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North Carolina Public School Law

The Public School Law 115-C is available at the General Assembly site

The following topics are sections of school law that we are often asked about:

§ 115C-307. Duties of teachers.

a)To Maintain Order and Discipline. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to maintain good order and discipline in their respective schools. A teacher, student teacher, substitute teacher, voluntary teacher, or teacher assistant shall report to the principal acts of violence in school and students suspended or expelled from school as required to be reported in accordance with State Board policies.

(b) To Provide for General Well-Being of Students. - It shall be the duty of all teachers, including student teachers, substitute teachers, voluntary teachers, and teacher assistants when given authority over some part of the school program by the principal or supervising teacher, to encourage temperance, morality, industry, and neatness; to promote the health of all pupils, especially of children in the first three grades, by providing frequent periods of recreation, to supervise the play activities during recess, and to encourage wholesome exercises for all children.

(c) To Provide Some Medical Care to Students. - It is within the scope of duty of teachers, including substitute teachers, teacher assistants, student teachers or any other public school employee when given such authority by the board of education or its designee, (i) to administer any drugs or medication prescribed by a doctor upon written request of the parents, (ii) to give emergency health care when reasonably apparent circumstances indicate that any delay would seriously worsen the physical condition or endanger the life of the pupil, and (iii) to perform any other first aid or life saving techniques in which the employee has been trained in a program approved by the State Board of Education: provided that no one shall be required to administer drugs or medication or attend life saving techniques programs.

Any public school employee, authorized by the board of education or its designee to act under (i), (ii), or (iii) above, shall not be liable in civil damages for any such authorized act or for any omission relating to such act unless such act or omission amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing. Any person, serving in a voluntary position at the request of or with the permission or consent of the board of education or its designee, who has been given the authority by the board of education or its designee to act under (ii) above shall not be liable in civil damages for any such authorized act or for any omission relating to such act unless the act amounts to gross negligence, wanton conduct or intentional wrongdoing.

At the commencement of each school year, but prior to the beginning of classes, and thereafter as circumstances require, the principal of each school shall determine which persons will participate in the medical care program

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Personnel Files

115C-325(b) - The superintendent shall maintain in his office a personnel file for each teacher that contains any complaint, commendation, or suggestion for correction or improvement about the teacher's professional conduct, except that the superintendent may elect not to place in a teacher's file (i) a letter of complaint that contains invalid, irrelevant, outdated, or false information or (ii) a letter of complaint when there is no documentation of an attempt to resolve the issue. The complaint, commendation, or suggestion shall be signed by the person who makes it and shall be placed in the teacher's file only after five days' notice to the teacher. Any denial or explanation relating to such complaint, commendation, or suggestion that the teacher desires to make shall be placed in the file. Any teacher may petition the local board of education to remove any information from his personnel file that he deems invalid, irrelevant, or outdated. The board may order the superintendent to remove said information if it finds the information is invalid, irrelevant, or outdated. The personnel file shall be open for the teacher's inspection at all reasonable times but shall be open to other persons only in accordance with such rules and regulations as the board adopts. Any preemployment data or other information obtained about a teacher before his employment by the board may be kept in a file separate from his personnel file and need not be made available to him. No data placed in the preemployment file may be introduced as evidence at a hearing on the dismissal or demotion of a teacher, except the data may be used to substantiate G.S. 115C-325(e)(1)g. or G.S. 115C-325(e)(1)o. as grounds for dismissal or demotion.

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Your Rights Under the Law - Episode of Violence
Marie Evans, UniServ Consultant

North Carolina General Statute 115C-338 is entitled “Salaries for employees injured during an episode of violence.” The complete text of the law is below. What it says is that if an employee is injured as a result of a violent act by a student, they are entitled to full salary and benefits from any absence that results from that injury. All your expenses are paid, you continue to receive full salary, and no sick leave or vacation leave is deducted, during the time you are absent due to your injury.

If you are injured by a student, be sure to file an incident report with your principal or supervisor as soon as possible. If you believe that your injury is the result of a violent act by a student, be sure to mark your leave form accordingly. Your payroll person is aware of this statute and should assist you in receiving your salary and benefits. Please call your UniServ Consultant (821-3128) if you have any questions about this or any legal issue.

