VAM Necessitates Teacher’s Knowledge of Their Rights and Authority to Maintain a Respectable Learning Environment

shortlink: http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/?p=649

Most teachers (and school bus drivers) are ignorant that under Florida Law they are considered the most crucial person in the safety and education of the children for the simple reason they are the primary contacts.

We are fools for letting our administrations put the burden of proof on ourselves for the task of securing a safe, respectable learning/bus environment.

With the increased and arbitrarily determined “accountability” over teachers for student learning/progress and the increased vulnerability of teachers’ careers to less than “effective” ratings (often the result of factoring arbitrary measures like “school average reading scores” into the evaluation), it behooves the educator to take a more serious look at classroom control:

In case you haven’t waded through the Florida laws that authorize you and the bus drivers to have a pleasant, safe, respectable work environment (or your District or Union have failed to educate you to your rights and authority), let me summarize:

  • We teachers and bus drivers are authorized to remove students from our environment who challenge our ability to provide a safe, distraction free bus ride/learning environment.
  • This does NOT require phone calls home or documentation prior to our demand a student be removed.
  • We tell the principal what the penalty is. He/She may choose something more strict, but not less, without conferring with us.
  • The principal may NOT return the student to our class/bus without our OK in terms of the meted out consequences. If we do not agree, the principal must relocate the student to an equivalent environment away from us. If this is NOT possible, he/she has 5 days to convene a placement review committee to determine a course of action.
  • We can remove up to 25% of our student load before being judged in need of professional development.
  • This same authority and right extends to teachers/staff of ESE students, see the footnote below the main body for additional notes on this topic.

Teachers and Bus Drivers are more powerful than many of us realize when we know the authority and rights given us under Florida Law:

1003.04(2)Student conduct and parental involvement.— “The parent of each public K-12 student must cooperate with the authority of the student’s…teachers, and school bus drivers, according to ss. 1003.31 and 1003.32, to remove the student from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, to place the student in an alternative educational setting, if the student is disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive.

1003.31 Students subject to control of school.—
(1)Subject to law and rules of the State Board of Education and of the district school board, each student enrolled in a school shall:
(a)During the time she or he is being transported to or from school at public expense;
(b)During the time she or he is attending school;
be under the control and direction of the…teacher …or of the bus driver to whom such responsibility may be assigned by the principal….Each district school board, each district school superintendent, and each school principal shall fully support the authority of teachers, according to s. 1003.32, and school bus drivers to remove disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, place such students in an alternative educational setting.

(4)Each student enrolled in a school may be required to take the following school child’s daily conduct pledge:
(a)I will be respectful at all times and obedient unless asked to do wrong.
(b)I will not hurt another person with my words or my acts, because it is wrong to hurt others.
(c)I will tell the truth, because it is wrong to tell a lie.
(d)I will not steal, because it is wrong to take someone else’s property.
(e)I will respect my body, and not take drugs.
(f)I will show strength and courage, and not do something wrong, just because others are doing it.
(g)I pledge to be nonviolent and to respect my teachers and fellow classmates.

