• Annual Notification to Parents

    The following Gaston County Board of Education policies may be of particular interest to parents, students, community volunteers, and other citizens. For the complete Board of Education policy manual, please visit the Gaston County s website () and click on the Board of Education tab. If you are not able to access the Board of Education policy manual online, please contact your school principal or the Gaston County s Communications Department, (704) 866-6237, to review a copy of the policy manual.

    Policy 3470 Student Records
    Policy 3600 Counseling Program
    Policy 4020 Parental Involvement
    Policy 4021 Title I Parent and Family Engagement
    Policy 4030 Student and Parent Grievance Procedure
    Policy 4304-R Rules for Use of Seclusion and Restraint in s
    Policy 4329/7311 Bullying and Harassing Behavior Prohibited
    Policy 4331 Assaults and Threats
    Policy 4339 -Level Investigations
    Policy 4375/7310 Staff-Student Relations
    Policy 5010 Volunteers
    Policy 7220 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disabilities
    Policy 7232 Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace
    Policy 1710/4023/7230 Discrimination and Harassment Prohibited by Federal Law
    Policy 1720/4031/7235 Title IX Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex Policy
    Policy 1725/4035/7236 Title IX Sexual Harassment-Prohibited Conduct and Reporting Process
    Policy 1726/4036/7237 Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process
     
    At the beginning of each academic year, school districts are required to provide students and their parents with certain annual notices. Review the following information carefully and contact your child’s principal if you have questions.

    A. Student Records:  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), a federal law, gives parents and students over eighteen (18) years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records.  These rights are:
    • The right to inspect and review your child’s education records within forty-five (45) days of the day the school receives a request for access.  You should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) you wish to inspect.  The principal will make arrangements for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
    • The right to request an amendment of your child’s education records that you believe are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA.  You should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record you want changed and specify why it should be changed.  If the school decides not to amend the record as requested, the school will notify you of the decision and advise you of your right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment.  Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to you when you are notified of the right to a hearing.
    • The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in your child’s education records.  FERPA requires that the school obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of any such information with certain exceptions.  officials with a legitimate educational interest are an exception and do not need parental consent.  For a complete list of the disclosures that elementary and secondary schools may make without parental consent, see 34 CFR Part 99.37.  A school may disclose Personal Identifiable Information (PII) from the education records of a student without obtaining prior written consent to:
    • Officials of another school, school system, or institution of postsecondary education where the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer;
    • Authorized representatives of the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local educational authorities, such as the State Educational Agency (SEA) of North Carolina;
    • Financial aid for which the student has applied or which the student has received, if the information is necessary for such purposes as to determine eligibility for the aid, determine the amount of the aid, determine the conditions of the aid, or enforce the terms and conditions of the aid;
    • State and local officials or authorities to whom information is specifically allowed to be reported or disclosed by a state statute that concerns the juvenile justice system and the system’s ability to effectively serve, prior to adjudication, the student whose records were released;
    • Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, the school, in order to: (a) develop, validate, or administer predictive tests; (b) administer student aid programs; or (c) improve instruction;
    • Accrediting organizations to carry out their accrediting functions;
    • Parents of an eligible student if the student is a dependent for IRS tax purposes;
    • Comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena;
    • Appropriate officials in connection with a health or safety emergency;
    • Agency case worker or other representative of a state or local child welfare agency or tribal organization who is authorized to access a student’s case plan when such agency or organization is legally responsible, in accordance with state or tribal law, for the care and protection of the student in foster care placement; and
    • The Secretary of Agriculture or authorized representatives of the Food and Nutrition Service for purposes of conducting program monitoring, evaluations, and performance measurements of programs.

    A school official includes any of the following when that person has a “legitimate educational interest” in having access to the information:
    a. Any administrator, supervisor, instructor, certified staff member, or support staff member (including health, medical, safety, law enforcement unit personnel, and security staff) employed by the school district;
    b. A school board member;
    c. A contractor, consultant, volunteer, or other party who, while not employed by the school, performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records and is subject to FERPA requirements governing the use and redisclosure of PII from education records, including but not limited to, an attorney, auditor, cloud storage provider, consultant, expert witness, hearing officer, law enforcement unit, investigator, insurer/insurance company adjuster, investigator, or any other claims representative, medical providers or consultants, or counselors/therapists;
    d. A person serving on a committee appointed by the school board or by the administration of the school district, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or other review committee.
    e. A school official has a “legitimate educational interest” if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her responsibility.

