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HCPSS / POLICIES

Policy 9280 – School Use of Community or Reportable Offenses

The purpose of this policy is to establish and communicate to students, parents, and employees the procedures and guidelines for responding when students are charged with reportable offenses and/or have engaged in community offenses.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and nurturing school environment. The Board believes that fostering a school climate where the worth and dignity of individuals are valued and their safety and rights are protected is essential to its mission.

The presence in school of a student who has engaged in a community offense or has been arrested for a reportable offense that may compromise the safety and well-being of students or employees or disrupt the educational process in the school may lead to a school system response under this policy. The Board of Education believes that the educational needs of such students must be carefully balanced with its obligation to provide a safe school environment free of disruption for students and employees.

When the presence of a student who has been arrested for a reportable offense has a direct effect on the order and general welfare of the schools, the student may be assigned to alternative education placements and/or disciplined. Likewise, when a student has engaged in a community offense that has a direct effect on the order and general welfare of the school, the student may be assigned to alternative education placements and/or disciplined. It is expected that a school system responses to a reportable or community offenses will reflect a restorative approach.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish and communicate to students, parents, and employees the procedures and guidelines for responding when students are charged with reportable offenses and/or have engaged in community offenses.

III. Definitions

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

  1. Alternative Education Placement – A location outside of the designated home school designed to accommodate the needs of students who have demonstrated the need for significant academic or behavioral support.

  2. Appropriate Educational Programming – A general or alternative educational program/placement that allows the student the opportunity to continue to receive education within the Howard County Public School System(HCPSS) and, if in secondary school, the opportunity to receive credit.

  3. Community and Reportable Offense Evaluation (CARE) Team – A school-based team comprised of members of the Student Support Team (SST), administration, and if applicable, the school’s SRO and security assistants to support a restorative approach to dealing with students and their families involved in community or reportable offense issue.

  4. Community Offense – Any violent act, gang-related activity, or other behavior occurring in the community that results in or poses risk of injury to one or more persons.

  5. Confidential – Information that is private, to be shared by the Superintendent/designee, the principal/designee, and other authorized school system personnel only as required to implement this policy.

  6. Discipline – Action taken in accordance with Policy 9200 by the principal/designee and/or the Superintendent/designee after a determination has been made that a student is in violation of any school system policy and/or the HCPSS Student Code of Conduct. Disciplinary actions can range from verbal reprimands and/or loss of privileges to expulsion.

  7. 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.

  8. Related Services – Any supportive intervention that is available through the school system.

  9. Restorative Approach – A means of repairing harm caused by conflict and wrongdoing that emphasizes building relationships. It provides an opportunity for those impacted by an incident to come together in a safe space to address their feelings and needs, and reach a resolution that heals and restores.

  10. Reportable Offense – Specific offenses defined in Section 7-303 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as may be amended by the Maryland General Assembly. These include, but are not limited to:

    • first or second degree assault;

    • abduction;

    • arson in the first or second degree;

    • malicious burning of personal property in the first or second degree;

    • kidnapping;

    • manslaughter, except involuntary manslaughter;

    • mayhem and maiming;

    • murder;

    • rape;

    • robbery;

    • robbery with a dangerous weapon;

    • carjacking or armed carjacking;

    • sexual offense in the first or second degree;

    • use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or other crime of violence;

    • child abuse or sexual abuse of a minor;

    • an attempt to commit any of the aforesaid offenses;

    • assault in the first degree;

    • assault with intent to murder, rape, rob, or commit a sexual offense in the first or second degree;

    • wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun on the person or in a vehicle;

    • wearing or carrying any dirk knife, bowie knife, switchblade knife, star knife, sandclub, metal knuckles, razor, numchakus, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon of any kind concealed on the person;

    • wearing or carrying a dangerous weapon, chemical mace, pepper mace, or tear gas device openly with the intent or purpose of injuring any person in any unlawful manner;

    • carrying or possessing a firearm, knife, or deadly weapon of any kind on public school property;

    • manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled dangerous substance;

    • distributing or possessing with intent to distribute a noncontrolled substance that the person represents as a controlled dangerous substance;

    • possessing with intent to distribute a noncontrolled substance in the reasonable belief that it is a controlled dangerous substance;

    • possessing explosive material, incendiary material, or toxic material with intent to create a destructive device;

    • manufacturing, possessing, or transporting a device or container intended to represent a toxic material or a destructive device with the intent to terrorize, frighten, intimidate, threaten, or harass;

    • circulating a statement or rumor that the person knows to be false about the location or possible detonation of a destructive device or the location or possible release of toxic material;

    • and threatening an individual, or a friend or family member of an individual, with physical violence with the intent to coerce, induce, or solicit the individual to participate in or prevent the individual from leaving a criminal gang.

