Hillsborough County Public Schools seeks to provide a safe and equitable learning opportunity for each of its students, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or social and family background. Each school must be free from disruption that would interfere with the teachers’ right to teach and the students’ right to learn. Hillsborough County Public Schools recognizes that students have certain constitutional rights to which they are entitled, which shall not be limited, except by law. Therefore, Hillsborough County Public Schools has established the following Code of Student Conduct that students must follow, and schools must enforce uniformly. In addition, all schools in the district shall develop comprehensive discipline policies in accordance with the individual plans of School Advisory Councils. Hillsborough County Public Schools will not tolerate behavior that disrupts or interferes with the education of other students. We offer assistance to parents and guardians in the form of guidance services, peer mediation/conflict resolution, and other school and community resources in order to ensure a safe and hospitable environment.
Students are responsible for:
understanding and adhering to this Code of Student Conduct and the individual discipline plans of each school.
Parents are responsible for:
helping students understand and abide by these policies and for recognizing that unacceptable behavior shall be subject to disciplinary action.
School personnel are responsible for:
being aware of the specifics of the code and applying them appropriately. Schools are responsible for conveying information regarding individual school policies and procedures to students and parents.
acquiring approval from the Area Superintendent for suspensions above 5 days up to 10 days.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to all students; however, students with disabilities are afforded protections not available to nondisabled students. Students with disabilities include students who are eligible for an individual educational plan (IEP) per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and students who are 504-eligible per Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The protections for students with disabilities address disciplinary actions which may and may not be imposed, and other actions which may be required in addressing the needs of students with disabilities, relative to behavior and/or discipline. For more information regarding discipline procedures for students with IEPs or who are 504 eligible, contact the Assistant
Director for Compliance and Staffing, at (813) 273-7060.
It is the policy of Hillsborough County Public Schools that all of its students and school employees have an educational and workplace setting that is safe, secure, and free from harassment and bullying of any kind. The district will not tolerate bullying or harassment of any type. Conduct that constitutes bullying or harassment, as defined herein, is prohibited.
Harassment is when a person continually teases, annoys, threatens or insults another erson in either a verbal, physical or written manner. Sexual harassment is when a person bothers another person using sexual words, pictures, gestures, or conduct that the other person would find offensive. Sexual harassment can also occur when a person is forced by his or her location or situation to see or overhear sexual comments, gestures, or conduct that he or she finds offensive.
physically attend a public school within their attendance area;
attend a Technical or Special Education Center when they qualify and are accepted for enrollment;
participate in one of the other choice options – Magnet, School Choice, Charter, etc.;
receive information concerning attendance policies at their school to include excused and unexcused absences and tardies; make up any work missed because of excused absences;
request a transfer to another school outside their attendance areas when they experience severe hardships. All appeals must be submitted to the Office of Student Planning and Placement;
homebound instruction if not attending school due to extended illness (longer than 30 days).
Students have the responsibility to:
attend classes daily and on time unless circumstances beyond their control prohibit;
request make-up work from their teachers after the absences have been adequately explained;
attend school until the age of 16. Students ages 16-18 who desire to leave school prior to graduation may do so only upon completion and filing with their school an “Intent to Terminate Enrollment” form and an exit interview;
abide by School Board attendance policies;
Parents have the responsibility to:
notify school personnel about their child’s absence from school on the day of the absence;
notify the school of any change of address, phone numbers, and emergency contact numbers;
make application to the Exceptional Student Education office if a student is eligible for homebound instruction;
notify school personnel if the family is moving out of town or out of the school’s attendance boundary;
be aware of Student Academic Calendar and coordinate trips, vacations, and personal business to support attendance on school days.
ATTENDANCE ALERT TO PARENTS:
When a student accumulates five absences during a grading period, notification shall be sent to the parent or guardian unless school personnel have informed the parents/guardians previously. When a student accumulates ten unexcused absences (not including suspensions) within a 90 calendar day period, a letter shall be sent to the parent or guardian. Excerpt from Florida Statute 1003 .26 (1)(b)(c)(e) “The principal shall … a meeting with the parent must be scheduled to identify potential remedies, and the principal shall notify the district school superintendent and the school district contact for home education programs that the referred student is exhibiting a pattern of non- attendance.” If an initial meeting does not resolve the problem, the child study team will implement the following:
frequent attempts at communication between the teacher and family;
evaluation for alternative education programs;
The child study team may, but is not required to, implement other interventions, including referral to other agencies for family services or recommendation for filing a truancy report.
