BOE Community Relations Series 1000

Click on a policy to jump to section 

Concept Goals

Communications with the Public

News Media Relationships

Citizen Participation at Board Meetings

Distribution of Material

Responsibilities of Board Members and School Personnel

Staff Participation In Community Activities

Summary of Negotiations Activities

School Community Associations

School Volunteers

School Visitors

Loitering or Causing Disturbance

Motorized Vehicles on School Property

Political Activities of School Employees

Public Complaints

Gifts to School Personnel

Relationship Between Public and School Personnel

Conduct on School Property

Soliciting Funds from and by Students

Solicitations by Staff Members

Community Use of School Facilities

Smoking

Senior Citizens Benefits

Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

Fire Department

Relations Between Area State Regional National




CONCEPT, GOALS AND ROLES IN COMMUNITY RELATIONS

1000


The Board of Education recognizes that the community determines the quality of local education. It is imperative that members of the community and the school personnel cooperate in planning, developing policy, implementing programs and evaluating results.
School-community relations are not merely reporting and interpreting. Rather, they are part of a public enterprise in which community members and school personnel play their respective roles in the best interests of the school district.
The Board of Education establishes the following goals for the community relations program:
1. To increase public understanding of the school system.
2. To increase community confidence and interest in the school system.
3. To promote effective dissemination of information concerning school activities.
4. To solicit community opinions about the school system.
5. To encourage the sharing of resources among civic and community organizations for the benefit of the school system.

COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE PUBLIC PARENT INVOLVEMENT

1110.1


The Board of Education, based upon overwhelming research, believes that involved parents and families in support of children and their education increases student achievement and success. Therefore the Board endorses the “National Standards for Family School Partnership” developed by the National PTA as essential for the district’s program to involve parents and families in their child’s education.

The standards, designed to help educators incorporate parents, broadly defined to include all adults who play an important role in a child’s family life, in their child’s learning process are:

Communicating
1. Communication between home and school is regular, two-way, and meaningful.
2. Parenting skills are promoted and supported.
3. Student Learning Parents play an integral role in assisting student learning.
4. Volunteering Parents are welcome in the school, and their support and assistance are sought.
5. School Decision Making and Advocacy Parents are full partners in the decisions that affect children and families.
6. Collaboration with Community Community resources are used to strengthen schools, families and student learning. These standards will be used as guidelines to develop meaningful programs at the school and district level as one means to improve student achievement through parent involvement. The Superintendent of Schools shall develop appropriate regulations conducive to achieving a high level of parental involvement in the educational process.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10-221(f) Boards of Education to prescribe rule(s), policies, and procedures as amended by PA 97-290

NEWS MEDIA RELATIONSHIPS


1112, 1112.1, 1112.3


Schools are public institutions serving the educational needs of the community. Therefore, it is important that information be disseminated concerning programs, activities, and significant school events. The Board recognizes the important role the media serves in reporting information about the District’s program, services and activities. Therefore, the District will make reasonable efforts to provide media access to students.


To ensure that publicity is coordinated with a common effort and purpose, the following shall be followed with news media:

1. Media representatives shall be required to report to the administration for prior approval before accessing students involved in instructional programs and activities not attended by the general public.
2. School administrators are authorized to grant permission and set parameters for media access to students in their respective schools.
3. The media may interview and photograph students involved in instructional programs and school activities including athletic events if authorized by the Principal provided that their presence will not be unduly disruptive.
4. If, in the judgment of the administration, the presence of any photographer, broadcaster, or news journalist causes such disruption that orderly conduct of the activity becomes unfeasible, access by these individuals may be limited to the extent necessary to remove disruption.
5. News media personnel who intend to photograph, broadcast, or record for broadcast student activities shall provide appropriate identification to the school administrator, if requested, prior to access.
6. Only news media personnel employed by a newspaper, radio or television broadcasting company, or personnel of a recognized student news medium assigned to cover the activity shall be permitted to photograph, broadcast, or record for broadcast, such activity.
7. Media representatives wishing to photograph or identify particular students, must obtain parental or guardian approval as well as school administrator permission.
1112(b) Community Relations News Media Relationships (continued)
8. In the case of photographs, videotapes, and/or articles referring to students involved in athletic events parental or guardian permission may be provided on an annual basis.
9. Parents who do not want their student interviewed, photographed or videotaped by the media shall inform the school Principal accordingly. Parents who do not want their student interviewed, photographed or videotaped by the media shall inform the school Principal accordingly. Parents who do not want their student interviewed or photographed by the media should direct their child accordingly.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-226 Recording, broadcasting or photographing meetings

ACCESS BY NEWS MEDIA TO BOARD MEETINGS

1112.1


Board meetings to which the public has access may be photographed, broadcast or recorded for broadcast by any newspaper, radio broadcasting company or television broadcasting company, subject to the following rules:


1. News media personnel who intend to photograph, broadcast or record for broadcast the proceedings of any public meeting of the Board of Education shall provide appropriate identification to the Superintendent of Schools, if requested by the Superintendent, prior to said meeting of the Board.
2. Any photographer, broadcaster, or news journalist authorized by the Superintendent to photograph, broadcast or record for broadcast proceedings at a public meeting of the Board of Education and any personnel associated with said photographer, broadcaster or news journalist shall photograph, broadcast, or record for broadcast the proceedings of said meeting inconspicuously as possible and in such manner as not to disturb the proceedings.
3. If, in the judgment of the Chairperson of the Board of Education, the presence at a Board of Education meeting of any photographer, broadcaster, news journalist or any personnel associated with said photographer, broadcaster or news journalist causes such a disruption that the orderly conduct of the public business at such meeting becomes infeasible, access by any one or more of these individuals to the meeting may be limited to the extent necessary to remedy the disruption.


Spokesperson for the Board of Education


The Chairperson of the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools shall be the only authorized spokepersons for the Board of Education.
No other member of the Board of Education shall issue statements, news releases or other information purporting to represent the views of the Board of Education without clearance from the Board of Education.


Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-226 Recording, broadcasting or photographing meetings

 

ACCESS TO INFORMATION


1112.3


The Board of Education acknowledges the need for an informed citizenry and, at the same time, recognizes the public's right to access information regarding the operations of the school system. The Board of Education, therefore, will make available statistics and other studies reported at public meetings and disseminated to the media. This will be accomplished through information sharing meetings, through presentations at regular Board meetings, and at Board Committee meetings, and through meetings of parent organizations.

Moreover, in complying with Section 1-210 of the Connecticut General Statutes, and continuing to fulfill its obligation and desire to keep the public informed, while at the same time attempting to eliminate excessive expenditures of staff time in the compilation, assembly, and distribution of information pertaining to public school operation, the Board of Education has adopted the following procedures to assist in determining access to information.

The Superintendent is responsible for developing regulations to implement this policy consistent with all applicable Federal and State Statutes and Regulations and in keeping with the Board's policy intent.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-210 Access to public records. Exempt records

PROCEDURES FOR ACCESSING INFORMATION 

The Board's policy pertaining to the access of information shall be administered according to the following guidelines.


1. The Board grants discretion, within all applicable statutes, to the Superintendent for implementation of this policy.
2. Any information covered by Section 1-210 that is readily available in the format in which it is requested will be supplied by the Superintendent or his/her designee for inspection and/or copying by the person or group making the request. A reasonable fee may be charged for the cost of reproducing requested information.
3. A document or record which is limited in its availability to the administration will not be released.
4. Requests for studies or analyses of information which will result in staff members assuming responsibilities or performing tasks that are not ordinarily part of their day-to-day duties, will only be undertaken with Board of Education endorsement.
Such requests shall contain the name of the person, agency, group, or organization requesting the information, and the exact nature of information requested.
5. The Board, in consultation with the Superintendent, will examine the request to determine the appropriate action to be taken. A positive endorsement to fulfill requests must receive a majority vote from the Board at either a regular or special meeting.1120(b)

Meetings Citizens who wish to speak with the Board of Education about a particular subject or concern shall be recognized at the appropriate point on the agenda of the regular monthly Board of Education meeting, and at special meetings except for those exclusively scheduled for executive session. Written communications from citizens requesting permission to speak with the Board of Education are encouraged but not required.
The Board of Education may, if necessary, restrict the time allowed for citizen participation. Visitor participation at the Board of Education meetings shall be only at the designated place on the agenda or upon Board of Education agreement to such participation.

Comments and suggestions made by citizens at a Board meeting are welcomed. Such comments or suggestions may be considered in one of the following ways:


1. Received by the Board but no specific action taken on the comment or suggestion.
2. Through referral to the Superintendent of Schools for appropriate staff review and consideration.
3. Through referral to the appropriate Board committee for review and consideration.
4. Through being placed on a future agenda for the Board of Education for further review and consideration.
5. Other methods of consideration agreed upon by the Board for a specific question or circumstance.
6. According to statute, the following records may not be disclosed:
a. Preliminary drafts or notes
b. Personnel or medical files
c. Information to be used in a prospective law enforcement action if prejudicial to such action
d. Records pertaining to such action
e. Test questions, scoring keys and examinations
f. The contents of real estate appraisals, engineering or feasibility studies made relative to the acquisition of property
g. Records, reports, and statements of strategy, or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining
h. Student records covered by privacy law
i. And any other records, documents, or materials deemed confidential by the courts or FOI Commission.
7. Appeal process: Any individual or organization denied access to information by the Superintendent or his/her designee may appeal this denial to the Board of Education. A request for reconsideration shall be directed in writing to the Superintendent who will bring the item before the Board as a whole. The petitioning organization or individual may present relevant information to the Board.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-210 Access to public records. Exempt records

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION AT BOARD MEETINGS

1120


Citizens who wish to speak with the Board of Education about a particular subject or concern shall be recognized at the appropriate point on the agenda of the regular monthly Board of Education meeting, and at special meetings except for those exclusively scheduled for executive session. Written communications from citizens requesting permission to speak with the Board of Education are encouraged but not required.

The Board of Education may, if necessary, restrict the time allowed for citizen participation. Visitor participation at the Board of Education meetings shall be only at the designated place on the agenda or upon Board of Education agreement to such participation. 

Comments and suggestions made by citizens at a Board meeting are welcomed. Such comments or suggestions may be considered in one of the following ways:


1. Received by the Board but no specific action taken on the comment or suggestion.
2. Through referral to the Superintendent of Schools for appropriate staff review and consideration.
3. Through referral to the appropriate Board committee for review and consideration.
4. Through being placed on a future agenda for the Board of Education for further review and consideration.
5. Other methods of consideration agreed upon by the Board for a specific question or circumstance.
Questions asked by citizens will be answered in the meeting at which they are asked only if, in the opinion of the Chairperson, the question does not require research or further review before being answered. Citizens’ questions which do necessitate review or study beyond which is reasonable at the Board of Education meeting may be handled in one of the following ways:
1. Not answered because to answer would be legally or procedurally inappropriate. The questioner will be told this either immediately or upon further investigation.
2. Referred to the Superintendent of Schools for staff response, written or oral, depending upon his/her judgment. 1120(b) Community Relations Citizen Participation at Board Meetings (continued)
3. Referred to a Board committee for a committee response, written or oral, depending upon the Committee’s judgment.
4. Placed on a future agenda for the Board of Education for Board consideration and response by the Chairman, written or oral, depending upon the Chairman’s response.
5. Other method or methods to answer the question which is agreed upon by the Board for a specific question or circumstance. Decisions on considerations, responses, and referrals shall be made by the Board Chairperson or upon a motion passed by the Board.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-225 Meetings of government agencies to be public. 1-226 Broadcasting or photographing meetings. 19a-342 Smoking in public meetings in rooms of public building prohibited. 1-227 Mailing of notice of meetings to persons filing written request. Fees. 1-230 Regular meetings to be held pursuant to regulation, ordinance or resolution. 1-232 Conduct of meetings. 1-206 Denial of access to public records or meetings. 10-238 Petition for hearing by board of education.

