PHILOSOPHY OF DISCIPLINE AND EQUITY STATEMENT
PHILOSOPHY OF DISCIPLINE
The primary goal of the Polk County Public School System is to ensure that each student achieves at the highest possible level. Education is to be provided in a manner that does not discriminate or cause harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or social and family background. In order for this to be accomplished:
- Every school staff member will strive to create a positive, safe environment that encourages and supports student success. Underlying causes for misbehavior will be explored, and when possible, positive redirection will occur and acceptable alternative behaviors will be Such redirection may involve a collaborative effort of school, community and parents/guardians.
- It is the objective and policy of the School Board of Polk County to recognize, preserve and protect the individual rights of all students; and, at the same time, to encourage and enforce the exercise of these rights within the framework of an orderly and efficient school Within this framework, it is the duty of the School Board, the administrative staff, and the faculty of each school to prevent and to prohibit student conduct that becomes dangerous, disruptive or destructive, and therefore endangers the proper maintenance and function of the school program. Staff members are expected to model core value behaviors that set an example for students. It is expected that all disciplinary measures will be conducted in a manner that is respectful to the student and preserves that student’s dignity wherever possible. It is the expectation that each student will behave in a manner that does not threaten, interfere with, or deprive other students of their right to an education and will accept responsibility for their behavior. An effective school environment must be safe and free from disruption. Progressive discipline utilizing corrective strategies that consider the student’s age, exceptionality, previous conduct, probability of a recurring violation, intent, attitude, and severity of the offense shall be utilized in all instances.
- The School Board further recognizes that students are protected and have certain rights extended to citizens under the United States Constitution and its amendments; and that these rights cannot be abridged except in accordance with the due process of law. Therefore, in order to clarify the guidelines of student behavior in the schools and establish procedures to be followed, the Code of Student Conduct has been adopted by the School Board. The Code shall be mandatory and applied in a manner that is consistent with this philosophy of Individual schools may adopt additional regulations governing actions not covered by the Code, but such additional regulations may neither substitute for nor negate any Code provisions unless approved through the School Board waiver process. It is essential that all students, their parents/guardians, teachers, support staff and administrators understand and abide by the Code of Student Conduct.
The School Board of Polk County, Florida, shall maintain a learning environment free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, transgender status or gender identity), religion or disability (including HIV, AIDS or sickle cell trait), pregnancy, marital status, age (except as authorized by law), military status, ancestry or genetic information, which are classes protected by State and/or Federal law (collectively “protected classes”). Students shall not be excluded from participating in any educational program or activity provided in the public schools of Polk County based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, transgender status or gender identity), religion or disability (including HIV, AIDS or sickle cell trait, pregnancy, marital status, age (except as authorized by law, military status, ancestry or genetic information, which are classes protected by State and/or Federal law (collectively “protected classes”).
If you have any questions with regard to discrimination or harassment, Title II or Title IX, you may contact Human Resource Services Office of Equity and Compliance, at (863) 534-0513.
If you have any questions regarding Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, you may contact the Director of Exceptional Student Education or Assistant Superintendent, Learning Support at (863) 534-0931.
Written questions may be forwarded to the Equity and Compliance Analyst at:
The School Board of Polk County, Florida 1915 South Floral Avenue
Post Office Box 391 Bartow, FL 33831
SCHOOL, STUDENTS, AND PARENTS WORKING TOGETHER
- Teaching behavior: All behaviors are skills, and the skills students use are learned from Follow these simple steps when teaching students how to act.
- Everyone needs a clear idea of what student behavior should be: Set Expectations
- Teach and model the expected behavior. Show them how to do it.
- Provide opportunities to practice. Role Play
- Frequently reinforce the expected behavior through specific praise and incentives.
- Acknowledging desired behavior is seven times more effective than excluding a student for misbehavior.
- Communication between school and home is another key to success. When parents contact a teacher or someone else at the school they can expect a helping response. In addition, when the teacher/school contacts the parent it is expected that the parent will respond to the school.
- Collaboration: Student success depends on everyone working together, sharing ideas, developing common goals, focusing on the desired outcomes.
- Relationship: One of the most important factors in student success is a caring relationship with a significant adult.
Parents Can Help By Teaching, Monitoring and Reinforcing These Skills:
There are basic skills that all students need in order to be successful in school. These skills are:
- Following Directions
- Asking for Help
- Cooperating with Others
- Ignoring Distractions
- Accepting Responsibility
- Contributing to Discussions
- Answering Classrooms Questions
- Accepting Consequences
- Coping with Losing
- Waiting for Adult Intervention
- Dealing with Accusations
There are additional thing that parents can do to help their children be successful in school;
- Teach responsibility: One good way to do this is by having rules and expectations.
- Establish routines: Bedtimes, a daily homework/practice time, a location at home for schoolwork to be completed.
- Let them know school is important to you: Reminding students before they go off to school of what you expect, monitoring achievement and homework through the parent portal, learning what social/behavioral skills are being taught in school and teaching them at home.
