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School Interventions

School Interventions for Handling Disruptions of the Educational Process and Unacceptable Conducts

School is a place to learn and to be a part of a community. If a student is behaving in a way that does not allow other children to learn, school staff will need to intervene with the child. Students, whether receiving general or special education services, may need to receive interventions for disruptive behavior. Acts of misconduct are subject to the disciplinary action by appropriate school personnel. Unacceptable conduct is defined as whether or not it disrupts or has the potential to disrupt the educational process. Consequences will result for cases such as bullying, fighting, harassment, inappropriate use of cell phones or other electronic devices, use or possession of e-cigarettes and other forms of disrupting the Educational process or violation of laws, rules and regulations. The right to a public education is not absolute, it may be taken away, temporarily or permanently, for violation of school rules. This handbook follows APS, State, and Federal guidelines. See the Glossary of Terms at the back of this handbook for definitions of acts of misconduct.

Restorative Practices

Restorative practices are a shift from traditional rule-based punitive discipline systems to a system that focuses on building, maintaining, and when necessary, repairing relationships among all members of a school community. The restorative approach is a set of guiding principles, which includes respect, relationships, responsibility, repair, and reintegration practices for the school community, which sees relationships as central to learning and the development of an inclusive, respectful, and safe culture. 

All members of a school community bring with them diverse abilities, interests, viewpoints, and family and cultural backgrounds. These differences can be a source of great energy and strength when members of the community value and respect one another. Using restorative practices to foster positive interpersonal and intergroup relations and to address inappropriate behavior when it occurs is a cornerstone of a progressive approach to discipline. 

Restorative practices give priority to repairing harm done to individuals and school communities, and providing student accountability by assuming responsibility and taking action to repair the harm they caused. It aims to keep students in school and to create a safe environment where learning can flourish. 

All APS schools use progressive discipline practices for student misbehavior. Progressive discipline means disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion from school that is designed to correct and address the basic causes of a student’s misbehavior while retaining the student in class or school, or restorative school practices to repair the harm done to others as a result of the student’s misbehavior. Progressive discipline may include parent/guardian conferences, reflective activities, counseling, social-emotional cognitive skills building, resolution circles, restorative conferencing, mediation, community service, lunch detention, in-school detention or suspension, after-school detention, or Saturday detention. 

Disciplinary consequences will be appropriate for a student’s age, ability level and severity of behavior. Out-of-school suspension will be used in cases of significant behavior violations. 

Class grades shall not be reduced because of unacceptable conduct or disciplinary action. Student’s grades may suffer as a result of mathematical averaging of missed assignments. However, grades shall not be reduced as a direct penalty for inappropriate behavior.

Contracts

  • Student commits to more positive behavior in the form of a written contract. 
  • Student may be assigned school or community service. 
  • Terms of the contract will be determined by the principal or designee. 
  • Not honoring the conditions of the contract will result in continuing progressive discipline up to and including long-term suspension.17 

Referrals

  • Each school has a Health and Wellness Team (H/WT) whose goal is to help reduce students’ barriers to learning and provide integrated health/mental health supports to students and their families. Parents or staff members may make referrals. Parents not wanting their child to receive support from the school’s H/WT should submit a written request to the school principal to convey that information. 
  • Students may be referred to the school counselor, Student Assistance Team, School Health and Wellness Team, or the School Safety Team. 
  • Student and school authority may call parent/guardian to discuss problem and solution. 
  • Student may be referred to peer jury as designed by the school, but only upon student’s waiver of educational records privacy rights. 
  • Student and parents may be referred to and required to attend the Parent Involvement Program (PIP), Crossroads Program, Tobacco Intervention Program or other appropriate intervention programs as an alternative to suspension. 
  • Student may be formally referred for legal action. 
  • Student may be referred to the Student Safety Team (SST) to address concerns regarding threats and to make informed decisions on how to manage threats and ensure safety of all students and staff. Each school’s SST may include members of the Health and Wellness Team, an administrator, and staff member who has information about the student. Every threat is taken seriously. Situations that may warrant conducting a SST meeting include verbal and/or physical threats to do harm, threats of use or involvement with weapons or explosives, and any other concerns to be determined at the discretion of the administrator. 
  • A Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) may be used to identify and address behaviors that are impeding education. 

Removal From Class

  • Student may be removed from class or activity but remain at school pending conference with appropriate school personnel and parents/guardians must be informed 
  • Student may be placed in an alternative educational setting until satisfactory resolution is reached and parents/guardians must be informed. 
  • The authority of the schools is to supervise and control the conduct of students and includes the authority to impose reasonable periods of detention during the day, or outside normal school hours, as disciplinary measures. 
  • Reasonable periods of detention may be imposed with the procedures for temporary suspension. 

