Section 1000 Community / School Relations
- 1000 School - Community Relations Program
- 1140 Distribution of Materials
- 1210 Parent – Teacher Organizations
- 1312 Public Complaints
- 1316 Conduct on School Property
- 1325 Advertising and Promotion
- 1330 Use of School Facilities
- 1340 Possession of Deadly Weapons or Firearms
- 1350 Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies
- 1360 School Volunteers, Student Interns and Other Non-Employees
1000 School-Community Relations Program
The Board believes that public education can be improved to result in increased instructional benefits for students by establishment of a program of school communications. This belief is based on the principle that a well-informed community makes the best decisions about its schools.
To that end . . .
- The community relations program should be a planned, systematic, two-way process of communication between the school district and its stakeholders.
- The communication program should include a variety of media to inform, efficiently and effectively, all citizens of the district.
- Communications must be internal as well as external and must stress the dissemination of factual, objective, and realistic data about the district.
- Communication must be dynamic and sensitive to change as determined by events and evaluation of the school programs.
The Superintendent shall be responsible for developing guidelines for implementation of these strategies as expressed in this policy statement.
Date Adopted: January 18, 1994
1140 Distribution of Materials
In order to ensure no exploitation of students or staff and to minimize disruption to the educational process, the Board of Education distributes materials electronically to the parents / guardians of students. Materials which are distributed must relate to school,
community, educational or civic activities.
The Superintendent or designee approves distribution of materials meeting the aforementioned criteria for parent / teacher organizations, district committees / councils, and / or Madison-based community organizations. The Superintendent or designee also approves distribution of all other materials meeting the aforementioned criteria from groups or individuals not connected with the Madison Public Schools.
Connecticut General Statutes
9-369 Explanatory test relating to local questions
9-369b Explanatory text related to lead question. Expenditures of state and municipal funds to influence vote prohibited. Exception. Civil penalty. (as amended by PA 00-92, PA 04-117 and PA 13-247 )
Date of Adoption: September 19, 1991
Date of Revision: April 28, 2020
1210 Parent – Teacher Organizations
The Madison Board of Education is committed to the concept of community involvement in the schools. This concept permeates throughout the Madison School System and encourages and necessitates community input, recognizing that the responsibility for making decisions has been delegated by the people to the Board of Education and those empowered to carry out their policies.
It is the position of the Board of Education that students benefit from active parent-teachers organizations throughout their entire K-12 experience. A goal of the Madison Public Schools is equity of educational opportunity and cooperation among parent-teacher organizations is encouraged.
Parent-teacher organizations are encouraged to be a source of information and advocates of policies, programs and goals that have been adopted by the Board of Education. They are a primary source of communication between the home and school.
The Board of Education has established the following guidelines for Board of Education recognition of parent-teacher organizations:
- There shall only be one parent-teacher organization recognized by the Board of Education in each school as determined by majority vote of the parents/legal guardians and teachers of students in the school.
- By-laws and organizational structure shall be determined by each parent-teacher organization.
- Membership must be open to all parents/guardians and teachers in the school community and, where applicable, all students in the school.
- All membership meetings held in the Madison Public Schools shall be held in public forum.
- It shall be expected that the administrators will maintain a continual dialogue with parent-teacher organizations and parents in general through meetings and other vehicles of communication on all matters of educational significance including, but not limited to:
- Curriculum and Student Achievement
- Student Activities
- School Rules
- Grading and Attendance Policies
- Budget and Facilities
- Safety and Discipline Policies
- Volunteers in schools
- Fund Raising (See Policy #3280)
- Broader based District Issue
- Administrators may distribute parent-teacher organization information to parents via the children which:
- Is of general public interest
- Promotes the education or other best interests of the pupils.
- Is informational in nature.
- Is based on established facts.
- Does not promote a supporting or negative vote.
- Parent-teacher organizations shall follow Board of Education policy where applicable.
- The parent-teacher organization cannot obligate the Board of Education to any current or future expenditure or to involvement in a particuar program.
District Parent Council:
At the discretion of the superintenent, a district-wide parents council may be organized to enhance the strength of the school district through communication and cooperation. The Superintendent will establish the method of selecting representatives to this council.
The Madison Board of Education welcomes constructive criticism of the school system when it is motivated by the desire to improve the quality of educational programs and operations. The Madison Public Schools have implemented systems for the evaluation and professional development of staff, as well as for the monitoring of curriculum. The Board therefore has confidence in the professionalism of its staff and the value of its curriculum, and recognizes its responsibility to protect the district from unnecessary or negative criticism.
