Handbook – Student Responsibilities and Behavior/Policies
The following are summaries of policies related to student responsibilities and behavior. The most current copies of the policies are available at www.hcpss.org/board/policies/ or through the Policy Office at 410–313–8954.
Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco-Free Environment (Policy 1050)
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 or second offense, a student found using or in possession of alcoholic beverages or other drugs will receive a Level 4 – 5 Response, depending on the violation. Students may also be required to attend a parent/student conference, may receive mandatory assessment, counseling, and or education through a licensed addiction program, or a state-certified addictions counselor, and referral to SST for follow-up contact with the student and parent. Exclusion from commencement exercises is only applicable if it occurs during the suspension from school.
A third violation results in a referral to the Superintendent/Designee for a Level 5 Response, in addition to the steps outlined above for a first or second offense. When determining the level response, school administrators should prioritize student well-being, supports, and interventions over exclusionary practices.
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 Level 4 – 5 Response for both first and second offenses. Participation in a parent/student conference with a school administrator will occur prior to return from suspension, in addition to mandatory assessment, counseling and/or education through licensed addiction programs. The student may also be referred to SST. A school administrator may consider a lesser consequence than suspension under certain circumstances.
A lesser consequence can be considered based on the consequence for the first offense.
A third offense may result in a Level 5 Response that will preclude a student from participation in, and practice for all extracurricular and school-related activities for the period of suspension or expulsion. The student may be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program and may be referred to SST for follow-up contact with student and parents. Consequences for a third offense are also dependent on the consequences assigned for the first two offenses. When determining the level response, school administrators should prioritize student well-being, supports, and interventions over exclusionary practices.
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 11 to 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 period of suspension. The student will be referred for mandatory counseling in a licensed addictions program and may be referred to SST for follow up contact with the student and parent.
The use, possession, or sale of any tobacco or nicotine product or paraphernalia, including electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) used for vaping by students is prohibited in any setting in which students are responsible to school authority and/or supervision.
For a first offense, a school administrator may take the tobacco and/or Electronic Smoking Device and dispose of it with a community substance prevention service. The administrator will also provide the parent with a referral form for the student to attend a tobacco awareness program. Failure to provide proof of completion of the program within 30 school days will result in a Level 3 Response as defined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.
For a second offense, the student will be referred to SST after following the steps of a first offense. Failure to attend a tobacco awareness program after a second offense will result in a Level 3-5 Response as defined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.
For students who are in violation by intending to distribute tobacco, the student will be referred to SST, receive a Level 3 – 5 response for the first offense, a Level 4 – 5 response for the second offense, and will be required to attend a tobacco awareness program. When determining the level response, school administrators should prioritize student well-being, supports, and interventions over exclusionary practices.
Attendance (Policy 9010)
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. This also includes administrator approved discretionary absences, which will be no more than three (3) days per year, to allow students to visit post-secondary institutions, participate in college orientation programs, attend scheduled interviews with prospective employers, participate in civic engagement activities, and attend special family events among other events.
Note: If your child has an excused absence due to behavioral health reasons and you would like information on resources available through the school or community, please reach out to their school counselor or have your child reach out.
Bullying, Cyberbully, Harassment, or Intimidation Involving Students (Policy 9460)
Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation compromise the school environment and well-being of students. Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation of any person on school property, or at school-sponsored activities or that has a connection or nexus back to school setting is prohibited.
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 that have a connection or nexus back to the school setting. Incidents of cyberbullying occurring from a student’s home that impact another student’s well-being at school may also be reported.
A student, parent of a student, HCPSS employee, close adult relative of a student, or bystander, can complete and submit the BCHI Reporting Form to a school administrator/supervisor in person, by mail, or electronically, as soon as bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation is known or suspected. 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 target 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.
Incidences of alleged bullying may be easily and confidentially reported using the HCPSS online form (https://stopbullying.hcpss.org/report/bullying). Printed forms are also available in each main school office, school counseling office, media center, and health services office. More information about bullying can be found at https://stopbullying.hcpss.org.
Electronic Harassment Violation (not part of Policy 9460)
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.
Civility (Policy 1000)
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.
