Weapons and Violence Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide a school environment that is conducive to learning. The underlying belief of this policy is that all children have the right to be educated in a safe and nurturing environment. Therefore, violations of these rights and violations of the atmosphere which supports sound education will not be tolerated.
The Smithfield School Department hereby adopts this policy of zero tolerance for weapons and violence in schools. The policy provides the power for administrators to address potentially dangerous situations. It sets the tone for all to understand that weapons, violence and drug use is not tolerated and will not be allowed in any of the Smithfield schools. On the other hand, when administrators are implementing the policy they are allowed some flexibility given the age of the student and the circumstances.
In order to ensure that this occurs, the following has been established:
The term “weapons” shall include, by the way of illustration, the following enumerated items: any loaded or unloaded firearm (including but not limited to pistol, blank pistol, signal pistol, starter pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, cross-bow); any knife (including but not limited to Bowie, Dirk, lock-blade, hunting pen, pocket, switchblade, utility); any defensive weapon (including but not limited to gas repellent, pepper gas, mace, stungun); any martial arts device (including but not limited to Chinese stars, nunchauu) or any tool or instrument which school administrative staff could reasonably conclude as being capable of inflicting bodily harm (including but not limited to blackjack, chain, club, knuckles, night stick, pipe, studded bracelet); or which by virtue of its shape or design gives the appearance of any of the aforementioned (including but not limited to air pistol, air rifle, BB gun).
Assault is defined as an act of physical violence or a threat of physical violence by a student on another student or staff member. Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon the person of another, when coupled with an apparent present ability to do so, and any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm, constitutes an assault. An assault may be committed without actually touching, or striking, or doing bodily harm to the person of another. For crime of assault, victim need not be apprehensive of fear if the outward gesture is menacing and defendant intends to harm, though for tort of assault, element of victim’s apprehension is required
When considering what constitutes assault, the factors to be weighed include: age of student (s) involved, seriousness of bodily injury, the intent of the individual (s) involved, any disability affecting behavior of the individual, and any other factors deemed relevant to the principals or their designee.
Suspension is defined as that act by a school administrator or by a school committee that removes a student from school for a specified period of time, not more than one-hundred-eighty (180) days.
- A short term suspension is removal from a school for ten (10) days or less and may be imposed by the appropriate school official;
- A long term suspension is removal from a school for more than ten (10) days and must be approved by the school committee.
- In all cases involving weapons or assault in schools or on school grounds, on the bus, at the bus stop, on the way to or from school, and at school sponsored activities, local police shall be called immediately, and all confiscated weapons are to be turned over to the police department at that time.
- A log of all confiscated weapons will be kept by school administrators and will be available to be reviewed by the local police department on a monthly basis.
Statement on Enforcement
This policy will be implemented according to the due process provisions applicable to regular and special education students.
- Any student found to be in possession of a weapon, or involved in an assault, as defined herein, will immediately be suspended in accordance with applicable due process provisions. During this suspension, the school administrator will take the necessary steps in determining any additional action, which may include long term suspension. Any student who gives a weapon to another student will also be subject to similar disciplinary action.
- Decisions regarding the specific length of a student’s suspension will be made by the appropriate authority or the school committee. Any student suspended from school cannot participate in school functions or be on school premises.
Uniform Weapons Seizure Report
A uniform log will be kept on file at every school in the Smithfield School system for the purpose of recording information on ALL weapons seized. The log shall be kept in the principal’s office to be reviewed only by the police and the appropriate school personnel.
The reason for maintaining said log are as follows:
- To record and utilize statistical information regarding the possession of weapons in the schools and monitor the rise or fall of such incidents during a specific period. These statistics would assist in evaluating programs that may be in place in the schools to combat weapons and violence or to dictate the need for such programs.
- To examine these logs with both a school administrator and a law enforcement official so that they might detect a pattern of incidents occurring in a specific community. For example, if possession of weapons escalated in a specific school, it might be indicative of violence rising and students attempting to protect themselves from aggressive actions.
- To demonstrate the effectiveness of programs sponsored and operated by both the police and school departments in order to solicit funding from various sources.
- To dictate the need for increased law enforcement or other methods where weapons possession may be on the rise in a particular school.