Code of Conduct

PURPOSE
Suffolk Public School believes in a fair and equitable approach to student discipline which is focused on promoting positive behaviors.
We are committed to ensuring that our schools are safe, orderly, and supportive environments in which teaching and learning takes place each day.
We encourage appropriate behaviors by teaching, guiding, directing, and providing opportunities for new learning to occur. We create opportunities for students to practice and succeed in making responsible and effective choices in order to reach their academic potential and contribute to the school community.
STUDENT RIGHTS
Each student is guaranteed all the rights and freedoms as are applicable and provided by the Constitution and general laws of the United States. Students may express their opinions so long as they do not interfere with the safe operation of the school and are not conflicting with the rights of others.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES
Students have a role in maintaining an environment of mutual respect and dignity while in school. This role supports a safe learning environment in the following ways:
  • Demonstrate pride in self and school by arriving on time, dressing appropriately and being prepared
    to focus on your studies.
  • Be respectful and courteous to fellow students, parents/guardians, and school staff.
  • Seek the most peaceful means of resolving conflict and obtain the assistance of a school staff members when unable to resolve conflicts.
  • Follow school rules and policies, and contribute to a positive school climate by behaving appropriately, even when not specifically asked to do so.
  • Recognize how your conduct affects other students and school staff and make every reasonable effort to restore relationships or correct any harm caused to others in the school-community.
  • Seek access to and complete make-up work when absent from schools for any reason.
PARENT/GUARDIAN AND COMMUNITY RESPONSIBILITIES
Parents/guardians and community members play an important role in establishing a positive school climate. These individuals can help students and staff promote a safe and supportive school environment in the following ways:
  1.  Read and be familiar with school policies, regulations, and rules.
  2.  Talk with your child about appropriate conduct at school.
  3.   Be respectful and courteous to other students, fellow parents/guardians, and school staff.
  4.   Ensure that your child attends school regularly.
  5.  Be involved in conferences and meetings that pertain to your child.
  6.  Help your child access supportive groups or programs designed to improve his/her conduct, such as counseling, after- school programs, and mental health services available in the school and community.
  7.  Promptly share any concerns with school officials and work with them to address any issues your child may be  experiencing.
ABSENCES AND TARDINESS
Truancy often leads to academic failure, dropping out of school, crime in the community, and many other
problems. For those reasons, Virginia law requires that school-age children attend school and it requires that parents make sure their children attend school. The law also requires that the school file legal proceedings against every parent and child who fails to comply with Virginia’s compulsory attendance laws. In order to assist you in your parental and legal duties, and in order for us to comply with the laws, we are initiating a program and protocol to address truancy.
A phone call to parents for any absence will be sent via the automated calling system. Written notes explaining an absence must be received within five (5) days of an absence. Every absence is considered unexcused until a written explanation for the absence is received in writing. The student suffering an infectious or contagious disease, a serious illness, the severe illness of an immediate family member, the student’s exposure to a contagious disease, a death in the immediate family, fire or other serious damage to the home that requires the family to move and similar circumstances constitute excused absences.
If a student accumulates five (5) unexcused absences, you will be contacted and a parent and the student must attend an “in person” conference with the school’s Attendance Review Team to discuss the particular causes or three (3) issues surrounding your child’s absences. The conference will ordinarily include a teacher, the assistant principal, the school’s social worker, and a school resource officer. At the conference, with your input, we will formulate a truancy plan to enable and facilitate attendance.
Should these efforts fail and your child misses a total of seven (7) unexcused days, more serious steps will be taken:  the child and you will either be referred to a Truancy Review Team and/or the school division will file legal proceedings against the child and/or you in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The legal
proceedings may include a criminal warrant against the parent(s) and/or a “child in need of supervision”
petition. It will remain our policy that any student who has more than 20 unexcused absences during a
school year must repeat the year unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
Our goal is to provide all students with a quality education that enables them to compete and succeed in our increasingly competitive and challenging world.
ATTENDANCE WAIVERS
An Attendance Review Team, appointed by the principal, shall be established in each school. This committee will be responsible for reviewing the cases of students who have attendance problems and provide assistance for attendance improvement prior to petitioning the court to intervene. Should students continue to miss school, the Attendance Review Committee will also review the cases of students who are due to receive a failing grade for the year as a result of exceeding the maximum number of absences.