- Listen to their day: Asking questions about what happened at school and listening to their response.
- What did you learn today?
- What did you do in class today?
- How was the bus ride to and from school?
- Advocate for them: Communicate with the school personnel who are important in your child’s life. Be a part of every meeting at school.
- Teach self-advocacy: Students must develop the ability to identify and express their needs, wants, preferences and goals.
Schools Will Create The Conditions For Student Success By Having:
- A Well-developed School-wide Expectations and Classroom Rules: To be effective rules must be specific, taught (modeled and practices), prompted, reinforced and frequently They must cover specific expectations such as transitions, entering the room, getting started, and handling materials.
- A positive school climate that emphasizes dignity, respect, safety relationships and student engagement.
- Professionals that know how to identify and reinforce expected behaviors
- Effective parent and student communication:
- Daily/weekly notes, e-mail, use of agenda
- Positive and negative phone calls
- Charting point earned
- Monitoring behavior/academic contracts, behavioral/academic agreements
- Engagement Strategies
- Matching the curriculum and task to student learning level.
- Using activities that promote engagement, higher pace, more student responses
- Knowing what you want the student to do and reinforce when the student does it.
- Monitoring student progress, teaching students to monitor their own progress, and track progress.
- Providing daily reminders in opening activities or at the beginning of the period about classroom expectations.
- Multiple levels of support for:
- Alternatives to exclusionary responses to misbehavior:
- Class-wide management strategies, including teaching and rewards, re-teaching needed behaviors
- Re-teaching expectations
- Behavior Contracting
- Increasing parent involvement and communication regarding behavior
- Referral to the Student Success Team
- Restorative practices
- Peer mediation, Conflict resolution
- Removal of privileges
- Development of specific behavior intervention plans
NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS
The following is a description of the rights granted by federal law to students with handicaps. The intent of this summary is to keep you fully informed concerning decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions. You have the right to:
- Have your child take part in, and receive benefits from, public education programs and activities without discrimination because of his/her handicapping conditions.
- Have your child evaluated to determine if he/she is a qualified individual requiring accommodations necessary to provide access to educational programs. You have the right to receive notice in respect to such identification, evaluation, and placement of your child.
- Review relevant educational records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Have your child receive a free appropriate public education. This includes the right to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate. It also includes the right to have the School District make reasonable accommodations to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school-related activities.
- Disagree with the decisions reached by school personnel regarding necessary accommodations for access to educational programs. You may submit a written grievance to the 504 Coordinator or request an impartial hearing. You have the right to be represented by counsel at an impartial hearing.
- File a complaint alleging any action prohibited under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). Information regarding the filing of such a complaint is available from the Director of Exceptional Student Education.
If you have any questions regarding the District’s compliance with the IDEIA or Section 504, you may contact the Director of Exceptional Student Education or Assistant Superintendent, Learning Support at (863) 534-0931.
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the students’ educational records. You have the right to:
- Restrict the release of Directory Information which includes: a student’s name; photograph; address; telephone number, if it is a listed number; e-mail address; date and place of birth; participation in officially- recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if a member of an athletic team; dates of attendance; grade level; enrollment status; date of graduation or program completion; awards received, and most recent educational agency or institution If you do not want this information released, please complete the Directory Information Opt-Out Form (Appendix A) and return it to the school within thirty (30) days after the first day of classes.
- Restrict the release of a student’s name, address, and telephone listing to military recruiters and institutions of higher education as required by federal This request applies to our students in the senior high schools. The School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) is required to advise you of this requirement and afford you the opportunity to notify the school if you do not want this information disclosed to the military recruiters and institutions of higher learning. If you do not want this information released, please complete the Directory Information Opt-Out Form (Appendix A) and return it to the school within thirty (30) days after the first day of classes.
- Inspect and review the student’s educational records within thirty (30) days of the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit a written request to the school principal that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Copies of records may be requested and obtained.
- Request the amendment of the student’s educational records that the parents or eligible students believe are inaccurate, misleading, or Parents or eligible students may ask the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading, or inappropriate. A written request to the principal should clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the principal decides not to amend the records as requested, the parents or eligible students will be notified of the decision and advised of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parents or eligible students with notification of the right to a hearing.
- Consent to disclosures of personally identified information contained in the student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. The following are the situations allowing disclosure without parent consent:
- Disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel). A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
- Upon request, the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) discloses educational records without consent to the officials of another school district or postsecondary institution in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- Pursuant to the Uninterrupted Scholars Act, schools are also permitted to share educational records of children in the dependency system with case workers and other officials in the child welfare system, when the agency is legally responsible for the care and protection of the student. In Polk County Schools select information will be shared electronically through a secure system.
- File a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) to comply with the requirement of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W. Washington, DC 20202-4605
FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS AND PRIVACY ACT (FERPA)
Procedures for accessing student records:
Upon written or verbal request by the parent or adult student to have access or a representative to have access to their Permanent Cumulative Record, these procedures shall be followed:
- Parent and/or adult student will be given an appointment date and time within fifteen (15) school days of the request. The Parental Permission for Release of Information or Request for Review of Student Information form will be used for this purpose and placed in the cumulative record folder.
