1000 Community Relations
- 1000 Role of the Board of Education
- 1101(a) Parental Involvement
- 1112 News Media Relations
- 1114 District Sponsored Social Media
- 1120 Public Participation at Board of Education Meetings
- 1210 Parent Teacher Organizations
- 1220 Advisory Committees
- 1250 School Visitors
- 1311 Staff
- 1312 Complaints Policy
- 1330 Community Use of School Facilities Policy
- 1330.2 School Parking Lot Policy
- 1331.1 Smoking in School Facilities
- 1340 Access to School Procedures and Materials
- 1411 (a) Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies
- 1416 Fiscal Authority
- 1500 Relations Between Area, State, Regional and National Associations and the Schools
- 1700 Possession of Firearms
Roles of the Board of Education
Policy # 1000
Adopted: New Policy 01/11/1996
Supersedes / Amends:
The board of education recognizes that the community, defined broadly as the state and specifically as the area served by the school system, 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 role of the board of education in community relations is: 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 of the benefit of the school system.
Policy # 1101 (a)
Supersedes Amends: 03/10/98
Considerable experience and related evidence indicates that meaningful involvement of parents, guardians, and other care-givers in the schooling of children improves the quality of education significantly. The Board of Education believes that closer connections of parents and others responsible for the home care of the children with our schools can result in enhanced academic performance, improved behavior, and reduced absenteeism.
Therefore, all parents, guardians, and care-givers of students enrolled in our school district are encouraged to take an active role in the education of their children.
Further, the Board of Education believes that the professional staff must take whatever steps are necessary to facilitate a broad variety of opportunities for parents to connect frequently with the schools in which their children are enrolled, and with the overall system. These steps should include the following:
- Parenting skills should be promoted and supported.
- Communication between home and school should be regular, two-way and meaningful.
- Parents should plan an integral role in assisting student learning.
- Parents should be welcome in every school and their support and assistance sought.
- Parent input should be sought regarding decisions that affect children and families.
- Community resources should be made available to strengthen school programs, family practices, and student learning.
Pursuant to the requirements of federal law, schools receiving Title I funds must:
- hold at least one annual meeting for Title I parents
- offer a flexible number of meetings
- involve parents in an ongoing manner in the planning, review and improvement of Title I programs
- provide Title I parents with information about the programs, a description and explanation of the curriculum, forms of academic assessment and, if requested, opportunities for regular meetings to discuss the education of their children
- develop a school-parent compact that outlines the responsibilities of each party for improved student academic achievement
The Superintendent will report annually to the Board of Education on parent involvement activities.
Legal References: Connecticut General Statues
10-221 Boards of Education to prescribe rules, policies and procedures (as amended by PA 97-290)
No Child Left Behind Act
News Media Relations
Policy # 1112
The board of education believes that one of its important responsibilities is to keep the public informed about operations and activities of the schools. Therefore, the board of education invites and welcomes the active participation of the media such as the public press, radio and TV.
Information concerning any phase of the schools’ operation may be made available by the superintendent to the press.
The superintendent will plan for periodic releases to the press and other community media which will provide information to the community concerning its schools and various phases of the school program.
District Sponsored Social Media
Adopted: New Policy 04/10/2012
The Board of Education (Board) recognizes the value of technology such as social media platforms in promoting community involvement and collaboration. The purpose of any official District social media platform shall be to further the District’s vision and mission, support student learning and staff professional development, and enhance communication with students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members.
The Superintendent or designee shall develop content guidelines and protocols for official District social media platforms to ensure the appropriate and responsible use of these resources and compliance with law, Board policy, and regulation.
Guidelines for Content
Official District social media platforms shall be used only for their stated purposes and in a manner consistent with this policy and administrative regulation. By creating these official sites whether or not allowing for public comment, the Board does not intend to create a limited public forum or otherwise guarantee an individual’s right to free speech.
The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that the limited purpose of the official District social media platforms is clearly communicated to users. If the site allows public comment, then each site shall contain a statement that specifies the site’s purposes along with a statement that users are expected to use the site only for those purposes. Each site shall also contain a statement that users are personally responsible for the content of their posts.
Official District social media platforms may not contain content that is obscene, libelous, or so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, violation of student rules, or substantial disruption of the school’s orderly operation.
Staff or students who post prohibited content shall be subject to discipline in accordance with District policies and administrative regulations.
