempts to intimidate a school employee or a student; who willfully disobeys a school employee; or who uses abusive or profane language directed at a school employee. Any student excluded shall be placed under the control of the principal of the school or a designee. The excluded student may be admitted to the classroom or school bus only when the principal, or a designee, provides written certification to the teacher that the student may be readmitted and specifies the specific type of disciplinary action, if any, that was taken. If the principal finds that disciplinary action is warranted, he or she shall provide written and, if possible, telephonic notice of the action to the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s). When a student is excluded from a classroom or a school bus two times in one semester, and after exhausting all reasonable methods of classroom discipline provided in the school discipline plan, the student may be readmitted to the classroom or the school bus only after the principal, teacher and, if possible, the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of the student have held a conference to discuss the student's disruptive behavior patterns, and the teacher and the principal agree on a course of discipline for the student and inform the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of the course of action. Thereafter, if the student's disruptive behavior persists, upon the teacher's request, the principal may, to the extent feasible, transfer the student to another setting. The Legislature finds that isolating students or placing them in alternative learning centers may be the best setting for chronically disruptive students. The county board shall create more alternative learning centers or expand its capacity for alternative placements, subject to funding, to correct these students' behaviors so they can return to a regular classroom without engaging in further disruptive behavior.
(d) The Legislature finds that suspension from school is not appropriate solely for a student's failure to attend class. Therefore, a student may not be suspended from school solely for not attending class. Other methods of discipline may be used for the student which may include, but are not limited to, detention, extra class time or alternative class settings.
(e) Corporal punishment of any student by a school employee is prohibited.
(f) Each county board is solely responsible for the administration of proper discipline in the public schools of the county and shall adopt policies consistent with the provisions of this section to govern disciplinary actions. These policies shall encourage the use of alternatives to corporal punishment, providing for the training of school personnel in alternatives to corporal punishment and for the involvement of parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) in the maintenance of school discipline. The county boards shall provide for the immediate incorporation and implementation in the schools of a preventive discipline program which may include the responsible student program and a student involvement program which may include the peer mediation program, devised by the West Virginia Board of Education. Each county board may modify those programs to meet the particular needs of the county. The county boards shall provide in-service training for teachers and principals relating to assertive discipline procedures and conflict resolution. The county boards also may establish cooperatives with private entities to provide middle educational programs which may include programs focusing on developing individual coping skills, conflict resolution, anger control, self-esteem issues, stress management and decision making for students and any other program related to preventive discipline.
(g) For the purpose of this section:
(1) " Student" includes any child, youth or adult who is enrolled in any instructional program or activity conducted under board authorization and within the facilities of or in connection with any program under public school direction: Provided, That, in the case of adults, the student-teacher relationship shall terminate when the student leaves the school or other place of instruction or activity;
(2) "Teacher" means all professional educators as defined in section one, article one of this chapter and includes the driver of a school bus or other mode of transportation; and
(3) "Principal" means the principal, assistant principal, vice principal or the administrative head of the school or a professional personnel designee of the principal or the administrative head of the school.
(h) Teachers shall exercise other authority and perform other duties prescribed for them by law or by the rules of the state board not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter and chapter eighteen of this code.
(b) A principal shall suspend a pupil from school, or from transportation to or from the school on any school bus, if the pupil, in the determination of the principal after an informal hearing pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, has: (i) Committed an act or engaged in conduct that would constitute a felony under the laws of this state if committed by an adult; or (ii) unlawfully possessed on the premises of an educational facility or at a school-sponsored function a controlled substance governed by the uniform controlled substances act as described in chapter sixty-a of this code. If a student has been suspended pursuant to this subsection, the principal may request that the superintendent recommend to the county board that the student be expelled. Upon such recommendation by the county superintendent, the county board may hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of subsections (e), (f) and (g) of this section to determine if the student committed the alleged violation. If the county board finds that the student did commit the alleged violation, the county board may expel the student.
(c) A principal may suspend a pupil from school, or transportation to or from the school on any school bus, if the pupil, in the determination of the principal after an informal hearing pursuant to subsection (d) of this section: (i) Threatened to injure, or in any manner injured, a pupil, teacher, administrator or other school personnel; (ii) willfully disobeyed a teacher; (iii) possessed alcohol in an educational facility, on school grounds, a school bus or at any school-sponsored function; (iv) used profane language directed at a school employee or pupil; (v) intentionally defaced any school property; (vi) participated in any physical altercation with another person while under the authority of school personnel; or (vii) habitually violated school rules or policies. If a student has been suspended pursuant to this subsection, the principal may request that the superintendent recommend to the county board that the student be expelled. Upon such recommendation by the county superintendent, the county board may hold a hearing in accordance with the provisions of subsections (e), (f) and (g) of this section to determine if the student committed the alleged violation. If the county board finds that the student did commit the alleged violation, the county board may expel the student.