1003.32Authority of teacher; responsibility for control of students;
“each teacher or other member of the staff of any school shall have such authority for the control and discipline of students as may be assigned to him or her by the principal or the principal’s designated representative and shall keep good order in the classroom and in other places
(1)…teachers … shall have the authority to undertake any of the following actions in managing student behavior and ensuring the safety of all students in their classes
(c)Have disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students removed from the classroom for behavior management intervention.
(d)Have violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students directed for information or assistance from appropriate school or district school board personnel.
(f)Request and receive information as to the disposition of any referrals to the administration for violation of classroom or school rules.
(g)Request and receive immediate assistance in classroom management if a student becomes uncontrollable or in case of emergency.
(3)A teacher may send a student to the principal’s office to maintain effective discipline in the classroom and may recommend an appropriate consequence consistent with the student code of conduct under s. 1006.07. The principal shall respond by employing the teacher’s recommended consequence or a more serious disciplinary action if the student’s history of disruptive behavior warrants it. If the principal determines that a lesser disciplinary action is appropriate, the principal should consult with the teacher prior to taking disciplinary action.
(4)A teacher may remove from class a student whose behavior the teacher determines interferes with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn. Each district school board, each district school superintendent, and each school principal shall support the authority of teachers to remove disobedient, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom.
(5)If a teacher removes a student from class under subsection (4), the principal may place the student in another appropriate classroom, in in-school suspension, or in a dropout prevention and academic intervention program as provided by s. 1003.53; or the principal may recommend the student for out-of-school suspension or expulsion, as appropriate. The student may be prohibited from attending or participating in school-sponsored or school-related activities. The principal may not return the student to that teacher’s class without the teacher’s consent unless the committee established under subsection (6) determines that such placement is the best or only available alternative. The teacher and the placement review committee must render decisions within 5 days of the removal of the student from the classroom.
(7)Any teacher who removes 25 percent of his or her total class enrollment shall be required to complete professional development to improve classroom management skills.

1006.09Duties of school principal relating to student discipline and school safety.—(1)(a)
” Each school principal shall fully support the authority of his or her teachers and school bus drivers to remove disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students from the classroom and the school bus and, when appropriate and available, place such students in an alternative educational setting. The principal or the principal’s designee must give full consideration to the recommendation for discipline made by a teacher, other member of the instructional staff, or a bus driver when making a decision regarding student referral for discipline.”
(1)(b) “The principal or the principal’s designee shall make a good faith effort to immediately inform a student’s parent by telephone of a student’s suspension and the reasons for the suspension. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall be reported in writing within 24 hours to the student’s parent by United States mail. Each suspension and the reasons for the suspension shall also be reported in writing within 24 hours to the district school superintendent. A good faith effort shall be made by the principal or the principal’s designee to employ parental assistance or other alternative measures prior to suspension, except in the case of emergency or disruptive conditions ”

Footnote on Discipline of Students with Special Needs:

regarding removal of students with disabilities, consider Florida Adminstrative Code 6A-6.03312 “Discipline Procedures for Students with
Disabilities” – “(2) Authority of school personnel. Consistent with the school district’s Code of Student Conduct and to the extent that removal would be applied to students without disabilities, school personnel may:
(a) Remove a student with a disability who violates a code of student conduct from the student’s current placement for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days.
(b) Further remove a student with a disability for not more than ten (10) consecutive school days in that same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, as long as those removals do not constitute a change in placement as defined in this rule.
(3) Manifestation determination. A manifestation determination, consistent with the following requirements, must be made within ten (10) school days of any decision to change the placement of a student with a disability because of a violation of a code of student conduct.”

- see page 305 (p327 of pdf doc) at http://www.fldoe.org/ese/pdf/1b-stats.pdf

Bottom line is, the kids may not be disrespectful or disruptive, may not interfere with our ability to teach or another student’s ability to hear/learn, regardless of their abilities/disabilities. Alternative placement can be determined by the placement review committee for non-ESE kids within 5 days or within 10 days for ESE, “the school district, the parent, and relevant members of the IEP Team” must determine if it is a manifestation of the student’s disability. If so, ” the IEP Team must either:
1. Conduct a functional behavioral assessment, unless the school district had conducted a functional behavioral assessment before the behavior that resulted in the change of placement occurred, and implement a behavioral intervention plan for the student; or
2. If a behavioral intervention plan already has been developed, review it and modify it, as necessary, to address the behavior; and
3. Except as provided in subsection (6) of this rule, return the student to the placement from which the student was removed, unless the parent and the school district agree to a change in placement as part of the modification of the behavior intervention plan.”
if not,
“(d) For disciplinary changes of placement, if the behavior that gave rise to the violation of a code of student conduct is determined not to be a manifestation of the student’s disability, the relevant disciplinary procedures applicable to students without disabilities may be applied to the student in the same manner and for the same duration in which they would be applied to students without disabilities, except that services consistent with subsection (5) of this rule must be provided to the student with a disability”

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