Suspension

A suspension is the removal of a student from a class or classes and all school-related activities for any period of time. Suspension may include in-school suspension alternatives to long-term removals from school of one year or longer. Suspension may not be used as a consequence for excessive absences or tardies. 

  • The school administration must provide notification of any form of suspension to the parent/guardian and teachers of any student being suspended. The notification must be documented in writing and should occur on the same day, or as soon as possible if the parents cannot be contacted. Written notification should follow upon parent request if the notification is made by phone or in person. 
  • The school administration must keep on file a copy of the notification for any suspension occurring during a school year. 
  • The principal of the school is responsible for notification, compliance and documentation at his/her school. 
  • Copies of suspension notification may be discarded at the beginning of each academic year for prior year actions, except for any long-term suspensions or expulsions still in effect.

Short-term Suspension

Short-term suspension will be at the discretion of the school administrator and will address behaviors that disrupt the educational process. Administrators may impose consequences beyond minimum mandatory in order to maintain the safety and security of the school population. 

  • Short-term suspension will be limited to no more than five (5) days. 
  • Each school will have its own method for developing alternative educational settings for students who have been short-term suspended. 
  • Out-of-school suspension days will be included in the total number of student absences. 

Long-term Suspension (LTS)

Long-term suspension is defined as the removal of a student from instruction and all school-related activities for more than ten (10) days and up to the balance of the semester, or longer as determined by the hearing officer in cases which are near the end of a given semester. 

  • A student receiving a long-term suspension may lose credit for the semester unless placed in an alternative school setting. 
  • A student must be given the opportunity for a due process hearing prior to the suspension. 
  • The student may, at his/her own expense, choose to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. 
  • At the principal’s discretion, students may be suspended pending a due process hearing. 
  • Transfer students will have their transfer revoked (except students placed in accordance with their IEP) for the school they are attending at the time of their long-term suspension. The transfer revocation date for students in Special Education assigned to an Alternative Educational Setting (AES or IAES), through a LTS hearing, will be determined at the end of the suspension period by the IEP team in consultation with school and district administration. Upon completion of a long-term suspension, a student may return to his/her assigned school, request a transfer for the next school year, or explore alternative options.

Expulsion

Expulsion is the suspension of a student from all regular schools in Albuquerque Public Schools for a period exceeding one (1) semester. In some cases, expulsion may be a permanent removal from this school system. When appropriate, a student who is expelled may be placed in an alternative program. 

  • A student receiving an expulsion may lose credit for the semester in which the expulsion occurs, unless the student is engaged in an alternative program. 
  • A student must be given a due process hearing prior to expulsion. 
  • The student may, at his/her own expense, choose to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. 
  • Transfer students will have their transfer revoked for the school they are attending at the time of their expulsion. Students in special education assigned to an Alternative Educational Setting, through an expulsion hearing, will have their transfer revoked at the completion of their expulsion. Upon completion of an Expulsion, a student may return to his/her assigned school, request a transfer for the next school year, or explore alternative options.

Firearms

The Gun Free Schools Act provides for a mandatory expulsion of a period of not less than one year for a student who is determined to have brought or to have possessed a firearm at school or any setting that is under the control and supervision of school officials. Only the Superintendent may modify in writing the one-year expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis. All school related incidents of firearm possession must be reported to the APS Police Department. This includes 

  • Possession, selling or otherwise furnishing a firearm. 
  • Possession of any explosive device as defined in the Gun Free Schools Act.

Referral For Legal Action

  • Communication of any illegal act or action by a student will be forwarded to the appropriate authority or law enforcement agency. 
  • New Mexico law requires that, if any school employee has reasonable cause to believe that a child is or has been in possession of a firearm on school premises, the employee shall immediately report the child’s actions to a law enforcement agency and the Children, Youth and Families Department and the school administration.

Suspension of Extra-curricular Privileges

Students may be removed, at the discretion of the principal, from any part or all of extra-curricular privileges for time periods up to one (1) full calendar year. 

  • Participation in extra-curricular activities is a privilege offered to and earned by students. 
  • Because participants are serving as representatives of their school and community, they are expected to exemplify high standards at all times. 
  • Participants are expected to adhere to higher standards of academics and conduct than established for the general school population in order to maintain their extra-curricular privileges. Participation in extra-curricular activities is not a student right, and suspension of such privileges does not require a due process hearing procedure. 

