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Conduct and Other Offenses

A broad range of offenses are classified as conduct or other offenses. Some of the DCV offenses are criminal, but are not required to be reported to law enforcement. However, depending on the severity of the offense, law enforcement contact could prove beneficial and/or necessary.

What does Virginia law say about school attendance?

In brief, Virginia law:

  • requires parents to send children to school;
  • requires students to attend school;
  • requires schools to take specific action when children are not enrolled or students fail to attend;
  • authorizes law enforcement officers to pick up students who are skipping school; and
  • authorizes juvenile courts to take action against parents and/or children for failure to attend.

Basic provisions governing school attendance are listed in the table below.

§22.1-254

Compulsory Attendance Laws

§22.1-258 Appointment of Attendance Officers
§22.1-259 Teachers to Keep Daily Attendance Records
§22.1-260 Reports of Children Enrolled and Non-enrolled
§22.1-261 Duties of Attendance Officers
§22.1-262 Complaints to Court When Parents Fail to Comply
§22.1-263 Violations Constitute Misdemeanor
§22.1-265 Inducing Children to Absent Themselves
§22.1-266 Law Enforcement Officers and Truant Children
§22.1-267 Proceedings Against Habitually Absent Children
§22.1-269 Duties of the Board of Education
§22.1-279.3 Parental Responsibility and Involvement Requirements
§16.1-241.2 Proceedings Against Certain Parents

Resources

More detailed information about the legal framework for truancy prevention and intervention and specific procedural requirements are contained in the Virginia Department of Education’s Improving School Attendance: A Resource Guide for Virginia Schools.

What does Virginia law say about unexcused absences and driving?

Code of Virginia §§ 46.2-323 and 46.2-334.001 provides for the suspension of the driver’s license of anyone under 18 years of age who has 10 or more unexcused absences from public school on consecutive school days.

What does Virginia law say about attendance and religious holidays?

Code of Virginia §§ 22.1-254 requires local school boards to develop policies ensuring that any student’s absence because of the observance of a religious holiday be recorded as excused on the student’s attendance record and that a student not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award or of the right to take an alternate test or examination, for any which he missed because of such absence.

What does Virginia law say about notifying social services of non-attendance?

Code of Virginia § 63.2-606 requires schools to report non-attendance of children receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to local departments of social services. Families receiving TANF are required to comply with compulsory school attendance laws.

How is truancy defined in Virginia law?

Truancy is addressed in Code of Virginia § 16.1-228 as part of the definition of a Child in Need of Supervision (CHINSup) which contains several important elements.

A Child in Need of Supervision (CHINSup) means a child who is subject to the compulsory attendance law yet remains habitually absent, and:

  • the child has been offered adequate opportunity to benefit from all education services that are required to be provided by law;
  • the school or other appropriate agency has made a reasonable effort to effect the student’s attendance without success; and
  • the school system has provided the court with documentation that it has complied with all the provisions.

What disciplinary action can be taken for truancy?

Code of Virginia § 22.1-277 restricts the use of suspension for truancy: “Pupils may be suspended or expelled from attendance at school for sufficient cause, however, in no cases may sufficient cause for suspensions include only instances of truancy.”

Resources

The Virginia Department of Education has provided a module series called Attendance and Truancy among Virginia Students. This resource provides guidance and information on truancy prevention.

Can any action be taken against adults who allow truants to “hang out” during school hours?

Code of Virginia § 22.1-265 explains that inducing or attempting to induce any child to be absent unlawfully from school or knowingly employing or harboring any child absent unlawfully is a misdemeanor.

Resources

Attendance requirements may be included as part of the student conduct policy or may be addressed elsewhere in policy at the discretion of the school board. For more information see Virginia Board of Education Student Code of Conduct Policy Guidelines.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

A1T — N/A

What if a student activates a fire alarm when there is no fire?