DISTRIBUTION OF MATERIALS BY STUDENTS (USE OF STUDENTS)

1140

The Board recognizes that students, employees, parents or citizens may want to distribute materials within the school district that are non-curricular. Non-curricular materials to be distributed must be approved by the building Principal and meet certain standards prior to their distribution. It is the responsibility of the Superintendent, in conjunction with the building principals to draft administrative regulations regarding this policy. (cf. 3152 – Spending Public Funds for Advocacy)


Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 9-369b Explanatory text relating to local questions.


I. Guidelines


Individuals, including students, may have the right to distribute on school premises, at reasonable times and places, unofficial written material, petitions, buttons, badges or other insignia, except expression which:

1. is obscene to minors;
2. is libelous;
3. contains indecent, vulgar, profane or lewd language;
4. advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;
5. constitutes insulting or fighting words, the very expression of which injures or harasses other people (e.g., threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person's race, religion, gender, disability, age or ethnic origin);
6. presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or the manner of distribution, it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities, will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations.
Distribution on school premises of material in categories (1) through (4) to any student is prohibited. Distribution on school premises of material in categories (5) and (6) to a substantial number of students is prohibited.

II. Procedures

Anyone wishing to distribute unofficial written material must first submit for approval a copy of the material to the building Principal at least twenty-four hours in advance of desired distribution time, together with the following information:

1. Name and phone number of the person submitting request and, if a student, the homeroom number;
2. Date(s) and time(s) of day of intended display or distribution;
3. Location where material will be displayed or distributed;
4. The grade(s) of students to whom the display or distribution is intended.
Within twenty-four hours of submission, the Principal will render a decision whether the material violates the guidelines in subsection I or the time, place and manner restrictions in subsection III of this regulation. In the event that permission to distribute the material is denied, the person submitting the request should be informed in writing of the reasons for the denial. Permission to distribute material does not imply approval of its contents by either the school, the administration, the Board or the individual reviewing the material submitted.
If the person submitting the request does not receive a response within twenty-four hours of submission, the person will contact the building Principal's office to verify that the lack of response was not due to an inability to locate the person. If the person has made this verification and there is no response to the request, the material may be distributed in accordance with the time, place and manner provisions in subsection III.
If the person is dissatisfied with the decision of the Principal, the person may submit a written request for appeal to the Superintendent. If the person does not receive a response within three school days of submitting the appeal, the person will contact the Superintendent to verify that the lack of response is not due to an inability to locate the person. If the person has made this verification and there is no response to the appeal, the material may be distributed in accordance with the time, place and manner provisions in subsection III.
At every level of the process, the person submitting the request will have the right to appear and present the reasons, supported by relevant witnesses and material, as to why distribution of the written material is appropriate.
Permission to distribute material does not imply approval of its contents by either the District, the Board, the administration or the individual reviewing the material submitted.

III. Time, Place and Manner of Distribution

The distribution of written material is prohibited when it blocks the safe flow of traffic within corridors and entrance ways of the school or otherwise disrupts school activities. The distribution of unofficial material is limited to a reasonable time, place and manner as follows:

1. The material will be distributed from a table set up for the purpose in a location designated by the Principal, which location will not block the safe flow of traffic or block the corridors or entrance ways, but which will give reasonable access to students.
2. The material will be distributed either before and/or after the regular instructional day.
3. No written material may be distributed during and at the place of a normal school activity if it is reasonably likely to cause a material and substantial disruption of that activity.

IV. Definitions

The following definitions apply to the following terms used in this policy:
1. "Obscene to minors" is defined as:
(a) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the written material, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors of the age to whom distribution is requested;
(b) The material depicts or describes, in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community concerning how such conduct should be presented to minors of the age to whom distribution is requested, sexual conduct such as intimate sexual acts (normal or perverted), masturbation, excretory functions, and lewd exhibition of the genitals; and
(c) The material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.
2. “Minor” means any person under the age of eighteen.
3. “Material and substantial disruption” of a normal school activity is defined as follows:
(a) Where the normal school activity is an educational program of the District for which student attendance is compulsory, “material and substantial disruption” is defined as any disruption which interferes with or impedes the implementation of that program.
(b) Where the normal school activity is voluntary in nature (including, without limitation, school athletic events, school plays and concerts, and lunch periods), “material and substantial disruption” is defined as student rioting, unlawful seizures of property, widespread shouting or boisterous demonstration, sit-in, stand-in, walk-out, or other related forms of activity.
In order for expression to be considered disruptive, there must exist specific facts upon which the likelihood of disruption can be forecasted including past experience in the school, current events influencing student activities and behavior, and instances of actual or threatened disruption relating to the written material in question.
4. “School activities” means any activity of students sponsored by the school and includes, by way of example but not limited to, classroom work, library activities, physical education classes, official assemblies and other similar gatherings, school athletic contests, band concerts, school plays and in-school lunch periods.
5. “Unofficial” written material includes all written material except school newspapers, literary magazines, yearbooks, and other publications funded and/or sponsored or authorized by the school. Examples include leaflets, brochures, flyers, petitions, placards and underground newspapers, whether written by students or others.
6. “Libelous” is a false and unprivileged statement about a specific individual that tends to harm the individual's reputation or to lower him/her in the esteem of the community.
7. “Distribution” means circulation or dissemination of written material by means of handing out free copies, selling or offering copies for sale and accepting donations for copies. It includes displaying written material in areas of the school which are generally frequented by students.

V. Disciplinary Action

Distribution by any student of unofficial written material prohibited in subsection I or in violation of subsection III may be halted, and students may be subject to discipline including suspension and expulsion. Any other party violating this policy may be requested to leave the school property immediately and, if necessary, local law enforcement officials will be called.

VI. Notice of Policy to Students

A copy of this regulation will be published in student handbooks and posted conspicuously in school buildings.

