State law discourages district use of zero tolerance approaches and encourages school administrator discretion in determining sanctions for violations of school policy.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-258. Administrative and teaching personnel; authorized actions.
Administrative and teaching personnel may take actions regarding student behavior, other than those specifically provided in the Student Discipline Act, which are reasonably necessary to aid the student, further school purposes, or prevent interference with the educational process. Such actions may include, but need not be limited to, counseling of students, parent conferences, referral to restorative justice practices or services, rearrangement of schedules, requirements that a student remain in school after regular hours to do additional work, restriction of extracurricular activity, or requirements that a student receive counseling, psychological evaluation, or psychiatric evaluation upon the written consent of a parent or guardian to such counseling or evaluation.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-262. School board or board of education; rules and Standard; establish; distribute and post; review with county attorney.
(1) The school board or board of education shall establish and promulgate rules and Standard concerning student conduct which are reasonably necessary to carry out or to prevent interference with carrying out any educational function, if such rules and Standard are clear and definite so as to provide clear notice to the student and his or her parent or guardian as to the conduct prescribed, prohibited, or required under the rules and Standard. Notwithstanding any other provisions contained in the Student Discipline Act, the school board or board of education may by rule specify a particular action as a sanction for particular conduct. Any such action must be otherwise authorized by section 79-258, 79-265, or 79-267. Any such rule shall be binding on all students, school officials, board members, and hearing examiners. Expulsion may be specified as a sanction for particular conduct only if the school board or board of education finds that the type of conduct for which expulsion is specified has the potential to seriously affect the health, safety, or welfare of the student, other students, staff members, or any other person or to otherwise seriously interfere with the educational process. On or before August 1 of each year, all school boards shall annually review in collaboration with the county attorney of the county in which the principal office of the school district is located the rules and Standard concerning student conduct adopted by the school board and the provisions of section 79-267 to define conduct which the principal or designee is required to report to law enforcement under section 79-293.
Nebraska Revised Statutes 79-265. Principal; suspend student; grounds; procedure; written statement; conference; guidelines for completion of classwork.
(1) The principal may deny any student the right to attend school or to take part in any school function for a period of up to five school days on the following grounds:
- (a) Conduct constituting grounds for expulsion as set out in the Student Discipline Act; or
- (b) Any other violation of rules and Standard of behavior adopted under the act.
(2) Such short-term suspension shall be made only after the principal has made an investigation of the alleged conduct or violation and has determined that such suspension is necessary to help any student, to further school purposes, or to prevent an interference with school purposes.
(3) Before such short-term suspension takes effect, the student shall be given oral or written notice of the charges against him or her, an explanation of the evidence the authorities have, and an opportunity to present his or her version.
(4) Within twenty-four hours or such additional time as is reasonably necessary following such suspension, the principal shall send a written statement to the student and his or her parent or guardian describing the student’s conduct, misconduct, or violation of the rule or standard and the reasons for the action taken. The principal shall make a reasonable effort to hold a conference with the parent or guardian before or at the time the student returns to school.
(5) Any student who is suspended pursuant to this section may be given an opportunity to complete any classwork, including, but not limited to, examinations, missed during the period of suspension. Each public school district shall develop and adopt guidelines stating the criteria school officials shall use in determining whether and to what extent such opportunity for completion will be granted to suspended students. The guidelines shall be provided to the student and parent or guardian at the time of suspension.