by Genevieve Demos Kelley
Prince George’s County schools have an official administrative procedure on nearly everything — from employee use of social media, to homecoming bonfires, to controlling head lice — and you can find them all at the Office of General Counsel’s web page. More than one hundred Administrative Procedures (each is usually at least two pages long) are detailed on the website, as well as dozens of separate Board Policies that tend to be shorter and deal with governing principles rather than procedural minutiae.
The policies and procedures make for fascinating reading. For example, here are a few interesting details:
- The guidelines for selecting read-aloud books for the elementary classroom include prohibitions against books that promote stereotypes (e.g. racial, gender, etc.), books with reference to sex education issues, and books “with reference to the supernatural (i.e., devils).” Administrative Procedure 6180.4, Guidelines for Selecting Read-Aloud Books
- Bonfires are permitted at homecoming athletic events but at no other time during the school year. The bonfires are heavily regulated to ensure safety and must be supervised by the Fire Department. Administrative Procedure 6146, Bonfires for Homecoming Athletic Event
- Under certain conditions, teachers and other school personnel may use exclusion to address a student’s behavior, but each period of exclusion may not exceed 30 minutes. “Exclusion” is defined as “removal of a student to a supervised area for a limited period of time during which the student has an opportunity to regain self-control and is not receiving instruction including special education, related services, or support.” Administrative Procedure 5062, Student Behavior Interventions
- Students found to have lice are excluded from school at the end of the day and may be readmitted with proof of treatment (e.g. note from medical provider or “empty package or box top from an over the counter medication and receipt of recent purchase.” The school nurse should re-screen affected children 7-14 days after treatment. Administrative Procedure 5162, Pediculosis (Head Lice) Control in Schools
Here are some other official Administrative Procedures worth reading:
- The official description of the School-Based Management Team, which should include representatives appointed by the PTA, the Faculty Advisory Council, the Student Government Association (if in high school), and non-instructional employee unions. Administrative Procedure 3415, School-Based Management Teams Composition
- The document regulating chains and padlocks on exterior school doors. Administrative Procedure 2804.3, Safety and Security with Regard to Exterior Doors
- The chart linking air quality codes to restrictions on outdoor physical activity. Attachment to Administrative Procedure 6130
- The regulations of use of social media by PGCPS employees. Administrative Procedure 4126, Employee Use of Social Media
In addition to official procedures on bullying, harassment, and intimidation, PGCPS has a separate set of regulations governing behavior management on school buses. From Administrative Procedure 5131.1, School Bus Conduct:
- Only students who behave appropriately may ride school buses.
- The bus driver may return to school if immediate action is necessary to correct improper conduct during a trip. The principal will then assume responsibility for necessary action to assure a safe trip home.
- Bus drivers are responsible for reporting improper bus behavior to the appropriate principal and transportation supervisor, using standard reporting forms.