4091b - Weapons Possession & Gangs Participation
Students, staff, and community neighbors and visitors are entitled to an environment at school, on school property or district approved transportation, and at school sponsored activities that is safe, conducive to learning, and free from disruptive behavior, threats and/or violence.
Piute School District believes that many of those kinds of actions (disruptive and violent behavior) cannot be tolerated. Often such behavior is associated with societal problems, can be gang related and may be ritualistic with gang participation. Therefore, the District has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward gang participation and gang related activities that threaten, intimidate, coerce, force, do bodily harm to another student, staff, and/or visitor in the school, on school property, on the school bus or other District approved transportation, at school sponsored functions, and within 1,000 feet of above locations.
Section 8001 of federal law regarding the Gun Free Schools Act of 1994 and Utah H.B. 209 (passed 3/1/94, approved 3/21/94., effective 7/1/94) state the following: "A student may be suspended or expelled from a public school during the school year for any of the following reasons.
a. Behavior or threatened behavior that poses an immediate and significant threat to the welfare, safety, or morals of other students or school personnel, or to the operation of the school.
b. Any serious violation affecting another student or a staff member, or occurring in a building, in or on school property, or in conjunction with any school activity, including the possession of a weapon, explosive, or flammable material under Section 53A-502 State Code 53A-11-904.
c. A student who is found to have brought a weapon (as defined under section 921 of title 18, United States Code) to school or to a school supervised activity or to be in possession of such weapon at school or when involved in any school supervised activity shall be expelled from school for a period of not less than one year. The superintendent, or superintendent's designee, may modify the expulsion requirement for a student on a case by case basis. "A suspension or expulsion under this section is not subject to the age limitations under subsection 53A-11102."
Piute School District administrators and designees shall have authority to identify student behavior as gang-related and dangerous to students and staff. Administrators should follow the Suspension and Expulsion Policy.
Administrators are cautioned to act consistently with and be sensitive to constitutional protections of freedom of expression and freedom of association.
Students and parents should also be informed that courts have determined that parameters of freedom of expression and association in a public school setting are different from society generally.
"Gang" means a group of people who form an allegiance and engage in a range of antisocial behaviors that may include violent or unlawful activity or both. These groups may have a name, turf, colors, symbols, or distinct dress, or any combination of the preceding characteristics.
"Gang-Related Activity" means an activity or action approved by the gang (as defined by above statement) whether against District policy or not. The act may be a requirement of gang membership such as an initiation or it may simply be accepted gang behavior. It may be done to intimidate or threaten or harm non-members or used to coerce unwilling persons into joining the gang for protection. It may threaten the safety of the surrounding premises or persons.
IV. SEARCH AND SEIZURE
Searches of lockers, desk, or any other school owned property may be conducted by proper school authority where there is reasonable suspicion that weapons will be found.
Personal searches for weapons may be conducted by the school principal, vice-principal (or designee), by District Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent (or designee) if there are reasonable grounds prior to the search.
The District and/or the school has the authority and an obligation to confiscate any weapon as identified in Section V.I. below) of this policy.
Confiscated weapons will become the property of law enforcement agency/officer and may be used as evidence against the violator of this policy.
V. RECORDS OF VIOLATIONS
Violations of the safe-school policies of Piute School District and the State of Utah will result in suspension, expulsion, and/or court referral.
Violations which will result in disciplinary action include, but are not limited to:
- Possessing, using, selling, or attempting to sell any firearm, smoke bomb, tear gas canister, incendiary device, flammable liquid, cigarette lighter, knife, explosive device, fireworks, chemical weapon, martial arts weapon, or other dangerous weapon (Utah Code 53A-3-502) in or on any District owned or operated building or property, or within 1,000 feet of same property, in any District approved vehicle transporting students, or at any District/school sponsored activity or function, whether or not the actions occurred during regular school hours or on school property. Strict disciplinary action will be taken for first-time violation of the gang participation policy involving weapons of the kinds named above and/or devices altered or modified so as to be used as a weapon.
- Participation in gangs or in gang-related activities in any of the locations or situations named above (1) will result in immediate disciplinary action which may include suspension, expulsion, court referral, and/or arrest.
- Wearing or displaying any identifiable gang or gang-related hand signals, insignia, clothing, uniforms, colors, related items in any of the locations or situations named above (1) will result in disciplinary action as determined by the restrictions established by individual schools in the District.
Discipline may include, but is not limited to, any, or all, of the following: 1) requiring student to remove items in Weapons Possession, Gangs, Gang Participation Policy Continued violation, 2) confiscating items in violation, 3) removing student from campus/classes until acceptable clothing can be found 4) paying for damage, including vandalism or graffiti, 5), suspension, 6) expulsion.
Items of clothing/accessories that are acknowledged as being worn to identify individuals with particular gangs are prohibited from locations and situations identified above (1). These clothes/accessories include, but are not limited to the following:
a)colored rags, bandannas, handkerchiefs
b)clothing or hats displaying gang names initials, nicknames or insignias used as part of gang attire
c) jewelry: necklaces, earrings, rings that puncture/clamp skin on face/nose/body, finger rings, accessories that identify wearer with gang membership.
Violators of this policy will be suspended/expelled according to the procedures in Piute School District Policy: Suspension and Expulsion 4091.
Policy violations become part of student's permanent records. The record of violations is cumulative, grades 6-12, and will include date, type of violation, and disciplinary action taken. This information may be accessed by the court or by law enforcement officers.