The Board advises the public that complaints about the schools should be addressed to the most immediate level at which problems can be resolved. Parents and other members of the community should be made aware of the proper channels of communication and appeal. Complaints concerning Board actions or operations shall be dealt with directly at the Board level.
The Administration shall develop procedures for receiving and responding to complaints, in a prompt and courteous manner. If resolution of the problem is not possible or satisfactory at the building level, the matter may be referred or appealed to the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee. The Board of Education will consider hearing citizen complaints only when they cannot be resolved by the Superintendent. Complaints that have reached the level of the Superintendent or the Board must be submitted in writing and signed.
In addition to the process outlined above, the following guidelines will also apply to these specific areas of complaint:
Educational materials and subject matter:
Procedures for handling criticism of approved materials and subject matter will include a signed complaint form, and a committee to review and re-evaluate the material(s) in question in a timely manner. The Director of Curriculum and Instruction and a representative from the Board of Education will be included in such committees. Challenged materials may remain in use in the schools, pending final disposition of the complaint.
The decision to retain or reject shall take into consideration the educational value of the materials and/or subject matter, as well as the challenge to academic and personal freedoms.
In accordance with State statutes, no student in the Madison Public Schools shall be required to participate in any family life or AIDS education program, either in its entirety or any portion thereof. A written request must be submitted by the parent / guardian to the building principal in order to exempt a student from such a program. In addition, a parent / guardian may request in writing to the building principal that their child not be required to read or view specific educational materials. The approval of the Superintendent is required for such an exemption.
The Board of Education will hear complaints about employees of the Madison Public Schools in executive session, when requested in writing by the Superintendent or the employee. Complaints about the Superintendent of Schools must be signed and submitted directly to the Board in writing. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, the employee must be notified of such a hearing, and afforded the opportunity to hold the session with the Board in public. All parties involved, including appropriate administrators, will be requested to attend the hearing for the purpose of presenting and clarifying the facts.
(cf. 6130.2.2 Exemptions from Instruction)
(cf. 6130.7 Animal Dissection – Dissection Alternatives)
(cf. 6144.2 Reevaluation of Challenged Instructional Materials and Library Media Center Resources)
Keyishian v. Board of Regents 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967)
President's Council, District 25 v. Community School Board No. 25 457 F.2d
289 (1972), cert. denied 409 U.S. 998 (1976)
Minarcini v. Strongsville City School District, 541 F. 2d 577 (6th Cir. 1976).
Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982).
Academic Freedom Policy (adopted by Connecticut State Board of Education, 9/9/81).
Connecticut General Statutes
10-238 Petition for hearing by board of education.
Date of adoption: September 19, 1991
Technical Revision: March 21, 2006
1316 Conduct on School Property
The Board of Education expects mutual respect, civility and orderly conduct among all individuals on school property or at school events. District staff will treat parents and other members of the public with respect and expect the same in return. The Board is committed to maintaining orderly educational and administrative processes in keeping schools and administrative offices free from disruptions and preventing unauthorized persons from entering school/district grounds.
This policy promotes mutual respect, civility and orderly conduct among Board members, district employees, parents and the public. It is not intended to deprive any individual of his/her right to freedom of expression, but only to maintain to the extent possible and reasonable, a safe, harassment-free environment for students and staff.
In the interest of presenting Board members and District employees as positive role models to the students as well as to the community, the Board encourages positive communication and discourages volatile, hostile or aggressive actions. The Board seeks public cooperation with this endeavor.
Based upon the above, the Board expects that no person on school property or at a school event shall:
- Injure, threaten, harass or intimidate any other person;
- Damage or threaten to damage another’s property;
- Damage or deface District property;
- Violate any Connecticut law or town/city ordinance;
- Smoke or otherwise use tobacco products;
- Consume, possess, distribute, or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, or possess dangerous instruments or weapons;
- Impede, delay, or otherwise interfere with the orderly conduct of the District’s educational program or any other activity occurring on school property;
- Enter upon any portion of the school premises at any time for purposes other than those which are lawful and authorized by the Board;
- Operate a motor vehicle in a risky manner or in violation of an authorized District employee’s directive; or
- Violate other District policies or regulations or an authorized District employee’s directive.
Any individual who disrupts or threatens to disrupt normal school or office operations; threatens the health and safety of students or staff; willfully causes property damage; uses loud or offensive language which could provoke a violent reaction; or who has otherwise established a continued pattern of unauthorized entry on District property, will be directed to leave the premises by a member of the administrative staff or his/her designee.
