- Alcohol, Other Drugs, Prescription Medication and Over the Counter Products
- Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation
- Electronic Harassment Violation
- Gangs, Gang Activity and Similar Destructive or Illegal Gang Behavior
- Grading and Reporting
- Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media
- Personal Communication Device Guidelines
- Student Access to Digital Tools
- Safe School Environments
- Sexual Discrimination
- Student Assault and/or Battery on Staff
- Student Discipline
- Student Dress Code
- Student Representation
- Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
- Student Search and Seizure
- Student Use and Possession of Tobacco Products
- Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses
- Trespassing or Willful Disturbance
The following are summaries of policies related to student responsibilities and behavior, as of July 1, 2017. The most current copies of policies are available on the policies webpage, or through the Public Information Office at 410-313-6682.
Alcohol, Other Drugs, Prescription Medication and Over the Counter Products
The possession, use, or distribution of alcoholic beverages and other drugs on school premises or at school-related or school-sponsored activities is prohibited. Prescription medication and over-the-counter products require written medication orders and are to be administered in accordance with school system Health Services procedures. Legal searches and seizures related to this policy may be conducted on school property. Confidentiality is guaranteed for students who seek counseling for drug or alcohol abuse problems.
For a first offense, a student found using or in possession of alcoholic beverages or other drugs will be suspended from school for not more than 30 school days and will be suspended from attendance at, participation in, and practice for, all extracurricular and school activities for 30 school days. Exclusion from commencement exercises is only applicable if it occurs during the suspension from school. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
A second offense results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for a suspension of not more than 45 school days and suspension from attendance at, participation in, and practice for all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the current semester and the next consecutive semester. Exclusion from commencement exercises is only applicable if it occurs during the suspension from school. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
A third violation results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for a suspension of not more than 45 school days or expulsion.
Possession or use of prescription medication or over-the-counter products in the absence of, or inconsistent with, a written medication order, will result in a suspension of not more than 30 school days for a first offense. A school administrator may consider a lesser consequence than suspension under certain circumstances.
A second offense may result in suspension from school for up to 30 school days and from attendance at, participation in, and practice for all extracurricular and school-related activities for the remainder of the current semester and the next consecutive semester. The student may be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
A lesser consequence can be considered based on the consequence for the first offense.
A third offense may result in a suspension of up to 45 school days and suspension. The student may be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program. Consequences for a third offense are also dependent on the consequences assigned for the first two offenses.
Students who distribute or intend to distribute alcohol or other drugs on school property will be referred to the Superintendent/Designee for a suspension of not more than 45 school days or expulsion. If suspended, the student also will be suspended from attendance at, participation in, and practice for all extracurricular and school-related activities for the remainder of the semester and the next consecutive semester. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
A second violation results in expulsion.
A school administrator may consider a lesser consequence than suspension if the student distributes an over-the-counter product that can be clearly identified. If this condition is not met, the administrator will suspend the student for not more than 45 school days.
A second offense results in a suspension for not more than 45 school days and suspension from attendance at, participation in, and practice for all extracurricular and school-related activities for the remainder of the semester and the next consecutive semester. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
Subsequent violations will result in suspension of not less than 45 school days or expulsion. If suspended, the student also will be suspended from attendance at, participation in, and practice for all extracurricular and school-related activities for the remainder of the semester and the next consecutive semester. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program.
Regular daily attendance is vital to the continuity of classroom instruction and participation in school activities. Therefore, students are required to be in school or to be attending a school activity each day school is in session. In recognition that situations do arise that necessitate absence from school, the Board of Education allows students to be lawfully absent for a death in the family, illness, a court summons, hazardous weather as determined by the Superintendent, work release, religious obligation, declared State emergencies, suspension, or for other emergencies or set of circumstances which in the judgment of the Superintendent or designee constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence.
Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation
The Board prohibits acts of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation because these behaviors compromise the learning environment and well-being of students, staff and community.
Bullying may include the following specific behaviors:
- A real or perceived power imbalance.
