Student Rights and Responsibilities for Families and Student Code of Conduct
Please sign into ParentVUE to provide permissions and acknowledge receipt of the Student Rights and Responsibilities as part of the Online Verification process which enables LCPS to better manage, gather, track and maintain the most accurate student data effectively.
Once completed, you can view student schedules and bus information in ParentVUE.
If you would like more details about this Online Verification process, you can go to our First Day Information web page.
Dear Students, Parents and Guardians:
Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year. Each year, we provide our students with this guide to their rights and responsibilities. Your students are at the center of our work.
The right to free public education is among the most important rights guaranteed to the residents of Virginia. As such, we expect the highest standards of personal conduct on the part of our students as they come together to learn in the classrooms and beyond, engage in activities and civic participation, and compete across the state.
This Student’s Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) summarizes the rights, responsibilities and expectations adopted by the Loudoun County School Board to ensure and enhance a positive, healthy and safe teaching and learning environment, free from disruption. The School Board’s Policy Manual, which provides additional detail, is available on the LCPS website.
I encourage students and parents to read and discuss the “Student’s Rights and Responsibilities” (SR&R) for student behavior with each other, and with school personnel if you have any questions.
Our staff is committed to working with parents and families to create learning communities that are places where students and teachers can devote their attention to learning and teaching in a safe, welcoming, affirming and academically rigorous learning environment.
Supporting our students’ attendance, offering access to mental health resources, providing a safe learning environment, and encouraging deep thought and critical exploration of ideas all help to set the stage for student success.
Academically, LCPS ranks among the best school divisions in our Commonwealth and the nation. We have a lot to be proud of and pledge to work together to help each LCPS student access rigorous coursework, innovative learning opportunities and resources to prepare them for success in college, the military or the workforce.
With best wishes for a successful school year,
Aaron Spence, Ed.D. Daniel W. Smith, Ed.D.
Incoming Superintendent Acting Superintendent & Chief of Staff
Signature Page and Opt In/Outs
Parents or guardians who are unable to access the Internet to provide permissions and acknowledge receipt of the Student Rights and Responsibilities through ParentVUE may use this form.
In the case of an accident or serious illness involving my child, I request LCPS personnel contact me or my designated emergency contact if I am unable to be reached. Furthermore, in the case of an emergency, I hereby specifically authorize LCPS personnel to call 911 for Emergency Medical Services, and I give consent for my child to be transported to a medical facility regardless of my child’s age. I agree that I am responsible for paying all fees and expenses incurred for medical services and transportation by Emergency Medical Services (EMS). I agree that this permission is effective as long as my child is enrolled in school.
- I/We understand that by checking this box, I/we are providing consent for the above statement.
Student Pictures, Likeness, Name, and Artwork Notification Opt-Out
LCPS students, their school work, or their artwork may be photographed, audio recorded, or videotaped for the purpose of publishing their likeness in school publications and/or webpages, LCPS video productions, LCPS publications, LCPS webpages or social media (such as Facebook), or commercial media (including television, radio, the newspaper, and the Internet), with or without identifying information, unless parents choose to opt-out below.
In addition, news media or sports reporting, including images, may occur without the prior approval of LCPS. Students will also have their photograph or name included in the school yearbook and understand that the school division includes yearbooks as “directory information” as set forth in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Parents/guardians of students participating in VHSL activities should realize the VHSL physical form provides consent and approval for student's picture and name to be printed in any high school or VHSL athletic program, publication, or video.
- By checking this box, I/we, as the parent/guardian, wish to opt-out my/our child from media releases and photographs or other media content. If I choose to have my child included in the yearbook or other media options, I will contact the school directly and provide my request in writing.
School Counseling Participation Opt-Out
The LCPS School Counseling program provides school counseling services for academic counseling, career counseling, and personal/social counseling. The LCPS School Counseling program is in compliance with the Virginia Board of Education and LCPS policies and regulations. Pursuant to those regulations, parents and guardians have the option to opt-out their child/ren of personal/social counseling within LCPS per LCPS Policy 5040 and Virginia Code § 8VAC20-620-10. The following information outlines the personal/social counseling services provided by LCPS school counselors, which will not be available to your child under the opt-out:
Personal/Social Counseling Instruction: School counselors encourage students to develop an understanding of themselves, the rights and needs of others, healthy ways to resolve conflicts, emotional vocabulary, and their emotional intelligence. School counselors provide classroom lessons covering a variety of developmentally appropriate topics to support student wellness.
The opt-out includes:
- Only personal/social classroom lessons for all students taught by school counselors (e.g., friendship skills, kindness, and peer conflict resolution).
Please note that the counseling opt-out does not exclude students from:
- Morning meetings in elementary school or advisory lessons (in middle and high school) taught by classroom teachers;
- Social-Emotional Learning lessons (Second Step K-8);
- Prevention lessons and/or presentations delivered by school social workers, school psychologists, and student assistance specialists;
- Short duration personal/social counseling which may be needed to maintain order, discipline, or a productive learning environment;
- Academic counseling participation;
- Career counseling participation.
By checking the box below, I/we, as the parent/guardian, wish to opt-out my/our child from personal/social counseling instruction delivered by school counselors for the 2023-2024 school year. I/we have read and understand the definition of personal/social counseling as outlined above:
- I/We opt my/our child out of personal/social counseling participation as described above.
Release of Directory Information to Military Recruiters Opt-Out
This section is for HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ONLY. The Every Student Succeeds Act requires school divisions to release student names, addresses, and telephone numbers to military recruiters upon their request. The law requires LCPS to notify students and parents of their right to opt out of having this information released. This notice is posted each year on the www.lcps.org website in the SR&R.
- I/We request that this student’s name, address, and telephone number NOT be released to armed forces, military recruiters, or military schools.
By providing my signature below, I acknowledge receipt and understanding of the 2023-2024 Student Rights and Responsibilities and will provide this information to the school principal within the first five (5) days of school.
Student’s First and Last Name ___________________________________________________
Student’s School ___________________________________Student’s ID_________________
Parent/Guardian Printed Name____________________________________________________
Mission and Vision
LCPS has adopted the One LCPS: 2027 Strategic Plan for Excellence to provide direction for our school division through 2027. The School Board approved the new strategic plan on June 28, 2022, to include the vision, mission, core values, goals, aligned actions, and strategies.
Our students are at the center of all we do. The vision, mission, and core values not only guide our work with students but are also the pillars of what we imagine for our students:
Vision: Every student will reach their full potential and achieve their dreams.
Mission: Empowering all students to make meaningful contributions to the world.
LCPS Core Values:
- HOLISTIC SUPPORT: Every student should have the support to feel safe, happy, and cared for in school.
- EQUITY AND OPPORTUNITY: All students and staff should have access to resources, programs, and support that enable a successful future.
- TRUST THROUGH LISTENING: All students, staff, and community members should have regular opportunities to be heard in two-way conversations across the Division.
- RIGOROUS TEACHING AND LEARNING: All students should be challenged to reach their full potential in the classroom as part of a system that aspires to become the best-performing Division in the nation.
- INDIVIDUALIZED SUCCESS: All unique strengths, skills, and passions should be celebrated, encouraging diverse pathways that support readiness after graduation.
- CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT: A culture of continuous improvement should drive the fulfillment of our mission.
Per the One LCPS: 2027 Strategic Plan, LCPS has adopted four goals that are foundational in helping us achieve our Mission and Vision:
- Empowered Students;
- Exemplary Staff;
- Enriched Division; and
- Engaged Community.
Thank you for reviewing the SR&R and Code of Conduct with your child and being a partner with LCPS in your student’s journey for 2023-2024.
The Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (SR&R)is a compilation and summary of some of the most common rules and policies governing students. For a comprehensive understanding of expectations, School Board policies and school rules must be carefully read and observed by parents, students, and community stakeholders. A complete and current copy of the LCPS Policies and Regulations is available online at https://www.lcps.org/policyreview. Printed copies may be made available at the student's school for those who do not have Internet access.
The Loudoun County School Board has the authority and responsibility to make local policies and regulations for student conduct and discipline at schools and at school-sponsored activities, including going to and returning from school. This authority and responsibility are recognized as necessary for the maintenance of a school environment that is conducive to learning, free of disruption and threat to persons and property, and supportive of the rights of individuals. The School Board also recognizes its responsibility to assist and encourage students to achieve self-discipline and become responsible citizens.
The School Board has adopted policies governing student behavior and has authorized each school to develop school rules consistent with School Board policies. These policies and rules shall apply to students during the school day; while going to or returning from school, whether the student is walking, waiting for, or riding the school bus or private vehicle; and while the student is participating in or attending any school-sponsored activity, whether at school or elsewhere. These policies and rules also apply to students whose conduct at any time or place interferes with or obstructs the mission or operation of the schools or the safety or welfare of students, employees, or property.
Parent engagement is encouraged through the LCPS ParentVUE app. ParentVUE provides parents with access to grades, report cards, attendance, communication from teachers, and other student information; including the ability to update opt-outs and acknowledgements online. To gain access to ParentVUE, parents must receive an activation letter from their student’s school. Parents with multiple students will only require one activation code and will be able to view all of their students’ records referenced above once they log in. Parents may use ParentVUE to update their email address, phone numbers, and to verify other related student data or submit requests for changes. Parents/Guardians may also opt-in to the Release of Directory Information to non-school officials or outside entities and sharing emails with the Content Filter provider for requested reports. Parents/Guardians may also opt-in to Release of Directory Information to military recruiters through ParentVUE. ParentVUE will also provide access to Schoology, the LCPS learning management system that houses students’ course materials and assignments. Once logged in to Schoology from ParentVUE, parents will be able to view their child’s courses, course materials, and course activity in the Schoology system. Parents may access ParentVUE at https://portal.lcps.org/, or via an iOS/ Android app, where the Division URL is https://portal.lcps.org/. Please direct all questions to your student’s school or visit the school website ParentVUE channel. If you do not have ParentVUE access, please contact your child’s school.
In addition to this SR&R, each school may publish and distribute a handbook of school rules. In the event of a conflict between this version of the SR&R, a school handbook, and School Board policies, School Board policies shall be followed in all cases.
Acknowledgment of this Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook must be completed electronically through ParentVUE or sign and return the signature page of this document to your child’s school administration within five (5) days from the start of school. Please see the OPT OUT OF SURVEY section for a list of documents you may acknowledge through ParentVUE.
Important Highlights for the 2023 - 2024 School Year
Academics. Rigor, and Culturally Responsive Instruction
In LCPS, our mission is to empower all students to make meaningful contributions to the world. The new strategic action plan has established the first goal for LCPS as: “Enable student academic excellence by providing rigorous and culturally responsive instruction to develop all students as knowledgeable critical thinkers, creators, communicators, collaborators, and contributors.” LCPS staff accomplishes this goal by designing and providing authentic, challenging learning experiences for Deeper Learning. To support academic rigor and success, teachers must establish high expectations, plan relevant lessons, set goals, review student progress, and provide pathways for students to meet intended outcomes. In addition, students must actively participate and engage in the learning process while allowing all students the opportunity to learn. LCPS supports the whole child and continues to keep academics rigor and culturally responsive instruction at the forefront of the outstanding educational opportunities your child can experience during their school journey. For additional information regarding the coursework your child will experience, please visit the Department of Instructions webpage and become engaged in your school community and work collaboratively with your child’s teachers and school staff.
Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy
All students will be monitored closely by school personnel as they use approved technology when at school or at school-based activities and when using LCPS Chromebooks. When using computer equipment and networks in schools for any purpose, all students need to act responsibly. Students must use appropriate language and behavior on computers and networks as described in Policy 8650, “Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy.” Malicious behavior and unauthorized use of equipment or systems could be in violation of Policy 8650, “Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use” and subject to disciplinary action. Please review the Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy in the EXPECTATIONS A-Z section.
Regular school attendance is essential if students are to benefit fully from the educational opportunities provided to them. Every child between the ages of 5-18 is required to attend school (public or private), be approved for religious exemption, or receive home instruction, according to the Code of Virginia, §22.1-254. Please review the Attendance information in the EXPECTATIONS A-Z section.
Per Policy 8205, "Discipline Authority," LCPS is committed to providing every student enrolled a quality education in an environment that is safe and conducive to teaching and learning. Each student has the responsibility to ensure that their behavior does not deny that right to others. Please review the expectations and guidelines related to student behavior and accountability outlined below and in the Code of Conduct.
LCPS centers equity as one of its foundational core values. For our community, equity means being committed to providing a safe, supportive, inclusive, affirming, and respectful environment for
each student and staff member that fosters success, growth, and academic rigor. The cultivation of this environment requires us to reject and condemn the use of hate speech, racial slurs, antisemitism, and any action or behavior that discriminates based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, orientation, gender expression, socio-economic status, religion, ability, or other cultural identities or expression. Such non-inclusive speech, behavior, and actions do not reflect who we are as a learning community.
We embrace and value the unique identities, backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and needs of each student and employee. Celebrating our diversity is important and helps define us as a school division. Demonstrating the courage to address inequities and remove barriers represents an integral part of our collective effort towards excellence in education.
Equity is the vehicle that leads to greater access, opportunity, and equality so that each student is empowered to make meaningful contributions to the world.
LCPS offers comprehensive mental health services and support provided by our Unified Mental Health Teams (UMHT) which are counselors, psychologists, social workers, and student assistance specialists. Staff can assist and direct your student to the right level of services and connect your student to needed resources. Embedded in each school, these teams work together with families and school staff to provide resources and support to address the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students. More information can be found at the Student Mental Health Services Website or by contacting your school UMHT.
Office of the Ombuds (Constituent Services)
The Office of the Ombuds serves constituents - families, employees, and community members - as a designated confidential, informal, independent and impartial resource to help them advocate for fairness, equity, and consistency if they have concerns or issues. The office assists with student or employee-related complaints and provides information on resources and referrals. The office also helps parents, students and other stakeholders through issue mediation or resolution to foster positive educational relationships with the Division. Families or employees can contact the Office of the Ombuds directly at (571) 252-2447 or visit www.lcps.org/ombuds to learn more.
ParentVUE and StudentVUE provide access to student schedules, assignments, grades and more. These platforms are an important part of your students' educational experience and are designed to keep parents and students informed and connected to their school team. For additional information, please visit the ParentVue webpage.
Racial Slurs and Hate Speech
Every individual is valued in LCPS. When overheard or reported, staff members are to immediately address racial slurs, hate speech or a related incident in accordance with LCPS policy and the Code of Conduct as appropriate.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The Loudoun County School Board is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment free from all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. Questions regarding the Title IX process should be directed at Christopher Moy, Division Title IX Coordinator.
Vaping and Substance Use
Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, vaping and other chemical substances and medications (see medications section) that impact the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of students are prohibited. Students are expected to adhere to the law and this policy through their actions and deeds. Any paraphernalia, alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, vaping devices, or electronic cigarettes will be confiscated and given to the School Resource Officer/law enforcement. Please review the Alcohol, Drugs, and Other Chemical Substances section outlined in the Mental and Physical Health Section.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
Student Rights Overview
Residents of Loudoun County who are of school age are entitled to a free education in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. This right, and those granted under the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and applicable federal and state laws, shall be guaranteed regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender orientation, disability, age, or genetic information.
This guarantee of rights includes the right of students to have access to courses of study and student activities, without regard to sex, under the guidelines for compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
School rules are necessary to ensure all students have access to their education without disruption and in an orderly and appropriate setting. School rules are designed to deter undesirable behavior, while teaching proper behavior. A goal of public education is to have students become responsible adults in a free society. This requires that students learn to be sensitive to the needs and rights of others and to be aware of the consequences of the actions of themselves and others.
Basic Rights and Responsibilities
The rights of individuals must be exercised in a way that does not infringe upon the rights of others or threaten the general welfare of society. Some restrictions may therefore be lawfully imposed by governments, including school boards, upon the manner in which individual rights may be exercised.
The School Board is legally empowered to adopt local regulations for the conduct of students. The School Board is also committed to providing an equitable, safe, and inclusive learning environment for students and affirms this principle for all persons. School Board policies and the rules of individual schools provide a code of student conduct which the School Board expects students to follow. These policies and rules are designed to protect the essential rights of students while ensuring a safe, orderly school environment in which students may learn and develop into responsible citizens.
As provided for in the Code of Virginia, any parent, custodian, or legal guardian of a student attending LCPS who is aggrieved by an action of the School Board may, within thirty (30) calendar days after such Board action, petition the Circuit Court to review the action of the School Board. The action of the School Board shall be sustained unless the School Board exceeded its authority, acted arbitrarily or capriciously, or abused its discretion.
Rights and Responsibilities as Students
Students generally enjoy the same rights in school as they do in other settings, although there are some restrictions on the exercise of these rights that are specific to the school environment. For example, the right to freedom of speech may be restricted to prevent one student from disrupting a class, monopolizing class time, or subjecting other students to verbal abuse.
Students, therefore, have a responsibility to protect the rights of other students by not impeding upon the education of other students. In addition, students are expected to follow the expectations outlined in School Board Policy and the SR&R to benefit from and protect the large financial investment of the residents of Loudoun County. The School Board insists that students conduct themselves as responsible citizens while in school or on any school property. Specifically, the School Board requires that students:
- Obey school rules and regulations;
- Respect the authority of school personnel;
- Respect the rights and property of other students and school employees;
- Take care of school property provided for their use; and
- Dress in an appropriate manner.
Rights and Responsibilities of Students
Students have a right to avail themselves of the educational opportunities offered to them through LCPS. This implies not only a right of access to these opportunities but also a right to be protected from disruptive influences within the school. Students have a right to express their concern when other students disrupt a classroom and prevent them from learning.
To benefit from the opportunities provided for them, students must assume certain responsibilities for learning. These responsibilities include being in school when physically able, being on time for school and classes, being engaged and participating in learning, dressing in an appropriate manner, paying attention in class, participating in class discussions and other activities, asking questions when something is not understood, getting proper rest, doing homework and other assignments, making up all work missed because of absences, and doing one’s best at all times. Teachers can do much to facilitate learning, but students also must take responsibility for their own learning.
Students also share a common responsibility for the overall learning environment. They should encourage and help each other, work cooperatively in group activities, and avoid creating disturbances that interfere with the efforts of others to learn.
Rights and Responsibilities of Adult Students
Students who have reached the age of 18 have been granted certain rights as adults. They also assume certain adult responsibilities. In school, students 18 years and older may act in place of their parents where parental permission is required. Students 18 years and older also assume control of their school records. Students who accept these rights as adults must provide written notification to the school principal or designee and are expected to act as responsible adults. If the student is identified as a dependent, parents do maintain certain educational rights. If the student chooses to attend school, they are subject to all school rules and regulations.
Parent/Guardian Rights and Responsibilities
Rights of Parents/Guardians
LCPS recognizes the importance of taking proactive steps to engage families in creating and maintaining a school community that is safe, supportive, and conducive to learning. It is important that the school and parents/guardians work closely together. Parents have a right to expect that school staff will use appropriate and fair interventions and responses and will communicate effectively with parents/guardians to explain behavior issues, actions taken, due process procedure, and the goal of working together to see positive results, improve student outcomes, and provide a strong home-school partnership focusing on the student.
Parents/Guardians Responsibility and Involvement
Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3 contains provisions addressing parental/guardian responsibility and involvement that are intended to promote proper student conduct. Through the enactment of this legislation, the General Assembly has asserted its position that parents/guardians do not relinquish their responsibility for disciplining or managing their children while they are attending public schools. Rather, parents/guardians must work in partnership with school administrators to maintain a safe and orderly school environment.
