SUBCHAPTER VI. STUDENTS.
Admission and Assignment of Students.
§ 115C-364. Admission requirements.
(a) A child who is presented for enrollment at any time during the first 120 days of a school year is entitled to initial entry into the public schools if:
(1) The child reaches or reached the age of 5 on or before August 31 of that school year; or
(2) The child did not reach the age of 5 on or before August 31 of that school year, but has been attending school during that school year in another state in accordance with the laws or rules of that state before the child moved to and became a resident of North Carolina.
(3) The child did not reach the age of five on or before August 31 of that school year, but would be eligible to attend school during that school year in another state in accordance with the laws or rules of that state, if all of the following apply:
a. The child's parent is a legal resident of North Carolina who is an active member of the uniformed services assigned to a permanent duty station in another state.
b. The child's parent is the sole legal custodian of the child.
c. The child's parent is deployed for duty away from the permanent duty station.
d. The child resides with an adult who is a domiciliary of a local school administrative unit in North Carolina as a result of the parent's deployment away from the permanent duty station.
(b) A local board may allow a child who is presented for enrollment at any time after the first 120 days of a school year to be eligible for initial entry into the public schools if:
(1) The child reached the age of 5 on or before August 31 of that school year; or
(2) The child did not reach the age of 5 on or before August 31 of that school year, but has been attending school during that school year in another state in accordance with the laws or rules of that state before the child moved to and became a resident of North Carolina.
(c) The initial point of entry into the public school system shall be at the kindergarten level. If the principal of a school finds as fact subsequent to initial entry that a child, by reason of maturity can be more appropriately served in the first grade rather than in kindergarten, the principal may act under G.S. 115C-288 to implement this educational decision without regard to chronological age. The principal of any public school shall require the parent or guardian of any child presented for admission for the first time to that school to furnish (i) a certified copy of the child's birth certificate, which shall be furnished by the register of deeds of the county having on file the record of the birth of the child, or other satisfactory evidence of date of birth, as provided in Article 4 of Chapter 130A of the General Statutes and (ii) a certificate of immunization as required by G.S. 130A-155.
(d) A child who has passed the fourth anniversary of the child's birth on or before April 16 may enter kindergarten if the child is presented for enrollment no later than the end of the first month of the school year and if the principal of the school finds, based on information submitted by the child's parent or guardian, that the child is gifted and that the child has the maturity to justify admission to the school. The State Board of Education shall establish guidelines for the principal to use in making this finding. (1955, c. 1372, art. 19, s. 2; 1969, c. 1213, s. 4; 1973, c. 603, s. 3; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1983, c. 656, s. 1; 1997-204, s. 1; 1997-269, s. 1; 2007-173, s. 1; 2010-111, s. 2; 2011-388, s. 2.)
§ 115C-366. Assignment of student to a particular school.
(a) All students under the age of 21 years who are domiciled in a school administrative unit who have not been removed from school for cause, or who have not obtained a high school diploma, are entitled to all the privileges and advantages of the public schools to which they are assigned by the local boards of education. The assignment of students living in one local school administrative unit or district to a school located in another local school administrative unit or district, shall have no effect upon the right of the local school administrative unit or district to which the students are assigned to levy and collect any supplemental tax heretofore or hereafter voted in that local school administrative unit or district.
(a1) Children living in and cared for and supported by an institution established, operated, or incorporated for the purpose of rearing and caring for children who do not live with their parents are considered legal residents of the local school administrative unit in which the institution is located. These children are eligible for admission to the public schools of the local school administrative unit as provided in this section.
(a2) It is the policy of the State that every child of a homeless individual and every homeless child and youth has access to a free, appropriate public education. The State Board of Education and every local board of education shall ensure compliance with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. A local board of education shall not charge a homeless child or youth tuition for enrollment. An unaccompanied youth or a homeless child's or youth's parent, guardian, or legal custodian may apply to the State Board of Education for a determination of whether a particular local board of education shall enroll the homeless child or youth, and this determination shall be binding on the local board of education, subject to judicial review.