- Repeated behaviors targeting an individual/group.
- Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, hair pulling or throwing something.
- Getting another person to hit or harm the student.
- Teasing, name-calling, critical remarks, or threatening, in person, by email or text message.
- Bullying by demeaning and making the target of jokes.
- Rude and/or threatening gestures.
- Intimidation, extortion or exploitation.
- Spreading rumors or harmful gossip.
Students, parents, employees and service providers are responsible for reporting violations of this policy that occur on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity or event off school property. Incidents of cyberbullying occurring from a student’s home that impact another student’s well-being at school may also be reported.
All reports of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and intimidation will be documented and the student making the report, or an appropriate adult, should complete and submit a Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation Reporting Form, available on the school system website under Forms. The victim and witnesses will be informed that confidentiality cannot be insured because it is not possible to predict what will be discovered as a result of the investigation. The offender will be informed that retaliation against any victim or bystander is strictly prohibited and that progressive consequences will occur if the activity continues.
Appropriate support services will be provided to a student or staff member exhibiting bullying behaviors or to the victim or bystander. A student or staff member who violates this policy may be required to participate in appropriate counseling or intervention. Consequences range from a parent conference to expulsion.
Electronic Harassment Violation
(not part of Policy 1060)
Using a computer or portable communication device to cause another student/staff member to reasonably fear for his/her safety is prohibited. This includes engaging in conduct that would constitute sexual harassment; to disseminate data with malicious intent to psychologically torment or harass; to make any statement intended to provoke or likely provoke a third party to stalk or harass someone; building a fake profile or website; posing as someone in an electronic chat room, an electronic mail message, or an instant message; repeatedly following the student online or into an electronic chat room; posting or encouraging others to post private, personal, or sexual information pertaining to the individual on the Internet or signing up an individual for inappropriate Internet sites.
Incidences of bullying may be reported using a printed form (available in each main school office, school counseling office, media center, and health services office or at www.hcpss.org/parents/school-culture-and-climate/report-bullying/) or through HCPSS Sprigeo, an online reporting system, at: http://report.sprigeo.com/.
The Board has set clear expectations for civil behavior that supports a safe, engaging, and supportive environment on school property and at school-related activities. Unacceptable behaviors include but are not limited to:
- Rude, insulting, or demeaning language and/or actions.
- Persistently unreasonable demands.
- Intrusive and/or interruptive behavior.
- Displays of temper.
- Harassment and intimidation.
- Threatening and/or abusive gestures and behavior.
Each individual is responsible for behaving in a civil manner and for cooperating in resolving incidents of uncivil behavior.
When resolution is not reached through cooperative agreement, either party involved may cite this policy and notify the other person that they are ending the conversation or the interaction and removing themselves from the situation by ending a phone call, walking out of the room, or requesting the other individual to leave the room.
The Board is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from discrimination, fosters equitable opportunities, and values diversity and commonality. To that end, the Board prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, physical or mental disability, age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation in its educational program, including co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and in the workplace.
Furthermore, the Board recognizes its responsibility to promote the worth and dignity of all individuals through curriculum, instruction, professional development, and resource selection. Employees and third parties share responsibility for the health, safety, and general welfare of students and for contributing to an environment free from discrimination.
It is a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party to engage in acts of discrimination in schools, school system offices, or at school-related activities. It is a violation of this policy to engage in retaliation with regard to allegations of discrimination. Violations of this policy are cumulative; subsequent offenses may affect the nature and severity of the consequences.
Gangs, Gang Activity and Similar Destructive or Illegal Gang Behavior
The Board prohibits any gang activity and any similar destructive or illegal group behavior on school property, on school buses or at school-sponsored functions. This includes reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity or individuals who are victims, witnesses, bystanders or have reliable information about gang activity.
All suspected violations of this policy will be investigated by school administration. Violations of this policy are cumulative; subsequent offenses may affect the nature and severity of the consequences.