If any member of the public uses obscenities or speaks in a demanding, loud, insulting and/or demeaning manner, the staff member to whom the remarks are directed will calmly and politely admonish the speaker to communicate civilly. If the abusing party does not take corrective action, the District employee will terminate the meeting or conversation.
(cf. 1312 - Public Complaints)
(cf. 1330 – Community Use of School Facilities)
(cf. 1340 - Otherwise Lawful Possession of Firearms on School Property)
(cf. 9540.10 - Public Participation at Board Meetings)
Connecticut General Statutes
1-225 Meetings of the government agents to be public.
1-232 Conduct of the meeting
10-221 Boards of education to prescribe rule(s), policies, and procedures.
10-238 Petition for hearing by board of education.
10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes.
53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds: Class C misdemeanor.
Date of Adoption: June 5, 2001
1325 Advertising and Promotion
Students must be protected from possible exploitation in advertising or promoting interests of any non-school agency or organization. Within that context:
- Schools may cooperate in furthering the work of any non-profit community-wide social service agency; provided that such cooperation does not restrict or impair the educational program of the schools.
- The schools may use films or other media materials which include commercial messages providing such materials can be justified on the basis of their educational values.
- The Superintendent may, in accordance with Policies #5100.3, 5100.5, 5.00.7 and 5180.4, announce or authorize to be announced, any lecture, play, film, or other community activity with educational value.
- The schools may, upon approval of the Board of Education, cooperate with any agency in promoting activities in the general public interest, and which promote the education and the best interests of students.
- No advertising material may be posted or distributed to students which, in the opinion of school authorities, would contribute to the personal gain of an individual, business, or company except as follows:
- Educational material used by staff for educational purposes.
- Samples, calendars, supply catalogs, etc., distributed to staff for examination, testing or review or routine classroom use.
(cf. 5100.3 – Public Performances)
(cf. 5100.5 – Student Fundraising Activities)
(cf. 5100.7 – Contests for Students)
(cf. 5180.4 – Using Schools or Students for Publicity Purposes)
Date of Adoption: June 5, 2001
1330 Use of School Facilities
In accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-239, the Board of Education may permit the use of any school facility for nonprofit educational or community purposes whether or not school is in session. The Board of Education may also grant the temporary use of any school facility for public, educational or other purposes, including the holding of political discussion, at such time the facility is not in use for school purposes. In addition, the Board shall grant such use for any purpose of voting under the provisions of Title 9 of the Connecticut General Statutes whether or not school is in session. In accordance with 20 U.S.C. § 7905, the Board of Education shall not deny equal access to or a fair opportunity to meet, or otherwise discriminate, against any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America (or any other youth group listed as a patriotic society in Title 36 of the United States Code) that wishes to conduct a meeting using school facilities pursuant to this policy. Such uses shall be governed by the following rules and procedures, and shall be subject to such restrictions as the Superintendent or his/her designee considers expedient.
Consistent with this policy, the Superintendent shall develop and promulgate Administrative Regulations and associated forms governing use of school buildings and facilities by community and other groups. Since the primary purpose of school facilities is for educational activities, such activities will have priority over all other requested uses.
Applications for use of facilities shall be submitted to the following individuals, in accordance with the Administrative Regulations:
Application Submitted To
For use of school buildings
For use of athletic fields and facilities
For use of other school facilities
Superintendent of Schools
Groups requesting use of school buildings and facilities must identify the specific facilities desired, and approval will be for those specific facilities only. All school equipment on the premises shall remain in the charge and control of the building principal or responsible administrator, and shall not be used without the express written permission of the administrator.
Principals and other responsible administrators shall submit copies of each building use form with a notation of whether such uses have been approved. Approval of school facilities by the principal or other responsible party may be revoked at any time by the Superintendent or his/her designee.
Eligible Organizations and Priority of Use
Administrators responsible for approving/disapproving requests for use of school district facilities will use the following guidelines regarding priority of usage of such facilities:
Order of priority:
- School-sponsored programs and activities.
- Activities of school-related organizations (e.g. PTO, Booster Clubs, After Graduation Committees and similar organizations).
- Town department or agency activities.
- Activities of non-profit organizations operating within the Town, other than school-related organizations covered by category #2 above.
- Activities of for-profit organizations operating within the Town.
- Out-of-town organizations.
Restrictions on Use of School Facilities
The following restrictions shall apply to the use of school facilities:
- Illegal activities will not be tolerated.
