6.3.2 Definitions of Prohibited Behaviors

Definitions of Prohibited Behaviors

Behaviors Involving Violence or Weapons

Caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause physical injury to another person (CA Education Code 48900(a)(1)); or Willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense (CA Education Code 48900(a)(2))

Examples: Verbally threatening bodily harm; throwing punches or kicks without contact; Mutual fighting; pushing/shoving (i.e. minor scuffle); hitting or kicking without mutual fighting.  Additionally, a student who aids or abets the infliction or attempted infliction of physical injury to another person may be subject to suspension, but not expulsion.  A student who has been adjudged by a juvenile court to have committed, as an aider and abettor, a crime of physical violence in which the victim suffered great bodily injury or serious bodily injury shall be subject to discipline under CA Education Code 48900(a).

Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object (CA Education Code 48900(b))

Weapons may include but are not limited to the following: gun, knife, stun gun, switchblade, BB gun, pellet gun, slingshot, metal knuckles, studded hand apparel, mace, pepper spray, metal pipe, fireworks, firecracker; or other objects not designed to be weapons but that are dangerous and not reasonably brought to school without written permission from the principal such as a screwdriver, Leatherman tool, Swiss army knife, butter or steak knife, laser pointing device. Examples:  A student having a weapon in a pocket or backpack; selling or giving a weapon to another student. 

Possession, sale or furnishing a firearm at school or at a school activity off school grounds will result in immediate suspension and expulsion referral.

Possessed an imitation firearm (CA Education Code 48900(m))

An “imitation firearm” means a replica of a firearm that is so substantially similar in physical properties to an existing firearm as to lead a reasonable person to conclude the replica is a firearm.  Examples:  Student having an imitation firearm on their person or in a place under their control, such as a backpack or locker. 

Behaviors Involving Threats

Harassed, threatened or intimidated a complaining witness (CA Education Code 48900(o))

Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a student who is a complaining witness or a witness in a school disciplinary proceeding for the purpose of either preventing that student from being a witness or retaliating against that student for being a witness, or both. Examples:  Verbal or written threats to a victim or other witness to prevent them from submitting a written statement or testifying in an expulsion hearing; retaliating against a witness who provided a statement or testimony. 

Terroristic threats (Only applies to students in grades 4-12) (CA Education Code 48900.7)

“Terroristic threat” shall include any written/oral statement, by a person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death, great bodily injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000, with the specific intent that the statement is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for their safety, their family’s safety, or the safety of school property.   Examples: Making a bomb threat or threatening injury via phone call, email, or text.

Behaviors Involving Drugs, Alcohol or Tobacco

Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished or been under the influence of drugs,  alcohol or an intoxicant of any kind. (CA Education Code 48900(c)) 

Examples:  Being drunk or high; having drugs or alcohol on the student’s person, in their backpack, locker or other place under their control; providing drugs or alcohol to another student; selling drugs or alcohol.  Some examples of drugs or intoxicants include marijuana, hashish, prescription drugs, spray cans, nitrous oxide, etc. 

Unlawful sale of controlled substances will result in an immediate suspension and expulsion referral. 

Unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a controlled substance, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind and either sold, delivered, or otherwise furnished a look-alike substance. (CA Education Code 48900(d))

Examples: Offering or arranging to sell marijuana or prescription drugs and selling/delivering/furnishing oregano (instead of marijuana) or over-the-counter non-prescription pills (instead of prescription drugs). 

Possessed or used tobacco or any products containing tobacco or nicotine (CA Education Code 48900 (h))

Examples:  Student using the following products or having them on their person, in their backpack or locker, or elsewhere under their control:  cigarettes; vapor/electronic cigarettes; cigars; miniature cigars; clove cigarettes; smokeless tobacco; snuff; chew packets; betel.

Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell drug paraphernalia (CA Education Code 48900 (j))

“Drug paraphernalia” includes all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are designed for use, or marketed for use, in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing...packaging, re-packaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this division.” (CA HSC Section 11014.5)  Examples:  Possessing or arranging to sell products such as Zig-Zag papers; roach clips; syringes; needles; chamber pipes; bongs. 

Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell or sold the prescription drug Soma (CA Education Code 48900 (p))

Examples:  Offering, arranging to sell or selling Soma, which is a muscle relaxer that works by blocking pain sensations between the nerves and the brain.