Whenever a report of ongoing or threatened gang-related violence appears accurate and reliable, law enforcement officials will be contacted. Students who violate this policy may be referred to law enforcement officials and may be subject to criminal or other legal action.
Grading and Reporting
The Board of Education is committed to ensuring that all students meet or exceed rigorous performance standards. Accordingly, grading and achievement information must be determined in a consistent manner and regularly reported to students and their parents. Grading and promotion within the school system is based on the degree of success the individual student has achieved in the educational program. Decisions regarding promotion, retention and acceleration are made based on a student’s performance and academic progress over the entire school year.
The grading system for kindergarten through Grade 8 includes evaluation, effort, and instructional codes and/or comments. When the performance of any K-8 student is below grade level, the teacher, with appropriate participation of parents, will develop strategies and apply appropriate interventions to assist the student.
An elementary student who is not performing on grade level in reading and mathematics will automatically be considered for retention.
Middle school students must meet the following requirements or automatically be considered for retention. To pass from one grade to the next, a middle student must pass all courses and receive a final grade of not lower than “C” in English, social studies, reading, mathematics, and science. A student who does not meet this requirement may be recommended to attend summer school. Any student below grade level in reading and/or mathematics at the end of eighth grade will be required to participate in appropriate interventions.
In high school, a 5-letter grading system is used to indicate the achievement of each student in relation to attainment of course objectives. No plus or minus signs are used for official records. The following factors are used in determining level of achievement:
- Assignments and preparation
- Daily classroom work habits
Note: High school midterm and final examinations may not be taken before the scheduled dates, under any circumstances.
Weighted GPA will be used for academic eligibility for extracurricular activities, National Honor Society, honor roll, and any other activity requiring the reporting of a grade point average.
School staff will communicate with students and parents on a regular basis the level of academic performance in the essential curriculum (Grades K-8) or in relation to attainment of course objectives (Grades 9-12) as measured by county, teacher-made and other assessments, and by teacher observations via individual conferences, progress reports and report cards.
Responsible Use of Technology and Social Media
Students must act in a responsible, civil, ethical, and appropriate manner when using technology for HCPSS-sanctioned activities. Students may not reveal personally identifiable information (e.g., home phone numbers, addresses, or social security numbers) except in specific circumstances where such information is required to complete academic assignments. In such circumstances, prior written consent from the parent or legal guardian of the student is required.
Students will access only those network resources for which they have obtained permission, using the account assigned to them.
Students will not create, access, download, store, or print content that:
- Depicts profanity, obscenity, the use of weapons, terrorism, or violence.
- Promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products.
- Contains sexually suggestive messages.
- Is sexually explicit or obscene.
- Depicts gang affiliation.
- Contains language or symbols that demean an identifiable person or group or otherwise infringe on the rights of others.
- Causes or is likely to cause a disruption to school activities or the orderly operation of the school.
- Contains rude, disrespectful, or discourteous expressions inconsistent with civil discourse or behavior.
- Constitutes bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation in violation of Policy 1040 Safe School Environments, or Policy 1060 Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.
If a student, while using HCPSS-sanctioned technology or social media, discovers that another student may be the target of bullying, stalking or other harmful behavior, the student must report the findings to a teacher or administrator.
The school system reserves the right to enable or disable interactive features on social media to remove content that is inconsistent with the stated purpose, mission, and guidelines posted for the use of social media. The school system may access, monitor, archive, audit, purge or disclose the public contents of material that is created, stored or accessed through personal social media when possible and permitted by law.
Failure by any student to comply with this policy will result in the temporary or permanent termination of technology access privileges, in addition to any applicable disciplinary action or financial obligation.
Personal Communication Device Guidelines
- Students must comply with class and school rules and all relevant HCPSS Board Policies.
- Administration, faculty, and staff may request at any time that students must turn off and put away technology devices. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action and possible revocation of privileges.
- Individuals assume full responsibility for their non-HCPSS owned technology devices. This includes the device’s safety, security and maintenance.
