Bethlehem A to Z heading

Code of Student Conduct

standards for student conduct

VII. Standards for Student Conduct
    A. Attendance
        1. Regular attendance and punctuality are expected of students from the first day of school. Children should understand that
        regular school attendance is essential to their educational development and well-being. With some exceptions, every child
        enrolled in school is expected to be present. State law specifies that certain legal absences are permitted, of which personal
        illness is most common.
        2. Absences, tardiness and early departures (ATED) from class or school are excused if they are due to personal illness, illness
        or death in the family, impassable roads or weather, religious observance, quarantine or medical appointments. All other ATEDs
        are considered unexcused absences.
        3. All ATEDs must be accounted for. It is the parent's responsibility to notify the school office on the day of the ATED and to
        provide a written excuse upon the student's return to school.
        4. Upon returning to school after an absence, each student must present to his/her homeroom teacher a written excuse that
        includes the date of excuse or dates of absence, reason for absence and parent signature. The school must have this
        information in order to comply with legal requirements. Please do not write one excuse to cover more than one child.
        5. Unexcused ATEDs will result in disciplinary action consistent with the code of conduct. Students may also be denied the
        privilege of participating in or attending extracurricular events. In addition, the building principal or designee will contact the
        student's parents and the student’s school counselor. The building principal shall remind parents of the attendance policy,
        explain the ramifications of unexcused ATEDs, stress the importance of class attendance and discuss appropriate intervention
        strategies to correct the situation.
        6. In grades 6-12, students may lose the opportunity to take further exams and quizzes in a course if the total number of
        excused and unexcused absences in that course exceeds 30, for a full-year course, and 15, for a semester course.
    B. Student Inquiry and Expression
        1. Students are entitled to express their personal opinions verbally or in writing or by symbolic speech. The expression of such
        opinions, however, shall not interfere with the freedom of others to express themselves. Libel, slander, the use of obscenity
        and comments that disparage an individual’s race, color, gender, religion, ethnic origin, economic status, sexual orientation or
        disability are prohibited.
        2. All persons are prohibited from distributing any printed or written materials on school property or in the immediate vicinity
        without the prior permission of the building principal. To obtain such permission, the person wishing to distribute the material
        shall provide a copy to the building principal with a written request that the building principal give permission for its
        distribution. This written request shall contain a brief statement of when, where and how the material is to be distributed.
        3. Student publications, whether or not they are officially recognized, should observe the normal rules of responsible
        journalism and must comply with Paragraph 1 above. Within these limits, students are free to report the news and to
        editorialize. Student publications should reflect the policy and judgment of the student editors. The district has no
        responsibility to assist in the production of student publications, other than those that have been officially recognized.
        Students may be held responsible for libelous or obscene materials contained in student publications. Student publications
        may be distributed only after permission is granted pursuant to Paragraph 2 above.
    C. Search and Seizure
        1. Student lockers and desks are purchased and maintained by the school district and remain the property of the school
        district. However, the school district is not responsible for books, clothing or valuables left in lockers or in desks. A student
        shall not place, keep or maintain in a school-owned locker or desk any article or material of a non-school nature that may
        cause or tend to cause the disruption of the lawful mission of the school.
        2. The following rules shall apply to the search of any student, student property or school property and the seizure of any
        illegal items found therein.
            a. School district officials have the right and responsibility to search student lockers and/or desks at any time.
            b. In addition, the Board authorizes the superintendent, building principals and their designees to conduct searches of
            students, their belongings and their automobiles that are parked on the school campus if the authorized school official has
            reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will result in evidence that the student violated the law or the code of
            c. Items that are prohibited on school property or are used to disrupt or interfere with the educational process may be
            removed from student lockers, desks and/or automobile or other personal property by school authorities.
            d. School district officials are committed to cooperating with police officials and other law enforcement authorities to
            maintain a safe school environment. Police officials, however, have limited authority to interview or search students in
            schools or at school functions or to use school facilities in connection with police work. Police officials may enter school
            property or a school function to question or search a student or to conduct a formal investigation involving students only if
            they have:
                1) A search or arrest warrant; or
                2) Probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school function; or
                3) Been invited by school district officials.
            e. The principal or designee will be present during any police questioning or search of a student on school property or at a
            school function. Students who are questioned by police officials on school property or at a school function will be afforded
            the same rights they have outside the school.

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