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Who has the overall discipline authority in schools?
The code of conduct may provide different standards of conduct for different schools and must include:
An explanation of what constitutes dangerous, disruptive and unruly behavior or behavior that interferes with the ability of the teacher to teach effectively.
Any additional grounds for removal of a pupil from class.
The procedure for determining the appropriate educational placement of a pupil who has been removed from class and assigned a placement.
A procedure for notifying the parent and guardian of a minor student who has been removed from class.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (“DPI”) FAQ about School Discipline – http://dpi.wi.gov/families-students/health-safety/discipline-behavior (visited 02/06/2016)
What is the difference between removal, suspension and expulsion?
Suspension – Student is not allowed to attend school for up to 5 school days, or up to 15 school days if notice of an expulsion hearing has been sent. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(b)(2). The student must be told the reason for the suspension before the suspension starts. The parent or guardian must be given prompt notice of the suspension and the reason for the suspension. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(b)(3).
Expulsion – School board orders that a student not be allowed to attend school for a certain amount of time. The school board has to first hold a hearing that the student’s parent or guardian or representative is allowed to participate in and must give the student and, if the student is a minor, the student’s parent or guardian at least 5 days’ written notice of the hearing. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(3)-(4). An expulsion of at least 1 year is mandatory if a student brings a firearm to school property. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(2m). The school board may modify this requirement on a case-by-case basis. Wis. Stat. §§ 119.25(2)(a)(2) and 120.13(1)(g).
Note: Special rules apply when the student has a disability. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Division for Learning Support has issued a bulletin regarding the legal requirements relating to disciplining children with disabilities. If a child’s behavior impedes his or her learning or the learning of others, the child’s individualized education program (“IEP”) team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports to address the behavior. If school personnel believe that a child’s program and placement are inappropriate, they can work with the parents through the IEP team process to develop an appropriate program and placement that will meet the child’s needs and ensure a safe and appropriate learning environment for all. The bulletin discusses the balance struck by permitting school officials to maintain a safe learning environment for all, while also including protections to prevent the inappropriate exclusion of children with disabilities. See the DPI bulletin available at http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_bul06-02.
When can a teacher remove a student from class?
The student violates the code of classroom conduct adopted by the school board.
The student is dangerous, unruly or disruptive, or exhibits behavior that interferes with the ability of the teacher to teach effectively, as specified in the code of classroom conduct.
When a teacher removes a student from class, the teacher has to send the student to the school principal or his/her designee and notify the school principal or his/her designee immediately of the reasons for the removal. The teacher has to provide the principal or his/her designee, within 24 hours of the student’s removal, a written explanation of the reasons for the removal from the class. Wis. Stat. § 118.164(2).
Under what circumstances can a student be suspended?
Disobeying school rules.
Threatening to destroy school property by explosives. For conveying any threat or false information concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made or to be made to destroy school property by explosives.
Endangering others or their property while at school. For conduct while at school, or under the supervision of a school authority, which endangers the property, health or safety of others.
Endangering others or their property while not at school. For conduct while not at school, or while not under the supervision of school authority, which endangers the property, health or safety of others at school or under the supervision of a school authority or endangers the property, health or safety of any employee or school board member in the school district in which the student is enrolled.
Threatening the health or safety of a person or their property. Conduct that endangers a person or property includes making a threat to the health or safety of a person or making a threat to damage property.
Possessing a firearm at school or under school supervision. For possession of a firearm while at school or under the supervision of the school authority.
A student may be suspended for up to 5 school days. However, if a notice of an expulsion hearing has been sent, the student may be suspended for up to 15 consecutive school days. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(b)(2).
What notice are the student and parent entitled to upon suspension?
What is the procedure for appealing a suspension?
Suspension – Parent or guardian given prompt notice of the suspension and reason for the suspension.
Conference within 5 days of suspension – Parent /guardian or student can have a conference with the school district administrator or his/her designee (who must be someone other than a principal, administrator, or teacher in the student’s school).
