TECH Freire Charter School is a nonviolent community. This policy, approved by the school’s Board of Directors, mandates recommendation for expulsion for all acts of violence, including acts committed in self-defense or retaliation. A recommendation for expulsion will be made regardless of the circumstances surrounding any specific event or the disciplinary history or academic standing of any student involved. This policy extends to actions that occur through digital media such as texting, mobile applications, social networking sites, and email.
Students are expected to adhere to this policy at all times and in all places including:
- During school hours
- After school hours
- In the school building
- In the physical community/neighborhood
- During all school sponsored activities including field trips, sporting events (both at and away from the school) and at any other event where students are representing TECH Freire
The above list is intended only to provide examples and is not to be considered an exhaustive list.
Acts of violence include, but are in no way limited to, the following:
- Any type of striking or grabbing (punching, kicking, grappling, etc.)
- Throwing objects at another person
- Any other act that physically endangers or harms another person
- Threatening another person’s life or safety
- Bullying (as described in the TECH Freire Bullying Policy)
- Using abusive, derogatory or intimidating language towards another person
Other Actions that Break the Nonviolence Policy:
- Using violence to defend yourself or in retaliation
- Bringing, or threatening to bring, another person to school to fight someone
- Verbal or written threats made by a student’s family or friends that are directed towards a TECH Freire community member. This includes threats made face to face or over any type of media
- Possession of weapons – “including but not limited to, any knife, cutting instruments, cutting tools, nunchaku, firearm, shotgun, rifle, and any other tool or instrument capable of inflicting serious bodily injury” (ACT 26 of the 1995 Safe Schools Act)*
- Destruction of property
- Stealing/theft, and robbery
- Possession of, or attempt to distribute, any illegal substance*
*The law requires the school to report any of these violations to the authorities to determine whether criminal charges will be filed. The school will continue its internal disciplinary processes separately from the authorities.
The following steps will be taken if it is suspected that a student has broken the No Second Chances and Nonviolence Policy:
- A preliminary investigation will be conducted to determine if the Nonviolence Policy has been broken
- If it is determined that the Nonviolence Policy has been broken the following steps will be taken:
- Any student(s) who have broken the policy will be suspended.
- The Dean’s Office will conduct a full and thorough investigation.
- Upon a student returning to school from the suspension term, an Informal Hearing for the student will be held. The Informal Hearing will follow the procedure listed below:
- The student will have the opportunity to fully tell their part of the story.
- The student’s parent or guardian will have the opportunity to share their perspective.The Dean’s Office will present the evidence that has been collected during the investigation. This evidence may include:
- Statements from students involved in the incident
- Statements from students who witnessed the incident
- Statements from staff, students or community members that are relevant to the incident
- Any additional information found to be relevant
- Police report (if applicable)
- Once the Dean’s Office has provided the student and parent/guardian with the opportunity to fully share their story and the evidence collected during the investigation has been presented and discussed, the Dean’s Office must determine the answer to the following two questions:
- Did the student know about the Nonviolence Policy?
- Did the student break the Nonviolence Policy?
- Should the Dean’s Office find that the student both knew about and broke the Nonviolence Policy then the Dean’s Office is required to recommend the student for expulsion from the school.
PLEASE NOTE: A student is not formally expelled until after a formal expulsion hearing is held and the Board of Directors votes to expel the student. A recommendation from the Dean’s Office that a student be expelled is not a formal expulsion. See the section on Formal Hearings for more information.
- If a recommendation for expulsion is made by the Dean’s Office, the student and his/her parent/guardian will be provided with documentation detailing:
- Their rights and responsibilities as a student or a parent
- The formal hearing/expulsion policy and procedures
PLEASE NOTE: TECH Freire Charter School is a school of choice and a parent/guardian may decide to withdraw their student at any time. If a student recommended for expulsion is withdrawn from the school, the expulsion process ends entirely and the student’s academic record (“transcript”) legally cannot reference, mention, or disclose any disciplinary issues.