Behaviors Involving Harassment/Bullying/Hazing

Sexual Harassment (applies only to grades 4-12) (CA Education Code 48900.2)

Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, made by someone from or in the educational setting, under any of the following conditions:

  • (a)  Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or a condition of an individual's academic status or progress.
  • (b) Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis of academic decisions affecting the individual.
  • (c) The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact upon the individual’s academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.
  • (d) Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the educational institution.

The conduct described above must be considered by a reasonable person of the same gender as the victim to be sufficiently severe or pervasive to have a negative impact upon the individual’s academic performance or to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.  Examples:  Inappropriate verbal comments, gestures, pictures or written materials of a sexual nature. 

Caused, attempted to cause, threatened to cause or participated in hate violence (Only applies to students in grades 4-12) (CA Education Code 48900.3)

“Hate violence” means to willfully injure, intimidate, or threaten another person in their free exercise or enjoyment of their rights by force or threat of force, because of the person’s actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  This includes destruction or damage to a person’s property to threaten or intimidate them as described above.  Examples:  Damaging a student’s locker or other personal property with threats to harm the student based on sexual orientation or gender identity; hitting a student or threatening harm based on their national origin or race. 

Harassment, threats or intimidation (Only applies to students in grades 4-12) (CA Education Code 48900.4)

For purposes of this offense, there must be intentional harassment, threats or intimidation directed against school district personnel or students that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to have the actual and reasonable expected effect of materially disrupting class work, creating substantial disorder, and invading the rights of either school personnel or students by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment.  Examples:  Verbal threats, written notes or electronic messages threatening physical harm; or communications that seek to intimidate or harass.

Hazing (CA Education Code 48900 (q))

For purposes of this offense, “hazing” means a method of initiation or pre-initiation into a student organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by an educational institution, which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or personal degradation or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm to a former, current, or prospective student. Examples:  Requiring a student to eat or drink disgusting food/material; endure physical abuse or engage in physically dangerous or humiliating activities as an initiation to join a student club or team. 

Bullying/Cyberbullying (CA Education Code 48900 (r))

For the conduct to meet the definition of bullying for purposes of this offense, it must be “any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a student or group of students as defined in CA Education Code 48900.2, 48900.3, or 48900.4, directed toward one or more students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:

  • (A) Placing a reasonable student(s) in fear of harm to themselves or property, or causing a reasonable student to experience
  • (B) A substantially detrimental effect on their physical or mental health,
  • (C) Substantial interference with their academic performance,
  • (D) Substantial interference with their ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. 

Students should treat all persons equally and respectfully and refrain from the willful or negligent use of slurs against any person on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.  (SFUSD Board Policy 5145.3)

Examples:  Cyberbullying through messages, texts, sounds or images that originate on or off of the school site; bullying in person or through written materials.  Making verbal comments or sending written or electronic messages that bully based on sexual orientation or perceived orientation, ethnicity, race or physical or mental disability; comments, messages, texts, sounds or images that are sexually harassing (under CA Education Code 48900.2), threaten hate violence (under CA Education Code 48900.3), harass, threaten or intimidate (under CA Education Code 48900.4); sending, forwarding and/or receiving sexually explicit messages, texts, sounds or images; posting to or creating a burn page; creating a credible impersonation or false profile with the purpose to bully the student impersonated. 

Behaviors Involving Property

Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion (CA Education Code 48900 (e))

Robbery is the taking of personal property (such as hats, jackets, shoes, clothing, etc.) in the possession of another person, from their person or immediate presence, taken against the person’s will by means of force or fear. Extortion is getting money or property from someone through the use of force or threats.  Examples:  Grabbing money, phone or other property from another student’s hand or pocket; threatening to cause physical harm or harm to someone’s property or reputation if the person does not turn over money or other personal property. 

Caused or attempted to cause damage to school or private property. (CA Education Code 48900 (f))

Examples: Defacing school facilities/materials; writing graffiti in instructional materials, on desks or walls; committing or attempting to commit arson/set fire to school property.

Stolen, or attempted to steal, school or private property. (CA Education Code 48900 (g))

Examples:  Stealing or attempting to steal school instructional materials, keys, passwords, testing materials, computers, laptops, cell phones, or other personal electronic devices or money from school, employees, or other students.  Possession, duplication, or use of school keys without authorization from school authority is prohibited and will be grounds for disciplinary action.    