Additional material to consider:
1. Student Participation-No student shall be forced to participate in the distribution of any non-school materials in the schools.
2. Political Campaign Materials- Subject to the approval of the Superintendent, each building principal shall establish rules and regulations governing the distribution of political campaign materials in the school building during election campaigns in order to afford opportunity for all viewpoints to be considered. No student shall be forced to participate in the distribution or receipt of any political materials.
3. Special Interest Materials- No mailing lists of students or employees of the District shall be given to individuals, organizations or vendors for the purpose of distributing materials without the written approval of the appropriate records custodian.
4. Advertising in the Schools- Advertising in the student publications may promote products by brand name except that commercial ads promoting the sales of any controlled substance or drug paraphernalia are prohibited.
5. Relations with Political Organizations- Political candidates or political parties shall be prohibited from promoting candidates or political party activities in school buildings during school hours except as they might be invited to speak, either as part of a class project or as part of the instructional program, as provided in the policy on controversial speakers.

Such organizations may use school facilities according to Board policy. The circulation of petitions is not permissible when done during an employee's or student's assigned working hours.

DISTRIBUTION OF NONSCHOOL LITERATURE/PUBLICATIONS

1140.1

Definitions

“Distribution” means the circulation of more than 10 printed copy of material from a source other than the District or school. Further, the distribution involves the circulation or dissemination of materials by means of offering free copies, selling or offering copies for sale, accepting donations for copies, or posting or displaying materials, or placing materials in book bags, backpacks, or other items belonging to students.

“Nonschool sponsored material” or “unofficial material” includes all materials or objects not funded, sponsored, or authorized by the District or school intended for distribution, except school newspapers, homecoming buttons, literary magazines, yearbooks and other publications funded and/or sponsored by the school or District. Examples of nonschool sponsored materials include, but are not limited to, leaflets, brochures, flyers, petitions, posters, and underground newspapers whether written by students or others.

The Board of Education recognizes that activities such as distributing literature, displaying signs, petitioning for change, and disseminating information concerning issues of public concern are protected by the First Amendment.

The District’s schools may impose time, place, and manner regulations and may reserve its facilities for their intended purposes, communicative or otherwise, as long as the regulation on speech is reasonable and not an effort to suppress expression merely because public officials oppose the speaker’s view.

The District or its schools may not require prior review before permitting non-disruptive distribution of written materials on matters of public concern at a parents/adults-only school sponsored meeting after school hours.

Distribution on School Campus

Written or printed materials, handbills, photographs, pictures, films, tapes, or other visual or auditory materials over which the school does not exercise control shall not be sold, circulated, or distributed by persons or groups not associated with the school or a school support group on any school premises in the school without permission in accordance with this policy.

District classrooms are provided for the limited purpose of delivering instruction opportunities to students. Hallways in school buildings are provided for the limited purpose of facilitating the movement of students between classes and allowing access to assigned lockers. Classrooms and hallways shall not be used for the distribution of any materials over which the school does not exercise control.

The administrator in charge of each school area in which the school has individual employee mailboxes shall designate an area near the mailboxes where materials that have been approved for distribution, as provided below, may be made available or distributed to students or others in accordance with any time, place, and manner restrictions developed and approved by the Superintendent.

Distribution in Classrooms and Hallways

The District’s classrooms during the regular school day are provided for the limited purpose of delivering instruction to students in the courses and subjects in which they are enrolled. Hallways in school buildings are provided for the limited purpose of facilitating the movement of students between classes and allowing access to assigned lockers. Classrooms and hallways shall not be used for the distribution of any materials over which the school does not exercise control.

Area of Distribution

The school Principal shall designate an area where materials that have been approved for distribution by students in accordance with this policy may be made available or distributed. The Principal may develop reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions regarding the distribution of materials at designated areas.

Prior Review

All written material over which the school does not exercise control and that is intended for distribution on school property shall be submitted for prior review to the Principal or designee for prior review according to the following procedures:

1. Materials shall be submitted to the Superintendent or designee or school Principal for review.
2. To be considered for distribution, materials shall include the name of the organization or individual sponsoring the distribution.
3. Using the standards below at "Limitations on Content" the Superintendent, Principal or designee shall approve or reject submitted material within two school days of the time the material is received.
4. The requestor/student may appeal the decision of the Principal or Superintendent or of the Superintendent to the Board.
Students who fail to follow these procedures may be disciplined in accordance with the District policies pertaining to conduct and the Student Code of Conduct.

Limitations on Content

The District/school shall not prohibit student expression solely because other students, teachers, administrators, or parents may disagree with its content.
Non-school material shall not be distributed if it:

1. is obscene to minors;
2. is libelous;
3. contains indecent, vulgar, profane or lewd language;
4. advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;
5. constitutes insulting or fighting words, the very expression of which injures or harasses other people (e.g., threats of violence, defamation of character or of a person's race, religion, gender, disability, age or ethnic origin);
6. presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or the manner of distribution, it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities, will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations.

(cf. 1140 – Distribution of Materials by Students) (cf. 1311.2 – Political Activities in the Schools/On School Board Property) (cf. 1330/3515 – Community Use of School Facilities) (cf. 3543.13 – Mail and Delivery) (cf. 4118.21 – Academic Freedom) (cf. 6144 – Controversial Issues) (cf. 6145.31 – Underground Publications) (cf. 6153.2 – Student Participation in Election Process)

Legal Reference: Hazelwood Sch. Dis. V. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260, 265 (1988) Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969) Bethel Sch. Dist. No 403 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986) Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network, 519 US. 357, 117 S. Ct. 855 (1997) Boos v. Barry, 485 U.S. 312, 108 S. Ct. 1157 (1988) Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 108 S. Ct. 1886 (1988) Perry Educ. Ass’n. v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n., 460 Us. 37, 103 5.t. 948 (1983) Chiu v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 339 F.3d 273 (5th Cir. 2003)

Responsibilities of Board members and School Personnel

1150

It is the responsibility of each Board member, as well as each employee of the district, to exercise care when answering questions about the public schools. Individuals should answer questions only when they have full and complete understanding of the point about which they have been asked. If the employee or Board member is not prepared to answer accurately and fully, he/she should refer the inquirer to a staff member who would have the appropriate information.