(a3) A student who is not a domiciliary of a local school administrative unit may attend, without the payment of tuition, the public schools of that unit if all of the following apply:
(1) The student resides with an adult, who is a domiciliary of that unit, as a result of any one of the following:
a. The death, serious illness, or incarceration of a parent or legal guardian.
b. The abandonment by a parent or legal guardian of the complete control of the student as evidenced by the failure to provide substantial financial support and parental guidance.
c. Abuse or neglect by the parent or legal guardian.
d. The physical or mental condition of the parent or legal guardian is such that he or she cannot provide adequate care and supervision of the student.
e. The relinquishment of physical custody and control of the student by the student's parent or legal guardian upon the recommendation of the department of social services or the Division of Mental Health.
f. The loss or uninhabitability of the student's home as the result of a natural disaster.
g. The parent or legal guardian is one of the following:
1. On active military duty and is deployed out of the local school administrative unit in which the student resides. For purposes of this sub-sub-subdivision, the term "active duty" does not include periods of active duty for training for less than 30 days.
2. A member or veteran of the uniformed services who is severely injured and medically discharged or retired, but only for a period of one year after the medical discharge or retirement of the parent or guardian.
3. A member of the uniformed services who dies on active duty or as a result of injuries sustained on active duty, but only for a period of one year after death. For purposes of this sub-sub-subdivision, the term "active duty" is as defined in G.S. 115C-407.5
Assignment under this sub-subdivision is only available if some evidence of the deployment, medical discharge, retirement, or death is tendered with the affidavits required under subdivision (3) of this subsection.
(2) The student is:
a. Not currently under a term of suspension or expulsion from a school for conduct that could have led to a suspension or an expulsion from the local school administrative unit, or
b. Currently under a term of suspension or expulsion from a school for conduct that could have led to a suspension or an expulsion from the local school administrative unit and is identified as eligible for special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq., (2004). Assignment under this sub-subdivision is available only if evidence of current eligibility is tendered with the affidavit required under subdivision (3) of this subsection.
(3) The caregiver adult and the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian have each completed and signed separate affidavits that do all of the following:
a. Confirm the qualifications set out in this subsection establishing the student's residency.
b. Attest that the student's claim of residency in the unit is not primarily related to attendance at a particular school within the unit.
c. Attest that the caregiver adult has been given and accepts responsibility for educational decisions for the student.
If the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian is unable, refuses, or is otherwise unavailable to sign the affidavit, then the caregiver adult shall attest to that fact in the affidavit. If the student is a minor, the caregiver adult must make educational decisions concerning the student and has the same legal authority and responsibility regarding the student as a parent or legal custodian would have even if the parent, guardian, or legal custodian does not sign the affidavit. The minor student's parent, legal guardian, or legal custodian retains liability for the student's acts.
Upon receipt of both affidavits or an affidavit from the caregiver adult that includes an attestation that the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian is unable, refuses, or is otherwise unavailable to sign an affidavit, the local board shall admit and assign as soon as practicable the student to an appropriate school, as determined under the local board's school assignment policy, pending the results of any further procedures for verifying eligibility for attendance and assignment within the local school administrative unit.
If it is found that the information contained in either or both affidavits is false, then the local board may, unless the student is otherwise eligible for school attendance under other laws or local board policy, remove the student from school. If a student is removed from school, the board shall provide an opportunity to appeal the removal under the appropriate policy of the local board and shall notify any person who signed the affidavit of this opportunity. If it is found that a person willfully and knowingly provided false information in the affidavit, the maker of the affidavit shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and shall pay to the local board an amount equal to the cost of educating the student during the period of enrollment. Repayment shall not include State funds.
Affidavits shall include, in large print, the penalty, including repayment of the cost of educating the student, for providing false information in an affidavit.
(a4) When a student transfers into the public schools of a local school administrative unit, that local board shall require the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian to provide a statement made under oath or affirmation before a qualified official indicating whether the student is, at the time, under suspension or expulsion from attendance at a private or public school in this or any other state or has been convicted of a felony in this or any other state. This subsection does not apply to the enrollment of a student who has never been enrolled in or attended a private or public school in this or any other state.
(a5) Notwithstanding any other law, a local board may deny admission to or place reasonable conditions on the admission of a student who has been suspended from a school under G.S. 115C-390.5 through G.S. 115C-390.10 or who has been suspended from a school for conduct that could have led to a suspension from a school within the local school administrative unit where the student is seeking admission until the period of suspension has expired. Also, a local board may deny admission to or place reasonable conditions on the admission of a student who has been expelled from a school under G.S. 115C-390.11 or who has been expelled from a school for behavior that indicated the student's continued presence in school constituted a clear threat to the safety of other students or staff as found by clear and convincing evidence, or who has been convicted of a felony in this or any other state. If the local board denies admission to a student who has been expelled or convicted of a felony, the student may request the local board to reconsider that decision in accordance with G.S. 115C-390.12. When a student who has been identified as eligible to receive special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq., is denied admission under this subsection, the local board shall provide educational services to the student to the same extent it would if the student were enrolled in the local school administrative unit at the time of the suspension or expulsion, as required by G.S. 115C-107.1(a)(3).
