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Behavior  Expectations and Policies

In order to ensure a positive and safe learning environment that helps facilitate self-discipline, encourage academic success and promote school wellness, Otho E. Stuart Middle School will enforce District policies, procedures and school rules related to expected student behavior.  Consequences will be administered in those circumstances where a student exhibits behavior contrary to these polices/rules.

Specifically, the administration at Otho E. Stuart Middle School has determined that certain acts of conduct are disruptive. These, being clearly dangerous to the welfare, safety, or morals of other students or being contrary to the authority of school personnel or both. The following may constitute grounds for suspension or expulsion. 

·   Continued willful disobedience or disruption of school;

·   Persistent defiance of proper authority;

·   Theft or willful damage or destruction of school property;

·   Theft or willful damage or destruction of private property on school grounds or at a school activity or event;

·   Assault on a school employee while on school grounds or at a school event;

·   Physical abuse of a student or of  persons not employed by the school when on the school grounds or at a school activity or event;

·   Repeated unexcused tardiness or absences or truancy;

·   Obscene language or actions.

·   Possessing or distributing slanderous or libelous material on school property.

·   Possession of weapons or dangerous instrument or other dangerous objects of no reasonable use to the student at school;

·   Possession, transfer or use of narcotics, alcoholic beverages or stimulant drugs. Physician prescribed medication that must be taken at school is required to be kept in the main office. Additionally, a note from a physician is required in order for staff to administer said medication.

·   Smoking on school premises is prohibited.  It is also illegal for students under the age of 18 to buy or possess cigarettes.

·   Fighting, rioting, or illegal or disruptive demonstrations on school grounds or at a school event.

·   Bullying, harassment, and or any other form of intimidation via personal, cyber, or otherwise.

·   Encouraging or instigating a fight or altercation.

·   Providing false information during an investigation.

 

Out of School Suspension

The effect of a suspension is that the student will be denied admission to school for a specified number of days.  During that time, the student is not allowed on school grounds, nor will the student be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities. Out-of-school suspension will be considered completed by the end of the day on the final day of the suspension. In most circumstances, the administration will require that the student and parent/guardian participate in a reentry meeting prior to the students return.

 

The administration at Otho E. Stuart Middle School has created a Discipline Matrix that has been included in this handbook. The administration believes that having a matrix in place helps students, parents and staff be more aware of proposed consequences for certain infractions.  While each case is looked at individually, it benefits everyone involved to have a structure in place for dealing with inappropriate behavior.

 Any class work missed as the result of a suspension is the responsibility of the student.

The student has the opportunity to make-up work during the period of suspension.

 

Academic Dishonesty

All students are expected to demonstrate academic honesty in all classes at all times.  Academic honesty is performing and producing one’s own work on one’s own knowledge, talents, and efforts. Students at Stuart Middle School can maintain academic honesty by:

·   Keeping their eyes on their own test at all times.

·   Keeping answers hidden during a test.

·   Putting all notes, texts and extra papers away and beneath the desk before beginning a test.

·   Never talking to anyone (except the teacher) about anything during a test or testing period.

·   Telling the teacher when someone is trying to copy answers or is asking to do work for him/her.

·   Using quotation marks, footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography when using any original work (including work taken from the Internet).

·   Not using anyone else’s homework, notes, tests, or assignments that may have been previously assigned and/or graded.

·   Not sharing assignments, tests, or any other work with other students unless told to do so by a teacher.

·   Not making any marks or changes on a graded test or assignment.

 

Academic dishonesty, in any form, will not be tolerated at Otho E. Stuart Middle School. Disciplinary action will be taken as a result of academic dishonesty.

Backpacks/Purses

Backpacks and purses must be kept in students’ lockers.

Bullying

Bullying, as defined by state law, is any written or verbal expression, or physical act or gesture, or a pattern thereof, intended to cause distress upon one or more students. Stuart Middle School has a Zero Tolerance policy towards bullying.

