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Policy 1000 – Civility

The purpose of this policy is to set clear expectations for civil behavior that support a safe, engaging and supportive environment on school property and at school-related activities.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to modelling and fostering an environment of mutual respect and civility between and among all stakeholders including members of the Board of Education, students, school system employees, parents, service providers, and each member of the community. The Board recognizes a culture of civility is critical to the success and well-being of students employees, and community members and is a necessary first step to establishing and maintaining relationships and a culture that recognizes the worth and dignity of the individual.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set clear expectations for civil behavior between and among all Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) stakeholders to promote safe, engaging and supportive environments.

III. Definitions

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

  1. Civility – Mutual respect and consideration reflected in language, attitudes, behaviors, and verbal, nonverbal, written and digital communications.

  2. Parent – Any one of the following, recognized as the adult(s) legally responsible for the student:

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

    2. Adoptive Parent – A parent who has legally adopted the student and whose parental rights have not been terminated.

    3. Custodian – A person or an agency appointed by the court as the legal custodian of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    4. Guardian – A person who has been placed by the court in charge of the affairs of the student and granted parental rights and responsibilities.

    5. Caregiver – An adult resident of Howard County who exercises care, custody or control over the student, but who is neither the biological parent nor legal guardian as long as the person satisfies the requirements of the Education Article §7-101(c) (Informal Kinship Care).

    6. Foster Parent – An adult approved to care for a child who has been placed in their home by a state agency or a licensed child placement agency as provided by the Family Law Article, §5-507.

  3. School Property – Any property owned or leased by the (HCPSS) or used by HCPSS for school-related activities. The concept of property extends to school activities such as field trips, use of parks and recreation facilities, proms at hotels, etc. School buses, bus stops, and facilities scheduled by the school system for student use are considered an extension of school property.

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

  5. Service Providers – Individuals who provide services to the HCPSS, either through contract, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or volunteer service, when those services involve access to students and employees, such as substitute teachers, mentors, chaperones, bus drivers, and individuals who participate in committees, advisory groups, and partnership programs.

IV. Standards

  1. The HCPSS school and workplace environments will reflect the expected behaviors of civility while communicating and interacting among stakeholders. These behaviors include but are not limited to:

    1. Respect and courtesy in language, demeanor, and actions

    2. Respectful and appropriate tone and volume of voice

    3. Respectful and active listening

    4. Respectful acknowledgment of individual differences

    5. Respectful acknowledgement of diversity

    6. Respect for the personal, civil, and property rights of others

    7. Respectful and courteous use of phone, public address systems, two-way radios, and any other verbal communication devices

    8. Respectful and courteous written and digital communication, including but not limited to notes, letters, email, text messages, and social media.

  2. The HCPSS school and workplace environments will be free from unacceptable behaviors including but not limited to:

    1. Rude, insulting, or demeaning language and/or actions

    2. Persistently unreasonable demands

    3. Repeatedly interruptive behavior

    4. Displays of temper

    5. Threatening and/or abusive gestures and behavior.

  3. All individuals in HCPSS schools and workplaces will follow procedures for resolution as outlined in the implementation procedures.

V. Responsibilities

  1. All individuals will behave in a civil manner while communicating and interacting with all HCPSS stakeholders.

  2. All individuals will behave in a civil manner and cooperate in resolving incidents of uncivil behavior.

  3. If individuals are unable to resolve incidents of uncivil behavior, the principal/supervisor or designee will facilitate a resolution.

  4. The Superintendent/Designee will determine whether an incident occurring on school property violates an existing Board of Education policy. The Superintendent/Designee will respond appropriately and in a timely manner to all parties.

  5. The Superintendent/Designee will provide for annual notification of this policy to students, employees, parents, and community members.

VI. Delegation of Authority

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

VII. References

  1. Legal

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, §3-805 – Misuse of electronic communication or interactive computer service (“Grace’s Law”)

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law

    • Article, §6-409, Trespass The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §26-101 and §26-102, School Security

  2. Other Board Policies

  3. Relevant Data Sources

  4. Other

VIII. History

ADOPTED: September 7, 2006


MODIFIED: August 14, 2014

REVISED: May 3, 2018

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2018