Knowingly received stolen school or private property (CA Education Code 48900 (l))

Examples:  Receiving stolen school laptops, testing materials, or keys; or personal property such as student cell or smart phones, laptops or money.     

Behaviors Involving Disruption

Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity. (CA Education Code 48900 (i))

Obscene is defined as: relating to sex in an indecent or offensive way; offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency.  Vulgarity is defined as an act or expression that offends good taste or propriety.  Examples:  Making obscene gestures or movements; regularly or repeatedly using profanity toward a school employee or other student(s); regularly or repeatedly making vulgar comments or gestures.  

Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties. (CA Education Code 48900(k))

Examples: Being off task, out of seat, talking out of turn, talking back, using profanity, failing to complete assignments, failing to follow instructions, coming into class late, failing to bring supplies or materials.  Important Note: Students cannot be suspended or expelled for defiance/disruption

Behavior That May Require Intensive Intervention

This list does not include descriptions of some potential intensive intervention offenses that have already been defined above, including CA Education Code 48900 (b) (possession, use or sale of knife or other dangerous object); CA Education Code 48900(e) (robbery or extortion); (q) (hazing); CA Education Code 48900.3 (hate violence); or CA Education Code 48900.7 (terroristic threats))

Possessing, selling, furnishing a firearm (not an imitation weapon) (CA Education Code 48915 (c) (1))

“Firearm” is defined as an instrument used in the propulsion of shot, shell, or bullets by the action of gunpowder exploded within it. The word firearm includes a pistol, revolver or rifle, or any other device designed to be used as a weapon from which a projectile may be expelled by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.  Examples:  Having a gun on a student’s person; in their backpack, locker or other area under their control; selling a gun; furnishing/providing a gun to another person.

Possession, sale or furnishing a firearm at school or at a school activity off school grounds will result in immediate suspension and expulsion referral.

Brandishing a knife (CA Education Code 48915 (c) (2))

As used in this offense, "knife" means any of the following: dirk, dagger, other weapon with a fixed, sharpened blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade fitted primarily for stabbing, a weapon with a blade longer than 3 ½ inches, a folding knife with a blade that locks into place, or a razor with an unguarded blade.  “Brandishing” means to wave threateningly, as a weapon; to display ostentatiously; or a threatening or defiant gesture.  Examples:  Holding a knife and waving it angrily toward other student(s) or school staff. 

Possession of an explosive (CA Education Code 48915 (c)(5))

Examples:  For purposes of this offense, explosive means “any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas (i) bomb, (ii) grenade, (iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, (v) mine, or (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses; or any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter; and any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described above and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.  (18 United States Code921)

Possession of an explosive at school or at a school activity off school grounds will result in immediate suspension and expulsion referral.

Unlawfully selling a controlled substance (CA Education Code 48900 (c)/CA Education Code 48915(c)(3))

Examples:  Selling marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, hashish, heroin, PCP, LSD, prescription drugs or other controlled substances. 

Unlawfully selling a controlled substance at school or at a school activity off school grounds will result in immediate suspension and expulsion referral.

Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery (CA Education Code 48900 (n), 48915(c)(4))

Examples:  Sexual assault includes committing or attempting to commit the following offenses: (1) rape, (2) sodomy, (3) lewd or lascivious act upon a child under 14 years old; (4) oral copulation, (5) sexual penetration accomplished by force, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury; and (6) sexual intercourse, penetration, oral copulation, or sodomy where consent is obtained by fraud or false pretenses or by pretense that induces fear.  Sexual battery is defined as “[a]ny person who touches an intimate part of another person, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery.”

Committing or attempting to commit sexual assault or sexual battery at school or at a school activity off school grounds will result in immediate suspension and expulsion referral.

Causing serious physical injury (CA Education Code 48915(a)(1)(A))

Examples:  Stabbing a student with a knife; causing physical injury that required hospitalization; causing physical injury that caused extreme physical pain or prolonged impairment of bodily function.

Assault or battery of a school employee (CA Education Code 48915(a)(1)(E))

An assault is an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on another person.  A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person.  Example:  Swinging a fist in an attempt to hit a teacher, administrator or other staff; slapping, punching or kicking a teacher, administrator or staff.

This page was last updated on September 26, 2022