- Repeatedly interruptive behavior.
- Displays of temper.
- Threatening 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 mutual agreement, either party may cite this policy and notify the other party that they are ending the conversation or the interaction and remove themselves from the situation (for instance, ending a phone call, walking out of the room, or requesting the other individual leave the room).
Anti-Discrimination (Policy 1010)
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, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or educational disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or socioeconomic status in the educational program, including co‑curricular and extracurricular 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 Delinquent Group Behavior (Policy 9290)
The Board prohibits any gang activity and any similar destructive or delinquent 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 (Policies 8010 and 8020)
The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to ensuring that all students learn and that students, parents, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders are provided meaningful feedback on student achievement. Grading, reporting, promotion, and retention within the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) are based on the individual student’s mastery of curriculum standards. Additionally, the Board supports students in maintaining and extending their learning through the use of homework as part of the curricular program. The Board views grading, reporting, and homework as part of an ongoing conversation about student academic progress with students and their families.
When the performance of any K-5 student is below expectations, the teacher and/or grade level team will, with the knowledge and appropriate participation of parents, develop strategies and apply appropriate academic interventions to assist the student with achievement.
When a middle school student performs below grade/curriculum expectations, the school team, including the teacher, will, with the knowledge and appropriate participation of parents, provide additional assistance and opportunities for the student to improve their performance.
In elementary school, grades will be reported on interim/progress reports and on the report card. In Prekindergarten-5, grades are derived from a compilation of what students know and/or can do from that entire marking period.
In middle and high school, a letter grading (A, B, C, D, E) will be used; no plus or minus signs will be used for official records, such as reports cards and transcripts. Grading will reflect the student’s level of mastery of curriculum standards. Students will be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning via various measures in each quarter.
Both cumulative unweighted and weighted GPAs will be calculated for all students at the end of each marking period. Weighted GPA will be used for academic eligibility for extracurricular activities, National Honor Society, honor roll, and for any other activity requiring the reporting of a grade point average.
School employees will communicate to students and parents on a quarterly basis the student’s level of academic performance in the curriculum. Teachers will provide updates on student progress throughout the marking period. Parents may access a student’s progress through the learning management system. Additionally, teachers may communicate progress with parents in person, by phone, or in writing, either electronically or in print.
Responsible Use of Technology, Digital Tools and Social Media (Policy 8080)
Students must act in a responsible, civil, ethical and appropriate manner when using technology, digital tools and/or social media. The use of technology, digital tools, and social media may not interfere with student or employee work, cause disruptions to the school or work environment, result in additional costs to HCPSS, or violate applicable laws or Board of Education policies. Please note: Students must always turn off or put away devices when requested by staff at any time during the school day.
Students will not create, access, share, download, store or print content that:
- Depicts profanity, obscenity, the use of weapons, terrorism, gang affiliation, and/or violence.
- Promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products.
- Contains sexually suggestive messages or is sexually explicit or obscene.
- 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 HCPSS activities or the orderly operation of HCPSS.
- Contains rude, disrespectful or discourteous expressions inconsistent with civil discourse or behavior.
- Constitutes bullying, cyberbullying, harassment or intimidation in violation of Policy 1020 Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct; Policy 1040 Safe and Supportive Schools; and Policy 1060 Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, or Intimidation.
Personal Technology Device Guidelines
HCPSS permits students to bring personal technology devices to school for instructional or personal use. HCPSS will not mandate that students provide their own technology at school. When technology is necessary for instruction, HCPSS will provide devices for student use.
HCPSS permits students to bring personal technology devices, according to the following rules:
- Elementary School Students:
- Students will keep personal technology devices in backpacks during the school day, unless otherwise authorized by school administrators or instructional staff.
- Middle School Students:
- Will not use personal technology devices during non-instructional time (to include, but not limited to transitions between classes, lunch, recess, or in bathrooms or during special events), unless authorized by the school administrator.
- A school administrator may, on occasion, authorize the use of personal technology devices during special events and/or for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
- High School Students:
- May only use personal technology devices during classroom instruction when allowed by instructional staff; and
- May use personal technology devices during non-instructional time (transitions between classes, lunch or special events), unless prohibited by school administrators or instructional staff.