Unfair suspension must be found within 15 days of the conference – Within 15 days, the school district administrator or designee decides whether suspension is unfair, unjust or inappropriate given the alleged offense, or the student suffered undue consequences or penalties.
Suspension removed from records – If the suspension is found unfair, unjust, or inappropriate, reference to the suspension must be removed from the student’s records.
Repeatedly disobeying school rules. If the school board finds the student guilty of repeated refusal or neglect to obey school rules. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(1).
Threatening to destroy school property by explosives. For threatening or conveying false information concerning an attempt or alleged attempt to destroy school property with explosives. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(1).
Endangering others or their property while at school. For engaging in conduct while at school or under the supervision of a school authority which endangered the property, health or safety of others. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(1).
Endangering others or their property while not at school. For conduct while not at school or under the supervision of school authority which endangered the property, health or safety of others at school or under the supervision of a school authority or endangered the property, health or safety of any employee or school board member in the district in which the student is enrolled. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(1).
Threatening the health or safety of a person or their property. For conduct that endangers a person or property, including making a threat to the health or safety of a person or making a threat to damage property. Wis. Stat. § 120.13(1)(c)(1).
Repeatedly disrupting order or the educational atmosphere. The school board may expel from school a student who is at least 16 years of age if the school board finds that the student repeatedly engaged in conduct while at school, or while under the supervision of school authorities, that disrupts the ability of school authorities to maintain order or an educational atmosphere at school or at an activity supervised by a school authority. Wis. Stat. §§ 120.13(1)(c)(2) and 119.25(2)(a)(1).
Possessing firearms on school property. The school board shall begin proceedings and expel a student for at least one year for possession of firearms on school property. The board may, however, modify this requirement on a case-by-case basis. Wis. Stat. §§ 119.25(2)(a)(2) and 120.13(1)(g).
What notice are the student and parent entitled to if the principal recommends expulsion?
What is the expulsion hearing process?
Hearing before student is expelled – Student or parent/guardian can request that the hearing be closed.
Student or parent/guardian may be represented by counsel.
Written minutes of hearing – School board must keep written minutes of the hearing.
School board order expelling a student – School district clerk must mail a copy of the order to the student and, if the student is a minor, the student’s parent or guardian.
What is the procedure for appealing an expulsion?
Appeal to state superintendent – Student or, if the student is a minor, the student’s parent or guardian may appeal the explusion to the state superintendant.
State superintendent reviews decision within 60 days of receipt – State superintendent either approves, reverses, or modifies the decision. School board decision is enforced while state superintendent reviews.
Appeal to circuit court within 30 days – Student or, if the student is a minor, the student’s parent or guardian may appeal state superintendent’s decision to the circuit court of the county in which the school is located.
What does “zero tolerance” mean?
Although not a true zero tolerance policy, Wisconsin law does require expulsion for a minimum of one year if a student brings a firearm on school property. However, this expulsion requirement may be modified by the school board on a case-by-case basis. Wis. Stat. §§ 119.25(2)(a)(2) and 120.13(1)(g).
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction FAQ about School Discipline – http://dpi.wi.gov/families-students/health-safety/discipline-behavior (visited 02/06/2016)
Definition of “corporal punishment”
Is corporal punishment at schools permitted?
However, Wisconsin law does not prohibit an official, employee or agent of a school board from:
Using reasonable and necessary force to quell a disturbance or prevent an act that threatens physical injury to any person.
Using reasonable and necessary force to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object within a student’s control.
Using reasonable and necessary force for the purpose of self-defense or the defense of others.
Using reasonable and necessary force for the protection of property.
Using reasonable and necessary force to remove a disruptive student from a school premises or motor vehicle or from school-sponsored activities.
Using reasonable and necessary force to prevent a student from inflicting harm on himself or herself.