    The school district may release “directory information” about a student unless you have advised the school to the contrary.  The school district has designated the following information as directory information:
          • Student’s name
          • Address
          • Date and place of birth
          • Telephone listing
          • Electronic mail address
          • Photograph
          • Participation in officially recognized activities and
             sports
          • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
          • Diplomas (including endorsements earned), industry  
             credentials/certifications, and awards received
          • Grade level
          • Most recent school or institution attended by the          
             student
          • Dates of attendance

    The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the school to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications.  Examples include:  
    i. A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
    ii. The annual yearbook;
    iii. Honor roll or other recognition lists;
    iv. Graduation programs; or
    v. Sports activity sheets, showing weight and height of team members.

    Except for disclosures to school officials, disclosures related to some judicial orders or lawfully issued subpoenas, disclosures of directory information, and disclosures to you, § 99.32 of the FERPA regulations requires the school to record the disclosure.  You have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

    Directory information may also be disclosed to outside organizations without your prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.  

    In addition, under federal law, we are required to provide military recruiters and institutions of higher education, upon their request, with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of high school students unless the student or parent has advised the school that they do not want such information disclosed without their prior written consent.  

    If you do not want the school to disclose some or all of the directory information described above from your child’s education records to all or certain recipients without your prior written consent, the school district must be notified in writing within fourteen (14) days of the beginning of the school year or within fourteen (14) days of your enrolling in the school district.  An “opt out” is perpetual and can only be rescinded in writing. You have a right to inspect and review the record of disclosures.

    You have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures of the school district to comply with the requirements of FERPA.  The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
          Student Privacy Policy Office
          U.S. Department of Education
          400 Maryland Avenue, SW
          Washington, DC  20202-5901

    B. Non-Discrimination: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504); and The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
    It is the school district’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, genetic information or veteran’s status in its educational programs, activities, admissions, or employment policies.
    For inquiries or complaints or to request a copy of the school district’s grievance procedures, contact:
          Taner Jarrett
          504 Coordinator
          215 W. Third Ave.
          Gastonia, N.C. 28052
          (704) 866-6160
     
          Dana Lutz
          ADA/ Title IX Coordinator
          215 W. Third Ave.
          Gastonia, N.C. 28052
          704-866-6245
      
    The coordinator for other nondiscrimination laws is:
          Dr. Morgen Houchard, Human Resources
          1351 Bradford Heights Road
          Gastonia, NC 28054
          (704) 866-6129

    C. Students with Disabilities: Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
    Pursuant to the IDEA, a federal law, the school district must provide special education services to all children residing in the school district who are between the ages of three (3) and twenty-one (21) who have been diagnosed with or are suspected to have mental, physical or emotional disabilities and who are unable to benefit from a regular school program without special assistance.  If your child or a child you know may qualify for special assistance, contact:
          Stacy Huffman
          Executive Director
          Department for Exceptional Children
          (704) 866-6160

    D. Homeless Students: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    For information concerning the educational rights of homeless students, consult board policy 4175 or contact:
          Jill Payne
          Executive Director of Student Support Services
          943 Osceola Street
          Gastonia, N.C. 28054
          (704) 866-2675

    E. Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment  (PPRA)
    PPRA affords parents of elementary and secondary students certain rights regarding the conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams.  These include, but are not limited to:
    • Parents must consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education:
    1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
    2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
    3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
    4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
    5. Critical appraisals of others with whom students have close family relationships;
    6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
    7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student’s parent; or
    8. Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
    • Parents must receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of:
    1. Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
    2. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school district, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under state law; and
    3. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others. (This does not apply to the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating, or providing educational products or services for, or to, students or educational institutions.)
    • Parents may inspect, upon request and prior to the administration or use of:
    1. Protected information surveys of students and surveys created by a third party;
    2. Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
    3. Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
    These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law.  
    Parents will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys.  Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys.  The following is a list of the specific activities and surveys covered under this direct notification requirement:
    • Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for marketing, sales, or other distribution.
    • Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by U.S. Department of Education.
    • Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.
    Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with the Student Privacy Policy Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C.  20202

    F. Student Health: N.C.G.S. § 115C-375.4
    With the passage of N.C.G.S. 115C-375.4, the school district must provide families with information on influenza and meningococcal diseases and the vaccines that are available to prevent each.  Influenza (“flu”) is caused by a virus that spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others.  Influenza can cause fever, sore throat, chills, coughs, headache, and muscle aches.