All school personnel and Board members are encouraged to be informed on Board of Education policy and school policies and programs in order that they may better advance public understanding of the schools.

Staff Participation In Community Activities

1160

All staff members are encouraged to support and to volunteer their services to various community organizations.

(cf. 1150 ‑ Public Press, Radio & Television) (cf. 4118.2 ‑ Professional Responsibilities) (cf. 4118.21 ‑ Academic Freedom

Summary of Negotiations Activities

1167

The Board of Education believes it is in the best interest of the community to be kept informed about the contractual relationships between the Board and its employee groups.

Therefore, the Board of Education shall prepare a summary report following all negotiations of contracts with teachers and non-certified personnel bargaining units. Said summary report shall be presented to the Selectman and Board of Finance and made available to the general public within two months of the completion of the negotiations process.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10-153d Meeting between board of education and fiscal authority required. Duty to negotiate. Procedure if legislative body rejects contract. 10-153e Prohibited practices of employees, employers and representatives. Hearing before State Board of Labor Relations. Appeal. Penalty. 10-153f Mediation and arbitration of disagreements.

School-Community Associations

1210

The Board of Education recognizes school‑community groups such as Parent‑Teacher Associations or Parent‑Teacher Organizations as integral parts of the school community which can enhance educational programs.

The Board of Education encourages active support of and cooperation with school‑community organizations.

Among the many services which such associations can offer, the Board of Education especially endorses support for parent/citizen volunteer programs in our schools.

School Volunteers

1212

The Board of Education recognizes that volunteers can make many valuable contributions to our schools. The Board endorses a program encouraging community residents to take an active role in improving schools and to become school volunteers in schools subject to suitable regulations and safeguards. Appropriate recognition of volunteer services shall be made by the Board and school district administration.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10-4g Parent and community involvement in schools; model programs; school-based teams 10-235 Indemnification of teachers, board members, employees and certain volunteers and students in damage suits; expenses of litigation. 54-254 Registration of person who has committed a felony for a sexual purpose

School Visitors

1250

The Board of Education invites and encourages parents and other members of the public to visit the schools. Such visitations are beneficial in a number of ways:

1. The parent or visitor becomes more informed about his/her child’s or children’s education generally;

2. It shows children an adult interest in their education;

3. Better relationships are developed between teachers and the public.

Hopefully, numbers 1-3 above will all work to increase public support of the school.

For the protection of students and other school personnel, visitors must check with the school Principal or Secretary upon arrival in the building informing office personnel of the reason for the visit. This is not a requirement when parents or others are attending a specific event to which the public has been invited.

It may be necessary on rare occasions to impose some visitation restrictions to avoid interruption or disruption of normal school educational activities.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds; Class C misdemeanor

 Loitering or Causing Disturbance

1251

All visitors must register in the office of the school principal. Staff members should be alert to the possibility of unauthorized visitors and promptly report any concerns to the Principal. Any person shall be considered loitering on school grounds when he/she loiters or remains in or about a school building or grounds, without any reason or relationship involving custody of or responsibility for a student or any other license or privilege to be there.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 53a‑185 Loitering in or about school grounds; Class C misdemeanor

Motorized Vehicles on School Property

1252

The Board of Education prohibits the travel of any unregistered motorized vehicle on school grounds. Only registered motor vehicles may travel on the roadways designated for vehicular traffic. When necessary, parking may be allowed on grassy areas immediately adjacent to those roadways.

(cf. 5131.3 – Student Driving/Parking) (cf. 3515.2 – Parking)

Political Activities of School Employees

1311.1

The Board of Education recognizes the right of its employees, as citizens, to engage in political activity. However, the Board recognizes that school property and school time are paid for by all the people of the District, and should not be used for partisan political purposes, except as provided for in policies pertaining to the use of school facilities by civic and political organizations.

Prohibited activities include the posting of political circulars or petitions, collection or solicitation of campaign funds, solicitations for campaign workers, the use of students in writing or addressing campaign materials, and the distribution of campaign materials to students on District property or during school time in any manner which would indicate that a school employee is using a position in the school to further personal partisan views on candidates for public office or questions of public property. Teachers and other District employees will not attempt to influence students concerning political party affiliations and will not praise or denigrate any particular political party.

Nothing in this policy will be interpreted as prohibiting teachers from conducting appropriate activities that encourage students to become involved in the political processes of the party of the students’ choice or as independents; nor does it prohibit the use of political figures as resource persons in the classrooms.

(cf. 1140 – Distribution of Materials by Students) (cf. 1311.2 – Political Activities in the Schools/On School Board Property) (cf. 1330/3515 – Community Use of School Facilities) (cf. 3543.13 – Mail and Delivery) (cf. 4118.21 – Academic Freedom) (cf. 6144 – Controversial Issues) (cf. 6153.2 – Student Participation in Election Process)

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 7‑421 Political activities of classified municipal employees. 7‑421b Limitation on restriction of political rights of municipal employees. 9‑369b Explanatory text relating to local questions. 10‑156e Employees of boards of education permitted to serve as elected officials; exception. 10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes 31-51q Liability of employer for discipline or discharge of employee on account of employee’s exercise of certain constitutional rights. Keyishian v. Board of Regents 395 U.S. 589, 603 (1967) Academic Freedom Policy (adopted by Connecticut State Board of Education, 9/9/81) Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074

Posting of Political Signs on School Property

1311.2

The Board of Education strongly believes that its school and the property upon which it is situated should be used first and foremost to enhance the education of Andover’s children. In keeping with the belief, it is the desire of the Board of Education to foster neutrality in political matters except as used for instructional purposes. In support of this belief, the Board prohibits the posting of political signs on property exterior to the school building.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 7‑421 Political activities of classified municipal employees. 7‑421b Limitation on restriction of political rights of municipal employees. 9‑369b Explanatory text relating to local questions. 10‑156e Employees of boards of education permitted to serve as elected officials; exception. 10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes 31-51q Liability of employer for discipline or discharge of employee on account of employee’s exercise of certain constitutional rights. Keyishian v. Board of Regents 395 U.S. 589, 603 (1967) Academic Freedom Policy (adopted by Connecticut State Board of Education, 9/9/81) Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074

 Public Complaints

1312

The Board of Education welcomes comments and suggestions for improvement from the citizens whom it serves. Constructive criticism of the schools is welcome whenever it is motivated by a sincere desire to improve the quality of the educational program or to allow the schools to do their tasks more effectively. However, the Board has confidence in its professional staff and desires to support their actions in order that they be free from unnecessary, spiteful or negative criticism and complaint. Therefore, whenever a complaint is made directly to the Board as a whole or to a Board member as an individual, it will promptly be referred to the school administration for study and possible solution.