- Within one calendar month of the opening of school, the School Board must provide parents/guardians information regarding the School Board’s standards of student conduct and the compulsory school attendance law. These are included in this SR&R.
- Parents/guardians must sign the SR&R, which includes the School Board’s standards of student conduct and the compulsory school attendance law by acknowledging receipt through ParentVUE or a paper copy. In doing so, parents/guardians recognize their responsibility to assist the school in disciplining their student.
NOTE: By signing such acknowledgment, parents/guardians shall not be deemed to waive, but to expressly reserve, their rights protected by the constitutions or laws of the United States or the Commonwealth of Virginia. Parents/guardians are not precluded from expressing disagreement with the implementation of the School Board’s standards of conduct through the appropriate channels. Parents/guardians continue to maintain the right to appeal a suspension or expulsion under Virginia Code § 22.1-277.
- Each school must maintain records of the signed statement of parental/guardian acknowledgment.
- The principal is authorized to request that the student’s parents/guardians, if both have legal and physical custody of the student, meet with the principal or designee to review the standards of conduct, the parents’/guardians’ responsibility to participate in disciplining the student, and ways to improve the student’s behavior and educational progress.
- The principal or designee shall notify the parents/guardians of any student who violates a School Board policy or the compulsory school attendance requirements when such violation is likely to result in the student’s suspension or the filing of a court petition, whether the administration has imposed such disciplinary action/filed a petition or not. The notice must state the date and particulars of the offense, the parents’/guardians’ obligation to assist the school in improving the student’s behavior and ensuring compulsory attendance compliance, if the student is suspended, the fact that a parent/guardian may be required to accompany the student to meet with school officials, and that a petition with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court may be filed under certain circumstances to declare the student a child in need of supervision.
- Suspended students may not be readmitted to the regular school program until the student and their parents/guardians meet with school officials to discuss improving the student’s behavior; however, the principal or designee is authorized to readmit the student without the parent/guardian conference if it is appropriate for the student.
- If parents/guardians fail to comply with these requirements, the School Board may petition the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to proceed against the parents/guardians for willful and unreasonable refusal to participate in efforts to improve the student’s behavior or school attendance. The Court is authorized to take the following actions:
- Order the parents/guardians to meet with school officials if the parents/guardians willfully and unreasonably fail to meet with the principal after such a request has been made; or
- Order the student or parents/guardians, or both, to participate in treatment or programs to improve the student’s behavior, including participation in parenting counseling or a mentoring program, as appropriate, or be subject to other limitations and conditions as the Court deems appropriate. In addition, the Court may impose a fine of up to $500.
* For additional information, review the LCPS Multi-Tiered System of Supports Pyramid of Strategies and Interventions in the Appendices.
Staff Rights and Responsibilities
Roles and Responsibilities of the Principal and School-Based Administration
Section 8VAC20‐131‐210 of the Regulations Establishing Standards of Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia sets forth the role of principals, instructional leaders, and managers of schools. The principal shall facilitate communication with parents by maintaining and disseminating the SR&R and procedures for enforcement, along with other matters of interest to parents and students. Moreover, principals must follow local and state laws and policies with regard to reporting requirements. At the school level, school-based administrators have primary responsibility for enforcing the School Board policy and SR&R. Finally, the principal and school-based administrative team have the responsibility to serve their staff, students, parents/guardians, and their community to help ensure a climate that is conducive to learning and inviting to all stakeholders as they represent LCPS.
Roles and Responsibilities of the Professional Teaching Staff
Section 8VAC20-131-220 of the Regulations Establishing Standards of Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia provides, “[t]he professional teaching staff shall be responsible for providing instruction that is educationally sound in an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy….” Because there is a correlational link between student behaviors, positive school climate, and academic achievement, LCPS expectations for teachers are as follows:
● Develop positive relationships;
● Develop a safe and positive physical environment;
● Teach (and re-teach when necessary) behavioral expectations;
● Reinforce positive behavior;
● Provide instructional feedback on behaviors;
● Utilize the school’s tiered framework of interventions and supports for students who are not meeting behavioral expectations, including working closely with parents/guardians;
● Recognize personal stress, reactions that may escalate negative student behavior, and personal bias; and
● Use individual and classroom data to monitor student behavior and the teacher’s responses to behavior.
Public education is education accessible to all; therefore, if your child is attending LCPS or participating in school-sponsored activities, staff assume the role of in loco parentis. In their role, staff have a right to work in an environment that is safe. In addition, the Loudoun County School Board is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The School Board does not discriminate against qualified applicants or employees on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, ancestry, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, marital status, age, religion, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any basis protected by law.
To support your student, staff also have a right and responsibility to correct inappropriate student behaviors and language. Staff have a right to expect students to engage in learning and activities in a manner that allows for learning for all. Staff have a right to expect students to attend class/activities, complete assignments, and follow expectations outlined in policy, regulation, the Code of Conduct, and the SR&R. Staff have the right to speak to students without parental permission to support their needs as learners. Staff have the right to instruct students per their training, per the Virginia Code, and per the course requirements to ensure students are provided the foundation they require to learn the assigned material. Finally, staff have the right to be treated as professionals by both students and parents. Together, LCPS, parents, students, and our community are One LCPS working to support each student’s educational journey.
Expectations A - Z
Acceptable/Responsible Use of Technology Policy
With increased access to computers and online material from all over the world, students may access content that is not of educational value in the context of the school setting. LCPS does not condone the use of such material and does not permit the usage of inappropriate materials in the school environment. LCPS is also not responsible for the accuracy or the quality of information obtained through the Internet.
When using computer equipment and networks in schools for any purpose, all students need to act responsibly. Students must use appropriate language and behavior on computers and networks as described in Policy 8650, Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy. Malicious behavior and unauthorized use of equipment, systems, or applications could be in violation of Policy 8650, Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use, and subject to disciplinary action.
All students will be monitored closely by school personnel as they use approved technology in the school building. Students must connect to the LCPS network, which will filter Internet use of all school activities. Elementary students will be supervised when using telecommunications services and technology resources in the regular school setting.
LCPS uses third-party websites to offer online programs solely for the benefit of students and the School Division and not for commercial purposes. Agreements and contracts are vetted to ensure that terms and conditions include privacy provisions that meet our high standards and are in compliance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), and applicable Virginia laws. COPPA permits LCPS to act as an agent for parents in consenting to the collection of limited information from children under 13 where an application collects personal information from students for the use and benefit of the school and for no other commercial purpose.
Students may operate cellular phones, personal learning devices, communication devices, AirPods/earbuds, or other personal electronic devices when authorized to do so by the principal or designee in accordance with Policy 8650, Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy. LCPS is not responsible for training, maintenance, troubleshooting, loss, theft, or damage of any personal technology and reserves the right to monitor and/or investigate all activities initiated on these devices when connected to the authorized LCPS network.
Any violation of this policy by a student may result in the student’s loss of privileges and/or possession of such devices while on school property, under school control, or attending any school-sponsored function or activity and may result in further disciplinary action. Student use of such devices for unlawful or other prohibited purposes while on school property, under school authority, or attending any school-sponsored function or activity may result in seizure of the device by school officials and disciplinary action, including expulsion.
When parents/guardians acknowledge that they understand the Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy of LCPS via ParentVUE, they are agreeing that they:
- Understand that Internet access is designed for educational purposes;
- Recognize that it is impossible for schools to restrict access to all controversial material, even with LCPS staff members monitoring student access;
- Will not hold LCPS responsible for materials acquired on the network;
- Give the student permission to access the Internet services in school;
- Understand that this privilege may be revoked if the student violates the “Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy;” and
- Have read and understand Policy 8650, Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use Policy.
Activities and Organizations
The value of student activities in the education of students is recognized by the School Board. Activities provide opportunities to develop special interests and talents, to mature socially to represent their school community, and to experience the responsibilities of participation and management in organizations.
Student Activity Guidelines
Student activities are a part of the total educational program and are therefore subject to school supervision and regulations. Student conduct at such activities is governed by the same rules for students that apply at all other times they are under school supervision. In addition, students are expected to display good sportsmanship in competitive activities, whether they are participants or spectators, and to conduct themselves in a manner demonstrating respect for persons and property. For more detailed information, please refer to the Co-Curricular and Extracurricular Handbook.
All student activities must be approved by the principal of the school. Student activities shall relate to the school’s curricular program and shall not interfere with the operation of the school. Reasonable qualifications will be established for membership or participation governed by the following guidelines:
- It shall be open to all qualified students, except that certain athletic teams may be restricted to members of one sex, in accordance with federal regulations on sexual discrimination;
- It shall have an LCPS faculty sponsor approved by the principal;
- The use of school facilities and equipment must be scheduled in accordance with the school’s activity calendar and approved by the principal; and
- All monies raised or collected by student organizations are school funds and shall be deposited promptly with the school bookkeeper. The principal shall be responsible for the accounting and auditing of activity funds. Such monies shall be used only for the purpose raised or for purposes approved by the faculty sponsor and the principal.
Student Council/Government Association (SCA/SGA)
Each school is authorized to establish a SCA/SGA that is duly elected by, and representative of, the student body to provide opportunities for experiencing the responsibilities of self-government and participation in the management and operation of student affairs. The SCA/SGA of any school shall establish, with the approval of the principal, election procedures and qualifications for the office that provide opportunities for representation of the student body.
The purpose of this organization is to maintain cooperation between the student body and the faculty or administration, to promote leadership and responsibility, and to train the students in the principles of self-government. This organization shall be the student representative body of the school.
Non-Curriculum-Related Student Groups
No activity, club, or other group that unlawfully restricts its membership or operates as a secret society may be approved as a school activity nor shall it be permitted to engage in any activity within the school.
Students of school age have a right to a free public education and have a responsibility to attend school. Regular attendance and on-time arrival are essential if students are to benefit fully from the educational opportunities provided to them. Students are expected to attend school and arrive on time every day. Appropriate disciplinary measures may be taken if students fail to accept this responsibility.
The General Assembly of Virginia has recognized the importance of regular attendance by enacting a compulsory school attendance law for students under the age of 18. As outlined in Virginia Code § 22.1-254, and Policy 8120, Compulsory Attendance, every parent, guardian, or other person having control of any child between the ages of 5 and 18 shall send such child to a public, private, denominational, or parochial school, have such child taught by a tutor or qualified teacher, or provide home instruction as approved by the Superintendent or designee. This law requires parents/guardians to see that their children attend school for the same number of days and hours that school is in session, and it provides penalties for failure to do so. Penalties are also provided for anyone, including other students, who encourages or induces students to be absent or who employs or harbors a student who should be in school. The School Board employs attendance officers who are authorized and required to file a petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court to obtain compliance with this law.
Parents/guardians who believe that a child is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared for school must notify the Superintendent in writing that they wish to delay compulsory attendance until the following year if the child has not reached their 6th birthday on or before September 30.
(See Appendix A for a reprint of the Compulsory School Attendance Law in its entirety.)
Absences from School
Recognizing there are legitimate circumstances that prevent students from being in school, the School Board has provided that principals shall excuse students who are absent because of personal illness, death in the family, medical or dental appointments, court appearances, religious holidays, and certain other circumstances when notification and appropriate documentation has been provided by the parent/guardian.
When a student is absent for all or any portion of the day, the parent/guardian is responsible for notifying the school of the reason and justification for the absence in a timely manner. If school officials do not receive notification of the student's absences, parents will be contacted and informed that their child did not arrive at school as expected. The absence or tardiness is unexcused if the parent/guardian does not inform the school in advance or supply a note when the student returns to school. Medical documentation, such as a note from the physician, may be required to excuse an absence due to illness.
Regardless of the reason, 8VAC 20-110-130 requires that the student be dropped from the attendance rolls if they are absent for 15 consecutive days. Such students must be re-enrolled and assigned to a classroom as determined by the principal or designee. Principals or designees may implement strategies and interventions for unexcused absences, and students may face consequences for unexcused absences. If a student accumulates five unexcused absences or otherwise demonstrates a pattern of absenteeism, the principal or designee will make a reasonable effort to make direct contact with the parent/guardian and develop an attendance improvement plan. After ten unexcused absences and after direct contact with the parent/guardian, the principal or designee will schedule and hold a face-to-face attendance conference with the parent/guardian and the student. The attendance conference, consisting of a multidisciplinary team, must be held within 10 school days of the 10th unexcused absence. The multidisciplinary team will monitor student’s attendance and, as needed, meet again to address concerns and plan additional interventions. In circumstances in which the parent/guardian is intentionally non-compliant or the student is resisting parental efforts to comply with compulsory attendance, a referral shall be made to the attendance officer.
Additional information can be found in Policy 8140, Student Attendance Requirements and Procedures, and its implementing Regulation, 8140.
(See Appendix A for a reprint of the Appointment of Attendance Officers.)
Dismissals During the School Day
When a student leaves the school premises during regular school hours for any reason, parents/guardians must provide advanced notice and permission. Parents/guardians of elementary students must sign a school release log. Parents/guardians of secondary students must arrange for early release through the school attendance office and comply with release procedures. All students, including declared 18-year-old students, must comply with established release procedures.
Waiver of Full-Day Attendance
All students must maintain a full-day schedule of classes unless granted a waiver by the principal. Such waivers will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. Students of parents/guardians who wish to apply for a waiver may obtain a form from their counselor, who will explain the next steps in the process.
Waivers are required only if a student or parent/guardian desires a dismissal during the school day on a regular basis. The principal may still approve occasional dismissals for illness, emergencies, and other justifiable reasons.
Making Up School Work After an Absence
Whenever a student is absent, whether an excused or unexcused absence or suspension-related, make-up work may be required. If the principal/teacher requires make-up work, a reasonable amount of time, consistent with the length of the absence, will be provided to the student to complete the missed work.Upon return from absence, the teacher and student are responsible for developing a plan to make up the work. The teacher is responsible for providing assignments, tests, and other work that must be made up by the student and for informing the student, and the parent/guardian as appropriate, when the work is due. Failure to complete such make-up work within the time allowed will impact the final grade for those assignments, tests, or other work. Make-up work turned in within the time allowed will be graded on the same basis as other work, as if timely submitted.
A student is tardy when they arrive at an assigned place after the time their school schedule requires them to be there. Tardiness may be caused by many factors, and teachers and administrators should always determine the reason for tardiness. Tardiness that resulted from valid reasons should be addressed accordingly. Repeated or habitual tardiness, however, encourages the formation of undesirable personal habits and disrupts the orderly instructional process of the school. Therefore, corrective action is required, and the principal and/or teacher should employ appropriate interventions.
Truancy means the act of accruing one or more unexcused absences. Truancy is a serious offense that warrants timely corrective action on the part of the school and the parents/guardians or other adults having control of the student. All cases of truancy shall be reported to parents/guardians.
Child Find Notification for Special Education
LCPS will implement on-going and continuous strategies to identify, locate, and evaluate children residing within its jurisdiction from birth to age 21, inclusive, and need special education and related services as defined in the Virginia Administrative Code. Strategies will focus on addressing the following populations: children in typical homes; children who are highly mobile, including those who are homeless or migrant, and who are wards of the state; children who are parentally placed in private schools (including those that are home-schooled or home-tutored); children who are under 18, who are suspected of having a disability who need special education and related services, and who are incarcerated in a regional or local jail for 10 or more days; and children who are suspected of being children with disabilities, even though they are advancing from grade to grade.
LCPS shall locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools.
- Strategies to identify children who are parentally placed in private schools will be designed after consultation with representatives of those settings.
- These efforts will ensure an accurate count of these children.
- The cost of carrying out the child find requirements, including individual evaluation, may not be considered in determining if a local educational agency has met its obligation for calculation of its expenditures under federal and state regulations governing special education.
- If the location of the administration of the private school in which the child attends is within Loudoun County and the child lives outside of Loudoun County, LCPS will be responsible for the child find activities.
- LCPS will consult with appropriate representatives of private school children with disabilities, as well as home-instructed or home-tutored children with disabilities, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities, on how to implement the child find and evaluation activities.
Referrals will be accepted in written, electronic, or oral form by each school’s principal or designee for children aged two to 21, suspected of having a disability, regardless of whether the child is enrolled in public school. Referrals will be received from any source including parents, school staff, the school-based team, the VDOE, any other state agency, or other individuals regarding children who are residents of the locality or who attend a private school that is located within the locality. Once a referral is received, the principal or designee will ensure that the referral is documented on a referral form which includes the child’s name, the reason for the referral and efforts made to address the concerns, the date the referral was received, the name of the person or agency making the referral, the parents’ name, and contact information for the parents.
Within 10 business days following its receipt, the referral will be reviewed by the school-based team which includes the referring source, as appropriate, the principal or designee, at least one teacher, at least one specialist, and one member who is knowledgeable about alternative interventions and about procedures required to access programs and services that are available to assist with children’s educational needs. Additional professionals may be included as appropriate and based on the reason for the referral. The school-based team will review the reason for the referral and review the child’s record and any other performance evidence or data that will be used to make recommendations for educational and/or behavioral needs. The team may determine that: (1) the referral for special education evaluation is not needed for the student, noting that the child is performing adequately; (2) recommend interventions with prescribed review dates; or (3) refer the child for a special education evaluation. All decisions of this team will be documented in writing and include information upon which a decision was based. Such documentation will be maintained in the student’s scholastic record.
The school-based team may use a Response to Intervention (“RTI”) approach for identifying recommended strategies which are scientifically based and will gather data documenting the student’s response to the applied intervention. The team will schedule regular meetings to discuss the data and the student’s progress and to determine whether additional interventions are needed. The use of these strategies will not delay or interfere with the appropriate referral for special education evaluation which may be administered concurrently with team recommended interventions. Referrals from the team for a special education and related services evaluation will be forwarded to the special education administrator or designee within 3 days of their decision.
If the team decides not to refer the student for a special education and related services evaluation, the parents will be provided with prior written notice indicating that the request for a special education evaluation was refused, the reasons for the decision, a description of other options the team considered and reasons why they were not accepted, a description of the evaluation information (each evaluation procedure, assessment, record or report) used to make the decision, and any other factors that were relevant to the team’s decision, and their right to appeal the decision through a due process hearing. The parents will be given a copy of the procedural safeguards.
If the referral is made to the special education administrator or designee, within three business days, the special education administrator or designee will initiate the evaluation - eligibility process, forward the referral to the school team to review and respond to the request, or deny the request. If the referral is made by the child’s parents, the parents will be notified of the decision. If the request is denied, the parents will be provided prior written notice as already described and as is required pursuant to 8VAC 20-81-170 of the Virginia Administrative Code.
Comments and Complaints
Policy 8070, “Written Comments and Complaints,” provides a process that allows parents and students to offer input, comments, and suggestions. Parents/guardians and students with complaints should attempt to resolve their concerns first with the staff at the child’s school, beginning with, where applicable, the teacher, school assistant principal, or principal. Comment and complaint forms will be distributed annually to all parents/guardians and students and shall be accessible to parents and students at all times through individual school offices, electronically upon request from individual schools or the Superintendent’s office, and via the LCPS or school website. Retaliation against parents/guardians and students who file complaints or participate in related proceedings is strictly prohibited.
Dances are a part of the extracurricular program of the school primarily for the benefit and enjoyment of the students of that school. Conduct at school dances is governed by the same rules for students that apply any other time students are under school supervision. These include policies concerning: dress; the possession and use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco; and violence. Obscene or provocative dancing is also prohibited. Failure of a student or guest to comply with these rules may result in removal from the event or exclusion from future school dances and may result in additional disciplinary action, including expulsion.