Bullying which is directed at a student’s race, gender, religion or creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability may actually constitute harassment.

·   All administrators, teachers, classified staff, parents and students shall take all reasonable steps to prevent and / or address bullying.

·   Students who believe they have been victims of bullying should immediately report it to an administrator/ counselor or teacher at their school. Bullying can also be reported confidentially via the school website using Safe to Tell icon.

·   Students who witness bullying are expected to seek the help of a school employee, if at all possible under the circumstances.

·   School staff who witness bullying in any circumstance shall immediately take appropriate action to stop the bullying, as prescribed by the district and building principal, and shall promptly report the bullying to the principal or principal’s designee for appropriate action

·   Any act of cyber bullying via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. will receive disciplinary consequences. This includes behavior that takes place off of school grounds but ultimately causes a disruption to the educational process at Stuart Middle School. Any administrative or staff time utilized to investigate an infraction constitutes a disruption to the educational process.

 Bullying goes unreported by the majority of students. Many of them worry about potential retaliation. Our goal is to help students by advocating for their safety. Students who have been victims of or witness this behavior are encouraged to report it to the main office. School administrators/counselors shall ensure that all reports involving student bullying remain confidential and are promptly and thoroughly investigated, and that appropriate action is taken.

 We encourage the victim not to take matters to their own hands. First, it’s unsafe to do so. Secondly, rarely does this type of behavior resolve the problem.

 Any student, including those who have been previously victimized, that willfully engages in a physical altercation will be subject to disciplinary consequences. Fighting or retaliation, for any reason, is not condoned at Stuart Middle School. If a student feels threatened, either physically or verbally, he/she is expected to report it to the main office.

Lockers

Lockers are the property of Otho E. Stuart Middle School and may be inspected by school officials.  Otho E. Stuart Middle School is not responsible for lost or stolen items from lockers unless the lock is deemed to be ineffective.  Students are responsible for items in their lockers and must NOT give out their combination to or share their locker with other students.  It is suggested that students keep all of their items in their own locker in order to prevent theft or damage to their locker.  All locks, other than those belonging to the school, will be removed from lockers.  Students may not change lockers without permission from the Main Office.

·   Intentionally damaging the inside or outside of a locker at Stuart Middle School is considered destruction of school property.

·   As with all locations within Stuart Middle School, students are expected to maintain their lockers free of provocative or inappropriate writings, photos, etc.

·   Students are expected to keep their lockers clean, free of dirt and unsanitary items such as non-laundered clothing.

·   Students are permitted to keep their lunch in their lockers. However, these items should be taken home daily as to create a sanitary environment at school.

·   Lockers are deemed public property and may be searched as needed. Part of the process to keep drugs out of our schools involves the use of canine searches by the local police department.  It is our intent to notify our students, staff, parents, and community of the possibility of these searches being conducted periodically throughout each school year.  It is the goal of the School District and the local Police Department that our schools are drug free.  The primary purpose of canine searches is to show that drug use and possession of drugs will not be tolerated at Otho E. Stuart Middle School.  There is no room for illegal drugs in any of our educational facilities.  When a canine search is conducted, it will be done with the utmost respect for maintaining the least amount of interruption to the educational environment and to enhance the safety of our students.  The school staff and local police department will continue to review and evaluate the specifics of these searches to ensure their efficiency.

 

Electronic Devices Policy

The Superintendent has determined that cell phones may have specific educational purposes, while their use outside of these purposes may create a distraction to the learning environment.  Student possession of an electronic device in the District is only allowable subject to the following rules and regulations.  Strict adherence to these rules and regulations is required. 

 Additionally, the Superintendent prohibits the use of other communication devices (i.e. two-way radios, pagers, PDA’s and laptops with two-way messaging capabilities) by students.  An exception to this rule would be a student who is using a school-issued laptop for educational purposes, but who is not using the two-way messaging capability and/or wireless transmittal capability.  An additional exception would be made for those students whose IEP, 504 plans, or building level accommodations require them to use electronic devices as part of their educational plan. Electronic devices to include cell phones and MP3 players are subject to the following guidelines.

