Policy JI: Student Rights and Responsibilities

The following statement of rights and responsibilities has been developed by the Student School Committee and is approved by the Regional School Committee. We believe these to be the inalienable rights of the student. With the exercise of these rights, the student accepts the responsibility to allow their similar exercise by all others in the school community.

  1. School Policy and Regulations: The School Committee is legally responsible for the establishment of school policy. However, the School Committee recognizes that in the formulation of policy, it will give due consideration for the needs and desires of students. The School Committee, professional staff, students and student government will work cooperatively within the limitations prescribed by the law in the establishment of school regulations.

  2. Publication of Rules and Regulations: All rules and regulations of the school system, and the procedures for amendment, appeal and recall of these regulations will be readily available to students, parents, school staff, and to all other interested or affected parties. Orientation programs and free student handbooks will provide this information in clear and understandable language. Responsibility for the enforcement of these rules will be clearly defined in the same manner, if not at the same time. Any changes will be widely publicized in both school and community media.

  3. Disciplinary Measures: Students have the right to an education and to equality of educational opportunity. Disciplinary measures that deprive them of this right will be utilized only in extreme cases. These measures shall be fair and consistent, and will be resorted to only when the student infringes upon the rights of others. Suspension will be implemented only after notification of parents and a specific period of time will be stated. Following suspension, a parent conference should be held as soon as possible to resolve the situation. Students shall have the opportunity for striking the suspension from the record, if later proved unwarranted. Provisions for striking this information from the record will be formulated by the school administration.

  4. Student Problems and Complaints: Local schools will establish a clearly defined and publicized procedure for the consideration of student problems and the processing of student complaints. This process should be developed cooperatively between the students and the professional staff, insuring reasonableness and fairness.

  5. Student Governments: Students are free to establish student governments that provide all students, through a representative system, a voice in school affairs. All registered students are eligible to hold office.

  6. Development of Curriculum: Students have the right to participate in development of the educational process in their schools. Professional staff should solicit student suggestions and recommendations concerning curricular offerings. Students are encouraged to participate in discussions with building curriculum committees. The needs and interests of all students should be considered in developing curriculum offerings.

  7. Views and Opinions of Students: Students shall have the opportunity to investigate different views related to educational topics and materials introduced or presented. Teachers will, at all times, attempt to protect the rights of individuals to form and hold differing views and opinions. The teacher is responsible to permit the expression of the views and opinions of others, and to encourage students to examine, analyze, and evaluate all available information about such topics and materials.

  8. Exercise of Free Speech, Petition and Assembly: Students may exercise their rights of free speech, petition, and assembly as long as they do not interfere with the educational process. School newspapers, yearbooks, literary magazines, and other publications have the right of freedom of the press subject to the existing laws of libel and obscenity. Distribution of other non-school sponsored student publications on school premises will be regulated by the Superintendent.

  9. Tests or Questionnaires Administered by Agencies Outside the School System: Students shall be fully informed of the nature of any tests or questionnaires administered by persons or agencies outside the school system, and shall have the right to decline to take such tests.

  10. Activities of Students Outside of School Functions: The activities of students other than at school functions, carried on entirely outside of normal hours and off school premises, are not the responsibility of the school and no student will be penalized because of such outside activities.

  11. Review of Students’ School Records: Every student and his/her parents have the right to review the student’s school records at any time. This should be in the presence of a counselor or his designee for interpretive information and to advise. This will apply to all materials inserted in the record. Except for specific court requests, only academic and attendance information should be released to requesting agencies, and only with the approval of the student and/or his/her parents.

LEGAL REF:

MGL 71:37H , 71:82 through 71:86

Region Voted to Approve: 7/19/83
Amherst Voted to Approve:
Pelham Voted to Approve:
Effective Date: 7/19/83
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