State law discourages district use of zero tolerance approaches and encourages school administrator discretion in determining sanctions for violations of school policy.
Minnesota Statutes 121A.55 Policies to be established.
(a) The commissioner of education shall promulgate guidelines to assist each school board. Each school board shall establish uniform criteria for dismissal and adopt written policies and rules to effectuate the purposes of sections 121A.40 to 121A.56. The policies shall emphasize preventing dismissals through early detection of problems and shall be designed to address students’ inappropriate behavior from recurring. The policies shall recognize the continuing responsibility of the school for the education of the pupil during the dismissal period. The alternative educational services, if the pupil wishes to take advantage of them, must be adequate to allow the pupil to make progress towards meeting the graduation Standard adopted under section 120B.02 and help prepare the pupil for readmission.
Minnesota Statutes 121A.575 Alternatives to pupil suspension
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary and in accordance with sections 121A.40 to 121A.56, after a school administration notifies a pupil of the grounds for suspension, the school administration may, instead of imposing the suspension, do one or more of the following:
- (1) strongly encourage a parent or guardian of the pupil to attend school with the pupil for one day;
- (2) assign the pupil to attend school on Saturday as supervised by the principal or the principal’s designee; and
- (3) petition the juvenile court that the student is in need of services under chapter 260C.
Minnesota Statutes 121A.61 Discipline and removal of students from class
Subd. 3. Policy components.— The policy must include at least the following components: (a) rules governing student conduct and procedures for informing students of the rules;
(b) the grounds for removal of a student from a class;
(c) the authority of the classroom teacher to remove students from the classroom pursuant to procedures and rules established in the district’s policy;
(d) the procedures for removal of a student from a class by a teacher, school administrator, or other school district employee;
(e) the period of time for which a student may be removed from a class, which may not exceed five class periods for a violation of a rule of conduct;
(f) provisions relating to the responsibility for and custody of a student removed from a class;
(g) the procedures for return of a student to the specified class from which the student has been removed;
(h) the procedures for notifying a student and the student’s parents or guardian of violations of the rules of conduct and of resulting disciplinary actions;
(i) any procedures determined appropriate for encouraging early involvement of parents or guardians in attempts to improve a student’s behavior;
(j) any procedures determined appropriate for encouraging early detection of behavioral problems;
(k) any procedures determined appropriate for referring a student in need of special education services to those services;
(1) the procedures for consideration of whether there is a need for a further assessment or of whether there is a need for a review of the adequacy of a current individualized education program of a student with a disability who is removed from class;
(m) procedures for detecting and addressing chemical abuse problems of a student while on the school premises;
(n) the minimum consequences for violations of the code of conduct;
(o) procedures for immediate and appropriate interventions tied to violations of the code;
(p) a provision that states that a teacher, school employee, school bus driver, or other agent of a district may use reasonable force in compliance with section 121A.582 and other laws;
(q) an agreement regarding procedures to coordinate crisis services to the extent funds are available with the county board responsible for implementing sections 245.487 to 245.4889 for students with a serious emotional disturbance or other students who have an individualized education program whose behavior may be addressed by crisis intervention; and
(r) a provision that states a student must be removed from class immediately if the student engages in assault or violent behavior. For purposes of this paragraph, “assault” has the meaning given it in section 609.02, subdivision 10. The removal shall be for a period of time deemed appropriate by the principal, in consultation with the teacher.