Use of official District social media platforms should be aware of the public nature and accessibility of social media and that information posted may be considered a public record subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The Board expects users to conduct themselves in a respectful, courteous, and professional manner.
The superintendent or designee shall ensure that the privacy rights of students, parents/guardians, staff, Board members, and other individuals are protected on official District social media platforms.
Board policy pertaining to the posting of student photographs and the privacy of telephone numbers, home addresses, and email addresses, as specified in other applicable Board policies shall also apply to official District social media platforms.
Social media and networking sites and other online platforms shall not be used by District employees to transmit confidential information about students, employees, or District operations.
(cf. 1100 – Communications with the Public)
(cf. 1110.1 – Parent Involvement)
(cf. 1112 – News Media Relationships)
(cf. 4118.5/4218.5 – Staff Acceptable Computer Use)
(cf. 4118.51/4218.51 – Social Networking)
(cf. 5114 – Suspension/Expulsion; Due Process)
(cf. 5125 – Student Records)
(cf. 5131 – Conduct)
(cf. 5131.911 – Bullying)
(cf. 5131.913 – Cyberbullying)
(cf. 5142.2 – Freedom of Expression)
(cf. 5144 – Discipline)
(cf. 6141.321 – Acceptable Computer Use)
(cf. 6141.323 – Filtering Access to Electronic Networks)
(cf. 6141.324 – Posting of Student Work/Photographs)
(cf. 6141.326 – Online Social Networking)
(cf. 6145.5 – Student Organization and Equal Access)
(cf. 9327 – Electronic Mail Communications)
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes
1-19(b)(11) Access to public records. Exempt records.
10-15b Access of parent or guardians to student’s records.
10-209 Records not to be public.
11-8a Retention, destruction and transfer of documents.
11-8b Transfer or disposal of public records. State Library Board to adopt regulations.
46b-56(e) Access to Records of Minors.
Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act, as amended, added by section 513 of PL 93-568, codified at 20 U.S.C. 1232g.).
Dept. of Education. 34 CFR. Part 99 (May 9, 1980 45 FR 30802) regs. Implementing FERPA enacted as part of 438 of General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g)-parent and student privacy and other rights with respect to educational records, as amended 11/21/96.
Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000 (HR 4577, P.L. 106-554)
Communications Act of 1934, as amended (47 U.S.C. 254[h],[l])
Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 6801 et seq., Part F)
Public Law 94-553, The Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 101 et. seq.
Ren v ACLU. 521 U.S. 844 (1997)
Ginsberg v New York, 390 U.S. 629, at 642, n. 10 (1968)
Board of Education v Pico, 457 U.S. 868 (1988)
Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 620, 267 (1988)
Public Participation at Board of Education Meetings
Policy # 1120
It is the policy of the board of education to welcome, support, and encourage the public’s attendance and participation at board of education meetings.
Notice of regularly scheduled meetings will be posted in local newspapers. Agendas will be made available to the press and public prior to each meeting. All meeting agendas will be posted in the Town Clerk’s office no less than 24 hours before each meeting.
Meeting minutes at board of education meetings will be posted and available to the public within 48 hours of their approval by the board of education.
Recognizing that some segments of the public may not be able to attend meetings, the board of education will, whenever possible, broadcast its meetings over local public access television.
Public comment at meetings will be limited to those sections of the agenda asking for public comment. The board will make an effort to schedule public comment at the beginning of its meetings. It is requested that any comment be limited to three minutes and that it be relevant to an agenda item or as a request for consideration by the board as new business. On occasion, when many people desire to speak, the board chairperson may ask those wanting to speak to give their name, address, telephone number, and topic on a “sign-up sheet”.
Parent Teacher Organizations
Policy # 1210
It is the policy of the board of education to encourage the active participation of parents, teachers, and school administrators in Parent-Teacher Organizations.
The board of education will appoint a representative from the board to attend and work with each school's PTO and to serve as an effective communication link between the board, parents, and teachers. Furthermore, the board will support PTO efforts whenever possible.
In the belief that some issues and decisions need greater involvement and study, the board of education may from time to time appoint ad hoc advisory committees to assist it in its deliberations. The sole purpose of such committees is to assist the board in its deliberations by studying issues, gathering information, and preparing recommendations. Such advisory committees will be given a specific charge and date when the committee is to report its findings and disband. Advisory committees will have access to the clerical and administrative resources of the superintendent's office.
