Policies and Laws

The Norwood Public Schools seeks to fully comply with all laws and regulations that pertain to the civil rights of our students, parents, and employees. The Norwood Public Schools also seeks to protect students, parents, and employees by rigorously complying with and enforcing laws, regulations, School Committee policies and administrative procedures pertaining to the health, safety, and well-being of all school community members.

This booklet provides important information and resources for all community members. We expect all employees to be familiar with its contents and we encourage our students, parents and other community members to frequent this site for information on law, policies, regulations, and school programs that support civil rights, safety, and health.

Parents and students should refer to the High School, Middle School and Elementary School Handbooks for student disciplinary procedures and due process rights. The handbooks also detail discrimination complaint procedures and student rules of conduct that protect the rights of others.

Federal Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunities Laws and Regulations

The Norwood Public Schools strives to provide a safe, respectful, and supportive learning environment in which all students can thrive and succeed in its schools.  The Norwood Public Schools prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation and ensures that all students have equal rights of access and equal enjoyment of the opportunities, advantages, privileges, and courses of study.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

- prohibits discrimination, exclusion from participation, and denial of benefits on the basis of disability in public entities.

The Equal Educational Opportunities Act

- prohibits specific discriminatory conduct, including segregating students on the basis of race, color or national origin, and discrimination against faculty and staff. Furthermore, the EEOA requires school districts to take action to overcome students' language barriers that impede equal participation in educational programs.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 

-prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender by recipients of federal funds. Title IX has been applied to ensure adequate participation opportunities for female students in athletics and in cases of sexual harassment by school administrators, teachers and students. OCR has primary responsibility for enforcing Title IX's provisions with respect to recipients of federal education funds.

Drug-Free Workplace Policy  (Click title for hard copy of policy)

The School District will provide a drug-free workplace and certifies that it will:

1. Notify all employees in writing that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance, is prohibited in the District's workplace, and specify the actions that will be taken against employees for violation of such prohibitions.

2. Establish a drug-free awareness program to inform employees about the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace; the District's policy of maintaining a drug-free work-place; and available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and the penalty that may be imposed on employees for drug abuse violations occurring in the workplace.

3. Make it a requirement that each employee whose employment is funded by a federal grant be given a copy of the statement as required.

4. Notify the employee in the required statement that as a condition of employment under the grant, the employee will abide by the terms of the statement, and will notify the District of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction.

5. Notify the federal agency within ten days after receiving notice from an employee or otherwise receiving notice of such conviction.

6. Take one of the following actions within 30 days of receiving notice with respect to any employee who is so convicted; take appropriate personnel action against such an employee, up to and including termination; or require such employee to participate satisfactorily in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program approved for such purposes by a federal, state or local health law enforcement, or other appropriate agency.

7. Make a good faith effort to continue to maintain a drug-free workplace through implementation of all the provisions of this policy.


SOURCE:  MASC March 2016

LEGAL REFS.:  The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988

CROSS REFS.: IHAMB, Teaching about Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
   JICH,  Drug and Alcohol Use by Students

Adopted by Norwood School Committee: July 13, 2016

Teaching About Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs  (Click title for hard copy of policy)

In accordance with state and federal law, the District shall provide age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate, evidence-based alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention education programs in grades K-12.

The alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention program shall address the legal, social, and health consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, with emphasis on nonuse by school-age children.  The program also shall include information about effective techniques and skill development for abstaining from using, as well as skills for addressing peer pressure to use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

The objectives of this program, as stated below, are rooted in the Committee’s belief that prevention requires education, and that the most important aspect of the policies and guidelines of the District should be the education of children and youth on healthy decision-making:

• To prevent alcohol, tobacco, and drug use among children and youth.

• To increase students’ understanding of the legal, social, and health consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

• To teach students self-management skills, social skills, negotiation skills, and refusal skills that will help them to make healthy decisions and avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

The curriculum, instructional materials, and outcomes used in this program shall be recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the School Committee.

This policy shall be posted on the district’s website and notice shall be provided to all students and parents in accordance with state law. Additionally, the district shall file a copy of this policy with DESE in accordance with law in a manner requested by DESE.


SOURCE:  MASC March 2016

LEGAL REFS.: M.G.L. 71:1 ;71:96

CROSS REFS: GBEC, Drug Free Workplace Policy
   JICH, Drug and Alcohol Use by Students

Adopted by Norwood School Committee: July 13, 2016

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use by Students Prohibited  (Click title for hard copy of policy)

A student shall not, regardless of the quantity, use or consume, possess, buy or sell, or give away any beverage containing alcohol; any tobacco product, including vapor/E-cigarettes; marijuana; steroids; or any controlled substance. The School Committee prohibits the use or consumption by students of alcohol, tobacco products, or drugs on school property or at any school function.

Additionally, any student who is under the influence of drugs or alcoholic beverages prior to, or during, attendance at or participation in a school-sponsored activity, will be barred from that activity and may be subject to disciplinary action.