- Parents only have the right to inspect and review records of their child. Adult students may only review their own If the records include information on other students, the District will attempt to delete information of the other students. If this is impossible, the District will inform the parents of the information requested.
If the parent/guardian of a student or adult student believes that the educational information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy, they shall be provided an opportunity for correcting, deleting, or expunging such information.
Procedures for amendment of records:
- An informal meeting is scheduled at the school with the proper administration.
- If agreement is reached at the informal meeting, it shall be reduced to writing and signed by the parent/guardian or adult student and placed in the student’s proper school record. This written agreement shall only indicate that the record has been corrected, deleted, or expunged and dated.
- If the decision is that the records are not inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy, the parent/guardian or adult student has the right to place in the education record a statement commenting on the information and any reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
- If no agreement is reached, an appeal may be taken to the Superintendent or his/her designee. The Superintendent will schedule a formal hearing date no later than fifteen (15) school days after receiving the parent’s appeal.
- The parent will be notified in writing of the time, place, and date of the formal hearing at least five (5) days prior to the formal hearing. The parent will be given a full, fair opportunity to present evidence and, at his or her own expense, be represented by one or more individuals including an attorney.
- The Superintendent or his/her designee shall make a decision in writing within ten (10) days after the formal hearing. This decision will include a summary of the evidence and the reasons for the decision.
- If no agreement is reached with the Superintendent or his/her designee, the decision may then be appealed to the School Board.
Parents have the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in their student’s educational records, except to the extent that FERPA and state statute permits disclosure without consent.
Parents have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974).
Educational records may be disclosed to school officials determined to have a legitimate educational interest. A listing of what constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest is available from any school.
Schools are also permitted to share educational records of children in the dependency system with case workers and other officials in the child welfare system, when the agency is legally responsible for the care and protection of the students.
Records will be forwarded to another school district in which a student seeks to enroll.
Equal educational opportunities shall be available to all students. As such, the School Board will not discriminate nor tolerate harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, transgender status or gender identity), religion or disability (including HIV, AIDS, or sickle cell trait), pregnancy, marital status, age (except as authorized by law), military status, ancestry, or genetic information which are classes protected by State and/or Federal Law collectively, “protected classes”).
In order to achieve the aforesaid goal, the Superintendent shall:
- Curriculum Content: Review current and proposed courses of study and textbooks to detect any bias based upon the protected classes, as well as transgender status, change of sex, or gender identity, ascertaining of whether or not supplemental materials, singly or taken as a whole, fairly depict the contribution of both genders, various races, ethnic groups, etc., toward the development of human society;
- Staff Training: Develop an ongoing program of in-service training for school personnel designed to identify and solve problems of bias based upon the protected classes, as well as transgender status, change of sex, or gender identity in all aspects of the program.
- Student Access:
- Review current and proposed programs, activities, facilities, and practices to verify that all students have equal access thereto and are not segregated on the basis of the protected classes, as well as transgender status, change of sex, or gender identity in any duty, work, play, classroom, or school practice, except as may be permitted under State and Federal laws and regulations;
- Verify that facilities are made available for non-curricular student activities that are initiated by parents or other members of the community, including but not limited to any group that is officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts or is officially affiliated with any other Title 36 youth group, pursuant to Board Policy 7510 – Use of District Facilities;
- In accordance with Florida statute, the Board may establish and maintain a single-gender non- vocational class, extra-curricular activity, or school for elementary, middle, or high school students.
To file a complaint, please contact:
Equity & Compliance
1915 South Floral Avenue
P. O. Box 391 Bartow, FL 33830
863-534-0513 or 51334
PROTECTION OF PUPIL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (PPRA)
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) affords parents certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:
- Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one (1) or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the
U.S. Department of Education –
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent.
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family.
- Sex behavior or attitudes.
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior.
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships.
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers.
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents.
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
- Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of
- Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding.
- Any nonemergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings.
- Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
- Inspect, upon request and before administration or use
- Protected information surveys of students.
- Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes.
- Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law.
Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-5901
The Polk County School District administers the Polk County Prevention Survey and the Florida Youth Survey each year. All students in grades six through twelve are given the opportunity to participate in the Polk County Prevention Survey. The Florida Youth Survey will be administered randomly to students in a limited number of middle and high schools selected by the state between January and February of this school year. The Polk County Prevention Survey will be administered in the fall between November and December of this school year. These surveys ask secondary students about demographic information and student behaviors including drug, alcohol, tobacco use, and school related violence. The surveys are important in assessing our School District’s needs, monitoring programs, and evaluating prevention program outcomes. Student participation in both surveys is strictly anonymous. No personally identifiable information is requested as part of the survey or survey process. These surveys are voluntary, and students may choose not to participate. Students who do participate will not be required to answer all of the questions – only those they choose to answer.
