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2023-2024 Parent-Student Handbook

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About Harford County Public Schools

Approximately 38,000 students are enrolled in HCPS. The school system has the eighth largest student enrollment of the 24 public school systems in Maryland. Approximately 5,000 people are employed by the school system to provide the necessary educational programs and supporting services for the students.

Currently, in the Harford County public school system, there are 33 elementary schools, nine middle schools, ten high schools, Harford Academy School and Swan Creek School (a K-12 virtual school) for a total of 54 schools.

Based upon firm beliefs in the value of youth and the obligations of public education to educate each of them effectively, the Harford County public school system provides comprehensive instructional programs and related student activities for the youth who are currently enrolled. Half-day prekindergarten classes are available for four-year-olds at six of the Harford County public elementary schools. Full-day prekindergarten classes are available for four-year-olds at 16 of the Harford County public elementary schools. A systemwide kindergarten program begins public education for five-year-olds with all 33 elementary schools offering full-day kindergarten. A carefully planned and appropriately sequenced curriculum extends learning from elementary, middle and high school grades toward graduation. Special programs and services are provided to accommodate the unique needs of each student, including those who possess exceptional abilities, talents and/or disabilities, as well as those who wish to complete a virtual education.

Vision: We will inspire and prepare each student to achieve success in college and career

Mission: Each student will attain academic and personal success in a safe and caring environment that honors the diversity of our students and staff

CORE VALUES:
  • We empower each student to achieve academic excellence.
  • We create reciprocal relationships with families and members of the community.
  • We attract and retain highly-skilled personnel.
  • We assure and efficient and effective organization.
  • We provide a safe and secure environment.

View the full Board of Education Strategic Plan

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse 410-809-6056

The Board of Education of Harford County encourages any concerned individual to report financial fraud, waste, or abuse; violations of Board of Education Policy and HCPS procedures; or any instance where the health or safety of an employee or student has been jeopardized. The Board of Education of Harford County’s Office of Internal Audit maintains the hotline where an individual can report the allegation directly to the Chief Auditor at laura.tucholski@hcps.org or leave a voicemail (410-809-6056) that is monitored daily by the Chief Auditor. The information reported will remain confidential with the Office of Internal Audit.

Callers are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible and have the option to provide contact information or remain anonymous.

Superintendent's Pen

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! Whether you are a student, parent/guardian, or staff member, this calendar is one of many resources we use to ensure you have access to the information you need. We also encourage you to keep up with the happenings in the district on our website, www.hcps.org, and through tools such as the HCPS app and HCPS social media accounts.

Successfully educating students requires a team effort, so I hope each of you will actively contribute to our students’ progress by participating in school and community-based activities throughout the year.

As a team, we will continue to advance the work of Harford County Public Schools to ensure the success of our students.

Sincerely,
Sean W. Bulson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

School Information

The following information contains excerpts of school- and Board-based policies, procedures and practices. This handbook serves as a reference only. It does not contain all Harford County Public Schools Board of Education policies, and some policies presented here may not be set forth in their entirety. Students and parents may familiarize themselves with the full policy manual, available online at www.hcps.org. Items listed in this handbook are subject to change without notice.

HOURS OF OPERATION:

Building Type Start Time Dismissal
High School 7:30 a.m. 2:00 p.m.
Middle School* 8:05 a.m. 2:45 p.m.
Elementary School** 9:00 a.m. 3:30 p.m.
Harford Academy 9:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m.
Prekindergarten A.M.***⬥ 9:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m.
Prekindergarten P.M.***⬥ 1:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.
* North Harford Middle School operates on the same schedule as North Harford High School.
** Bakerfield, Bel Air, Deerfield, Forest Lakes, Havre de Grace, Red Pup and William S. James elementary schools operate on the 4th tier busing schedule, 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
*** 4th tier busing schedule for prekindergarten, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
⬥ On scheduled early dismissal days, half-day prekindergarten programs will not meet

The Board of Education of Harford County Public does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry/national origin, color, disability, pregnancy, gender identity/expression, marital status, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation in matters affecting employment or in providing access to programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

In accordance with the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq.), Harford County Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in any of its programs or activities or with regard to employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX, and its implementing regulations to Harford County Public Schools Involving students, refer to: Ken Miller, 102 South Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014 at (410) 375-0408 or Kenneth.miller@hcps.org; Involving all other members of the school community, refer to: Renee McGlothlin, 102 South Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, MD 21014 at (410) 809-6087 or Renee.McGlothlin@hcps.org. Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights in the United States Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202, 1-800-421-3481. For updated information on the Board of Education, visit www.hcps.org.

Board of Education of Harford County

Aaron S. Poynton, D.P.A.
President, Appointed Member-at-Large

Melissa L. Hahn
Vice President, Elected Member

Terri Kocher
Appointed Member-at-Large

Lauren Paige Strauss
Appointed Member-at-Large

Denise E. Perry
Elected Member, Councilmanic District A

Wade A. Sewell
Elected Member, Councilmanic District B

Carol L. Mueller, Ph. D.
Elected Member, Councilmanic District C

Carol P. Bruce
Elected Member, Councilmanic District E

Diane M. Alvarez
Elected Member, Councilmanic District F

Madina A. Sabirova
Student Member

Sean W. Bulson, Ed. D.
Secretary-Treasurer, Superintendent of Schools

PUBLIC MEETINGS: Regular meetings of the Board of Education of Harford County are typically held two Mondays of each month (except July and August) at 6:00 p.m. Meetings are announced in advance on the HCPS website and in other print/electronic media. Meetings are open to the public, unless otherwise announced, and attendance is encouraged for those with an interest in the business operations of the school system. If you are unable to attend the meetings, watch them live via streaming video on the school system’s website. An archive of previous meeting videos can also be accessed on this site.

Each regular, public business meeting of the Board includes a public comment period. Any citizen, group representative, parent or student may make a statement regarding an item on a past, present or future Board open-session agenda, or a matter of general policy over which the Board has jurisdiction. To find out how to register to speak at an upcoming meeting, visit www.hcps.org. When issues are open for public comment, send the Board your thoughts by visiting www.hcps.org.

For correspondence directed to the Board, write: President, Board of Education of Harford County, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland 21014. In addition to the live stream archive on the school system website, Board business meetings will be televised on a tape delay basis by HCN on the second and fourth Tuesdays beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 21, Verizon FiOS channel 31 and Armstrong channel 7 and can be viewed on demand by logging onto our website, www.hcps.org.

SWAN CREEK SCHOOL BLENDED VIRTUAL PROGRAMS: Harford County Public Schools offers an alternative learning option that any HCPS student may apply to. Blended Virtual instruction is a combination of synchronous virtual instruction and asynchronous instruction. Swan Creek School offers two programs to HCPS students:

  1. eLearning program for elementary and secondary students in grades Kindergarten through 12th Grade. Students attend scheduled synchronous lessons virtually five days a week with HCPS teachers.
  2. Hybrid program for secondary students in grades 6 through 12. The Hybrid program is a combination on in-person learning, synchronous and asynchronous eLearning. In-person instruction takes place at Swan Creek School, which is located at 253 Paradise Road in Aberdeen, MD. Synchronous eLearning instruction, utilizing Microsoft Teams, and asynchronous eLearning occur in conjunction with in-person learning. The Hybrid school day runs from 9:40 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. HCPS provides transportation to and from the school, utilizing Depot Stops.

Both programs use HCPS curriculum taught by HCPS teachers for elementary, middle, and high schools. For more information, visit the school website at https://ceo.ss18.sharpschool.com/ or call the Swan Creek School office at 410-273-5594.

COMMUNICATION: Harford COunty Public Schools is committed to parental, family, and community involvement in the educational process. Harford County Public Schools encourages two-way communication and strives to keep the public informed about issues affecting its schools, decisions made by the Board of Education of Harford County, and student activities through various methods of communication.

Mass Notification System - Harford County Public Schools utilizes the FinalSite Mass Notifications to inform parents and guardians of emergency closures and important information. Parents and guardians can manage contact information and notification preferences. Communications are also shared on the HCPS app as well as on the green News Alert on hcps.org. Pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act(TCPA), please make HCPS aware of any changes to contact information, including all phone numbers on file. Notify your student's school in a timely manner so that the above contact information may be updated.

Website & Social Media - The school system's website, www.hcps.org, offers information to meet the needs of parents and guardians, students, staff, and the general community. The "Parents" tab at the top of the homepage includes links to useful information such as the registration process, immunization requirements, and resources for parents and guardians. The website ad app serve as quick resources to the most requested information.

Follow us on Facebook (@HCPSchools),
Twitter (@HCPSchools), Instagram (HCPS_schools)
and YouTube (@HCPSchools)

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Harford County Public Schools offers a wide variety of programs at the elementary level including gifted education and instrumental music. We have prekindergarten programs in 19 of our elementary schools designed to meet the needs of at-risk students. We offer before and after school on-site daycare centers at various locations. All of our kindergarten programs are full-day. For more information on elementary schools, please visit www.hcps.org. Official schools websites can also be accessed from www.hcps.org.

FOOD & NUTRITION: To participate, each student enters the meal service line and makes choices. At the computer register, the student enters a unique number (PIN) into the PIN pad. The cashier confirms ID, confirms if a "complete" meal is chosen, records a la carte purchases and enters the transaction. Additional site-specific meal/snack programs may also be available. Examples include afterschool snack (NSLP Afterschool Snack), after school supper (CACFP), or for-purchase afterschool snacks.

All families are encouraged to create a free, secure online account for their student at MySchoolBucks. Obtain your student's ID number, visit the website www.myschoolbucks.com and follow the onscreen directions. All student purchases and deposits are recorded in the account.

To avoid carrying cash, families may choose to "pre-pay" for breakfast, lunch and a la carte. Prepayments may be made in-person directly to the school cafeteria (no personal checks accepted) or online through MySchoolBucks. With this account, families can:

  • Check account balances from anywhere including the mobile app
  • Elect to receive e-mail notifications for low balances
  • Allow deposits to be made easily on time or automatically replenish when "low balance" threshold is reached
  • Eliminate the need for student to carry cash to school
  • Review student purchases and deposits

All prepaid account balances remain on the student's account while the student(s) is enrolled in HCPS. Money remains on the student account as they advance to a higher grade and/or transfer to a different school within HCPS. Refunds and fund transfers for students are completed upon request by contacting the DFNS office at (410) 683-4078.

School Meals - The Department of Food & Nutrition Services (DFNS) supports student academic achievement by providing delicious, nutritious meals at affordable prices, in a safe, friendly, and attractive environment within a self-supporting operation. The Program is supported by and operated within the guidelines of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meal programs including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

All students may participate in the breakfast and lunch meal programs available at all schools. Meal prices are listed on www.hcps.org and www.hcpsmenus.com. Prices are set to ensure the program breaks even and remains self-funded.

Breakfast - All schools offer breakfast daily prior to the start of the official school day. Most schools serve from the cafeteria serving line. Select schools that qualify for Maryland Meals For Achievement (MMFA) offer breakfast in the classroom through kiosks.

A complete breakfast meal includes:

  • Milk, half pint, fat free or low fat, white or flavored
  • Fruit Juice, 4 oz (100%)
  • Fruit, canned or fresh, 1/2 cup
  • Main Course consistent of two servings of whole grain rich food or a whole grain/protein combo such as rich foods such as a muffin, cereal/grams, mini-pancakes, pancake-sausage, cereal/cheese stick, cereal/yogurt.

Choices may be limited on delayed opening school days.

Lunch - All schools offer lunch daily. A complete lunch meal includes:

  • Milk, half pint, fat free or low fat, white or flavored
  • Vegetables, fresh or cooked choices, up to 1 cup
  • Fruit, canned or fresh, up to 1 cup
  • Main Course, hot and cold choices
    • main course is a combination of grain (whole grain-rich rolls, breading, chips, rice, etc.) and protein (poultry, fish, beef, cheese, beans)

A complete meal includes all items listed above, but students may choose as few as three "components" for the meal to qualify under USDA terms. Students are encouraged to choose a full meal with all choices.

A la Carte/Snacks/Extras - Schools offer foods and beverages during meals in addition to the breakfast and lunch items. Any item on the serving line may be purchased "a la carte"(main course, milk, fruit, or vegetable) either by itself or in addition to the meal. Additional foods offered for sale must meet the USDA Smart Snack standards for schools. Options vary by school but may include bottled water, 100% fruit juice pouches, chips, pretzels, whole grain rich cookies, and ice cream. Options and prices are listed on the menu website. Funds must be available to purchase these items; snacks cannot be "charged."

Meal Cost Assistance - A student may qualify for breakfast and lunch at no cost based on eligibility standards established by the federal government. Some students are automatically identified for this service based on enrollment in other federal assistance programs. When this is the case, confirmation letters are sent to the student household address. For other students, a Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefit application must be completed each year. Benefits "carry over" through September each year to allow new applications to be processed. Once processed, an approval or denial letter will be sent to the address listed with the student's school.

Applications for the new school year are available after July 1 online at https://www.myschoolapps.com, downloadable from hcpsmenus.com or at any school. If financial changes occur, a new application may be filed at any time. Student confidentiality is always protected.