Since individual Board members have no authority to resolve complaints, other than by formal Board action, Board members shall refer persons making complaints about the schools to the most immediate level at which the problems can be resolved and, as may be necessary, through lines of organization to the Superintendent of Schools. The Board expects that the administration will develop a procedure for receiving complaints courteously and that it will take steps to make a proper reply to the complainant. Follow-up shall be in the form of a written memorandum to the Board members.

Anonymous complaints provide no avenue for response or redress of the complaint. Therefore, it is the policy of the Board that such complaints will not be pursued. An unsigned complaint will not be read or acted upon at any meeting of the Board and anonymous telephone complaints will not be brought to the Board by any individual Board member, administrator or other District employee. The administration will not act on any anonymous complaint.

Parents should be made aware of the proper channels of communication and appeal. Complaints for which specific resolution procedures are provided shall be directed through those channels. The decision of the Principal regarding a student must include notice to the parents of the next step of appeal. Any appeal from the decision of the Superintendent to the Board shall be in writing and signed.

Complaints should be resolved at the lowest possible level of authority. If the complaint cannot be resolved at the building level, either party is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of the Superintendent of Schools.

If all other remedies have been exhausted and a complaint cannot be satisfactorily resolved, the complaint may be appealed to the Board of Education. No appeal will be heard by the Board and no charges or accusations against an employee will be investigated unless the accusations are reduced to writing, signed by the party making the complaint, and presented to the Board through the Superintendent.

In all cases, the decision to retain or reject challenged materials shall be made on the basis of whether the material represents life in its true proportions, whether circumstances are realistically dealt with, and whether the material has literary or social value. Factual material shall be included in all instructional material collections.

The Board will not consider or act upon complaints that have not been explored at the appropriate level or complaints for which specific resolution procedures have been established that do not include Board review. If the Board decides to hear the complaint, the Board shall make a decision which shall be sent to all interested parties. The Board’s decision is final.

(cf. 1220 – Citizens’ Advisory Committees) (cf. 5145.2 ‑ Freedom of Speech/Expression) (cf. 6144 ‑ Controversial Issues) (cf. 6161 ‑ Equipment, Books, Materials: Provision/Selection)

Legal Reference: Keyishian v. Board of Regents 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967) President's Council, District 25 v. Community School Board No. 25 457 F.2d 289 (1972), cert. denied 409 U.S. 998 (1976) Minarcini v. Strongsville City School District, 541 F. 2d 577 (6th Cir. 1976). Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982). Academic Freedom Policy (adopted by Connecticut State Board of Education, 9/9/81). Connecticut General Statutes 10‑238 Petition for hearing by board of education.

Gifts to School Personnel

1313

The giving of gifts to teachers and other school personnel is discouraged. In place of gifts, parents are encouraged to write letters to the Board of Education expressing appreciation for the service of the teacher or other person.

Relations Between Public and School Personnel

Conduct on School Property

1316

The Board of Education expects mutual respect, civility and orderly conduct among all individuals on school property or at school events. District staff will treat parents and other members of the public with respect and expect the same in return. The Board is committed to maintaining orderly educational and administrative processes in keeping schools and administrative offices free from disruptions and preventing unauthorized persons from entering school/district grounds.

This policy promotes mutual respect, civility and orderly conduct among Board members, district employees, parents and the public. It is not intended to deprive any individual of his/her right to freedom of expression, but only to maintain to the extent possible and reasonable, a safe, harassment-free environment for students and staff.

In the interest of presenting Board members and District employees as positive role models to the students as well as to the community, the Board encourages positive communication and discourages volatile, hostile or aggressive actions. The Board seeks public cooperation with this endeavor.

Based upon the above, the Board expects that no person on school property or at a school event shall:

1. Injure, threaten, harass or intimidate a staff member, Board member or any other person;

2. Damage or threaten to damage another’s property;

3. Damage or deface District property;

4. Violate any Connecticut law or town/city ordinance;

5. Smoke or otherwise use tobacco products;

6. Consume, possess, distribute or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, or possess dangerous instruments or weapons;

7. Impede, delay, or otherwise, interfere with the orderly conduct of the District's educational program or any other activity occurring on school property;

8. Enter upon any portion of the school premises at any time for purposes other than those which are lawful and authorized by the Board;

9. Operate a motor vehicle in a risky manner or in violation of an authorized District employee's directive; or

10. Violate other District policies or regulations or an authorized District employee's directive.

(cf. 1110.1 - Parent Involvement) (cf. 1120 - Public Participation at Board of Education Meetings) (cf. 1250 - Visits to Schools) (cf. 1251 - Loitering or Causing Disturbances) (cf. 1312 - Public Complaints) (cf. 1330 - Use of School Facilities) (cf. 6145.71 - Use of Alcohol by Adults)

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 1-225 Meetings of the government agents to be public. 1-232 Conduct of the meeting 10-221 Boards of education to prescribe rule(s), policies, and procedures. 10-238 Petition for hearing by board of education. 10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes. 53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds: Class C misdemeanor.