    Anyone can get influenza.  Most people are ill with flu for only a few days, but some get much sicker and may need to be hospitalized.  Influenza causes an average of 36,000 deaths each year in the U.S., mostly among the elderly.

    Influenza vaccine is available in two types.  Inactivated (killed) flu vaccine, given as a shot, has been used in the U.S. for many years.  A live, weakened vaccine, FluMist, was licensed in 2003.  It is sprayed into the nostrils.  It is available for persons age 5-49 years of age.  Influenza viruses change often.  Therefore, influenza vaccine is updated every year.  Protection develops in about two weeks after getting the shot and may last up to a year.  The best time to get the vaccine is in October or November.  Contact your local health department or physician for more details.

    Meningococcal disease is a serious illness caused by bacteria.  It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children 2-18 years old in the United States.  Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings.  Meningococcal disease can also cause blood infections.  2,600 people get meningococcal disease each year in the U.S.  Ten to fifteen percent of these people die in spite of treatment with antibiotics.  Of those who live, another 10% have chronic complications.  It is most common in infants less than one year of age, international travelers, and people with certain medical conditions.  College freshmen, particularly those who live in dormitories, have a slightly increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.

    Learn more about these vaccines by consulting with your family doctor or nurse or contacting the Gaston County Health Department at (704) 853-5000 or contacting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 1-800-232-2522 (English) or 1-800-232-0233 (Spanish) or visiting .

    G. Student Health: N.C.G.S. § 115C-47(51)
    North Carolina General Statute § 115C-47(51) requires schools to provide information concerning cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia and human papillomavirus and the vaccines available to prevent these diseases.

    Information on these diseases and the vaccines can be found at .  Those individuals without internet access can contact a school nurse or the Gaston County Health Department at (704) 853-5000.  

    H. North Carolina Safe Surrender Law
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. §7B-500(b), an individual may legally surrender their newborn baby to a responsible adult without fear of criminal prosecution.  While any responsible adult may receive a newborn, school social workers, school nurses, counselors and law enforcement agents are examples of responsible adults who are familiar with this law.  More information can be found at .  Those individuals without internet access can contact a school nurse or social worker for information.  

    I. Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
    This notice is provided to you with information regarding the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) Management Plan for Gaston County s.  AHERA is a provision of the Toxic Substance Control Act and was passed by Congress in 1986.  It requires schools to “ensure that workers and building occupants, or their legal guardians, are informed at least once each school year about inspections, response actions, and post-response action activities, including periodic re-inspection and surveillance activities that are planned or in progress as well as the availability of the AHERA Management Plan for public review.”  (§763.84(c))

    The AHERA Management Plan contains documents of the initial AHERA inspection, six-month periodic surveillances, triennial re-inspections, employee training and operations and maintenance procedures. If you have any questions regarding the AHERA Management Plan for this school district, you can contact the Gaston County s Facilities Services Department, (704) 866-6146.

    J. Use of Pesticides: N.C.G.S. § 115C-47(47)
    With the passage of N.C.G.S. § 115C-47(47), the school district must provide notification regarding pesticide use on school property.  For more information, consult board policy 9235 or contact:
          Mark Schultz
          Operations Manager
          943 Osceola Street
          Gastonia, N.C. 28054
          (704) 866-6270