- Use or possession of tobacco, alcoholic beverages or unauthorized controlled substances shall not be permitted on school property.
- Refreshments may not be prepared, served or consumed without the prior approval of the responsible administrator. Notwithstanding, only those beverages permitted by state law may be sold during the school day. The responsible administrator may permit other beverages to be sold at the location of events occurring after the end of the regular school day or on the weekend as long as they are not sold from a vending machine or at a school store. Upon approval by the administrator, refreshments may be prepared, served and consumed only in areas designated by the responsible administrator.
- Obscene advertising, decorations or materials shall not be permitted on school property.
- Advertising, decorations or other materials that promote the use of illegal drugs, tobacco products, or alcoholic beverages shall not be permitted.
- Activities that are disruptive of the school environment are not permitted.
Any violation of this Policy or any applicable Administrative Regulations may result in permanent revocation of the privilege to use school facilities against the organization and/or individuals involved.
Fees and Other Costs
Users of school facilities shall be responsible for the fees and costs set out in a fee schedule established by the Superintendent with the approval of the Board of Education. The following guidelines shall be incorporated into such fee schedule:
School-sponsored programs and activities.
No rental fee or associated costs.
Activities of school-related organizations (e.g. PTO, Booster Clubs, After Graduation Committees and similar organizations).
No rental fee or associated costs.
Town department or agency activities.
Activities of non-profit organizations operating within the Town, other than school-related organizations covered by category #2 above.
Activities of for-profit organizations operating within the Town.
Rental fee and associated costs.
Rental fee and associated costs.
“Associated costs” shall include, but shall not be limited to, fees for the services of any custodial personnel, food service personnel, security personnel or other personnel deemed by the responsible administrator to be necessary in connection with the use of a school district facility. Such costs shall be at the rates set forth in the fee schedule. Rental fees and/or associated costs otherwise applicable may be waived by the Superintendent or his/her designee if such waiver is deemed by the Superintendent or his/her designee to be in the best interest of the school system and/or the Town.
Responsibility for Damage to Property or Loss of Property
In order to use school district facilities, any organization or individual requesting such use must agree to assume responsibility for any damage to and/or theft or loss of any school district property arising out of the use of the facilities.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-239
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-215f
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-221q
Conn. Gen. Stat. Title 9
Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. § 7905
Patriotic and National Organizations, 36 U.S.C § 10101 et seq.
Date of Adoption: April 14, 2020
1340 Possession of Deadly Weapons or Firearms
- Deadly Weapon means "any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-3 (6).
- Firearm means "any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-3 (19).
- Peace Officer means “a member of the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or an organized local police department, a chief inspector or inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice, a state marshal while exercising authority granted under any provision of the general statutes, a judicial marshal in the performance of the duties of a judicial marshal, a conservation officer or special conservation officer, as defined in section 26-5, a constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties, a special policeman appointed under section 29-18, 29-18a or 29-19, an adult probation officer, an official of the Department of Correction authorized by the Commissioner of Correction to make arrests in a correctional institution or facility, any investigator in the investigations unit of the office of the State Treasurer, any special agent of the federal government authorized to enforce the provisions of Title 21 of the United States Code, or a member of a law enforcement unit of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe or the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut created and governed by a memorandum of agreement under section 47-65c who is certified as a police officer by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council pursuant to sections 7-294a to 7-294e, inclusive.” Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-3 (9).
- Real Property means the land and all temporary and permanent structures comprising the district's elementary and secondary schools, and administrative office buildings. Real property includes, but is not limited to, the following: classrooms, hallways, storage facilities, theatres, gymnasiums, fields and parking lots.
- School-Sponsored Activity "means any activity sponsored, recognized or authorized by a board of education and includes activities conducted on or off school property." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-233a(h).
- Prohibition of Deadly Weapons and Firearms
In accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 29-28(e) and § 53a-217b, the possession and/or use of a deadly weapon or firearm on the real property of any school or administrative office building in this district, or at a school-sponsored activity, is prohibited, even if the person possessing the deadly weapon or firearm has a permit for such item.
- Peace Officer Exception
A peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her official duties who is in lawful possession of a deadly weapon or firearm may bring such item on the real property of any school or administrative office building in this district, or to a school-sponsored activity.
- Other Exceptions
- The person brings the deadly weapon or firearm on the real property of any school or administrative office building or to a school-sponsored activity for use in a program approved by school officials. In such case, the person must give school officials notice of his/her intention to bring such item, and the person must receive prior written permission from school officials.