- Schools may designate approved personal communication device zones/times on school grounds; however, personal communication devices may not be used in locker rooms or bathrooms at any time.
- Students must obtain consent from staff and participants before taking, uploading or sharing photos, recording audio, or capturing video during the school day.
- Any disruption to class or other educational activity may result in disciplinary action.
- Privileges for personal communication devices vary according to grade level:
- Elementary school students are permitted to have personal communication devices in their backpacks during the school day. They must be turned off during school hours. They may use their personal communication devices before or after school hours. Students may use personal communication devices in the front office or classroom with the permission of the classroom teacher/administrator.
- Middle school students are permitted to carry personal communication devices with them during the school day. They must be turned off or in silent mode at all times. These devices may not disrupt instruction times and should be put away (in a pocket, backpack, notebook, or locker). Instructional time is defined as from the sound of the class late bell to the sound of the class dismissal bell. Students may use their personal communication device before or after school hours, during lunch, and hallway/transition times. Due to the size of middle school hallways, middle school principals may choose to limit the use of personal communication devices during hallway transitions in an effort to maintain a safe environment.
- High school students are permitted to carry personal communication devices with them during the school day. They must be turned off or in silent mode at all times. These devices may not disrupt instructional times and should be put away (in a pocket, backpack, notebook, or locker). Instructional time is defined as from the sound of the class late bell to the sound of the class dismissal bell. High school students may use their personal communication devices before or after school hours, during lunch, and during hallway/transition times.
Student Access to Digital Tools
Throughout the school year, your child will have access to a number of educational digital tools for instruction and HCPSS sanctioned activities. HCPSS has contracted with several essential digital tools and online service providers that comply with student privacy laws, such as Canvas, Google Apps for Education, and eTexts. These digital tools provide teachers and students a variety of ways to engage in the teaching and learning process. Some of the digital tools will enable students and teachers to enter and share digital content. While using these services, students will learn about safe and effective positive digital citizen practices for interacting online.
Safe and Supportive Schools
The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, engaging, and supportive school climate. Behaviors that compromise this commitment, interfere with school operations, or are otherwise contrary to the basic mission of public schools will not be tolerated.
Any behaviors that interfere with or threaten the physical, emotional, mental, or academic well-being of students or employees will be addressed through the application of the appropriate Board policy and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, even when they do not occur on school property or at a school-related activity.
Students, employees and third parties engaging in these behaviors are subject to disciplinary and/or legal action. Students who violate this policy may also be subject to appropriate educational interventions and/or counseling.
The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from sexual discrimination. To that end, the Board of Education prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in its educational program, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, and in the workplace, as required by law.
Employees and third parties share responsibility for the health, safety and general welfare of students; for contributing to a school environment free from sexual discrimination; and for maintaining appropriate relationships with students. Employees, students, and third parties may be subject to disciplinary action or consequences for inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature, even when the behavior does not rise to the level of sexual discrimination as defined by prevailing federal and state laws.
It is a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party to engage in sexual discrimination or to engage in retaliation with regard to complaints of sexual discrimination.
Sexual discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence and is characterized as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with a student’s ability to learn, study, work, achieve, or participate in school activities or with an employee’s/ third party’s term, condition, or privilege of employment/ relationship with the school system. Sexual discrimination can be committed by a student, employee, or third party.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: offensive language verbally or in writing, including electronic formats; visual harassment such as derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, drawings, clothing or gestures; unwelcome sexual advances; spreading rumors about or evaluating someone for their sexual behavior; taunting or ridiculing someone because of perceived or actual sexual orientation; or pressuring someone for sexual activity.
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact or threat. Examples of sexual assault include, but are not limited to: unwanted touching of a person’s body in a sexual way without the person’s consent such as patting, pinching, or impeding or blocking a person’s physical movement, or engaging in unwelcome sexual contact. Sexual violence is any type of contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient such as fondling, forced sexual intercourse, sexual battery, rape, molestation or incest.