Meal Charges and Negative Balance Accounts - If a student arrives at school with no meal, no money and has no money on account, DFNS will serve the student a complete school meal and the cost will be "charged" to the student's account creating a negative balance in accordance with Maryland legislation. The student may not choose a la carte items when the balance is negative and cannot charge a la carte items. Legal guardians are responsible for balances generated for meals served when no funds are available. HCPS will remind guardians of balances using available means of phone calls, emails, and text messaging. Balances not paid may be referred for collection.

Please note that if the student did not receive a confirmation letter of meal benefit approval, any meal served and charged until a new application is filed and processed will still be due for repayment. To avoid this issue, be sure to complete a meal benefit application.

Medically Confirmed Special Diet Needs - A student who requires special meal accommodations due to medically documented issues must provide the school nurse with medical information. This information will be forwarded to DFNS and a special "flag" will be added to the student account.

GRADING: Student progress is formally reported to parents/guardians in November, February, April, and June. In addition, teachers communicate with parents/guardians informally by means of conferences, interims, letters, emails, and telephone calls. Home Access Center allows parents/guardians to view student progress information via a secure website. Parents/Guardians may obtain an assigned username and password through hcps.org.

Elementary school students receive report cards at the end of each of the four marking periods, recorded by means of the letter grades A, B, C, D, E. Students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, and grades one and two receive a progress report that indicates the level of student progress in integrated language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, as well as work habits/skills and social emotional development. Student progress is recorded on the report card as CE-Consistently Evident, DV-Developing, NE-Not Evident, or NA-Not Assessed. Students in grades three, four, and five earn letter grades to indicate the level of student progress in integrated language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

All elementary students are evaluated in art, music, media, physical education, and habits and attitudes/skills using a performance rubric. Student progress for these content areas is marked on the report card as CE-Continuously Evident, EV-Evident, DV-Developing, NE-Not Evident, or NA-Not Assessed. Students enrolled in half-day prekindergarten are assessed in physical education only, using the language above.

Students in grades 6-12 receive report cards at the end of each of the four marking periods, recorded by the means of letter grades A, B, C, D, or E. Students in grades 6-12 will also receive a final course grade. The calculation of the final course grade can be viewed in the Final Examinations, Report Cards, and Calculation of Final Grades Board of Education Policy.

HEALTH SERVICES PROGRAM: The Health Services program is an integral part of the educational support system and maximizes every student's learning potential by promoting his or her optimum health. Vision and hearing screenings are completed upon entry in school, kindergarten, and grades one, four and eight. Further information about the distinction between vision screening and comprehensive eye examinations is available on www.hcps.org. Each school is assigned a school nurse. Please contact your child's school to speak to the nurse.

HIGH SCHOOL: Harford County Public Schools has 10 high schools that offer a variety of instructional and extracurricular programs. For information regarding graduation requirements, www.hcps.org

High School Eligibility Policy - In order to participate in curricular and extracurricular activities in any Harford County public high school, students must be officially registered and physically attending a Harford County public school. A student may be declared ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities for reasons based on academic performance or citizenship. A student will be declared ineligible when the student has received a failing grade in any subject on a quarterly report card or as a final grade, and my be deemed ineligible for disciplinary incidents. For a complete listing of the eligibility rules, please refer to the Board Policy on Participation in Extracurricular Activities.

Magnet Programs - Harford County Public Schools offers seven magnet programs for incoming high school freshmen:

  • Harford Technical High School
  • The Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme(IB) at Edgewood High School
  • Information Technology Oracle Academy (ITOA) at Havre de Grace High School
  • The Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NRAS) Magnet Program at North Harford High School
  • Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) at Joppatowne High School
  • Science and Mathematics Academy (SMA) at Joppatowne High School
  • Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) at Edgewood High School and Harford Technical High School

An open house is hosted at each school that offers a magnet program, giving students and parents/guardians an in-depth look at the specific magnet program offered by that school. The event provides an opportunity to hear more about the program in general; meet teachers, students and parents/guardians currently involved with magnet program; and see the school facilities. Open house dates are typically scheduled in the fall and are posted on www.hcps.org.

Each prospective magnet student must complete an application for entrance into any Harford County Public Schools magnet program. Visit www.hcps.org for more information

Student Parking - Parking on school property is a privilege afforded to students. Certain conditions are attached to that privilege. Students who fail to comply with those conditions will be denied or subject to loss of parking privileges. Students will receive notice that vehicles parked on school property may be subject to search in accordance to applicable search and seizure laws and regulations. Harford County Public Schools shall not assume responsibility for any loss or damage to vehicles or their contents while they are on school property.

Each high school shall develop and publish parking procedures governing the conditions under which students may be granted permission to use the parking facilities available on the school grounds. The local school procedures generally include the following:

  • A general statement indicating that any student who needs to drive to school and park in the school lot during school hours must obtain a permit.
  • Rules, Definitions and Procedures for Policy Implementation:
    • Each high school principal annually determines the number of parking spaces on the school premises which can be made available to students.
    • Only students with a valid driver's license may apply for a parking permit.
    • Students and parents/guardians must submit a completed, signed application form for a student parking permit.
    • Students with outstanding financial obligations to the school will not be issued a parking permit.
    • Each high school shall develop priorities of needs for the issuance of parking permits.
    • Each high school will establish campus traffic and parking rules.
    • Each high school will issue a parking permit for an assigned parking area. Students will be permitted to park only in assigned parking areas.
    • Parking permits must be displayed at all times while on school property.
    • Penalties for driving violations, parking without a permit, or other school violations may include suspension or revocation of the permit, disciplinary action, ticketing by the police and/or towing at the student's expense.

HOME & HOSPITAL INSTRUCTION: Students who cannot attend school due to a physical or emotional condition may apply for short-term Home/Hospital Teaching Services. If approved, a home teacher is assigned. Verification of a physical condition by a licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner, or verification of an emotional condition by a certified school or licensed psychologist or licensed psychiatrist must be included on the application. For more information, contact the pupil personnel office at your child's school.

Returning From a Hospitalization - If your child should require hospitalization for any reason during the school year, the principal, school nurse, or school counselor should be notified as soon as possible. When a student is being released from a mental health hospitalization/inpatient treatment facility, a parent/guardian is to inform the school counselor immediately so that a Reintegration meeting can be scheduled and convened within three (3) school days of notification of the student's discharge from the institution. Prior to this meeting, the parent/guardian should obtain the discharge paperwork from the institution along with a statement from the treating physician indicating that the student is ready to return to school. For more information, contact the pupil personnel office at your child's school.

HOMEWORK: Appropriate homework is the expectation for students at all levels of schooling. Properly planned homework assignments relate directly to classroom work and extend beyond the classroom. Homework provides the student valuable experience in following directions, making judgments, raising additional questions for study, and developing responsibility and self-discipline. Homework is typically not assigned over holidays when public schools are closed.

RESPONSIBLE USE OF TECHNOLOGY: Harford County Public Schools provides telecommunications resources to its students for educational purposes. Telecommunications resources shall be used in accordance with the Responsible Use Procedure (RUP). By logging in to a telecommunications platform, students agree to the terms and conditions within the Harford County Public Schools RUP. The RUP is available on www.hcps.org.

Harford County Public Schools utilizes an outside Internet filtering company to ensure th safety of our students while they access the Internet. The use of this filter system also allows Harford County Public Schools to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Students are expected to demonstrate responsible and ethical behavior in the use of the resources as outlined in the RUP.

YouTube: YouTube is utilized as an instructional tool for HCPS students. YouTube is set to Restricted Mode on HCPS issued devices and through the HCPS network. Restricted Mode is a setting controlled by YouTube algorithms to hide potentially objectionable content. HCPS continues to monitor, evaluate, and update YouTube settings to minimize access to inappropriate content.

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY: Any change from the normal school operating schedule because of inclement weather will be communicated through the school system's mass communication system, email, text message, Twitter, Facebook, and provided radio and television broadcasts. In addition, changes will be listed on the Harford County Public Schools website at www.hcps.org. No telephone calls or media announcements will be made when schools are operating on a normal schedule.

Some weather conditions make it advisable to delay the opening time of schools.

  • If schools are delayed one hour, morning half-day prekindergarten will start at 10:00 a.m.; afternoon half-day prekindergarten will proceed as originally scheduled; and fourth tier schools will begin at 10:30 a.m.
  • If schools are delayed two hours, there will be no morning half-day prekindergarten or early intervention programs; afternoon half-day prekindergarten will proceed as originally scheduled.
  • If schools have a scheduled teachers' planning/early dismissal and there is a two-hour delay, students will NOT be dismissed early and will remain in school for the regular school day. Half-day prekindergarten programs will not meet.
  • If schools are delayed, there will be no before school childcare.

Parents and guardians always have the right not to send their children to school if they feel travel conditions are unsafe. The student will be marked as lawfully absent.

Announcements will only be made when schools will be closed, have delayed openings, or early closings. No telephone calls or social media announcements will be made when schools are operating on a normal schedule. To keep school telephone lines open for emergency calls, parents and guardians are urged not to call the school concerning delays or closings. This information will be reported as soon as possible using the communication vehicles listed above.

The school system website, www.hcps.org, is always kept up to date with school system and individual school delays, closures, and early dismissals.

NOTE: This calendar contains the potential for 186 student days - six more than the state minimum requirement of 180 days. If schools are closed six days or more due to emergency conditions, weather related or otherwise, it may be necessary to alter the school calendar. The calendar may be reduced if inclement weather makeup days are not needed to meet the state-mandated minimum required days.

RESPONSIBILITIES SPECIFIC TO VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION: Parents/Guardians and students will have the following responsibilities specific to virtual instruction:

  • Teachers/Providers may not conduct a Virtual Instruction session involving only a single student unless:
    • A parent/guardian is in the student's residence and is aware of the session; or
    • An HCPS staff member, in addition to the teacher/provider, listens to and/or views (as applicable) the session.
  • Parents/Guardians and students must not record, duplicate or share/post any portion of a student's virtual Instruction session.
  • Parent/Guardians and students must not share passwords or provide access to HCPS online services to anyone.
  • Prior to engaging in a Virtual Instruction session, students must be in a location where the background is appropriate i.e. a location that is quiet.
  • Students should mute their microphone as necessary to avoid disturbing a Virtual Instruction Session. The use of the video function in any Virtual Instruction Session is not mandatory. Parents/Guardian may opt-out of the use of the video function by turning off that function.

In some situations, a teacher/provider will request consent for specific services prior to working virtually with the student. Parents/Guardians should immediately report to the principal of the school in question any concerns, etc.

ASTHMA INHALERS AND OTHER EMERGENCY MEDICATIONS:

  • Students may, while in school or in school-sponsored activity, on a school bus, or on school property, possess and self-administer an asthma inhaler, EpiPen or other emergency drug dispensed to the student by a prescription of a health practitioner pertaining to the students' asthma or other airway-constricting disease or which otherwise may be needed by the student on an emergency basis.
  • Any student who self-administers the above described medication must have a prior written order from the student's health care provider (Permission to Self-Carry/Administer Medication form) and, if the student is a minor, the prior written approval of the student's parent or guardian.
  • If a health care provider deems that a child must carry medication, a student who seeks to possess and administer medication as set forth above must obtain written verification from the student's health-care provider confirming that the student has the knowledge and skills to safely possess and self-administer the medication. Such written statements must be provided annually. The school nurse shall assess the student's ability to demonstrate the skill level necessary to ensure proper and effective use of the medication(s) in school. The Contract for Self-Administration of Medication must also be completed.
  • The school nurse will notify all appropriate personnel when such exceptions are granted, including bus drivers. Back-up medications must be kept in the health suite.
  • A student may be subject to disciplinary action if the student does not use the medication in a safe and proper manner.
  • The health care provider's order must be maintained in the student's educational file at his/her school.

ALL OTHER MEDICATIONS: When a student is taking a prescribed medication, parents/guardians should make every effort to arrange for the medicine to be taken outside of the school day. However, there are occasions when it is determined by a health care provider that a student must receive prescribed or over-the-counter medication during the school day, either on a regular schedule or in the event of an emergency. When this circumstance occurs, the following guidelines apply.

All medication must be accompanied by a written authorized health care provider’s order. These instructions must contain the student’s name; name of the medication; the route of administration; the exact dosage, time and circumstances of administration; length of time the medication is to be continued; reason for administration; possible side effects; health care provider’s name; time and frequency of administration; and date of order. Parents/Guardians must also provide written authorization to administer medication to their child. For your convenience, a form is available from the school nurse or on www.hcps.org. No medication may be administered to a student without the required health care provider’s order and parent/guardian permission. Faxed medication orders are acceptable. In some circumstances, orders written on health care provider’s letterhead or prescription pad are acceptable.

  • The parent/guardian should give the first dose of any new prescription or over-the-counter medication at home (except for emergency medication, e.g. auto-injectable epinephrine).
  • Medication must be in its original prescription bottle, properly labeled by the pharmacy. Pharmacies can provide a second labeled bottle to accommodate medications that are given at school. Siblings may not share medication. Only FDA approved or state mandated medications will be administered in schools.
  • Discretionary medications are available for occasional use only to students who have a signed permission slip on fle in the health suite. Medications may be administered under the ordered guidelines of the physician from the Harford County Health Department and at the discretion of the school nurse. Students are permitted to carry cough drops, but must have written parent/guardian permission. No health care provider’s order is required. Students are permitted to apply FDA approved sunscreen lotion with written parent/ guardian permission. Students must provide their own sunscreen in the original container (no sprays are permitted) clearly marked with the student’s name. Students are not permitted to share sunscreen with other students.
  • Discretionary medications that are required on a more than occasional basis must be accompanied by an order from an authorized health care provider and supplied and transported to the health suite by the parent/guardian.
  • Parents/Guardians or their designee must bring the medication to the school personally, and students are not permitted to carry medication on school buses or onto school grounds except as stipulated above in the Asthma Inhaler and Other Emergency Medications section. Bus drivers may not carry medications for students under any circumstances, with the exception of autoinjectable epinephrine (no medications may be stored on school buses).
  • No medication will be stored over the summer. A parent/guardian must pick up all medication by the end of the school day on the last day of school. Any remaining medication not picked up by a parent/guardian will be destroyed. No medication will be sent home with a student.
  • A new authorized health care provider’s order and parent/guardian permission form is required for medications at the beginning of each new school year, and for any changes during the school year.