Anyone who without just cause calls for an ambulance or fire-fighting apparatus or maliciously activates a fire alarm in a public building violates Code of Virginia § 18.2-212 and shall be deemed guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The school can determine which of the Disruptive Behavior codes is most appropriate.

What is a riot?

A riot is any unlawful use of force or violence, by three or more persons acting together, which seriously jeopardizes the public safety, peace, or order. According to Code of Virginia § 18.2-405, persons convicted of participating in any riot shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Remaining at a riot or unlawful assembly after being warned to disperse is also a violation of Code of Virginia § 18.2-407, which is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Click each offense below to read the DCV Definition

D1C — N/A

D2C — N/A

D3C — N/A

D4C — N/A

D5C — N/A

D6C — N/A

D8C — N/A

FA2 — N/A

F1T — N/A

RT1 — N/A

What is a gang?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-46.1 defines a criminal street gang as any group:

  • of three or more persons,
  • whether formal or informal,
  • which has as its primary objectives or activities the commission of one or more criminal acts,
  • that has an identifiable name or identifying sign or symbol, and
  • whose members have engaged in two or more specified criminal acts, at least one of which is an act of violence.

It is important to note that it is not illegal to be a gang member.

Which other laws address gangs?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-46.2 makes it a Class 4 or 5 felony for gang members to commit certain criminal acts on behalf of a gang. Examples include robbery, assault, arson, gang recruitment, trespassing, and damage to property.

Code of Virginia § 18.2-46.3 prohibits recruitment of juveniles for a criminal street gang. Specifically:

  • Any person aged 18 years or older, who solicits, invites, recruits, encourages, or otherwise causes or attempts to cause a juvenile to actively participate in or become a member of a criminal street gang, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
  • Any person who, regardless of age, solicits, invites, recruits, encourages, or otherwise causes or attempts to cause another to actively participate in or become a member of a criminal street gang, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Any person who uses threats or force against a person or that person's family to recruit that person into a gang, or force him or her to remain in the gang or to submit to a demand by a gang to commit a felony shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Code of Virginia § 18.2-55.1 prohibits hazing of youth gang members. Anyone who causes bodily injury by hazing any member or person seeking to become a member of a youth gang or street gang shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. It does not matter whether or not the victim of the hazing participated voluntarily in the prohibited activity.

Code of Virginia § 16.1-260(G) requires that the school division superintendent be notified when a juvenile or adult student commits a violation of any gang statute, whether on or off school property.

What kinds of crimes do gang members commit?

Most street gang members are involved in activities that are crimes in the community. Some examples are:

  • using drugs and dealing drugs;
  • theft and dealing in stolen property;
  • assault and battery and serious injury to other people;
  • threats and intimidation of others; and
  • destroying public and private property.

What authority/responsibilities do schools have related to gangs?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-46.3:3 establishes Gang-Free Zones in which there are enhanced penalties for gang participation and recruitment. The zones include school property, public property within 1,000 feet of school property, and school buses as well as on the property of any publicly owned or operated community center or recreation center.

Code of Virginia § 22.1-3.2 requires a parent or guardian to provide a public school, upon registration of a student, information concerning criminal convictions or delinquency adjudications for any offense listed in subsection G of Code of Virginia § 16.1-260. These include homicide, felonious assault and bodily wounding, criminal sexual assault, manufacture, sale, or distribution of Schedule I or II controlled substances or marijuana, arson, burglary and robbery, prohibited street gang activity, and recruitment for street gang activity. When the school registration results from foster care placement, the information is to be furnished by the local social services agency or licensed child-placing agency that made the foster care placement.

Resources

The most comprehensive federal resource, the National Gang Center at www.nationalgangcenter.gov, features the latest research about gangs; descriptions of evidence-based, anti-gang programs, and links to tools, databases, and other resources to assist in developing and implementing effective community-based gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies. An online form allows communities to request training and technical assistance as they plan and implement anti-gang strategies. Users can register for a variety of anti-gang training courses and subscribe to GANGINFO, an electronic mailing list for professionals working with gangs.

