Laws Related to Student Discipline and Disabled Students
SRJC Faculty, staff,
and administrators need to be aware of their own rights as well as legal responsibilities
in dealing with concerning student behavior. It is everyone’s responsibility
to maintain a safe and uninterrupted learning environment.
The following principles,
derived from law and policy, are important to note in using disciplinary action with
disruptive student behavior:
- California residents have a fundamental right
to education from elementary through secondary school; however, they do not have
a fundamental right to attend a post-secondary institution. Community colleges are
required to admit only those students who can benefit from instruction.
and state laws prevent discrimination based on disability, which means that students
with physical or mental disabilities cannot be held to different standards. The existence
of a disability diagnosis is not sufficient grounds to exclude someone from college.
Likewise, students may not be excluded from college based on the anticipation or
predication of inappropriate behavior.
- Behavior, not diagnosis, is the standard to be used
regarding inclusion or exclusion of students. The following laws are relevant to
disruptive student behavior:
Laws Protecting the Student
There are numerous civil
rights laws protecting individuals with disabilities in the United States. Sections
504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as the Americans with Disabilities
Act, are directly relevant to us at SRJC. The short and direct version of our responsibility
comes from Title II of the ADA:
No qualified individual with a disability shall be
excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs,
or activities of a public entity.
Post secondary institutions must take steps to
ensure that students with disabilities are not excluded from programs because of
the absence of education auxiliary aids or modifications to make the programs and
It is the policy of Santa Rosa Junior College to comply with
and fulfill the requirements of all laws pertaining to students with disabilities.
The SRJC Board of Trustees approved Student Conduct Standards and Due Process/Discipline
Procedures, which includes the procedure for a student to file a complaint, including
a complaint about a disciplinary action and/or discrimination.
Laws Protecting the
The laws pertaining to disciplining community college students for “willfully
disrupting the orderly operation of the campus” is covered in several Education
- The Board of Trustees is required to adopt rules governing student
behavior (Ed. Code, Section 66300).
- The Chief Administrative Officer has
the authority to take disciplinary action against a student found guilty of willfully
disrupting the campus by the college body (Ed. Code, Section 66017).
action may include but need not be limited to, suspension, dismissal or expulsion.
- Authority is also given for immediate interim suspension of the student pending a hearing which should be held within 10 days.
- Instructors have the authority to suspend a student (Ed. Code, Section 76031).
- The governing board has the authority
to expel a student (Ed. Code, Section 76031).
- A student can only be disciplined
for conduct related to college activity or attendance (Ed. Code, Section 76035).
only reason for suspension or expulsion of a student is for “good cause”,
which is to be determined by a hearing of the college body (Ed. Code, Sections 76032
- “Good cause” includes but is not limited to the following
offenses: continued willful disobedience, persistent abuse of profanity or vulgarity,
open and persistent defiance of the authority of , or any threat of force or violence
upon a student or college personnel, willful misconduct which results in injury,
or damage to personal property owned by the district; use, sale, possession or under
the influence of narcotics, hallucinogenic drugs or substances or any poison classified
as such by schedule D, section 4160 of the Business and Professions Code; willful
or persistent smoking in prohibited areas; and persistent serious misconduct where
other means of correction have failed to bring about proper conduct (Ed. Code, Section
- Whenever a minor is suspended the parents or legal guardians must
be notified in writing by the chief administrative officer. When instructors suspend
a student who is a minor, they must request a parent conference as soon as possible
(Ed. Code, Section 76036).
- Employees of the community college district are
required to report to law enforcement authorities whenever any employee is attacked,
assaulted, or menaced by a student (Ed. Code, Section 87014).
Penal Code, sections 626.4 and 626.6, allows the chief administrative officer or
designee (District Police Officer) to withdraw consent for an individual to remain
on District properties. The disruption must be material and substantial.
Mental Health Service Act, section 5150 (Welfare and Institutions code) states that
a person who is a danger to him/her self or others, or is gravely disabled may be
taken against his/her will by a peace officer to a designated mental health facility
In summary, the sole basis for imposing disciplinary sanctions on
a student is the student’s behavior, not whether the student has a disability.
Where the disruptive behavior of the student has been properly documented, the law
allows, and, in some situations, mandates that action be taken.
For more information
about SRJC’s Discipline Procedures, please see the Student