A student who chooses to file a sexual discrimination complaint must do so orally or in writing with a teacher, school counselor, school-based administrator, or the Title IX Coordinator for action in accordance with established procedures. All such reports must be filed with or forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator who will oversee and support the investigation.
A school system employee or third party who chooses to file a sexual harassment complaint must do so with the Title IX Coordinator or with a school-based administrator or supervisor as appropriate. All such reports must be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator for investigation.
In each phase of complaint resolution, every reasonable effort shall be made to maintain the confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties. These efforts may be limited by the school system’s legal and regulatory obligation to investigate and address allegations of sexual discrimination.
Upon completion of an investigation of a complaint received, the investigator will send a prompt, written report of the findings and actions to be taken, if any, to the appropriate parties. Such reporting will follow established confidentiality guidelines.
Violations of this policy are cumulative; subsequent offenses may affect the nature and severity of the consequences. Use and/or exhaustion of these procedures is not a prerequisite for the filing of complaints with the federal Office for Civil Rights.
The HCPSS Title IX Coordinator, Anne Roy, may be contacted at 410‑313‑6654 and Anne_Roy@hcpss.org. The full policy and associated procedures may be found at: http://www.hcpss.org/f/board/policies/1020.pdf. Additional information may also be found at: www.hcpss.org/schools/sexual-discrimination-harassment/.
Student Assault and/or Battery on Staff
In order for learning to take place, the school environment must be safe and orderly. Therefore, any assault and/or battery by a student on a school staff member is strictly forbidden. An assault may be physical, oral or written. Battery I is the unlawful touching of another person by the aggressor and battery II involves unlawful touching plus a display of blatant disregard for the safety of the staff member or others.
Consequences for an assault violation range from a minimum of in-school suspension to expulsion. A battery I violation results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for a suspension of not more than 45 days. A first battery II offense results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for an extended suspension between 11 and 45 school days or expulsion. A second battery II offense also results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for extended suspension between 11 and 45 school days or expulsion. A student who violates this policy is ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities for the duration of a suspension or expulsion.
The Board of Education recognizes that student discipline regulations should reflect a continuum of progressive discipline and a rehabilitative discipline philosophy with the goals of fostering, teaching, and acknowledging positive behavior and should be designed to keep students connected to school so that they may graduate college and career ready.
Student behavior is the shared responsibility of the school, the student, and the home. The professional staff at a school has the responsibility for taking appropriate action when a student is involved in a situation that is not conducive to a safe, engaging, and orderly environment.
Disciplinary consequences should be progressive in nature and designed to change inappropriate behavior, encourage responsible actions, and promote the development of self-discipline. The student has the right to due process. The Board of Education has approved the following forms of discipline:
- Alternative Educational Setting – A setting outside of the home school designed to accommodate the needs of students who have demonstrated the need for significant academic or behavioral support.
- Detention – The placement of a student in a non-standard, supervised setting during the school day, before or after school or on Saturdays.
- Restricted Access – Limitation of a student’s presence on school property.
- Suspension – The denial of a student’s right to attend regular classes or school for a specified period of time for cause. Suspension includes extended suspension, in school suspension, short-term suspension, or long-term suspension.
- In-School Suspension – The removal of a student within the school building from the student’s current education program to another location within the school building for up to but not more than 10 school days in a school year for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Short-Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for up to but not more than 3 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Long Term Suspension – The removal of a student from school for 4-10 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the principal.
- Extended-Suspension – The exclusion of a student from school for 11-45 school days for disciplinary reasons as determined by the Superintendent/ Designee
- In-school Intervention – The opportunity afforded a student, after the student is removed to an alternate location within the school, to continue to:
- Appropriately progress in the general curriculum.
- Receive the special education and related services specified on the student’s IEP if the student is a student with a disability in accordance with COMAR 13A.05.01.
- Receive instruction commensurate with the program afforded to the student in the regular classroom.
- Participate with peers as they would in their current education program to the extent appropriate.