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services also has a Gangs Toolkit available online. Numerous publications can be downloaded including a Gang Reference Card for Parents, in multiple languages, and other resources on graffiti and street gangs.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

GA1 — N/A

What are violations of cell phone policy?

Code of Virginia § 22.1-279.6 authorizes local schools to regulate the use or possession of beepers or other portable communications devices and laser pointers by students on school property or attending school functions or activities and to establish related disciplinary procedures. In general, schools should have a policy in place to address appropriate use of cell phones that addresses permitted and prohibited uses; the policy can be included in the school division’s acceptable use policy (AUP) or student code of conduct. The policy needs to delineate clearly what is not acceptable and the consequences of violations of policy.

Training all staff in how to enforce the policy is important. They need to know what constitutes a violation, how to investigate incidents, when confiscating a cell phone is justified, the extent to which cell phones can be searched, and protocol for reporting incidents.

What computer/Internet use policies are schools required to have in place?

Code of Virginia § 22.1-70.2 requires schools and divisions to establish guidelines for appropriate technology use. These guidelines generally are called acceptable use policies (AUP). By definition, an AUP is a written agreement signed by students, their parents/caregivers, and their teachers. It outlines the terms and conditions for using technology-based devices maintained by schools and personal technology-based devices used during school hours on school property.

Resources

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is required to issue guidelines to school divisions regarding instructional programs related to Internet safety. Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools provides more detailed guidance on what school divisions must address, integrating Internet safety into curricula, and numerous Web-based Internet safety resources.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

C1M — N/A

T1C — N/A

What Virginia laws relate to computer-/Internet-related crimes?

There are numerous laws pertaining to computer-/Internet-related crimes. Some of the main computer-/Internet-related laws and key elements of the crimes are as follows:

Crime

Code of Virginia

Key Elements of Crime
Computer fraud § 18.2-152.3 Using computer or computer network without authority to 1) obtain property or services by false pretenses; 2) embezzle or commit larceny; or 3) convert the property of another.
Computer invasion of privacy § 18.2-152.5 Using computer or computer network to intentionally examine without authority any employment, salary, credit or any other financial or identifying information.
Computer trespass (hacking/cracking) § 18.2-152.4 Removing, altering, erasing, disabling, or unauthorized copying of any computer data, programs, or software; causing a computer to malfunction; creating or altering a financial instrument; using a computer or network to cause physical injury to the property of another; installing software to record keystrokes made on another computer or take control of another computer. This law does not prohibit the monitoring of computer usage of, the otherwise lawful copying of data of, or the denial of computer or Internet access to a minor by a parent or legal guardian of the minor.
Harassment by computer (cyberbullying) § 18.2-152.7:1 Using computer or computer network, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass, to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act.
Identity theft § 18.2-186.3 Without authorization or permission, to obtain, record or access identifying information that would assist in obtaining identification documents or obtaining benefits; to obtain money, credit, loans, goods or services by using the identifying information of another person; to obtain documents in another’s name.
Personal trespass by computer § 18.2-152.7 Using a computer or computer network to cause physical injury to an individual. Penalty is increased if committed maliciously.
Possession, reproduction, distribution, and facilitation of child pornography § 18.2-374.1:1 Knowingly possessing child pornography; reproducing child pornography by any means, including by computer, selling, giving away, distributing, electronically transmitting, displaying
with lascivious intent, purchasing, or possessing with intent to sell, giving away, distributing, transmitting, or displaying child pornography with lascivious intent; intentionally operating an
Internet website for the purpose of facilitating the payment for access to child pornography. Venue for a prosecution under this section may lie in the jurisdiction where the unlawful act occurs or where any child pornography is produced, reproduced, found, stored, received, or possessed in violation of this section. These provisions do not apply to possession for a bona fide medical, scientific, governmental, or judicial purpose.
Production, publication, sale, financing, etc., of child pornography § 18.2-374.1 Production of child pornography includes enticing or soliciting a person less than 18 years of age to perform or be a subject of child pornography; producing or taking part in filming or photographing child pornography; or knowingly financing or attempting or preparing to finance child pornography.
Property capable of embezzlement (by computer) § 18.2-152.8 Property subject to embezzlement, larceny, or receiving stolen goods shall include: 1. computers and computer networks; 2. financial instruments, computer data, computer programs, computer software and all other personal property; and 3. computer services.
Theft of computer services (WiFi surfing) § 18.2-152.6 Willfully obtaining computer services without authority.
Transmission of unsolicited electronic mail (spam) § 18.2-152.3:1 Using a computer or computer network to transmit unsolicited bulk electronic mail with the intent to falsify or forge electronic mail transmission information.
Use of communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children (solicitation) § 18.2-374.3 Use of a communications system by a person 18 years of age or older to solicit a child to knowingly and intentionally: 1. expose his sexual or genital parts or propose that any such child expose his sexual or genital parts; 2. propose that any such child feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such person or propose that such person feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of any such child; 3. propose to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse; or 4. entice, allure, persuade, or invite any such child to enter any vehicle, room, house, or other place, for any purposes set forth above.
Using a computer to gather identifying information (phishing/pharming) § 18.2-152.5:1 Using a computer to obtain, access, or record, through the use of material artifice, trickery or deception, any identifying information. This law does not apply to law-enforcement officers performing official duties.