    K. Student Restraint/Seclusion/Isolation
    The school district has adopted board policy 4304, as required by N.C.G.S. § 115C-391.1.  Board policy 4304 and N.C.G.S. § 115C-391.1 are provided below.
    Board policy 4304: Rules For Use of Seclusion and Restraint in s
    The following rules will govern the use of seclusion and restraint by school personnel.  As used in this regulation, “school personnel” means employees of the Board and any persons working on school grounds or at a school function (1) under a contract or written agreement with the school system to provide educational or related services to students or (2) for another agency providing educational or related services to students.
    Seclusion and restraint will not be used on students with disabilities (1) for behavior(s) that would not result in seclusion or restraint for students without identified disabilities, unless the use is authorized by the student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan for an educational or safety-related purpose, or (2) based on assumptions or stereotypes about disabilities or students with disabilities generally.
    A. Physical Restraint
    Physical restraint means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or a part of a student’s body.
    Physical restraint will be considered to be a reasonable use of force when used in the following circumstances:
    1. as reasonably needed to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on the person or within the control of a student;
    2. as reasonably needed to maintain order or to prevent or break up a fight;
    3. as reasonably needed for self-defense;
    4. as reasonably needed to ensure the safety of any student, employee, volunteer, or other person present;
    5. as reasonably needed to teach a skill, to calm or comfort a student, or to prevent self-injurious behavior;
    6. as reasonably needed to escort a student safely from one area to another;
    7. if used as provided for in an IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan; or
    8. as reasonably needed to prevent imminent destruction to school or another person’s property.
    Except as set forth above, physical restraint of students will not be considered a reasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.  In addition, physical restraint will not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinary consequence.
    Prone restraint is a form of physical restraint in which a person is held in a face-down position on the floor or other surface.  Prone restraint does not include placement in a face-down position as part of a necessary medical intervention.  The use of prone restraint is prohibited.
    B. Mechanical Restraint
    Mechanical restraint means the use of any device or material attached or adjacent to a student’s body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student’s body and that the student cannot easily remove.
    Mechanical restraint of a student by school personnel is permissible only in the following circumstances:
    1. when properly used as an assistive technology device included in the student’s IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan or as otherwise prescribed by a medical or related service provider;
    2. when using seat belts or other safety restraints to secure a student during transportation;
    3. as reasonably needed to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects on the person or within the control of a student;
    4. as reasonably needed for self-defense; or
    5. as reasonably needed to ensure the safety of any student, employee, volunteer, or other person.
    Except as set forth above, mechanical restraint, including the tying, taping, or strapping down of a student, will not be considered to be a reasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.
    C. Seclusion
    Seclusion means the confinement of a student alone in an enclosed space from which the student is (a) physically prevented from leaving by locking hardware or other means or (b) incapable of leaving due to physical or intellectual capacity.
    Seclusion of a student by school personnel may be used in the following circumstances:
    1. as reasonably needed to respond to a person in control of a weapon or other dangerous object;
    2. as reasonably needed to maintain order or prevent or break up a fight;
    3. as reasonably needed for self-defense;
    4. as reasonably needed when a student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent physical harm to self or others or imminent substantial destruction of school or another person’s property; or  
    5. when used as specified in the student’s IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan; and
          a. the student is monitored by an adult in close proximity who is able to see and hear the student at all times while the student is in seclusion;
          b. the student is released from seclusion upon cessation of the behaviors that led to the seclusion or as otherwise specified in the student’s IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan;
          c. the confining space has been approved for such use by the school district;
          d. the space is appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled; and
          e. the space is free from objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.
    Except as set forth above, the use of seclusion is not considered to be reasonable force, and its use is prohibited.  In addition, seclusion will not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinary consequence.
    D. Isolation
    Isolation means a behavior management technique in which a student is placed alone in an enclosed space from which the student is not prevented from leaving.
    Isolation is permitted as a behavior management technique provided that:
    1. the isolation space is appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled;
    2. the duration of the isolation is reasonable in light of the purpose for the isolation;
    3. the student is reasonably monitored while in isolation; and
    4. the isolation space is free from objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.
    E. Time-Out
    Time-out means a behavior management technique in which a student is separated from other students for a limited period of time in a monitored setting.  Teachers are authorized to use time-out to regulate behavior within their classrooms.
    F. Aversive Procedures
    Aversive procedure means a systematic physical or sensory intervention program for modifying the behavior of a student with a disability that causes or reasonably may be expected to cause one or more of the following:
    1. significant physical harm, such as tissue damage, physical illness, or death;
    2. serious and foreseeable long-term psychological impairment; or
    3. obvious repulsion on the part of observers who cannot reconcile such extreme procedures with acceptable standard practice; for example:  
          a. electric shock applied to the body;
          b. extremely loud auditory stimuli;
          c. forcible introduction of foul substances to the
          mouth, eyes, ears, nose, or skin;
          d. placement in a tub of cold water or shower;
          e. slapping, pinching, hitting, or pulling hair;
          f. blindfolding or other forms of visual blocking;
          g. unreasonable withholding of meals;
          h. eating one’s own vomit; or
          i. denial of reasonable access to toileting facilities.
    The use of aversive procedures is prohibited.
    G. Notice, Reporting, and Documentation
    1. personnel shall promptly notify the principal or designee of any of the following:
          a. any use of aversive procedures;
          b. any prohibited use of mechanical restraint;
          c. any use of physical restraint resulting in observable      
          physical injury to a student;
          d. any prohibited use of seclusion; or
          e. any seclusion exceeding 10 minutes or the amount of      
          time specified in a student’s behavior intervention plan.
    2. Notice to Parents
    When a principal or designee has personal or actual knowledge of any of the incidents listed in subsection G.1, above, he or she shall promptly notify the student’s parent or guardian and shall provide the name of the school employee whom the parent or guardian may contact regarding the incident.  Such notice shall be provided by the end of the workday during which the incident occurred when reasonably possible, but no later than the end of the following workday.  Such notice also shall be provided in addition to the written incident report required in subsection G.3 below.  
    3. Written Report to Parents
    Within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 30 days after any incident listed in subsection G.1 of this regulation occurs, the principal or designee shall provide the parent or guardian with a written incident report.  This report must include the following:
          a. the date, time of day, location, duration, and
          description of the incident and interventions;
          b. the event or events that led up to the incident;
          c. the nature and extent of any injury to the student; and
          d. the name of a school employee the parent or guardian      
          can contact regarding the incident.
    4. Reporting to State Board
    The local Board will maintain a record of incidents reported under the procedure described in subsection G.3 above and will provide this information annually to the State Board of Education.
    5. Non-Retaliation for Reporting
    Any employee making a report alleging a prohibited use of physical or mechanical restraint, seclusion, or aversive procedure will not be discharged, threatened, or retaliated against through compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment unless the employee knew or should have known that the report was false.