The following measures are taken to ensure the safety of the student taking medications:

  • All medications are kept in a locked cabinet in the health suite at all times.
  • Medication must be taken in the presence of the school nurse, principal or designee.
  • Records are maintained documenting the medication taken, date, time and the person who administered it.
  • Immunization requirements can be found here.

Epinephrine Availability - In accordance with Maryland law, each school is stocked with epinephrine that will be administered to students during unanticipated anaphylactic emergencies. If there is a medical concern that requires your child to have or carry any emergency medication, such as an inhaler or auto-injectable epinephrine, the parent/guardian must supply the medication and an order from your student's health care provider.

Administration of Medical Cannabis to Students - In 2020, the Maryland General Assembly codified the Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §7-446, Guidelines for public schools allowing the administration of cannabis to students. This law required that by December 31, 2020, the MSDE and the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) jointly develop guidelines for public schools allowing the administration of medical cannabis during school hours and school-sponsored activities and while on a school bus to students who are qualifying patients. A student who is a qualifying medical cannabis patient may obtain medical cannabis only through the student's caregiver or any designated school personnel authorized to administer medical cannabis to the student in accordance with these guidelines. Designated school personnel authorized to administer medical cannabis to a student are not required to register with the MMCC. They may administer to a student only medical cannabis that is obtained through the student's caregiver and in accordance with dosing, timing, and delivery route instructions as provided by the certifying provider's written instructions. A school nurse may not be required to administer cannabis to a student who is a qualifying patient. Beginning June 1, 2020, a caregiver may administer medical cannabis to a student who is a qualifying patient of the caregiver on school property, during school-sponsored activities, and while on a school bus. (See MSDE Guidelines for Public Schools Allowing the Administration of Medical Cannabis to Students, marylandpublicschools.org, citing Md. Ann. Code, Health-Gen Art. § 13-3301, Appendix B).

Naloxone - Naloxone is available in all elementary, middle, and high school health suites for suspected opioid overdose. All school nurses follow the practice guidelines approved by the Harford County Health Department

MIDDLE SCHOOL: All nine middle schools offer comprehensive programs of study designed to meet state grade level and graduation requirements. Harford County middle schools offer a wide and varied range of extracurricular and club related activities. These can include experiences in music, drama, fine arts, publications, intramural sports and areas of student interest. For more information on a specific school, visit www.hcps.org.

RESOLVING SCHOOL CONCERNS:

Academic - Academic questions or concerns should first be discussed with the student's classroom teacher at a face-to-face conference or over the phone. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, you should contact the following personnel, in the order listed, until a resolution is achieved:

  • Assistant Principal
  • Principal
  • Executive Director of Elementary School Instruction and Performance, Director of Elementary School Instruction and Performance, Executive Director of Secondary School Instruction and Performance, or Director of Secondary School Instruction and Performance
  • Superintendent (the Superintendent may direct a designee to respond to the concern)
  • Board of Education of Harford County

Athletic/Extracurricular - High school athletic and extracurricular questions or concerns should first be discussed with the school's athletic director, group sponsor or team coach at a face-to-face conference or over the phone. If the issue cannot be resolved at this level, you should contact the following personnel, in the order listed, until a resolution is achieved:

  • Principal
  • Supervisor of Athletics (for athletic concerns)
  • Executive Director of Secondary School Instruction and Performance
  • Superintendent (or designee)
  • Board of Education of Harford County

Elementary and middle school students must be accompanied by a responsible adult for all games. Unaccompanied children who are younger than high school age will not be admitted. Additional athletic event admission and spectator information is available on the school website and www.hcps.org

Disciplinary or Other School-Based Concerns - Disciplinary or other school-based questions or concerns should be first discussed with the school assistant principal with face-to-face conference or over the phone. If the issue cannot be resolved at the school level, you should follow the same order listed prior until a resolution is achieved. Please refer to the Student Discipline section.

STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES: There are a variety of services available to provide assistance for children with specific needs. At the school level, the teacher, school counselor, school nurse and school administrator assist students with everyday problems. Specialized personnel, such as pupil personnel workers and school psychologists, are called into the school to help with more complex student needs. Additionally, all of our comprehensive schools have a school based mental health provider as a partner. These providers come into the school building and provide mental health therapy to students during the school day. Parents/Guardians who feel that their student may need special services should contact the student's school or the Office of Student Support Services at 410-588-5334.

VOLUNTEERING AND VISITATION IN SCHOOLS:

Volunteering* - Hundreds of persons each year assist students in the schools by donating their time to work in classrooms, libraries and health rooms. These individuals make valuable contributions to the educational system by working directly with children or by performing duties that allow others to give students more individual attention.

Volunteers are selected at the school level and assigned specific duties. Before they actually begin work, they participate in meetings that are designed to help them become familiar with the school program and their new roles. Following these general meetings, the teacher and the volunteer meet to discuss classroom standards, routine operations and duties to be performed. Persons interested in donating their services should contact the schools in which they would like to volunteer.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering may not occur, or may be restricted, for the duration of the 2022-2023 school year. Please contact your school's principal for more information.

Visitors* - The Board of Education is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for all students, staff and other persons. The time, place and manner by which persons visit the public schools and other public school buildings are subject to such control and regulations as the superintendent and staff deem appropriate in order to protect and secure the safety of all students, staff and others who participate in the school community.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board reserves the right to prohibit visitors from coming into any/all HCPS schools and/or other buildings for the duration of the 2022-2023 school year. Please contact your school's principal for more information.

Board of Education Policies

Please note: The contents of this handbook are meant to serve as a summary of frequently used Board of Education policies and procedures. For a full list of Board policies, please access the Board Policy Manual on our website, www.hcps.org

ATTENDANCE: Daily attendance is crucial to student achievement and required in order to demonstrate mastery of material and receive credit for courses. Students are expected to attend school and all classes regularly and to be punctual. Upon returning to school from an absence, a student is required to bring a written note from a parent/guardian stating the reason for each absence within three school days of the student's return from school.

General Regulations -

  • Each child who resides in this state and is five years old or older and less than 18 years of age, shall attend public school regularly during the entire school year, except as provided by specific provisions of Maryland law or regulation.
  • A student is considered in attendance at school when participating in school-sponsored activities during the school day, and when that participation is approved by the local superintendent of schools, the school principal, or their designees.

Recording Attendance -

  • Present - Student in attendance for more than half of the time they are scheduled to be in attendance on a given day.
  • Partial day - Student in attendance for 10-50% of the time they are scheduled to be in attendance on the given day.
  • Tardy - Student not present to school on time and present for more than 50% of their school day.
  • Early dismissal - Student leaves prior to the end of the school day and in attendance for more than 50% of their school day.

Recording Absences -

  • Lawful Absences
    • Death in the immediate family.
    • Illness of the student - The principal may require a physician's certificate from the parent/guardian of a student reported continuously absent for illness. Continuously absent means either a number of consecutive absences or total absences in excess of the standard for regular attendance for which, in the principal's judgment, medical documentation is required.
    • Court summons.
    • Hazardous weather conditions - Hazardous weather conditions that would endanger the health or safety of the student when in transit to and from school.
    • Work approved or sponsored by the school, the local school system, or the State Department of Education, accepted by the local superintendent of schools, the school principal, or his/her designees, as reason for excusing the students.
    • Observance of a religious holiday - The absence of a student to participate in the observance of a major religious holiday shall not prevent him/her from achieving a "Perfect Attendance" certificate or other appropriate recognition for attendance. Major tests, field trips, the taking of student pictures and similar activities should not, insofar as possible, be scheduled during religious holidays.
    • Pregnancy and parenting.
    • State of emergency.
    • Suspension.
    • Lack of authorized transportation - This shall not include students denied authorized transportation for disciplinary reasons.
    • Other emergency or set of circumstances which, in the judgment of the superintendent or designee, constitutes a good and sufficient cause for absence from school.
    • Reasonable participation by a middle or high school student in a general or primary election campaign, for which sufficient documentation has been provided.
    • Family vacation or family trip – A family vacation or a family trip during the school year is strongly discouraged as the loss of class time may have a negative impact on the student’s academic progress and record. It is also recognized that, on some occasions, working parents/guardians have little control over the time of the year when vacations or trips may be taken. Family vacation absences are considered lawful only if they have prior written approval of the principal and do not exceed five days per school year. Written requests must be made at least ten school days in advance of the requested vacation absence and after approval, parents/guardians and students are responsible for requesting assignments. If a family vacation or trip is not approved by the school principal, the parent/guardian may contact the appropriate executive director to discuss the matter. Requests that exceed five days per year may be approved by the superintendent’s designee and may result in the withdrawal of the student for the time in which the child is not in attendance, if the absences exceed 9 consecutive unexcused days.
  • Unlawful Absence - An absence, including an absence for any portion of the day, for any reason other than those cited as lawful is presumed to be unlawful and may constitute truancy.
    • Truant Student - A student who is absent for a school day, or portion thereof, without a lawful cause.
    • Chronically Absent - A year-to-date absent rate of 10 percent or more, including both lawful and unlawful absences.
    • Repeated unlawful absences will require a school conference between the appropriate school personnel and parent/guardian and may result in a referral to the pupil personnel worker.

Standard for Regular Attendance and Actions or Consequences for Not Meeting the Standard - The standard for regular attendance is the minimal requirement for student attendance in order to permit continuity in the instructional program. The standard includes both lawful and unlawful absences within a marking period, semester or school year. Students will be defined as chronically absent if they are enrolled at least 10 days in school and absent at least 10 percent of the time, regardless of the reason.

The actions taken when the standard is not met should reflect a continuum of consequences for increasing absenteeism. School officials may waive these actions when they are aware of circumstances beyond the student's control, such as documented chronic illnesses, etc. In addition, students who receive services under an Individualized Education Plan(IEP) or 504 plan may not necessarily be subject to the consequences for failing to meet the attendance standard.

  • All Schools - Beginning with the fourth absence, early dismissal and/or tardiness, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing. Continuing absence and/or tardiness of the student will result in the initiation of one or more of the following actions:
    • Conference with the parent/guardian, student and the principal or designee.
    • Probationary time period - verbal agreement.
    • Written contract.
    • After-school detention.
    • Saturday school (non-teaching day attendance).
    • Removal of school privileges.
    • In-school suspension (due process procedures followed).
    • Referral to the Office of Student Support Services and/or the pupil personnel worker for appropriate intervention.
    • Referral to the Office of Student Support Services for possible outside referral to court for violation of the compulsory attendance law or to Juvenile Services for intake services.
  • High Schools - Following the second day of unlawful absence in a semester course, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing of the imminent danger of loss of the one-half credit for the course. On the fifth day of unlawful absence, the student may lose credit for the semester course. Parents/Guardians will be notified in writing of the loss of credit and made aware of the appeal process.

    Following the ninth day of unlawful absence in a full-year course, the parent/guardian will be notified in writing of the imminent danger of loss of the full one-credit for the course. On the 18th day of unlawful absence, the student may lose credit for the full-year course. Parents/Guardians will be notified in writing of the loss of credit and made aware of the appeal process

  • Elementary and Middle Schools - Students who have been absent 20 days by the end of the third quarter must be reviewed for possible retention during promotion/non-promotion conferences.

Make-up Work Procedures - Make up work should be provided to students after an absence, unless it was determined the student was truant or unlawfully absent. The make-up work policy for absences shall be:

  • It is the responsibility of the student/parent/guardian to request missed assignments within the requested timeframe.
  • Students shall be given the number of days equal to the number of days absent to turn in completed make-up work. Assignments may be provided, when possible, in advance of a lawful absence if requested by a parent/guardian at least five days in advance of the absence and approved by the principal or designee. Submission of the make-up work provided in advance is required upon the return of the student to school unless extenuating circumstances have been documented.
  • The teacher shall provide required make-up work in accordance with the method chosen by the teacher and shall collect and correct the make-up work. A reasonable timeline for the completion of the work will be established by the teacher. It is recommended that this exchange of completed and newly assigned work be done on a weekly basis.
  • The student will be accountable to complete all assigned make-up work.
  • All make-up work will be graded in accordance with the regular classroom grading policy as long as it is completed within the established timeline.
  • The make-up work assignments requirements for students who have been suspended or expelled shall comply with COMAR 13A.08.01.11 as follows:
    • Students who are suspended or expelled, and who are not placed in an alternative education program, shall receive daily classwork and assignments from each teacher which shall be reviewed and corrected by teachers on a weekly basis and returned to the student. COMAR requires makeup work for one or more days of suspension.
    • The principal of the school shall assign a school staff person to serve as a liaison between the teacher and the suspended/expelled student and parent/guardian to provide communication weekly about classwork assignments and school related issues by phone or email.

SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT: All schools will have designated attendance areas determined by the Board of Education. Students admitted to school in Harford County are assigned to schools serving the school attendance area in which the parent/guardian lives (is domiciled). Students are required to attend the schools to which they have been assigned unless reassigned by the superintendent/designee, they receive an approved boundary exception, or as otherwise permitted by law, regulation, or board policy.

Boundary Exceptions - Board of Education policy stipulates that students will attend the schools that serve the area in which they reside with their parent(s) or legal guardian. A boundary exception is special approval for a student to enroll at a school outside of the student's designated attendance area. Each boundary exception request is investigated and evaluated for approval on an individual basis in accordance with the Boundary Exception Procedure, located at hcps.org under the Board of Education tab. To apply for a boundary exception, please contact your child's Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW).

Proof of Domicile - When registering for admission into any Harford County public school, proof is required that the prospective student and parent/guardian lives (is domiciled) in Harford County.

The following documents are required:

  • A current monthly utility bill (turn off notices not accepted)* internet, cable, landline, gas and electric (usage detail page required)
    OR
  • Homeowner's Deed, most recent mortgage payment*, signed settlement agreement or current lease agreement signed by the parent/guardian as lessee, plus one of the following:
    • Pay Stub*
    • W-2 Form
    • Car, Homeowner, or Renter's Insurance Declaration page
    • Government or official correspondence
    • Change of address card from Motor Vehicle Administration or Post Office
    • Credit card statement*
    • Cell phone bill*
*These documents must be dated within 30 days from date of enrollment.

Families who do not have a house or apartment of their own, but live with a relative or friend, are required to submit a Multi-Family Affidavit as proof of residency for each year the student and parent/guardian are in a shared housing/multi-family living arrangement. Review of the shared housing/multi-family living arrangement will be conducted by the PPW in your attendance area. Special documentation must be on file.

In cases in which the school questions the accuracy or completeness of the enrollment information, or when the parent/guardian cannot provide all of the necessary information, the parent/guardian is directed to contact the school's PPW to assist with the admission process.

CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT:

Definitions -

  • Child - any individual under the age of 18 years.
  • Abuse – (1) Abuse means (i) the physical or mental injury of a child under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed by: (1) a parent; (2) a household member or family member; (3) a person who has permanent or temporary care or custody of the child; (4) a person who has responsibility for supervision of the child; or (5) a person who, because of the person’s position or occupation, exercises authority over the child; or (ii) sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not. (2) Abuse does not include the physical injury of a child by accidental means.
  • Neglect – the leaving of a child unattended or other failure to give proper care and attention to a child by any parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of the child under circumstances that indicate: (1) that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or placed at substantial risk of harm; or (2) mental injury to the child or a substantial risk of mental injury.
  • Sexual abuse – any act that involves: (1) Sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by: (i) a parent; (ii) a household member or family member; (iii) a person who has permanent or temporary care or custody of the child; (iv) a person who has responsibility for supervision of the child; or (v) a person who, because of the person’s position or occupation, exercises authority over the child; or (2) Sex trafficking of a child by any individual.
  • Sexual molestation or exploitation – any act that includes: (1) allowing or encouraging a child to engage in: (i) obscene photography, films, poses, or similar activity; (ii) pornographic photography, films, poses, or similar activity; or (iii) prostitution; (2) incest; (3) rape; (4) sexual offense in any degree; and (5) unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

Each health practitioner, police officer, educator, or human service worker, acting in a professional capacity in this State: (1) Who has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, shall notify the local department of social services or the appropriate law enforcement agency; and (2) if acting as a staff member of a hospital, public health agency, child care institution, juvenile detention center, school, or similar institution, shall immediately notify and give all information required by this section to the head of the institution or the designee of the head.

  • The above persons who notify the appropriate authorities shall make:
    • an oral report, by telephone or direct communication, as soon as possible to the local department or appropriate law enforcement agency; and
    • a written report: (1) to the local department of social services, not later than 48 hours after the contact, examination, attention, or treatment that caused the individual to believe that the child had been subjected to abuse or neglect; and (2) with a copy to the local State's Attorney.

FACILITY INFORMATION:

Use of School Facilities - The Board of Education of Harford County encourages the use of HCPS facilities by the school community in accordance with Section 7-108 of the Education Article of the Maryland Annotated Code and the HCPS Use of Public School Facilities (UOF) Procedure. Please utilize the UOF application at www.hcps.org or call the Use of Facilities Specialist at 410-809-6068 if you have any questions.

Integrated Pest Management and Notification of Pesticide Use in a Public School Building and on School Grounds - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system of controlling pests that does not depend on automatic application of pesticides. As implemented by Harford County Public Schools, pests are monitored by routine inspections. The program utilizes a system of inspection, documentation, communication with building occupants, and evaluations of any required actions. An effective pest control program is currently in place.

The IPM program places a priority on non-chemical pest management techniques. However, there will be occasions when pesticide application is necessary. Application will be done in a manner sufficient to minimize potential exposure to occupants and the building environment.

In compliance with regulations as set forth by Maryland Department of Agriculture, notification will be made to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of all elementary students and secondary students and staff on the school's notification list. If you are the parent/guardian of a student attending a secondary school or are a member of Harford County Public Schools staff and wish to be notified of all pesticide applications, contact school administration to request written notification.

In addition, notification of pesticide applications will be provided to parents/guardians and staff members through the use of the Internet, phone, or email. For those parents/guardians or staff members who do not have access to the Internet, phone, or email, or who wish to receive the notification via non-electronic formats, the school district will provide paper copies of the pesticide list and notices of pesticide application.

Information about pesticides or bait stations that may be used in school buildings or on school grounds when non-chemical techniques are exhausted or inappropriate can be obtained through the Facilities Management Department, 2209 Conowingo Road, Bel Air, MD 21015. The Executive Director of Facilities Management serves as coordinator and maintains product labels and safety data sheets for each product. Currently, these pesticides and bait stations include (by common name) Piperonyl Butoxide, Amorphous Silica Gel, Borate, Borax, Bromadiolone, Bromethalon, Carbon, Chlorfenapyr, Cyfluthrin, Cypermethrim, D-Trans Allethrin, Deltamethrin, Diphacinone, Dimethylamine salt of 2,4 and Fiprobnil, Glyphosate, Hydramethylon, Hydroprene, Imidacloprid, Methoprene, s-metochlor, Napthalene, Orthoboric Acid, Oxadizon, Permethrin, Potassium Salt of Fatty Acid, Pyrethrins, Resmethrin, Sodium Nitrate, Pramitol 25E and Sulfur.

The public can review this information by contacting the program coordinator at 410-638-4088. Copies can be obtained for the cost of reproduction. A more detailed description of IPM techniques employed by HCPS may be found in the IPM manual located at each school site. For further information regarding Harford County Public Schools IPM program, contact the Executive Director of Facilities Management at 410-638-4088.

Notification of AHERA Inspection & Management Plan Compliance - This notification is to inform interested parties such as teachers, school personnel and parents/guardians about the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act(AHERA) requirements and the actions taken by Harford County Public Schools to comply with AHERA regulations. On October 30, 1987, the AHERA regulations were published in the Federal Register pages 41826 to 41898, titled "Asbestos Containing Materials in Schools." These regulations require building inspection to locate asbestos containing material (ACM) within each school building management plan for each building. Building inspections have been conducted by an Environmental Protection Agency accredited Building Inspector. Management plans have been written by an Environmental Protection Agency accredited management planner for each school, cataloging ACM found by the building inspection.

Building inspections and management plans have been completed for all Harford County Public Schools. These documents have been submitted to the State of Maryland in compliance with AHERA’s May 9, 1989, deadline. The individual building reports include schedules for periodic surveillance of ACM, re-inspection to be conducted by an accredited Environmental Protection Agency building inspector, and response actions planned, as well as those already completed. The first re-inspection of HCPS buildings were completed in 1992; and subsequent re-inspections were performed in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.

Management plans are available for public review at school administrative offices. To minimize confusion, and in order for a representative of the school system to be available, all who wish to review the reports are requested to make an appointment with school administrators. Public viewing is at no cost to the individual. Copies of the various reports are available for a fee based upon the copying costs of the individual report requested.

Many Harford County public schools do have ACM, and all schools that do have ACM have identified and catalogued it in their management plans. Those materials are monitored by school and facilities staff, and re-inspected every three years by certified inspectors. In the event that deterioration is noted, our maintenance action in the area of the materials requires that the ACM be removed. It is removed only by certified contractors, with monitoring by a separate industrial hygiene contractor. No one other than certified contractors, not school staff, not teachers, not students, nor parents/guardians - should EVER take it upon themselves to attempt to remove known or suspected asbestos containing materials for any reason.

Notification of Sampling for Lead in Drinking Water - Medical research shows lead to be a toxic metal which can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels. As evident by research, young children, infants and fetuses are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure at lower exposure limits than adults. The effects are observed in physiological and behavioral symptoms.

The degree of harm from lead depends upon the total exposure to lead from all sources, and is cumulative over your lifespan. Children, as well as adults, continue to be exposed to lead from a number of sources, including dust from lead paint, soil, food, and water. For more information on these sources, please contact the Harford County Health Department at 410-838-1500, or the Maryland Department of the Environment at 410-537-3000.

In October 1988, Congress passed the Lead Contamination Control Act in order to prevent lead contamination of drinking water in schools and daycare centers. The Act required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to publish a list of water coolers that were known to contain lead. It also required schools and daycare centers to take actions to reduce lead from other sources of drinking water to no more than 15 parts per billion. The Lead and Copper Rule required small water systems to complete initial monitoring of their drinking water supply by December 31, 1993. HCPS has completed the initial testing and continues to meet the requirements as issued by the EPA. Those requirements include corrosion control, source water treatment, and public education for systems that exceed the action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) or 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L).

In 2017, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law requiring all public and nonpublic school systems to test for lead at all water outlets which could be utilized for consumption at schools serviced by a public water system. The regulation went into effect on April 9, 2018. In 2021, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law revising the action level for lead from 20 parts per billion to 5 parts per billion. Any outlet which exceeds the action level of 5 parts per billion must have a remedial action plan implemented. Notification must go out to all students and staff within 10 school days of receiving results above the action level. The initial testing for HCPS was completed by July 1, 2019 and again by July 1 2022.

Results from testing done by HCPS are on file in the administrative offices for the school system, and are available for inspection by the public. Regular monitoring of the drinking water continues. Any questions may be directed to the Executive Director of Facilities Management at 410-638-4088.

Immunization Requirements: The State of Maryland has established immunization requirements for all students entering or enrolled in Maryland schools. These requirements are subject to change based on state mandate. Requirements to achieve complete immunization status include the following:

  • If DT is given in place of DTP or DTaP, a physician documented medical contraindication is required.
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough), (DTaP, DTP) - four doses of vaccine for all students less than 7 years old. Three doses are required for children 7 years of age and older (any combination of the following- DTP, DTaP, Tdap, TD, or Td). One dose of Tdap vaccine received prior to entering 7th grade is acceptable and should be counted as a dose that fulfills the Tdap requirement.
  • Polio vaccine - three doses for all students less than 18 years of age or proof of immunity by positive blood test.
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella - two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine received on or after student's first birthday, or proof of immunity by positive blood test for students entering kindergarten-grade 12. PreK students under 60 months of age require one dose of measles, mumps and rubella; preschool students 60 months of age or older require two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
  • Varicella - Two doses of varicella vaccine are required for students entering kindergarten through grade 9 and for previously unvaccinated students 13 year of age or older. At least one dose of varicella vaccine is required for students in grades 10-12. A documented history of varicella provided by the health care provider (month and year) or proof of immunity through a positive blood test is acceptable in lieu of vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine - three doses or proof of immunity through a positive blood test for students entering PreK-grade 12.
  • Tetanus, diptheria, pertussis booster(Tdap): one dose for all students in grades seven through 12.
  • Meningitis (MCV4, MPSV4): one dose required for all students in grades seven through 12.

Students enrolled in PreK programs must also:

  • Have received one dose of Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV 3, Prevnar) if they are 24-59 months of age.
  • Have received Haemophilus influenza - type b vaccine (Hib) if they are 24-59 months of age. At least one dose of Hib must be administered on or after the first birthday.

Upon record review, a vaccine dose given less than or equal to four days before the minimum interval or age may be counted as valid. Proof of immunity by blood test is acceptable in lieu of vaccine history for Hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps and rubella, but revaccination may be more expedient. Official documentation is recorded on the Maryland Immunization Certificate, DHMH 896. This form is available from the schools. If you have documentation from another source, please consult with the school nurse. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to provide the school with proof of immunization.

PREGNANT AND PARENTING STUDENTS:

HCPS prohibits discrimination of any type in education programs and activities, including bias against pregnant and parenting students. Pregnant and parenting students are allowed to participate in all aspects of the educational program, including academic, physical, and social components. Pregnant and parenting students must have access to a range of specific activities and policies that govern activities both in and outside the classroom.

The following definitions apply to the Pregnant and Parenting Students Policy (02-0054-000):

  • Absence - The failure of the student to be physically present in school/class or at a school-sponsored activity during the school day.
  • Parenting Student - A student who is the mother, father, or legal guardian of a child.
  • School-sponsored activity - An event under the control and supervision of HCPS which is a component of instruction, and which is not a regularly scheduled component of the student's school day.