Members will be appointed by a majority vote of the board of education. Should vacancies occur during the life of the advisory committee, the board of education shall appoint a replacement by majority vote if it deems it necessary.
Supersedes / Amends: Public Access to Building when School is in session - adopted 01/11/1996
The Board of Education encourages parents, the media, and other interested individuals to visit the schools. The Board believes that there is no better way for the public to learn what the schools are actually doing.
To ensure that schools are not disrupted and that no unauthorized persons enter buildings or grounds with wrongful intent, all visitors to School District facilities and sites shall report to the administrative office of that site upon their arrival. Each school shall post a sign to this effect in a clearly visible location near entrances to the building. Visitors will receive authorization from the principal or designee before visiting elsewhere in the building. Visitations shall be scheduled in advance, if at all possible.
If, in the judgment of the school principal or designee, the visitor's presence may have a disruptive effect on the educational program, the principal or designee shall have the authority to deny the visitor access to the school or the school site, or the access of the visitor may be restricted in time or place. Generally speaking, visitations shall be limited to one hour in length. Visitors shall respect all students' rights to privacy.
The school personnel's first responsibility is to students, and so school personnel may be unable to converse at any length with visitors. If a conference is desired, arrangements will be made for an appointment at another time.
When parents have been invited to a classroom or assembly program, this provision will not apply.
Policy # 1311
Supersedes / Amends: Community Relations Pg.16
The board of education encourages staff members to become active participants in the activities of the communities in which they live and work. This involvement provides a community with better understanding of educational programs and gains support of better education for every student. Such activity, however, is not required for initial or continued employment or advancement.
Policy # 1312
Supersedes / Amends: #1312 New Policy 01/11/1996
Complaints about the schools or school personnel must be filed and resolved at the lowest possible organizational level. All complaints shall be processed in the following sequence:
- Instructional Level (example: classroom teacher);
- Building administrator or appropriate supervisor;
- Superintendent of Schools;
- Board of Education.
- Municipal Petition.
At each level the following should occur:
- Level One
The complainant should meet with the instructor concerned in an attempt to resolve the issue in question. In most cases, the instructor should document the issue in writing to his/her building administrator.
2. Level Two
If resolution is not achieved at Level One, the complainant may refer the issue to the building principal or appropriate supervisor.
3. Level Three
If resolution is not achieved at Level Two, the complainant may refer the issue to the superintendent of schools.
4. Level Four
If resolution is not achieved at Level Three, the complainant may request, in writing, that the board of education review the matter. Upon receipt of such request, the board of education will determine whether or not the matter had been handled appropriately at prior levels and will meet with the complainant only if the board deems such meeting is necessary to complete its review.
Copies of written complaints filed at the building administrator level or higher should be forwarded to the superintendent.
Role of the Board
In light of the role of the board as final arbiter of complaints involving the schools, board members should refrain from discussing complaints involving personnel except within the context of duly noticed school board meetings. Board members shall advise complainants to process their complaints in accordance with this policy. In the event a complaint is brought directly to the board, the board shall refer it to the appropriate organizational level consistent with this policy.
Only when all other steps have been exhausted shall the board of education entertain a complaint against an employee of the school district. Such complaints will generally be resolved by the school administration. In the event a complaint involving an employee is made at a meeting of the board of education, board member shall listen but refrain from commenting in deference to the legal rights of the employee involved. The board of education shall then refer the complaint to the appropriate organizational level as provided in this policy.
Sec. 10-238. Petition for hearing by board of education. The board of education of any municipality, upon written petition signed by one per cent of the electors of such municipality or fifty such electors, whichever is greater, the signatures thereon to be verified by the clerk of the municipality, shall hold a public hearing on any question specified in such petition. Such hearing shall be held at a time and place to be designated by such board, not later than three weeks after receipt by the board of such petition.
Supplemental FOI language: “While the statute requires that a hearing must be held, there is no requirement that the board members answer any questions or take action on any matters raised by the petition”.
Community Use of School Facilities
Policy # 1330
Supersedes / Amends: 09/13/2011
- Since school buildings and grounds (“School Facilities”) are public property, it is the policy of the Board of Education to make them available for public use in the benefit of the community, to the extent that such public use does not interfere with or compromise their educational purpose and function.
- It is not the policy of the Board of Education to profit from such public use of School Facilities, but neither is it the policy of the Board of Education that it should incur expense or liability as a result of such usage, now or in the future.