·   In school (classroom, library, labs, hallways, etc.) such devices must be in the “off” or “silent” position at all times and stored out of sight.

·   In non-academic settings, including at school activities or on school transportation, such devices may be used in “silent mode” provided the use of such device, as determined by the supervising staff member or bus driver, in no way disrupts, poses a safety concern or violates the current Superintendent policy.

·   Such devices may not be used in a manner which is potentially unsafe, illegal or otherwise might violate the District’s Superintendent policy for students.

·   Prohibited uses include but are not limited to creating video or audio recordings, or taking photographs, without permission.

 Possession of an electronic device by a student is a privilege which may be forfeited by any student not abiding by the terms of this policy.  Students shall be personally and solely responsible for the security of their cell phone and/or other electronic device(s).  School District 27J shall not assume any responsibility for theft, loss, or damage of a cell phone or other electronic device, nor will the District assume any responsibility for unauthorized calls made on a cell phone. 

 Camera or Picture Cell Phones

 It is the District’s position that camera or picture cell phones pose threats to freedoms of privacy.  Picture phones can be used to exploit personal information and compromise the integrity of educational programs. Additionally, picture or camera phones can be used to document inappropriate, violent or provocative information. Accordingly, the camera function of a cell phone or other electronic device is strictly prohibited on school premises at all times.  Furthermore, the viewing, distribution or sharing of these types of materials via cell phone is strictly prohibited. Students who violate this provision of the policy will have their cell phone confiscated, disciplinary consequences will be administered and a parent/guardian will be required to meet with the building principal or his/her designee before the phone will be returned. Under some circumstances, the phone may be turned over to the Commerce City Police department.

Use of Cell Phones on School Grounds

Use or possession of cell phones during the school day is prohibited.  Cell phones must be placed in the student’s locker and remain there until the end of the school day.

 Periodically, a teacher may allow students to bring their cell phone to class in order to be used for educational purposes. The student is expected to return the cell phone to their locker at the end of that class period.

From time to time parents/guardians will attempt to contact their students either by phone or text during the school day. This causes a distraction to the learning environment and therefore is strictly prohibited. It is also prohibited for students to contact their parent/guardian via phone or text during the school day.

If a parent/guardian must get a hold of their student, please contact the main office at 720-685-5500. The front office staff will gladly take a message for a student and deliver it to them at the appropriate time. Students will not be called out of class to talk to a parent/guardian. If a parent/guardian requests to talk to their student during the school day, the front office staff will take a message and have the student call the parent/guardian during a passing period or lunch. This method can only be used for emergency situations and should not be habitual.

IPODS, MP3s and other Electronic Devices

The Superintendent prohibits the use of IPods, MP3 players, CD Players, and other similar electronic devices during any and all instructional time unless instructed to use such device by the teacher.  Should a teacher decide that the use of an electronic device is necessary for instructional purposes; the teacher shall ensure that all students have access to the electronic device.  The Superintendent reserves the right to define the educational value of any new electronic devices that may become available in the future, and to prohibit or allow their use accordingly.  Communication with parents/guardians may be facilitated through the school’s central office. 

 While a student at Otho E. Stuart Middle School, ALL electronic devices; such as but not limited to: cell phones, MP3 players, IPODS, headphones, ear buds, digital cameras, etc. are to be kept in lockers at all times.

Such devices may not be used in a manner which is potentially unsafe, illegal or otherwise might violate the District’s Code of Conduct for students. Prohibited uses include but are not limited to creating video or audio recordings, or taking photographs, without permission.

 Disciplinary Consequences for

Electronic Device Policy Violation

If students choose to violate this policy, the item(s) will be confiscated from students and they will receive an discipline referral. The discipline for process for electronic violations is as follows:

·   1st Offense-Confiscation of device. Student can retrieve device from the main office at the end of the school day.

