Principals and their designees may suspend a student for violating the District School Board of Pasco County Student Code of Conduct as indicated on the Discipline Matrix. Students shall not be suspended for skipping, tardiness, absence, leaving campus without permission or truancy.  (F.S. 1006.09)

Suspension Guidelines
The principal or principal’s designee shall do the following when considering suspension: (F.S. 1006.09)

  • Provide verbal notice to the student of the charges and an explanation of the evidence against him or her prior to assigning a suspension.
  • Give each student an opportunity to present his or her side of the story and present a written statement.
  • Make a good faith effort to immediately inform the student’s parents by telephone of the violation(s), and the potential for the student’s suspension.
  • Make a good faith effort to employ parental assistance or other alternative measures prior to suspension, except in the case of emergency or disruptive conditions requiring immediate suspension, or in the case of a serious breach of the Code of Conduct.
  • Document each suspension and the reason for the suspension on the student discipline referral and coding form, MIS 413, and provide a copy to the parent within 24 hours.  This must be done in person or by U.S. mail.
  • Parent notification must:
    • Be in the parent/guardian's primary language, to the extent feasible
    • Explain the alleged misconduct and the school district rule(s) alleged to have been violated
    • Identify the corrective action or discipline being proposed
    • Explain that students who are suspended from school shall be allowed to make up work for full credit and the process they should follow to make up any work
    • Explain the rights of the student and/or his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) to appeal the allegation(s) and the proposed action, and tell them how to make an appeal
    • o Explain that the appeal must be in writing and received by the principal within three (3) days
  • Students who are serving out-of-school suspension shall be excluded from all District or school sponsored activities taking place at any District School Board of Pasco County school or campus, at any school function or on any school sponsored transportation, including but not limited to extracurricular, co-curricular, student organizations, graduation ceremonies, dances, and other events.
  • Further, suspended students may not be on the campus of the zoned school or any Pasco County school at any time for any reason, unless accompanied by a parent for a scheduled meeting with school staff.
  • Pasco County Ordinance sec. 66-153(2)(b) provides that a minor who has been suspended or expelled from school may not be or remain in a public place, in any establishment, or within 1,000 feet of a school during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. during any school day.

School Level Appeal Process for Out-of-School Suspension

  • If a student or parent/guardian believes a proposed disciplinary action is unfair or that the allegations are unfounded, the student or parent may request a formal appeal.  The formal appeal may be initiated verbally or in writing and presented to the principal within three (3) school days of the discipline decision.  Verbal requests for appeals must be followed up in writing.  The written appeal should:
    • Briefly state the facts involved
    • State a proposed solution to the problem
    • Be copied to the school staff member(s) involved
  • The suspension may be lifted at the principal’s discretion until the matter is resolved
  • Suspension of extracurricular activities will remain in effect during the appeal process
  • Requests for formal appeals must be received within three (3) days of being notified of the proposed suspension
  • If not appealed within that time frame, the discipline will be implemented and the parent/guardian will have no further right to appeal
  • The principal or designee will review the grievance and meet with the student and parent or guardian for the appeal
  • During the appeal, the student has the right to question the allegations against him or her, provide written statements from witnesses, and respond to any written witness statements (in which the names any student witnesses are redacted and held confidential)
  • Parent/guardian should be provided with redacted copies of witness statements, social media printouts, and other evidence upon request
  • A parent/guardian may request copies of videotape surveillance; however, they will be responsible for the cost associated with redacting the video thereby protecting student confidentiality
  • For students with disabilities (Section 504 and IDEA, excluding gifted only), a Manifestation Determination Meeting (MDM) must convene within ten (10) days of any decision to change placement
  • When disciplinary infractions for students with disabilities involve weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury, placement in an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 days is allowed (State Board of Education Rule 6A-603312)
  • For suspensions of 1 to 5 days, the principal’s decision regarding the appeal shall be final
  • In the case of 6 to 10 days of OSS, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee
  • The person hearing the case cannot have been a witness to, have assigned the original consequence or have been otherwise involved in the incident that resulted in the proposed discipline

District Level Discipline Appeals for Six or More Days of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)

In cases of suspension for six (6) or more days, the principal’s decision may be further appealed to the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee may uphold, reverse, or modify the suspension. The following process is used:

  • Prior to any district level appeal of OSS, the matter must FIRST be heard at the school level (except when the OSS is accompanied by a recommendation for expulsion)
  • If the principal upholds the recommended suspension. The parent/guardian or student may request an appeal hearing from the Superintendent or designee
  • This request must occur within three (3) school days after the school level appeal
  • The request for an appeal hearing may be initiated in writing or verbally
  • Verbal requests must, however, be followed up in writing
  • The Superintendent level appeal will be scheduled at the District School Board of Pasco County office in Land O’Lakes
  • If the request for an appeal is not received within three (3) school days, the school will then proceed with the recommended proposed suspension, and student or parents/guardians will not have any further opportunity to appeal the matter
  • The student will return to school pending the District Level OSS Appeal
  • The Superintendent or designee may only ban a student from campus during formal appeal if the student’s presence poses an imminent threat of danger or risk of a major campus disruption as defined elsewhere in this document; in such cases, the appeal shall be expedited
  • Suspension of extracurricular activities will remain in effect during the appeal process
  • The decision of the Superintendent’s designee is final on an OSS appeal

At the District Level Discipline Appeal Hearing for Six or More Days of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)

  • The participants at the hearing will be limited to those with a relevant interest in the matter at hand, as determined by the Superintendent or designee (We cannot limit attendance in cases of ESE or 504 students per state statute)
  • Only the evidence presented at the hearing will be used to make a decision. No information may be provided to the Superintendent or designee outside of the hearing
  • The person hearing the case cannot have been a witness to, have assigned the original consequence or have been otherwise involved in the incident that resulted in the proposed discipline or testify in the hearing

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Reteaching question(s):

NONE