Student Use of Social Media
HCPSS will not mandate that students create or use social media for instruction or for HCPSS-sponsored programs. Students will not create HCPSS social media accounts.
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 (Policy 1040)
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.
Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Policy 1020)
The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. To that end, the Board of Education prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression in its educational program, co‑curricular and extracurricular activities, and in the workplace, as required by law.
Students, employees and third parties share responsibility for maintaining a school and work environment that is free from sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Employees, students and third parties may be subject to disciplinary action or consequences for inappropriate behavior including that 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 is any act or omission due to an individual’s actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment; or substantially interferes with an individual’s ability to work or learn, or otherwise is sufficiently severe enough to limit an individual’s employment opportunities, or to limit a student’s ability to participate in and benefit from the educational program.
Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: spreading rumors about or evaluating someone for their sexual behavior; taunting or ridiculing someone because of perceived or actual sexual orientation; visual harassment such as derogatory posters, photography, clothing or gestures communicated in person or electronically; pressuring someone for sexual activity; sharing or pressuring someone to share (including electronically) sexually explicit material; or offensive language (epithets, dirty jokes, slurs of a sexual nature) communicated verbally or in writing, including electronic formats and social media.
Sexual misconduct is an all-inclusive term encompassing discriminatory and/or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature including but not limited to sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender identity and it can occur between people of the same or different gender, gender identity or gender expression.
Sexual violence is the use of force or manipulation to engage in physical sexual activity with an individual without their consent. Consent may be absent due to an individual’s age, the presence of a disability, and/or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, amongst other reasons that limit an individual’s capacity to provide consent.
A student may file a complaint alleging sexual misconduct orally or in writing with a teacher, school counselor, school-based administrator, or directly with the Title IX Coordinator for action in accordance with established procedures. Written complaints are to be completed using the Bullying, Harassment, or Intimidation (BHI) Reporting Form. Reports that allege Title IX Sexual Harassment must be filed with or forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator who will initiate supportive measures and the formal complaint process in accordance with HCPSS Policy 1025 Title IX Sexual Harassment and federal regulations.
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 EEO Compliance and Investigations Officer, Larry Carr, may be contacted at 410‑313‑6654 and TitleIXCoordinator@hcpss.org. The full policy and associated procedures may be found at: www.hcpss.org/f/board/policies/1020.pdf. For information on reporting sexual discrimination, harassment, or misconduct, visit: www.hcpss.org/schools/sexual-discrimination-harassment/.
Student Assault and/or Battery on Employees (Policy 9270)
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 is any attempt or threat to inflict harm upon another person that gives the victim a reasonable fear of physical harm. An assault may be communicated in a behavioral, oral, written or electronic manner. Battery is the touching of another person by the aggressor or by some substance or force put in motion by the aggressor which is not consented to by the other person and results in a reasonable feeling of apprehension or discomfort; and it may also include circumstances which reflect the aggressor’s blatant disregard for the safety of employees or other persons evidenced by, but not limited to, the aggressor’s intentional conduct, disregard of directions, or the fact that the battery resulted in serious bodily harm.
Consequences for violations of this policy range from a Level 2 to a Level 5 response as outlined in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. The following is a delineation of consequences by school level:
- Elementary Grades pre-Kindergarten–2 – start with the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct Level 2 to out-of-school suspension.
- Elementary Grades 3–5 – will range from the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct Level 3 to out-of-school suspension.
- Middle and high school – will range from the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct Level 3 to a maximum of expulsion.
A student who violates this policy is ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities for the duration of a suspension or expulsion.
Student Discipline (Policy 9200)
The Board of Education recognizes that student discipline should reflect a continuum of progressive discipline strategies and a restorative approach with the goal of meeting students’ varied behavioral and developmental needs in a fair, equitable, and consistent manner that fosters positive behaviors.
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 location outside of the designated 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.
- 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.
- 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 three 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
- 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 9460, Bullying, Cyberbully, Harassment, or Intimidation Involving Students.