·   2nd Offense-Confiscation of device and parent/guardian must retrieve the device from the main office during normal business hours.

·   3rd Offense-Discipline referral and confiscation of device. Parent/guardian must retrieve the device from the main office during normal business hours.

 Every discipline referral a student earns for an electronic device violation will require a progression of disciplinary consequences up to and including the student ultimately losing the privilege of bringing any electronic devices to school.

Tablet PC’s, IPAD’s, EReaders, etc.

Student use of Tablet PC’s, IPAD’s, EReaders, etc. is permitted at Stuart Middle School as long as the use in non-disruptive or in violation of any other school or District policy. These items are not permitted to be used in the hallways or during lunch periods. If a student has a cell phone that doubles as any of the above items, the item will not be permitted to be used during the school day and must be placed in the students locker and remain there until the end of the day. 

Theft of Electronic Devices

Unfortunately, bringing expensive electronic items to school comes with significant risk of theft. Stuart Middle School assumes no liability for the replacement or recovery of stolen electronic devices.

Administrative time will not be used in an attempt to recover lost, stolen or damaged cell phones or electronic devices. A student or his/her parent/guardian may contact the police department for appropriate action if necessary.  Furthermore, by bringing cell phones and other electronic devices to school, the student and parent consent to the search of that device when school officials have a reasonable suspicion that such a search will reveal a violation of school rules or evidence of illegal activity.

Dress Code Policy

Generally, it has been observed that there is a positive relationship between the performance/behavior of a student and the type of her/his dress or appearance.  Students are expected to use good taste and judgment in their dress and appearance. School should be viewed as preparation for future employment and therefore, requires an appearance that would be appropriate for that environment.

In order to promote a safe environment that focuses on education and minimizes distractions, the administration of Otho E. Stuart Middle School establishes student dress expectations. These expectations remain in effect during all school related events to include those that occur beyond the school day and off of school grounds.

The following items or clothing are specifically prohibited:

·   Spaghetti straps, tank tops and halter tops. All shirts must cover the entire shoulder.

·   Shorts, skirts, and other garments that do not extend at least to the knee. Solid colored leggings cannot be worn to cover or extend clothing that isn’t already cut to the knee.

·   Pajama shirts and pants.

·   Slippers, house shoes, or any other shoe that might be perceived by SMS administration as too casual or unsafe for the school environment.

·   Gloves ( prohibited indoors)

·   Sunglasses or non-prescription fashion glasses cannot be worn indoors. Costume glasses are not permitted.

·   Ripped clothing which becomes revealing or a distraction.

·   Transparent or mesh clothing can only be worn with SMS appropriate shirt underneath.

·   Lace or sheer tops with exposed camisole underneath. 

·   Hoodies worn over head during school hours.

·   Baseball hats, beanies, caps, athletic headbands, bandanas, do rags, etc. cannot be worn indoors. Hats may be worn outside during lunch. Other headwear including athletic headbands, bandanas, do rags, etc. and all other headwear not previously mentioned cannot be worn. These items must be placed in the student’s locker and remain there throughout the day.

·   Shirts hanging lower than the knee

·   Shirts with armholes or revealing shoulders.

·   Shirts that expose the cleavage.

·   Broad collared shirts or blouses exposing the shoulders cannot be worn.

·   Pants or shorts that sag below the waist line and/or show undergarments. Students caught wearing these items will be required to either tighten their belt or use a zip tie to tighten the pants so that they no longer sag.

·   Clothing or accessories that promote drugs, alcohol, or tobacco either by brand or message

·   Clothing or accessories with sexually suggestive language or messages

·   Shirts not long enough to be either tucked in or touch the lower garment exposing the midriff.

·   Clothing or accessories that promote violence, criminal activity, intimidation or intolerance of others (based on religion, ethnicity, gender or lifestyle).

·   Any clothing that can be reasonably deemed offensive to others.

·   Clothing or accessories that could readily be used as a weapon or might otherwise injure the wearer, including items with spikes or loose hanging chains.