(d) The actions of any pupil which may be grounds for his or her suspension or expulsion under the provisions of this section shall be reported immediately to the principal of the school in which the pupil is enrolled. If the principal determines that the alleged actions of the pupil would be grounds for suspension, he or she shall conduct an informal hearing for the pupil immediately after the alleged actions have occurred. The hearing shall be held before the pupil is suspended unless the principal believes that the continued presence of the pupil in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process, in which case the pupil shall be suspended immediately and a hearing held as soon as practicable after the suspension.
The pupil and his or her parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s), as the case may be, shall be given telephonic notice, if possible, of this informal hearing, which notice shall briefly state the grounds for suspension.
At the commencement of the informal hearing, the principal shall inquire of the pupil as to whether he or she admits or denies the charges. If the pupil does not admit the charges, he or she shall be given an explanation of the evidence possessed by the principal and an opportunity to present his or her version of the occurrence. At the conclusion of the hearing or upon the failure of the noticed student to appear, the principal may suspend the pupil for a maximum of ten school days, including the time prior to the hearing, if any, for which the pupil has been excluded from school.
The principal shall report any suspension the same day it has been decided upon, in writing, to the parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s) of the pupil by regular United States mail. The suspension also shall be reported to the county superintendent and to the faculty senate of the school at the next meeting after the suspension.
(e) Prior to a hearing before the county board, the county board shall cause a written notice which states the charges and the recommended disposition to be served upon the pupil and his or her parent(s), guardian(s) or custodian(s), as the case may be. The notice shall state clearly whether the board will attempt at hearing to establish the student as a dangerous student, as defined by section one, article one of this chapter. The notice also shall include any evidence upon which the board will rely in asserting its claim that the student is a dangerous student. The notice shall set forth a date and time at which the hearing shall be held, which date shall be within the ten-day period of suspension imposed by the principal.
(f) The county board shall hold the scheduled hearing to determine if the pupil should be reinstated or should or, under the provisions of this section, must be expelled from school. If the county board determines that the student should or must be expelled from school, it also may determine whether the student is a dangerous student pursuant to subsection (g) of this section. At this, or any hearing before a county board conducted pursuant to this section, the pupil may be represented by counsel, may call his or her own witnesses to verify his or her version of the incident and may confront and cross-examine witnesses supporting the charge against him or her. The hearing shall be recorded by mechanical means unless recorded by a certified court reporter. The hearing may be postponed for good cause shown by the pupil but he or she shall remain under suspension until after the hearing. The state board may adopt other supplementary rules of procedure to be followed in these hearings. At the conclusion of the hearing the county board shall either: (1) Order the pupil reinstated immediately at the end of his or her initial suspension; (2) suspend the pupil for a further designated number of days; or (3) expel the pupil from the public schools of the county.
(g) A county board that did not intend prior to a hearing to assert a dangerous student claim, that did not notify the student prior to the hearing that a dangerous student determination would be considered and that determines through the course of the hearing that the student may be a dangerous student shall schedule a second hearing within ten days to decide the issue. The hearing may be postponed for good cause shown by the pupil, but he or she remains under suspension until after the hearing.
A county board that expels a student, and finds that the student is a dangerous student, may refuse to provide alternative education. However, after a hearing conducted pursuant to this section for determining whether a student is a dangerous student, when the student is found to be a dangerous student, is expelled and is denied alternative education, a hearing shall be conducted within three months after the refusal by the board to provide alternative education to reexamine whether or not the student remains a dangerous student and whether the student shall be provided alternative education. Thereafter, a hearing for the purpose of reexamining whether or not the student remains a dangerous student and whether the student shall be provided alternative education shall be conducted every three months for so long as the student remains a dangerous student and is denied alternative education. During the initial hearing, or in any subsequent hearing, the board may consider the history of the pupil's conduct as well as any improvements made subsequent to the expulsion. If it is determined during any of the hearings that the student is no longer a dangerous student or should be provided alternative education, the student shall be provided alternative education during the remainder of the expulsion period.