Soliciting Funds from and by Students

1324

Fund‑raising activities may be approved by the Superintendent of Schools consistent with the following guidelines:

  1. Fund‑raising is in connection with school‑sponsored projects. Requests for approval of fund raisers shall be made and approved, in writing, on the form provided.
  2. There are sufficient educational or financial benefits which will accrue to the school and/or students, either directly or indirectly, from the activity.
  3. The mechanics or procedures of fund‑raising will neither be an unacceptable burden to teachers or other school staff members nor subject the school to inappropriate risks or responsibilities in handling funds.

Upon approval by the Superintendent, information from recognized charitable and other organizations which could eventually result in voluntary student and/or parental activities, contributions, or memberships of benefit to the organization may be distributed through the schools. In these instances, the distribution of material would be the only school involvement on behalf of the organizations.

There shall be no direct solicitation of funds by outside organizations from students except on specific approval of the Board of Education.

Solicitations by Staff Members

1326

The Board of Education, recognizing its responsibility in the matter of solicitations, shall strive to safeguard from exploitation the students, parents, staff members, school system and community.

Therefore, no staff member shall use professional relationships with students for private advantage; nor shall any staff member use his/her position to influence parents or students of the school system to purchase instructional supplies, equipment or books, or sell to any student or parent any instructional supplies, equipment or books except those expressly approved for classroom or school-related use by the office of the Superintendent.

No staff member shall furnish lists of students or parents names, addresses and telephone numbers, or any other information, to anyone for solicitations unless prior approval is granted by the Office of the Superintendent.

Community Use of School Facilities

1330 (a,b)

Community organizations shall be permitted and encouraged to use school facilities for worthwhile purposes (when such uses will not interfere with the school program) in the following order of priority:

  1. Public Emergency
  2. Town of Regional Meetings
  3. School Functions Local Community Organizations – Free Use
  4. Local Community Organizations – Rental Use
  5. Private or Outside Organizations

Application for a single use of school facilities shall be made in writing to the Principal at least seven days in advance of the desired date. For regular use of facilities throughout the upcoming year or a major portion of the year, applications should be made in writing to the Principal after June 30 and no later than August 15. Applications for recurring facilities use which are received after August 15 will be considered if facilities are available. Applicants for the use of school facilities must abide by all Board of Education regulations for the use of the school. The Principal shall maintain a calendar of activities. School functions will supersede all other groups except Town or regional meetings. Public emergencies will supersede all group meetings.

The Principal is authorized to approve and schedule the use of school facilities and terminate such approval, pending Board of Education review, if he/she considers this action necessary. He/she shall discuss with the Superintendent of Schools any questions he/she might have concerning particular applications for the use of the school.

The school facilities shall be closed to community groups, except for Town or regional meetings, during the following periods:

  1. From August 1 until the day after Labor Day;
  2. On days when school is closed early or for the day because of weather conditions or mechanical breakdown.

Community use of the school facilities during vacation periods will be restricted to avoid conflict with school maintenance and repair schedule.

There will be no rental fees charged for the use of the building to non-profit, duly-recognized community groups. There will be no rental fees charged when community groups charge admission fees, if the proceeds are to be expended for an educational, civic, or charitable purpose.

There shall be rental fees charged for building uses not outlined above in accordance with the fee schedule established annually by the Board of Education.

Law enforcement coverage, if required, shall be paid by the organization using the building. The Board may charge for other necessary services if required. Town agencies financed through local taxation shall be exempt from such charges.

Decisions about whether or not custodial, cafeteria, or law enforcement coverage is required, the amount to be charged, and arrangements for such coverage shall be the responsibility of the building Principal.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10‑239 Use of school facilities for other purposes. PA 97-290 An Act Enhancing Educational Choices and Opportunities Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074 Good News Club v. Milford Central School ,Sup.Ct., 6-11-01 20 U.S.C. 7905 (Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act contained in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)  

 ANDOVER RECREATION COMMISSION USE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES

  1. The key provided to the Recreation Commission will open only the gymnasium wing outside door and the door to the gymnasium itself. Recreation Commission users of the gymnasium will restrict their presence in the building only to the gymnasium and adjacent rest room facilities.
  2. Recreation Commission use of the gymnasium will, in all cases, be scheduled in advance through the Andover School main office. A copy of the school form, "Request for Use of School building," will be completed and signed by a Recreation Commission representative for each use of the gymnasium.
  3. All community recreation use of the facility will be scheduled by the Recreation Commission. If other community groups request, through the school, use of the gymnasium for recreation purposes, the school will refer such groups to the Recreation Commission.
  4. For Recreation Commission use of the gymnasium during times when janitor service is not scheduled in the building, the Recreation Commission assumes responsibility for maintaining the cleanliness and security of the building.
  5. It must be recognized that during periods of school closure, school scheduling of cleaning and maintenance in the gymnasium must take precedence over outside use o the gymnasium. Any anticipated use of the facility during such periods should be checked out well in advance with the school Principal.
  6. Any damage to school equipment or property while being used by the Recreation Commission will be reported immediately to the building Principal.
  7. Any injuries will be reported in writing, and in detail to the building Principal, no later than noon on the day following the accident injury.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes PA 97-290 An Act Enhancing Educational Choices and Opportunities Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074 Good News Club v. Milford Central School, Sup.Ct., 6-11-01 20 U.S.C. 7905 (Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act contained in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)

Use of School Fields by Outside Organizations

1330.1

The Board of Education favors the use of athletic fields under its jurisdiction by local citizens subject to the following conditions:

  1. The needs of the schools shall have precedence. Only when the schools are not using their playing fields shall they be made available for use by the public.
  2. Only fields in adequate playable condition will be available for public use. The Board of Education, through the Superintendent or his/her designee, will be the sole judge of the suitability of their condition for use. The Superintendent or his/her designee reserves the right to cancel previously approved field requests based upon current field conditions, weather forecasts, etc.
  3. No unusual maintenance, upkeep, or alteration of school fields will be done by outside organizations without specific approval of the Board of Education, through the Superintendent or his/her designee.
  4. The agent of the Board of Education for the implementation of this policy will be the Superintendent of Schools, or his/her designee.