During a health emergency, students may choose to wear a face covering during school, school-related activities, or when on school property.
Field Trips - International
Travel outside the contiguous states in conjunction with instruction on the high school level can provide excellent educational experiences for high school students since it enriches and expands the students’ classroom experiences and provides opportunities which enhance studies in any discipline. International trips shall be considered school-sponsored activities with all rules and standards for student conduct applicable.
No School Board or school funds will be committed to underwrite a trip or to reimburse individuals for financial loss due to trip cancellation or modification for loss of money or possessions during the trip. The principal of the teacher/coordinator’s school shall, as they deem necessary or unavoidable, have the authority to effect changes in trip itinerary, cancel the trip, and institute procedures not otherwise covered in the Administrative Guidelines.
Students who have graduated from high school are not eligible to participate in international field trips as an LCPS student. Each student’s principal has the authority to deny eligibility for an international field trip.
Freedom of Expression
Students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means, provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. This includes racial slurs, hate speech, and/or discriminatory language. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right; however, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference. Students may not use this right to present obscene material; to slander or defame the character of another person or persons; nor to advocate the violation of any federal, state, or local laws and/or official school policies, rules, or regulations.
Students shall have the right to present recommendations to teachers and administrators to advocate change of any policy, rule, or regulation. Teachers and administrators shall make reasonable arrangements for a time and place to hear such recommendations.
Graduation Requirements - Notification
The graduation requirements for students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2018-2019 and beyond are prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education in section 8VAC20-131-51. There are multiple diploma types recognized by the Virginia Department of Education to include the Advanced diploma, Standard diploma, and Applied diploma, along with other certifications. Information regarding the standard and verified credits, along with additional requirements for graduation, can be found on the Virginia Department of Education website.
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Subtitle VII-B reauthorized by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 identifies students who qualify for services who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including:
- Children and youth who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals.
- Children and youth who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
- Children and youth who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
- Migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described above.
LCPS will support the rights of McKinney-Vento students as per Federal and State Law. Contact information and additional resources are available at this LINK.
Virginia Code § 22.1-287.04 requires school divisions to annually survey parents of students to determine if they are “uniformed services-connected.” The data collected is reported to the Virginia Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education various times each year, in non-identifiable, aggregate format for the purposes of becoming eligible for fund sources and receiving services to meet the needs of uniformed services-connected students residing in Virginia. Parents should respond to this question in ParentVUE and select from the following options:
- Student is not military-connected (this is the default response);
- Active duty; student is a dependent of a member of Active Duty Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Space Force, the Atmospheric Administration, or the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Services);
- Reserve; student is a dependent of a member of the Reserve Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard); or
- National Guard, active or reserve; student is a dependent of a member of the National Guard (and not a dependent of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.).
Data collected from the identification of uniformed services-connected students shall not be a public record as defined in Virginia Code § 2.2-3701. No person shall disclose such data except as permitted under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g) and related regulations. No such data shall be used for the purposes of student achievement, the Standards of Accreditation, student-growth indicators, the school performance report card, or any other school rating system.
Release of Information to Military Recruiters
In accordance with the Every Student Succeeds Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, the schools shall, upon a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher learning, provide access to secondary school student names, address, and telephone listings; however, a student or parent/guardian of a student may submit a request that the student’s information not be released without prior written parental consent. Parents/guardians may choose to opt out in ParentVue.
Minute of Silence
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-203, Virginia requires each school to provide time for a minute of silence during the school day. Students shall not disrupt or distract others during the minute of silence.
Motor Vehicles and Parking
Student use of motor vehicles for transportation to and from school or school-sponsored activities is voluntary, discouraged by the School Board, and is the responsibility of the students' parents/guardians. Parking facilities are provided at high schools for those students who must drive to school. Parking on school grounds is a privilege that must be granted by the principal or designee and may also be revoked for students’ failure to comply with rules and regulations governing parking privileges. Students must have a valid driver's license to park on school property. Students shall submit an application to the principal to obtain a school parking permit. The application must be authorized with parent/guardian permission. Any vehicle which may be driven by the student to school must be registered with the school and included on the application. Any motor vehicle on school property, which cannot be identified, is subject to being towed from the premises. Unlicensed motor vehicles, including mini-bikes, mopeds, and scooters, are prohibited from school grounds at all times. Parking permits are non-transferable.
The School Board will not be responsible for, does not accept liability for, and does not provide insurance coverage for any liability or physical damage involving private motor vehicles while on or off school property.
By accepting parking privileges, students are deemed to have consented to a vehicle search when requested by school authorities. The issuance of a parking permit creates no expectation of privacy in any school parking lot or parking space.
Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS)
MTSS is an evidence-based, integrated framework of practices and interventions aimed at supporting the needs of all students. This holistic approach addresses academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs through the approaches of Response to Intervention (RTI), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)/school mental health.
The MTSS framework encourages schools to implement prevention strategies and provide early intervention for addressing academic, social-emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties. Through problem-solving conversations and use of multiple sources of data for decision making, school-based teams can identify supports needed for student success. The MTSS framework addresses student needs at three tiers, each including instructional strategies and interventions. At Tier 1, all students are provided with high-quality learning environments and instructional strategies across all settings. At Tier 2, interventions are provided for students who are in need of more focused, targeted, and frequent small group structures. At Tier 3, interventions are provided for students who are in need of more intensive and individualized structures.
Media Release and Photographs
Students may occasionally be photographed or video recorded during their participation in school activities. These photographs/videos may be used to provide information to the public about LCPS programs and activities. Photographs and videos may be shared through various school system publications and displays, in newspapers and other print media, on television, and in connection with school system information on the Internet.
Parents/guardians may elect to not have their child photographed or video-recorded for use in LCPS media publications. Parents may further request that no individual pictures or videos be used in the school or classroom photos, in the school yearbook, on team photos, or as part of their child’s school media publications.
Parents/guardians may select opt-out options through ParentVUE or by submitting the hardcopy form provided at the beginning of this document to their student’s school administration.
Opt-Out for Survey Information
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.C. §1232h) requires LCPS to notify parents or guardians to obtain consent for or to allow parents/guardians to opt their child out of participating in certain school activities. These activities include student surveys, analysis, or evaluations that concern one or more of the following eight areas:
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent(s);
- Mental health or psychological concerns of the student or the student’s family;
- Sexual behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
- Income, other than as required by law, to determine program eligibility.
This requirement also applies to the collection, disclosure, or use of student information for marketing purposes (“marketing surveys”) and certain physical exams and screenings.
Parents and guardians will also be provided an opportunity to review the survey. Surveys are generally conducted during February-April.
Opt-Out for Specific Activities Information
In lieu of returning signature forms the first week of school, parents/guardians are asked to log into their ParentVUE accounts to provide opt-out choices, acknowledgments, and/or permissions for the following:
- Student Rights & Responsibilities (SR&R) Handbook, which also consents to the Student Technology Acceptable/Responsible Use, Policy 8650
- Student Device Usage Agreement
- Student Activities Rules and Regulations
- Preferred Name
- Emergency Contacts
- Health Concerns/Conditions
- School Counseling Services
- Student Notifications and Permission
- Release of Directory Information to Military Recruiters
- Receipt of Weather-Related Information
- Participation in Family Life Education
- Release of Directory Information with Outside Entities
- Photo/Video and Art Media Options
- Military Connected Status
- Emergency/Early Dismissal Plans
- Academies of Loudoun Transportation Request, if applicable
- Student Activities Participation Form
- Standard After School Dismissal Plan
This information should be completed as early as possible, but no later than five (5) days after school starts. Additional information is included in the First Day Information section of the LCPS website.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
LCPS implements PBIS, an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework to promote the social, behavioral, and academic success for all students. When implemented with fidelity, PBIS improves school climate, strengthens relationships, increases positive behaviors and academic achievement, decreases office referrals and suspensions, and improves teacher well-being.
PBIS emphasizes four integrated elements:
- Data for decision-making to select, monitor, and evaluate outcomes, practices, and systems across all three tiers;
- Evidence-based behavioral practices to meet the needs of students across all three tiers;
- Systems to support school implementation that include teaming, structure, training, and coaching for education; and
- Outcomes based on collection and use of data that is meaningful, culturally equitable, and centered on student achievement and/or school-level implementation.
Consideration of the 5‐point Intervention Model for Addressing Discipline Disproportionality (Kent McIntosh, et al., 2014) is imperative to support equitable discipline for all students. This Model includes the following components:
- Using effective instruction to reduce the achievement gap;
- Implementing PBIS to build a foundation of prevention;
- Collecting, using, and reporting disaggregated discipline data;
- Developing policies with accountability for disciplinary equity; and
- Teaching neutralizing routines for vulnerable decision points.
Pledge of Allegiance
Virginia Code § 22.1-202 requires the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The statute provides that no student shall be compelled to recite the Pledge if the student or the parent/guardian objects on religious, philosophical, or other grounds to the students participating in this exercise. The statute further provides that students who are exempt from recitation of the Pledge shall remain quietly standing or sitting at their desks while others recite the Pledge and shall make no display that disrupts or distracts others.
Student publications, such as web pages/sites, brochures, flyers, videos, newspapers, literary magazines, and yearbooks, are authorized at a level appropriate to the student body and serve a curricular or pedagogical purpose. The principal of the school must approve all publications.
The editorial staff and faculty advisor of each approved publication shall establish an editorial policy which promotes and guarantees responsible journalism and which must be approved by the principal.
This policy prohibits publication of material which:
- Is not an original work or is in violation or infringement of copyrights or patents;
- Is inappropriate to the educational level of the student audience;
- Has caused, is causing, or reasonably leads to the principal to forecast substantial disruption of or interference with school activity;
- Advocates practices that endanger the health or safety of students;
- Advocates the violation of any federal, state, or local law or official school policies, rules, or regulations, or is a criminal act in itself;
- Tends to besmirch the memory or the private life of one who is dead or the reputation of or the private life of one who is alive, or exposes any person or group to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or invades the privacy of any persons; or
- Is obscene in that:
- The average person, applying community standards, would find that it, taken as a whole, appeals to lewd interests;
- Is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is appropriate for students of the age group for which it is to be published;
- Taken as a whole, is without redeeming social importance for students of this age and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; or
- Violates the Virginia law on obscenity.
Directory Information (Release by LCPS)
The following information, known as “directory information,” may be released to school officials without prior consent: name and address of student and parents/guardians, telephone listings, electronic mail addresses or other electronic contact information of parents/guardians, date and place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, height and weight, if a member of athletic team, dates of attendance and grade level, awards and honors received, names of graduates, Division student ID number, and other similar information specified by administrative regulation. Additionally, other educational records may be disclosed, without prior consent, to a school official if they have a legitimate educational interest in the record. Refer to Policy 8640, “Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information,” for updates to Directory Information.
Student Educational Records
An educational record is maintained on every student enrolled in LCPS. At a minimum, the student educational record contains directory information, grades, health and physical education records, discipline records, if any, and the results of standardized group testing. Any individual special evaluations (psychological, medical, educational, or social history), official records relating to special education or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and records relating to the gifted program, Title I, Head Start, and other special programs would also be included in the educational record.
The student educational record is kept at the school currently attended by the student. Files for students who have left the system are kept at the last school attended. The principal is the custodian of the educational record. A portion of some students’ files may be maintained in the central office; the educational record will specify the department.
The entire contents of the student educational record are not retained permanently; however, a permanent record of the student’s name, address, telephone number, grades, attendance record, classes attended, grade level, and year completed is maintained. The special education portions of records are destroyed five years from the date of graduation, transfer, or withdrawal from the school system. Individual assessments and protocols for special education evaluations are destroyed three years after such testing is administered.Copies are not permitted for test protocols even though they are student records because they are copyrighted.
Provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student’s educational record. They include the following:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s educational record within a reasonable amount of time after the School Division receives a request for access. Parents/guardians or eligible students should submit to the school principal or appropriate school official a written request that identifies the information they wish to inspect. The principal, principal’s designee, or central office administrator will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the information may be inspected. The form for submitting a FERPA request can be found at https://www.lcps.org/studentrecords; click on Current Student Records Request. Please note, that a school is not required to provide information that is not maintained or to create educational records in response to a parent’s request.
- The right to request the amendment of the information in the student’s educational record that the parent/guardian or eligible student believes is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights. To initiate this process, the parent/guardian should fill out the LCPS Student Record Amendment Form which can be found at www.lcps.org/studentrecords, and click on Current Student Records Request. In this form, the parent should clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of the student’s privacy rights. The principal will notify the parent/guardian of their decision. If the principal decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the principal will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
- Under guidance from the United States Department of Education, the amendment procedure afforded to parents under FERPA is intended to ensure schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices. This process is not intended to challenge grades, opinions, or the substantive decisions of school officials, nor are they intended to supplant the accepted standards and procedures for making determinations, to include disciplinary rulings.
- Under guidance from the United States Department of Education, the amendment procedure afforded to parents under FERPA is intended to ensure schools conform to fair recordkeeping practices. This process is not intended to challenge grades, opinions, or the substantive decisions of school officials, nor are they intended to supplant the accepted standards and procedures for making determinations, to include disciplinary rulings.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educational record, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception that permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the Division as an administrator; supervisor; School Security Officer (SSO); or School Resource Officer (SRO), when performing duties with a legitimate educational purpose, participating on a school threat assessment team, or if part of a designated school law-enforcement unit; instructor; chaperone; or support staff member (including health and medical staff); a person serving on the School Board; a person, company, vendor, or subcontractors of a company or vendor with whom the Division has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, insurer, or therapist); or a person, company or vendor and/or federal, state, or local governmental unit or political subdivision who provides a service or provides goods and/ or software products and services to assist the division in fulfilling its educational purpose and responsibilities; or a parent/guardian or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing their tasks; and volunteers, student teachers, and counselor interns designated by the principal to perform a school function and who are under the authority of the principal. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility. Upon request, LCPS also discloses educational records without consent to officials of another school division in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. In addition, school officials may also release personally identifiable information from educational records without parental consent in connection with a health or safety emergency.
Records of Eighteen-Year-Old Students
Under applicable relevant law, the rights of parents to educational records of students generally transfer to the student upon reaching the age of 18. This includes the rights of access, challenge, and control of release of data from their school records. Parents of children who are still dependents, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, are eligible, however, to obtain copies of their children’s records. See Policy 8025 (8-5), “Rights of Adult/Eligible Students,” for more information.
Per Policy 5040, LCPS provides a comprehensive School Counseling Program for all students. The LCPS School Counseling Program assists students’ development in academic, career, and personal/social areas through the school counseling curriculum, individual student planning and counseling, responsive services, and systems supports. The LCPS School Counseling and the Unified Mental Health Team (UMHT) utilize a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) to provide targeted interventions, education, and prevention strategies when providing support for all students. All aspects of the program are complementary to the efforts of parents, school staff, and the community.
The curriculum adheres to the “Standards for School Counseling Programs in Virginia Public Schools,” to include:
- Academic counseling that assists students and their parents/guardians to acquire knowledge of the curricula choices available to students, to develop an academic and career plan, to arrange and interpret academic testing, and to seek post-secondary academic opportunities;
- Career counseling that helps students acquire information and plan action about work, jobs, apprenticeships, and post-secondary educational and career opportunities; and
- Personal/social counseling that encourages students to develop an understanding of themselves, the rights and needs of others, how to resolve conflict, and how to define individual goals reflecting their interests, abilities, and aptitudes.
School counseling involves individual, small group, and large group interaction over a period of time. A student may meet with the counselor, when they request counseling; when parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and other school staff members refer the student; or when the counselor initiates contact.
A positive relationship between school and home helps to foster the academic,personal, and social growth of children. School counselors understand that family involvement is essential to building a positive and supportive environment for our students. Through this partnership, school counselors and families collaborate together to support the needs of each student.Except in cases of crisis intervention, written parental permission is required for students to participate in either individual counseling or in small group multi-session counseling, which focuses on specific goals. Permission forms for group counseling to be conducted on a continuing basis will be sent home via the student except in those instances outlined in Policy 5040(C)(1)-(4) School Counseling Services – Elementary, Middle, and High School.”
Parents/guardians are notified annually about the counseling programs that are available to their children and have the option to withdraw their children from social/personal counseling at the beginning of the school year in ParentVUE or by submitting a request in writing to the school principal and school counselor. The opt-out provision excludes short duration personal/social counseling which is needed to maintain order, discipline, or a productive learning environment. Materials used in the School Counseling Program shall be made available for parent review by making arrangements with the school counselor.
Information and records of personal/social counseling shall be kept confidential and separate from a student’s educational records and not disclosed to third parties without prior parental consent or as otherwise provided by law.
School Nutrition Services provides breakfast and lunch in Loudoun County schools during the school year. Registered dietitians plan menus using student input from taste parties, surveys, and menus. Menus reflect the diversity of students in Loudoun County. School Nutrition Services operates under the guidance of the United States Department of Agriculture, receiving federal funds based on student participation and adherence to federal guidelines. Families with students with special dietary needs should contact Olivia Shah, RDN at Olivia.Shah@lcps.org. Major food allergens are noted on the menu boards mounted above the servine lines. Nutrient values and food allergen information for food and beverages sold can be found at http://lcpshealthycafe.org.
The School Board establishes meal prices. Free and reduced-price meal applications are available to families all year, both electronically and paper format. Applications are in English and Spanish. Children in foster care, Head Start, and those served under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are eligible for breakfast and lunch at no cost throughout the year.
All students participating in academic summer school or enrichment programs at qualified sites receive meals at no cost. After-school snacks and dinner programs are provided at selected qualified schools. Parents/guardians may obtain additional information on all school nutrition programs from the LCPS Division of School Nutrition Services at 540-751-2690 or on the department website, http://lcpshealthycafe.org.
The School Board will ensure that any LCPS back-to-school night event will provide parents in attendance with notification of and access, in paper and/or electronic form, to information about application and eligibility for free or reduced price meals for students and a fillable free or reduced price meals application that may be completed and submitted on site.
The School Board will also send home information sheets on the SNAP benefits program that sets forth the application process and such other information as the Department of Social Services deems necessary or appropriate in order to properly inform the parents of LCPS students of such program and encourage application by those who are eligible at the beginning of each year, or, in the case of any student who enrolls after the beginning of the school year, as soon as practicable after enrollment. The School Board will also ensure that a fillable free or reduced-price meals’ application is sent home with each such student at the beginning of each school year, or, in the case of any student who enrolls after the beginning of the school year, as soon as practicable after enrollment.
School Resource Officer
A School Resource Officer (SRO) is defined in Virginia Code § 9.1-101 as “a certified law-enforcement officer hired by the local law-enforcement agency to provide law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools.” SROs who are assigned to schools will operate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the law enforcement agency, the School Division, and personnel from both. LCPS will annually notify parents/guardians that SROs are deemed “school officials.”
A schedule of student fees is available in Policy 4020 and Regulation 4020, “Student Fees and Charges.” Fees and charges will be reduced or waived for economically disadvantaged students and students whose families are undergoing economic hardships and are unable to pay, including, but not limited to, families receiving unemployment benefits or public assistance such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicaid; foster families caring for children in foster care; or families that are homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. Along with each fee will be a notice explaining how affected families may apply for a fee reduction or waiver. Requests are kept confidential and should be submitted to the principal of your child’s school. Additional information regarding student fees, including fees that are prohibited, is provided in Policy 4020 and Regulation 4020.