As a parent, you have the right to prohibit your child’s participation in either or both surveys. Neither you nor your child is required to give a reason for not participating. Contact Mark Wilcox Center personnel at (863) 291-5355 no later than October 16th of this school year, if you would like to review the surveys or if you do not want your child to participate.
STUDENT DIRECTORY INFORMATION
The District shall make available, upon request, certain information known as “directory information” without prior permission of the parents or the eligible student. Directory information means information contained in an education record of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The Board designates as student “directory information:” a student’s name; photograph; address; telephone number, if it is a listed number; e-mail address; date and place of birth; participation in officially-recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if a member of an athletic team; dates of attendance; grade level; enrollment status; date or graduation or program completion; awards received; and most recent educational agency or institution attended.
Directory Information may be released to any individual, agency, or organization without prior consent, unless a parent or eligible student has notified the School Board of Polk County (SBPC) in writing that they do not wish the information released. In addition, two (2) federal laws require the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) to provide military recruiters, upon request, with three (3) Directory Information categories – names, addresses, and telephone listings, unless parents have advised the School Board of Polk County, Florida (SBPC) that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent. The school must verify that a written request to withhold any or all of the Directory Information is on file at the school site. The Directory Information Opt-Out Form (Appendix A) is to be used for this purpose. The Directory Information Opt-Out Form and the Parent Notification Letter (page v) are to be given to parents on a yearly basis in the Code of Student Conduct. Notification of parental objection to release of “Directory Information” must become a part of the student’s cumulative record and should be flagged on computer records as appropriate.
If you do not want Directory Information released, you must complete the Directory Information Opt-out Form (Appendix A) and return to school within thirty (30) days.
MCKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS EDUCATION ASSISTANCE ACT
• Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing or economic hardship
• Living in a motel or hotel due to loss of housing or economic hardship
• Staying in a shelter; emergency or transitional
• Substandard housing; without electricity, running water, health code violations, lack of cooking capabilities, etc.
• Sleeping in a car, campground, park or public space
(Whether the student resides with his/her legal parent or guardian or not)
Then, the student may have the following rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act:
• To go to school, no matter where the student is currently living
• To be immediately enrolled in school even if student lacks a permanent address, lacks proof of residency or other documents.
• To continue enrollment in the student’s school that he/she attended before becoming homeless, or the school for which the student is currently zoned.
• To attend classes while the new school secures previous school records.
• To continue to attend classes while dispute is being heard and resolved, in case of an enrollment dispute.
• To request assistance with transportation to school of origin.
• To participate in school programs with students who are not homeless.
• To receive free lunch.
If you have any questions about the educational rights listed above, please contact the HEARTH program at: 863-534-0801
7540 – COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AND NETWORKS
The School Board is committed to the effective use of technology to both enhance the quality of student learning and the efficiency of Board operations.
However, the use of the District’s network and technology resources by students is a privilege, not a right.
Further, safeguards shall be established so that the Board’s investment in both hardware and software is achieving the benefits of technology and inhibits negative side effects. Accordingly, students shall be educated about appropriate online behavior including, but not limited to, using social media to interact with others online; interacting with the other individuals in chat rooms or on blogs; and recognizing what constitutes cyberbullying, understanding cyberbullying is a violation of District policy, and learning appropriate responses if they are victims of cyberbullying.
7540.03 – STUDENT TECHNOLOGY ACCEPTABLE USE AND SAFETY
Technology has fundamentally altered the ways in which information is accessed, communicated, and transferred in society. As a result, educators are continually adapting their means and methods of instruction, and the way they approach student learning to incorporate the vast, diverse, and unique resources available through the Internet. The School Board provides technology resources (as defined in Bylaw 0100) to support the educational and professional needs of its students and staff. With respect to students, District technology resources afford them the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge to learn effectively and live productively in a digital world. The Board provides students with access to the Internet for limited educational purposes only and utilizes online educational services/apps to enhance the instruction delivered to its students. The District’s computer network and Internet system do not serve as a public access service or a public forum and the Board imposes reasonable restrictions on its use consistent with its limited educational purpose.
The Board regulates the use of District technology resources by principles consistent with applicable local, State, and Federal laws, the District’s educational mission and articulated expectations of student conduct as delineated in the Code of Student Conduct. This policy and its related administrative procedures and the Code of Student Conduct govern students’ use of District technology resources and students’ personal communication devices when they are connected to the District computer network, Internet connection, and/or online educational services/apps or when used while the student is on Board-owned property or at a Board-sponsored activity (see Policy 5136).
Users are required to refrain from actions that are illegal (such as libel, slander, vandalism, harassment, theft, plagiarism, inappropriate access, and the like) or unkind (such as personal attacks, invasion of privacy, injurious comment, and the like). Because its technology resources are not unlimited, the Board has also instituted restrictions aimed at preserving these resources, such as placing limits on use of bandwidth, storage space, and printers.