Using reasonable and necessary force to protect the safety of others.
Using incidental, minor or reasonable physical contact designed to maintain order and control.
Is there a state policy on “bullying”?
Definition of bullying – Requirement that school district officials and employees report incidents of bullying and identify the persons to whom the reports must be made.
Prohibition on bullying – Requirement that school district officials and employees report incidents of bullying and identify the persons to whom the reports must be made.
Procedure for reporting bullying that allows reports to be made confidentially.
Identification of the school-related events at which the policy applies.
Prohibition against a student retaliating against another student for reporting an incident of bullying.
Identification of the property owned, leased, or used by the school district on which the policy applies.
Procedure for investigating reports of bullying. The procedure shall identify the school district employee in each school who is responsible for conducting the investigation and require that the parent or guardian of each pupil involved in a bullying incident be notified.
Identification of the vehicles used for student transportation on which the policy applies.
The school board must provide a copy of the policy to any person who requests it. Annually, the school board must distribute the policy to all students enrolled in the school district and to their parents or guardians.
Are there dress code requirements for schools?
Can school uniforms be required?
If a school board adopts a dress code policy, it shall:
Establish a way for the student’s parent or guardian to exempt his or her child from following the policy.
Make sure that no student is penalized academically or otherwise discriminated against because the student’s parent or guardian has chosen to exempt the student from following the policy.
Notify each parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a school where the policy will be implemented of the policy at least 3 months before the school board implements the policy.
Help economically disadvantaged students to obtain the uniforms.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL)
What is the assessment test used for ELL? What are the procedures for the test?
Students who communicate in a language other than English.
Students whose families use a language other than English.
Students who use a language other than English in daily non−school surroundings.
Each school board must determine the English proficiency level of a student meeting the criteria above and place the student in an appropriate education program. The school board must use a department-approved assessment, maintain all assessment records, and report information to the department. Wis. Adm. Code PI 13.07.
The school board classifies each student as one of the following Wis. Adm. Code PI 13.08:
Level 1 (Beginning Preproduction) – A student is classified as Level 1 if the student does not understand or speak English with the exception of a few isolated words or expressions.
Level 2 (Beginning production) – The student understands and speaks conversational and academic English with hesitancy and difficulty. The student understands parts of lessons and simple directions. The student is at a pre-emergent or emergent level of reading and writing in English, significantly below grade level
Level 3 (Intermediate) – The student understands and speaks conversational and academic English with decreasing hesitancy and difficulty. The student is post-emergent, developing reading comprehension and writing skills in English. The student’s English literacy skills allow the student to demonstrate academic knowledge in content areas with assistance.
Level 4 (Advanced intermediate) – The student understands and speaks conversational English without apparent difficulty, but understands and speaks academic English with some hesitancy. The student continues to acquire reading and writing skills in content areas needed to achieve grade level expectations with assistance.
Level 5 (Advanced) – The student understands and speaks conversational and academic English well. The student is near proficient in reading, writing, and content area skills needed to meet grade level expectations. The student requires occasional support.
Level 6 (Formerly LEP now fully English proficient) – The student was formerly limited-English proficient and is now fully English proficient. The student reads, writes, speaks and comprehends English within the academic classroom setting.
Each school board policy must include procedures regarding the testing of LEP pupils. A charter school whose population includes at least one LEP student must adopt a policy regarding the testing of LEP students. The policy must include all of the following assurances:
Test administration to an LEP student is made on an individual basis.
Information on academic and English proficiency data is documented.
Test results may not be used as sole criterion in re-classifying an LEP student from a bilingual-bicultural education program or in determining grade promotion, eligibility for courses or programs, eligibility for graduation or eligibility for participation in postsecondary education opportunities.
Exemption of an LEP student from taking a test may not be used as the sole criterion in determining grade promotion, eligibility for courses or programs, eligibility for graduation or eligibility for participation in postsecondary education opportunities.