    N.C.G.S. § 115C-391.1
    Permissible use of seclusion and restraint
    A. It is the policy of the State of North Carolina to:
    (1) Promote safety and prevent harm to all students, staff, and visitors in the public schools.
    (2) Treat all public school students with dignity and respect in the delivery of discipline, use of physical restraints or seclusion, and use of reasonable force as permitted by law.
    (3) Provide school staff with clear guidelines about what constitutes use of reasonable force permissible in North Carolina public schools.
    (4) Improve student achievement, attendance, promotion, and graduation rates by employing positive behavioral interventions to address student behavior in a positive and safe manner.
    (5) Promote retention of valuable teachers and other school personnel by providing appropriate training in prescribed procedures, which address student behavior in a positive and safe manner.
    B. The following definitions apply in this section:
    (1) “Assistive technology device” means any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capacities of a child with a disability.
    (2) “Aversive procedure” means a systematic physical or sensory intervention program for modifying the behavior of a student with a disability which causes or reasonably may be expected to cause one or more of the following:
    a. Significant physical harm, such as tissue damage, physical illness, or death.
    b. Serious, foreseeable long-term psychological impairment.
    c. Obvious repulsion on the part of observers who cannot reconcile extreme procedures with acceptable, standard practice; for example: electric shock applied to the body; extremely loud auditory stimuli; forcible introduction of foul substances to the mouth, eyes, ears, nose, or skin; placement in a tub of cold water or shower; slapping, pinching, hitting, or pulling hair; blindfolding or other forms of visual blocking; unreasonable withholding of meals; eating one’s own vomit; or denial of reasonable access to toileting facilities.
    (3) “Behavioral intervention” means the implementation of strategies to address behavior that is dangerous, disruptive, or otherwise impedes the learning of a student or others.
    (4) “IEP” means a student’s Individualized Education Plan.
    (5) “Isolation” means a behavior management technique in which a student is placed alone in an enclosed space from which the student is prevented from leaving.
    (6) “Law enforcement officer” means a sworn law enforcement officer with the authority to arrest.
    (7) “Mechanical restraint” means the use of any device or material attached or adjacent to a student’s body that restricts freedom of movement or normal access to any portion of the student’s body and that the student cannot easily remove.
    (8) “Physical restraint” means the use of physical force to restrict the free movement of all or a portion of a student’s body.
    (9) “ personnel” means:
    a. Employees of a local board of education.
    b. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function under a contract or written agreement with the public school system to provide educational or related services to students.
    c. Any person working on school grounds or at a school function for another agency providing educational or related services to students.
    (10) “Seclusion” means the confinement of a student alone in an enclosed space from which the student is:
    a. Physically prevented from leaving by locking hardware or other means.
    b. Not capable of leaving due to physical or intellectual incapacity.
    (11) “Time-out” means a behavior management technique in which a student is separated from other students for a limited period of time in a monitored setting.
    C. Physical Restraint:
    (1) Physical restraint of students by school personnel shall be considered a reasonable use of force when used in the following circumstances:
    a. As reasonably needed to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a person or within the control of a person.
    b. As reasonably needed to maintain order or prevent or break up a fight.
    c. As reasonably needed for self-defense.
    d. As reasonably needed to ensure the safety of any student, school employee, volunteer, or other person present, to teach a skill, to calm or comfort a student, or to prevent self-injurious behavior.
    e. As reasonably needed to escort a student safely from one area to another.
    f. If used as provided for in a student’s IEP or Section 504 plan or behavior intervention plan.
    g. As reasonably needed to prevent imminent destruction to school or another person’s property.
    (2) Except as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, physical restraint of students shall not be considered a reasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.
    (3) Physical restraint shall not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinary consequence.
    (4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the use of force by law enforcement officers in the lawful exercise of their law enforcement duties.
    D. Mechanical Restraint:
    (1) Mechanical restraint of students by school personnel is permissible only in the following circumstances:
    a.When properly used as an assistive technology device included in the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan or behavior intervention plan or as otherwise prescribed for the student by a medical or related service provider.
    b. When using seat belts or other safety restraints to secure students during transportation.
    c. As reasonably needed to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous objects on a person or within the control of a person.
    d. As reasonably needed for self-defense.