Users have no right or expectation to privacy when using District technology resources (including, but not limited to, privacy in the content of their personal files, e-mails, and records of their online activity when using the District’s computer network and/or Internet connection).
First, the Board may not be able to technologically limit access, through its technology resources, to only those services and resources that have been authorized for the purpose of instruction, study, and research related to the curriculum. Unlike in the past when educators and community members had the opportunity to review and screen materials to assess their appropriateness for supporting and enriching the curriculum according to adopted procedures and reasonable selection criteria (taking into account the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities, and developmental levels of the students who would be exposed to them), access to the Internet, because it serves as a gateway to any publicly available file server in the world, opens classrooms and students to electronic information resources that may not have been screened by educators for use by students of various ages.
Pursuant to Federal law, the Board has implemented technology protection measures that protect against (e.g., filter or block) access to visual displays/depictions/materials that are obscene, constitute child pornography, and/or are harmful to minors, as defined by the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). At the discretion of the Board or the Superintendent, the technology protection measures may be configured to protect against access to other material considered inappropriate for students to access. The Board also utilizes software and/or hardware to monitor online activity of students to restrict access to child pornography and other material that is obscene, objectionable, inappropriate, and/or harmful to minors. The technology protection measures may not be disabled at any time that students may be using District technology resources, if such disabling will cease to protect against access to materials that are prohibited under the CIPA. Any student who attempts to disable the technology protection measures will be subject to discipline.
The Superintendent may temporarily or permanently unblock access to websites or online educational services/apps containing appropriate material, if access to such sites has been inappropriately blocked by the technology protection measures. The determination of whether material is appropriate or inappropriate shall be based on the content of the material and the intended use of the material, not on the protection actions of the technology protection measures.
Parents are advised that a determined user may be able to gain access to services and/or resources on the Internet that the Board has not authorized for educational purposes. In fact, it is impossible to guarantee students will not gain access through the Internet to information and communications that they and/or their parents may find inappropriate, offensive, objectionable, or controversial. Parents of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using the Internet.
Pursuant to Federal law, students shall receive education about the following:
- safety and security while using e-mail, chat rooms, social media, and other forms of direct electronic communications;
- the dangers inherent with the online disclosure of personally identifiable information;
- the consequences of unauthorized access (e.g., “hacking”, “harvesting”, “digital piracy”, “data mining”, etc.), cyberbullying, and other unlawful or inappropriate activities by students online; and,
- unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information regarding minors.
Staff members shall provide instruction for their students regarding the appropriate use of technology and online safety and security as specified above. Furthermore, staff members will monitor the online activities of students while at school.
Monitoring may include, but is not necessarily limited to, visual observations of online activities during class sessions; or use of specific monitoring tools to review browser history and network, server, and computer logs.
Building principals are responsible for providing training so that Internet users under their supervision are knowledgeable about this policy and its accompanying procedures. The Board expects that staff members will provide guidance and instruction to students in the appropriate use of District technology resources. Such training shall include, but not be limited to, education concerning appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social media, including in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response. All users of District technology resources (and their parents if they are minors) are required to sign a written agreement to abide by the terms and conditions of this policy and its accompanying procedures.
Students will be assigned a school e-mail account that they are required to utilize for all school-related electronic communications, including those to staff members, peers, and individuals and/or organizations outside the District, with whom they are communicating for school-related projects and assignments unless the parent/guardian elected to opt-out on the “EMAIL & SUPPLEMENTAL DIGITAL RESOURCE OPT-OUT FORM”. Further, as directed and authorized by their teachers, they shall use their school-assigned e-mail account when signing up/registering for access to various online educational services, including mobile applications/apps that will be utilized by the student for educational purposes.
Students are responsible for good behavior when using District technology resources i.e., behavior comparable to that expected of students when they are in classrooms, school hallways, and other school premises and school-sponsored events. Communications on the Internet are often public in nature. General school rules for behavior and communication apply. The Board does not approve any use of its technology resources that is not authorized by or conducted strictly in compliance with this policy and its accompanying procedures.
Students may only use District technology resources to access or use social media if it is done for educational purposes in accordance with their teacher’s approved plan for such use.
Users who disregard this policy and its accompanying procedures may have their use privileges suspended or revoked, and disciplinary action taken against them. Users are personally responsible and liable, both civilly and criminally, for uses of District technology resources that are not authorized by this policy and its accompanying procedures
The Board designates the Superintendent and school administrators as the administrators responsible for initiating, implementing, and enforcing this policy and its accompanying procedures as they apply to students’ use of District technology resources.
5136 – Wireless Communication Devices
“Wireless communication device” (WCDs) as used in this policy are defined in Bylaw 0100.
The School Board is aware that WCDs are used by students and parents to communicate with each other. However, the use of WCDs on school grounds must be appropriately regulated to protect students, staff, and the learning environment. This policy sets forth the District’s policy with respect to WCDs.