§ 115C-338. Salaries for employees injured during an episode of violence.

(a)For the purpose of this section, "employee" shall mean any teacher, helping teacher, librarian, principal, supervisor, superintendent of public schools or any full-time employee, city or county, superintendent of public instruction, or any full-time employee of Department of Public Instruction, president, dean or teacher, or any full-time employee in any educational institution supported by and under the control of the State: Provided, that the term "teacher" shall not include any part-time, temporary, or substitute teacher or employee, and shall not include those participating in an optional retirement program provided for in G.S. 135-5.1. In all cases of doubt, the Board of Trustees, as defined in G.S. 135-1(7), shall determine whether any person is a teacher as herein defined.

(b) Any employee who while engaged in the course of his employment or in any activities incidental thereto, suffers any injury or disability resulting from or arising out of any episode of violence by one or more persons shall be entitled to receive his full salary during the shortest of these periods: one year, the continuation of his disability, or the time during which he is unable to engage in his employment because of injury. An episode of violence shall be defined to mean but shall not be limited to any acts of violence directed toward any school building or facility, or to any employee or any student by any person including but not limited to another student. These benefits shall be in lieu of all other income or disability benefits payable under workers' compensation to such employee only during the period prescribed herein. Thereafter, such teacher shall be paid such income or disability payments to which he might be entitled under workers' compensation. If the employment of a substitute is necessitated by the disability of the injured employee the salary of such substitute shall be paid from the same source of funds from which the employee is paid. This section shall in no way limit the right of the injured employee to receive the benefits of medical, hospital, drug and related expense payments from any source, including workers' compensation: Provided, further, that this section shall not apply to any employee who is injured while he participates in or provokes such episode of violence except as is incident to the maintenance or restoration of order or classroom discipline or to defend himself: Provided, further, that this section shall be given liberal construction and interpretation as to any and all definitions, conditions, and factual circumstances set forth herein.

(c) Any employee claiming the benefits of this section shall file claim with the board of education employing such employee within one year after the occurrence giving rise to his alleged injury. That board of education shall, within 30 days after receipt of such claim, decide whether and to what extent that employee is entitled to the benefits of this section and shall forthwith transmit its decision in writing to such employee. That employee shall, however, have the right to appeal the decision of that board of education to the North Carolina Industrial Commission by serving that board of education and the North Carolina Industrial Commission with written notice thereof within 30 days after receipt of the board's written decision. In determining all appeals under this section the North Carolina Industrial Commission shall constitute a court for the purpose of hearing de novo and passing upon all claims thereby presented in accordance with procedures utilized by the Commission in determining claims under the Workers' Compensation Act. The decision of the Industrial Commission in each instance shall be subject to appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals as provided in G.S. 143-293 and 143-294. (1971, c. 640, ss. 1, 2; 1973, c. 753; 1979, c. 714, s. 2; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)

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115C-397.1. Management and placement of disruptive students.

If, after a teacher has requested assistance from the principal two or more times due to a student's disruptive behavior, the teacher finds that the student's disruptive behavior continues to interfere with the academic achievement of that student or other students in the class, then the teacher may refer the matter to a school-based committee. The teacher may request that additional classroom teachers participate in the committee's proceedings. For the purposes of this section, the committee shall notify the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian and shall encourage that person's participation in the proceedings of the committee concerning the student. A student is not required to be screened, evaluated, or identified as a child with special needs under this section. The committee shall review the matter and shall take one or more of the following actions: (i) advise the teacher on managing the student's behavior more effectively, (ii) recommend to the principal the transfer of the student to another class within the school, (iii) recommend to the principal a multidisciplinary diagnosis and evaluation of the student, (iv) recommend to the principal that the student be assigned to an alternative learning program, or (v) recommend to the principal that the student receive any additional services that the school or the school unit has the resources to provide for the student. If the principal does not follow the recommendation of the committee, the principal shall provide a written explanation to the committee, the teacher who referred the matter to the committee, and the superintendent, of any actions taken to resolve the matter and of the reason the principal did not follow the recommendation of the committee, This section shall be in addition to the supplemental to disciplinary action taken in accordance with any other law. The recommendation of the committee is final and shall not be appealed under G.S. 115C-45(c). Nothing in this section shall authorize a student to refer a disciplinary matter to this committee or to have the matter of the student's behavior referred to this committee before any discipline is imposed on the student. (1997-443, s. 8.29(b).)