    e. As reasonably needed to ensure the safety of any student, school employee, volunteer, or other person present.
    (2) Except as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, mechanical restraint, including the tying, taping, or strapping down of a student, shall not be considered a reasonable use of force, and its use is prohibited.
    (3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the use of mechanical restraint devices such as handcuffs by law enforcement officers in the lawful exercise of their law enforcement duties.
    E. Seclusion
    (1) Seclusion of students by school personnel may be used in the following circumstances:
    a. As reasonably needed to respond to a person in control of a weapon or other dangerous object.
    b. As reasonably needed to maintain order or prevent or break up a fight.
    c. As reasonably needed for self-defense.
    d. As reasonably needed when a student’s behavior poses a threat of imminent physical harm to self or others or imminent substantial destruction of school or another person’s property.
    e. When used as specified in the student’s IEP, Section 504 plan, or behavior intervention plan; and
    1. The student is monitored while in seclusion by an adult in close proximity who is able to see and hear the student at all times.
    2. The student is released from seclusion upon cessation of the behaviors that led to the seclusion or as otherwise specified in the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.
    3. The space in which the student is confined has been approved for such use by the school district.
    4. The space is appropriately lighted.
    5. The space is appropriately ventilated and heated or cooled.
    6. The space is free of objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.
    (2) Except as set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, the use of seclusion is not considered reasonable force, and its use is not permitted.
    (3) Seclusion shall not be considered a reasonable use of force when used solely as a disciplinary consequence.
    (4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the use of seclusion by law enforcement officers in the lawful exercise of their law enforcement duties.
    F. Isolation – Isolation is permitted as a behavior management technique provided that:
    (1) The space used for isolation is appropriately lighted, ventilated, and heated or cooled.
    (2) The duration of the isolation is reasonable in light of the purpose of the isolation.
    (3) The student is reasonably monitored while in isolation.
    (4) The isolation space is free of objects that unreasonably expose the student or others to harm.
    G. Time-out – Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit or regulate the use of time-out as defined in this section.
    H. Aversive Procedures – The use of aversive procedures as defined in this section is prohibited in public schools.
    I. Nothing in this section modifies the rights of school personnel to use reasonable force as permitted under G.S. 115C-390.3 or modifies the rules and procedures governing discipline under G.S. 115C-390.1 through G.S. 115C-390.12
    J. Notice, Reporting, and Documentation.
    (1)  Notice of Procedures – Each local board of education shall provide to school personnel and parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year copies of this section and all local board policies developed to implement this section.
    (2) Notice of specified incidents:
    a. personnel shall promptly notify the principal or principal’s designee of:
    1. Any use of aversive procedures.
    2. Any prohibited use of mechanical restraint.
    3. Any use of physical restraint resulting in observable physical injury to a student.
    4. Any prohibited use of seclusion or seclusion that exceeds ten minutes or the amount of time specified on a student’s behavior intervention plan.
    b. When a principal or principal’s designee has personal knowledge or actual notice of any of the events described in this subdivision, the principal or principal’s designee shall promptly notify the student’s parent or guardian and will provide the name of a school employee the parent or guardian can contact regarding the incident.
    (3) As used in subdivision (2) of this subsection, “promptly notify” means by the end of the workday during which the incident occurred when reasonably possible, but no event later than the end of the following workday.
    (4) The parent or guardian of the student shall be provided with a written incident report for any incident reported under this section within a reasonable period of time, but in no event later than 30 days after the incident. The written incident report shall include:
    a. The date, time of day, location, duration, and description of the incident and interventions.
    b. The events or events that led up to the incident.
    c. The nature and extent of any injury to the student.
    d. The name of a school employee the parent or guardian can contact regarding the incident.
    (5) No local board of education or employee of a local board of education shall discharge, threaten, or otherwise retaliate against another employee of the board regarding that employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location, or privileges of employment because the employee makes a report alleging a prohibited use of physical restraint, mechanical restraint, aversive procedure, or seclusion, unless the employee knew or should have known that the report was false.
    K. Nothing in this section shall be construed to create a private cause of action against any local board of education, its agents or employees, or any institutions of higher education or their agents or employees or to create a criminal offense.