This policy shall be posted on the district’s website and notice shall be provided to all students and parents of this policy in accordance with state law. Additionally, the district shall file a copy of this policy with DESE in accordance with law in a manner requested by DESE.


SOURCE:  MASC March 2016

LEGAL REFS.:  M.G.L.71:2A; 71:96; 272:40A

CROSS REFS.: IHAMB, Teaching About Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
   GBEC, Drug Free Workplace Policy
   JLCD, Administering Medicines to Students

Adopted by Norwood School Committee July 13, 2016
 

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

This federal grant is to facilitate the enrollment, attendance, supplement enrichment activities, support professional development and support the well being of homeless children and youth in school. The priority is to identify and provide services such as: appropriate medical, dental, mental and other health services, transportation and parent education for homeless children, while other at-risk students may also be served. Grant money also provides tutoring, including shelter tutoring, supplemental educational services, summer programs, and pre-school programs.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that group health benefits be maintained during the leave.

The FMLA is designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by taking reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. It also seeks to accommodate the legitimate interests of employers, and promotes equal employment opportunity for men and women.

Massachusetts Domestic Violence Law 

On August 8, 2014, Governor Patrick signed “An Act Relative to Domestic Violence” (S.2334) into law (the “Act”). Among other changes to the state’s domestic violence laws, the Act requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide domestic violence leave in certain situations.

The law requires that an employer permit an employee to take up to 15 days of leave from work in any 12 month period if the employee or a family member of the employee is a victim of abusive behavior.  To learn more about this law, please click this link: An Act Relative to Domestic Violence

Child Abuse and Neglect

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 119, § 51A, any public or private school teacher, educational administrator, guidance or family counselor, nurse, social worker, or member of certain other professions who in his/her professional capacity shall have reasonable cause to believe that a child under eighteen years of age is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him/her which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare including sexual abuse, or from neglect, including malnutrition, shall immediately report such conditions to the Department of Social Services. School employees meet their responsibilities for reporting by informing the school principal. A written report to DSS must then be filed within 48 hours. The Norwood Public Schools affirms its responsibility to provide for the safety and well-being of students. This responsibility extends to fully complying with the Massachusetts Mandatory Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Statute, Chapter 119, Section 51A. It is expected then, that when any staff member in his/her professional capacity, has reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering from the effects of any form of child abuse and neglect, that the staff member will report his/her concerns to the building principal for consideration of reporting to the Department of Social Services.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a civil rights act that protects the rights of people with disabilities. The law states that no person with a disability can be excluded from or denied benefits of any program receiving federal financial assistance; this includes all public schools. With passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress required that school districts make their programs and activities accessible as well as usable to all individuals with disabilities.

Section 504 regulations require recipients of Federal financial assistance to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each qualified person with a disability in the recipients jurisdiction designed to meet individual educational needs of persons with disabilities as adequately as the needs of non-disabled persons are met. This must be based on adherence to the procedural requirements of the regulation (educational setting, evaluation, placement and procedural safeguards).

Section 504 falls under the management responsibility of the general, rather than special, education program. No state or federal funding is provided to assist in complying with Section 504. All costs are the obligation of the local school.

Section 504 defines a person as disabled if he or she has (or is perceived to have) a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual does not qualify for special accommodations under Section 504.

In order to determine eligibility for services, the students must be evaluated by a team of individuals who are familiar with the student and the results must be shared at a team meeting in which parents or caregivers are involved. If it is determined that a student has a disability under Section 504, the school must develop and implement the delivery of all needed services and/or accommodations.

Student Records

Student records are protected by federal and state law to ensure the privacy of students and their families. The Norwood School Committee policy on Student records reflects both federal and state law.

If you have questions about student records or student information and access or privacy issues, contact your child's Principal or Guidance Counselor.

A school may disclose information regarding a student to appropriate parties in connection with a health or safety emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, disclosures to the local police department and the Department of Social Services under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 71, section 37L and M.G.L. c. 119, section 51A.

Student Records: Non-Custodial Parents

General Laws Chapter 71, Section 34H, is a state law that is designed to standardize the process by which public elementary and secondary schools provide student records to parents who do not have physical custody of their children ("non-custodial parents"). The law, which was added by Chapter 285 of the Acts of 1998, is currently in effect.

Section 34H is very detailed. The law is intended to encourage parents to be involved in and informed about the education of their children, while protecting the rights and safety of all parties.

The Norwood Public Schools complies fully with this law and seeks to do so in a respectful manner with the minimum procedural requirements necessitated by the law. Each of our schools has a designated administrator of records for compliance with 34H. These records administrators can help to answer your questions. You may also contact the Superintendent's Office for assistance.

Student Records: Military Recruiters' Access to Directory Information

The No Child Left Behind Act and the National Defense Authorization Act require that school officials provide military recruiters with student information including names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Parents and students of majority age have a right to request that their information be withheld unless released by their signature. Where students or their parents do not request their information be withheld, the school is required to release information to military recruiters. If you wish to request this information be withheld from military recruiters, please contact the High School Guidance Office.