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6525 CORPORAL punishment 6525

Believing that other forms of discipline are more appropriate with children of all ages, the Wake County Board of Education prohibits the use of corporal punishment. No principal, assistant principal, teacher, substitute teacher, any other school system employee, or volunteer may use corporal punishment to discipline any student.

6525.1 Corporal punishment is all forms of physical punishment including, but not limited to, spanking, paddling, or slapping.

6525.2 School personnel may use reasonable force to control behavior or to remove a person from the scene in those situations when necessary:

  1. To quell a disturbance threatening injury to others.
  2. To obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on the person,or within the control, of a student.
  3. For self-defense.
  4. For the protection of persons or property.
  5. To maintain order on school property, in the classroom, or at a school-related activity on or off school property.

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SESSION 2005
HOUSE BILL 1151
RATIFIED BILL
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR INSTRUCTIONAL PLANNING TIME AND ADUTY-FREE LUNCH PERIOD FOR TEACHERS.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. G.S. 115C-105.27 reads as rewritten:
"§ 115C-105.27. Development and approval of school improvement plans.
(a) In order to improve student performance, each school shall develop a school improvement plan that takes into consideration the annual performance goal for that school that is set by the State Board under G.S. 115C-105.35. The principal of each school, representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building, and parents of children enrolled in the school shall constitute a school improvement team to develop a school improvement plan to improve student performance. Representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants shall be elected by their respective groups by secret ballot. Unless the local board of education has adopted an election policy, parents shall be elected by parents of children enrolled in the school in an election conducted by the parent and teacher organization of the school or, if none exists, by the largest organization of parents formed for this purpose. Parents serving on school improvement teams shall reflect the racial and socioeconomic composition of the students enrolled in that school and shall not be members of the building-level staff. Parental involvement is a critical component of school success and positive student achievement; therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly that parents, along with teachers, have a substantial role in developing school improvement plans. To this end, school improvement team meetings shall be held at a convenient time to assure substantial parent participation.
(b) The strategies for improving student performance:
(1) Shall include a plan for the use of staff development funds that may be made available to the school by the local board of education to implement the school improvement plan. The plan may provide that a portion of these funds is used for mentor training and for release time and substitute teachers while mentors and teachers mentored are meeting;
(1a) Shall, if the school serves students in kindergarten or first grade, include a plan for preparing students to read at grade level by the time they enter second grade. The plan shall require kindergarten and first grade teachers to notify parents or guardians when their child is not reading at grade level and is at risk of not reading at grade level by the time the child enters second grade. The plan may include the use of assessments to monitor students' progress in learning to read, strategies for teachers and parents to implement that will help students improve and expand their reading, and provide for the recognition of teachers and strategies that appear to be effective at preparing students to read at grade level;
(2) Shall include a plan to address school safety and discipline concerns in accordance with the safe school plan developed under Article 8C of this Chapter;
(3) May include a decision to use State funds in accordance with G.S. 115C-105.25;
(4) Shall include a plan that specifies the effective instructional practices and methods to be used to improve the academic performance of students identified as at risk of academic failure or at risk of dropping out of school;
(5) May include requests for waivers of State laws, rules, or policies for that school. A request for a waiver shall meet the requirements of G.S. 115C-105.26;
(6) Shall include a plan to provide a duty-free lunch period for every teacher on a daily basis or as otherwise approved by the school improvement team; and
(7) Shall include a plan to provide duty-free instructional planning time for every teacher under G.S. 115C-301.1, with the goal of providing an average of at least five hours of planning time per week.
(c) Support among affected staff members is essential to successful implementation of a school improvement plan to address improved student performance at that school. The principal of the school shall present the proposed school improvement plan to all of the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for their review and vote. The vote shall be by secret ballot. The principal shall submit the school improvement plan to the local board of education only if the proposed school improvement plan has the approval of a majority of the staff who voted on the plan.
(d) The local board of education shall accept or reject the school improvement plan. The local board shall not make any substantive changes in any school improvement plan that it accepts. If the local board rejects a school improvement plan, the local board shall state with specificity its reasons for rejecting the plan; the school improvement team may then prepare another plan, present it to the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for a vote, and submit it to the local board to accept or reject. If no school improvement plan is accepted for a school within 60 days after its initial submission to the local board, the school or the local board may ask to use the process to resolve disagreements recommended in the guidelines developed by the State Board under G.S. 115C-105.20(b)(5). If this request is made, both the school and local board shall participate in the process to resolve disagreements. If there is no request to use that process, then the local board may develop a school improvement plan for the school. The General Assembly urges the local board to utilize the school's proposed school improvement plan to the maximum extent possible when developing such a plan.
(e) A school improvement plan shall remain in effect for no more than three years; however, the school improvement team may amend the plan as often as is necessary or appropriate. If, at any time, any part of a school improvement plan becomes unlawful or the local board finds that a school improvement plan is impeding student performance at a school, the local board may vacate the relevant portion of the plan and may direct the school to revise that portion. The procedures set out in this subsection shall apply to amendments and revisions to school improvement plans."