Hearing Procedure

  • The Board has adopted a formal hearing procedure for students recommended for long-term suspension or expulsion. 
  • If a hearing is requested or required, school authorities shall prepare and provide the parents/legal guardians with a written notice of the hearing by the fifth day of suspension, either in person or by certified mail. 
  • The parent/guardian (student if emancipated or at least 18) may, at his/her own expense, choose to be represented by an attorney during any due process hearing. The parent/guardian must notify the hearing office that an attorney will represent the student as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours prior to the hearing to enable the school to also seek representation if it so chooses. If either the parent’s or the school’s attorney cannot accommodate the scheduled hearing date due to a scheduling conflict, a parent/guardian may either attend the originally scheduled hearing without legal representation or ask the District to change the hearing date in order to facilitate legal representation. 
  • The hearing shall be scheduled no sooner than five (5) and no later than ten (10) school days from the date of receipt of notice by the parents. As described above, the hearing may be extended by request of the parent/guardian in circumstances involving legal representation of the student. 
  • Schools will make available copies of documentary evidence, with the exception of police reports, that will be used at the hearing to families at least two (2) working days before the hearing. In cases where police reports are part of the documentary evidence, parents/guardians may contact the APS Police Department at 243-7712 to ask about obtaining a copy. 
  • The parent/guardian (student if emancipated or at least 18) may choose to waive the right to a hearing and accept the disciplinary consequences recommended by the school administrator. 
  • Expulsion hearings cannot be waived. 

Hearing Authority and Record

  • The hearing authority is the appointed hearing officer or designee of the district. 
  • A record of the proceeding, including an audio recording, shall be kept at the District Hearing Office for a period of one year, after which the recording will be destroyed, except in cases of expulsion where records are kept for two years. 

Burden of Proof

  • The hearing is an administrative proceeding for the purpose of deciding issues of fact or law. Though formal rules of evidence will not direct the proceeding, evidence will be admitted and considered by the hearing officer. 
  • The burden of proving that the student violated a provision of this Student Handbook is on the school authorities. 
  • The student or his/her counsel shall have the right to call witnesses on his/her behalf and to question witnesses against him/her. 
  • The school authorities shall have the right to call witnesses and to question any witnesses who testify.

Decision of Hearing Authority

  • The hearing authority shall decide first If the alleged behavior violations are substantiated and second, upon the disciplinary action, if any, that should be taken.
  • The hearing authority may request additional evidence from the parties.
  • The student shall have the right to comment upon the evidence orally and/or in writing.
  • The hearing authority shall provide its written decision to the parties, stating its findings, conclusions and implementations within five (5) school days after hearing the evidence.
  • The hearing authority’s decision shall take effect immediately upon notification of the parent/guardian and shall continue in force during any subsequent review.

Appeal to the Superintendent

  • The student/parent may appeal the decision of the hearing officer by providing a written notice to the superintendent’s designee at the Student, Parent, Employee Service Center within ten (10) school days after the decision has been made.
  • The designee shall, within fifteen (15) working days after receipt of the appeal, review the record of the hearing and the decision in this case.
  • The designee shall have discretion over whether to permit the student/parent and school authorities to submit additional written materials and/or to present their respective views in person at a conference or hearing.
  • The designee shall then provide the parties, within ten (10) working days after the review is concluded, his/her decision affirming, overruling, or modifying the decision of the hearing officer.
  • The severity of any sanction may not be increased.

Time Limits

  • Subject to applicable rules and upon agreement of the parent and hearing authority, the hearing authority shall have the option to extend the time limits after a showing of good cause.

Physical Restraint Law

In order to provide safe and effective Interventions with students who are demonstrating dangerous behaviors, physical restraint may be necessary at times. See the Glossary for the definition of Physical Restraint.

22-5-4.12. Use of restraint and seclusion; techniques; requirements.

A. A school may permit the use of restraint or seclusion techniques on any student only if both of the following apply:

(1) the student’s behavior presents an imminent danger of serious physical harm to the student or others; and

(2) less restrictive interventions appear insufficient to mitigate the imminent danger of serious physical harm.

B. If a restraint or seclusion technique is used on a student:

(1) school employees shall maintain continuous visual observation and monitoring of the student while the restraint or seclusion technique is in use;

(2) the restraint or seclusion technique shall end when the student’s behavior no longer presents an imminent danger of serious physical harm to the student or others;

(3) the restraint or seclusion technique shall be used only by school employees who are trained in the safe and effective use of restraint and seclusion techniques unless an emergency situation does not allow sufficient time to summon those trained school employees;

(4) the restraint technique employed shall not impede the student’s ability to breathe or speak; and

(5) the restraint technique shall not be out of proportion to the student’s age or physical condition.

Any time a physical restraint occurs, school authorities should provide the student’s parent/guardian with written or oral notice on the same day the incident occurred unless circumstances prevent same-day notification followed by a written report of the incident completed on the appropriate district form within a reasonable time.

