CHAPTER 236

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 262

AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 14 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE AUTHORITY OF SCHOOL TEACHERS AND SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS TO CONTROL THE DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR OF STUDENTS AND TO DISCIPLINE OR PUNISH STUDENTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :

Section 1. Amend §701, Title 14 of the Delaware Code by striking §701 in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§701. Authority of teachers and administrators to control the disruptive behavior of students.

(a) 'Disruptive behavior' includes conduct that is so unruly, disruptive, or abusive that it seriously interferes with a school teacher's or school administrator's ability to communicate with the students in a classroom, with a student's ability to learn, or with the operation of a school or a school-sponsored activity.

(b) While a student is entrusted in their care or supervision, public school teachers and administrators have the same authority to control the behavior of the student and to discipline or punish the student as a parent, custodian, guardian, or other person similarly responsible for the care and supervision of the student. The authority includes (1) removing a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, and (2) rendering corporal punishment where deemed reasonable and necessary. If corporal punishment is deemed necessary, it must be administered reasonably and in accordance with State or local board of education policy.

(c) When a teacher removes a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity in an effort to control the student's disruptive behavior, an on-site school administrator may, upon a written showing of good cause, override the teacher's decision to remove the student from the classroom or school-sponsored activity. Before overriding a teacher's decision, the administrator shall strongly presume that the teacher's decision to remove the student was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.

(d) When a student is removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, or is disciplined or punished pursuant to this section, the principal, or the principal's designee, shall afford the student appropriate due process as required by the federal and State constitutions.

(e) When a student is removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, the principal, or the principal's designee, and the removing teacher shall determine if and when a student may be readmitted to the classroom or school-sponsored activity. If the teacher and principal, or principal's designee, cannot agree, the superintendent, or the superintendent's designee, shall make the determination.

(f) When a teacher or school administrator removes a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, or disciplines or punishes a student, a rebuttable presumption exists that the teacher or administrator acted reasonably, in good faith, and in accordance with State or local board of education policy. The burden of overcoming the presumption shall be upon the student.

(g) Each local board of education shall establish, adopt, publish, and distribute to students in the district and their parents or guardians policy or standards that:

(1) specify the general circumstances under which a student may be removed from a classroom or school-sponsored activity, consistent with a teacher's ultimate authority to determine disruptive behavior and to remove a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity.

(2) specify the circumstances under which a student may receive corporal punishment; and

(3) further define and/or provide examples of 'disruptive behavior' set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(h) A district shall not establish or adopt a policy or standards that prohibit the removal of a student from a classroom or school-sponsored activity. However, a district may ban corporal punishment.

(i) This Act may be cited as the 'Teacher Classroom Control Act'."

Section 2. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Approved July 30,1999