Pregnant or parenting student absences due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions shall be excused. Examples are labor, delivery, recovery, and prenatal and postnatal medical appointments. In addition:

  • At least ten (10) days of excused absences shall be provided for a parenting student after the birth of the student's child.
  • Parenting-related absences due to an illness or medical appointment of the student's child, including up to four days of absences per school year for which the school may not require a note from a physician, shall be excused.
  • Any absence due to a legal appointment involving the pregnant or parenting student that is related to family law proceedings, including adoption, custody, and visitation, shall be excused.
  • In addition to home and hospital services, a school may allow the pregnant or parenting student to make up the work that the student missed in a time period that equals at least as many days that the student was absent and allow the student to choose one of the following alternatives to make up work that was missed: retake a semester; participate in an online course recovery program; or allow the student six weeks to continue at the same paces and finish at a later date. Additional make-up work alternatives may be considered at the sole discretion of the school.

Each high school must provide a private lactation space at the school that is not a bathroom or closet and that has at least one seating option with a flat surface and an electrical outlet nearby to accommodate placement of a breast pump device. A school is not required to construct an addition or new space. Lactating students must have access to a refrigerator located in close proximity to the private lactation space. A parenting student must be excused from class to use the lactation space to nurse or express milk.

At least one staff member will be designated to connect pregnant students and parenting students with resources for safe, affordable, and reliable childcare; early education services; and transportation to and from school.

PRIVACY RIGHTS OF STUDENTS & PARENTS/GUARDIANS:

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)/Student Records.

Definitions -

  • Directory Information - Records which contain personally identifiable information, but which have been designated by HCPS to be disclosed without parent/guardian consent.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) - Data or information including (a) the name of the student, his/her parents/guardians and family members; (b) addresses; (c) social security number or student number; (d) a list of personal characteristics which would make it possible to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or (e) other information which would make it possible to identify the student with reasonable certainty.
  • Student Records - Records that are: (a) directly related to a student; and (b) maintained by Harford County Public Schools or by a party acting for Harford County Public Schools.

Notification of Rights under FERPA - The FERPA affords parent/guardians and students who are 18 years of age or older ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's records. These rights are:

  • The right to inspect and review the student’s records within 45 days after the day the school receives a request for access. Parents/Guardians or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the records they wish to inspect. The school official will make arrangements for access and notify the parent/guardian or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

Under certain circumstances you may have the right to receive copies of your child's records or to access them sooner than the 45 day time period set forth above. Please contact your child's school to receive an explanation of these rights.

  • The right to request the amendment of the student’s records that the parent/guardian or eligible student believes are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights under FERPA. Parents/Guardians or eligible students who wish to ask the school to amend a record should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why it should be changed. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent/guardian or eligible student, the school will notify the parent/guardian or eligible student of the decision and of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent/guardian or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  • The right to provide written consent which authorizes the school to disclose personally identifiable information (PII) from the student’s records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests.

    A school official is a person employed or hired by the school as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff), school resource officer or a person serving on the school board. A school official also may include a volunteer or contractor outside of the school who performs an institutional service or function for which the school would otherwise use its own employees and who is under the direct control of the school with respect to the use and maintenance of PII from education records, such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant or therapist; a parent/guardian or a business providing technology services or student voluntarily serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee; or a parent/guardian, student or other volunteer assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.

Upon request, the school discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll, or is already enrolled if the disclosure is for purposes of the student’s enrollment or transfer.

  • The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the school to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The following is the name and address of the office that administers FERPA: Student Privacy Policy Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202.

Notice for Disclosure of Directory Information - FERPA requires that Harford County Public Schools, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, Harford County Public Schools may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the district to the contrary in accordance with district procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow Harford County Public Schools to include this type of information from your child’s records in certain school publications.

In addition, two federal laws require local educational agencies receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide military recruiters, upon request, with the following information – names, addresses and telephone listings – unless parents/guardians have advised the local school system that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior written consent.

If you do not want Harford County Public Schools to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the student’s principal in writing within 10 school days of the first day of school.

Harford County Public Schools has designated the following information as directory information:

  • Student's name and grade, but only when it appears on honor roll or graduation list or as a member of a school-approved team, club or other student organization or school publication;
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports;
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams;
  • Degrees and awards received.

RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES OF STUDENTS:

Dress Code - Students have the responsibility to choose their attire and to arrange their personal appearance in a manner that is safe, healthy, inoffensive, and not disruptive to the educational process. The student dress code is intended to create and preserve a positive climate for teaching and learning, reduce the possibility of discipline problems, and preserve school order and safety. The intention of the policy is to seek compliance from students and to avoid disciplinary action unless there are repeated offenses or serious aggravating circumstances.

Students’ style of dress or grooming must meet the reasonable requirements of a course or activity.

  • Clothing must cover the chest, midriff, pelvic/groin area and buttocks down to the upper thigh with opaque material.
    • Students must wear:
      • Shirt
      • Bottom (e.g., pants, sweatpants, shorts, skirt, dress, an leggings)
      • Shoes must be worn at all times and should be safe for the school environment. Bedroom shoes or slippers shall not be worn, except fr school activities approved by the principal.
      • Curricular and activity specific shoes may be required.
      • All tops must have shoulder straps. See through garments must not be worn without appropriate coverage underneath that meets the requirements of this dress code
    • Accordingly, students are prohibited from wearing clothing, jewelry, tattoos, bookbags or other articles of personal appearance that:
      • Depict profanity, obscenity or violence.
      • Promote the use of tobacco, drugs, alcohol or other illegal or harmful products.
      • Contain sexually suggestive messages.
      • Unduly expose or reveal skin or undergarments
      • Contain language or symbols that offend or demean an identifiable person or group or otherwise infringe on the rights of others in violation of the Board harassment or discrimination policies.
      • Cause, or is likely to cause, a substantial or material disruption to school activities or the orderly operation of the school, including, but not limited to symbols of hate, both current and historic, hate groups, and gang-related attire.
      • Contain profane, disrespectful or discourteous expression which is lewd or inconsistent with civil discourse and behavior.
      • Endanger health and safety.

Special Provisions and Restrictions - The following examples are provided for guidance in implementing the policy and are not intended to list every possible violation or circumstance.

  • Physical Education – Proper physical education apparel and shoes are to be worn. For secondary students, the appropriate school physical education uniform should be worn.
    • No jewelry, with the exception of stud earrings, medical bracelets, and fitness trackers, may be worn during physical activity. Jewelry which needs to be removed for physical education class shall be the responsibility of the student.
  • Outerwear – It is a general expectation that outer garments, including, but not limited to, lightweight jackets, hats, etc. are not to be worn during the school day. These items are to be stored in lockers.
    • Principals shall have the discretion to permit students to wear outerwear/headwear in the school building when conditions are warranted.
    • Headwear that interferes with identification of a student for safety and security purposes, denotes membership in a gang or hate group, identified in partnership with law enforcement, and/or disrupts the orderly operation of school is prohibited.
  • Jewelry – Jewelry/body piercings (example: spiked jewelry, chokers, rings, bracelets) that pose a health or safety hazard or is disruptive to the orderly process of the school is not permitted. Chains that could cause injury to others are not permitted.
  • Sunglasses – Sunglasses are considered inappropriate for inside wear. Medical exceptions may be considered by the principal.

Exceptions under this policy shall be given consideration in the following instances:

  • When a reasonable accommodation is made if a student wears an article of dress or other item which is a lawful exercise of his/her right to freedom of expression or freedom of religion.
  • When a reasonable accommodation is necessary due to a documented medical or health reason, but only as authorized by the school principal.
  • When an authorized activity, such as athletics or band, requires different attire, but only upon the direction of the coach or faculty sponsor of the activity.

Dress Code Violations - Principals will have the authority to suspend or waive the restrictions on clothing for social events such as, but not limited to, proms, homecoming dances or school sponsored activities aimed at promoting school spirit. When a student’s attire or personal appearance violates this policy, the principal or designee shall investigate and take appropriate actions.

Student Lockers - Where available, lockers will be provided for students to have a secure repository for books, clothing, school materials, etc. Each school principal will establish procedures for assigning lockers.

Students shall be personally and solely responsible for the contents, cleanliness and condition of the assigned locker. Students will not be permitted to use personal locks on school lockers. Students are expected to report any case of a broken/unsecured locker or theft immediately to the school main office, physical education teacher or athletic team coach as appropriate. Harford County Public Schools shall not assume responsibility for the theft, loss or damage of books or any personal items in a student locker.

It is the responsibility of all students to cooperate fully with any lawful investigation by authorized persons on school property. It is the responsibility of students not to enter school property with dangerous or illegal items or those items that constitute violations of school policy. A principal or assistant principal may make a search of the physical plant or its appurtenances, including lockers used by students without notice to the student or their parent/guardian.

Student Backpack Use - Students are permitted to use backpacks or similar items to carry their schoolbooks, materials or equipment while traveling to and from school. However, because of the importance of maintaining a safe environment in the school, such items must be stored in lockers or designated areas during the school day.

The school principal will have the authority to make exceptions based on medical or health conditions, or disability. Harford County Public Schools shall not assume responsibility for the theft, loss or damage to a student’s backpack or similar item, or its contents.

The following Conditions shall apply:

  • Bookbags, backpacks, etc. shall be stored in the student's assigned locker or designated area.
  • Musical instrument cases shall be stored in the music room or designated storage areas.
  • Athletic bags and gear shall be stored in either the student's locker, assigned physical education locker or designated storage area, as appropriate

If any student is determined to be in violation of this policy, the school administrator will take corrective action, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Requiring the student to place the item in his/her locker.
  • Taking reasonable steps to notify the parent/guardian.
  • Initiating progressive disciplinary action for repeated violations or insubordination as appropriate, which may include suspension from school.

Student Search and Seizure - The principal or assistant principal may make a reasonable search of a student, including the search of the student's backpack or other belongings, on the school premises if he or she has a reasonable belief that the student i in possession of an item, the possession of which is a criminal offense under the laws of this state, a violation of any other Maryland state lay, or a violation of a rule or policy of the Board of Education. This search shall be made in the presence of a third party.

A principal, assistant principal, or teacher may make a reasonable search of a student on a school-sponsored trip if the teacher has a reasonable belief that the student has in the student's possession an item, the possession of which is:

  • A criminal offense under the laws of this state; or
  • A violation of any other Maryland state law; or
  • A violation of a rule or regulation of the local school Board.

A search authorized above shall be made in the presence of a third party. Police officers shall conduct searches of students and the school premises in accordance with their established policies and procedures. A school official may not conduct a search of the person of a student at the request of a police officer unless a search warrant has been issued authorizing the search. Every effort shall be made to conduct searches in a manner which will minimize disruption of the normal school routine and minimize embarrassment to students affected.

Arrests and/or Questioning of Students on School Premises -

When possible and appropriate, arrest by police should be made during non-school hours and away from the school premises. When an arrest on school premises during the school hours is necessary, the responsible school official shall ascertain the facts from the arresting officer which will enable the school official to fully advise the parents/guardians and other school officials of the nature of the charge, the identity of the arresting officer, and the location of the student. When an arrest has taken place on school premises or during school hours, every effort shall be made by school officials to inform the parent/guardian immediately and thereafter promptly to advise the superintendent of schools. Arrest on school premises during school hours shall be effectuated in such a manner as to avoid both embarrassment to the student being arrested and jeopardizing the safety and welfare of other students. School officials may not permit questioning of a student under arrest on the school premises and shall request the arresting officer to remove the student from the premises as soon as practicable after the arrest is made.

Police investigations involving the questioning of students may not be permitted on school premises unless in connection with a crime committed on the premises or in connection with an investigation which, if not immediately permitted, would compromise the success of that investigation or endanger the lives or safety of the students or other persons, provided, however, that a school official should be present throughout that questioning.

A local school system shall permit personnel from a local department of social services or a police officer to question a student on school premises during the school day in an investigation involving suspected child neglect or suspected child abuse. The following apply to such questions:

  • The local superintendent or the superintendent's designee shall determine, after consultation with the individual from the local department of social services or the police officer, whether a school official shall be present during the questioning of a student pursuant to this section.
  • Records and reports concerning child abuse or neglect are confidential, and unauthorized disclosure of such reports is a criminal offense.

Except with respect to questions regarding child abuse or neglect, whenever investigative questioning of students is permitted on the premises, the school official shall promptly advise the parent/guardian and the local superintendent's office of the nature of the investigation and such other details as may be required. School officials are not required to notify parents/guardians of investigations on school premises involving suspected child neglect and suspected child abuse.

In the absence of an arrest, school officials may not authorize the removal of a student from school for the purpose of investigative questioning without the consent of the parent/guardian, except as provided below:

  • A student may be removed from school premises if that student is a suspected victim of child abuse or neglect and the local department of social services has guardianship of the child or a court order to remove the child. The superintendent or the superintendent's designee shall ensure that prompt notification of a student's removal from school under this section is made to the student's parent/guardian.