If the parent refuses to participate in the remedial strategies because he or she believes that those strategies are unnecessary or inappropriate, the parent may appeal to the district board. The School Board may provide a hearing officer, and the hearing officer shall make a recommendation for final action to the district School Board. If the district School Board’s final determination is that the strategies of the child study team are appropriate, and the parent still refuses to participate or cooperate, the district Superintendent may seek criminal prosecution for non-compliance with compulsory school attendance.
Students who display a pattern of non-attendance may be required to present medical evidence.
Students who are absent from class but not listed on the absentee bulletin shall be reported by the teacher to the appropriate office.
In the preparation of cases for prosecution under the Compulsory School Attendance Act: Florida Statute Section 1003, the school system is authorized to release pertinent school data in interpretative form to the State Attorney’s Office, to the Office of Youth Services, and to the Circuit Court, Juvenile Division, without parent consent.
REPORTING YOUR CHILD’S ABSENCE
It is the responsibility of the student’s parent or guardian to explain a student’s absence to the designated office in person or by telephone. Parents are expected to notify the school the day notify the school the day of the absence. Schools may require additional documentation upon a student’s return.
Parents must provide school personnel with accurate telephone contact numbers (home, cell, and work for parents or legal guardians) and ensure the number(s) are correct if there is a change during the school year. This information must be given on the Emergency Contact Card provided by the school at the beginning of the school year and updated as changes occur.
The school shall make an effort to contact the parent or guardian on the day of each absence. Records of telephone calls or parent contacts shall be retained by the school for future references.
Students in attendance for “meaningful instruction” during any part of the school day are counted present for the day. Additionally, attendance for students in grades 6-12 shall be recorded each period. To be considered present in any period, a student must be present for at least one-half of that period.
an illness of the student or a medical or dental appointment; six (6) or more absences within a nine-week grading period, may require a doctor’s statement by school officials;
an accident resulting in injury to the student;
a death in the student’s immediate family;
an observance of an established religious holiday. Documentation of the religious affiliation of the student may be required by school officials. If the religious holiday observance cannot be identified as a traditionally well-known day, school officials should require a note from the parent and a letter from the leader of the faith organization stating that the day, if celebrated, would result in an absence. If the letters are submitted, the absence should be excused and also recognized as an established religious holiday that does not impact any attendance incentives;
pre-planned absence for a personal reason that is acceptable to the principal or designee. A parent must make the request in writing to the principal or designee at least three (3) days prior to the date of the absence. The parent will be notified of the decision. Vacations, other than on non-student days, must be pre-approved.
a subpoena by a law enforcement agency or a required court appearance;
an emergency for a reason acceptable to the principal/designee for an emergency such as:
severe weather conditions;
a major personal or family problem;
fire, flood, or other major damage to the home;
an accident on the way to school; or
a breakdown of the school bus (failure to pick up the student).
under certain conditions, students may apply to be released for a maximum of one hour per day for religious instruction at an
off-campus site. For further information, the parent should contact the principal.
college visits by senior students only if a visit is required for admission and is documented on the college letterhead.
Students attending school-sanctioned, off-campus activities and/or school business shall be counted present and will be permitted to make up work missed.
Examples of school business are:
an academic activity directly related to the instructional outcomes of one or more courses;
participation in a regularly scheduled, school-sponsored athletic event;
a summons to one of the school offices;
other approved activities such as Student Council, National Honor Society, PTSA, pep rallies, class meetings, club meetings, senior graduation activities or an event that is designated by the principal at which you represent your school and is approved by the Area Superintendent.
Elementary Students: A student who has been absent and whose absence is excused is permitted to make up the work missed after returning to school. Parents should contact the school and request make-up work at least 24 hours in advance.
Secondary Students (Grades 6-12): A student who has been absent and whose absence is EXCUSED is permitted to make up the work missed, provided that the student makes arrangements with teachers within three days of the student’s return to school. The student is responsible for making these arrangements. Make-up work must be submitted within the deadline(s) set by the teacher(s).
ADDITIONAL SECONDARY (6-12) ATTENDANCE INFORMATION
Students in grades 6-12 not in class at least one half of the class period shall be counted absent from that class. Students in grades 6-12 in attendance for any part of the day are counted present for the day, but shall be counted absent for any class missed.
UNEXCUSED ABSENCE SANCTIONS:
A student suspended out of school shall receive a grade of “zero” for tests and/or graded work missed.
A student who receives an unexcused absence may be allowed to make up tests and/or graded work missed during the absence at the discretion of the classroom teacher. Middle school students may receive and high school students must receive a 10% deduction from the grade of the make-up assignments. The student is responsible for making arrangements with the teacher within three days of his/her return to school. Make-up work must be submitted within the deadline(s) set by teacher(s).
