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HCPSS / POLICIES

Policy 1040 – Safe and Supportive Schools

The purpose of this policy is to prohibit any behaviors that interfere with safe and supportive school climates and to describe the HCPSS approach to maintaining safe and supportive school climates.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, nurturing, and supportive school climate. The Board believes that fostering a school climate in which individuals are valued, and their safety and rights are protected, is essential to its mission.

All students, employees, parents, and third parties of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) share responsibility for the health, safety, and general welfare of students and employees and for establishing and sustaining a safe and supportive school climate. Employees bear a professional responsibility to monitor student behavior, adult behavior, and respond accordingly to both observed and reported violations of policy.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to prohibit any behaviors that interfere with safe and supportive school climates and to describe the HCPSS approach to maintaining safe and supportive school climates.

III. Definitions

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

  1. HCPSS Procedures for the Threat Management Process – The manual that provides the process of gathering relevant information about student behaviors, communications and stressors to provide the student with appropriate resources in effort to decrease the risk of them engaging in harmful and violent acts.

  2. HCPSS Student Code of Conduct – A disciplinary framework that is designed to support a safe, positive, and respectful learning environment and discipline procedures for effective learning.

  3. HCPSS System-Level Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) – A multi-hazard approach for the school system to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk to the people, property, and operations of the school system.

  4. Non-School Facility Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) – An emergency operations plan created specifically for non-school facilities within the school system that addresses the roles of non-school based employees in handling all levels of emergencies.

  5. 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 person 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) or has been issued a U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Verification of Release form entering into a custodial arrangement with the federal government.

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

  6. School Climate – The prevailing attitudes, standards, or environmental conditions within a school. Reflects shared responsibility for the norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures of a collaborative school community.

  7. 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. Bus stops and facilities scheduled by the school system for student use are considered an extension of school property.

  8. School-Related Activity – Any school system 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).

  9. School Specific Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) – An emergency operations plan created specifically for individual schools within the school system that addresses the roles of school-based employees and administrators in handling all levels of emergencies.

  10. Supportive – Providing encouragement and social and emotional assistance.

  11. Third Party – Parents, mentors, volunteers, vendors, contractors, and others with whom students or employees interact during school or school-related activities.

  12. Threat – An expression of an intent to cause physical, mental, or emotional harm to someone. The threat may be expressed/communicated behaviorally, orally, visually, in writing, electronically, or through any other means; and is considered a threat regardless of whether it is observed by or communicated directly to the target of the threat or observed by or communicated to a third party; and regardless of whether the target of the threat is aware of the threat. Threats may be direct (“I am going to destroy that school.”) or indirect (“I’m going to get him.”).

IV. Standards

  1. All students, employees, parents, and third parties of the HCPSS will contribute to the development and implementation of a safe and supportive school climate.

  2. The Board will review and approve the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct annually.

  3. Behaviors identified in the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct and other related policies, will be communicated to all students, employees, parents, and third parties annually.

  4. It is a violation of this policy to make a threat against the physical, emotional, mental, or academic well-being of students or employees, and it will be addressed through the application of the appropriate Board policy and the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct.

  5. The HCPSS will utilized a multifaceted approach to maintain a safe and supportive school climate to include the following:

    1. Threat assessment teams for the regular assessment and intervention, including diversion and de-escalation, if an individual exhibits behavior that may pose a threat to school safety.

    2. The timely referral of information to appropriate law enforcement and for evaluation, services (including mental health services), or treatment when appropriate.

    3. The use of school resources officers (SROs) and other adequate law enforcement coverage throughout HCPSS.

    4. Regular safety evaluations of each HCPSS school.

    5. Regular school emergency drills at each HCPSS school.

    6. An HCPSS System-Level Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), School-Specific EOPs, and Non-School Facility EOPs.

    7. Utilizing restorative practices through HCPSS, including before, during, and after threats and emergencies.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will establish a behavior threat assessment team(s) to implement a process for identifying, assessing and intervening with individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of a school or the school system.

  2. The Superintendent/designee will ensure that students, employees, parents, and third parties are notified of the provisions of this policy annually.

  3. The Superintendent/designee or school-based administrator will take action in response to a violation of this policy in accordance with Policy 9200 Student Discipline, the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct, the HCPSS Procedures for the Threat Management Process, Policy 7030 Employee Conduct and Discipline, and any other applicable policies.

  4. Principals will disseminate information on the standards and penalties of this policy at their schools annually.

  5. All students, employees, parents, and third parties will maintain a safe and supportive school climate.

  6. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being, and the Office of Safety and Security will coordinate for a multi-faceted approach to maintain safe and supportive school climates.

  7. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Department of Program Innovation and Student Well-Being, and the Office of Safety and Security will annually provide a safe and supportive school climate implementation findings report to the Board.

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, Section 7-304.1 (Positive Behavioral Supports and Interventions).

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-305 (Suspensions and Expulsions).

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-424 (Reporting Incidents of Harassment Against Students).

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-424.1 (Model Policy Prohibiting Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation).

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-424.3 (Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation Policy).

  • COMAR 13A.01.04.03, School Safety

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.11, Disciplinary Action

  • COMAR 13A.08.04.03, Student Behavior Interventions

  • Maryland Safe to Learn Act of 2018

B. Other Board Policies

VIII. History

ADOPTED: October 22, 1992

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

  • November 3, 2011

  • October 17, 2019

REVISED:

  • January 30, 2001

  • April 12, 2007

  • June 12, 2014

EFFECTIVE: October 17, 2019