(a6) A child who is placed in or assigned to a licensed facility is eligible for admission, without the payment of tuition, to the public schools of the local school administrative unit in which the licensed facility is located. If an agency or person, other than the student's parent or guardian, is the student's legal custodian and if that person or agency placed or assigned the student to a licensed facility under this subsection, then that agency or person must provide in writing to the school the name, address, and phone number of the individual who has authority and the responsibility to make educational decisions for the student. This individual shall reside or be employed within the local school administrative unit and shall provide in writing to the school a signed statement that the individual understands and accepts this authority and responsibility to make educational decisions for the student. If the student's parent or legal guardian retains legal custody of a child who is placed in or assigned to a licensed facility under this subsection, then the requirements of subsection (a3) of this section must be met.
(a7) A student who is a resident of a local school administrative unit because the student resides with a parent, guardian, or legal custodian who is a (i) student, employee, or faculty member of a college or university or (ii) visiting scholar at the National Humanities Center is considered domiciled in that unit for purposes of this section.
(a8) A student is considered domiciled in a local school administrative unit for purposes of this section if the student resides (i) with a legal custodian who is not the student's parent or guardian and the legal custodian is domiciled in the local school administrative unit, or (ii) in a preadoptive home following placement by a county department of social services or a licensed child-placing agency.
(b) Each local board of education shall assign to a public school each student qualified for assignment under this section. Except as otherwise provided by law, the authority of each board of education in the matter of assignment of children to the public schools shall be full and complete, and its decision as to the assignment of any child to any school shall be final.
(c) Any child who is qualified under the laws of this State for admission to a public school and who has a place of residence in a local school administrative unit incident to the child's parent's or guardian's service in the General Assembly, other than the local school administrative unit in which the child is domiciled, is entitled to attend school in the local school administrative unit of that residence as if the child were domiciled there, subject to the payment of applicable out-of-county fees in effect at the time.
(d) A student domiciled in one local school administrative unit may be assigned either with or without the payment of tuition to a public school in another local school administrative unit upon the terms and conditions agreed to in writing between the local boards of education involved and entered in the official records of the boards. The assignment shall be effective only for the current school year, but may be renewed annually in the discretion of the boards involved.
(e) The boards of education of adjacent local school administrative units may operate schools in adjacent units upon written agreements between the respective boards of education and approval by the county commissioners and the State Board of Education.
(f) This section shall not be construed to allow students to transfer from one local school administrative unit to another for athletic participation purposes in violation of eligibility requirements established by the State Board of Education and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
(g) Any local school administrative unit may use the actual address of a program participant for any purpose related to admission or assignment under this Article as long as the address is kept confidential from the public under Chapter 15C of the General Statutes. The substitute address designated by the Attorney General under the Address Confidentiality Program shall not be used as an address for admission or assignment purposes.
(h) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Abused or neglected. - A student is considered abused or neglected if there has been an adjudication of that issue. The State Board may adopt an additional definition of abuse and neglect, and that definition also shall apply to this section.
(2) Caregiver adult. - The adult with whom the child resides. For children placed or assigned in a licensed facility, a caregiver adult also may be the child's caretaker, foster parent, or other clearly identifiable adult who resides in the county where the licensed facility is located.
(3) Educational decisions. - Decisions or actions recommended or required by the school concerning the student's academic course of study, extracurricular activities, and conduct. These decisions or actions include enrolling the student, receiving and responding to notices of discipline under G.S. 115C-390.5 through G.S. 115C-390.12, attending conferences with school personnel, granting permission for school-related activities, granting permission for emergency medical care, receiving and taking appropriate action in connection with student records, and any other decisions or actions recommended or required by the school in connection to that student.
(4) Facility. - A group home, a family foster home as defined in G.S. 131D-10.2(8), or a therapeutic foster home as defined in G.S. 131D-10.2(14).
(5) Homeless. - Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or are included in the definition of homeless children and youths in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. The term does not include persons who are imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to federal or State law.