Virginia Assessment Program
The Virginia Board of Education Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia state that students in grades K-12 will take the Virginia assessment program tests that are required by the Board of Education after receiving instruction. These tests are administered during set state windows and permit accommodations for eligible students. Tests are administered to students during the school day, with testing completed by dismissal. Parents/guardians requiring scheduling flexibility to accommodate a religious observance for their student should contact their student’s school administrator. Parents should make every effort to ensure their student is in attendance during test administration windows.
Parents/guardians may obtain additional information from the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia, 8VAC 20-131-30(B).
Virginia High School League (VHSL)
All high schools in LCPS are members of the VHSL, which includes athletic competition, as well as various drama, debate, forensics, and academic competitions. In order to be eligible for VHSL activities, students:
- Must have been enrolled in a minimum of five subjects and passed five subjects the previous semester;
- May not repeat courses for eligibility purposes for which credit has been previously awarded;
- Cannot have been enrolled in high school for more than eight consecutive semesters;
- Must not have reached their 19th birthday on or before the first day of August of the year in which they are participating;
- Must have completed a VHSL physical form in order to participate in athletics; and
- Must not violate the VHSL transfer rule.
For a complete list of eligibility requirements, contact the athletic director at the high school the student attends. Families considering special permission transfers under Policy 8155, “School Assignment,” should contact their school’s athletic director concerning the VHSL transfer and other rules.
Emergency Information and Safety
Schools consider student safety to be of the utmost importance, and LCPS encourages every student and parent to adhere to the principle of See Something, Say Something. While some information may seem trivial, when reported and pieced together with other information, it may save someone’s life. This includes social media postings. This is critical to maintaining a safe and secure environment for students, staff, and visitors. Students and parents can report concerning information directly to their principal, to law enforcement at: 703-777-1021 or 911; or to the Safe2Talk app, which allows students and community members to anonymously report concerning behavior.
The following emergency information applies to all schools, parents/guardians, and students.
In order to be prepared for a school emergency, parents/guardians should:
- Ensure your child’s emergency contact information is accurate, current, and updated as needed. To update this information, please log into ParentVUE to make any necessary changes and
- Become familiar with the LCPS emergency communication procedures. LCPS is committed to providing accurate and timely information in the event of an emergency.
In the case of an accident or serious illness involving a student, LCPS personnel will attempt to contact the student’s parent/guardian or their designated emergency contact if the parent/guardian is unable to be reached. Furthermore, in the case of an emergency, LCPS personnel will call 911 for Emergency Medical Services, and the student will be transported to a medical facility. Parents/guardians are responsible for paying all fees and expenses incurred for medical services and transportation by EMS. This process remains in effect as long as the student is enrolled in LCPS.
Throughout the school year, students and staff will participate in the following drills, as required by law and/or LCPS policies and practice:
- Secure the Building;
- Shelter in Place; and
In case of a school emergency, parents should follow the tips listed below:
- Do not call or rush to the child’s school. Phone lines and staff are needed for emergency response efforts.
- Do not phone or text students. Staff and students are discouraged from using cell phone communication because it ties up critical bandwidth needed for emergency responders.
- Check for email and/or listen to the message parents/guardians will receive via Blackboard, the Division’s emergency notification system, LCPS’s primary method of contacting you.
- Check www.lcps.org for updates.
- Tune to local TV and radio stations for official school alerts.
- Rely only on official communication from school officials and/or public safety officials.
- Refrain from posting or reposting unofficial information on social media.
- To access a copy of the LCPS brochure with additional emergency information, go to school safety information.
Emergency Safety Procedures
Restraint and Seclusion
Maintaining a safe and productive environment for student learning is a high priority of LCPS for both students and staff. A multi-tiered systemic (MTSS) approach, to include Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), shall be used to address the needs of students with behavior challenges. Physical restraint and seclusion safety procedures shall only be used consistent with Policy 5345, “Restraint and Seclusion of Students,” and the associated regulation. LCPS recognizes restrictive emergency procedures are used as a last resort and that every effort shall be taken to eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion. Please review Policy 5345 and Regulation 5345, “Restraint and Seclusion of Students,” for information regarding these emergency safety procedures.
Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry (SOR)
Information to parents/guardians regarding registration of sex offenders and the availability of information on the SOR is available via the Internet pursuant to Virginia Code § 9.1-913. The SOR homepage can be accessed by entering the following website address: http://www.sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/.
LCPS conducts regular fire drills as described below to prepare in case of a fire emergency.
- Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-137, in every public school, there shall be a fire drill at least twice during the first 20 school days of each school session, in order that pupils may be thoroughly practiced in such drills. Every public school shall hold at least two additional fire drills during the remainder of the school session.
- Section 8VAC20-131-260 of the Board of Education’s Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (Standards of Accreditation) requires that “every public school conduct a fire drill at least twice during first 20 days of school and conduct at least two additional fire drills during the remainder of the school term; ...” The Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) (Sections 403.5.1, 404.2.1, 404.2.2, 405.1, and 405.2) requires that schools conduct:
- A fire drill within the first 10 days of school; and
- At least one fire drill per month.
NOTE: A school conducting one fire drill in the first 10 school days, a second fire drill at any time within the first 20 school days, and one fire drill every month thereafter will meet all requirements.
- Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-137.1, in every public school, there shall be at least one tornado drill every school year, in order that students may be thoroughly practiced in such drills.
- Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-137.2, in every public school, there shall be a lock-down drill at least once during the first 20 school days of each school session, in order that students and teachers may be thoroughly practiced in such drills. Every public school shall hold at least one additional lock-down drill after the first 60 days of the school session. Lock-down plans and drills shall be in compliance with the Statewide Fire Prevention Code (§ 27-94 et seq.).
- Section 8VAC20-131-260 of the Standards of Accreditation requires that every public school administration shall conduct a lockdown drill at least twice during the first 20 days of school and conduct at least two additional lock-down drills during the remainder of the school term.
- With respect to lock-down drills required by Virginia Code § 22.1-137.2, any requests for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students to be exempt from participation in a lock-down drill during the first 60 days of a school session should be directed to the principal and shall be honored.
LCPS exceeds these Code requirements and adds two additional lockdown drills during the school year.
NOTE: In order to comply with the Code of Virginia and the Standards of Accreditation, every public school will need to conduct a lock-down drill at least twice during the first 20 days of school and conduct at least two additional lock-down drills during the remainder of the school term.
- Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-184, at every public school having public school buses, there shall be held at least once during the first ninety calendar days of each school session, and more often, if necessary, a drill in leaving school buses under emergency circumstances.
- Section 8VAC20-70-110 of the Board of Education’s Regulations on Pupil Transportation Safety Instruction requires the following:
- At the Pre-K-1 grade levels, initial safety training shall occur during the first week of school with additional training on a periodic basis during the year.
- Emergency exit drills shall be practiced by all pupil riders at least twice a year, the first occurring during the first 30 instructional days and the second in the second semester and shall include the school bus driver. Summer session evacuation drills should be performed as needed.
NOTE: A school division meeting the requirements of 8VAC20-70-110 will also meet the requirements of Virginia Code § 22.1-184. Requirements for Annual Training on Emergency Situations House Bill HB1732 and Senate Bill SB1215, which became effective July 1, 2019, amended the Code of Virginia to require school divisions to develop training on safety procedures that shall be delivered to each student and employee at least once during the school year.
Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1-137.3, in addition to complying with the requirements for drills set forth in Virginia Code §§ 22.1-137, 22.1-137.1, and 22.1-137.2, each school board shall develop training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property. Such training shall be delivered to each student and employee in each school at least once each school year.
Per Policy 8235, “Weapons,” no student shall possess any weapon for any reason while under school authority or supervision. The term “weapon” is construed broadly to cover and include any instrument that could injure, harm, or endanger the physical well-being of another person. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Category A Weapons
- Firearms, starter guns, or any weapon that is designed or can be readily converted to expel a projectile by action of an explosion. Examples of firearms would include any pistol, shotgun, rifle, or revolver;
- Pneumatic guns, including a paintball gun, BB or pellet gun, or air rifle that use pneumatic pressure to expel a projectile; and
- Explosive or incendiary devices, including those containing poison gas, acid, or in the form of a grenade, rocket, or bomb and any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device. “Destructive device” does not include any device that is not designed or redesigned for use as a weapon or any device originally designed for use as a weapon and that is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line-throwing, safety, or other similar device.
Category B Weapons
- Any knife or other instrument or device that has a blade designed to cut or a point designed to penetrate, including a dirk, Bowie knife, switchblade, folding knife, ballistic knife, or machete;
- Any gun or device designed to expel a projectile by any non-pneumatic or non-explosive action, including those using trigger, battery power, or tension action. Examples include slingshots, bows, nail guns, and toy shooting devices;
- A stun weapon of any kind;
- Any club, baton, stick, flailing or thrown instrument, or other similar device designed for use as a weapon, such as a blackjack, spring stick, brass or metal knuckles, nunchahka (nunchuck or nunchaku), fighting chain, shuriken, throwing star, or oriental dart;
- Any chemical or chemical compound, including pepper spray, that produces an adverse effect on the normal functions of the human body;
- Any instrument or device that is actually used intentionally to injure, harm, endanger, or induce fear in another person, including “toy” or “look-alike” weapons; and
- Any instrument or device, not included in Category A, which has as one of its designed purposes to be used as a weapon to injure, harm, or endanger another person.
Exceptions to Weapons Classification
The following weapon or weapons may be exempted from those categorized above depending on the appropriateness of their use and provided that such weapons are authorized by a school official.
- Those that are specifically a part of the school’s curriculum or activities or any organization authorized by the school to conduct its programs;
- Those tools, such as a knife, customarily used for food preparation or service and is being used for such purpose; or
- Those used within the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) program while conducting marksmanship training when such training is a normal element of such programs; such programs may include training in the use of pneumatic guns. Such marksmanship training shall occur only at a location or locations approved by the Superintendent.
Penalties for Violation
Category A Weapons Violation
Any student who violates this policy with respect to a Category A weapon shall be automatically recommended for expulsion from LCPS by the principal and prosecuted according to Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.” In accordance with that policy, however, the principal may indicate special circumstances that may exist and, therefore, also recommend an alternative disciplinary action be considered. The Superintendent or designee may determine that the recommended disciplinary action is appropriate or take an alternative disciplinary action in accordance with Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.”
Category B Weapons Violation
Any student who violates this policy with respect to a Category B weapon or any other terms of this policy may be subject to expulsion from LCPS or to such lesser disciplinary action, including long-term suspension as may be deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or designee in accordance with Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.”
Safe Harbor Provision
The accidental or inadvertent possession of a weapon by a student, either brought onto or found on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, shall not constitute a violation of this policy, provided the student immediately reports the same to a teacher or administrator upon discovery thereof by such student and before it is discovered or seen by a teacher, administrator, other school employee, or by another student.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
School administration is required to report such possession to law-enforcement officials as provided in state law.
Right of Appeal
Certain disciplinary actions for violations of this policy are appealable to a Committee of the School Board as provided in Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.”
Per Policy 1040, “Equal Opportunity for Equitable, Safe and Inclusive Environment,” the Loudoun County School Board is committed to providing an equitable, safe, and inclusive learning and working environment. Policy 8030, “Student Discrimination and Harassment,” explicitly prohibits discrimination and harassment against any student or by any student on the basis of any actual or perceived race, color, national origin, caste, religion, sex, pregnancy status, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, and any other characteristic provided by law.
The Loudoun County School Board affirms a commitment to this principle for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, caste, religion, sex, pregnancy statuts,, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information, or any other characteristic provided by law.
It is the intent of the Loudoun County School Board that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment. Behavior that is not unlawful may nevertheless be unacceptable for the educational environment or the workplace. Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to, socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Grievance procedures for Title IX (sex discrimination and sexual harassment) and Section 504 (disability discrimination) have been established for students and parents in Policy 8035 and Regulation 8035, “Title IX, Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment,” and Regulation 8030-1, “Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability for School-Aged Students,” for any person who believes they have been subjected to discrimination. See also the “Harassment/Bullying” section below for procedures to file a complaint.
Per Policy 1040, “Equal Opportunity for Equitable, Safe and Inclusive Environment,” and in compliance with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination in Vocational Programs, 34 C.F.R. Part 100, App B, IV(O), all career and technical education opportunities of LCPS are offered regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information. A complete listing of courses can be found in the LCPS Program of Studies on the home page of the LCPS website under “Student Information.” Specific complaints of alleged discrimination under Title IX and Section 504 (disability) should be referred to:
- Title IX Coordinator
21000 Education Court, Ashburn VA 20148
- Student Section 504 Coordinator
21000 Education Court, Ashburn VA 20148
Questions about Career and Technical Programs should be referred to:
- Supervisor, Career and Technical Education
21000 Education Court, Ashburn VA 20148
Office of the Ombuds (Constituent Services)
The Ombuds Office serves constituents–families, employees, and community members–as a designated confidential, informal, independent, and impartial resource to help them advocate for fairness, equity, and consistency, if they have concerns or issues. The Office assists with student or employee-related complaints and provides information on resources and referrals. The Office also helps parents, students, and other stakeholders through issue mediation or resolution to foster positive educational relationships with the Division. Families or employees can contact the Office of the Ombuds directly at: (571) 252-2447; or visit www.lcps.org/ombuds to learn more.
Responding to Racial Slurs and/or Hate Speech
Every individual is valued in LCPS. When overheard or reported, staff members are to immediately address racial slurs, hate speech, or a related incident in accordance with the Code of Conduct Student Discipline Guidelines or LCPS policy. Students and families can expect school administrators to address incidents of racial slurs or hate speech by:
- Denouncing the use of insensitive language, hate speech, and hateful expressions/actions;
- Taking necessary action to investigate each instance until a healthy resolution occurs, recognizing that appropriate follow-up will take time to meet with students and adequately meet their needs; and
- Addressing incidents in accordance with Loudoun County School Board policies and the Code of Conduct section in the SR&R.
If a student is confronted or aware of hate speech and/or racial slurs, they should immediately report the information directly to a teacher, administrator, counselor, or other trusted adult at school. For additional information for immediate action or post-incident actions, please refer to Policy 8030, “Student Discrimination and Harassment” or Regulation 8030-3, “Discrimination and Harassment Based on Racism and Hate Speech” and/or use this link: LCPS Protocol for Responding to Racial Slurs and Hate Speech in Schools.
LCPS is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, equitable, respectful, and supportive learning environment for every student. Information related to the October 2019 Virginia Attorney General's investigation and resolution agreement with LCPS can be found at https://www.lcps.org/Page/225786.
Mental Health and Wellness
All students have the right to attend school where their individual differences are respected and where they are free from fear of harassment and bullying. LCPS actively upholds and supports efforts to prevent harassment and bullying.
Harassment means to repeatedly annoy or attack a person or group in such a way as to cause anxiety or fear for safety. Harassment in any form, including bullying or hazing, creates a climate that is not conducive to learning and is prohibited. Harassment based upon race, color, national origin, caste, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, genetic information, and any other characteristic provided by law will not be tolerated. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any student engaging in this type of behavior.
Bullying is the systemic and chronic infliction of physical hurt or psychological distress on another person. Virginia Code § 22.1-276.01 defines bullying as “any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. Bullying includes cyberbullying. Bullying does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.”
Any student who believes they have been the target of bullying/cyberbullying, or any other person in the school community who observes or receives notice that a student has or may have been the target of bullying/cyberbullying at school or during school-approved activities, should immediately report incidents to a school administrator or faculty/staff member. Staff members shall take steps to prevent bullying and attempt to take developmentally appropriate steps to intervene with bullying. When allegations of bullying/cyberbullying are reported to the principal or designee, they shall promptly investigate such allegations and/or incidents when such behavior occurred at school or school-related activities.
The principal or designee shall report any allegation of bullying by or against a child via telephone, personal conference, and/or in writing to the parent/guardian within 24 hours. The status of any investigation of an allegation or incident of bullying, as defined by Policy 8250, “Bullying Prevention and Education,” shall be reported to the parent/guardian within five (5) school days or sooner. Notification must be consistent with the student privacy rights under the applicable provisions of FERPA.
Bullying violations under Policy 8250 are prohibited and constitute grounds for various interventions such as Restorative Practices and/or student discipline ranging from in-school disciplinary measures to involuntary transfer, short- or long-term suspension, and/or expulsion under School Board policies. When investigating the allegation and/or incident, all of the surrounding facts, circumstances, severity, and age/developmental factors should be considered. Incidents of harassment or bullying should be reported to the principal or designee immediately.
Hazing means to recklessly or intentionally endanger the health or safety of a student or to inflict bodily injury on a student in connection with or for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a club, organization, association, fraternity, sorority, or student body regardless of whether the student so endangered or injured participated voluntarily in the relevant activity. Virginia Code § 18.2-56 prohibits hazing and imposes a Class 1 misdemeanor penalty for anyone found guilty of this violation.
“Flagging” or “pantsing” is unacceptable behavior under any circumstance while under school authority, on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity. Any incident will be treated as a very serious violation and will result in appropriate disciplinary consequences.
The School Board supports maintaining a working and learning environment for employees and students that provides for fair and equitable treatment, including freedom from sexual discrimination and harassment. Sexual harassment, as defined in §106.30 of the Title IX regulations, means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
1. The provision of aid, benefit, or service for a student on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to LCPS’s education program or activity; or
3. Any incident of:
a. “Sexual assault,” as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v);
b. “Dating violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10);
c. “Domestic violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8); or
d. “Stalking,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).
No employee or student shall discriminate on the basis of sex, gender identity, or gender expression; harass another employee or student by making unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; or engage in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Procedures are described in Policy 8035 and Regulation 8035, “Title IX, Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment,” for resolving complaints arising from alleged sexual harassment or discrimination or alleged violations of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92-318), as amended. Any student who believes they have been subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination should file a complaint of the alleged act immediately with the principal or with the Title IX Coordinator. The information for the Title IX Coordinator can be found at: https://www.lcps.org/TitleIX.
An investigation of all reported incidents shall be undertaken promptly and shall be completed within 30 days. The confidentiality of the reporting party will be observed, provided that it does not interfere with the investigation or with the ability to take corrective action.
LCPS will promote practices that enhance students’ and employees’ health, safety, and well-being; that support safe learning and working environments; and that improve nutrition and promote physical fitness through lifetime activities. These practices shall include goals that promote nutrition education through the classroom, school gardens, and other school-based activities designed to promote connections between nutrition and student wellness. To provide your input, you may attend the Loudoun County School Board Student Services Committee meetings.
Under Federal and State regulations, Local Education Agencies (LEA) are required to adopt a Wellness Policy and submit a Triennial Assessment Report every three years. LCPS has adopted Policy 6120, “Wellness,” to meet these regulations.
Following and adhering to this policy and the associated regulatory requirement is deemed important in running the School Nutrition Program. The Wellness Policy provides guidance for schools to support an environment for students that promotes academic success through healthy eating, physical activity, and social /emotional wellness. The LCPS Wellness Policy guides how the Division makes the healthy choice the right choice. The Wellness Policy benefits students and staff to be better learners and is also a Federal requirement that includes specific components:
- Nutrition Education/Guidelines;
- Physical Education/Activity; and
- Other School-Based Activities (Social-Emotional Wellness).
