Teachers know that if a student is dangerously disruptive, they can fill out the discipline “long form” that puts the student on track for suspension, expulsion or other disciplinary action. But state law also mandates a “cooling off” period for students who are annoying and mildly disruptive, but who obviously are not candidates for more serious penalties.
Louisiana Revised Statute 17:416 allows teachers to remove students who are causing problems from the classroom for a short period of time — long enough for the teacher to regain composure and control, and for the student to modify behavior. No paperwork is necessary to trigger the time-out. Just notify the principal or disciplinarian that the student is causing a problem. Under law, the student must be removed from the classroom for up to 30 minutes in Kindergarten through sixth grade, and for the remainder of the period in higher grades. In grades seven through 12, the student cannot be returned to the classroom during that period unless the teacher agrees. The student will be allowed to make up any work missed during this period, and may or may not receive full credit. The principal or his designee must have a counseling session with the student to determine any other course of action, consistent with board policy, that is appropriate to the situation. This law is one of the tools available to teachers to hold students accountable for their behavior and to guarantee that each child has an opportunity to learn in a safe and orderly environment.