Students found to be truant will be referred to Student Affairs.
FLORIDA DRIVER’S LICENSE LAW FOR STUDENTS
In 1997, the Florida Legislature began requiring schools to report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the names, dates of birth, sex, and Social Security numbers of minors who accumulate 15 unexcused absences in a period of 90 calendar days, which is a “rolling” number, thus making the student ineligible for driving privileges. The legislation further provides that those minors who fail to satisfy attendance requirements shall be ineligible for driving privileges. If the minor does not have a license, he or she shall not be issued one upon application. The process of reinstatement is available in the Office of the assistant principal for Student Affairs. Persons ages 14 until their 18th birthday cannot get or keep their driver’s privilege or license unless they are in school, have successfully completed school, earned their GED certificate, or have a hardship waiver. A student who has had their license suspended due to unexcused absences can apply for reinstatement once they have attended school for 30 consecutive days without an unexcused absence and have completed the necessary paperwork through the Office of Student Affairs. Reinstatement is delayed a day for each excused absence during that 30-day period. For more detailed information, see: F.S. 322.091 and 1003.27.
SENIOR DAY ACTIVITIES
Senior Day activities shall be limited to no more than one day each spring.
PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING TARDINESS TO SCHOOL
A student is tardy when he/she arrives after the beginning of the school day. A student who is tardy to school must be signed in at the Main Office or Office of Student Affairs. For safety reasons, elementary students must not be dropped off and must be accompanied by an adult. An excused tardy exists when reasons acceptable to the principal or his or her designed are given.
An excused sign-in includes:
medical or dental appointments (doctor’s statement may be required);
deaths or funerals;
emergency situations acceptable to the principal or designee;
required court appearance (subpoena required);
established religion observance;
breakdown of school bus.
Unexcused sign-ins include the following:
car problems (ex: flat tire, no gas, car won’t start, student getting a parking decal);
returned for forgotten items or student obtaining an absentee admit;
Excessive tardies may result in revocation of choice hardship.
TARDINESS TO CLASS
A student is tardy when the student arrives after the beginning of the school day or when he/she is not in his/her assigned seat or station when the tardy bell rings. A student’s tardiness shall be excused when the reason given is acceptable to the principal or designee. Examples of acceptable reasons for tardiness are the same as the examples of acceptable reasons for excused absences.
A student has the responsibility to be in class on time. A student's excessive tardiness shall lead to non-suspension consequences. A student may be suspended if they fail to complete the assigned non-suspension action.
Consequences for tardiness in a grading period include:
tardies will not be considered an incident until the student had accrued four or more tardies within a grading period.
Consequences may vary at individual schools according to School Board approved School Improvement Plan.
Any student arriving to school after the session has begun must report to the Main Office or Office of Student Affairs. An admit shall be issued indicating excused or unexcused tardy or absence. For the student to receive an excused sign-in, a parent or guardian must accompany the student to the Main Office and give an excusable reason. More than two sign-in’s in a grading period shall require medical or other documentation and/or a parent must be present in order to be considered excused.
SIGN-OUT PROCEDURES (PRE-APPROVED AND EMERGENCY)
Elementary Students: Once students arrive on campus, they may not leave without permission from an administrator or designee. In the event a student must leave early; the parent/guardian must make the request in person in the Main Office. A picture ID must be presented.
Secondary Students: Once students arrive on campus, they may not leave without permission from the assistant principal for Student Affairs. Students who must leave school during school hours must have their parent request this release by phone or in person to the Office of Student Affairs in order to obtain pre-approval. More than four sign-outs’ in a grading period shall require medical or other documentation and/or a parent must be present in order to be considered excused.
Excused sign-outs include the following:
medical or dental appointments (doctor’s statement may be required);
deaths or funerals;
emergency situations acceptable to the principal or designee;
court appearance (subpoena required);
personal reasons acceptable to the principal or designee;
During school hours a principal or designee shall permit a child to leave school only in custody of one of the following adults:
parent/guardian of the student with photo ID;
person listed on Emergency Contact Card, with photo ID;
a law enforcement officer;
an authorized worker from the Department of Children and Families.
At the end of the school day, students are released at a specified time and place and are expected to go directly home. Parents must notify the school office in writing regarding any change in the student’s normal transportation. Car riders should be picked up immediately in the school’s designated area. Students riding buses are expected to unload from the bus at their designated stop. Students must enter and exit at their assigned bus stop; requests for changes will not be honored.
Kindergarten students must be met at the afternoon bus stop by a designated adult or parent. If the adult or parent is not at the bus stop, the kindergarten student will be returned to the school after the elementary run is complete. Further information is available at the school.