  11. Student Record – Records directly related to a student and maintained by the HCPSS.

  12. Student Support Team (SST) – School-based team comprised of personnel from student services, administration, and related services that identifies struggling students and plans for interventions and processes of support.

IV. Standards

  1. Reportable Offense

    1. Maryland law obligates law enforcement agencies to inform the superintendents and local education agencies when a student has been arrested for a reportable offense. Upon receipt of information of an arrest of a student for such an offense, the Superintendent/designee will provide the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled with the arrest information, including the charges.

    2. If a principal/designee obtains information that a student has been arrested for a reportable offense, the principal/designee will notify the Superintendent/designee to obtain official confirmation of this information.

    3. Upon receipt of notification, the principal/designee will consider whether or not the student’s presence in the school has a direct effect on student safety, order, and/or the general welfare of the school.

    4. Upon the recommendation of the principal/designee and CARE team of the school attended by the student arrested for a reportable offense, the Superintendent/designee may assign the student to an alternative education placement and/or discipline the student. If the principal/designee decides to take disciplinary action in accordance with Policy 9200 Student Discipline, students will be accorded due process before discipline is administered which includes being made aware of their right to appeal.

    5. A student who has been arrested for a reportable offense may only be disciplined if there is sufficient evidence proving the student’s conduct and the student’s presence in school has a direct effect on the order and general welfare of the school. The notification provided by law enforcement agencies that the student has been arrested for a reportable offense may not be used as evidence that the student engaged in the conduct.

    6. Nothing in this policy is intended to limit the manner in which the school obtains information or uses information obtained by any lawful means other than through official notification of the arrest.

    7. Except by order of a juvenile court or other court upon good cause shown, arrest information received is confidential and may not be redisclosed by subpoena or otherwise, nor may it be made part of the student record.

  2. Community Offenses

    1. Upon receipt of information that a student may have engaged in a community offense, the Superintendent/designee will provide the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled with information about the offense.

    2. If a principal/designee obtains information that a student may have engaged in a community offense, the principal/designee will notify the Superintendent/designee of this information.

    3. Upon the recommendation of the principal and CARE team of the school attended by the student who engaged in a community offense, the Superintendent/designee may assign the student to an alternative education placement and/or discipline the student. If the principal/designee decides to take disciplinary action, in accordance with Policy 9200 Student Discipline, students will be accorded due process before discipline is administered which includes being made aware of their right to appeal.

    4. A student who has engaged in a community offense may only be disciplined if there is sufficient evidence proving the student’s conduct and the student’s presence in school has a direct effect on the order and general welfare of the school.

  3. General Guidelines

    1. All costs of alternative education placements made under this policy will be borne by the school system.

    2. Students assigned to an alternative education placement under this policy will suffer no academic penalty as a result of that placement.

    3. The Superintendent/designee and parent should maintain communication with the home school and/or alternative program staff to ensure that appropriate educational programming is provided when alternative education placement has been decided and student attendance is maintained.

    4. If a student arrested for a reportable offense or engaged in a community offense is a student with a disability, school officials will determine appropriate educational programming and related services in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and state special education law and regulations, including COMAR13A.05.01.

    5. Community and reportable offense information will not be made part of a student’s permanent educational record.

    6. The CARE team will function to provide ongoing support to a student and his or her family involved in a community or reportable offense regardless of the administrative response taken.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will consider recommendations of the principal/designee and CARE team when deciding to assign the student to an alternative education placement or to discipline the student. The principal will work with the school-based CARE team prior to making a recommendation to the Superintendent/designee.

  2. When a student involved in a reportable or community offense is assigned to an alternative program, school employees will work with parents to help ensure that their child attends the assigned alternative education program.

  3. The Superintendent/designee and the principal/designee will each ensure that reportable arrest information remains confidential and is not made part of the student’s record.

  4. The Superintendent/designee and the principal/designee will each afford students all rights of due process as they are outlined under this policy.

VI. Delegation of Authority

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

VII. References

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§1400 et seq.

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Section 3-804(3)(4)

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article, Sections 4-101 to104, 4-503, 5-602 to 5-609, 5-612 to 5-614, 5-617 to 5-618, 5-627 to 5-628, 9-504 to 9-505, 6-102 to 6-105, 9-801 to 9-803, and 14-101

  • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, Section 7-303 (Note: Reportable Offenses)

  • COMAR 13A.05.01, Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education

  • COMAR 13A.08.01.17, School Use of Reportable Offenses

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

  • HCPSS Student Code of Conduct

VIII. History

ADOPTED: April 3, 1990

REVIEWED:

MODIFIED:

REVISED:

  • October 22, 1998

  • June 12, 2008

  • June 13, 2019

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2019