- The person possesses the deadly weapon or firearm on the real property of any school or administrative office building or at a school-sponsored activity pursuant to a written agreement with school officials or a written agreement between such person's employer and school officials.
- Unless subject to one of the exceptions listed above, any person who possesses a deadly weapon or firearm on the real property of an elementary or secondary school in this district, or administrative office building, or at a school-sponsored activity, whether or not the person is lawfully permitted to carry such deadly weapon or firearm, will be reported to the local police authorities once school officials become aware of its possession.
- A student who possesses and/or uses any deadly weapon or firearm on school property in violation of this policy shall be disciplined in accordance with Board of Education Student Discipline Policy.
- The Board of Education reserves the right to forbid anyone caught possessing a deadly weapon or firearm on the real property of its school buildings or administrative office buildings, or at a school-sponsored activity, from using any and all school facilities.
Connecticut General Statutes
Date Adopted: April 14, 2020
1350 Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies
The Board recognizes that district-wide cooperation with law enforcement agencies is essential for the protection of staff and students for maintaining a safe environment in district schools, and for safeguarding district property consistent with protecting legal rights of staff and students.
Programs and activities designed to enrich curriculum and to develop and promote good citizenship and a healthy attitude toward law enforcement agencies and officials will be encouraged by the district. Law enforcement participation in such programs and activities is also encouraged. Priority shall be given to the law enforcement’s involvement in threat assessments and in the planning and implementation of school district emergency plans, security procedures, intervention, and crisis response. Law enforcement officials are viewed as key stakeholders in developing and implementing a comprehensive emergency readiness plan for the district’s schools.
Law enforcement officials may be summoned in order to conduct an investigation of alleged criminal conduct on the school premises or during a school-sponsored activity or to maintain the educational environment. They may also be summoned for the purpose of maintaining or restoring order when the presence of such officers is necessary to prevent injury to persons or property. Administrators have the responsibility and the authority to determine when the assistance of law enforcement officers is necessary within their respective jurisdictions. The school system’s administrators shall at all times act in a manner which protects and guarantees the rights of students and parents.
(c.f. 5090.8.1 Search and Seizure)
(c.f. 5090.8.1.2 Vehicle Searches on School Grounds)
(c.f. 5110.3.1 Police in Schools)
(c.f. 5142.4 School Resource Officer)
Legal References: Connecticut General Statutes
10-221 Boards of education to prescribe rules
53a-185 Loitering in or about school grounds: Class C Misdemeanor
54-76j Disposition upon adjudication as youthful offender
Date of Adoption: March 23, 1999
Date of Revision: April 18, 2006
Date of Revision: March 18, 2014
1360 School Volunteers, Student Interns and Other Non-Employees
The Board of Education recognizes the importance of school volunteers at all levels of schooling. Volunteers can enhance collaboration between the school and community, broaden the school’s educational environment and ultimately enrich students’ school experience. The Board further acknowledges that it may, from time to time, be asked to provide learning experiences for student interns within the school environments. In recognition of the benefit of having volunteers, interns and other such non-employees providing services within the schools, the Board supports the involvement of these individuals in accordance with suitable regulations and safeguards to be developed by the Administration.
Volunteers, interns and other such non-employees working within the schools (“volunteers”) must work under the supervision of Madison Public Schools staff. Volunteers are held to the same standards of conduct as school staff and must observe all Board of Education policies, including applicable policies on the confidentiality of student information.
Volunteers may be required to submit to state and federal criminal record checks and a record check of the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) Child Abuse and Neglect Registry. No person who is required to register as a sex offender under state or federal law, or whose name is currently listed on the DCF registry, may volunteer in the Madison Public Schools.
All volunteers must comply with all school health and safety protocols in place at the time, including any health screening protocols. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board may limit or restrict volunteers based on the guidance of federal, state, and local health authorities.
No employee of the Madison Public Schools shall serve as a volunteer in any capacity, except as may be approved by the Superintendent or his/her designee based on the specific situation.
Persons interested in volunteering their services should contact the school principal.
Connecticut General Statutes § 10-4g
Connecticut General Statutes § 10-220
Connecticut General Statutes § 10-235
Connecticut General Statutes § 54-250 et seq.
“Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together,” Connecticut State Department of Education (June 29, 2020), available at https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/COVID-19/CTReopeningSchools.pdf.
Date of Adoption: April 14, 2020
Date of Revision: September 22, 2020