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Policy 9290 - Gangs, Gang Activity, and Similar Destructive or Delinquent Group Behavior

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines, standards, and implementation procedures for: A. Preventing and eliminating gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior on school property, on school buses, and at school-sponsored functions. B. Prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior or who are victims, witnesses, bystanders, or have reliable information about an act of gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County fully supports the development and implementation of a safe and nurturing school environment. Gangs and gang activity disrupt this environment. Thus, the Board prohibits any gang activity and any similar destructive or delinquent group behavior on school property, on school buses, and at school-sponsored functions.

The Board also prohibits reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity or individuals who are victims, witnesses, bystanders, or have reliable information about gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines, standards, and implementation procedures for:

  1. Preventing and eliminating gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior on school property, on school buses, and at school-sponsored functions.

  2. Prohibiting reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior or who are victims, witnesses, bystanders, or have reliable information about an act of gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Delinquent – Failure to do what is required by law or obligation.

  2. Gang – A group of three or more individuals who engage in a pattern of destructive or delinquent activity for the benefit of the group’s members and/or for furthering the reputation of the group or individual. A gang shares a common identity, and members view themselves as a cohesive group. The common gang identity may be one or more of the following:

    1. The gang has a name that separates the group from others

    2. Members share common symbols such as clothing, graffiti, and hand signs

    3. Members regularly come together as a group and may claim a specific geographic location inside or outside of the school.

  3. Gang Activity – Committing, attempting to commit, or soliciting of two or more crimes; or acts by a juvenile that would be a crime if committed by an adult.

  4. School Property – Any property or vehicle owned or leased by the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). The concept of property extends to school activities such as field trips, use of parks and recreation facilities, proms off campus, etc. When a facility is scheduled by the school system for student use, it will be considered an extension of school property and includes bus stops and walking to and from school.

  5. School-Related Activity – Any HCPSS activity, whether held on or off school property, in which a student directly participates (e.g., school field trip, athletic event, or class/graduation activity), or in which the student does not directly participate but represents the school or student body simply by being there (e.g., spectator at a school event).

  6. School Security Officer – The individual responsible for oversight of the security at a specific school. The security officer may be the principal, another school administrator, a local law enforcement officer, or another designated individual.

  7. School Security Partnership – A group that meets regularly to discuss gangs and gang activity, and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior in the community, interventions and supports being used to address issues related to gangs, and services available to students, parents, and staff. This group is made up of individuals from groups such as local law enforcement, service organizations, and faith-based organizations.

  8. Threat – Expression, conveyed by word or action, of intent to do harm to another.

IV. Standards

  1. Gang activity is prohibited on all HCPSS school property.

  2. It is a violation of this policy for any student, employee, or third party to engage in gang activity or similar destructive or delinquent group behavior on school property or at school-related activities.

  3. It is a violation of this policy for any gang or gang member to threaten, defame, harass, intimidate, bully, cyberbully, or physically attack another when these actions occur on school property, on a school bus, at a school bus stop, or in connection with any school-related activity. These behaviors also constitute a violation of this policy when they have a direct effect on the order and general welfare of the school (such as negatively affecting the safety or learning environment of a classroom), even if they do not occur on school property or at a school-related activity.

  4. It is a violation of this policy for any individual or suspected gang member to threaten or carry out reprisal or retaliation against individuals:

    1. Who report gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior.

    2. Who are victims, witnesses, bystanders, or others with reliable information about gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior.

  5. Violations of this policy are cumulative; subsequent offenses may affect the nature and severity of the consequences.

  6. A written notice will be posted at each school stating that gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior is prohibited on school property, on school buses, or at school-sponsored functions.

  7. A written notice will be posted at each school stating that reprisal or retaliation against individuals who report gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior or those who are victims, witnesses, bystanders, or others with reliable information about gang activity and similar destructive or delinquent group behavior are prohibited.

  8. All suspected violations of this policy will be investigated by school-based administration.

  9. School administrators and/or the Superintendent/Designee may recommend appropriate interventions for individuals who have been victimized.

  10. A student, employee, or third party engaging in behaviors which violate this policy is subject to disciplinary and/or legal action. Interventions will be recommended, as appropriate, for students and employees who violate this policy.

  11. Whenever a report of on-going or threatened gang-related violence appears accurate and reliable, the principal/designee will contact the appropriate law enforcement officer.

  12. Regular HCPSS school security partnership meetings will be held to coordinate resources and funding opportunities to support gang prevention/intervention activities.

V. Compliance

  1. The Superintendent/Designee is responsible for ensuring that students, parents, employees, and third parties are notified of the provisions of this policy annually.

  2. The Superintendent/Designee will report incidents of gang activity to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) as stipulated in the Safe Schools Reporting Act of 2005.

  3. The school administrator or Superintendent/Designee is responsible for any action taken in response to a violation of this policy and for ensuring that the action taken is in accordance with Policy 9200 - Student Discipline, the Student Code of Conduct, the Procedures for the Threat Management Process, and Policy 7030 - Employee Conduct and Discipline.

  4. School administrators and/or the Superintendent/Designee will report all confirmed gang activity to law enforcement.

  5. School or central office administrators are responsible for offering appropriate assistance to students, employees, parents, or third parties who have been the object of or affected by behavior prohibited in this policy.

  6. Principals are responsible for complying with investigating and reporting incidents of gang activity in compliance with the Safe Schools Reporting Act of 2010.

  7. Principals will provide regular training for staff on gang prevention and intervention resources.

  8. Principals will designate a school security officer in schools enrolling students in grades 6-12.

  9. The Coordinator of School Security will coordinate the school security partnership meetings.

VI. Delegation of Authority

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

VII. References

  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681

  • Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C., Sec 601 and Sec. 2000e.2

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §7-304 Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §7-305 Suspensions and Expulsions

  • COMAR 13A.01.04.03, School Safety

  • COMAR13A.08.01.11, Disciplinary Action

  • COMAR 13A.08.04.03, Student Behavior Interventions

  • Safe Schools Act of 2010, Chapter 188 of 2010 Laws of Maryland

C. Other

  • Gang-Related Incident Investigation Form

  • Gang-Related Incident Reporting Form

  • Procedures for the Threat Management Process

  • Student Code of Conduct

VIII. History

ADOPTED: June 9, 2011

REVIEWED: July 1, 2017

MODIFIED:

REVISED: August 18, 2011

EFFECTIVE: August 18, 2011