Pursuant to State law, students shall not operate a motor vehicle owned or leased by the District on or off school property, or personal motor vehicle on District property, while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communication device or while sending or reading messages on such a device, for the purpose of non-voice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, and snap chatting.
At the discretion of the principal, students may use WCDs before and after school, during their lunch break, in between classes as long as they do not create a distraction, disruption, or otherwise interfere with the educational environment, during after school activities (e.g., extra curricular activities), or at school-related functions. Use of WCDs, except those approved by a teacher or administrator, at any other time is prohibited and they must be powered completely off (i.e. not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.
WCDs intended and actually used for instructional purposes (e.g., taking notes, recording classroom lectures, writing papers) will be permitted, as approved by the classroom teacher or the building principal. However, the use of a WCD to engage in non-education-related communications is expressly prohibited.
Students may not use WCDs on school property or at a school-sponsored activity to access and/or view Internet web sites that are otherwise blocked to students at school.
Students may use WCDs while riding to and from school on a school bus or other Board-provided vehicles or on a school bus or Board-provided vehicle during school-sponsored activities, at the discretion of the bus driver, classroom teacher sponsor/advisor/coach. Distracting behavior that creates an unsafe environment will not be tolerated.
During after school activities, WCDs shall be powered completely off (not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight when directed by the administrator or sponsor.
Under certain circumstances, a student may keep his/her WCD “on” with prior approval from the building principal.
Except as authorized by a teacher, administrator, or IEP Team, students are prohibited from using WCDs during the school day, including while off-campus on a field trip, to capture, record, or transmit the words or sounds (i.e., audio) and/or images (i.e., pictures/video) of any student, staff member, or other person. Using a WCD to capture, record, and/or transmit audio and/or pictures/video of an individual without proper consent is considered an invasion of privacy and is not permitted. Students who violate this provision and/or use a WCD to violate the privacy rights of another person may have their WCD confiscated and held until the end of the school day or until a parent/guardian picks it up, and may be directed to delete the audio and/or picture/video file while the parent/guardian is present. If the violation involves potentially illegal activity, the confiscated WCD may be turned over to law enforcement. The prohibitions herein also include using a WCD or any other device to covertly listen-in or make a recording (audio or video) of any meeting or activity in school. This include placing a WCD or other device with one- or two-way audio and video communication technology (i.e., technology that allows a person to listen to live conversations and sounds taking place in the location where the device is located), within a student’s book bag or other property of the student or on the student’s person without express written consent from an administrator, IEP Team, or Section 504 Team.
“Sexting” is prohibited at any time on school property or at school functions. As set forth in State law, sexting is the knowing transmission or distribution to another minor by a computer or similar device any photograph or video of any person that depicts nudity and is harmful to minors. Sexting also includes possessing a photo of any person that was transmitted or distributed by another minor that depicts nudity. Such conduct not only is potentially dangerous for the involved students, but can lead to unwanted exposure of the messages and images to others, and could result in criminal violations related to the transmission or possession of child pornography. Such conduct will be subject to discipline and possible confiscation of the WCD.
WCDs, including but not limited to those with cameras, may not be activated or utilized at any time in any school situation where a reasonable expectation of personal privacy exists. These locations and circumstances include, but are not limited to gymnasiums, locker rooms, shower facilities, rest/bathrooms, and any other areas where students or others may change clothes or be in any stage or degree of disrobing or changing clothes. The Superintendent and building principals are authorized to determine other specific locations and situations where use of a WCD is absolutely prohibited.
Students shall have no expectation of confidentiality with respect to their use of WCDs on school premises/property.
Students may not use a WCD in any way that might reasonably create in the mind of another person an impression of being threatened, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed, or intimidated. See Policy 5517.01 – Bullying and Harassment. In particular, students are prohibited from using WCDs to: (1) transmit material that is threatening, obscene, disruptive, or sexually explicit or that can be construed as harassment or disparagement of others based upon their race, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation/transgender identity), disability, age, religion, ancestry, or political beliefs; and (2) engage in “sexting” – i.e., sending, receiving, sharing, viewing, or possessing pictures, text messages, e-mails, or other materials of a sexual nature (i.e., sexting) in electronic or any other form. As set forth in State law, sexting is the knowing transmission or distribution to another minor by a computer or similar device any photograph or video of any person that depicts nudity and is harmful to minors. Sexting also includes possessing a photo of any person that was transmitted or distributed by another minor that depicts nudity and is harmful to minors. Violation of these prohibitions shall result in disciplinary action. Furthermore, such actions will be reported to local law enforcement and child services as required by law.
Students are also prohibited from using a WCD to capture, record, and/or transmit test information or any other information in a manner constituting fraud, theft, cheating, or academic dishonesty. Likewise, students are prohibited from using WCDs to receive such information.
Possession of a WCD by a student at school during school hours and/or during extra-curricular activities is a privilege that may be forfeited by any student who fails to abide by the terms of this policy, or otherwise abuses this privilege.