Notification of Rights Under the Protection of Pupil Rights Act (PPRA) - PPRA affords parents/guardians certain rights regarding our administration of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:

  • Provide consent before students are required to submit a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas ("protected information survey"), if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED):
    • Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student's parent/guardian;
    • Mental or psychological problems of the student or student's family;
    • Sex behavior or attitudes;
    • Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
    • Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
    • Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
    • Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parent/guardian; or
    • Income, other than as is required by law to determine program eligibility.
  • Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of:
    • Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
    • Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under state law; and
    • Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
  • Inspect, upon request and before administration or use:
    • Protected information surveys of students;
    • Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
    • Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.

These rights transfer from the parents/guardians to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under state law. A complete listing of rights can be obtained by contacting the Office of Communications and Family Outreach.

SAFE SCHOOLS:

Drug Detecting Dogs In Secondary Schools - The Board of Education of Harford County permits the use of drug detecting dogs in secondary schools. Drug detecting dogs may be used in school buildings and on school parking lots during the day when students are present. Drug detecting dogs may be used randomly or at the request of the principal based on reasonable suspicion that drugs might be in the school. Under no circumstances will a drug detecting dog be used to sniff any individual person. When, in the opinion of the dog’s handler, a drug detecting dog has alerted on a locker or other property in the school, a search may be conducted by the principal or his/her designee. When, in the opinion of the dog’s handler, a drug detecting dog has alerted on a vehicle, a search may be conducted by a police officer in accordance with law enforcement agency policy. Students who are in possession of controlled dangerous substances and other items that constitute a violation of the policies of the Board of Education will be disciplined in accordance with the appropriate procedures.

Emergency Preparedness Planning - Harford County Public Schools, in cooperation with the Harford County Department of Emergency Services, participates in planning for various types of emergency situations such as fires, natural disasters, air pollution, utility disruption and active assailant. In the event of any type of emergency that disrupts normal schedules at schools, notification will be provided through the automated phone system, commercial radio and television stations. See page 4 for the complete list of notification procedures.

Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment, and Intimidation - Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation are prohibited and not tolerated by the students, volunteers or employees of Harford County Public Schools.

If you believe your child has been the victim of bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or intimidation, you are asked to notify a school staff member and complete a Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form. The form is available on the Harford County Public Schools website, www.hcps.org, and at your child’s school. The form may be submitted online or returned to the principal at the student victim’s school. Contact the school for additional information or assistance.

Prohibition of Gang-Related Activities -

Definitions

  • Gang – Any ongoing organization, association or group of three or more students, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of criminal acts or violations of school discipline policies and having a common name or common identifying signs, colors or symbols or having in common an overt or covert organizational or command structure.
  • School Sponsored Activities – Any event or function authorized, supervised and controlled by Harford County Public Schools or the school’s administration.
  • Gang Activity – Soliciting, with or without coercion, membership in or affiliation with any gang; Painting, writing or otherwise inscribing gang-related graffiti, messages, symbols or signs on school property; Engaging in violence, extortion or any other illegal act or other violation of school discipline policies in furtherance of criminal gang activity; Soliciting any person to engage in physical violence against another person in furtherance of gang activity; Wearing, possessing, using, distributing, displaying or selling any clothing, jewelry, emblem, badge, symbol or items which evidence membership in, identification with or affiliation with any gang and/or is representative of any gang; Engaging in any act, either verbal or nonverbal, including gestures or handshakes which demonstrate membership or affiliation in any gang and/or is representative of any gang; Violating the provision of Section 9-803 of the Criminal Law Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.

HCPS administrators may identify a student as a gang associate if one or more of the following factors are documented:

  • Self-admission;
  • Individual has been identified as a gang member from a reliable source;
  • Individuals has tattoos indicating gang membership (must describe);
  • Individual associates with validated gang members;
  • Individual wears gang attire (must describe);
  • Individual utilizes gang hand signs, possesses symbols, logos, graffiti, photos, documents, included in social media (must describe);
  • Individual arrested with validated gang member;
  • HCPS administrators may identify a student as a validated gang member if two or more of the above factors are documented and a law enforcement officer verifies that the student has been involved in gang-related activities in the community and/or school.

If you have any information about gang activity, you are asked to report it to the principal or complete a Gang-Related Incident Reporting Form and return it to the school principal. The form is available on the school system website, www.hcps.org, or at any school.

Planning for Incidents at Peach Bottom Power Station - In the event of an incident at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, plans have been made to increase the safety of public school students within 10 miles of Peach Bottom.

The following home schools are within the 10-mile radius and could possible be evacuated to a host school. The host schools are:

Schools within 10 miles of Peach Bottom Host Schools
Darlington Elementary Meadowvale Elementary
Dublin Elementary Curchville Elementary
North Harford Elementary North Bend Elementary
North Harford Middle Hickory Elementary
North Harford High C. Milton Wright High

In the event of an incident at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station which requires the evacuation of a school, students will be transported by bus directly to the host school. If such evacuation is ordered, notification will be publicized by radio and television stations, and through the rapid notification system.

Parents/Guardians or authorized persons are to meet their children at the assigned school. Parents/Guardians are urged not to telephone schools or attempt to make different arrangements. This will only create confusion. Parents/Guardians are requested not to pick up their children at the home school, but to meet their children at the host school.

Parents/Guardians or other persons authorized to pick up a student will be required to provide identification at the pick-up point and sign a register prior to the release of a student to their custody.

Portable Communication Policy - A portable communications device is any electronic or battery powered instrument which transmits or receives voice, text, data or information in any form including, but not limited to, cell phones, laptop computers, smart phones, tablets, electronic readers or language translators and which is not owned by Harford County Public Schools.

  • Students may possess or use a portable communication device (PCD) on school grounds and buses under the following circumstances:
    • students in any grade may possess and use PCD on school grounds and buses when authorized to do so pursuant to the student's Individualized Education Plan or Section 504 Plan.
    • teachers may allow students to use a PCD in the school building for an instructional purpose if the teacher has received authorization from an administrator and the usage follows the Acceptable Use Policy for Students
  • Students in high schools may possess a PCD on school grounds and buses during the regular school day provided:
    • the student keeps and maintains the PCD so it cannot be seen by others;
    • the student does not use or activate the PCD in any fashion.
  • Students in middle school may possess a PCD on school grounds during the regular school day provided the PCD is kept and maintained in the student's locker and is deactivated.
  • Students in elementary school may possess a PCD on school grounds during the regular school day provided the PCD is kept and maintained in the student’s backpack or cubbie and is deactivated.
  • Students enrolled in any grade may use PCDs on school grounds before the regular school day and after the regular school day.
  • Students in any grade may use PCDs on school buses before or after the regular school day provided:
    • students may not use PCDs for conversation, calls, photographing or videoing;
    • such use does not include implementation of the audio component of the PCD unless the student uses ear buds.
  • Students' possession or use of the PCDs permitted under this policy shall not:
    • disrupt the educational environment;
    • violate federal or state law or regulation;
    • violate Board policy and procedure including Board policy and procedure relating to student conduct and harassment; or
    • invade the privacy of other students.

Students and their parents are responsible for any theft of, loss of or damage to the student’s PCD.

Nondiscriminatory Practices - The Board is committed to providing an environment that is safe and optimal for academic achievement and productive work activity and free from any form of unlawful discrimination. Any act of such discrimination, committed by a member of the school community is a violation of this policy. Harford County Public Schools will investigate all complaints of discrimination and/or harassment and will take appropriate disciplinary or other action against any member of the school community who is found to have committed any act of discrimination.

Personal Property - Personal property that is brought into the school by students is not covered under the insurance of Harford County Public Schools. Homeowner’s insurance or Renter’s insurance may have off-premises coverage for valuable items, such as musical instruments, but you must confirm coverage with your personal insurance carrier. Students and parents/guardians should evaluate the personal items that are brought to school and should permanently mark items so they are clearly identifiable.

Student Accident Insurance Program - Harford County Public Schools insurance does not cover student injuries due to accidents at school or during school-sponsored activities such as physical education, afterschool sports, and field trips. At the beginning of each school year, Harford County Public Schools provides parents/guardians with information on a voluntary accident insurance program. If you are concerned about coverage in the event of an accident, this insurance may be a way for you to cover a gap caused by a lack of health insurance, dental insurance, or a large deductible on your present health insurance. For more information, please visit www.hcps.org/departments/BusinessServices/riskmanagement. If you have any questions, please contact the Risk Management Office at 410-588-5326.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Special Education in Harford County Public Schools is a collaborative effort involving schools, families and community agencies working together to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children with disabilities, birth through age 21. Special education is defined as specially designed instruction, provided at no cost to parents/guardians, in order to meet the unique needs of a child with an educational or developmental disability. Services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to the maximum extent appropriate.

Children who are determined eligible for special education are evaluated in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) as meeting criteria for an educational disability. This means that, through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team decision-making process, it is determined that autism, deaf-blindness, deafness, multiple disabilities, developmental delay, emotional disability, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury and/or visual impairment (including blindness) adversely affects the student’s educational performance resulting in the need for specialized instruction through the provision of special education and related services.

Least Restrictive Environment - The Harford County Public Schools Department of Special Education believes that individuals with disabilities achieve in a comprehensive and coordinated birth-to-21 system of services emphasizing ambitious and challenging expectations for all students. Harford County Public Schools seeks to improve the performance of children with disabilities and assist in narrowing achievement gaps by ensuring equal access to curriculum and differentiated instruction in the least restrictive environment. The service delivery continuum includes, but is not limited to, consultative supports; inclusion utilizing a co-teaching model; instructional or related services provided outside of the general education setting; self-contained learning environments; regional programs and/or placement in a separate day school. Programming options include:

  • Infants and Toddlers: Family-centered services provided to children with disabilities and their families, birth through age 3 (age 4, if on extended Individual Family Services Plan), in home, community, or center-based settings.
  • Preschool Services: A continuum of services provided to children with disabilities, ages 3 to 5, in community or school-based settings including local schools, regional programs or separate day.
  • School-age Kindergarten through Grade 12: A continuum of services provided to children and youth with disabilities in local schools, regional programs or separate day school.
  • Post-Secondary Services: Services provided to youth with disabilities ages 18 to 21 in comprehensive high schools, community settings and/or a separate day schools.

Child Find - Child Find is an ongoing process used by Harford County Public Schools to identify children with disabilities, birth to age 21, who are suspected of having an educational disability and may be in need of special education and related services. The HCPS Child Find process ensures that, at no cost to the parent/guardian, all children with a suspected disability or identified disability, residing or attending school in Harford County, Maryland, are located, evaluated, and if determined eligible, identified as a student with an educational disability. The Harford County Public Schools’ Child Find process includes referral, prescreening to determine the need for assessment, an initial evaluation or reevaluation to determine eligibility and the development of an IEP or Service Plan if appropriate. This process begins with a referral to the HCPS Child Find Center initiated by the parent/guardian or by an individual familiar with the child’s development. Parents/Guardians of children enrolled in private school or who are homeschooled should contact the Child Find Center if they suspect their child may have a disability. Parents/Guardians of children enrolled in Harford County Public Schools should contact their local school if they suspect their child may have a disability requiring special education services.

For more information related to Child Find, contact the HCPS Child Find Center at 410-638-4386/87. Parents/Guardians of children, who are not yet 3 years old, may contact the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program at 410- 638-3823 for inquiries about accessing services.

Infants & Toddlers - The Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program, serving children with developmental delays or disabilities, birth through age 3 to 4*, is a countywide system of coordinated, multidisciplinary early intervention services. Through family centered services, parents and caregivers are provided guidance and coaching to help their child be successful at home and in the community.

Parents, or other individuals who are concerned about a child's development, may make a referral to the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program at 410-638-3823 or through the Maryland Infants and Toddlers online referral link at https://referral.mditp.org/. Upon referral, developmental evaluations are completed to determine eligibility for early intervention services. Health and developmental needs may be identified in the areas of hearing, speech, language, physical development, cognitive development, social-emotional development, and/or self-help skills.

Children, birth through age 3 to 4*, are eligible to receive Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) services, if a developmental delay or diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay is identified during the IFSP Team Process. The IFSP provides the "what, when, where, why, and how" of early intervention services to be provided to the child with a disability and his/her family. In collaboration with families, the IFSP is implemented and monitored by service providers of the Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program.

*Children ages 3 - 4 are provided services through Harford County Infants and Toddlers Program upon meeting the requirements of the Maryland Extended Individual Family Service Plan options.

Medicaid - The Office of Third Party Billing, Business Services Office, works in conjunction with the Department of Special Education to complete the Medicaid billing and reporting. Third Party Billing is a process that generates Medicaid funds for Harford County Public Schools. Recovery costs for health -related services are sought "after the fact" for students who meet Medicaid guidelines. Health-related services are identified in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). These services include speech-language therapy, occupational or physical therapy, nursing, audiology, social work and psychological services for screening, evaluation and treatment. In addition to health-related services, Harford County Public Schools bills Medicaid for case management services provided to children birth to 21 years of age. Medicaid funds are used to supplement specialized services provided by school personnel.

Family Supports - The Family Support Network (birth to 3) and Partners for Success Resource Center promotes partnership, teamwork, and parental involvement in the special education process. HCPS Family Support Coordinators utilize a collaborative approach to provide parents with the knowledge and skills necessary to work together as equal partners in the educational decision-making process. The Family Support Network and Partners for Success Resource Center are staffed by personnel with direct knowledge and experience navigating the special education process. To connect with these resources, please contact:

  • Family Support Network: Harford County Infants & Toddlers - 100 Thomas Run Road, Bel Air, MD 21015; Telephone: 410-638-3823; Fax: 410-638-3825; Infants.Toddlers@hcps.org.
  • Partners for Success: Roye-Williams Elementary School - 201 Oakington Road, Havre de Grace, MD 21078; Telephone: 410-273-5579; Fax: 310-273-5599; Partners.Success@hcps.org.