(cf. 1330 – Use of School Facilities)

 Smoking

1331

The Andover Board of Education is committed to maintaining and improving the health and well-being of its students. Medical research shows that smoking and other tobacco use poses a significant risk to the health of the smoker and non-smoker.

It shall be the policy of the Board of Education that no smoking or other use of tobacco related products be allowed on school property at any time, on any transportation provided by the Board of Education, or during the course of any trip or activity sponsored by the Board of Education.

Further, it shall be the policy of the Board to provide all students in Andover programs as directed by Section 10-192 of the Connecticut General Statutes. It is expected that these programs will help students to become more aware of health hazards caused by smoking and tobacco use and better informed about the diseases related to such use. In addition, it is also expected that these programs will aid students in developing constructive attitudes and help them make wise decisions about smoking and tobacco use.

The administration is charged with developing regulations to enforce this policy. Penalties for infractions of smoking regulations must be consistently administered to both students and Board employees.

The administration will provide accurate up-to-date materials and resources for an effective and stimulating instructional program in this important health area. Programs for those desiring to terminate tobacco use prior to implementation of this policy are to be provided.

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 19a‑342 Smoking prohibited in certain places. Signs required. Penalties. 21a‑242 Schedules of controlled substances. PL 107-110, Section 4303, “Non-smoking Policy for Children’s Services” 

Senior Citizens' Benefits

1350

The Board of Education recognizes the contribution senior citizens have made to the support of education and wishes to encourage their continued support and participation in school sponsored events.

To this end, the Board of Education offers to any senior citizen 60 years of age or older a 50% discount on the admission to any school sponsored activity such as athletic functions or musical events.

The Board of Education also encourages booster organizations and parent groups which sponsor school events to offer discounts to senior citizens whenever possible.

 

Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

1411 (a,b)

Schools are responsible for students during school hours.  This responsibility includes protecting each student’s constitutional rights, assuring due process in questioning and arrest, and protecting students from any form of illegal coercion.  Because of the many support services that local law enforcement agencies provide to the schools, staff, and students, the State Board of Education supports the best possible relationship with those agencies consistent with the system’s responsibilities to protect legal rights of staff and students.

This policy is intended to balance the needs of school and police officials.  The reduction of ambiguity and confusion in how these officials interact will provide an optimal environment for education while ensuring that the public safety needs of the school and community are adequately met.

Interview of Students

Police interviews generally will not take place on school grounds. However, if the police do indicate that an interview on school grounds is necessary, school authorities may cooperate. When the interview involves a juvenile, a parent must be present. The exceptions to this rule are (a) if the student is being interviewed as a victim and/or (b) if there is an overriding immediate public safety concern. If a student under the age of 16 is being interviewed by the police and the parent/guardian cannot be present, a member of the school staff should be present.

When police are investigating possible criminal acts which occurred, or may have occurred, on school property, or while under the jurisdiction of the school district, they may question students at school when the following procedures are observed:

  1. Students will be questioned as confidentially and inconspicuously as possible.
  2. An attempt will be made to notify the student’s parents so that they may be present during the questioning. The school Principal, or his/her designee, will be present.
  3. Preferably, the officer doing the questioning will wear civilian clothes.

When investigating a possible criminal violation occurring off school grounds or not part of a school program, police will be encouraged to question students in their homes; however, they may be permitted to question students in the schools when the procedures outlined in 1-3 above are observed. Police will make every attempt to minimize distractions or disruption of school routines during the performance of their duties.

Arrest of Students

The decision to call police and request an arrest is within the discretion of the building administrator.  The Principal may request the arrest of a student or there are times in which the police may request to pick up a student due to a warrant being issued for his/her arrest.  If the school Principal agrees to assist in the arrest of a student, the student shall be escorted from class by school personnel and remain in a secured office until the police arrive.  The arrested student will be removed from the school in a way that minimizes embarrassment to the student and nay disruption of the school routine.

Weapons

In cases where a student is suspected of carrying a dangerous weapon and there is a safety issue inherent in the search process, the student shall be secured in a private area and the police should be contacted to conduct the search.

If a search is conducted by a school official and a weapon is found, weapons that are illegal should be turned over to the police immediately by the school official. Illegal weapons include knives with over a four-inch blade, dirk knives, switchblade knives, martial arts weapons and firearms. Ammunition should also be immediately turned over to the police. Weapons that are not illegal but are a violation of school policy may be retained by the Principal.

Designation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures regarding this policy, including a process to ensure that appropriate staff has been informed, and to establish lines of communication with local law enforcement agencies to effect necessary cooperation toward ensuring the security of the school facilities, and the safety of students and staff.

(cf. 5145.12 Search/Seizure)

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 10-221 Boards of Education to prescribe rules 53a-185 Loitering in our about school grounds: Class C Misdemeanor 54-76j Disposition upon adjudication as youthful offender New Jersey vs. T.L.O. U.S. 325 (1985)

Fire Department

1412

Members of the Volunteer Fire Department and the Town Fire Marshal play a vital role in the school safety program. The Superintendent of Schools and administrative staff shall have the following responsibilities:

  1. Establish and maintain relationships with the local Fire Marshal and Fire Departments.
  2. Work with the faculty in determining the nature and timing of the Department's participation in the school program.
  3. Coordinate and supervise planned activities.

As necessary or appropriate administrators shall seek the advice and cooperation of the Fire Marshal and Fire Department in:

  1. Planning and conduct of fire drills
  2. Fire prevention education
  3. First aid, especially in fire related incidents
  4. Conforming to state and local fire codes.

(cf. 6114 - Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness)

Relations Between Area, State, Regional & National Associations and the School

1500

Membership in recognized associations such as the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education will be maintained by the schools for several reasons, including:

  1. Benefits to staff and Board of Education from professional meetings, conferences, clinics and conventions
  2. Access to the communication media of such associations, such as newsletters, periodicals and advisory services.
  3. Representation in legislative and other actions affecting education generally and our school district in particular.

The Superintendent of Schools shall budget funds for memberships approved by the Board and for the costs of appropriate participation by Board members, administration and staff in the activities of such associations.

End of 1000 series.