- Persons or groups interested in using School Facilities should make application to the relevant school principal, who, in conjunction with the Superintendent of Schools, shall make a binding non-appealable determination of such request.
- Permission to use School Facilities shall be made subject to the Board of Education being held harmless by the users directly, or by the Town at the Town’s discretion, from all costs, claims and liabilities whatsoever arising out of such use, including but not limited to costs, claims and liabilities arising out of damage, loss, injury, litigation, and the costs of required supervisory or custodial resources.
- Application forms for the use of school facilities, obtained from the building Principal, must be completed and presented to the building Principal involved along with evidence of required insurance at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of use. Any fees assessed must be paid one week in advance of the scheduled activity. Any charges for unanticipated custodial fees or for damages shall be paid within 10 days of receipt of a bill for such charges.
- The use of school facilities for school purposes, meetings of students, parent-teacher organizations, and other organizations affiliated with the schools have precedence over all others as determined by the building Principal.
- The following users shall not be charged a rental fee or custodial fee during the hours of 3 PM to 10 PM on regularly scheduled school days.
a. School affairs sanctioned by the Board of Education
b. PTO and other school related agencies
c. Municipal agencies, boards and commissions of the Town
d. St. Anthony School sponsored events or activities.
e. The Gilbert School sponsored events or activities
f. Activities sponsored by the Winchester Town Recreation Board
At the discretion of the Superintendent, use of school facilities by no-profit organizations or by profit making entities may be allowed, provided that the entity is charged the relevant fee, pays for custodial services if needed, provides appropriate supervision and evidence of required insurance. For good cause shown, the Superintendent, in his or her discretion may waive fees otherwise required hereunder.
Where additional staffing, preparation or significant extra cleaning is required, or when use extends beyond 10 PM, custodial fees shall be charged to all users at rates established by the Board of Education unless the school district would be liable for such fee in which case the fee shall be waived.
All users shall pay both the rental fee and custodial fee for use of school facilities on non-school days unless the school district would be liable for such fees in which case the fees shall be waived.
8. All activities must be under competent adult supervision approved by the principal of the building involved. Unless specifically waived by the principal, an assigned school employee will be present in the facility at all times during use. The group using the facilities will be responsible for any damage to the building or equipment or for any liability claims arising during the time the group is using the facilities.
9. Groups receiving permission are restricted to the dates and hours approved and to the building area and facilities specified unless requested changes are approved in writing by the principal.
10. Groups receiving permission are responsible for the observance of local and state fire and safety regulations at all times.
11. Liability insurance for injuries or damage is required and must be documented except where this coverage is already provided by the Board of Education.
12. The following activities are prohibited:
a. Smoking anywhere in school buildings.
b. Use of alcoholic beverages
c. Eating and drinking (except in cafeteria area).
13. The facility use fee schedule will be reviewed annually by the Board of Education and updated if needed.
14. In situations where there is no cost factor to the District, or in situations where a mutual exchange of facilities is possible between the school district and the organization, fees may be modified or eliminated by the Superintendent. In situations where extended use is required, rates may be set at a contract price by the Superintendent.
15. Exceptions to any of the items above must be approved by the superintendent of schools.
16. The Board of Education reserves the right to revoke permissions for use previously granted
RULES GOVERNING USE OF SPECIAL AREAS
1. Use of Gymnasium for Athletics
a. Rubber soled shoes of a type that will not mark the floor will be used by all participants.
b. Heat, ventilation, lights and adjustment of movable athletic equipment athletic equipment are to be regulated only by School employees.
c. Locker rooms, showers and dressing rooms must be left in order subject to the satisfaction of the school employee. No towels will be furnished.
d. Athletic equipment belonging to the school or to school organizations may not be removed from the gymnasium without permission of the school authorities.
e. No eating or drinking is allowed in the gymnasium other than water used by participating athletes.
f. Baseball, soccer and field hockey may not be played in the gymnasium.
2. USE OF CLASSROOMS, LIBRARY, OR CAFETERIA
a. Furniture may be moved/replaced only by the custodian or under his direction.
b. Use of kitchen facilities is permitted only by special arrangement with
school administration and the cafeteria manager.
c. Use of equipment must be specified at the time of application.
School Parking Lot Policy
Policy # 1330.2
Supersedes / Amends: 1330.1
The board of education will not be responsible for vehicles or contents left in the parking lots of the schools.
From November 1st through March 30th, no parking in school parking lots (unless on authorized business or with a signed Release of Liability Form on file with the Board of Education) will be allowed during the period 10:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. in order to facilitate plowing.