SECAC - The HCPS Special Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee (SECAC) operates as a partnership between parents, families, community leaders, organizations, educators and HCPS leadership in support of the needs of children with disabilities. SECAC is charged with the mission of exploring the continuum of programs for students with disabilities in HCPS and for making recommendations to enhance the provision of services for students with disabilities. SECAC meets monthly from September through June. Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month. All individuals who have an interest in Special Education in HCPS are invited to participate in SECAC. No application is required.

Additional information about special education and related services is available online on www.hcps.org. You may submit questions or request more information by emailing harfordcountysecac@gmail.com.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE:

Definitions -

  • In-school suspension - The removal within the school building of a student from the student's regular education program for up to, but not more than, 10 school days per school year for disciplinary reasons by the school principal.
  • Short-term suspension - Removal of a student from school for up to, but not more than, three school days for disciplinary reasons by the principal.
  • Long-term suspension - Removal of a student from school for a time period between four and 10 school days for disciplinary reasons by the principal.
  • Extended suspension - The removal of a student from a student's regular program for a time period between 11 and 45 days by the superintendent of schools or his/her designee.
  • Expulsion - The removal of the student from the student's regular school program for 45 school days or longer.

Offenses - The school principal has the right and authority to discipline students including suspension up to 10 days for offenses including but not limited to use/possession of alcohol, inhalants (including, but not limited to, a vaping device, hookah pipe or e-cigarettes), drugs, tobacco; other gun use/possession; other weapons; threat to an adult; attack on a student; threat to a student; fighting; extortion; sexual attack; sexual harassment; sexual activity; arson/fire; false alarms/bomb threats; explosives; disrespect; harassment/bullying; disruption; academic dishonesty; inappropriate use of electronics; theft; trespassing; destruction of property; acts that jeopardize the safety or security of students, employees or others.

The school principal has the right and authority to suspend students for 10 days and refer the students to the Superintendent for further disciplinary action for (1) chronic and extreme disruption to the learning environment and or (2) imminent threat of harm to others. Imminent threat will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to include (1) the degree of harm and/or (2) the risk of continued harm after the student returns to school. Aggravated offenses are more serious violations with higher risk of harm and include, but are not limited to: possession/use/transfer of drugs, alcohol, inhalants or vape devices, or other controlled dangerous substances; arson; explosives; threat/attack on adult; threat/attack on student; threats of mass violence; fighting; firearms; other types of guns; weapons; serious bodily injury.

Students who commit attendance-related violations are subject to school-based disciplinary consequences, but may not receive out-of-school suspension.

Suspension and Expulsion - Under Maryland law, school principals have the authority to suspend students for improper conduct for periods of 10 school days or less. Suspensions of longer than 10 school days are within the authority of the superintendent of schools or his/her designee. Md. Code Ann., Ed., Art. 7-305 and COMAR 13A.08.01.11 set forth the procedure to follow in the event of a short-term suspension, long-term suspension, extended suspension or expulsion.

Students in prekindergarten through, and inclusive of, second grade, may be suspended out-of-school, for up to five (5) days per incident, only when the following conditions are met.

  • The student has violated the discipline code of HCPS or the school; and
  • The principal of the school, in consultation with the school psychologist or other mental-health care provider, determine there is an imminent risk of serious harm to other students or staff that cannot be reduced or eliminated through interventions and support if the student remains in school.

The superintendent may deny attendance to any student who is currently suspended or expelled from another school system for a length of time equal to that suspension or expulsion. Also, information relating to the discipline of a student, including information on an expulsion of a student, will be forwarded to another school system upon request.

Under Maryland Annotated Code 4-205 the Superintendent has the authority to place students transferring from juvenile or adult detention in a manner that allows for the safe and orderly operation of the school system. An individual analysis of facts will be considered when determining placement. Students with low risk of danger or disruption at school may be considered for immediate enrollment into the school of residence. Students with more risk of danger or disruption may be provided a step-down transition that includes, but is not limited to the Swan Creek eLearning School and/or the Swan Creek In-Person School. The transition from each school is not solely a function of time served, but will be based on the student’s performance factoring student and staff safety. In addition, Code 4-205 authorizes the Superintendent to transfer a student to another placement to maintain safe and orderly learning environment. This applies to students with disabilities when the IEP Team determines the IEP can be implemented in the placement school.

Behavior Which Has Taken Place Off School Property - Students may be disciplined, including suspension or expulsion, for behavior which has taken place off school property and/or beyond the school day, if the behavior is determined by the principal to impact the educational environment of the school, the safety and/or welfare of other students and/or staff, and/or the maintenance of school order and discipline. The principal may suspend the student for up to 10 school days. If the nature and severity of the off-school property behavior warrants it, the principal may refer the student to the office of the superintendent of schools with the recommendation for further disciplinary action. If the superintendent concurs with the findings of the principal, a long-term suspension/expulsion may be imposed.

Behavior which has taken place off school property and/or beyond the school day for which a student may be subject to school disciplinary procedures includes, but is not limited to: committing or attempting to commit murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, assault, robbery, threat or extortion, arson, distribution and/or sale of controlled dangerous substances or alcohol, other criminal actions, or other actions which could be subject to juvenile or adult charges by law enforcement or juvenile authorities whether or not charges have been filed.

Students are subject to suspension for forwarding social media content resulting in danger or disruption, even if they did not create the original content, including but not limited to: bullying, harassment, threats, threats of school violence, and hate messages.

Restitution - If a student is determined to have violated these discipline policies or a school regulation and in the course of that violation damaged or destroyed school property or the property of another person while on school property and the matter is not referred to the Department of Juvenile Services, the principal shall require the student or the student’s parent/guardian to make restitution. The restitution required by HCPS may not exceed $2,500. The principal may assign the student to a school work project if the principal determines that this is an appropriate means to provide restitution for all or a part of the damage to property. Court ordered restitution required by law may exceed the threshold of $2,500.

Offenses Subject to Referral - Students may receive a 10-day suspension and referral to the superintendent of schools with the recommendation for further disciplinary action for certain offenses including, but not limited to, the offenses listed below.

  • Drug/Alcohol-Related Offenses
    • Possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant, or paraphernalia or a substance misrepresented to be controlled dangerous substance or alcohol, medicine, inhalant or other intoxicant or paraphernalia.
    • Sale, distribution or transference of a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant, paraphernalia or substance misrepresented to be a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant or paraphernalia.
    • Second violation of possession/use of over-the-counter medication and prescription medication policies.
    • Controlled dangerous substances in liquid form, including but not limited to those used in electronic delivery devices such as vaping devices and Juul, regardless or quantity or volume, may result in disciplinary consequences. With the exception of medical cannabis administered in accordance with applicable law and procedure.
  • Chronic Disruption—repeated disruption to classroom learning that continues despite interventions from school staff. Extended suspensions for chronic disruption may be between 11 and 45 days.
  • Threat to a Person -– Verbal or physical conduct, whether intentional or unintentional, which places an adult in reasonable fear of a physical attack as defined below, whether or not such physical attack occurs.
  • Attack on a Person – Intentional harmful or offensive physical touching of an adult or touching, whether intentional or unintentional, of a school employee who is intervening in a fight or other disruptive activity.
  • Dangerous Weapons – Possession or use of an object which reasonably could cause physical harm or injury to a person, or an object which is represented to be, and a reasonable person would conclude was, a dangerous weapon and for which there is no reasonable or legitimate cause for the student to possess or use on the property of Harford County Public Schools, or a school sponsored activity.
    • Dangerous weapons include, but are not limited to, the following: a firearm of any kind, whether loaded or unloaded, operable or inoperable, including any object which is a look-alike of a firearm, even though incapable of operation; knives of any kind (including, but not limited to, a switchblade knife, a star knife, a dirk knife, a hunting knife); a straight razor; a spiked glove, spiked wristband, or spiked ring; metal knuckles; nunchaku; explosive devices; chemical mace, household chemicals, tear gas or pepper spray.
    • 'Firearm' means any weapon which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any weapon described above; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, including a bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces, missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or similar device; any weapon which will, or which may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of a propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter; any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described in the two preceding examples, and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled.

      Further, in compliance with the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 and Section 7-305 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, when a student who is determined to have possessed a firearm at a school, must be expelled for a minimum of 365 consecutive days. During a gun-related expulsion, educational services may be provided by online instruction. The superintendent may specify, on a case-by-case basis, a shorter period of expulsion for a student expelled under the provisions of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994. Students served under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan may not be subject to this provision.

  • Arson/Fire -– Attempting to, aiding in, or setting fire to a building or other school property.
  • Sexual Attack -– Physical sexual attack on a staff member or student.
  • False Alarm/Bomb Threat -– The conveyance of threats or false information concerning the placement of explosive or destructive substances. Initiating a report warning of a fire or other catastrophe without cause, in person, by phone, or with a portable communication device. Examples include: misuse of 911, discharging a fire extinguisher and pulling the fire alarm.
  • Student Possession, Use or Transference of Controlled Dangerous Substances -– The Board of Education of Harford County is committed to promoting and providing a drug-free academic environment for all students and providing appropriate safeguards with respect to the administration of prescription medication and over-the-counter products, and believes that collaboration with parents and the larger community is essential to achieving a drug-free environment. Students who decline to participate in an impairment assessment may, at the discretion of the administrator, be found responsible for being impaired if the preponderance of evidence shows the student to be impaired.

    School system efforts to deter the use of alcohol and other drugs by students will include a comprehensive program designed to inform students of the negative effects of alcohol and other drug use, to provide parents/guardians referral information on evaluation and treatment services related to student use of alcohol and other drugs, as well as appropriate consequences for students who violate this policy.

    School administrators are permitted to interview students during disciplinary investigations without a parent/guardian giving permission or being present.

Definitions

  • Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) – Controlled dangerous substances include, but are not limited to, the substances listed in Title 5 of the Criminal Law Article.
  • In addition, substances include medicine not registered with the school nurse, which are intended, implied, or are thought to produce the same or similar effects as substances listed in Title 5 are also regarded as controlled dangerous substances.
  • Medicine – A substance used in treating disease or relieving pain. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Inhalant or Other Intoxicant – Any compound or substance (such as glue and solvents) which may cause a loss of self-control or inebriation.
  • Paraphernalia – Items which are commonly used for the purpose of the ingestion of drugs. Typical paraphernalia would include, but is not limited to, pipes for the smoking of marijuana, manufactured paper, homemade clips or wire-formed devices used for holding marijuana “roaches,” gelatin capsules, measuring spoons, scales, strainers and other items as defined by law.
  • Substance Misrepresented – A substance which a student leads others to believe is a controlled dangerous substance, or thinks to be a controlled dangerous substance, implies is a controlled dangerous substance or will produce the effects of a controlled dangerous substance.
  • Transference – To pass to another person or to make reasonably available to another person a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, paraphernalia, or a substance misrepresented.
  • A student who has been found to be either in possession of or to be using a controlled dangerous substance, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant, or to be in possession of paraphernalia or a substance misrepresented to be a controlled dangerous substance or alcohol may be suspended for 10 school days by the principal and referred to the office of the superintendent of schools for further disciplinary action. If the superintendent concurs with the findings of the principal, an extended suspension or expulsion will be imposed after considering the nature and severity of the behavior and other factors related to the student's school record. In addition, the appropriate police agency will be notified promptly.
  • If the parent/guardian and the student agree to participate in a substance abuse evaluation at a substance abuse treatment center approved by Harford County Public Schools and agree to follow the recommendations for treatment made as part of that evaluation, at no cost to the Harford County Public Schools, the superintendent of schools may reduce the length of the suspension which would otherwise be imposed. This option will not be offered for transference of a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant or paraphernalia or substance misrepresented to be a controlled dangerous substance, medicine, alcohol, an inhalant or other intoxicant or paraphernalia.
  • Further, this option is contingent upon the continuing availability of funding to the Harford County Mental Health and Addictions/Adolescent Addiction Services to enable that agency to provide this service.

Students may possess and self-administer emergency medication provided that the student has a prior written order from the student’s health practitioner and, if the student is a minor, the prior written approval of the student’s parent/guardian authorizing such use and self-administration; the student’s parent/guardian has obtained written verification from the student’s healthcare practitioner confirming that the student has the knowledge and skills to safely possess and self-administer the medication.

The health practitioner statements described above and required under this policy shall be provided to the student’s school at least annually and shall be maintained in the student’s file. A school nurse shall assess the student’s ability to demonstrate a skill level necessary to ensure proper and effective use of the medication in school.

A student and/or his/her parent/guardian who qualifies to possess and self-administer emergency medication pursuant to this policy shall complete such forms as the superintendent/designee may direct in order to meet the needs of the student and protect the safety of the overall school environment, including contracts for self-administration of medication.

Except as allowed above, no student shall possess or administer emergency medication or medication. All medications and emergency medications not authorized per policy shall be delivered by parents to the school; stored by the school nurse; and administered by appropriate school personnel.

Any student who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action.