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 (Policy 9210)
The Board is committed to equitable educational access for all students. The student dress code does not differentiate based on students’ race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental or educational disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, socioeconomic status, body type, body size or personal style.
While student dress and appearance are the responsibility of students and their parents, the Board believes that dress and appearance should not interfere with any aspect of the educational process and expects that dress and appearance are consistent with all Board policy. Student attire may not interfere with the health or safety of any student, nor contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student.
Students will wear attire that contributes to a safe school environment conducive to learning.
Students may wear attire of their choice that is otherwise not prohibited.
Students may wear attire that aligns with their gender, gender expression, or gender identity.
Students may wear religious attire without fear of discipline or discrimination.
Students must wear:
- Bottom (e.g. pants, sweatpants, shorts, skirt, dress and leggings)
- Shoes (curricular-specific and activity-specific shoe requirements are permitted)
Students are permitted to wear:
- Hats, hoods, and headwear (as long as the student’s face is visible and wearable technology is visible to ensure it is not interfering with instruction and student safety)
- Ripped jeans, as long as undergarments are not exposed
- Tank tops, including spaghetti straps, halter tops, and strapless tops
- Athletic attire
- Clothing with commercial or athletic logos, as long as they do not violate expectations in other sections of this policy
Certain body parts must be covered for all students. Clothes must be worn in a way such that the chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area, and buttocks are covered with opaque material.
Students are not permitted to wear attire, including wearable technology, that is disruptive to the school environment, that promotes illegal or harmful activities, or that could endanger the health or safety of that student or others during school hours and school-related activities. Prohibited attire includes, but is not limited to:
- Attire that depicts profanity, hate speech, obscenity, the use of weapons, or violence
- Attire that promotes use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or other illegal or harmful products
- Attire that promotes, implies or contains sexually suggestive messages
- Attire that exposes or reveals the chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area, and buttocks
- Visible underwear or bathing suits (Visible waistbands or straps on undergarments worn under other clothing are not a violation.)
- Helmets or headgear that obscure the face, except as a religious obligation, observation of a religious holiday, or for a school-related activity
- Attire that depicts gang affiliation
- Attire that contains language or symbols that demean an identifiable person or group or otherwise infringes on the rights of others
- Attire that causes or is likely to cause a material disruption, a substantial disorder to school activities or the orderly operation of the school, or an invasion of the rights of others
- May damage school property
- Wearable technology and other attire when it interferes with instruction or student safety
If a student is in violation of this student dress code policy, a staff member will discretely and respectfully request that the student rectify their attire to align with the policy. This communication should avoid drawing undue attention to the student. In the event that the student is unable to rectify their attire immediately, and the attire is not disruptive, the student should be permitted to remain in the instructional setting and address their attire at a time that will have minimal impact on their learning. Policy implementation should minimize interruption to instruction.
In the event that the student refuses to rectify their attire, that staff member will refer the student to an administrator who will follow disciplinary action in accordance with the provisions of Policy 9200 Student Discipline and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.
Student Representation (Policy 2010)
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 (Policy 9020)
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 (Policy 9260)
Authorized Searchers have the right to search students, their possessions and automobiles, property assigned to a student for school use, such as lockers, desks, electronic devices and cubbies during the school day and at school-related activities when the school official has a reasonable belief that the student possesses an impermissible item on school property or during any school-sponsored or school-related activity.
A search of a student or student’s possessions will be made in the presence of a third party who is an HCPSS employee, parent, or school resource officer (SRO).
Students Charged with Community or Reportable Offenses (Policy 9280)
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.
Trespassing or Willful Disturbance (Policy 3020)
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.
Weapons (Policy 9250)
The presence of weapons on school property poses a serious threat to the safety and well-being of students and staff. It is a violation of policy for persons to carry or possess any rifle, gun, knife or deadly weapon of any kind on any public school property. A weapon, as defined by school system policy, includes: any gun, firearm, dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, buck knife, hunting knife, throwing star, razor, metal knuckle, Nunchaku, chemical spray, poison, taser, 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 face immediate disciplinary action in accordance with Policy 9200 Student Discipline, and may be referred to local law enforcement. 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.