Test or Alternate Assessment Administration
A school board and charter school shall make case-by-case determinations as to whether an LEP student shall take a test or an alternate assessment. A school board and charter school may not exempt LEP students from academic assessments based on their LEP status.
A school board and charter school shall administer a test to an LEP student unless a determination has been made that the results of the test, with allowable accommodations made for the student as needed, will not be a valid and reliable indicator of the student’s academic knowledge and skills.
A school board and charter school that exempts an LEP student from taking a test shall provide a department-approved alternate assessment for that student.
A school board and charter school shall administer tests, alternate assessments or both to an LEP student as follows:
Students at English proficiency levels 1 or 2 shall participate in an alternate assessment even if these students participate in a test. This does not apply to students at English proficiency levels 1 or 2 who have attended school in the first grade or any higher grade in the United States, not including Puerto Rico, for 3 or more full consecutive school years.
Students at English proficiency levels 1 or 2 who have attended school in the first grade or any higher grade in the United States, not including Puerto Rico, for 3 or more full consecutive school years shall participate in academic assessment of reading and English language arts using tests written in English. However, a school district or charter school may continue, for no more than 2 additional consecutive school years, to assess such a student with an alternate assessment if the school district or charter school determines, on a case-by-case basis, that the student has not reached a level of English language proficiency sufficient for the tests written in English to yield valid and reliable information about what the student knows and can do.
An alternate assessment shall be approved by the department and shall be provided in each assessed subject area as the test.
A school board and charter school that includes an LEP student in a test shall provide testing accommodations, if the student needs such accommodations. Any accommodations made shall maintain the validity of the test and may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
Translator. Provide the assistance of a qualified translator to translate instructions or read items from tests that do not assess English language competency.
Small group or individual test. Provide small group or individual testing opportunities.
Additional practice tests. Provide more practice tests or examples before the actual test is administered.
Educational aids. Allow LEP students to use dictionaries and other educational aids while taking the test unless this use would invalidate the test.
Additional time. Allow students as much time as necessary to complete the test.
Other. Allow any other method approved by the department.
What instructional programs are available for ELLs?
Annually, each school board counts the LEP students in the public schools of the district, assesses the language proficiency of such students and classifies such students by language group, grade level, age and English language proficiency. Wis. Stat. § 115.96(1).
Annually, the school board establishes a bilingual-bicultural education program, if required. A bilingual-bicultural education program shall provide: instruction in reading, writing and speaking the English language and instruction through the native language in the subjects necessary to progress effectively through the educational system. Wis. Stat. § 115.96(4).
A pupil shall be eligible for a bilingual-bicultural education program only until he or she is able to perform ordinary class work in English. The bilingual-bicultural education program shall be designed to provide intensive instruction to meet this objective. Wis. Stat. § 115.97.
A school board may combine students in attendance at separate schools in its bilingual-bicultural education program. Wis. Stat. § 115.97.
Statutes and Regulations
Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 115 – Subchapter VII Bilingual-Bicultural Education http://legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/stat0115.pdf
Helpful documents or links
Wisconsin DPI Bilingual/ESL Program – http://dpi.wi.gov/english-learners (visited 02/06/2016)
Does Wisconsin have any state policy on ability grouping?
Special Education Requirements
That a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) is available to all children with disabilities who are 3-21 years of age and who reside in Wisconsin.
The identification, location, and evaluation of all children, including children enrolled in private schools, from birth until 22 years of age, who are in need of special education and related services.
The Division for Learning Support is responsible for:
Ensuring that all children with disabilities who are not yet 22 years of age, including children who are not yet 3 years of age, who reside in Wisconsin and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located and evaluated.
Ensuring that a FAPE is available to all children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21 who reside in Wisconsin, including children who are suspended or expelled from school.
Developing and implementing a practical method to determine which children with disabilities are receiving special education and related services.