Physical Health and Medical Care
Alcohol, Drugs, and Other Chemical Substances
Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and other chemical substances and medications (see “Medication” section) that impact the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of students are prohibited. Students are expected to adhere to the law and Policy 8240 and Regulation 8240 through their actions and deeds. Any paraphernalia, alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, vaping devices, or electronic cigarettes will be confiscated and given to the School Resource Officer/law enforcement.
Students are strictly prohibited from possessing, distributing, using, or being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any chemical substance that affects the brain or nervous system; or any substance represented to be or believed to be alcohol, drugs, or a chemical substance that affects the brain or nervous system; or from possession of any drug-related paraphernalia while under school authority, on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity at any time. A breath analysis test may be authorized and administered by law enforcement to determine whether a student is under the influence of alcohol or not. Possession or distribution of counterfeit or “look-alike” drugs is also strictly prohibited and will be addressed in the same manner as possession or distribution of any other drug.
Middle and high school students with a first violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action in addition to participation in a Substance Use Education class as required by Regulation 8240, “Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes.” Students who violate the policy for a second offense or are involved in any distribution of any substance represented to be or believed to be alcohol, drugs, or other chemical substance shall be subject to disciplinary action and the Substance Use Education Program as required by Regulation 8240, “Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes”; long-term suspension from school, referral to the School Board for expulsion, or such other action as may be deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or the School Board.
Additionally, students who violate this policy shall be required to complete an assessment with a Student Assistance Specialist who has expertise in substance use treatment. Parents and students are asked to attend this meeting, and if recommended by the Student Assistance Specialist and with the consent of the student’s parent/guardian, the student may be recommended to participate in a school-based services and/or community treatment program.
Publications or other printed materials which advocate the use of illegal drugs, the use of legal drugs, or other chemical substances which portray such use as socially acceptable behavior or which advertise the sale of counterfeit or “look-alike” or “act-alike” drugs or drug-related paraphernalia are prohibited from sale or distribution on school property. Any student selling or distributing such materials on school property shall be subject to school discipline.
See the “Medication” section for information regarding prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Student use of medications will be subject to disciplinary actions as described in this section.
Concussions can have serious, long-lasting effects. LCPS seeks to ensure that students and student-athletes who may have concussions are properly diagnosed, are given adequate time to heal, and are comprehensively supported with a return-to-learn plan until they are symptom free. Student athletes receive a Student Activities Handbook annually, which includes detailed information regarding concussions in high school sports and the steps to Return to Learn. Parents and students are required to read and sign various acknowledgments of the concussion policy, Policy 8445, “Concussions in Students and Student-Athletes,” which is contained in the Student Activities Handbook.
Parents/guardians should notify teachers and school officials, including the school health office staff and trainer, if a student of any age has been treated for a concussion outside of school.
Hearing and Vision Screening
Virginia Code § 22.1-273 requires students new to Virginia public schools and students in grades K, 3, 7, and 10 to have a screening of vision and hearing completed. LCPS screens grades K, 3, 7, and 10. If a student is unable to pass the initial screening, the student will be rescreened. Parents/guardians will be notified if their student is not able to pass the second screening.
Injuries, Accidents, and Medical Bills
LCPS does not carry medical or accidental injury insurance to cover medical costs for students who become ill or injured while at school or while participating in school-sponsored activities on or off of school property. The School Division does carry liability insurance for incidents that are determined by an authorized investigator to have been caused by gross negligence on the part of the School Division. These are the only instances in which medical bills might be paid by the School Division.
Optional, voluntary student accident insurance is made available for purchase on behalf of students for a nominal fee. There are various benefit plans from which to choose, including school-time coverage only or 24-hour coverage for accidents year-round. Additional accidental injury protection is available for football and dental accident insurance coverage.
Careful consideration should be given to purchase voluntary student accident insurance coverage if no other coverage is available to the student.
In addition, students without medical or accident insurance may be eligible for FAMIS. FAMIS is Virginia’s health insurance program for uninsured children. FAMIS Plus is Virginia’s name for children’s Medicaid. Both provide quality health care for children. If the student qualifies, they will be enrolled in either FAMIS or FAMIS Plus based on the student’s household size and income.
FAMIS and FAMIS Plus cover the regular care children and students need to keep them healthy and services that will help them if they get hurt or sick. More information may be found at: coverva.org; or by calling 1-855-242-8282 to apply.
Per Policy 8420, “Student Medication,” all medication will be managed and administered per the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) guidelines. All medication, other than stock epinephrine, should be provided by the parent/guardian. It is also recommended that all medications be administered to students at home whenever possible. Policy 8420 and Regulation 8420, “Student Medication,” provide a comprehensive overview regarding the information provided below and should be reviewed by parents.
If medication is brought to school, it must be kept secure in the school health office unless the student has permission to carry, per Policy 8420. If it is necessary for a student to take medication while attending school, the following procedures must be observed:
- Students are not permitted to transport medication to and from school or carry any medication while in school except for medications for diabetes, rescue inhalers, and epinephrine auto-injectors if they have LCPS authorization and an order from a licensed health care provider to do so.
- All prescription and non-prescription medication provided by the parent/guardian must be in the original, labeled container.
- LCPS health offices do not stock acetaminophen/Tylenol.
The parent must provide the principal, school nurse or school health clinic specialist with the medication and a completed “Authorization for Medication Administration” form. This form includes written instructions from the physician. Copies of the form are available in the school office, the health office, and on the LCPS website under the “Student Health Services” link of the “Services” tab. A new “Physician Order/Action Plan” must be provided to the school at the beginning of each school year for medications, seizures, asthma, anaphylaxis, diabetes, or any other serious medical condition. Parents are asked to bring in no more than a 60-day supply of prescription medicine at a time.
Any herbal or natural alternative medications (botanicals, dietary or nutritional supplements, homeopathic medicine, phytomedicines, vitamins, and minerals) require an “Authorization for Medication Administration” form that includes dosage, time, and reason for administration signed by the physician and parent/guardian.
A 24-hour supply of the medication needed for students who must have the medicine to avoid serious health consequences (insulin, seizure medication, etc.) should be left in the school health office in case of a prolonged school day.
The medication must be in an original pharmacy-labeled container with a physician’s order on file in the health office and must include the time that the medication is to be administered in a 24-hour period.
The parent must provide the principal, school nurse, or school health clinic specialist with the medication and a completed “Authorization for Medication Administration” form with the non-prescription portion completed and signed by the parent/guardian. The medication must be in the original, labeled container which must include the following:
- Student’s name;
- Name and purpose of medication;
- Dosage and time of medication; and
- Termination date for administering medication.
Non-prescription medication will only be administered according to directions on the label. If a higher dosage is required, a signed “Authorization for Medication Administration” form from the physician must accompany the medication. Cough drops and throat lozenges are considered non-prescription medication.
In order to maintain a high standard of safety and care, medical information regarding students with health concerns is shared with school staff on an as-needed basis.
Extended Day Field Trip Medication
Any prescription medication which needs to be administered on an extended day or overnight field trip must have the “Authorization for Medication Administration” form completed and signed by the parent and physician on file in the health office. Medication for these field trips must be supplied in an original pharmacy-labeled container with the amount of medication required for the field trip.
Overnight or International Field Trip Medication
The parent/guardian of a high school student who is participating in an overnight or international field trip has the option of signing permission to authorize the child to carry and self-administer either over-the-counter or prescription medication when the parent/guardian accepts complete responsibility for both the child’s decision and actions while on the overnight or international field trip. The Overnight and International Field Trips forms must be completed and submitted to the school nurse with completed “Authorization for Medication Administration” paperwork for each medication no later than two weeks prior to the departure date of the field trip.
Parents must supply both the over-the-counter and the prescription medication for all overnight or international field trips, even if the parent does not choose to have the child carry and self-administer the medication. Medication will not be provided from the health office for overnight and international field trips. Over-the-counter medication must be stored in the original manufacturer’s container with no more medication than is required for the duration of the field trip. Prescription medication must be stored in the pharmacy-dispensed and labeled prescription container with no more than what is required for the duration of the
Return to School After Surgery, Hospitalization, or Emergency Room Visit
Students who had surgery, were treated in the emergency room or were hospitalized are expected to bring a physician’s clearance for school attendance when the student is authorized to return to school (i.e. Return to Learn). This clearance should include any restrictions the student may have and the duration of the restrictions.
Tobacco Use, Electronic Cigarettes, and Vaping Devices
Per Virginia code, students shall not possess, distribute, smoke, or use tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and electronic vaping devices, at school, on a school bus, while going to or returning from school, on school field trips or at any school-related activity on school grounds.
Middle and high school students with a first violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action in addition to being assigned participation in the Nicotine Education Program. Students who violate this policy for a second offense shall be subject to disciplinary action and shall be required to complete an assessment with the Student Assistance Specialist who has expertise in substance use treatment as required by Regulation 8240, "Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes." Parents and students are asked to attend this meeting, and if recommended by the Student Assistance Specialist and with the consent of the student’s parents/guardians, the student may be recommended to participate in the school-based services and/or community treatment program. Students who violate this policy for a third offense shall be subject to disciplinary action in addition to participation in the Substance Use Education class as required by Regulation 8240, "Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes."
The Superintendent or designee may determine, based on the facts of the particular case, that special circumstances exist and another form of discipline is appropriate. In addition, the Superintendent or designee may conduct a preliminary review of such cases to determine whether a disciplinary action, other than what is provided for under Policy 8240 and its Regulation, is appropriate. Any disciplinary action imposed pursuant to such a review must be taken in accordance with Article 3 Chapter 14 of Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia.
Student Code of Conduct
Introduction Student COC
Approaching school discipline from an instructional, prevention‐based standpoint contributes to a positive school environment and ensures equity, fairness, and continuous improvement. Applying an instructional, prevention-based perspective to student behavior is fundamental in a multi‐tiered system of support. The COC addresses elements important to providing a safe, welcoming, affirming, and academically rigorous school environment. The COC has been developed to reflect the organizational, instructional, and interpersonal expectations and experiences that set the parameters for behavior in LCPS. Finally, each individual is responsible for the role they have to support the mission and vision of LCPS as described in the SR&R.
Student COC Terms and Expectations
Administrative Reviews and Searches
School authorities have a responsibility to review and investigate suspected violations of the law or School Board policies. Principals or designees, who have reasonable suspicion that a student is in possession of unauthorized contraband, such as illegal or harmful articles or substances, may search the student and their personal property in accordance with Policy 8265, “Student Searches and Seizures.”
School facilities issued to students by LCPS for storage of personal belongings and school materials remain the property of LCPS. A principal or designee is authorized to search any storage facility when there is a reasonable suspicion that illegal or harmful materials are stored therein. If there is a reasonable suspicion, private vehicles parked on school property may also be subject to inspections and searches.
Students who refuse to cooperate with school reviews, including searches, may be subject to disciplinary actions.
Behavior Definitions for Administrators and Parents
Behaviors referenced in the Code of Virginia and terms related to those references are listed alphabetically in this section. The Code of Virginia requires that certain behaviors be included in COC and reported to law enforcement. Those behaviors are noted in the last column of the leveled response tables. The Code also states that whenever a student commits a reportable incident named in the Code, the student shall be required to participate in prevention and intervention activities as determined appropriate by the superintendent or designee.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Related Products, and Other Drugs - The student conduct policy for alcohol and drugs is addressed related to the possession, use, consumption, purchase, distribution, manufacture, and/or sale of restricted substances on school property, in school vehicles, or during school‐sponsored activities on or off school property. This includes, but is not limited to, alcohol, tobacco, electronic cigarettes, inhalant (vaping) products, and other controlled substances defined in the Drug Control Act, Chapter 15.1 of Title 54 of the Code of Virginia, such as anabolic steroids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, marijuana, imitation and look‐alike drugs, drug paraphernalia, and any prescription or nonprescription drug possessed in violation of school board policy.
Arson - Virginia Code § 18.2‐79 prohibits the burning or destroying of any school. The destruction may be in whole or in part‐‐only a slight burning is necessary to violate this section of the Code. Incidents that rise to the level of arson of a school should be turned over to law enforcement for investigation.
Assault: Assault and Battery - The legal definition of assault is a threat of bodily injury. A battery, according to Black’s Online Law Dictionary, is any “wrongful physical violence or constraint inflicted on a human being without his consent.” Courts use these terms to describe behavior. They do not take into account the developmental age of children and, therefore, should not be used to describe student behavior that does not rise to the level of delinquency. Within the leveled system of student behaviors, age, and development should be considered in any instance of physical contact between students. Behavior that is developmentally expected should not be labeled as assault or battery. However, the student conduct policy should specifically prohibit assault and battery of students and staff.
Attendance: Truancy - Truancy means unexcused absence from school. However, there is an important distinction between a student who is truant and one who is chronically truant. A student displays truant behavior with a single unexcused absence from school. However, a student needs to reach or surpass a certain number of unexcused absences to be considered chronically truant. Virginia law does not define a truant specifically but does define a child who is habitually and without justification absent from school as a "child in need of supervision" when certain other conditions are met. Virginia Code § 22.1‐254 addresses compulsory attendance, excuses and waivers, alternative education program attendance, and exemptions.
Virginia Code § 22.1‐277 specifically prohibits the use of suspension in cases of truancy. Students may be suspended or expelled from attendance at school for sufficient cause; however, in no cases may sufficient cause for suspensions include only instances of truancy.
According to Virginia Code § 16.1‐228(A), the following criteria define a “child in need of supervision” who is truant:
- A child who, while subject to compulsory school attendance, is habitually and without justification absent from school;
- The child has been offered an adequate opportunity to receive the benefit of any and all educational services and programs that are required to be provided by law and which meet the child's particular educational needs;
- The school division from which the child is absent or other appropriate agency has made a reasonable effort to affect the child’s regular attendance without success, and
- The school division has provided documentation that it has complied with the provisions of § 22.1‐258 that address actions to be taken when a pupil fails to report to school.
- That a student engaged in misconduct which caused serious harm (including but not limited to physical, emotional, and psychological harm) to another person(s) or posed a credible threat of serious harm to another person(s), as determined by a threat assessment;
- That a student’s presence in the school poses an ongoing and unreasonable risk to the safety of the school, its students, staff, or others in the school; or
- That a student engaged in a serious offense that is:
- Persistent (repeated similar behaviors are documented on the student’s disciplinary record); and
- Unresponsive to targeted interventions as documented through an established intervention process.
Bomb Threat - LCPS prohibits bomb threats and conduct involving firebombs, explosives, incendiary devices, or chemical bombs. Threats to bomb or damage buildings and giving false information as to the danger to such buildings are prohibited by Virginia Code § 18.2 ‐83. Definitions of "explosive material," "fire bomb," and "hoax explosive device" are defined in Virginia Code § 18.2‐85. Bomb threats must be reported to law enforcement.
Bullying - Virginia Code § 22.1‐276.01 defines bullying as any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. This includes cyberbullying. It does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict. School boards are expected to include bullying as a prohibited behavior in their student codes of conduct. Non‐criminal behavior associated with bullying includes intimidation, taunting, name‐calling, racial slurs, hate speech and insults. Typically, cyberbullying is defined as using information and communication technologies, such as cell phone text messages and pictures, email, social media, blogs, networking websites, defamatory personal websites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, hostile behavior intended to harm others.
Disruptive Behavior - “Disruptive behavior” is defined in Virginia Code § 22.1‐276.01 as a violation of school board regulations governing student conduct that interrupts or obstructs the learning environment.
Dress Code - Any practice, policy, or portion of a code of student conduct adopted by a school board that governs or restricts the attire, appearance, or grooming, including the hairstyle, of any enrolled student.
Exclusion - A Virginia school board's denial of school admission to a student who has been expelled or has been placed on a long‐term suspension of more than 30 calendar days by another school board or a private school, either in Virginia or another state, or for whom admission has been withdrawn by a private school in Virginia or another state.
Expulsion - Any disciplinary action imposed by a school board or a committee thereof, as provided in school board policy, whereby a student is not permitted to attend school within the school division and is ineligible for readmission for 365 calendar days after the date of the expulsion.
Extended Long-Term Suspension - Any disciplinary action whereby a student is not permitted to attend school for 46 to 364 school days.
Gambling - Virginia Code § 18.2‐325 defines illegal gambling as the “making, placing, or receipt, of any bet or wager of money or other things of value, made in exchange for a chance to win a prize, stake or other consideration or thing of value.” A gambling device includes any device, machine, paraphernalia, equipment, or other things, including books, records, and other papers, which are actually used in illegal gambling operations or activity.
Gang‐Related Activity - "Criminal street gang" is defined in Virginia Code § 18.2‐46.1 as meaning “any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, (i) which has as one of its primary objectives or activities the commission of one or more criminal activities, (ii) which has an identifiable name or identifying sign or symbol, and (iii) whose members individually or collectively have engaged in the commission of, attempt to commit, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation of two or more predicate criminal acts, at least one of which is an act of violence, provided such acts were not part of a common act or transaction.” Virginia Code § 16.1‐260(G) Code requires an intake officer to report to the Superintendent any student against whom a petition is filed for certain offenses including:
- Prohibited criminal street gang activity pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2‐46.2; and
- Recruitment of other juveniles for a criminal street gang activity pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2‐46.3.
Long‐Term Suspension - Any disciplinary action whereby a student is not permitted to attend school for 11 to 45 school days.
Portable Communication Devices - Virginia Code § 22.1‐279.6 authorizes school boards to regulate the use or possession of portable communication devices and establish disciplinary procedures for students violating such regulations.
Profane or Obscene Language or Conduct - School board student conduct policy, in accordance with Virginia Code § 22.1‐279.6(C), is required to prohibit profane or obscene language or conduct. The Code of Virginia does not specifically define these terms. Conduct typically prohibited under this provision includes swearing and obscene/offensive gestures, materials, and communications.
Property Violations - Property violations include, but are not limited to, arson, destruction of property, vandalism, and theft.
- Destruction of property: Pursuant to Virginia Code § 22.1‐280.4, school boards are authorized to seek reimbursement from a pupil or the pupil's parent for any “actual loss, breakage, or destruction of or failure to return property, owned by or under the control of the school board, caused or committed by such pupil in pursuit of his studies.”
- Theft – Larceny: The wrongful taking of the property of another without the owner’s consent and with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of possession of the property.
Self‐Defense - In accordance with Policy 8210, “Introduction to Student Discipline,” students involved in a physical assault or fighting may qualify for the rationale of self-defense if all the requirements, as detailed below, are satisfied and proven by the student, but under no circumstances may a child ever bring to school or possess a weapon or knife of any kind whatsoever.
- As a last resort, a student may use physical force to defend themselves from physical aggression from other students or individuals on school property or at school-sponsored activities provided that the student:
- Is without fault in provoking or bringing on the fight or incident;
- Reasonably fears, under the circumstances as they appeared to the student, that the student was in danger of harm and the aggressor committed at least one overt act indicative of imminent physical danger; and
- Uses no more force than was reasonably necessary to protect themselves from the threatened physical harm.
- In accordance with Policy 8205, “Discipline Authority,” claims of self-defense do not constitute a valid defense of possession or use of a weapon or knife when students are:
- Present at any school or on school property;
- Participating in or attending any school-sponsored activity, regardless of its location, including traveling to and from an event;
- Going to or returning from school, whether or not the student is walking, waiting for, or riding a school bus, or is in a personal or private vehicle, or any other mode of transportation; or
- Involved in conduct, regardless of whether it took place off school property or at a school-sponsored event that substantially disrupts school operations.
Short‐Term Suspension - Any disciplinary action whereby a student is not permitted to attend school for a period not to exceed ten school days.