The Attendance Review Committee may recommend to the Superintendent or his/her designee a waiver of this policy if such a waiver is warranted by the circumstances. The Superintendent or his/her designee may accept or reject the recommendation, ask for more information, and/or make a recommendation to the Board’s Pupil Personnel Committee or to the SPS School Board.
Only by action of the Board can an exception be made. In cases where no waiver of the policy is granted, the student and his/her parents should be notified of the Board’s action and of their right to appeal.
Waiver/Non-Waiver: If absences are to be considered for a waiver, documentation for the absences must be submitted to the principal on the day the student returns to school or within a period not to exceed five (5) school days immediately thereafter. Any deviation from the criteria and guidelines must be documented by a written rationale.
GUIDELINES FOR STUDENT DRESS POLICY
Section 9-11.8 Statement of School Board Policy:
Student attire impacts the teaching and learning environment. It can either promote a more effective educational environment or it can disrupt the educational climate and process. In order to ensure that our students’ education is conducted in an environment where safety risks, disruptions, and distractions are minimized, all students enrolled in Suffolk Public Schools shall adhere to dress regulation promulgated by the School Superintendent. (Adopted March 8, 2012; Ordinance Number 11/12-15; Effective Date: July 1, 2012) Legal Authority ─ Virginia Code §22-1.78 (1950), as amended.
REGULATION
Section 6-9.2. An appropriate environment for learning required; appropriate dress required; prohibited
clothing.
A.   One of the fundamental purposes of school is to provide an appropriate environment for learning. A
student’s dress and appearance shall not be such that it causes disruption, distracts others from the
educational process, or poses a health or safety concerns. Regulations for student dress are designed to
promote a standard of appearance that complements the learning environment.
B.   All students are required to wear dress appropriate to the occasion and to avoid wearing attire that can
have an adverse impact on the teaching and learning environment. In order to ensure that the education
of students enrolled in Suffolk Public Schools is conducted in an environment where safety risks,
disruptions and distractions are minimized, all students will adhere to the following minimal standards
of dress.

C.
   The following clothing is expressly prohibited and shall not be worn by students enrolled in any Suffolk
Public School while in the classroom or participating in school-sponsored activities:
1.  Sexually suggestive or revealing attire, which shall include any article of clothing that does not cover
the midriff, back, or shoulders, reveals cleavage or exposes undergarments
2.  Clothes having rips or tears above the knees
3.  Sagging pants and shorts not securely fastened around the waist
4.  Skirts, dresses, and shorts that rise above the fingertips when the arms are stretched downward
5.  Any article of clothing that advertises alcohol, or an illegal substance, depicts lewd graphics, displays
offensive or obscene language, promotes violence or is gang-related
6.  Clothing with slogans or words across the buttocks
7.  Head covering unless worn for religious or medical reasons
8.  Flip flops, open-toed shoes, slippers, and roller shoes
9.  Any accessory that advertises alcohol, or an illegal substance, depicts lewd graphics, displays
offensive or obscene language, promotes violence or is gang-related
10.  Sunglasses, wallet chains, and necklaces that hang below the sternum
11.  Sleepwear
12.  Any clothing is worn by a student that causes a disruption and/or distracts others from the educational process or poses a health or safety concern
Issued Date: March 18, 2012; Effective Date: July 1, 2012; Legal Authority – School Board Policy §9-11.8.
POSITIVE STUDENT BEHAVIOR
Each school is expected to promote a positive school climate and culture that provides students with a supportive environment conducive to academic and social growth. Schools will take a pro-active approach to nurture socially acceptable behavior to help them become successful. Providing students with multiple opportunities for pro-social activities and positive adult relationships will mitigate negative behavior and consequences.
School personnel is responsible for developing and using strategies that promote learning and positive behaviors. They are also responsible for addressing behaviors that disrupt the learning environment. Strategies for changing inappropriate behaviors can include conferencing, counseling, behavior checklists, behavior modeling, reward
systems, restoring relationships, and behavior intervention plans. The use of such strategies will provide students with a clear sense of purpose and optimize academic and social-emotional growth for all students.
Also available online @ https://www.spsk12.net/files/2017/09/SPS-2017-18-Student-Code-of-Conduct.pdf
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