Wisconsin State Policies and Procedures – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_idea (visited 02/06/2016)
Administrative Code on Special Education – http://legis.wisconsin.gov/rsb/code/pi/pi011.pdf
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Links:
Special Education Index – http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/topics
Special Education Programs and Initiatives – http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/program
Special Education Laws/Procedures/Bulletins – http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/laws-procedures-bulletins
Wisconsin Council on Special Education – http://sped.dpi.wi.gov/sped_council
Parent-Educator Initiative Information Especially For Parents- http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/families
Does the state require schools to have Gifted & Talented programs? Are there any admission requirements?
Identification of gifted or talented students. Identification shall occur in kindergarten through grade 12 in general intellectual ability and specific academic, leadership, creativity, and visual and performing arts.
Free access. The school board shall provide access, without charge for tuition, to appropriate programming for pupils identified as gifted or talented.
Parental participation. The school board shall provide an opportunity for parental participation in the identification and resultant programming.
Wisconsin DPI Gifted and Talented – http://dpi.wi.gov/families-students/programs-initiatives/gifted-talented (visited 02/06/2016)
Common Core Standards
Wisconsin adopted the Common Core State Standards as the new Wisconsin Standards for English language arts and mathematics. The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics are:
English Language Arts: The English Language Arts features: (1) building knowledge through literature, content-rich nonfiction, and informational texts, (2) reading and writing based in evidence from the text, and (3) regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary.
Mathematics: With the Common Core State Standards students will focus on 2-3 topics in each grade. The concepts will be logically connected between grades. The Common Core State Standards will be rigorous including: (1) fluency with arithmetic, (2) application of knowledge to real world situations, and (3) a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.
Wisconsin has also adopted Standards for Literacy in All Subjects. This focuses on the literacy skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking.
Wisconsin DPI Learning Standards — http://dpi.wi.gov/standards
Core Common Standards Initiative — http://www.corestandards.org/
Next Generation Science Standards — http://achieve.org/blognextgenscience%20
SCASS for Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction — http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Programs/Social_Studies_Assessment_Curriculum_and_Instruction_(SSACI).html
Social Studies – 3 Credits (Includes state and local government.)
Mathematics – 3 Credits
Science – 3 Credits
Physical Education – 1.5 Credits
Health Education – .5 Credits
Community Service. A school board may require a student to participate in community service activities in order to receive a high school diploma. Wis. Stat. § 118.33(2)(c).
Alternative Education Program. A school board may grant a high school diploma to a student who has not satisfied the requirements listed above if the student was enrolled in an alternative education program and the school board determines that the student has demonstrated a level of proficiency in the subjects listed above equivalent to what he or she would have attained if he or she had satisfied all of the above requirements. Wis. Stat. § 118.33(2)(d).
Alternative Methods. A school board shall provide alternative methods of attaining a high school diploma for those students who are unlikely to graduate in the traditional manner, including a program allowing a student or former student to retake a course in which he or she was not initially successful. Wis. Stat. § 119.16(12).
Wisconsin GED Program – http://dpi.wi.gov/ged (visited 02/06/2016)
STATE PARENT INFORMATION RESOURCE CENTERS
In Wisconsin, Parents Plus is a statewide Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC) established to bring parental education and assistance to families and promote stronger school-family partnerships as a means to increase the academic achievement of Wisconsin’s children.
The mission of Parents Plus is to educate, train, and support parents, educators, service providers, and community members throughout Wisconsin to strengthen families, promote student success, and achieve optimal childhood outcomes.
Wisconsin State PIRC – Parents Plus
728 N. James Lovell
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Additional Contact Information
Wisconsin Statutes – http://legis.wisconsin.gov/rsb/stats.html
Wisconsin DPI, Administrative Code – http://legis.wisconsin.gov/rsb/code.htm
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
125 S. Webster Street, P.O. Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
Office for Civil Rights, Chicago Office
U.S. Department of Education
500 W. Madison St., Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661-7204