FEDERAL IMPACT AID - STUDENT/PARENT SURVEY TO IDENTIFY FEDERALLY CONNECTED STUDENTS: Each year, Harford County Public Schools seeks information from federally connected parents/guardians (in active military, living on federal property, civilian working on federal property) for its application for federal financial assistance through the Federal Impact Aid Program. This information is requested on a form known as the Federal Impact Aid Survey Form.

What is Impact Aid? - Impact Aid is a federal formula grant program designed to assist school districts that have either lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property in the district or experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children. The presence of federal installations in Harford County brings additional children to the community for which the public schools must provide educational programs. Since federal properties are exempt from local property taxation, the federal government provides funds which partially pay for the education of these additional students. The amount of funds received is based on the results of the completed and signed survey forms and the attendance of those students identified as "federally connected."

Who receives a survey form? - Not every student receives a federal impact aid survey form. Only students who have a data element in the student information system that indicates that they may be eligible ("federally connected") are provided a pre-printed survey form with their basic information (name, address, school, grade, etc.) already completed. In addition, school offices have access to a blank survey form to provide to any students who did not receive a pre-printed form and may be federally connected. Data elements in the student information system related to federal impact aid are populated based on questions answered on the parent/guardian permissions survey form, information from previous years’ impact aid surveys, address and knowledge of school office staff.

What kind of information is needed? - The survey form, which potentially eligible students bring home in October of each year, includes questions about your place of employment, the name of your employer, your work location and whether you are in the active military.

Why is this information needed? - The place of your employment and work location are needed to determine how many persons are connected with the federal government, which includes civilians working on federal property as well as active military personnel and individuals living on federal property. Each year, the school system is entitled to an appropriation of funds based on the number of federally-connected children in the school system. These funds are made available through Public Law 874, “Impact Aid.” A completed and signed survey form is needed for every student to be claimed on the federal impact aid application.

TRANSPORTATION: School bus transportation may be provided for Harford County public elementary school students who live more than one mile from their school and for public secondary school students who live more than one and one-half miles from their school. Secondary students will utilize consolidated bus stops while elementary students will use neighborhood community bus stops. For safety and security reasons, most Harford County Public Schools' buses are equipped with audio/video cameras and live GPS units.

Transportation Rules For Students - The following transportation rules apply to all students riding buses to and from Harford County Public Schools. In addition, all other policies adopted by the Board of Education regarding student behavior on school property will be enforced on Harford County Public Schools’ buses including but not limited to the "Rights and Responsibilities of Students".

School bus transportation will be withdrawn from a student who is excluded from the classroom as a result of a condition that presents a clear and direct health risk to others. Some examples may include head lice, bloody nose, measles, fever and vomiting, etc.

Students who are suspended from school are not permitted to ride the school bus.

Parent/Guardians of students who are found to have damaged the bus or equipment beyond normal wear and tear will be held financially responsible. Transportation service may be suspended until the invoice for any damage is received. Invoices that remain unpaid may be subject to debt collection service.

Boarding cards may be required for students to access the bus.

Students are required to:

  1. Follow directions given by the bus driver. Insubordination or disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.
  2. Sit in assigned seat as directed by the driver.
  3. Be respectful to other students.
  4. Keep the aisleway clear.
  5. Remain seated and face forward at all times when the bus is in motion.
  6. Refrain from any loud, profane, obscene language or gestures.
  7. Refrain from throwing any object inside, outside or in front of the school bus.
  8. Keep all bookbags, books, school equipment, musical instruments, or other personal belongings contained to his/her assigned seat. If the instrument is too large it may not be able to be transported. This will be made at the discretion of the bus driver.
  9. Keep all parts of the body inside the bus and in his/her assigned seat.
  10. Keep all objects inside the bus and be respectful of motorists.
  11. Cooperate in keeping the bus clean from debris and damage.
  12. Never bring glass on the bus.
  13. Never eat, drink or chew gum on the bus.
  14. Use designated bus stop assigned by the Transportation Department.
  15. Arrive to the bus stop five at least (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival.
  16. Be prepared to present any required pass or boarding card.
  17. When/if using any personal electronic device, students are required to use earbuds/headphones and must refrain from making calls, taking video or photographs while on the school bus.
  18. Appropriately utilize any additional safety equipment such as seat belts or safety vests.

Transportation Discipline Procedures - Students who are assigned to ride Harford County Public Schools’ buses assume certain responsibilities. Misconduct, carelessness and thoughtlessness are hazardous to the safe operation of the school bus. The bus is an integral part of the school day and the driver, who is an adult in a position of authority, will insist on appropriate behavior. “Transportation Rules for Students” will be reviewed and explained to the students on an annual basis by school personnel. Violation of these rules will be reported to the school administration for appropriate disciplinary action. Parent/Guardians of students who are found to have damaged the bus or equipment beyond normal wear and tear will be held financially responsible. Transportation service may be suspended until the invoice for any damage is received. Invoices that remain unpaid may be subject to debt collection service.

Parent/Guardian Transportation - Parents/Guardians who choose to drop their child off at the school are responsible for the safety of their child until the school is open for students. Parents/Guardians who are not aware of the time that students are allowed to enter the school must contact their respective school directly for the information.

Parent/Guardian Responsibility - Each parent/guardian has a role in the safe and efficient operation of the HCPS student transportation system. Parents/Guardians shall assume their responsibilities with the transportation system and extend cooperation and support to the people charged with its operation. Any interference with the official duties of the school bus driver may result in suspension of service and/or criminal charges.

Parents/Guardians should be aware that the privilege to ride a school bus may be temporarily or permanently revoked if the "Transportation Rules for Students" are violated.

  • Parents/Guardians are responsible for the safety of their children from the time they leave home in the morning until the time they board the school bus and, at the end of the school day, from the time the school bus drops the student off at their bus stop. For those students in a non-service area, getting to and from the school safely is a parental responsibility.
  • Parents/Guardians should check the bus routes prior to the start of the school year to review the accurate bus information. Bus stop information can be found on the HCPS website. Bus routes and stops are subject to change.
  • Parents/Guardians are never to board the school bus unless authorized by the bus driver to do so and are never to create any disruption to the transportation system. Parents/Guardians who interfere with the official duties of the bus driver may be subject to suspension of bus service and/or criminal charges.
  • Parents/Guardians should be aware that students are required to arrive to the bus stop at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time.
  • Parents/Guardians should be aware that students are required to utilize the designated bus stop assigned by the Transportation Department. Requests may be made for the use of another bus stop to the principal for emergency situations and approval must be provided to the bus driver in writing.
  • Parents/Guardians should be aware that large items or personal belongings that interfere with other students’ seating are not permitted on the school bus.
  • Parents/Guardians shall be responsible for any damage or destruction of the school bus. Any destruction to the school bus may result in withdrawal of transportation services until the cost of the damage is settled.
  • Only during a mid-day bus run is adult supervision is required for PreK students at the bus stop until the child is picked up, and at the time a child is dropped off.
  • Adult supervision may also be required for before and after school programs.
  • Parent/Guardians of students who are found to have damaged the bus or equipment beyond normal wear and tear will be held financially responsible. Transportation service may be suspended until the invoice for any damage is received. Invoices that remain unpaid may be subject to debt collection service.

Transportation Department Responsibility -

  • Assign bus stops and route buses efficiently within the established guidelines and attendance areas. Routes are subject to change.
  • Collaborate with school administration, parents/guardians, students, and community stakeholders to ensure compliance with all transportation rules, procedures and policies.
  • Oversee bus driver and attendant certification and training programs in compliance with federal, state and local laws.

Bus Driver and Attendant Responsibility —

  • The bus driver and attendant are in full charge of the bus and students on the bus, except in the presence of a teacher or administrator, who shall then oversee the students.
  • The bus driver is required to pick up and drop off students at the designated bus stop assigned by the HCPS Transportation Department.
  • The bus driver or attendant has the authority to assign seats or make changes to seat assignments at their discretion.
  • The bus driver or attendant is required to report infractions of the rules to the proper administration.

School Administration Responsibility —

  • When administration is advised of a violation of the “Transportation Rules for Students” and where the administration determines, as a result of their investigation, that a violation of the “Transportation Rules for Students” has occurred, appropriate disciplinary action may be taken. Please refer to the HCPS Transportation Bus Rule Violation Consequence Levels: HCPSTransportationBusViolationConsequenceLevels.pdf

Harford Technical High School — A consolidated stop system for school bus transportation is utilized for all students attending Harford Technical High School:

  • Students who live within walking distance (one and one-half miles) of their assigned elementary, middle or high school might be required to meet their bus at the local school.
  • Stops for developments are located at the entrance of the development.
  • Students are required to be at their bus stop ten (10) minutes prior to the stated pickup time.
  • The school needs to have the student’s current address and phone number. Changes cannot be given to the Transportation Department or bus driver by the parent/guardian or student.
  • Students not utilizing morning bus service for a period of ten (10) consecutive school days will be dismissed from the morning bus route to provide the shortest ride time for students who are utilizing bus service.
  • Students not utilizing afternoon bus service for a period of ten (10) consecutive school days will be dismissed from the afternoon bus route to provide the shortest ride time for students who are utilizing bus service.
  • Parents/Guardians are responsible for contacting the school to restart bus service once a student has been dismissed from the bus route due to lack of use.
  • Students are permitted to only ride the bus they are assigned, utilizing their designated bus stop.*
  • On inclement weather days (even when schools are on time) buses may be delayed.

*Services are designed to provide transportation from home to school and back home (or daycare).

Magnet Program Transportation Guidelines - The following guidelines pertain to Harford County Public Schools magnet programs: the Global Studies Program/International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB) at Edgewood High School, the Information Technology Oracle Academy (ITOA) at Havre de Grace High School, the Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NRAS) Magnet Program at North Harford High School, Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) at Joppatowne High School, Swan Creek School, the Science and Mathematics Academy (SMA) at Aberdeen High School, and the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) at Edgewood High School and Harford Technical High School.

  • The aforementioned magnet programs utilize a depot bus stop system.
  • In the morning, a bus for each magnet program stops at all of the HCPS high schools and then proceeds to the magnet program's school. In the afternoon, buses will stop at the same pickup locations.
  • Getting to and from the depot bus stop safely is a parent/guardian responsibility.
  • Students attending a program within their attendance area can find bus information on www.hcps.org.
  • In many instances, ride times can exceed forty-five (45) minutes.

Special Needs Transportation Services - Special Needs transportation service is available when approved by the IEP, 504 Plan, or Health Care Teams. If specialized transportation is approved a bus will be assigned to support the individual needs of the student and their assigned program.

TITLE IX COMPLAINT PROCEDURES: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states in part, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C. Section 1681 et seq., And its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 106; et seq., Prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX.

In accordance with Title IX regulations, the Board of Education of Harford County has adopted Title IX complaint procedures for students, parents/guardians, employees, and other persons.

  1. Reporting
    1. Any HCPS employee or member of the Board of Education who has knowledge of or is on notice of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment occurring in the education program or any activity of the school system must report that information immediately.
    2. Any parent or student who believes they are a victim of sexual harassment occurring in the school system's education programs or activities is encouraged to report the matter to the student’s administration.
  2. Investigations
    1. Once an allegation has been accepted by the Title IX Coordinator, an investigation is initiated.
    2. Information is gathered through witnesses, technology, or any other means.
    3. In some instances, the police may be involved. HCPS will work with the police investigation.
    4. Complainant and Respondent will review evidence gathered from the investigation. This will allow the parties to provide additional information.
  3. Decision Making
    1. A Decision-Maker will consider all materials when making a decision regarding the responsibility of the Respondent and apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.
    2. If found responsible, sanction/discipline can range from a warning to suspension/expulsion or termination.
  4. Appeals
    1. Either party can appeal the outcome of the determination of responsibility or a dismissal of the formal complaint.
    2. Appeal guidelines must be followed.
More information on Title IX Procedures

COMPLAINT PROCEDURES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) AND SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973: Any person who believes a member of the school community has discriminated against him/her on the basis of disability or retaliated against him or her in violation of the ADA or Section 504 with respect to matters relating to employment; programs, activities or services; or student instruction may file a complaint with the Designated Person for ADA/Section 504 employment discrimination identified herein.

  • A complainant shall file a complaint within ninety (90) days of the date the alleged act of disability discrimination occurred.
  • The Designated Person shall attempt to informally resolve a complaint within thirty (30) days of the receipt of same.
  • If an informal resolution cannot be reached, the Designated Person shall issue a written decision setting forth in concise fashion his/her decision regarding the complaint and the reasons for the decision. Such written decision shall be issued within sixty (60) days of receipt of the complaint.
  • All decisions of the Designated Person may be appealed to the superintendent pursuant to section 4-205 of the Education Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.
  • The complaint procedure described herein is in addition to and does not limit any other administrative or judicial action the Complainant may pursue.

Designated Persons:

  • Employment Discrimination: Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland, 21014, at 410-588-5226; or,
  • Service, Program or Activity Discrimination: Risk Manager, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland, 21014, at 410-588-5286, or Executive Director of Student Support Services, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland, 21014, at 410-588-5334; or,
  • Identification, Evaluation of or Educational Placement of Students Under Section 504: Executive Director of Student Support Services, 102 S. Hickory Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland, 21014, at 410-588-5334.

WELLNESS POLICY: The Board of Education is committed to maintaining school environments that promote and protect student health by providing appropriate nutrition education, physical education, and a variety of healthy food and beverages. The Wellness Policy is available online at www.hcps.org.

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