Student Handbook: The Essential Policies
The student handbook is an official document that contains policies that protect both the students and the school staff. All school community members have to be aware that such a document exists and what it contains. Policies may differ between schools, but core policies have to be present in all student handbooks. This is to make sure that the school is a safe environment that promotes learning and growth.
Over the past several years, bullying has become a hot topic among schools because of its negative long-term and short-term effects on people. The school needs to educate all community members on what it is and how to prevent it. This is for the protection of all members of the school community.
Respect: Character Education
Education should occur both at school and home: this is true for academics and character education. At school, students aren’t just taught how to become competent individuals; they also have to learn how to become good people through their interactions with their peers, friends, and teachers. All members of the school community are expected to treat each other with respect.
Learning cannot take place if a student does not come to class. They have to show up on time every day of the academic year. Students can miss a maximum of 10 school days out of the entire school year. The student handbook has to indicate how many absences are permitted. Some absences are excusable, but they should not exceed the limits that the state has mandated. Consequences should be established for students who go beyond this limit.
When it comes to running a school, being fair is very important. Schools will have their fair share of incidents that will require disciplinary action. This is why the school needs to spell out the consequence of each and any incidents of misbehavior. In the interest of transparency, this section of the student handbook should also include the deliberation process for disciplinary cases.
Fighting should not be tolerated on campus. Students may have their differences or have conflicts with each other, but physical altercations and other types of violence should be banned. Administrators should keep in mind that any type of violence that happens in school can be taken against the school. To prevent damage to the school and the students’ well-being, appropriate sanctions should be in place (e.g., detention, suspension, community service, etc.)
Code of Conduct
The code of conduct should be placed in the first part of the student handbook. This is a list of expected behavior from the students and other school community members to help each one maximize their learning opportunity.
Search and Seizure
Search and seizure of students’ belongings might be necessary for some instances. Before you do this, you have to clarify the students, parents, guardians, and teachers through a statement in the student handbook.
Substitute teachers are an essential part of the school community; they should be protected by the school. Unfortunately, some students may take advantage of a substitute teacher’s lack of familiarity with the students and the school itself. In connection with the respect policy, students are expected to show the same courtesy they show teachers and school staff.
Use of Gadgets
In the digital age and the rise of social media, all students need to access at least one gadget. It could be a personal laptop computer, a tablet, a smartphone, or all. Gadgets can be used to help students learn. However, schools have to have clear guidelines on using these gadgets because without these policies, students may end up using them for other purposes and end up becoming a hindrance to learning.
Schools that do not require uniforms must have a dress code in place. This is to encourage students to dress appropriately in school. Students are at an age where they want to explore different fashion trends. Sometimes, these attempts at making fashion statements end up making the wrong kind of statement. This happens when a part of or the entire outfit becomes a distraction or prevents students from getting their tasks done.