Students in the elementary and secondary schools of the Diocese of Harrisburg are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects favorably on themselves, their families, and their schools. Students are expected to have respect and to show consideration to the other students in the school and to the administration, faculty, and staff. They are to cooperate to create a harmonious school atmosphere.
Students are to recognize their individual responsibilities as a condition for their acceptance into the school and their fulfillment of them as a condition for their remaining at the school.
Students are expected to conduct themselves inside and outside of school and at school-sponsored activities in a manner that reflects the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. Failure to do this may result in disciplinary action, including expulsion.
Students may be suspended from school for an accumulation of numerous minor offenses or for any serious offense ( e.g., truancy, vandalism, insubordination, use of alcohol or drugs, etc.). Parents are to be notified orally that day and in a written communication within forty-eight hours of the suspension. Parents/guardians may be required to meet with school authorities in order for the student to be readmitted to classes. The suspension is to be given for a specified period of time. At the discretion
of school authorities, the suspension may be served in school or out of school depending upon the circumstances of the situation.
After two suspensions in a single year, a student may be expelled for any further serious infractions of the rules or regulations of the school. A letter stating this fact is to be sent to the parents/guardians.
All diocesan Catholic schools shall attempt to form you people in ways of the Lord Jesus. If a student is unwilling or unable to abide by the rules and regulations of a diocesan Catholic school and either breaks the rules consistently or does something of a very serious nature, he/she may be expelled.
The following are examples of reasons students may be expelled:
1. Proven moral delinquency which has a negative influence on other students;
2. Incorrigible behavior which undermines classroom discipline;
3. Persistent truancy;
4. Deliberate violation of a school rule or regulation for which the clearly promulgated penalty is expulsion. Clear promulgation requires written notification to students and parents, e.g., via Student Handbook and/or Newsletter;
5. Serious acts of violence, the possession of a dangerous weapon, the attempt to sell drugs.
The Principal of the school is the one who has the authority to expel a student. If the student is a member of one of the Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Principal is first to inform the student’s Pastor. In all cases, the Superintendent of Schools is to be consulted before the expulsion takes place.
When a student is guilty of an action which merits the punishment of expulsion, the school authorities are to arrange a meeting with the parents/guardians and the student. At this time, the facts of the case are to be presented and the decision of the Principal made known to the parents/guardians who may be given the opportunity to withdraw the student from school in lieu of his/her expulsion. If the parents/guardians choose not to withdraw the student, the Principal must inform parents in writing that the student is expelled and that they have the right to appeal this decision to a review board. The expelled student cannot attend classes during the appeal process.
APPEAL PROCEDURE FOR EXPULSION
Parents/guardians have the right to appeal the expulsion of their student to a special review board.
In an interparochial school, the Review Board shall consist of a committee of the Board of Education of the school. In a single parish school, the Review Board of Appeal shall consist of a committee of the Board of Education if one is functioning. Otherwise, a special board, consisting of members of Parish Pastoral Council and other at large members, shall be formed to hear such matters. Under no circumstances, shall any of the members of the Board of Review have an involvement in the case; e.g., the Pastor, Principal, teacher or relative of the student.
The task of the Board of Review is to hear both sides of the case, viz., the administration’s and the student’s, and to render an impartial judgment whether or not the proper procedures were followed.
A written notice of the expulsion shall inform the parents/guardians and the student that the decision of expulsion may be appealed and how the appeal is to be made.
The following points should be included in an appeal procedure:
1. The parents/guardians have ten days from the receipt of the expulsion notice within which to request an appeal
2. The request must be made in writing and is to be addressed to the Chairperson of the Review Board.
3. The hearing is to be held as soon as conveniently possible for all parties concerned.
4. The hearing is conducted for the purpose of ascertaining the facts in the case and rendering an impartial judgment that proper procedures were followed.
a. Only those persons involved in some pertinent way can be present at the hearing.
b. The Review Board is to allow each side to present its case, ask questions and, then in private, discuss their findings and come to a decision.
c. In the event that the Review Board finds that proper procedures had not been followed, a recommendation may be made that the school authorities repeal their decision of expulsion.