State law prohibits the sale, possession, or use of alcohol or controlled substances on school grounds or at school-related events.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-5-1003. Educator's obligations to students.
(a) An educator shall strive to help each student realize the student's potential as a worthy and effective member of society. An educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.
(b) In fulfillment of this obligation to the student, an educator shall:
- (1) Abide by all applicable federal and state laws;
- (2) Not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning;
- (3) Provide the student with professional education services in a nondiscriminatory manner and in consonance with accepted best practices known to the educator;
- (4) Respect the constitutional rights of the student;
- (5) Not unreasonably deny the student access to varying points of view;
- (6) Not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student's progress;
- (7) Make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety;
- (8) Make reasonable effort to protect the emotional well-being of the student;
- (9) Not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement;
- (10) Not on the basis of race; color; creed; disability; sex; national origin; marital status; political or religious beliefs; family, social, or cultural background; or sexual orientation, unfairly:
- (A) Exclude the student from participation in any program;
- (B) Deny benefits to the student; or
- (C) Grant any advantage to the student;
- (11) Not use the educator's professional relationship with the student for private advantage;
- (12) Not disclose information about the student obtained in the course of the educator's professional service, unless disclosure of the information is permitted, serves a compelling professional purpose, or is required by law;
- (13) Not knowingly make false or malicious statements about students or colleagues;
- (14) Ensure interactions with the student take place in transparent and appropriate settings;
- (15) Not engage in any sexually related behavior with the student, whether verbal, written, physical, or electronic, with or without the student's consent. Sexually related behavior includes, but is not limited to, behaviors such as making sexual jokes or sexual remarks; engaging in sexual kidding, sexual teasing, or sexual innuendo; pressuring the student for dates or sexual favors; engaging in inappropriate physical touching, groping, or grabbing; kissing; rape; threatening physical harm; and committing sexual assault;
- (16) Not furnish alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs to the student;
- (17) Strive to prevent the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs by the student when the student is under the educator's supervision on school or LEA premises, during school activities, or in any private setting;
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3401. Suspension of students — Expulsion of students — Exception for self-defense.
- (1) It is the legislative intent that if a rule or policy is designated as a zero tolerance policy, then violations of that rule or policy must not be tolerated and violators shall receive certain, swift, and proportionate punishment.
- (2) Notwithstanding other provisions of this section or any other law, a student shall be considered in violation of a zero tolerance offense and shall be expelled for a period of not less than one (1) calendar year, except that the director of schools may modify this expulsion on a case-by-case basis for the following:
- (A) A student brings to school or is in unauthorized possession on school property of a firearm, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921;
- (B) A student commits aggravated assault as defined in § 39-13-102 or commits an assault that results in bodily injury as defined in § 39-13-101(a)(1) upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of an LEA, or a school resource officer; or
- (C) A student is in unlawful possession of any drug, including any controlled substance, as defined in §§ 39-17-402 — 39-17-415, controlled substance analogue, as defined by § 39-17-454, or legend drug, as defined by § 53-10-101, on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.
- (3) Nothing in this section prohibits the assignment of students who are subject to expulsion from school to an alternative school.
- (4) Disciplinary policies and procedures for all other student offenses, including terms of suspensions and expulsions, must be determined by local board of education policy.
- (5) For purposes of this subsection (g):
- (A) “Expelled” means removal from the student's regular school program at the location where the violation occurred or removal from school attendance altogether, as determined by the school official; and
- (B) “Zero tolerance offense” means an offense committed by a student requiring the student to be expelled from school for at least one (1) calendar year that can only be modified on a case-by-case basis by the director of schools or the head of a charter school.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4002. Discipline policy — Code of conduct.
(a) Each local board of education and charter school governing body shall adopt a discipline policy to apply to the students in each school operated by the LEA or charter school governing body.
(b) The director of schools or head of the charter school is responsible for overall implementation and supervision, and each school principal is responsible for administration and implementation of a code of conduct within the principal's school.
(c) In developing a discipline policy, the local board of education or charter school governing body shall seek recommendations from parents, employees of the LEA or charter school, law enforcement personnel, and youth-related agencies in the community.
(d) Each discipline policy or code of conduct must contain the type of behavior expected from each student, the consequences of failure to obey the Standard, and the importance of the Standard to the maintenance of a safe learning environment where orderly learning is possible and encouraged. Each policy must address:
- (1) Language used by students;
- (2) Respect for all school employees;
- (3) Fighting, threats, bullying, cyberbullying, and hazing by students;
- (4) Possession of weapons on school property or at school functions;
- (5) Transmission by electronic device of any communication containing a credible threat to cause bodily injury or death to another student or school employee;
- (6) Damage to the property or person of others;
- (7) Misuse or destruction of school property;
- (8) Sale, distribution, use, or being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia;
- (9) Student conduct on school property, conduct in classes, and conduct on school buses; and
- (10) Other subjects that a local board of education or a charter school governing body chooses to include.
(e) Each local discipline policy must indicate that the following offenses are zero tolerance offenses:
- (1) Unauthorized possession on school property of a firearm, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921;
- (2) Aggravated assault as defined in § 39-13-102 upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of an LEA, or a school resource officer;
- (3) Assault that results in bodily injury as defined in § 39-13-101(a)(1) upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of an LEA, or a school resource officer; and
- (4) Unlawful possession of any drug, including any controlled substance, as defined in §§ 39-17-402 — 39-17-415, controlled substance analogue, as defined by § 39-17-454, or legend drug, as defined by § 53-10-101 on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event.
(f) Each local board of education and charter school governing body may adopt a discipline policy that promotes positive behavior and includes evidence-based practices to respond effectively to misbehavior and minimize a student's time away from school.
(g) Each discipline policy or code of conduct must state that a teacher, principal, school employee, or school bus driver may use reasonable force in compliance with § 49-6-4107.
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-4202. Part definitions.
As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
- (1) “Dangerous weapon” or “weapon” means any dangerous instrument or substance that is capable of inflicting any injury on any person;
- (2) “Drug” means any controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, marijuana, alcohol, legend drug or any other substance the possession or use of which is regulated in any manner by any governmental authority, including the school system;
- (3) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind that are used, intended for use or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing into the human body a drug, as defined in subdivision (2). An electronic pager in the possession of a student shall be included in this definition if used or intended for use as defined by this subdivision (3);
- (4) “School” means all public schools that conduct classes in any grade from kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12);
- (5) “School principal” or “principal” means the administrative head of a public school, by whatever title the person may be known;
- (6) “School resource officer” means a law enforcement officer, as defined under § 39-11-106, who is in compliance with all laws, rules and regulations of the peace officers Standard and training commission and who has been assigned to a school in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the chief of the appropriate law enforcement agency and the LEA;
- (7) “Student” means any person, regardless of age, enrolled in the public school; and
- (8) “Visitor” means any person who is on school property, except for certificated personnel employed by the state or local board of education.