Resources

The Virginia Department of Education’s Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools contains numerous Web-based Internet safety resources.

A key federal resource is OnGuardOnline.gov, which provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology community related to Internet fraud, computer security, and protecting user privacy.

The Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online covers a wide range of topics, including social networking, cyberbullying, sexting, using mobile phones safely, and protecting the family computer.

What are the Virginia laws related to tobacco?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-371.2 prohibits the purchase or possession of tobacco products by minors or sale of tobacco products to minors. Further, no person is permitted to sell or distribute to or purchase for or knowingly permit the purchase by any person less than 18 years of age.  

What laws govern e-cigarettes?

Nicotine vapor products and alternative nicotine products (sometimes known as e-cigarettes, the use of which may be known as vaping) are included in the definition of tobacco products which shall not be sold to or purchased or possessed by a minor. Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.5 requires that all schools include in the code of student conduct a prohibition against possessing electronic cigarettes on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity.

Click each offense below to read the DCV Definition

TB1 — N/A

T4B — N/A

What is the legal definition of gambling?

Code of Virginia § 18.2-325 defines illegal gambling as the making, placing or receipt of any bet or wager of money or other thing of value dependent upon the result of the game, contest, or any other event with an uncertain outcome.

Click the offense below to read the DCV Definition

G1B — N/A

Is it illegal to possess ammunition on school property?

No. It is not a crime to possess ammunition on school property; however it does violate the code of conduct and is a DCV offense.

Is it illegal to possess mace, pepper spray, or tear gas on school property?

No. It is not a crime to possess any item described above; however it does violate the code of conduct and is a DCV offense.

Are stun guns or tasers allowed on school property?

No. Code of Virginia § 18.2-308.1 prohibits bringing a stun gun or taser on school property. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor. While this offense is criminal, it is not required to be reported to law enforcement.

Click each offense below to read the DCV Definition

W1P — N/A

W3P — N/A

W2P — N/A

WT1 — N/A

WS1 — N/A

VDOE Discipline, Crime and Violence Definitions

The Virginia Department of Education updates DCV Definitions annually.

For more information on reporting, visit VDOE's School Safety section.

Code of Virginia

The Virginia General Assembly has posted the entire Code of Virginia online for web searching. You can perform a search by using key word(s), phrases or section numbers. You can also use the Table of Contents to view all Titles, Chapters, and Sections.

To explore the searchable Code of Virginia, go to the Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System (LIS).