SECTION 2. G.S. 115C-105.26(b) reads as rewritten:
"(b) When requested as part of a school improvement plan, the State Board of Education may grant waivers of:
(1) State laws pertaining to class size and teacher certification; and
(2) State rules and policies, except those pertaining to public school State salary schedules and employee benefits for school employees, the instructional program that must be offered under the Basic Education Program, the system of employment for public school teachers and administrators set out in G.S. 115C-287.1 and G.S. 115C-325, health and safety codes, compulsory attendance, the minimum lengths of the school day and year, and the Uniform Education Reporting System."

SECTION 3. G.S. 115C-301.1 reads as rewritten:
"§ 115C-301.1. Duty-free instructional planning time.
All full-time assigned classroom teachers shall be provided a duty-free instructional planning time during regular student contact hours. The duty-free instructional planning time shall be provided to the maximum extent that (i) the safety and proper supervision of children may allow during regular student contact hours and (ii) insofar as funds are provided for this purpose by the General Assembly. If the safety and supervision of children does not allow a duty-free instructional planning time during regular student contact hours for a given teacher, the funds provided by the General Assembly for the duty-free instructional planning time for that teacher shall revert to the general fund. Principals shall not unfairly burden a given teacher by making that teacher give up his or her duty-free instructional planning time on an ongoing, regular basis without the consent of the teacher."

SECTION 4. This act becomes effective July 1, 2006, and applies to school improvement plans beginning with the 2007-2008 school year.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 13th day of July 2006.

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§ 115C-105.27. Development and approval of school improvement plans.

(a) In order to improve student performance, each school shall develop a school improvement plan that takes into consideration the annual performance goal for that school that is set by the State Board under G.S. 115C 105.35. The principal of each school, representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building, and parents of children enrolled in the school shall constitute a school improvement team to develop a school improvement plan to improve student performance. Representatives of the assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants shall be elected by their respective groups by secret ballot. Unless the local board of education has adopted an election policy, parents shall be elected by parents of children enrolled in the school in an election conducted by the parent and teacher organization of the school or, if none exists, by the largest organization of parents formed for this purpose. Parents serving on school improvement teams shall reflect the racial and socioeconomic composition of the students enrolled in that school and shall not be members of the building level staff. Parental involvement is a critical component of school success and positive student achievement; therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly that parents, along with teachers, have a substantial role in developing school improvement plans. To this end, school improvement team meetings shall be held at a convenient time to assure substantial parent participation.