Stalking - Stalking is defined in Virginia Code §18.2‐60.3 as conduct, occurring on more than one occasion and directed at another person, that places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Threats: Intimidation - Threats to kill or to do bodily harm “to any person or persons, regardless of whether the person who is the object of the threat actually receives the threat, and the threat would place the person who is the object of the threat in reasonable apprehension of death or bodily harm” are specifically prohibited by Virginia Code § 18.2‐60. The prohibition includes threats to any person or persons “(i) on the grounds or premises of any elementary, middle or secondary school property, (ii) at any elementary, middle, or secondary school‐sponsored event, or (iii) on a school bus….”
Virginia Code § 18.2‐60(B) prohibits an oral threat to kill or to do bodily injury to any employee of any elementary, middle, or secondary school, while on a school bus, on school property, or at a school‐sponsored activity. The 2009 General Assembly amended Virginia Code § 22.1‐279.6 to prohibit the “use of electronic means for purposes of bullying, harassment, and intimidation....”
Virginia Code § 22.1‐79.4(C) directs division superintendents to establish threat assessment teams for schools. The teams are to: provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, school, or self…”
Trespassing - Trespassing on school property, including school buses, is specifically prohibited by Virginia Code § 18.2‐128. Any person who, without the consent of some person authorized to give such consent, goes or enters upon, in the nighttime, the premises or property of any school property for any purpose other than to attend a meeting or service held or conducted in such school property, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Trespassing should be used to report instances of unauthorized student presence that occur outside of school hours or are deemed to have an unlawful purpose. These instances should be reported to law enforcement as they are violations of Virginia Code § 18.2‐128.
Weapons or Other Dangerous Articles - Weapons violations considered for expulsion shall permit, but not require those stipulations enumerated in Virginia Code § 18.2‐308.1. and in the federal Gun‐Free Schools Act. An exception to this policy may be made for students participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or team involving the use of firearms. Carrying, bringing, using, or possessing dangerous instruments in any school building, on school grounds, in any school vehicle, or at any school‐sponsored activity on or off school property is grounds for disciplinary action. Dangerous instruments, for example, may include letter openers, screwdrivers, hammers, hatchets, and other devices that could be used to inflict harm upon another person. Not subject to mandatory expulsion is possession of a knife that is customarily used for food preparation or service and is possessed by the student for the sole purpose of personal food preparation and service.
General Bus Information
Students are expected to use their assigned bus to and from school each day. Riding a different bus is prohibited unless a parent/guardian sends a written request and this request is approved by the school principal or designee in advance. Similarly, students must get off the bus on their way home at their regular bus stop unless a parent/guardian has requested in writing that a student get off at a different bus stop and the principal or designee has approved the request.
Students who ride school buses are expected to conduct themselves in a way that does not endanger themselves or others. Students are expected to obey all Bus Safety Rules. Improper behavior will result in temporary or even permanent denial of school bus privileges or other discipline.
Meeting the Bus
- Parents/guardians or other responsible persons must accompany kindergartners to and from the bus stop and should accompany young students to and from the bus stop; however, parents/guardians are not permitted to enter the bus.
- Students should be at their bus stop five minutes before the scheduled time for the bus to arrive. Drivers are not permitted to wait for late students.
- While walking to a bus stop, students should walk on sidewalks, if available. If it is necessary to walk in a street or road, students should walk on the left side facing oncoming traffic and move away from the street or road when traffic approaches. Parents/guardians should help young children cross any street or road and teach them to walk on the left side.
- Where there is a sidewalk at the bus stop, students should wait on the sidewalk until the bus comes to a complete stop. Where there is no sidewalk, students should stand far from the edge of the road and remain there until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- If the bus stops on the opposite side of the street or road from where students are waiting, the students must wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver directs the students to cross. Students should always walk, never run, in front of the bus to cross the street or road, and they should be sure that the driver can see them at all times.
- Pushing, shoving, or other horseplay is prohibited while walking to or waiting at a bus stop or while getting on the bus and may be subject to disciplinary action.
Conduct on the Bus
- While on the school bus, students are expected to cooperate with the driver and promptly obey all directions and orders given by the driver. Drivers will report students who disobey or violate rules of conduct on the bus to the principal of the school. School buses are equipped with video and audio equipment to record student activity. The principal will take necessary disciplinary action which may include suspension from school for serious or continued misconduct.
- Students should get on a school bus in an orderly manner, without crowding or pushing, and go directly to a seat and sit down. Students are encouraged to use the passenger restraint system when available. They should remain seated at all times until they are ready to get off the bus.
- Students may not bring pets, animals, glass containers, water pistols, radios, balloons, or weapons of any kind on school buses. Trained service animals are allowed on the school bus as an accommodation or related service by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 team. Trained service animals must meet the guidelines of LCPS Policy 3050, “Trained Service Animals,” and its accompanying Regulation, 3050-REG.
- Books, band instruments, or other objects must never be placed in the aisle or the front of the bus. Items that cannot be held by the student during transportation are prohibited.
- Unnecessarily loud talking or laughter should be avoided.
- Profane or indecent language, racial slurs, and discriminatory language are prohibited at all times.
- Except in an emergency, students should not talk to the driver while the bus is in motion.
- Students may not open windows without permission of the driver. Shouting at pedestrians and/or throwing objects out windows is prohibited.
- Students must not put their arms, legs, or heads out open windows.
- Fighting, horseplay, and throwing objects within the bus are prohibited.
- Tampering with doors or other bus equipment or defacing seats or other parts of the bus is prohibited. Parents/guardians and/or students must pay for willful or careless damage to the bus.
- Smoking in any form of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, including vaping or e-cigarettes, are prohibited on the bus.
- Littering of any kind is not permitted.
Leaving the Bus
- Students should remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- Students should get off the bus in an orderly manner, allowing students in front seats to get off first. Crowding and pushing is not allowed.
- Once off the bus, students should promptly move to a safe place away from the bus.
- Students who need to cross a street or road should do so only in front of the bus and only after the driver has signaled that it is safe to cross.
- Students should never attempt to retrieve an object dropped in front of or under a bus.
- In no circumstance shall a kindergarten student be left unescorted at a bus stop after school.
Denial of Bus Transportation
Students who misbehave on school buses may be denied the privilege of being transported on school buses for a short period of time. Attempts will be made by school personnel to utilize positive restorative measures as appropriate. The principal or designee or the Director of Transportation may deny transportation privileges. The parents/guardians of any student denied transportation shall be notified and must provide alternative transportation.
Per Policy 8205, “Discipline Authority,” LCPS is committed to providing every student enrolled a quality education in an environment that is safe and conducive to teaching and learning. Each student has the responsibility to ensure that their behavior does not deny that right to others. Accordingly, the School Board adopts policies designated to assist and encourage students to achieve self-discipline, become responsible citizens, and discourage conduct that adversely impacts the health, safety, and welfare of the students and staff.
In accordance with its responsibilities, the School Board adopts policies governing student behavior and authorizes the Central Office and school-based administration to develop and implement regulations and school rules consistent with those policies. The policies, regulations and rules apply to students when they are:
- Present at any school or on school property;
- Involved in conduct that substantially disrupts school operations, regardless of whether it took place off school property or at a school-sponsored event.
Denial of School Privileges
A student may be denied normal non-instructional/non-curricular school privileges for a specified period of time by the principal or designee when such denial of privileges serves as appropriate corrective action for the student’s misconduct. Per Policy 5011(A)(3), “Unstructured Activities Time,” unstructured activity time is mandatory and should not be viewed as a privilege to be taken away. Therefore, every student is entitled to unstructured activity time, and it should not be revoked as a disciplinary consequence or used as time to make up classwork. An exception to this guideline is permitted only when a student commits a disciplinary infraction during unstructured activity time and the logical consequence would be a temporary suspension for the student at the time of the infraction.
A student may be assigned detention at the school beyond regular hours for violation of school rules and may be required during this time to engage in activities to promote positive behavior. A student may be assigned detention only by the principal or designee. Parents or guardians must be informed at least one (1) day or more in advance of such detention so that they may fulfill their responsibility to provide necessary transportation for the student.
Staff have the authority and will correct inappropriate behavior demonstrated by students who violate school rules and regulations. Unless School Board policies or regulations direct a specific action to be taken for an offense, the principal will apply appropriate measures for each situation. Minor infractions normally will not result in severe actions unless they are repeated and have not been corrected by lesser measures.
Each school will follow procedures consistent with School Board policies to resolve discipline problems. The principal may designate one or more members of the professional staff of the school to carry out the disciplinary powers assigned to the principal by the School Board. The principal, however, shall maintain the final authority and responsibility in matters regarding student conduct. Students shall be informed of the rules and regulations concerning student conduct and the disciplinary procedures of the school. Retaliation against students who participate in LCPS investigations in any capacity is strictly prohibited. Disciplinary codes and administrative responses may be found in this document as well as on the LCPS webpage at https://www.lcps.org/Page/20103.
Dishonesty in Assigned Work
Students are expected to do their own work on all tests, papers, projects, or other assignments to be completed on an individual basis. Students should neither turn in another student’s work as their own, nor give assistance to another student. Any student who turns in another student’s work as their own or who assists or gives their work to another student may be given a grade of zero on that work. The incident will be reported to the principal and the parents. Principals may also establish appropriate school rules to hold violators accountable for these expectations.
Academic dishonesty is not acceptable. Teachers expect that the work created for their class is unique to that assignment and represents the learning of the individual. Turning in previous work or using the work of others and representing it as one’s own is considered plagiarism, a form of cheating, and is similarly prohibited. Plagiarism can take various forms of not giving credit for information and ideas that are used in student work. Students should cite a source when using material from other authors, Internet sites, artificial intelligence (“AI”) resources, electronic print or texts. Key words and phrases reproduced as direct quotes should be indicated with quotation marks. Cited paraphrases and summaries that closely follow a source’s wording or structure may be considered plagiarism if they do not indicate through footnotes or other means the source being cited. Plagiarism is prohibited in all student work, including creative writing, essays, reports, projects, and presentations, whether print, oral, electronic, musical, graphic, or video. While LCPS encourages parents and guardians to support and supervise school work completed at home, the work should be done by the student and not by the assisting parent/guardian. Whether the homework is assigned to practice a skill taught in class or to finish a project begun in class, the teacher uses homework to evaluate the student’s understanding. If the student is assisted at home, the teachers do not have a reliable understanding of the student’s actual level of comprehension or mastery.
Exclusion from Extracurricular Activities
A student may be excluded from participation in some or all extracurricular activities, or attendance at school-sponsored events, when such disciplinary action is appropriate to the misconduct of the student. Such exclusion may be for a fixed period of time or until assurance of acceptable behavior has been obtained. The principal or designee, and the Superintendent and designees, are authorized to exclude students from participation or attendance in accordance with Policy 8350, “Student Activities.” Parents/guardians of any student excluded from participation in extracurricular activities and/or attendance to school-sponsored events shall be notified.
A student may be assigned to Friday/Saturday school by school administrators for violating school rules and regulations. During the assignment period, students may be assigned academic work or work assignments. Students assigned to Friday/Saturday school will be under the supervision of school personnel. The school does not provide transportation to or from Friday/Saturday school. Parents/guardians of any student assigned to Saturday school shall be notified. Failure to attend Friday/Saturday school may result in additional disciplinary action.
In-School Restriction (ISR)
For serious or repeated violations of school rules, a principal or designee may assign a student to ISR at the school. During the period of assignment to ISR, the student may be isolated from normal school activities and may be denied non-instructional/non-curricular school privileges and participation in or attendance at student interscholastic, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. The student may engage in restorative dialogue in order to understand the impact of their behavior, make positive behavior changes, and complete academic assignments. Parents/guardians of the affected student shall be notified of ISR.
Intervention and Counseling
Any licensed employee of the School Board may provide intervention based on progressive discipline measures when a student is observed or otherwise known to have violated a school rule. Support will be provided to students who engage in inappropriate behavior and students who are impacted by inappropriate behavior. School personnel will assist students in understanding how their behavior affects others, developing healthy relationships, and making good choices to continue their learning. For serious or repeated violations of school rules, the employee should also refer the student to the principal for other disciplinary measures and to the Unified Mental Health Team (UMHT) for review of the student’s home life, current situation in school (e.g., grades, disability, attendance, etc.), and possible referral for a functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan.
Removal from Class
After school staff have utilized early intervention strategies, based on positive behavior and restorative discipline, to address and promote appropriate behaviors in the classroom, a student may temporarily be removed by the principal or designee or teacher for improper behavior in any class or activity. If removed from the classroom, the student will be assigned to complete schoolwork or study in another place. Parents/guardians of any student shall be notified if a student is removed from instruction for any discipline action, or for any other reason if it is not related to their Comprehensive Support Plan, Safety Plan, IEP, or BIP.
Removal from School
Conduct which may constitute cause for removal from school shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
- Willful or continued disobedience of school rules and regulations or school personnel;
- Defiance of authority of any teacher, principal, or other person having authority in the school;
- Conduct that endangers or threatens the physical well-being of themselves, other students, or school personnel;
- Physical assault upon another person, including fighting and non-consensual touching;
- Damaging in any way any property of the school or any person;
- Theft or attempted theft of school property or the personal property of another person;
- Participation in unauthorized occupancy of any part of a school building or grounds, presence on any school property in violation of a directive, or failure to leave promptly any school property after having been directed to do so by the principal or other person in charge;
- Use or possession of any weapon or explosives, including fireworks, on school property;
- Cursing, verbal abuse, written abuse, bullying, intimidation, or harassment of another person by electronic means or otherwise as an individual event or a pattern;
- Willful interruption or disruption of any school or part thereof;
- Any threat to bomb, burn, or damage in any manner a school building or other school property, or the property of another person;
- Violation of the alcohol policy;
- Violation of the substance use policy;
- Violation of the policy on use of tobacco or electronic cigarettes;
- Violation of the policy on cellular phones or any personal communication devices;
- Lying or giving false information, verbally or in writing, to a school employee, including forgery or the knowing use of forged writing;
- Failure to abide by restrictions or punishments of a lesser nature;
- Violation of any law of the United States or the Commonwealth while on school property or of any policy for which the prescribed punishment is suspension;
- Unauthorized or illegal use of, or access to, computers, software, telecommunications, and related technologies;
- Any willful act that causes physical, financial, or other harm; or otherwise disrupts technology;
- Participation in a group, mob, or gang activity that involves inciting, intimidating, harassing, threatening, or committing an assault or other act of violence;
- Disruptive behavior; and
- Other good, just, or sufficient cause.
Removal from School for Conduct Not Related to School Activities
As provided for by Virginia Code § 22.1-277.2:1, the Superintendent or designee may require any student who has been charged with an offense relating to Virginia’s laws on weapons, alcohol, drugs, or intentional injury to another person, or has been found guilty or not innocent of a crime relating to Virginia’s laws on weapons, alcohol, drugs, or of a crime which resulted in or could have resulted in injury to others, to attend an alternative education placement. The term “charged” means that a petition or warrant has been filed or is pending against the student. Such alternative education placements include, but are not limited to, adult education, or any other educational program designed to offer instruction to students for whom the regular program of instruction may be inappropriate.
Notification is sent to the Superintendent by the staff of the juvenile court when a student is charged with or found in violation of certain laws as required by Virginia Code § 16.1-260 and § 16.1-305.1. Any student for whom the School Division has received a report of an adjudication of delinquency or a conviction pursuant to Virginia Code § 16.1-305.1 may be assigned to an alternative placement.
Students who commit infractions while on school property, participating in or attending any school-sponsored activity—regardless of its location, including travel to and from an event, going to or returning from school— irrespective of the mode of transportation, or that substantially disrupts school operations, regardless of where such conduct occurred, may be given an opportunity to understand how their behavior affects others in the school community, including students, teachers, and parent/guardians, through a process that directly involves relevant stakeholders to repair the harm caused. With the support of the United Mental Health Team (UMHT), students may participate in “circles,” “peer mediations,” or other “conferences” to allow affected parties to come together in a safe environment to explore how everyone has been affected by an offense and, when possible, to decide how to repair the harm. Principals may use restorative practices in conjunction with, or as part of, other dispositions.
School-Based Community Service
A student may be assigned a non-hazardous school-based community service activity that is restorative and promotes positive student engagement at school and in the community. School-based community service activities may be scheduled before, during, or after the school day, when not in class, lunch, or recess, or on one or more specific non-school dates determined by the school administration and parents/guardians of the student. School-based community service assignments should be made only by the principal or designee or teacher, and the student must properly be supervised during the assigned activity by LCPS staff. Students assigned community service as a disposition will not be allowed to operate machinery, power tools, or equipment that require training. No student shall be assigned a school-based community service activity without approval by the parent/guardian.
Suspension and Expulsion
General Suspension Reminders:
● School Recommendation of Suspension Exceeding 10 Days ‐ Based on the violation for a specific discipline incident, a school‐based administrator may recommend a student’s disposition exceed 10 suspension days.Upon review of the discipline incident, the Office of School Administration may determine that the disposition will change to “Long-Term Suspension, Expulsion, or Suspension Followed by Alternative Placement.”
● If school is closed due to inclement weather or a student holiday
,the suspension shall be extended a like number of days.
When a student is suspended or expelled, the following will be considered and applied as appropriate:
- Allow a student who has been suspended or expelled to complete academic assignments during the period of suspension or expulsion;
- Provide appropriate alternative placements to allow the student to make academic progress;
- Promote access to social‐emotional and/or behavioral supports to assist the student in learning appropriate behaviors before returning to school;
- Outline re‐entry processes for students who are returning to school after a suspension or expulsion;
- Require a readmission conference with the student, parent, principal, counselor, and other relevant support personnel to review the student’s schedule, expectations for behavior, and continuing or new student supports or interventions;
- Require a monitoring process for the student’s academic, behavioral, and social‐emotional progress upon return to school, which may include drug testing;
- Specify any limitations that may be included in a student’s re‐enrollment;
- Address the use of community service;
- Address student and staff participation in a restorative practice; and
- Outline any teacher and/or student preparation for the re‐enrollment of the suspended or expelled student.
Short-Term Suspension from School by the Principal
A student may be suspended by the principal or designee for as many as ten school days for each offense, except as provided in subsection C of Virginia Code § 22.1- 277.07 (re: firearms) or § 22.1-277.08 (re: drugs). Per LCPS Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences,” no student in preschool through grade three will be suspended for more than three school days or expelled from attendance at school, unless: (i) the offense involves physical harm or credible threat of physical harm to others; or (ii) the School Board or Superintendent or their designee finds that aggravating circumstances exist, as defined by the Virginia Department of Education.
Unless the student’s presence poses a continuing danger to persons or property or is an ongoing threat of disruption, an informal hearing by the principal or designee shall be given to the student before a decision to suspend is made. In the informal hearing, the student shall be notified of the reason for possible suspension and, if denied by the student, shall be provided with an explanation of the evidence and an opportunity to explain their version of the incident. When any student is suspended without prior hearing, the hearing shall be held as soon as possible thereafter.
The student’s parents/guardians shall be notified promptly in writing of the reason for suspension, the length of suspension, and the procedure for appeal. If an assistant principal or principal’s designee has assigned the suspension, a parent/guardian may request a Principal Review (per LCPS Policy 8220). The request should be in writing and delivered directly to the principal. In a principal review, the principal will review the incident, actions by school staff, and statements by the student and witness(es). The principal may include a meeting with the student and parent/guardian. If a principal’s review has already been conducted, or the suspension was assigned by the principal, the student’s parents/guardians, or student aged 18 years or older, may petition for a review by the Superintendent’s designee, the Director of School Administration.
