The School Committee reconizes that as telecommunications and other new technologies shift the ways that information may be accessed, communicated and transferred by members of the society, those changes may also alter instruction and student learning. The School Committee generally supports access by students to rich information resources along with the development by staff of appropriate skills to analyze and evaluate such resources. All users, including students, teachers, support staff, and administrators are covered by this policy and are expected to be familiar with it provisions.
Bully Prevention and Intervention Plan
The Lawrence Public Schools? Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan was developed in consultation with teachers, administrators, school nurses, counselors, parents, police department representatives, students, and community representatives. The district is committed to providing all students with a safe learning environment that is free from bullying and cyber bullying. This committment is an integral part of our comprehensive efforts to promote learning, and to prevent and eliminate all forms of bullying and other harmful and disruptive behavior that can impede the learning process. This Plan is the district?s blueprint for enhancing capacity to prevent and respond to issues of bullying within the context of other healthy school initiatives. As part of the process, the planning group assessed the adequacy of current programs, reviewed current policies and procedures, reviewed data on bullying and behavioral incidents and assessed available resources including curricula, training programs, and behavioral health services.
The discipline code meets the intent of Massachusetts Laws and the Sate Board of Education REgulations which require each school and School committee to adopt a set of rules and regulations designed to maintain order and scipline necessary for effective learning. The School Committee's primary concern is to provide all students with a safe and caring learning environment, which fosters academic, behavioral, and social-emotional development. The sole objective of this code is to ensure fair, equitable, and consistent handling of disciplinary problems and is intended to standardize procedures and equally guarantee the rights of every student in the Lawrence Public Schools. It also reflects expressed concern on the part of the community.
Drug-Free Schools Policy
The Lawrence Public School district is committed to providing a drug and alcohol free learning environment and workplace. Drug and/or alcohol use at school or in connection with schoolsponsored activities on or off school grounds threaten the health and safety of our students and our employees and adversely affect the educational mission of the school district. The use of illicit drugs and the unlawful possession and use of alcohol are harmful to an individual’s health and well-being in addition to being illegal.
Educational Philosophy Policy
It remains the philosophy of the Lawrence Public Schools to educate its children to realize their total physical, social, emotional and intellectual potential -- to make them responsible contributing citizens, adaptive to their environment and capable of changing it where change would benefit themselves and their community.
Emergency Closings Policy
The Superintendent shall have the authority to close the schools or dismiss them early when severe weather or other emergencies threaten the safety of the children and staff members. In making this decision, he/she will check with the Director of Facilities and Plant Management, Transportation Manager, and other knowledgeable authorities.
Facilities Rental Policy
The School Committee believes that its schools are "owned" by the citizens of Lawrence and as such, community use of school facilities is to be encouraged. However, given the level of responsibility in opening the schools to the public, the Committee shall establish specific rules, regulations, and procedures which all such non-school groups must adhere to in order to use school buildings and/or school grounds. Such rules, regulations, and procedures may include: strict limitations on timely notification, the collection of monetary deposits and fees, requirements to hire police, custodians, or other supervisory staff, or other restrictions which the School Committee or the Superintendent of Schools may from time to time promulgate. Smoking and alcoholic beverages shall not be allowed in any school facility or on school grounds.
High School Attendance Policy
The Lawrence Public Schools recognizes that regular attendance in class, participation in class activities and interaction between student and teacher are an essential and integral part of the learning process. Classroom participation is vital to the instructional process and must be considered in evaluating the performance and content mastery of students.
The Lawrence School Committee is committed to a policy of non-discrimination in relation to race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. This policy shall prevail in all of its policies concerning staff, students, educational programs and agencies, and with individuals with whom the School Committee does business.
Safe Schools Policy
The Lawrence Public Schools shall maintain a safe and nurturing educational environment where students and others can meet and recreate without fear. The Lawrence Public Schools will not tolerate violence or injury to staff or students, nor will weapons (as defined in Weapons in Schools Policy) be tolerated at any school activity or on any school district property. The Lawrence Public Schools Committee policies pertaining to school safety and student discipline shall be fairly and firmly enforced, criminal misconduct shall be reported to the proper law enforcement authority, and school district staff shall cooperate with any subsequent criminal prosecution. The provisions of M.G.L. 71:37H & 71:37L, prohibiting firearms on school property shall be strictly enforced.
School Leadership Team Policy
The School Committee believes that the school is the key unit for educational improvement and change and that successful school improvement is best accomplished through a school-based decision-making process. By involving those directly affected by any action or decision of the School Leadership Team in the process of determining that action or decision, it helps to strengthen the commitment to those decisions by those most affected by its implementation.
Tobacco-Free Schools Policy
The Lawrence School Committee endorses the philosophy that every student, staff person and visitor to a School Department facility ought to have the right to breath clean air. Scientists have now identified passive smoking, the smoke that nonsmokers involuntarily inhale, as a contributing factor in the leading causes of avoidable fatal illness, such as heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and chronic pulmonary disease. Passive smoking kills more people per year than all other carcinogens currently regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency combined.
The major purpose of school transportation is to get students who live an unreasonable walking distance from home to school and back in an efficient, safe, and economical manner. Other purposes include the provision of transportation for academic field trips in direct support of the curriculum, and transportation for the support of the co-curricular program (e.g., athletics, music, drama, and the like.)
An overwhelming majority of parents and community members have urged the District to adopt a uniform policy as a means of countering the influence of gangs, minimizing disruption and improving the learning environment. In particular, the District views safety in the schools as a top priority. The incidence of violence or theft due to the clothing a student wears to school (gang colors for example) is increasing as is the incidence of intruders in the schools who are disrupting the learning process. The use of school uniforms helps to improve school safety, enhance the learning environment, reduce race and ethnic tensions, promote good behavior, increase children's self-esteem and produce cost savings for participating families.
Many schools have designed programs tailoring the delivery of instructional services to the diverse needs of students in their neighborhood; however, there are instances where an individual student desires an instructional program offered in another school. While innovation within schools is strongly encouraged, this policy provides an orderly process for transfers between schools to meet the needs of parents and students. Transfers may be requested to meet the educational, medical, safety, social-emotional or other special needs of students and their families.
Wireless Access Policy
Due to the increasing demands for wireless access to LPS network, this policy acts as an addendum to the General Acceptable Use Police by including specific information regarding the use of wireless networking and Internet access. Please note that many items listed here may already be in the General Acceptable Use Policy for the redundant purposes. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to let us know. This policy is designed to protect wireless users and to prevent inappropriate use of wireless network access that may expose LPS to multiple risks including viruses, network attacks and various administrative and legal issues.
Head Injuries and Concussions
The Lawrence School Committee supports lifelong healthy eating habits and positive physical activity for all students and staff in the Lawrence Public Schools. The School Committee is committed to addressing the increasing rates of diet-related health consequences among these groups ensuring that the Lawrence Public Schools takes a comprehensive approach to reviewing and incorporating changes in policy, curriculum and operating procedures to promote healthy lifestyles and appropriate nutritional practices for all students. In doing so, the Lawrence Public Schools recognizes the important relationship between wellness and academic success. Using Section 204 of Public Law 111-296: Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act and the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Education, the following approach will guide our efforts.