APS staff should follow all APS Policies and Procedures with regard to student safety. A hierarchy of non-physical interventions must be used prior to the initiation of physical restraint, except in emergency situations. 23

Bus Misconduct

Appropriate behavior is expected whenever a student is on the bus. Suspension from the bus does not mean that a student is suspended from school. Instead, the parent/ guardian will be responsible for transporting the student to and from school. Driver, bus assistant or administrator may select a different consequence in handling an incident. This depends on the seriousness of the infraction. 

  • First Offense – A warning to the student with a report to the parent/guardian will be issued. It is expected that the parent/guardian will help to prevent a recurrence. 
  • Second Offense – Depending on the seriousness of the behavior, disciplinary action will be taken at the discretion of the school administrator. It is recommended that the student be placed on probation and receive written documentation of the offense to take to his/her parent/guardian. 
  • Third Offense – Suspension of riding privileges may result. The length of suspension will depend on the seriousness of the infraction. There will be parent/guardian conference. 
  • Severe Disruption – The following inappropriate and dangerous behavior will result in automatic suspension of transportation privileges: 
    • Physical harm to other students 
    • Physical harm to the driver and/or bus assistant 
    • Physical damage to the bus 
  • For students receiving special education services for a disability 

Bullying

“Bullying” is a way of using power aggressively in which a person is subjected to intentional, unwanted and unprovoked hurtful verbal and/or physical actions. An act of bullying results in the targeted student feeling oppressed, fearful, distressed, injured, or uncomfortable. The aggression is repeated on more than one occasion and can include physical, verbal, emotional, racial, sexual, written, electronic, damage to property, social exclusion, and intimidation. Bullying may be motivated by actual or perceived characteristics such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or identity, mental, physical or academic disability. Bullying often takes place in a social context. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying.

To determine if an incident qualifies as bullying: To qualify as bullying, incident must involve an imbalance of power between the target and the student who acts aggressively.

Bullying usually involves multiple incidences, aggressor and the target have drastically different reactions to the incident, and target feels powerless to self-advocate.24

Normal Conflict Behavior compared to Bullying Behavior
Normal ConflictBullying
Equal power Imbalance of power
Happens occasionally Repeated negative actions
Accidental Purposeful
Equal emotional reaction Strong emotional reaction of part of the target
Not seeking power or attention Seeking power and control
Not trying to get something Trying to gain material things or power
Remorse – takes responsibility No remorse – blames target
Effort to solve the problem No effort to solve the problem

Procedure for Reporting an Incident of Bullying

  • Students may bring the incident to the attention of a teacher, counselor, principal, or any school personnel. Staff members will file a Harassment/Bullying Incident Referral Form with the administrator.
  • Students will also be able to fill out a Student Harassment/Bullying Report Form and turn it in to a box strategically placed in the school to ensure confidentiality. School staff will check this box daily.
  • Parents are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying to a school administrator.

School Policy on Reporting Incidents of Bullying

  • Anyone who sees or hears of a bullying incident must report the incident.
  • All referrals should be submitted to an administrator within one day of the incident or report of incident.
  • If it is an immediate safety concern, the staff member will contact the office to escort the student who is acting aggressively to the front office to ensure student safety .

School Policy on Responding to Incident of Bullying

  • Teachers and other school staff who witness or receive reports of acts of bullying will appropriately intervene.
  • An investigation will take place where all parties involved, including bystanders, are interviewed separately (mediation is not appropriate if bullying is indicated) ensuring the confidentiality of reporters, bystanders, and students. Findings of the investigation will be documented.
  • Teachers and other staff who are party to the students involved will be notified to help monitor and prevent further bullying situations.
  • If it is deemed a bullying situation, parents of all students involved will be notified of the incident and of outcomes, which pertain to their child. Confidentiality in regard to other students will be maintained.
  • Schools may develop a student safety plan for students who are determined to be targets of bullying.
  • An appeal process is available for a student accused of bullying or a student who is the target of bullying who is not satisfied with the outcome of the steps taken.

Controlled Substance Possession/Use

A controlled substance is defined as any substance capable of producing a change in behavior or altering a state of mind or feeling. Controlled substances include but are not limited to, alcohol, marijuana, “look-alikes,” narcotics, hallucinogens, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, and synthetic drugs. Possession and/or use of a controlled substance, including alcohol presents a health concern for students and is a potential disruption to the educational process. The district believes that students caught possessing/using controlled substances need consequences and support. Therefore, consequences for a first infraction will be short-term suspension and participation in the Parent Involvement Program (PIP).

  • Failure to complete the PIP will result in further suspension days.
  • The PIP will be mandatory for high school students and for middle-school students as available.