The request must be sent within two (2) school days of the date on the suspension letter or the principal’s review determination, whichever is later. The Petition for Review must include the reasons why the decision should be reversed.
The procedures for short-term suspension, including rights of appeal, are contained in Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.”
Disciplinary Action by the Superintendent - Long Term Suspension from School
When, in the judgment of the Superintendent or designee, disciplinary action beyond the authority of the school principal is required, the Superintendent shall implement Long-Term Suspension from School. The Superintendent or designee may suspend a student from school for a period of time longer than ten school days but less than 46 school days. A suspension beyond 45 school days, not to exceed 364 calendar days is permitted if: (i) the offense involves weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury; or (ii) the School Board or Superintendent or designee finds that aggravating circumstances exist, as defined by the Virginia Department of Education, and to include consideration of a student’s disciplinary history.
Long-term suspension is used in cases of serious misconduct or when other measures, including short-term suspension or involuntary transfer, have failed to accomplish a necessary change in student behavior. The procedures for long-term suspension, including rights of appeal, are contained in Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences.”
Students and families have the right to a written notice from the Superintendent’s designee about the conditions of a long‐term suspension and their relevant due process rights. The student has a right to the following:
- A hearing in front of the Superintendent or designee;
- Consideration of a variety of factors aside from the offense itself, among them: age and grade level; the student’s academic and behavioral history; the availability of alternatives; mental health, substance abuse, or special education assessments; and any other relevant matters;
- Appeal to a committee of the School Board of an unfavorable decision and
- Upon appeal to the School Board, a written decision within 30 days.
Schools should provide an academically appropriate alternative education program that permits students serving a long-term suspension to maintain sufficient progress in the curriculum and allow a smooth transition back into the student’s school once the suspension term concludes. Schools should provide opportunities for earlier re‐admittance based on student progress.
Expulsion by the School Board
Expulsion means any disciplinary action imposed by the School Board or a committee thereof, whereby a student is not permitted to attend school and is ineligible for readmission for 365 calendar days after the date of such expulsion. Students may be expelled by a committee of the School Board or the School Board and only in accordance with the procedures set forth in Policy 8220, “Student Disciplinary Consequences,” and the School Board hearing procedure set forth in Policy 8230, “Student Discipline – Appeals and Hearings.” Cause for expulsion may be any serious or repeated acts of misconduct listed under “Prohibited Behaviors.” Expulsion is the most severe disciplinary procedure used in trying to correct student behavior. The procedures followed in recommending expulsion from school, including the right to a hearing before the School Board set forth in Policy 8220.
Students expelled by the School Board may be readmitted only by the School Board upon application for readmission to the Superintendent. Procedures for readmission are contained in Policy 8225, “Re-admission, Exclusion, or Admission of Students.”
Students Expelled or Suspended by Another District or Private School
Students who have been placed in a nontraditional education program or expelled or suspended for more than 30 days by another school board or a private school, either in Virginia or another state, or for whom admission has been withdrawn from any school where the student has been previously enrolled, may be excluded from LCPS. Students expelled or long-term suspended from previous schools will not be considered for admission until such time as they have served the term of the expulsion or long-term suspension as originally imposed. The School Board has the authority to exclude from LCPS any such student upon a finding that the student presents a danger to other students or staff of the School Division. Such exclusion of students from school is in accordance with the procedures of Policy 8225, “Re-Admission, Exclusion or Admission of Students,” and Regulation 8225.
LCPS’s student dress code supports equitable educational access and is written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes and does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.
The student dress code, as outlined in Policy 8270, “Student Dress Code,” supports our goal of inspiring students to learn while leaving primary decisions around student clothing and style to students and their parents/guardians. LCPS expects that parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring student compliance with the school’s dress code, and students are responsible for knowing the student dress code and for complying during school hours and school. Students are responsible for complying with the Division dress code during school and school-sponsored activities. Parents/guardians of students requiring accommodations for religious beliefs, disabilities, or other viable reasons should contact the principal.
All students have a right to adequate and meaningful due process prior to being excluded from school for disciplinary purposes. Schools should ensure that students and families understand school discipline processes and their right to due process.
Due Process Rights for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities are entitled to all the same due process protections as students who do not have disabilities, plus additional protections under federal (e.g., IDEA, ADA) and state law. In brief:
- A short‐term suspension is not considered a “change in placement” for special education purposes, but schools must still provide free and appropriate public education (FAPE) and strive to fulfill the IEP during this suspension.
- A series of short‐term suspensions which aggregate to more than 10 days may be considered a change in placement requiring re-evaluation and procedural protection. This determination must be made by a student’s IEP team, pursuant to applicable change of placement procedures.
- In most cases, students with disabilities cannot be suspended for more than ten school days for conduct that is caused by the disability. Students with disabilities who are long‐term suspended or expelled are entitled to an expedited decision from a due process hearing challenging the disciplinary action.
When a student discovers they accidentally or inadvertently brought a weapon onto school property, the provision of “safe harbor” allows the student to immediately report this to a teacher or administrator and not receive consequences if the weapon has not yet been seen by a teacher, administrator, other school employee, or by another student.
Given the facts of a particular case, special circumstances may exist indicating that disciplinary action, other than suspension and/or expulsion, may be appropriate and may be recommended by the principal. The Superintendent or designee shall conduct a preliminary review of all cases under this policy to determine if disciplinary action other than suspension or expulsion is appropriate.
Student Behavior - Equitable Administrative Responses
Each student is an individual with unique personal, social, and educational needs. As a result, every disciplinary situation should be considered unique while adhering to the Code of Virginia, Virginia Student Behavior and Administrative Responses (SBAR), and the policies of LCPS. LCPS is committed to utilizing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and intervention strategies to promote positive and safe student behavior.
School administrators must find a balance between eliminating disruptive behavior and maximizing student instructional time. Factors to be considered when disciplining a student:
- Seriousness of the behavior and level of harm;
- Student’s age, health, or disability;
- Impact of the incident on the overall school community;
- Student’s understanding of the impact of their behavior;
- Impact of student’s action on the safety of other students or staff;
- Student’s willingness to accept responsibility for behavior and repair harm caused; and
- Student’s prior conduct and disciplinary record.
A basic positive approach to discipline is using consequences as a “teachable moment” to address inappropriate behavior while teaching positive behaviors. The goals of progressive responses are:
- To Increase accountability;
- Bring about behavioral change;
- Prevent recurring negative behavior; and
- Teach students to understand why the behavior is unacceptable and what harm is caused.
Students need to have an understanding of what they could have done differently in the same situation and take responsibility for their actions. They should be given the opportunity to learn positive social strategies and skills so as not to repeat the behaviors while understanding that the responses will increase if the behavior continues. Every effort should be made to correct student negative behaviors through interventions and other school and Division resources and with the least severe disciplinary responses.
The Appeal and Review Processes
Whenever a student receives certain disciplinary consequences, parents/guardians have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process is different depending on the severity of the consequence.
- All in-school discipline dispositions as listed in Policy 8215, “In-School Disciplinary Measures,” where the student will remain in the school building, such as in‐school restriction, after-school detention, and/or Friday/Saturday school, are not appealable. Parents are encouraged, however, to discuss disciplinary actions with the principal of the school.
- For all discipline dispositions where the student will be suspended from the building for 1‐10 days, the student or their parents/guardians may request a review by the building principal if the assistant principal has issued the letter. If the student is suspended from school for 1‐10 days and in cases where the letter is first issued by the principal, the parent may request a review by the Superintendent’s designee, Director, Office of School Administration (OSA). The OSA contact number is: 571‐252‐1570. The decision of the Superintendent’s designee is final. A review of any type does not stop the time-clock of the suspension.
- For all discipline dispositions where the student is recommended to the Superintendent’s designee for suspension for more than 10 days, the student or their parents/guardians may appeal to the Superintendent’s designee, Director, OSA, and request a hearing by the Discipline Committee of the School Board. A review of any type does not stop the time-clock of the 10‐day suspension.
Fighting creates a serious danger to the students involved, to other students, school personnel, and school property. Fighting, while under school authority and/or supervision, will not be tolerated and disciplinary action will be taken against students who engage in or instigate fighting.
As a last resort, students may use physical force to defend themselves from physical aggression from other students or individuals on school property or at school-sponsored activities, provided the student:
- Be without fault in provoking or bringing on the fight or incident;
- Has reasonable fear under the circumstances, as it appeared to them, that they were in danger of harm and the aggressor took at least one overt act indicative of imminent physical danger; and
- Uses no more force than is reasonably necessary to protect themselves from the threatened physical harm.
If a reasonable means of retreat or escape is available to the victim, then the victim shall attempt to flee the altercation prior to engaging in a physical altercation.
Claims of self-defense do not constitute a valid defense against possession or use of a weapon or knife on school property or at any school-sponsored activity. Weapons and knives are prohibited on school property and at school-sponsored events at all times.
In determining the applicability of self-defense, all of the relevant circumstances should be considered in identifying the victim(s). Students claiming self-defense have the burden of proving that the elements of self-defense have been met. If the victim(s) cannot be reasonably determined, then the benefit of self-defense shall not be given to those engaged in the altercation.
Injuries and medical bills or damages to personal property sustained by students engaged in fighting or horseplay will not be paid by LCPS.
Law Enforcement - Roles, Police Reports, and Required Notification
In accordance with Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1 and Policy 8260, “Reporting of Student Conduct,” reports shall be made to the Superintendent and to the principal or designee on all incidents involving:
- The assault and battery, without bodily injury, of any person on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity;
- The assault and battery that results in bodily injury, sexual assault, death, shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding of any person or stalking of any person on a school bus, school property, or at a school-sponsored activity;
- Any conduct involving alcohol, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, a controlled substance, imitation controlled substance, or an anabolic steroid on a school bus, school property or at a school-sponsored activity, including the theft or attempted theft of student prescription medications;
- Any written threats against school personnel while on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity;
- The illegal carrying of a firearm onto school property;
- Any illegal conduct involving firebombs, explosive materials or devices, or hoax explosive devices, or explosive or incendiary devices, or chemical bombs, on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity;
- Any threats or false threats to bomb, as described in Virginia Code § 18.2.83, made against school personnel or involving school property or school buses; or,
- The arrest of any student for an incident occurring on a school bus, on school property or at a school-sponsored activity, including the charges therefore.
Any student who commits a reportable violation shall be required to participate in such prevention and intervention activities as may be prescribed by the Superintendent or designee.
Students violating the law may also be subject to further local, state, and federal laws associated with the violation and its ensuing consequences separate from disciplinary actions that may be determined by the School Division.
School Resource Officer (SRO) is defined in Virginia Code § 9.1‐101 as “a certified law-enforcement officer hired by the local law-enforcement agency to provide law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools.” SROs who are assigned to schools should operate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the roles and responsibilities of the law-enforcement agency, the School Division, and personnel from both. School administrators and teachers are responsible for school discipline. Although SROs are expected to be familiar with the School Division code of student conduct, the rules of individual schools, and their
application in day‐to‐day practice, SROs should not be involved with the enforcement of school rules or disciplinary infractions that are not violations of law.
Roles of Law Enforcement
Law-enforcement officers are not school disciplinarians. The officers’ presence does not reduce the responsibility of teachers and of administrators to enforce school rules and the School Division’s student code of conduct. Classroom management rests with the teacher. Disciplinary responses remain the responsibility of school administrators. The focus of law-enforcement involvement in conduct matters is properly centered on incidents that involve a violation of the law. Additionally, issues that do not present a “clear and imminent” threat of serious physical injury to a student, teacher, or another member of the school community, or are not a violation of the law, should be handled by school personnel and not by SROs, police, other law-enforcement or security officers.
In addition, Virginia Code § 22.1‐279.3:1(B) requires law-enforcement agencies to notify the Superintendent or a principal or designee when a student in their school commits certain offenses that would be a felony if committed by an adult or a violation of the Drug Control Act, or an adult misdemeanor as listed in Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1(A), and whether the student is released to the custody of their parent or, if 18 years of age or more, is released on bond. It further requires that any superintendent who receives notification that a juvenile has committed an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult pursuant to Virginia Code § 16.1‐260 should report the information to the principal of the school in which the juvenile is enrolled.
Required Notification of Certain Offenses to Law-Enforcement Authorities
- The principal or designee of each school collects and maintains information on the
listed acts below which occur on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity. Reports shall be made to the Superintendent or their designee on all incidents involving:
1. Alcohol, marijuana, a controlled substance, an imitation controlled substance,
or an anabolic steroid on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity, including the theft or attempted theft of student prescription medication;
2. The assault and battery that results in bodily injury, sexual assault, death, shooting, stabbing, cutting, or wounding of any person, abduction of any person as described in Virginia Code §§ 18.2-47 or 18.2-48, or stalking of any person as described in Virginia Code §18.2-60.3 on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity;
3. Any written threats against school personnel while on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity;
4. The illegal carrying of a firearm, as defined in Virginia Code § 22.1-277.07, onto school property;
5. Any illegal conduct involving firebombs, explosive materials or devices, or hoax explosive devices, as defined in Virginia Code § 18.2-85, or explosive or incendiary devices, as defined in Virginia Code § 18.2-433.1, or chemical bombs, as described in Virginia Code § 18.2-87.1, on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity; or
6. Any threats or false threats to bomb, as described in Virginia Code §18.2-83, made against school personnel or involving school property or school buses; or
7. The arrest of any student for an incident occurring on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity, including the charges, therefore.
- Except as may otherwise be required by federal law, regulation, or jurisprudence, each
1. Shall immediately report to the local law-enforcement agency any incident
described in subsection (A)(1) that may constitute a felony offense;
2. Shall immediately report to the local law-enforcement agency any incident described in subsections (A)(2) through (6), except that a principal is not required to but may report to the local law-enforcement agency any incident described in subsection (A)(3) committed by a student who has a disability;
3. May report to the local law-enforcement agency any other incident described in section A that is not required to be reported pursuant to subsection 1 or 2; and
4. Shall immediately report any act enumerated in subsections (A)(1) through (4) that
may constitute a criminal offense to the parents of any minor student who is the
specific object of such act. Further, the principal shall report whether the incident has
been reported to local law-enforcement pursuant to this subsection and, if the incident
has been so reported, that the parents may contact local law-enforcement for further
information, if they so desire.
5. The principal or designee reports all incidents required to be reported pursuant to
section A of this policy to the Superintendent. The Superintendent annually reports all
such incidents to the Virginia Department of Education for the purpose of recording the
frequency of such incidents on forms that are provided by the Department and makes
such information available to the public.
C. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 12 (Virginia Code § 16.1-299 et seq.) of
Chapter 11 of Title 16.1, local law-enforcement authorities shall report and the Superintendent
and principal or designee shall receive such reports on offenses, wherever committed, by
students enrolled at the school if the offense would be:
- A felony if committed by an adult;
- A violation of the Drug Control Act (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.), and occurred on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored activity; or
- An adult misdemeanor involving any incidents described in subsection A.
Such report should also provide whether the student is released to the custody of their parent/guardian, or, if 18 years of age or more, is released on bond.
As part of any report concerning an offense that would be an adult misdemeanor involving an incident described in section A, local law-enforcement authorities and attorneys for the Commonwealth shall be authorized to disclose information regarding terms of release from detention, court dates, and terms of any disposition orders entered by the court, to the Superintendent, upon request by the Superintendent, if, in the determination of the law-enforcement authority or attorney for the Commonwealth, such disclosure would not jeopardize the investigation or prosecution of the case.
No disclosures shall be made pursuant to this section in violation of the confidentiality provisions of subsection A of Virginia Code § 16.1-300 or the record retention and redisclosure provisions of Virginia Code § 22.1-288.2. Further, any school superintendent who receives notification that a juvenile has committed an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult pursuant to subsection G of Virginia Code § 16.1-260 shall report such information to the principal of the school in which the juvenile is enrolled.
In order to further memorialize the foregoing provisions of this section, the applicable Virginia Code provisions setting forth local law-enforcement authorities’ reporting requirements to school principals and the Superintendent should be incorporated by reference in future memorandum of understandings (MOUs) between the School Board and local law-enforcement agencies.
Code Requirements for Drug and Weapons Offenses
Virginia Code § 22.1‐277.07 permits, but does not require, the expulsion of any student determined to possess a firearm, destruction device, a firearm muffler or firearm silencer, or a pneumatic gun on school property or at a school-sponsored activity. Virginia Code § 22.1‐277.08, permits, but does not require, the expulsion of students who bring a controlled substance, imitation controlled substance, or marijuana onto school property or to a school‐sponsored event. In addition, in the cases of weapons or drugs, school administrators, pursuant to School Board policy, may consider factors listed in Virginia Code § 22.1‐277.06 in determining special circumstances and may conclude that no disciplinary action or a disciplinary action other than expulsion is appropriate. Students who violate the provisions of Regulation 8240, "Alcohol, Drug, Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes," may be subject to disciplinary measures, including required attendance and participation in the LCPS Nicotine Education or Substance Use Education Class, in-school restriction, short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion–as well as being referred to the Superintendent’s designee for other action.
Students are expected at all times to conduct themselves in accordance with federal, state, and local laws and to obey all policies, rules, and regulations of the School Board and the local school. When a student violates a School Board policy or a school rule, the principal shall take appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with established policy and procedures. Violations of the law will be reported to law-enforcement agencies and to parents/guardians of any student involved. Students who violate the law in LCPS can expect to be prosecuted in court.
Acts of Threats or Physical Violence
The use or threat of violence against another person will not be tolerated. Such acts or threats may result in arrest and criminal prosecution and will result in school disciplinary action, including the possibility of suspension or expulsion. When a student threatens violence toward others or whose behavior may pose a risk to the safety of school staff or students, a threat assessment will be conducted by school officials in accordance with Policy 8290, “Threat Assessment for the Protection of Schools,” and its accompanying Regulation 8290.
Acts of threats or physical violence including, but not limited to, assault, battery, robbery involving force or threat, extortion, fighting, rape, use or possession of any weapon or explosive, as defined by Policy 8235, “Weapons,” and setting off fireworks or smoke bombs. Making bomb threats, or otherwise harming, intimidating, or endangering the physical well-being of any person are also prohibited. Threats against staff, including those via electronic or social media, will also not be tolerated and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Disruption of the School Environment
The environment of each school must be one in which learning can flourish, the security and dignity of each person is protected, and all activities can be conducted in an orderly and productive manner. Disruption that significantly impacts the environment may result in arrest and criminal prosecution. Less serious instances will be subject to school disciplinary procedures. Acts of disruption include, but are not limited to, riotous or disorderly behavior that interrupts or disturbs the school operation; inciting others to behave in a disorderly manner; defiance of the authority of school personnel; verbal abuse or cursing of others; the use of profane, vulgar, lewd, or indecent language or conduct; interruption or disturbance of classes, assemblies, activities, or offices of the school; defacing of property with obscene or offensive words or symbols, or with racial slurs, insults, or religious epithets; harassment or bullying; or failure to leave school premises when directed to do so. Such disruptions are not protected under freedom of speech and will not be tolerated.
Students are expected to give due care to school property provided for their use and education and to respect the property of others. Taking or attempting to take another person’s property or school property or the damage or destruction of another person’s property or school property will result in disciplinary action. Students are also required to reimburse the School Board for any breakage, destruction, or loss of school property.