(h) The superintendent may apply to a circuit judge or magistrate for authority to subpoena witnesses and documents, upon his or her own initiative, in a proceeding related to a recommended student expulsion or dangerous student determination, before a county board conducted pursuant to the provisions of this section. Upon the written request of any other party, the superintendent shall apply to a circuit judge or magistrate for the authority to subpoena witnesses, documents or both on behalf of the other party in a proceeding related to a recommended student expulsion or dangerous student determination before a county board. If the authority to subpoena is granted, the superintendent shall subpoena the witnesses, documents or both requested by the other party. Furthermore, if the authority to subpoena is granted, it shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of section one, article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
Any hearing conducted pursuant to this subsection may be postponed: (1) For good cause shown by the pupil; (2) when proceedings to compel a subpoenaed witness to appear must be instituted; or (3) when a delay in service of a subpoena hinders either party's ability to provide sufficient notice to appear to a witness. A pupil remains under suspension until after the hearing in any case where a postponement occurs.
The county boards are directed to report the number of pupils determined to be dangerous students to the State Board of Education. The state board will compile the county boards' statistics and shall report its findings to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability.
(i) Pupils may be expelled pursuant to the provisions of this section for a period not to exceed one school year, except that if a pupil is determined to have violated the provisions of subsection (a) of this section the pupil shall be expelled for a period of not less than twelve consecutive months: Provided, That the county superintendent may lessen the mandatory period of twelve consecutive months for the expulsion of the pupil if the circumstances of the pupil's case demonstrably warrant. Upon the reduction of the period of expulsion, the county superintendent shall prepare a written statement setting forth the circumstances of the pupil's case which warrant the reduction of the period of expulsion. The county superintendent shall submit the statement to the county board, the principal, the faculty senate and the local school improvement council for the school from which the pupil was expelled. The county superintendent may use the following factors as guidelines in determining whether or not to reduce a mandatory twelve-month expulsion:
(1) The extent of the pupil's malicious intent;
(2) The outcome of the pupil's misconduct;
(3) The pupil's past behavior history; and
(4) The likelihood of the pupil's repeated misconduct.
(j) In all hearings under this section, facts shall be found by a preponderance of the evidence.
(k) For purposes of this section, nothing herein may be construed to be in conflict with the federal provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.
(l) Each suspension or expulsion imposed upon a pupil under the authority of this section shall be recorded in the uniform integrated regional computer information system (commonly known as the West Virginia Education Information System) described in subsection (f), section twenty-six, article two, chapter eighteen of this code.
(1) The principal of the school at which the pupil is enrolled shall create an electronic record within twenty-four hours of the imposition of the suspension or expulsion.
(2) Each record of a suspension or expulsion shall include the pupil's name and identification number, the reason for the suspension or expulsion, and the beginning and ending dates of the suspension or expulsion.
(3) The State Board of Education shall collect and disseminate data so that any principal of a public school in West Virginia can review the complete history of disciplinary actions taken by West Virginia public schools against any pupil enrolled or seeking to enroll at that principal's school. The purposes of this provision are to allow every principal to fulfill his or her duty under subsection (b), section fifteen-f, article five, chapter eighteen of this code to determine whether a pupil requesting to enroll at a public school in West Virginia is currently serving a suspension or expulsion from another public school in West Virginia and to allow principals to obtain general information about pupils' disciplinary histories.
(m) Principals may exercise any other authority and perform any other duties to discipline pupils consistent with state and federal law, including policies of the State Board of Education.
(n) Each county board is solely responsible for the administration of proper discipline in the public schools of the county and shall adopt policies consistent with the provisions of this section to govern disciplinary actions.
(o) For the purpose of this section, "principal" means the principal, assistant principal, vice principal or the administrative head of the school or a professional personnel designee of the principal or the administrative head of the school.
The county boards may employ a hearing examiner to conduct the expulsion hearings required by this article. The hearing examiner shall be an attorney, duly licensed to practice law in the state of West Virginia and shall not be employed by the state or county boards for any other reason.
The hearing examiner shall conduct hearings in compliance with the guidelines of section one-a of this article. All hearings shall be recorded by mechanical means, unless recorded by a certified court reporter. The hearing examiner shall issue a decision and written findings of fact and conclusions of law within five days of the conclusion of the hearing. Hearings by a hearing examiner shall have the same force and effect as a decision made by a county board. Upon the written request of a parent, guardian, or custodian of the student, or the county superintendent, the county board shall review the decision of the hearing examiner. Within ten calendar days from the date of the request of the review, the county board shall enter an order affirming, reversing, or modifying the decision of the hearing examiner. A county board may, in its own discretion, hold a hearing to determine any issues in question.