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the WCD. The building principal may also refer the matter to law enforcement or child services if the violation involves an illegal activity (e.g., child pornography, sexting). Discipline will be imposed on an escalating scale ranging from a warning to an expulsion based on the number of previous violations and/or the nature of or circumstances surrounding a particular violation. If the WCD is confiscated, it will be released/returned to the student’s parent/guardian after the student complies with any other disciplinary consequences that are imposed, unless the violation involves potentially illegal activity in which case the WCD may be turned over to law enforcement. A confiscated device will be marked in a removable manner with the student’s name and held in a secure location in the building’s central office until it is retrieved by the parent/guardian or turned over to law enforcement. School officials will not search or otherwise tamper with WCDs in District custody unless they reasonably suspect that the search is required to discover evidence of a violation of the law or other school rules. Any search will be conducted in accordance with Policy 5771 – Search and Seizure. If multiple offenses occur, a student may lose his/her privilege to bring a WCD to school for a designated length of time or on a permanent basis.
A person who discovers a student using a WCD in violation of this policy is required to report the violation to the building principal.
Students are personally and solely responsible for the care and security of their WCDs. The Board assumes no responsibility for theft, loss, or damage to, or misuse or unauthorized use of WCDs brought onto its property.
Parents/Guardians are advised that the best way to get in touch with their child during the school day is by calling the school office.
PART I – RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT’S PURPOSE (SECTION 1.01):
The School Board of Polk County, Florida, as the governing Board of the School District of Polk County, and the public schools of Polk County exist for the purpose of meeting the educational needs of Polk County’s citizens, both youth and adult. The Code of Student Conduct was developed to inform students and parents of acceptable student behavior and the disciplinary alternatives for modifying unacceptable behavior.
The aim of the district is to build effective environments in which positive behavior is encouraged so that academic success can be achieved. Each school shall have in place a school-wide behavior management system based upon proactive, educative, and reinforcement-based strategies. This plan is to be shared with parents, students and staff continuously throughout the school year.
Teachers are to have a consistent proactive behavior management system within the classroom. Rules/expectations are to be displayed, modeled taught, and reviewed. Teachers are to inform/communicate with parents and students the rules/expectations of the class. In creating safe and more effective schools our aim is to prevent inappropriate behavior through teaching and reinforcing appropriate behaviors.
Successful School Management: One important objective of successful school management is the creation of a safe and non-disruptive environment in which an equal educational offering can be extended to each student. Acceptable student behavior is a key element in the creation and maintenance of such an environment. An integral part of the overall learning process is making positive efforts within a safe and orderly environment to correct students’ behavioral mistakes as well as academic mistakes. Schools will attempt to provide a range of interventions that are systemically applied to students based on their demonstrated level of need and addresses the role of the environment as it applies to the development and improvement of appropriate behavior.
- Student Discipline: Student discipline, when properly administered, reinforces the educational process in a positive manner. Student discipline must be administered in a manner that teaches acceptable social skills and instills within the student a lasting respect for authority.
- Due Process: Student discipline that is properly administered can demonstrate the principles of procedural and substantive due process which are the basic building blocks of an orderly society governed by laws rather than by the whims of man.
- Procedures: In order to assure these concepts, the School Board has provided procedures throughout this handbook which shall be strictly adhered to in all student discipline matters resulting in suspension, expulsion, or assignment to a special placement or an individually designated program.
- Health, Safety, and Welfare: The School Board has the responsibility to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of all students and employees.
- Learning Atmosphere: The School Board, with the cooperation of students and parents, has the responsibility to provide a proper atmosphere for learning provided by competent administrators and teachers who are enthusiastic, understanding, and fair.
- Criminal Liability for Disruption of Educational Institutions: Pursuant to Section 877.13, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful for any person to disrupt or interfere with the administration or functions of any educational institution, School Board, or activity on School Board property.
- Management of Students Behaviors:
- School Board: The School Board is authorized to adopt rules and regulations for the control and discipline of students and shall decide all cases in which expulsion is recommended.
- Code of Student Conduct: The Code of Student Conduct handbook outlines the rights and responsibilities of the School Board and students with regard to the conduct of students while attending school or a school-sponsored activity, while on school property or a school bus, or at a designated school bus stop. The Code also includes discipline and appeal procedures as well as consequences for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
- Instruction and Distribution: Specific instruction about the Code of Student Conduct is provided to all students, and this handbook is distributed to all students for delivery to their parents at the beginning of each school year continuously throughout the school year.
- Acknowledgment: Both parents and students have the responsibility to become familiar with the Code of Student Conduct and to complete and return the Acknowledgment Form (Appendix B) of this document.
- Revisions: With the exception of administrative revisions mandated by law, the Code of Student Conduct is reviewed every year by a district-wide committee.
- Superintendent: The Superintendent has authority to review and modify recommendations for disciplinary actions:
- Stay Order: The Superintendent shall have authority to grant a stay whereby the student shall remain in school pending conclusion of the appeal process.