Unauthorized parked vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
Smoking in School Facilities
Policy # 1331.1
Supersedes / Amends: 1331
The following policy shall apply to all facilities and properties operated and/or maintained by the board of education. As used here, “smoke” or “smoking” shall mean the lighting or carrying of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or similar device.
The board of education prohibits smoking at any time in or on any school properties owned, leased, or used by the board of education. This applies to all persons adult or otherwise.
Legal References: Connecticut General Statutes
21a-242 Schedules of controlled substances
19a-342 Smoking prohibited in certain places
Public Act 87-201 An Act Prohibiting Smoking Anywhere in
Schools During School Hours
Access to School Procedures and Materials
Policy # 1340
Adopted: New Policy 01/11/1996
Ideas, operating procedures, records, and publications developed in or for the school district may be made available to outside non-profit organizations for use or distribution when such use or distribution will reflect favorably upon the school district and the community. No outside organizations shall be granted exclusive access to or control over the material made available to it.
Disclosure of records containing privileged or confidential information about staff or students will be restricted to the extent permitted by law in the interests of the person or persons involved.
A reasonable charge may be made for coping available records.
Legal References: Connecticut General Statutes
1-15 Applications for copies of public records. Certified Copies. Fees.
1-19 Access to public records. Exempt Records.
1-19a Access to computer-stored records.
1-211 Denial of access to public records or meetings. Notice. Appeals.
Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies
Supersedes / Amends: 1411
The Board of Education is 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 Board of Education supports the best possible relationship with those agencies consistent with the School's responsibilities to protect legal rights of staff and students.
This policy is intended to balance the needs of school and police officials and to provide an optimal environment for education while ensuring that the public safety needs of the schools 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, they may question students at school when the following procedures are observed:
Students will be questioned as confidentially and inconspicuously as possible. An attempt will be made to notify the student's parents so that they may be present during the questioning. The Principal, or his/her designee, will be present. 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 School when the procedures outlined in 1-3 above are observed. Police should 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 the 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 Principal agrees to assist in the arrest of a student, the Superintendent and the parent should be notified. The student should be escorted from class by school personnel and remain in a secured office until the police arrive. In the absence of a parent the school will make an effort to have a member of the staff accompany the child to the police station and remain with the child until the parent or guardian arrives or until the child is officially remanded into custody. The arrested student will be removed from the school in a way that minimizes embarrassment to the student and any disruption of the school routine.
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 should be secured in a private area and the police should be contacted to conduct the search. The Superintendent and the parent should be notified. The Principal or designee should remain with the child during the search process.
Designation of Authority
The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures regarding this policy, including a process to ensure that appropriate staff has been informed, to safeguard student and parental rights, 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
The board of education shall work with appropriate fiscal authorities throughout the budgeting process to develop a clearer understanding of school and student needs to improve education in the community.
The board of education will meet and confer with the fiscal authority prior to collective bargaining, and further, it will cooperate with the fiscal authority in developing a sound fiscal base for school operation.
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes
10-153d Meeting between board of education and fiscal authority required. Duty to negotiate.
Relations Between Area, State, Regional and National Associations and the Schools
Supersedes / Amends: Community Relations pg 1 #1, 5, 6
The board of education will cooperate with national, state, and county organizations with similar objective and mutual concerns. This includes but is not limited to the St. Anthony School, and The W. H. Gilbert School. For the good of the children of Winchester, it is advisable that all of the local schools work in harmony with each other.
Membership in recognized associations such as the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and other similar organizations will be maintained by the schools for several reasons, including
- Benefits to staff and board of education for professional meetings, conferences, clinics, and conventions.
- Access to the communication media of such associations, such as newsletters, periodicals, and advisory services.
- Representation in legislative and other actions affecting education generally, and our school district in particular.
Possession of Firearms
Otherwise Lawful Possession of Firearms on School Property
Persons other than law enforcement officers are prohibited by the Board of Education from possessing firearms for any reasons, whether otherwise lawful or not, in or on the real property comprising the school district or at a school- sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.
(cf. - SuspensionlExpulsionlExc1usionlRemoval)
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes
Permit for sale at retail of pistol or revolver. Permit to carry a pistol or revolver. Confidentiality of name and address of permit holder.(as amended by P A 98-129)
Sale, delivery or transfer of pistol and revolvers. Documentation
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