(b) The strategies for improving student performance:

  • (1) Shall include a plan for the use of staff development funds that may be made available to the school by the local board of education to implement the school improvement plan. The plan may provide that a portion of these funds is used for mentor training and for release time and substitute teachers while mentors and teachers mentored are meeting;
  • (1a) Shall, if the school serves students in kindergarten or first grade, include a plan for preparing students to read at grade level by the time they enter second grade. The plan shall require kindergarten and first grade teachers to notify parents or guardians when their child is not reading at grade level and is at risk of not reading at grade level by the time the child enters second grade. The plan may include the use of assessments to monitor students' progress in learning to read, strategies for teachers and parents to implement that will help students improve and expand their reading, and provide for the recognition of teachers and strategies that appear to be effective at preparing students to read at grade level;
  • (2) Shall include a plan to address school safety and discipline concerns in accordance with the safe school plan developed under Article 8C of this Chapter;
  • (3) May include a decision to use State funds in accordance with G.S. 115C 105.25;
  • (4) Shall include a plan that specifies the effective instructional practices and methods to be used to improve the academic performance of students identified as at risk of academic failure or at risk of dropping out of school;
  • (5) May include requests for waivers of State laws, rules, or policies for that school. A request for a waiver shall meet the requirements of G.S. 115C 105.26;
  • (6) Shall include a plan to provide a duty free lunch period for every teacher on a daily basis or as otherwise approved by the school improvement team; and
  • (7) Shall include a plan to provide duty free instructional planning time for every teacher under G.S. 115C 301.1, with the goal of providing an average of at least five hours of planning time per week.
    • (c) Support among affected staff members is essential to successful implementation of a school improvement plan to address improved student performance at that school. The principal of the school shall present the proposed school improvement plan to all of the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for their review and vote. The vote shall be by secret ballot. The principal shall submit the school improvement plan to the local board of education only if the proposed school improvement plan has the approval of a majority of the staff who voted on the plan.
    • (d) The local board of education shall accept or reject the school improvement plan. The local board shall not make any substantive changes in any school improvement plan that it accepts. If the local board rejects a school improvement plan, the local board shall state with specificity its reasons for rejecting the plan; the school improvement team may then prepare another plan, present it to the principals, assistant principals, instructional personnel, instructional support personnel, and teacher assistants assigned to the school building for a vote, and submit it to the local board to accept or reject. If no school improvement plan is accepted for a school within 60 days after its initial submission to the local board, the school or the local board may ask to use the process to resolve disagreements recommended in the guidelines developed by the State Board under G.S. 115C 105.20(b)(5). If this request is made, both the school and local board shall participate in the process to resolve disagreements. If there is no request to use that process, then the local board may develop a school improvement plan for the school. The General Assembly urges the local board to utilize the school's proposed school improvement plan to the maximum extent possible when developing such a plan.
    • (e) A school improvement plan shall remain in effect for no more than three years; however, the school improvement team may amend the plan as often as is necessary or appropriate. If, at any time, any part of a school improvement plan becomes unlawful or the local board finds that a school improvement plan is impeding student performance at a school, the local board may vacate the relevant portion of the plan and may direct the school to revise that portion. The procedures set out in this subsection shall apply to amendments and revisions to school improvement plans. (1989, c. 778, s. 3; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 900, s. 75.1(b); 1993, c. 38, s. 1; c. 263, s. 2; c. 321, s. 144.2(b); 1995, c. 272, s. 3; c. 450, s. 13; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 716, ss. 2, 3; 1997 159, s. 1; 1997 443, s. 8.29(r)(2); 1999 271, s. 1; 1999 397, s. 1; 2000 67, s. 8.1; 2001 424, s. 28.30(c); 2006 153, s. 1.)

§§ 115C 105.28, 115C 105.29: Repealed by Session Laws 1995 (Regular Session, 1996), c. 716, s. 3.

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3221 - TEACHER WORKDAY

3221
In order to protect student safety and to provide for the proper Supervision of students, eachers' minimum workday shall extend from one-half hour before the students' instructional day begins until the students for which they are responsible have departed and the teachers have completed their professional responsibilities to the students and the school.

3221.1
Program development, school committees, professional growth activities, PTA meetings, faculty meetings, bus duty, parent conferences, special help for individual students, and care of school property and equipment are examples of the kinds of activities which will require the continuation of professional service beyond the departure of students.

Legal Reference: G.S.115C-84.2 effective July 1, 1998

Adopted: July 19, 1976

Revised: August 17, 1998

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