- Expulsion – The exclusion of a student from the student’s regular school program for 45 school days or longer as determined by the Superintendent/Designee. Expulsion may occur when the Superintendent/Designee has determined that the student’s return to school prior to the completion of the expulsion period would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to other students, staff, or others.
This policy applies during school hours as well as at other times and places, including but not limited to, school buses, school-sponsored events, field trips, athletic functions, and any other activity where school administrators have jurisdiction over students. Other procedures may apply when a student is receiving special education services or has a 504 plan.
Disciplinary action may also be taken for off-campus incidents in accordance with Policy 9280, Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses as well as violations of Policy 1060, Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment or Intimidation.
Any student who is suspended from school is precluded from attendance at or participation in extracurricular or school-related activities during the period of the suspension or expulsion. When a graduating senior is suspended for 10 days or less, and the period of suspension includes the day of commencement, the student may appeal directly to the Superintendent.
Student Dress Code
Student dress and appearance are the basic responsibility of students and their parents/guardians as long as they are consistent with the school system’s responsibility to ensure that school environments are healthy, safe and conducive to student learning. It is a violation of this policy for any student to wear attire that interferes with the educational mission of the schools, is disruptive to the school environment, or that could endanger the health or safety of that student or others during school hours and school activities. This includes, but is not limited to, attire that:
- Unduly exposes or reveals skin or undergarments. This may include: tank tops; halter tops; tops that are strapless, low cut, or expose the midriff; pants worn low or loose that expose skin or undergarments.
- Causes or is likely to cause a substantial or material disruption to school activities or the orderly operation of the school. This may include buttons, display bands, armbands, flags, decals or other badges of symbolic expression.
- Covers the head, including hats, sunglasses, bandanas, hoods and visors, or head coverings of any kind.
- Depicts profanity, obscenity, the use of weapons, or violence.
- Promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products.
- Promotes, implies or contains sexually suggestive messages.
- Depicts gang affiliation.
- Contains language or symbols that demean an identifiable person or group or infringe on the rights of others.
- Contains rude, disrespectful, or discourteous expressions inconsistent with civil discourse and behavior.
- May damage school property.
Attire worn for medical reasons or required in practicing a religious belief is permitted. Student attire will support a healthy and safe academic school environment.
The Board of Education recognizes the value of contributions of students in the regular meetings of the Board and encourages this participation by establishing the position of Student Member to the Board of Education of Howard County and by establishing the position of student representative in each high school. The Student Member is elected by a plurality of student voters in Grades 6 through 11 countywide and serves a one-year term beginning with the first regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in July. Student representatives are elected in their high schools and serve a one-year term.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
The rights and responsibilities of individuals are preserved through the protection and preservation of the rights of others. Students have a responsibility for their own learning, for their personal conduct, and for the manner in which they exercise their rights. Students must accept the consequences of their actions. Students have the responsibility to participate in the educational program offered by their schools and, in doing so, are bound by the policies of the Howard County Public School System.
Students have specific responsibilities and rights related to school attendance, student expression, disciplinary action, due process, search and seizure, student records, student activities, use of school facilities, and non-discriminatory practices.
Student Search and Seizure
Authorized school officials have the right to search students, their possessions, and automobiles during the school day and at school-related activities when the school official has a reasonable belief that the student possesses an impermissible item. Additionally, authorized school officials may search property assigned to a student for school use, such as lockers, desks, electronic devices, and cubbies, at any time.
Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses
The presence in school of a student who has been charged with a reportable offense or an offense related to membership in a criminal gang may compromise the safety and well being of students and/or staff, and may disrupt the educational process in the school. Students who are considered by school administrators to have engaged in community offenses may raise similar concerns.
Maryland law requires law enforcement agencies to inform the superintendents of local school systems when a student has been charged with a reportable offense or an offense related to membership in a criminal gang. The information is then shared with the principal of the school the student attends, who conducts an investigation.
