School policies on bullying, discipline introduced
CENTREVILLE — Policies introduced for a first reading at the June Board of Education meeting for Queen Anne’s County Public Schools addressed student discipline, bullying/cyber bullying and harassment/hazing behavior, and a drug and alcohol free workplace. Also presented for review, a list of policies to be rescinded as they are no longer applicable or already incorporated into other existing policies.
Many of the more than 250 policies for QACPS are being reviewed, as approximately 50 percent have not been looked in the last five years, said Mark Farley, human resources officer. The 17 policies to be rescinded are available at the QACPS website, with room for comment until July 6.
Farley and other Central Office staff have taken on the task of making of those policies — 185 currently available in electronic format — accessible at www.qacps.org. To locate these on the website, users should click the About Us tab from the home page and then click Polices & Procedures.
According to the Board of Education, they with the advice of the Superintendent, set goals and expectations for the instructional program and management of the schools through the development, revision, and adoption of policies. The policies adopted by the Board are be based upon the educational mission of the school system, Board member’s views and opinions, staff analysis and input, and public advice and comment.
As the Board is currently in the process of revising its policies, some categories do not presently contain approved policies, but will as they are approved. Policies are published for three “readings” on the website and, when approved, are inserted into their respective categories.
In response to board member Sharyn Harlow’s query on how the policies are implemented and enforced, Interim Superintendent Greg Pilewski assured Harlow that staff would be updated on policy changes during professional development before returning to school in the fall.
The Student Discipline Policy seeks to outline behavioral expectations to ensure school safety and academic success for all students. The policy currently states, students should be afforded opportunities to learn from their mistakes ... graduated consequences and interventions to teach students appropriate behavior. Under this policy there are sections for expectations for school staff and administrators, students, and parents, as well as descriptions of responses. In layman’s terms, school language such as “bias behavior” and “conflict resolution” is explained.
This policy also outlines the levels of response, i.e. Level 1 detention or parent contact to Level 5 expulsion or referral to alternative education.
A new policy to address Bullying/ Cyberbullying/Harassment and Intimidation/Hazing/Bias Behavior is aimed at prohibiting the aforementioned behaviors and to provide guidelines to establish school-site standards regarding the same, that are applicable to all students. This policy states, “Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment and intimidation, hazing, and bias behavior creates a hostile educational environment for learning and cannot be tolerated.”
It further defines all of the above behaviors and presents procedures for reporting, investigation, remediation (consequences), and prevention and inter vention.
To view the policies currently under review, go to www.qacps.org. From the home page, users should scroll to the bottom of the page under Board of Education Current Meeting Information. Each of the policies is listed there with PDF links to the full policy and an area to leave comments.