School poli­cies on bul­ly­ing, dis­ci­pline in­tro­duced

The Kent Island Bay Times - - NEWS - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

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.

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