(6) Legal custodian. - The person or agency that has been awarded legal custody of the student by a court.
(7) Licensed facility. - A facility licensed under Article 2 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes or under Article 1A of Chapter 131D of the General Statutes.
(8) McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. - 20 U.S.C. § 11431, et seq., as amended, and federal regulations adopted under this act.
(9) Program participant. - An individual accepted into the Address Confidentiality Program under Chapter 15C of the General Statutes.
(10) Unaccompanied youth. - Youths who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian as defined in the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001. (1955, c. 366, s. 1; c. 1372, art. 19, s. 3; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 7, s. 1; 1971, c. 153; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; c. 567, s. 1; 1991, c. 407, s. 1; c. 719, s. 2; 1997-271, s. 1; 1997-443, s. 8.29(d); 2002-171, s. 5; 2006-65, s. 1; 2007-283, s. 1; 2008-185, s. 2; 2008-187, s. 19; 2009-331, ss. 1, 2; 2011-282, s. 12; 2013-410, s. 21.)
§ 115C-366.1. Local boards of education; tuition charges.
(a) Local boards of education may charge tuition to the following persons:
(1) Persons of school age who are not domiciliaries of the State.
(2) Persons of school age who are domiciliaries of the State but who do not reside within the school administrative unit or district.
(3) Persons of school age who reside on a military or naval reservation located within the State and who are not domiciliaries of the State. Provided, however, that no person of school age residing on a military or naval reservation located within the State and who attends the public schools within the State may be charged tuition if federal funds designed to compensate for the impact on public schools of military dependent persons of school age are funded by the federal government at not less than fifty percent (50%) of the total per capita cost of education in the State, exclusive of capital outlay and debt service, for elementary or secondary pupils, as the case may be, of such school administrative unit.
(4) Persons who are 21 years of age or older before the beginning of the school year in which they wish to enroll.
(b) The tuition charge for a student shall not exceed the amount of per pupil local funding.
(c) The tuition required in this section shall be determined by local boards of education each August 1 prior to the beginning of a new school year. (1981, c. 567, ss. 2-4; 1982, Ex. Sess., c. 2, ss. 1, 2; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1034, s. 22; 1985, c. 780, s. 2.)
§ 115C-366.2: Repealed by Session Laws 2006-65, s. 2, effective July 1, 2006.
§ 115C-366.3. Classroom placement of multiple birth siblings.
(a) As used in this section, the term "multiple birth siblings" means twins, triplets, quadruplets, or other siblings resulting from a multiple birth.
(b) The parent of multiple birth siblings who are assigned to the same grade level and school may request a consultative meeting with the school principal to consider that the initial school placement of the siblings be in the same classroom or in separate classrooms. The request must be made no later than five days before the first day of each school year or five days after the first day of attendance of students during the school year if the students are enrolled in the school after the school year commences. The school may recommend to the parent the appropriate classroom placement for multiple birth siblings and may provide professional educational advice to assist the parent with the decision regarding appropriate classroom placement.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (d), (e), or (f) of this section, a school shall provide the multiple birth siblings with the classroom placement requested by the parent.
(d) A school is not required to place multiple birth siblings in separate classrooms if the request would require the school district to add an additional class to the grade level of the multiple birth siblings.
(e) At the end of the first grading period following the multiple birth siblings' enrollment in the school, if the principal of the school, in consultation with the teacher of each classroom in which the multiple birth siblings are placed, determines that the requested classroom placement is disruptive to the school, the principal may determine the appropriate classroom placement for the siblings.
(f) This section does not affect the right of a school administrative unit, principal, or teacher to remove a student from a classroom pursuant to the student discipline policies of that school administrative unit. (2011-354, s. 1.)
§ 115C-366.4. Assignment of students convicted of cyber-bullying.
A student who is convicted under G.S. 14-458.2 of cyber-bullying a school employee shall be transferred to another school within the local school administrative unit. If there is no other appropriate school within the local school administrative unit, the student shall be transferred to a different class or assigned to a teacher who was not involved as a victim of the cyber-bullying. Notwithstanding the provisions in this section, the superintendent may modify, in writing, the required transfer of an individual student on a case-by-case basis. (2012-149, s. 9.)
§ 115C-367. Assignment on certain bases prohibited.
No person shall be refused admission to or be excluded from any public school in this State on account of race, creed, color or national origin. No school attendance district or zone shall be drawn for the purpose of segregating persons of various races, creeds, colors or national origins from the community.
