II. Administration (formerly #5153)
E. Risk Management
4. School Safety, Emergency and Crisis Response Plans
d. Weapons and Violence in Schools
1. Policy Statement
The purpose of this policy is to ensure a school environment that is conducive to learning. The underlying belief of this policy is that all children have the right to be educated in a safe and nurturing environment. Therefore, each school shall enforce a policy of zero tolerance for weapons and violence in school.
Weapons – The term “weapons” shall include, by way of illustration, the following enumerated items: any loaded or unloaded firearm (e.g., pistol, blank pistol, signal pistol, starter pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, etc.); any knife (e.g., Bowie, Direk, lock-blade, hunting, pen, pocket, switchblade, utility, etc.): any razor (e.g., straight, regular, retractable, etc.); any defensive weapon (e.g., gas repellent, mace, stun gun, etc.); any martial arts device (e.g., Chinese stars, nunchaku, etc.); any explosive device; or any tool or instrument which school administrative staff could reasonably conclude as being capable of inflicting bodily harm (e.g., blackjack, chain, club knuckles, night stick, pipe, studded bracelet, etc.); or which by virtue of its shape or design gives the appearance of any of the aforementioned (e.g., air pistol, air rifle, BB gun, toy gun, etc.). In addition, any animal which could be used to inflict bodily harm will also be considered in this category.
Assault – Assault is defined as an act of physical violence or an aggravated threat of physical violence by a student(s) on another student(s), staff member(s), or others on school grounds. School grounds shall mean the property of any elementary, middle or high school, all buildings and vehicles used by the Narragansett School Department, including any portion of any building, structure, stadium, field or vehicle, which at the time of an assault was being used for an activity sponsored by or through the school department. When considering what constitutes aggravated assault, the factors to be weighed include: age of student(s) involved, seriousness of bodily injury, the state of mind of the individual(s) involved, and any other factors deemed relevant to the school principal or designee.
In addition, any individual who has reasonable cause to know that any person is carrying any of the noted weapons, or has knowledge that a person has committed an assault, shall notify the building principal or his/her designee regarding such information. Failure to provide this information may be grounds for disciplinary action not to exceed the suspension noted herein.
Suspension – Suspension is defined as that act by a school administrator or by a school committee that removes a student from school for a specified period of time, not more than one-hundred-eighty (180) days.
1. A short term suspension is removal from a school for up to ten (10) days, the first five (5) days of which may be imposed by a designated building administrator and up to five (5) additional days by the Superintendent or designee.
2. A long term suspension is removal from a school for more than ten (10) days and must be approved by the School Committee.
3. An educational instructional program will be provided through tutoring, placement into an alternate educational program, or other appropriate activity to ensure the continuation of appropriate education for the student.
3. Police Involvement
a. In all cases involving weapons or aggravated assault in schools or on school grounds, local police shall be called, and all confiscated weapons are to be turned over to the police department.
b. A log of all confiscated weapons will be kept by school administrators and will be available to be reviewed by the local police department on a monthly basis.
4. Statement of Enforcement
This policy will be implemented according to the due process provisions applicable to regular and special education students. For students with disabilities, the implementation of this policy will be in accordance with approved local procedures, as well as state and federal regulations governing the suspension or removal of special education students from school programs. Principals or their designee will make the determination as to whether or not a particular incident constitutes an aggravated assault.
4. Enforcement of Zero Tolerance for Weapons and Violence Policy
a. Any student found to be in possession of a weapon, or involved in an aggravated assault, as defined herein, shall be subject to immediate discipline which may include, at the sole discretion of the administrator, immediate suspension in accordance with applicable due process provisions. During this suspension, the administration will take the necessary steps in determining any additional action which may include a recommendation for long-term suspension.
b. Decisions regarding the specific length of a student’s suspension will be made by the appropriate authority. Any student suspended from school cannot participate in school functions or be on school premises.
Reference: Rhode Island General Law 16-2-17