- Alternative Education Program: The Superintendent or designee shall have authority to administratively assign a student attending regular school or a suspended or expelled student to an Alternative Education Program.
- Expulsion: The Superintendent has authority to make recommendations for expulsion to the School Board. When School Board action on a recommendation for expulsion of a student is pending, the Superintendent may extend the suspension assigned by the principal beyond ten (10) school days if such suspension period expires before the next regular or special meeting of the School Board.
- Principal: The principal or designee may develop school rules and may delegate such responsibility for the management of student behavior and direction of students to school administrators, instructional staff, and/or bus drivers or attendants as the principal or designee may consider appropriate.
- General Welfare of the School Community: The principal’s authority to control students and administer discipline includes all facilities, transportation, and extracurricular activities or functions provided by the Polk County School District. Such authority shall not be confined to the school campus if the act of the student directly affects the education and general welfare of the school community.
- Disciplinary Actions: Refer to Part III, Discipline and Appeal Procedures, Section 3.01, Disciplinary Actions.
- Teacher: Each teacher or other members of the school staff are given authority under state law to establish classroom rules of conduct with interventions and consequences for infractions of classroom rules, and to have violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or disruptive students removed from the classroom according to procedures as outlined in the Teacher Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Student Discipline: Student discipline, when properly administered, reinforces the educational process in a positive manner. Student discipline must be administered in a manner that teaches acceptable social skills and instills within the student a lasting respect for authority.
STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES (SECTION 1.02):
Student rights are not waived or relinquished by a child being enrolled in a public school. In order to progress successfully through Polk County Schools, students must be afforded those rights and responsibilities required by law. NOWHERE IS IT STATED OR IMPLIED IN THE CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT THAT THE SCHOOL SHOULD RELINQUISH AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY.
PART II – GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS:
ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE (SECTION 2.01):
No student shall receive discipline under the Code of Student Conduct for failure to complete academic assignments. Students have the responsibility and are expected to conduct themselves in such a manner so as not to interfere with the rights of others to learn.
ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAMS (SECTION 2.02):
The Alternative Education Programs are designed to provide educational services to those students who are unsuccessful in the normal school environment. The Alternative Education Programs described herein are those specifically related to student discipline and do not include various other alternative education opportunities provided by The School Board of Polk County, Florida.
- Exceptional Students: See Section 3.08, Discipline of IDEIA-Eligible Students.
- Unsatisfactory Completion of Assignment: Any student who fails to satisfactorily complete an Alternative Education Program assignment and has withdrawn from any school must enter the Polk County School System through the program they did not complete. This procedure may be waived if so determined by a committee assigned by the Director, Discipline.
STUDENT DATING VIOLENCE AND ABUSE (SECTION 2.05):
It is the policy of the Polk County School Board that all of its students have an educational setting that is safe, secure, and free from dating violence and abuse. The District shall not tolerate dating violence and abuse of any kind. Dating violence or abuse by any student is prohibited on school property, during any school related or school sponsored program or activity, or during school sponsored transportation.
- Dating Violence is a pattern of emotional, verbal, sexual or physical abuse used by one person in a current or past intimate relationship to exert power and control over another when one or both of the partners is a student.
- Abuse is mistreatment which may include insults, coercion, social sabotage, sexual harassment, threats and/or acts of physical or sexual abuse. The abusive partner uses this pattern of violent and coercive behavior to gain power and maintain control over the dating partner.
Reporting Dating Violence or Abuse
School employees shall report to the Principal or designee suspected cases of dating violence and abuse. Students should report suspected cases of dating violence and abuse to the Principal or designee and may do so anonymously. Student victims should report any incidents of violence and abuse to the Principal or designee as soon after it occurs as possible. Nothing herein shall be construed as relieving a mandatory reporter of the obligation to report a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect.
DRESS CODE (SECTION 2.06):
Students are required to wear appropriate clothing according to the situation and the grade level involved. Inappropriate clothing and appearance are disruptive to the school program and principals will enforce adherence to this policy by those under their jurisdiction. Each school may provide for more specific dress code requirements within the scope of this district-wide dress code. The principal shall confer and obtain approval from the school’s School Advisory Council (SAC) to develop and notify parents and students of the school’s specific dress code before the end of the school year. School administrators have final authority to decide if clothing complies with District rules. Dress Code is not to be used as a barrier to access education. No student may be denied attendance at school or otherwise penalized if failure to comply with dress code is due to financial hardship. Responsible timeframes may be established for compliance for financial hardship and for students new to the district.
- Section 4.03, Disruptive Behavior and/or Minor Infractions: Section 4.03, Disruptive Behavior and/or Minor Infractions: Repeated violations of the dress code shall be treated as disruptive behavior under Section 4.03 herein. However, dress code violations shall not carry over on the student’s discipline record to subsequent semesters.
- General Dress Code Requirements: Section 1 paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of section s.1006.07, Florida Statutes requires each district school board to adopt a dress code policy that prohibits a student, whil