A student may be disciplined under this policy when the school system has evidence of the offense in addition to the notice of charges and when the student’s presence in school raises concerns for the safety and well being of students and/ or staff or the order and general welfare of the school. If it is determined that the student poses no threat to the safety and well being of students and staff, no further action is necessary.
However, if deemed appropriate, the student may be disciplined and/or assigned to an alternative educational placement pending adjudication. If the student is suspended from school, the principal will promptly inform the student’s parent(s) of the suspension. If the decision is made to place the student in an alternative educational setting, the student may not participate in extracurricular and school-related activities of his or her home school during the time in the alternative placement. While in the alternative placement, the student’s performance and status related to any legal proceedings will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Adjustments are made as appropriate.
The use or possession, or sale of any tobacco product, cigarette rolling papers, or electronic cigarette products by students is prohibited on school property (school buildings, school vehicles, school bus stops), at school-related activities, and on school trips to other areas or countries at all times.
For a first violation, the student and his/her parent will receive a referral form for a tobacco use cessation program administered by a public health agency or private provider. Failure to attend the tobacco use cessation program will result in a Level 3 Response as defined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. For a second offense, the student will be given a suspension from one to three school days. The student will have the option of enrolling in a tobacco use cessation program administered by a public health agency or private provider instead of serving the suspension. The school administrator will provide the parent with a referral form for that program. If the student chooses this option, proof of enrollment must be provided to the school administrator. If proof of enrollment is not provided within five school days, the student will be required to serve the designated length of suspension.
A student who violates this policy a third time may be given a suspension for three school days. The student will have the option of enrolling in a tobacco use cessation program administered by a public health agency or private provider instead of serving the three-day suspension. The school administrator will provide the parent with a referral form for that program. If the student chooses this option, proof of enrollment must be provided to a school administrator. If proof of enrollment is not provided within five school days, the student will be required to serve the designated length of suspension.
For fourth and subsequent offenses, the student may be given a suspension for three to five school days. The student may choose to serve the suspension or to enroll in and complete a tobacco use cessation program administered by a public health agency or private provider. If the student chooses this option, proof of enrollment must be provided to the school administrator before the student can return to school. If proof of enrollment and completion are not provided, the student will be required to serve the designated length of suspension.
Trespassing or Willful Disturbance
The school system has the legal authority to take action when anyone willfully disturbs or otherwise prevents the orderly conduct of school system instruction, administration or activities. Additionally, Maryland law provides criminal penalties for any individual who trespasses on school property or fails to leave school property after being asked to do so by authorized personnel.
Any willful disturbance or interference with the orderly conduct of activities, including bodily harm or threats of bodily harm to an individual who is lawfully on school property; threats to a student or employee by any means including in-person, by telephone, or by electronic means; or any willful damage or defacing of school property or building is a violation of policy and may be a violation of the law.
Any individual who is found to be on school property after receiving prior legal notice that his/her access to school system property has been denied, or who remains on the property after being asked to leave, is considered to be trespassing.
When an individual commits any of the offenses noted above, the building administrator may take several actions:
- Explain how the individual’s behavior is unacceptable.
- Issue a warning letter to the individual.
- Issue a letter that summarizes the disruptive behavior and any prior discussions or warnings and which informs the individual that any further incidents will lead to a formal denial of access.
- Issue a denial-of access letter.
When a denial-of-access letter is issued to the parent of a student enrolled at the school, the letter will explain how the parent may continue to discuss legitimate school issues regarding his or her child.
The presence of weapons on school property poses a serious threat to the safety and well being of students and staff. It is unlawful for any person to carry or possess any rifle, gun, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on any public school property in the state of Maryland. A weapon, as defined by school system policy, includes: any gun, dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, buck knife, hunting knife, throwing star, razor, metal knuckle, Nunchaku, explosive device, or any other object or implement intended to cause harm to another or used in such a way as to cause harm to another. Any student found in possession of a weapon on school property will be suspended and the police notified. Possession of a gun, or any implement possessed under a circumstance that would reasonably lead a person to believe it was a gun, will result in expulsion.