    L. Parental Information for Title I s
    The following schools in the district receive federal funding through Title I: H.H. Beam Elementary, W. Blaine Beam Intermediate, W.A. Bess Elementary, Bessemer City Central, Bessemer City Middle, Bessemer City Primary, Brookside Elementary, Carr Elementary, Catawba Heights Elementary, Chapel Grove Elementary, Cherryville Elementary, Costner Elementary, Gardner Park Elementary, Grier Middle, Ida Rankin Elementary, Kiser Elementary, Lingerfeldt Elementary, Lowell Elementary, McAdenville Elementary, North Belmont Elementary, Pinewood Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Sadler Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, Springfield Elementary, Southwest Middle, Tryon Elementary, Woodhill Elementary, and York Chester Middle.  

    These funds are used to provide supplemental instruction to students who are in need of assistance in the area of reading and, on occasion, in the area of mathematics.  Our goal is to provide early intervention to struggling learners.  

    Federal guidelines require that school districts provide a process by which parents may request the qualifications of their child’s teacher.  As a parent of a student in a Title I school, you have the right to know the following information:
    • Whether the teacher has met state qualifications for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction;
    • Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which state qualifications have been waived;
    • The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree;
    • Whether the child is provided services by paras and, if so, their qualifications.

    To request this information, contact:
          Cynthia Reynolds
          Title I Director
          #1 Learning Place
          Gastonia, N.C. 28052
          (704) 810-8804

    M. Free or Reduced Lunch
    A free or reduced lunch application form, or instructions on how to access the application online, will be sent home with your child at the beginning of the school year.  Complete the form and return it to your child’s teacher.  You will be notified if your child(ren) qualifies for free or reduced meal prices.  All information is strictly confidential.  For more information on participation in the Free or Reduced Lunch program or questions about breakfast and summer lunch programs, contact your school’s principal or the Gaston County s Nutrition Department, (704) 836-9110.                                              

    N. Student Discipline Policies
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-390.2(i), schools must make available all policies, rules and regulations regarding student discipline.  For the Board’s policies and regulations regarding student discipline, consult the Board’s online policy manual at .  All other student discipline information will be printed in student handbooks or made available on the school’s website.