Where local school administrative units have divided the geographic area into attendance districts or zones, pupils shall be assigned to schools within such attendance districts: Provided, however, that the board of education of a local school administrative unit may assign any pupil to a school outside of such attendance district or zone in order that such pupil may attend a school of a specialized kind including but not limited to a vocational school or school operated for, or operating programs for, pupils mentally or physically handicapped, or for any other reason which the board of education in its sole discretion deems sufficient.
The provisions of Part 1D of Article 9 of this Chapter, G.S. 115C-366(b), and G.S. 115C-367 to G.S. 115C-370 shall not apply to a temporary assignment due to the unsuitability of a school for its intended purpose nor to any assignment or transfer necessitated by overcrowded conditions or other circumstances which, in the sole discretion of the school board, require assignment or reassignment.
The provisions of Part 1D of Article 9 of this Chapter, G.S. 115C-366(b), and G.S. 115C-367 to G.S. 115C-370 shall not apply to an application for the assignment or reassignment by the parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis of any pupil or to any assignment made pursuant to a choice made by any pupil who is eligible to make such choice pursuant to the provisions of a freedom of choice plan voluntarily adopted by the board of education of a local school administrative unit. (1969, c. 1274; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 2006-69, s. 3(j).)
§ 115C-368. Notice of assignment.
In exercising the authority conferred by G.S. 115C-366(b), each local board of education may, in making assignments of pupils, give individual written notice of assignment, on each pupil's report card or by written notice by any other feasible means, to the parent or guardian of each child or the person standing in loco parentis to the child, or may give notice of assignment of groups or categories of pupils by publication at least two times in some newspaper having general circulation in the local administrative unit. (1955, c. 366, s. 2; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 7, s. 2; 1981, c. 423, s. 1.)
§ 115C-369. Application for reassignment; notice of disapproval; hearing before board.
(a) The parent or guardian of any child, or the person standing in loco parentis to any child, who is dissatisfied with the assignment made by a local board of education may, within 10 days after notification of the assignment, or the last publication thereof, apply in writing to the local board of education for the reassignment of the child to a different public school. Application for reassignment shall be made on forms prescribed by the local board of education pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the board of education. If the application for reassignment is disapproved, the local board of education shall give notice to the applicant by registered or certified mail, and the applicant may within five days after receipt of such notice apply to the local board for a hearing. The applicant shall be entitled to a prompt and fair hearing on the question of reassignment of such child to a different school.
(b) The local board of education shall make a final determination on the question of reassignment. The board of education may establish initial hearings prior to the final determination. If the board of education establishes initial hearings, the board of education shall designate hearing panels composed of not less than two members of the board to hear such appeals in the name of the board of education, and may designate a hearing officer to hear such appeals for fact-finding and a recommended decision, or may designate both. If both are designated, an applicant must select the entity to hold the hearing. The hearing panel's recommendations or the hearing officer's recommended findings of fact and recommended decision shall be submitted to the board of education for final determination.
(c) At the hearing the local board of education shall consider the best interest of the child, the orderly and efficient administration of the public schools, the proper administration of the school to which reassignment is requested and the instruction, health, and safety of the pupils there enrolled, and shall assign said child in accordance with such factors. The local board shall render prompt decision upon the hearing, and notice of the decision shall be given to the applicant by mail, telephone, telefax, e-mail, or any other method reasonably designed to achieve notice. (1955, c. 366, s. 3; 1956, Ex. Sess., c. 7, s. 3; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987, cc. 406, 791; 2007-501, s. 1.)
§ 115C-370. Judicial review of board's decision.
A decision of a local board under G.S. 115C-369 is final and, except as provided in this section, is subject to judicial review in accordance with Article 4 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. A person seeking judicial review shall file a petition in the superior court of the county where the local board made its decision. (1955, c. 366, s. 4; 1969, c. 44, s. 73; 1981, c. 423, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 51.)
§ 115C-371. Assignment to special education programs.
Assignment of students to special education programs is subject to Article 9 of this Chapter. (1981, c. 423, s. 1; 2006-69, s. 3(k).)
§ 115C-372. Assignment to school bus.
Assignment of students to school buses is subject to the provisions of G.S. 115C-244. (1981, c. 423, s. 1.)
§ 115C-373: Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-374: Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 115C-375: Reserved for future codification purposes.