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Decision Number
Good Conduct Discipline
Stephanie Vickroy
Knoxville Community School District
Full Text

Ms. Vickroy seeks reversal of the decision of the local board of directors of the Knoxville School District to uphold the administrative finding that Colton violated the District's good conduct policy. Colton S. is a junior and has participated in four interscholastic sports on behalf of Knoxville-High School.

Ms. Vickroy disputes that Colton was using tobacco and argues that there was not a preponderance of evidence that Colton was using tobacco. She also argues that Colton did not receive all the process due to him because he was not searched and because he was sanctioned under the good conduct policy in the absence of any citation from law enforcement.

Knoxville has a good conduct policy, proscribing certain behaviors for its secondary students who participate in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports. Among the prohibited conduct is possession and use of any tobacco product.

There is simply no requirement limiting a school's ability to discipline students when no criminal charge is involved. In fact, schools may punish students for misbehavior that does not violate the criminal code.

A school can ? purposefully or inadvertently ? create additional rights not otherwise imposed by the law if the school's own policies include additional protections for a student. That is not the case here. Nothing in the school's policy prohibits school officials from imposing discipline in the absence of a citation from law enforcement. To the contrary, the policy puts a student and his parents on notice that the school may act on "credible information to support a determination that it is more likely than not the student violated the Good Conduct rule." Colton received all the process that was due him. He had no confusion about what violation he allegedly committed and he was given several opportunities before several administrators and, eventually, the local school board, to tell his story. The evidence was credible and sufficient for the local school board to uphold the finding that Colton violated the good conduct policy by using chewing tobacco at school.

The decision of the Board of Directors of the Knoxville Community School District made on December 12, 2011, finding that Colton S. committed his third violation of the District's good conduct rule, is AFFIRMED.