·   Coats or jackets may not be worn in the classroom unless permission has been granted by the teacher.

·   Attire, accessories or manners of grooming indicative of affiliation with a gang, secret society or disruptive group. This includes, but is not limited to clothing, gang-related colors or numbers, bandanas, sports logos/apparel, make-up, hats, emblems, trademarks, badges, insignia, logos, belt buckles, colored shoe strings, and jewelry.

·   Trench coats and other like jackets capable of concealing weapons.

·   Rosary beads worn outside of the shirt are not permitted as they can be interpreted as gang related. Students who choose to wear rosary beads must keep them tucked into their shirt.

·   Yoga pants or other form-fitting/elastic clothing. Clothing that is revealing in nature of the chest or buttocks area of the body is strictly prohibited.

·   Body piercings that are considered unsafe or disruptive to the educational process. 

·   Any other clothing or appearance items deemed inappropriate, offensive, or unsafe by Stuart Middle School Administration.

Disciplinary Consequences for

Dress Code Violations

If students choose to violate this policy, students will be required to change into Stuart Middle School clothing.  Upon a student’s second offense, a student will be issued a discipline referral and required to change into provided Stuart Middle School clothing.  At that time, the front office staff will confiscate the inappropriate clothing. The student may retrieve it after they return the Stuart Middle School clothing.

Internet Use

Each student will have access to the Internet to supplement curriculum materials.  Students will be asked to sign an Internet User Agreement jointly with her/his parent/guardian.  Parents should discuss with their students the responsibilities, obligations, accountability, and commitment involved in signing the conditions of the Internet User Agreement and school’s responsibility to enforce the agreement. Students who violate this agreement may lose their Internet access.

    

Remedial Discipline Plan (RDP)

Colorado State law requires that students who are habitually disruptive at school are eligible for expulsion.  Students may be expelled up to 365 calendar days.  During which time, the student is not permitted to be on district property or enroll in any public school within the state of Colorado.  If a student is defined as habitually disruptive, they will be placed on step one of a Remedial Discipline Plan.

A Remedial Discipline Plan encompasses three steps, all of which require interventions on behalf of the school, student and parent.  As a part of each step, the student will be suspended out of school.  If a student is unsuccessful in correcting the habitually disruptive behavior, they may eventually be moved to step three of the Remedial Discipline Plan.  At this point the student will be suspended out of school pending a district discipline hearing.  The hearing will be held to determine the next course of action up to and including expulsion.

Search and Seizure

The District authorizes searches of lockers, backpacks, purses, wallets, pockets etc., when there is reasonable suspicion that the search will result in the discovery of “contraband”, which includes all substances or material prohibited by district/school policy or state law including, but not limited to, drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcoholic beverages, guns, knives, weapons, and dangerous items.

When possible, an involved student shall be informed of the reason for the search and the official conducting the search shall attempt to secure the student’s consent to the search.  The scope of the search must be no more intrusive than is reasonably necessary under the circumstances.

Inappropriate items found during the course of a search may be seized and at the discretion of school administration, such items may be returned to the parent or guardian of the student from whom the items were seized; offered as evidence in any suspension of expulsion proceeding if they are tagged for identification at the time seized; turned over to law enforcement officers; or destroyed.

Positive Behavior Intervention Support

“The mission of the Colorado School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) Initiative is to establish and maintain effective school environments that maximize academic achievement and behavioral competence of all learners in Colorado” (Colorado Department of Education). Schools that implement PBIS offer a continuum of behavioral supports available for all students. The result is the creation of environments in which problem behavior becomes less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.

Major Components of School-Wide PBIS

·   Common approach to discipline

·   Positively stated expectations for all students and staff

·   Procedures for teaching these expectations to students

·   A continuum of procedures for encouraging demonstration and maintenance of these expectations

·   A continuum of procedures for discouraging rule-violating behavior

Procedures for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the discipline system on a regular and frequent basis

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