The authority of the county superintendent shall be the same as contained in section one-a of this article.
(1) The mission of public schools is to prepare students for equal and responsible citizenship and productive adulthood;
(2) Democratic citizenship and productive adulthood begin with standards of conduct in schools;
(3) Schools should be safe havens for learning with high standards of conduct for students; and
(4) Rights necessarily carry responsibilities.
(b) In recognition of the findings in this section, the following Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel is established:
(1) The right to attend a school and ride a bus that is safe, orderly and drug free;
(2) The right to learn and work in a school that has clear discipline codes with fair and consistently enforced consequences for misbehavior;
(3) The right to learn and work in a school that has alternative educational placements for violent or chronically disruptive students;
(4) The right to be treated with courtesy and respect;
(5) The right to a attend a school and ride on a bus that is free from bullying;
(6) The right to support from school administrators when enforcing discipline policies;
(7) The right to support from parents, the community, public officials and businesses in their efforts to uphold high standards of conduct; and
(8) The responsibility to adhere to the principles in this Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for Students and School Personnel, and to behave in a manner that guarantees that other students and school personnel enjoy the same rights.
(a) Schools shall be closed on Saturdays and on the following days which are designated as legal school holidays: Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Martin Luther King's birthday, Memorial Day and West Virginia Day. Schools also shall be closed on any day on which a primary election, general election or special election is held throughout the state or school district and on any day appointed and set apart by the president or the Governor as a holiday of special observance by the people of the state.
(b) When any of the above designated holidays, except a special election, falls on Saturday, the schools shall be closed on the preceding Friday. When any designated holiday falls on Sunday, the schools shall be closed on the following Monday.
(c) Special classes may be conducted on Saturdays for pupils and by teachers and service personnel. Saturday classes shall be conducted on a voluntary basis and teachers and service personnel shall be remunerated in ratio to the regularly contracted pay.
(d) Any school or schools may be closed by proper authorities on account of the prevalence of contagious disease, conditions of weather or any other calamitous cause over which the board has no control.
(1) Under any or all of the above provisions, the time lost by the school closings may not be counted as days of employment and may not be counted as meeting a part of the requirements of the minimum term of one hundred eighty days of instruction. A school employee's pay per pay period may not change as a result of a school closing not being counted as a day of employment, and the employee shall be paid the same amount during any pay period in which a school closing occurs that the employee would have been paid during the pay period if a school closing had not occurred.
(2) On the day or days when a school or schools are closed, county boards may provide appropriate alternate work schedules for professional and service personnel affected by the closing of any school or schools under any or all of the provisions of this subsection. Professional and service personnel shall receive pay the same as if school were in session.
(3) Insofar as funds are available or can be made available during the school year, the board may extend the employment term for the purpose of making up time that might affect the instructional term.
(e) In addition to any other provisions of this chapter, the board further is authorized to provide in its annual budget for meetings, workshops, vacation time or other holidays through extended employment of personnel at the same rate of pay.
Any teacher, principal, supervisor, service personnel or other person employed by a board of education who is subpoenaed to appear as a witness but not as a defendant in any criminal proceeding in any court of law may make such appearance without any loss of pay. The board shall pay to such employee the difference between the witness fee, exclusive of travel allowances, payable for such appearance by the court and the amount of salary due to the person for the time such employee is absent from his employment by reason of answering such subpoena.
A county board of education may approve the attendance of any or all teachers at educational conventions, conferences, or other professional meetings of teachers on school days when in the judgment of the superintendent it is necessary or desirable. Attendance at such meetings may be substituted for an equal amount of teaching or employment and teachers attending shall not suffer loss of pay. Further, the board is authorized to pay all or any part of expenses of any personnel whom it may designate to represent the board at any such professional or educational meetings or in visitation to another school system.
Every county board of education shall adopt a policy under which professional educators serving as mentor teachers, serving on state and county professional staff development councils, serving on school curriculum teams, and serving on professional support teams will be granted professional time if required for performance of their duties during the instructional day or extra duty compensation if required at other times and for reimbursement for necessary expenses actually incurred in attending meetings of the bodies upon which they serve upon. Such policy shall provide for the coverage of the professional personnel's regular duties during such release times through the use of paraprofessional aides, substitutes and other methods if necessary to avoid the interruption of instruction.
