Section 1000 Community / School Relations

1000 School - Community Relations Program

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 . . .

  1. The community relations program should be a planned, systematic, two-way process of communication between the school district and its stakeholders.
  2. The communication program should include a variety of media to inform, efficiently and effectively, all citizens of the district.
  3. Communications must be internal as well as external and must stress the dissemination of factual, objective, and realistic data about the district.
  4. 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 by Students

1140 Distribution of Materials by Students

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 via “Backpack Express.” The following guidelines are established by the Board for the review of materials to be distributed.

  • The content of the materials must relate to school, community, educational or civic activities.
  • The materials shall not relate to any religious belief or activity.
  • The materials shall not promote any private gain, political party or candidate.

The Superintendent or designee approves distribution of materials meeting the aforementioned criteria through “Backpack Express” 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 through the school’s information / publications center.

On issues to be decided at referenda, the school district will not use its automated calling system, electronic mail, text, telephone or other electronic or automated means for the purpose of reminding or encouraging parents/ guardians and students about the time, date, and place concerning referenda and encouraging them to vote.

Legal Reference: 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: September 7, 1999
Date of Revision: June 17, 2014

1210 Parent – Teacher Organizations

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:

  1. 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.
  2. By-laws and organizational structure shall be determined by each parent-teacher organization.
  3. Membership must be open to all parents/guardians and teachers in the school community and, where applicable, all students in the school.
  4. All membership meetings held in the Madison Public Schools shall be held in public forum.
  5. 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
  6. Administrators may distribute parent-teacher organization information to parents via the children which:
      1. Is of general public interest
      2. Promotes the education or other best interests of the pupils.
      3. Is informational in nature.
      4. Is based on established facts.
      5. 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.

    Adopted: 1/3/1989

    1312 Public Complaints

    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.

    School personnel:

    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)

    Legal References:

    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

    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:

    1. Injure, threaten, harass or intimidate any other person;
    2. Damage or threaten to damage another’s property;
    3. Damage or deface District property;
    4. Violate any Connecticut law or town/city ordinance;
    5. Smoke or otherwise use tobacco products;
    6. Consume, possess, distribute, or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, or possess dangerous instruments or weapons;
    7. Impede, delay, or otherwise interfere with the orderly conduct of the District’s educational program or any other activity occurring on school property;
    8. Enter upon any portion of the school premises at any time for purposes other than those which are lawful and authorized by the Board;
    9. Operate a motor vehicle in a risky manner or in violation of an authorized District employee’s directive; or
    10. 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)

    Legal Reference:

    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

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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:
        1. Educational material used by staff for educational purposes.
        2. 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 Community Use of School Facilities

    1330 Community Use of School Facilities

    The Board of Education recognizes that school buildings and grounds are public property, and that the Board of Education may make them available for purposes other than education when they are not in use for school purposes. The Board further recognizes the value of community activities and seeks to permit such use of school facilities. Therefore, the Board of Education authorizes the use of district facilities for such purposes under appropriate district regulations for the use of such facilities consistent with the mission of the Madison Public Schools.

    Community members may rent school facilities according to the current fee schedule and in keeping with the guidelines stated below.

    The Board of Education permits use of school facilities for activities of an educational, cultural, civic, social, recreational, governmental or general political nature and other uses consistent with the public interest when such use does not interfere with the school program or school-sponsored activities as permitted under law. Use of school facilities shall be permitted in the following priority order: first, school / district activities and school related organizations; second, Town of Madison Departments and town government; third, non-profit organizations and use for charitable purposes; and fourth, commercial organizations. The use of school facilities for school purposes has precedence over all other uses. Persons on school property must abide by the District’s conduct rules at all times.

    Consistent with this policy the Superintendent or his / her designee shall approve and schedule the use of school facilities by an individual or group and shall develop regulations for community use of the schools. Fees shall be set periodically by the Board of Education for the use of the facilities. The Superintendent or his / her designee will maintain a list of school facilities usage by non-district groups or individuals.

    Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes

    10-239 Use of school facilities for other purposes.
    PA 97-290 An Act Enhancing Educational Choices and Opportunities
    Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. ss 4071-4074
    Good News Club v. Milford Central School ,Sup.Ct., 6-11-01
    20 U.S.C. 7905 (Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act contained in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)

    Date of Adoption: April 21, 1998
    Date of Revision: October 16, 2001
    Date of Revision: April 18, 2006
    Date of Revision: March 6, 2007

    1340 Otherwise Lawful Possession of Firearms on School Property

    1340 Otherwise Lawful Possession of Firearms on School Property

    The Board of Education prohibits otherwise lawful possession of firearms defined in section 53a-3 in or on school district property by any person who holds a valid state or local permit to carry a firearm and would otherwise legally traverse school property with an unloaded firearm for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes. The issuance of a permit to carry a pistol or revolver does not authorize the possession or carrying of a pistol or revolver on school district property.

    Students are prohibited by the Board of Education from possessing firearms for any reason, whether otherwise lawful or not, in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school or at a school sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.

    Exemptions for Law Enforcement Personnel on Active Duty

    Law Enforcement Personnel on active duty are exempt from the provisions of this policy. Additionally, a motor vehicle inspector, designated under section C.G.S. 14-8 and certified pursuant to C.G.S. 7-294d, while engaged in the performance of such motor vehicle inspector’s official duties, may carry weapons on school grounds, effective October 1, 2016.

    (cf. 5090.8 Weapons and Dangerous Instruments)
    (cf. 5110.4 Suspension / Expulsion / Exclusion from School Activities)

    Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes

    29-28 Permit for sale at retail of pistol or revolver. Permit to carry a pistol or revolver.Confidentiality of name and address of permit holder. (as amended by PA 98-129)
    29-33 Sale, delivery or transfer of pistol and revolvers. Documentation requirements. Waiting period. Exempted transactions. Penalty. (as amended by PA 98-129)
    52a-3 Definitions.
    53a-217b Possession of a weapon on school grounds: Class D felony (as amended by P.A. 16-55)
    P.A. 13-188 An Act Concerning School Safety
    P.A. 14-217 Section 254 of “Budget Implementer Bill”
    P.A. 14-212 An Act Concerning the State Education Resource Center
    P.A. 16-55 An Act Concerning Recommendations by the Department of Motor Vehicles Regarding Hazardous Materials, Car Dealers, Student Transportation Vehicle Operators, Diversion Programs and Motor Vehicle Inspectors.

    Date of Adoption: December 1, 1998
    Technical Revision: March 21, 2006
    Date Revised: October 18, 2016

    1350 Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

    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

    1360 School Volunteers

    The Board of Education encourages the use of volunteers to: (1) increase students' educational attainment, (2) provide enrichment experiences for students, (3) increase the effective utilization of staff time and skills, (4) give more individual attention to students, and (5) promote greater community involvement.

    Volunteers working within the schools must work under the supervision of District 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.

    The Superintendent shall establish procedures for securing and screening resource persons and volunteers. No person who is a "sex offender," as defined by Public Act 98-111, An Act Concerning the Registration of Sexual Offenders, shall be used.

    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 required to register as a sex offender under state or federal law or whose name is listed on the DCF registry, may volunteer in any District school.

    Annually, Principals shall submit a list of all regular volunteers in the district (chaperones on field trips, aides, library and classroom volunteer assistance, grandparents, assistance at athletic events, field days, etc.) to the Superintendent of Schools.

    Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes

    10-4g Parent and community involvement in schools; model programs; school-based teams.
    10-235 Indemnification of teachers, board members, employees and certain volunteers and students in damage suits; expenses of litigation.
    54-254 Registration of person who has committed a felony for a sexual purpose.
    10-220 Duties of boards of education
    Public Act No. 98-111 An Act Concerning the Registration of Sexual Offenders

    Date of Adoption: November 4, 1999
    Date of Revision: February 16, 2016