The property of the school and the personal property of students and school employees must be secure. Criminal acts against property may result in arrest and prosecution; acts of a less serious nature will result in school disciplinary action.
Acts or threats against property include, but are not limited to, destruction, damaging, defacing, stealing, or setting fire to any property of the school or another person, including buildings, furniture, grounds, roadways, parking lots, signs, fences, equipment, instructional materials, automotive vehicles, or personal belongings, as well as the threat of such actions.
The School Board does not provide insurance coverage and will not be responsible for students’ personal property brought to school. Examples of student-owned property include, but are not limited to, radios, Airpods/earbuds, phones, cameras, calculators, laptop computers or tablets, purses, wallets, clothes, jewelry, eyeglasses/contacts, medical/dental devices, hearing aids, books, backpacks, tools, musical instruments, athletic equipment, bicycles, motor vehicles, etc. These items may be covered by the student’s or parent’s/guardian’s homeowner/renter insurance policy, or coverage may be purchased on a voluntary basis for eligible technology equipment through the personal property insurance carrier information provided by the School Board.
Parents/guardians of students causing damage or loss of any School Board property will be assessed and invoiced for the repair or replacement cost of the damaged or lost property.
Students are expected at all times to behave responsibly, to conduct themselves in accordance with all laws, rules, and regulations, and in a manner that contributes to the orderly operation of the school. Personal conduct in violation of law is subject to arrest and prosecution, and violation of school rules and regulations will result in school disciplinary action.
Personal behavior that is prohibited includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Use, possession, or distribution of drugs, alcohol, or other chemical substances that affect the brain or nervous system, or drug-related paraphernalia;
- Being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other chemical substances that affect the brain or nervous system;
- Damaging school property or the personal property of others;
- Forgery, plagiarism, cheating, stealing, or lying;
- Indecent exposure, obscene gestures, or conduct, or bringing inappropriate publications or illustrations to school;
- Sexual contact between students while subject to school authority; and
- Other behaviors as outlined in LCPS Policy and the SR&R.
Prosecution of Juveniles as Adults for Certain Crimes
Virginia Code § 22.1-279.4 requires the School Boards to provide information to students about the laws regarding the prosecution of juveniles as adults. Essentially, the law permits juveniles to be prosecuted as adults under certain circumstances. The Office of the Virginia Attorney General has developed information provided in question-and-answer format that parents/guardians and their students may review to further understand. (See Appendix B).
Questioning by School Officials
School officials have direct responsibility for student behavior as well as school safety and security. That responsibility allows school officials the latitude to question students in an effort to maintain order. Law-enforcement officers will not be involved in the questioning of students as a part
of routine school operations when no evidence suggests a crime has been committed. Retaliation against students who participate in LCPS investigations in any capacity is strictly prohibited.
Questioning by School Officials and Law Enforcement
Per the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed by the School Board, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and Leesburg Police Department, questioning students in the presence of a law-enforcement officer greatly enhances the need to ensure that the student has all of the protections afforded them under the law. School administrators should consider the following questions:
- Is the student able to understand their rights based on the student’s age and development, given the situation?;
- Has a crime been committed?;
- Is the student a suspect in the alleged crime?; and
- Is the student free to leave the interview?
A student who is being questioned in the presence of law enforcement about involvement in a criminal offense should be afforded the same rights as any suspect being interrogated for criminal involvement. The school is a custodial setting and students are not free to leave without permission. This fact enhances the need for students to be advised/aware of their rights prior to and during an interrogation by law enforcement. This will include support from school personnel to ensure that the student fully understands the process and that they are aware of the magnitude of the situation. If, based on their observations and any information provided to law enforcement, law enforcement determines that a student is not able to understand their rights under the law, such student should not be questioned by law enforcement without parental involvement. Students have the right to be informed of any suspension, given specific reasons for the suspension, and offered the opportunity to tell their side of the story before being suspended.
Reporting Requirements for In‐School Restriction for Students with Disabilities
In‐School Restriction (ISR) involves instances in which students are temporarily removed from their regular classrooms for disciplinary purposes, while remaining under the direct supervision of school personnel. By federal definition, an in‐school suspension represents a removal from the student’s IEP determined placement, regardless of whether a student has access to the regular curriculum during the in-school suspension and regardless of whether the student receives their IEP services during the in-school restriction. In‐school restrictions of students with disabilities that are administered as part of a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) are to be reported. Use the following:
- Sanction Code In-School Restriction will be used for reporting all in‐school restrictions;
- The disability code will still be required for students with disabilities;
- An in‐school suspension must be reported even if there was no reportable offense;
- The number of days of the in‐school suspension must be reported.
Virginia Department of Education Student Behavior Categories (see Appendix)
The following behavior categories, as provided by the Virginia Department of Education, are designed to recognize the impact student behavior has on the school environment and learning. They encourage awareness for administrators, teachers, parents, and counselors of students’ social‐emotional development and emphasize the importance of helping students achieve academically and develop SEL competencies.
Category A: Behaviors that Impede Academic Progress (BAP): These behaviors impede academic progress of the student or of students. They are typically indicative of the student’s lack of self‐management or self-awareness. Sometimes, the student may need help in understanding how the behavior impacts others so training in social awareness may also be indicated.
Category B: Behaviors Related to School Operations (BSO): These behaviors interfere with the daily operation of school procedures. Students exhibiting these behaviors may need to develop self‐management, self‐awareness, or social awareness skills.
Category C: Relationship Behaviors (RB): These behaviors create a negative relationship between two or more people that does not result in physical harm. Relationship behaviors affect the whole school community in that the school climate is often a reflection of how people treat one another. Students who exhibit difficulty with relationship behaviors may also have difficulty with the other social‐emotional competencies.
Category D: Behaviors that Present a Safety Concern (BSC): These behaviors create unsafe conditions for students, staff, and visitors to the school. The underlying reasons for this type of behavior may lie in any of the social‐emotional competencies so the administrator should investigate the underlying motivation for the student’s behavior. Training in social awareness and decision‐making are usually indicated in any behavior that creates a safety concern.
Category E: Behaviors that Endanger Self or Others (BESO): These behaviors endanger the health, safety, or welfare of either the student or others in the school community. Behaviors that rise to this level of severity are often complex. While they are indicative of poor decision‐making skills, students who exhibit these behaviors may also have developmental needs in the other social‐emotional competencies.
Category F: Persistently Dangerous Behaviors (PD): Behaviors described in the Virginia’s Unsafe School Choice Option Policy required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Level 1-6
Intervention Responses to Student Behaviors
Interventions are aimed to teach and correct alternative behavior to support a safe and respectful learning environment and ensure student academic and behavioral success. When working with students, it is important to remember that all behavior serves a function and has communicative intent. If the students’ needs are not met in an appropriate manner, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to be available for learning. Thus, consultation of the crisis cycle is an important component to support staff in preventing, intervening, and de-escalating behavior.
The categories are a means to sorting behaviors in order to apply administrative responses to student behaviors. The following is a list of the Level 1-6 administrative responses and their general descriptions:
LEVEL 1: Interventions and Responses: Level 1 responses are intended to prevent further behavioral issues while keeping the student in school. Documented parental notification is required.
LEVEL 2: Interventions and Responses: When Level 1 is Ineffective or Severity of Incident Warrants: Administrative responses and interventions at Level 2 are designed to prevent further behavioral issues and keep the student in school. Depending upon the severity of the behavior, short-term removal of the student from the classroom may be appropriate. Documented parental notification is required.
LEVEL 3: Referral to Administrator (Assistant Principal or Principal) Interventions and Responses: Depending upon the severity, chronic nature of the behavior and/or safety concerns, Level 3 behaviors may result in the student’s short-term removal from school. Documented parental notification is required.
LEVEL 4: Referral to Administrator Level Interventions and Responses: Some Level 4 behaviors require a report to the superintendent or superintendent’s designee as outlined in Virginia Code § 22.1-279.3:1. Local school board policy may require additional reporting. A referral to the Superintendent or designee does not automatically result in a long-term suspension, change of placement, or expulsion. After a review of the incident in context, the Superintendent or designee may return students to the comprehensive setting with additional supports and/or responses to be implemented. Documented Parental notification is required.
LEVEL 5: Referral to Administrator with Possible Responses Beyond Suspension: Student is severely disrupting the learning environment of the school or severity of behavior warrants a more intensive response. Office referral and documented parent notification required.
LEVEL 6: Referral to Administrator with Possible Responses Beyond Suspension or Involvement of Office for School Administration.
Appendix A - Virginia Compulsory School Attendance Law (Va. Code § 22.1-254)
A. Except as otherwise provided in this article, every parent, guardian, or other person in the Commonwealth having control or charge of any child who will have reached the fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and who has not passed the eighteenth birthday shall, during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools, send such child to a public school or to a private, denominational, or parochial school or have such child taught by a tutor or teacher of qualifications prescribed by the Board of Education and approved by the division superintendent, or provide for home instruction of such child as described in Virginia Code § 22.1-254.1.
As prescribed in the regulations of the Board of Education, the requirements of this section may also be satisfied by sending a child to an alternative program of study or work/study offered by a public, private, denominational, or parochial school or by a public or private degree-granting institution of higher education. Further, in the case of any five-year-old child who is subject to the provisions of this subsection, the requirements of this section may be alternatively satisfied by sending the child to any public educational pre-kindergarten program, including a Head Start program, or in a private, denominational, or parochial educational pre-kindergarten program.
Instruction in the home of a child or children by the parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of such child or children shall not be classified or defined as a private, denominational or parochial school.
The requirements of this section shall apply to (i) any child in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Corrections who has not passed his eighteenth birthday and (ii) any child whom the division superintendent has required to take a special program of prevention, intervention, or remediation as provided in subsection C of Virginia Code § 22.1-253.13:1 and in § 22.1-254.01. The requirements of this section shall not apply to (a) any person 16 through 18 years of age who is housed in an adult correctional facility when such person is actively pursuing the achievement of a passing score on a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education but is not enrolled in an individual student alternative education plan pursuant to subsection E, and (b) any child who has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent, a certificate of completion, or has achieved a passing score on a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education, or who has otherwise complied with compulsory school attendance requirements as set forth in this article.
B. A school board shall excuse from attendance at school:
- Any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious
training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school. For purposes of this subdivision, “bona fide religious training or belief” does not include essentially political, sociological or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code; and
- On the recommendation of the juvenile and domestic relations district court of
the county or city in which the pupil resides and for such period of time as the court deems appropriate, any pupil who, together with his parents, is opposed to attendance at a school by reason of concern for such pupil’s health, as verified by competent medical evidence, or by reason of such pupil’s reasonable apprehension for personal safety when such concern or apprehension in that pupil’s specific case is determined by the court, upon consideration of the recommendation of the principal and division superintendent, to be justified.
C. Each local school board shall develop policies for excusing students who are absent
by reason of observance of a religious holiday. Such policies shall ensure that a student shall
not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award, or of the
right to take an alternate test or examination, for any which he missed by reason of such
absence, if the absence is verified in a manner acceptable to the school board.
D. A school board may excuse from attendance at school:
- On recommendation of the principal and the division superintendent and with the written consent of the parent or guardian, any pupil who the school board determines, in accordance with regulations of the Board of Education, cannot benefit from education at such school; or
- On recommendation of the juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city in which the pupil resides, any pupil who, in the judgment of such court, cannot benefit from education at such school.
E. Local school boards may allow the requirements of subsection A to be met under the
- For a student who is at least 16 years of age, there shall be a meeting of the student, the student’s parents, and the principal or designee of the school in which the student is enrolled in which an individual student alternative education plan shall be developed in conformity with guidelines prescribed by the Board, which plan must include:
- Career guidance counseling;
- Mandatory enrollment and attendance in a preparatory program for passing a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education or other alternative education program approved by the local school board with attendance requirements that provide for reporting of student attendance by the chief administrator of such preparatory program or approved alternative education program to such principal or his designee;
- Mandatory enrollment in a program to earn a Board of Education-approved career and technical education credential, such as the successful completion of an industry certification, a state licensure examination, a national occupational competency assessment, or the Virginia workplace readiness skills assessment;
- Successful completion of the course in economics and personal finance required to earn a Board of Education-approved high school diploma;
- Counseling on the economic impact of failing to complete high school; and
- Procedures for re enrollment to comply with the requirements of subsection A.
2. A student for whom an individual student alternative education plan has been
granted pursuant to this subsection and who fails to comply with the conditions of such plan shall be in violation of the compulsory school attendance law, and the division superintendent or attendance officer of the school division in which such student was last enrolled shall seek immediate compliance with the compulsory school attendance law as set forth in this article.
3. Students enrolled with an individual student alternative education plan shall be
counted in the average daily membership of the school division.
F. A school board may, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article 3 (§ 22.1-276.01 et seq.) of Chapter 14 and upon a finding that a school-age child has been (i) charged with an offense relating to the Commonwealth’s laws, or with a violation of school board policies, on weapons, alcohol or drugs, or intentional injury to another person; (ii) found guilty or not innocent of a crime that resulted in or could have resulted in injury to others, or of an offense that is required to be disclosed to the superintendent of the school division pursuant to subsection G of §16.1-260; (iii) suspended pursuant to § 22.1-277.05; or (iv) expelled from school attendance pursuant to § 22.1-
G. Whenever a court orders any pupil into an alternative education program, including a program preparing students for a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education, offered in the public schools, the local school board of the school division in which the program is offered shall determine the appropriate alternative education placement of the pupil, regardless of whether the pupil attends the public schools it supervises or resides within its school division.
The juvenile and domestic relations district court of the county or city in which a pupil resides or in which charges are pending against a pupil, or any court in which charges are pending against a pupil, may require the pupil who has been charged with (i)a crime that resulted in or could have resulted in injury to others, (ii) a violation of Article 1 (§ 18.2-77 et seq.) of Chapter 5 of Title 18.2, or (iii) any offense related to possession or distribution of any Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances to attend an alternative education program, including, but not limited to, night school, adult education, or any other education program designed to offer instruction to students for whom the regular program of instruction may be inappropriate.
This subsection shall not be construed to limit the authority of school boards to expel, suspend, or exclude students, as provided in §§ 22.1-277.04, 22.1-277.05, 22.1-277.06, 22.1- 277.07, and 22.1-277.2. As used in this subsection, the term “charged” means that a petition or warrant has been filed or is pending against a pupil.
H. Within one calendar month of the opening of school, each school board shall send to the parents or guardian of each student enrolled in the division a copy of the compulsory school attendance law and the enforcement procedures and policies established by the school board.
I. The provisions of this article shall not apply to:
- Children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases while suffering from such diseases;
- Children whose immunizations against communicable diseases have not been completed as provided in § 22.1-271.2;
- Children under 10 years of age who live more than two miles from a public school unless public transportation is provided within one mile of the place where such children live;
- Children between the ages of 10 and 17, inclusive, who live more than 2.5 miles from a public school unless public transportation is provided within 1.5 miles of the place where such children live; and
- Children excused pursuant to subsections B and D.
Further, any child who will not have reached his sixth birthday on or before September 30 of each school year whose parent or guardian notifies the appropriate school board that he does not wish the child to attend school until the following year because the child, in the opinion of the parent or guardian, is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, may delay the child’s attendance for one year.
The distances specified in subdivisions 3 and 4 of this subsection shall be measured or determined from the child’s residence to the entrance to the school grounds or to the school bus stop nearest the entrance to the residence of such children by the nearest practical routes which are usable for walking or riding. Disease shall be established by the certificate of a reputable practicing physician in accordance with regulations adopted by the Board of Education.
LCPS Compulsory Attendance Policy (Policy 8120)
The Virginia compulsory attendance law requires that every child who will have reached the age of five years on or before September 30 of the school year and has not reached the age of eighteen shall regularly attend school unless exempt by law or excused by the School Board.
A. Compulsory Attendance.
- Student Responsibility. A student is entitled to a free, public education under the laws of the Commonwealth. To obtain the benefits of this free education; however, a student must be in regular attendance, as stated in the Code of Virginia § 22.1-254. The School Board fully endorses the concept of compulsory attendance. To ensure regular attendance, LCPS Attendance Officers will investigate and collaborate with school staff to enforce compliance.
- Parent/Guardian Responsibility.
- Parents, guardians or other persons having control or charge of the child are responsible for ensuring that the child attend school or receive instructions as provided by Virginia Code § 22.1-254.1, which outlines the requirements for home instruction, also known as home schooling as defined in Policy 8080, “Home Instruction.”
- Any person having control or charge of any child who permits the child to remain at home, and not attend school, shall be subject to prosecution under state law unless exempt per section B of the policy or § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia.
- Children who are nonresidents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but who are temporarily living with a relative or others in Loudoun County for a period of sixty days or more, are required by state law to attend school. Persons having charge of such children must enroll them in school and must pay tuition for such children, as provided in Policy 8125, Admission Requirements, and Policy 4010, “Tuition Fees”, or must return them to their parents or legal guardians in the state or country in which they reside.
B. Exemptions from Compulsory Attendance
- Kindergarten Exemptions
a. Any child who has not reached the age of six years by September 30 and whose parent or guardian notifies the School Board that they do not wish the child to attend school until the following year because the child, in the opinion of the parent or guardian, is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, may delay the child's attendance for one year.
b. Any child who enrolls in kindergarten, and is later withdrawn, may be exempted from compulsory attendance until the following year with a recommendation from the principal, written consent by the parent or guardian and approval by the School Board.
- Other Exemptions. Students who are subject to compulsory attendance requirements may be released or excused from attendance under certain conditions prescribed by the Code of Virginia § 22.1-254.
- The student, together with their parents or legal guardians, have indicated that they have bona fide religious training or beliefs that are conscientiously opposed to attendance at school, “bona fide religious training or belief” does not include essentially political, sociological or philosophical views or a merely personal moral code,
- On the recommendation of the juvenile and domestic relations district court for such period of time as the court deems appropriate as prescribed by Virginia Code § 22.1-254 (B) 2 and § 22.1-254 (D) 2, or
- The School Board may determine that the student cannot benefit from an education based on the recommendation of the Principal and Superintendent or designee and with written consent from the parent or legal guardian,
C. Procedure for Obtaining Release.
- Parents, or legal guardians, who seek the release of their child from compulsory attendance shall do so in writing to the principal of the school the student attends, stating the reasons for their request. The principal shall forward the request to the Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Student Services along with their recommendation
- If the principal initiates the recommendations for release, they shall obtain the consent of the parents or legal guardians in writing and send their recommendation and the parents' consent to the Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Student Services. Such requests and recommendations shall be presented to the School Board at a regular meeting with the Division Superintendent’s recommendation.
Appendix B Prosecution of Juveniles as Adults for Certain Crimes
Who is a juvenile? Section 16.1-228 of the Code of Virginia defines a juvenile as “a person less than 18 years of age.” Section 16.1-269.1 of the Code of Virginia permits juveniles, 14 years of age or older at the time of an alleged offense, to be prosecuted as adults for specific crimes under certain circumstances. This process is called a transfer to the appropriate circuit court for trial as an adult.
How is the age of the juvenile calculated? Section 16.1-241 of the Code of Virginia provides that for the purpose of transferring a juvenile to circuit court for trial as an adult, the child must have been age 14 or older at the time of the offense.
Under what circumstances does the law permit the transfer of juveniles for trial as adults? The Code of Virginia permits the transfer of juveniles for trial as adults under three specific circumstances. Following is a description of each circumstance and the procedure that is followed in order to determine whether the student is transferred to circuit court.