A county board of education may approve the attendance of any or all service personnel at educational conventions, conferences, or school service meetings of service personnel on school days when in the judgment of the superintendent it is necessary or desirable. Attendance at such meetings may be substituted for an equal amount of employment and service personnel so attending shall not suffer loss of pay. Further, the board is authorized to pay all or any part of expenses of any personnel whom it may designate to represent the board at any such educational conventions, conferences or school service meetings or in visitation to another school system.
The state superintendent of schools shall have authority to require a statewide enumeration by the counties at such times as he may direct and may establish the procedures therefor.
In order that the census record may be as currently accurate as possible, and a reliable source of reference through the school year, it shall be the duty of each county superintendent of schools to establish and administer through the office of the county director of school attendance a system of cumulative census records which may be prescribed by the state superintendent of schools.
(b) The authority provided for in subsection (a) of this section does not extend to suspending or expelling any student, participating in the administration of corporal punishment or performing instructional duties as a teacher or substitute teacher. However, the authority extends to supervising students undergoing in-school suspension if the instructional duties required by the supervision are limited solely to handing out class work and collecting class work. The authority to supervise students undergoing in-school suspension does not include actual instruction.
(c) An aide designated by the principal under subsection (a) of this section shall receive a salary not less than one pay grade above the highest pay grade held by the service person under section eight-a, article four of this chapter and any county salary schedule in excess of the minimum requirements of this article.
(d) An aide may not be required by the operation of this section to perform noninstructional duties for an amount of time which exceeds that required under the aide's contract of employment or that required of other aides in the same school unless the assignment of the duties is mutually agreed upon by the aide and the county superintendent, or the superintendent's designated representative, subject to county board approval.
(1) The terms and conditions of the agreement shall be in writing, signed by both parties, and may include additional benefits.
(2) The agreement shall be uniform as to aides assigned similar duties for similar amounts of time within the same school.
(3) Aides have the option of agreeing to supervise students and of renewing related assignments annually. If an aide elects not to renew the previous agreement to supervise students, the minimum salary of the aide shall revert to the pay grade specified in section eight-a, article four of this chapter for the classification title held by the aide and any county salary schedule in excess of the minimum requirements of this article.
(e) For the purposes of this section, aide means any aide class title as defined in section eight, article four of this chapter regardless of numeric classification.
(f) Subject to the limitations set forth in subsection (g) of this section, an aide may transfer to another position of employment one time only during any one half of a school term, unless otherwise mutually agreed upon by the aide and the county superintendent, or the superintendent's designee, subject to county board approval. During the first year of employment as an aide, an aide may not transfer to another position of employment during the first one-half school term of employment unless mutually agreed upon by the aide and county superintendent, subject to county board approval.
(g) Autism mentors and aides providing services to children diagnosed as autistic or with autism spectrum disorder; and paraprofessionals, interpreters and aides providing one-on-one services to students with exceptionalities as required by the students' individualized education programs (IEP).
(1) Legislative findings and intent.
(A) The Legislature finds that it is not in the best interest of a student with autism or a student with an exceptionality whose IEP requires one-on-one services to have multiple teachers, mentors, aides, paraprofessionals, interpreters or any combination thereof during the instructional term; and
(B) It is the intent of the Legislature that filling positions through transfers of personnel from one position to another after the fifth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term be kept to a minimum for autism mentors and aides who work with students with autism and for paraprofessionals, interpreters and aides who work with students with exceptionalities whose IEPs require one-on-one services.
(2) Transfer limitations and conditions.
(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, after the fifth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term, a service person may not transfer to another position in the county during that instructional term, unless he or she does not have valid certification, if the service person is employed and assigned as an autism mentor or aide who works with students with autism, or as a paraprofessional, interpreter or aide who works with a student with an exceptionality whose IEP requires one-on-one services.
(B) The provisions of this subsection are subject to the following conditions:
(i) The aide, autism mentor, paraprofessional or interpreter may apply for any posted, vacant position with the successful applicant assuming the position at the beginning of the next instructional term;
(ii) The county board, upon recommendation of the superintendent, may fill a position before the beginning of the next instructional term when it is determined to be in the best interest of the students; and
(iii) The county superintendent shall notify the State Board when a service person who is subject to the provisions of this subsection is transferred to another position after the fifth day prior to the beginning of the instructional term;
(h) Regular service personnel employed in a category of employment other than aide who seek employment as an aide shall
hold a high school diploma or shall have received a general educational development certificate and shall have the opportunity to receive appropriate training pursuant to subsection (j), section thirteen, article five, chapter eighteen of this code and section two, article twenty of said chapter.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2013 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.