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Policy 3020 - Trespassing or Willful Disturbance

The purpose of this policy is to define the circumstances and conditions under which individuals are allowed access to school property, to define the circumstances and conditions under which access may be denied, to define the procedures for denying future access, and to establish the procedures for responding to an incident of trespassing or willful disturbance.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education encourages the participation of families and the community in public schools. The Board further encourages the use of school facilities for community purposes when such use does not interfere with the scheduled school program. The Board recognizes its primary responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing educational and work environment, and its legal authority to act when anyone willfully disturbs or otherwise prevents the orderly conduct of school system instruction, administration or activities.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the circumstances and conditions under which individuals are allowed access to school property, to define the circumstances and conditions under which access may be denied, to define the procedures for denying future access, and to establish the procedures for responding to an incident of trespassing or willful disturbance.

III. Definitions

  1. Authorized Employee – A member of the Board of Education of Howard County, Superintendent, principal, school resource officer, employee, or any person designated in writing by any of these persons as an agent of the school system for purposes of this policy.

  2. Building Administrator – The employee responsible for a particular school system property. The building administrator for a school is the principal. The building administrator for a non-school building is the building manager.

  3. Denial-of-Access Letter – A written notice served on or mailed to a person (or the person’s parent) by the building administrator or the Superintendent’s designee stating that the person is not permitted on school property for a defined period of time.

  4. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the child or vulnerable adult:

    1. Biological parent – A natural parent whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    2. Adoptive parent – A person who has legally adopted the child or vulnerable adult and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or agency appointed by the court as the legal guardian of the child or vulnerable adult and granted parental rights and privileges.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the child or vulnerable adult and granted parental rights and privileges.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the child or vulnerable adult, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian.

    6. Foster parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in the foster parent(s)’ home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by section 5-507 of the Family Law Article.

  5. School property – Any property or facility owned or leased by the Howard County Public School System.

  6. School Resource Officer – A law enforcement officer who has been assigned to a school in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the Howard County Department of Police (HCDP) and the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

  7. Trespassing – Entrance onto school property by an individual who is not identified as an authorized user of the property, and who has been given prior legal notice that entry onto or use of the property has been denied or who remains on the property once notified of the request to leave.

  8. Willful Disturbance – Conduct by an individual who:

    1. Willfully disturbs or otherwise willfully prevents the orderly conduct of activities, administration, or classes at a school.

    2. Molests or threatens with bodily harm any student, employee, or other individual lawfully on school property, on a school bus, or at a school sponsored event off school property.

    3. Threatens with bodily harm any employee at home by any means, including in-person, by telephone, or by electronic means if the threat arises out of the scope of the employee’s employment.

IV. Standards

  1. An authorized employee may deny access to HCPSS property to any person who:

    1. Is not a bona fide, currently registered student at the property or an HCPSS employee assigned to the property and who does not have lawful business to pursue at the site; or

    2. Is a bona fide, currently registered student at the school and has been suspended or expelled from the property, for the duration of the suspension or expulsion; or

    3. Is an employee or student who has been denied access to the property as a result of administrative action; or

    4. Creates a willful disturbance.

  2. In accordance with provision IV. A. above, employees of the HCPSS, contracted security officers and school resource officers may demand identification and evidence of a lawful and authorized use of the property from any person who desires to enter or use school property.

  3. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the HCDP and the HCPSS, a police officer may demand identification and evidence of a lawful and authorized use of HCPSS property and may deny access to HCPSS property when persons authorized to carry out these actions are not on the school property.

  4. Criminal charges may be filed against a person for trespassing or willful disturbance.

  5. An individual must be warned by an authorized employee not to enter school property before a criminal charge of trespass can be sought. This may be done orally, through signs designating restricted areas, through written notification, or through published guidelines for appropriate use of the property.

  6. An individual who receives a denial-of-access letter and who must visit the property for non-school events outside of normal school hours (during the exercise of his/her constitutional rights), may do so at the discretion and with the permission of the event’s sponsor(s). Decisions of the administrator’s supervisor may be appealed to the Superintendent’s designee.

  7. An individual who receives a denial-of-access letter may appeal the matter to the building administrator’s immediate supervisor.

  8. All Howard County Public School property and buildings are closed for all users from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. daily, unless an exception is made for a particular individual or group by the appropriate building administrator or Superintendent’s designee.

V. Compliance

  1. Building administrators are responsible for establishing procedures for admitting only authorized users to school property.

  2. Building administrators are responsible for investigating instances of alleged violations of this policy and taking appropriate action, except when it may be appropriate to deny access to multiple properties, in which case the Superintendent’s designee will be responsible.

  3. Building administrators are responsible for issuing denial-of-access letters, maintaining a file of issued letters, and forwarding copies of all letters to the Superintendent’s designee.

  4. The Superintendent’s designee is responsible for maintaining a list of all persons who have received denial-of-access letters and for disseminating such information as appropriate.

  5. The Superintendent’s designee will serve as the liaison to the HCDP in matters related to the implementation of this policy.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Sections 26-101 and 26-102

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, Section 6-409

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, Section 27-643(b)

C. Other

  • Student Code of Conduct

  • Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Education of Howard County and the Howard County Department of Police (1990)

  • Memorandum of Understanding: Law Enforcement Unit (2001)

VIII. History

ADOPTED: August 23, 1990

REVIEWED: July 1, 2012

MODIFIED:

REVISED: July 24, 1997, April 6, 2006

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2006