    O. Student and Parent Complaint and Grievance Procedures
    For information concerning student and parent complaint and grievance procedures, see board policy 4030.

    P. Equal Access to Facilities
    The school district provides equal access to its facilities.  For more information about accessing school facilities, consult board policy 8370.

    Q. Information Regarding Advanced Courses
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-174.26(d), schools must provide information to students and parents on available opportunities and the enrollment process for students to take advanced courses.  This information will be printed in student handbooks or made available on the school’s website at the beginning of the year.

    R. Bullying/Cyber-Bullying Policies
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-407.16(d), school principals shall provide the local board of education’s policy prohibiting bullying and harassing behavior, including cyber-bullying, to staff, students and parents.  A copy of these policies is available at  and will be printed in student and employee handbooks.  Printed copies of the policies are available from the school principal upon request.  

    S. Student Testing Information
    For information concerning the dates of systemwide and state-mandated tests that students will be required to take during the school year, how the results from the test will be used and whether each test is required by the State Board of Education or the local board of education, contact Michael Foust, director of testing, at (704) 861-2498. For a list of student testing dates, visit  or contact your child’s school.

    T. Annual Report Card Grade
    Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 115C-47(58), you will be notified of the most recent grade of the school your child is attending, as issued by the State Board of Education, if the school received a grade of “D” or “F”.

    U. Student Wellness Policy
    For information concerning the district’s student wellness policy, see board policy 3530.

    V. Health Education Program
    You have the right to opt-out your child’s participation in curricula related to: (a) prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); (b) avoidance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy; or (c) reproductive health and safety education.  A copy of the materials that will be used in these curricula will be available in the school media center during the school year and at other times that the media center is available to the public.  Materials also may be made available for review in the central office.

    W. District Report Card
    For information concerning the Report Card that is required by Section 6311(h)(1) and (2) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or a copy of the Report Card, visit  or contact the school principal.

    X. Title IX Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex
    The school district does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner.  This requirement extends to admission and employment.  The Board will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sex, including any form of sexual harassment as that term is defined under Title IX, in any program or activity of the school system.

    The Board has designated a Title IX coordinator to coordinate its efforts to comply with its responsibilities under Title IX and its implementing regulations. Our Title IX Coordinator, Dana Lutz, may be contacted at (704) 866-6245.
    Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.  The contact information for the Office for Civil Rights with jurisdiction over North Carolina is: 4000 Maryland Ave, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202. Telephone: 202-453-6020. Email: OCR.DC@ed.gov.

    For more information about the Title IX policies and grievance procedures, consult the following Board policies: Title IX Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex Policy 1720/4031/7235; Title IX Sexual Harassment Prohibited Conduct And Reporting Process Policy 1725/4035/7236; and  Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance and Process Policy 1726/4036/7237. This information is also available at   and will be printed in student and employee handbooks.

    Y. Third Party App Opt Out Under 13
    Chromebooks and iPads allow for the use of educational tools created by third parties. Gaston County s  (GCS) thoroughly reviews these services before their use. While some tools do not require a student user to provide any identifying information, others require the creation of an account using our Google for Education program where basic identifying information (a username, birth date, and account address) is provided.

    Under a federal law, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the school district may consent to the use of certain third-party or cloud-based educational services on a parent’s behalf. COPPA applies only to children less than 13 years of age. In order to keep you informed, best protect your child, and best protect the liability of Gaston County s, we are asking for your approval for Gaston County s to consent on your behalf to your child’s use of account-based online services.  Gaston County s’ educational technology team reviews and approves these services; they are not released to your child before being approved.

    Students and employees may be allowed to create accounts approved by  Gaston County s that are necessary for using cloud services, accessing resources, sharing information, turning in assignments, or communicating with teachers. These accounts will be created in full compliance with COPPA laws.  All resource terms of agreements, including under age 13 restrictions, will be followed.

    Information/policies printed in this publication are current as of July 18, 2023. Local Board policies may be revised due to changes in state legislation or the Gaston County Board of Education’s approval.  To access board policies, visit .

    If you have questions about the Annual Notice to
    Parents section of this publication, contact your
    school’s principal or call (704) 866-6100.