Policy Regarding Discrimination and Harassment

It is the policy of the Norwood Public Schools to comply fully with Chapter 622 of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with regulations approved by the Massachusetts Board of Education, with Title IX and Section 504, as promulgated by the Federal Government, and with the Sexual Harassment Policy of the Norwood School Committee.

The policies of the Norwood Public Schools concerning Chapter 622, Title IX, Section 504, and sexual harassment prohibit discrimination because of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or national origin and handicaps, such as impaired vision or hearing, in the following areas: admissions to the school system; admissions to courses of study; guidance opportunities; curriculum offerings, extra-curricular activities; scholarship and monetary awards; employment; and use of facilities.

In addition, a grievance procedure has been established for students and employees. The grievance procedure begins with the principal of the building in which the alleged discrimination or harassment occurred. If a resolution is not reached at the building level within 20 school days after receiving the complaint, the matter will be referred to the Assistant Superintendent as soon as possible, including any corroborative information. The Assistant Superintendent will conduct an investigation of the matter and answer all inquiries in writing within 20 school days of receipt of the unresolved complaint. If appropriate, plans to correct any inequities will be included in the response. In the case of alleged sexual harassment, the first step will include a description of the harassment by the individual alleging harassment.

If unresolved or not satisfactorily resolved, the grievant may petition the Superintendent of Schools in writing. The Superintendent or his designee will also conduct an investigation and attempt to resolve the problem, within 20 days of his receipt of the unresolved complaint. The Superintendent will respond in writing to the petitioner following the investigation.

A separate file will be kept on all actions taken under the grievance procedure.

The School Committee will serve as the final local appeals board for any matters which the Superintendent or his designee is unable to resolve. Access to the School Committee is by written notification to the Chairperson describing the problem and requesting an opportunity to review the matter with the School Committee. Documentation shall be attached to the written request for review.

Policy Regarding Physical Restraint of Students

Maintaining an orderly, safe environment conducive to learning is an expectation of all staff members of the Norwood School District. Further, students of the District are protected by law from the unreasonable use of physical restraint.    

Physical restraint shall be used only in emergency situations after other less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate, and with extreme caution. School personnel shall use physical restraint with two goals in mind:   

1.  To administer a physical restraint only when needed to protect a student and/or a member of
      the school community from immediate, serious, physical harm; and
2.  To prevent or minimize any harm to the student as a result of the use of physical
     restraint.   

The following definitions appear at 603CMR 46.02:   

1.  Extended Restraint: A physical restraint the duration of which is longer than twenty (20)
     minutes.
2.  Physical escort: Touching or holding a student without the use of force for the purpose
     of directing the student.
3.  Physical restraint: The use of bodily force to limit a student’s freedom of     
     movement.   

The use of mechanical or chemical restraint is prohibited unless explicitly authorized by a physician and approved in writing by the parent/guardian. The use of seclusion restraint is prohibited in public education programs.   

Mechanical restraint – The use of a physical device to restrict the movement of a student or the movement or normal function of a portion of his or her body. A protective or stabilizing device ordered by a physician shall not be considered a mechanical restraint.

Seclusion restraint – Physically confining a student alone in a room or limited space without access to school staff. The use of “Time out” procedures during which a staff member remains accessible to the student shall not be considered “seclusion restraint”.   

Chemical restraint – the administration of medication for the purpose of restraint.   

The Superintendent will develop written procedures identifying:   

• Appropriate responses to student behavior, that may require immediate intervention;
• Methods of preventing student violence, self injurious behavior, and suicide;
• Descriptions and explanations of the school’s method of physical restraint;
• Descriptions of the school’s training and reporting requirements;
• Procedures for receiving and investigating complaints.   

Each building Principal will identify staff members to serve as a school-wide resource to assist in ensuring proper administration of physical restraint. These staff members will participate in an in-depth training program in the use of physical restraint, which the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education recommends be at least 16 hours in length.  

Only school personnel who have received training pursuant to 603CMR 46.00 shall administer physical restraint on students. Whenever possible the administration of physical restraint shall be administered in the presence of at least one adult who does not participate in the restraint. A person administering physical restraint shall only use the amount of force necessary to protect the student from injury or harm.

In addition, each staff member will be trained regarding the school’s physical restraint policy. The Principal will arrange training to occur in the first month of each school year, or for staff hired after the beginning of the school year, within a month of their employment.    

Physical restraint is prohibited as a means of punishment, or as a response to destruction of property, disruption of school order, a student’s refusal to comply with a school rule or staff directive, or verbal threats that do not constitute a threat of imminent, serious physical harm to the student or others.  

A member of the School Committee or any teacher or any employees or agent of the School Committee shall not be precluded from using such reasonable force as is necessary to protect pupils, other persons or themselves from an assault by a pupil.   

The program staff shall report the use of physical restraint that lasts longer than five minutes, or results in injury to a student or staff member. The staff member shall inform the administration of the physical restraint as soon as possible, and by written report, no later than the next school day. The Principal or director or his/her designee shall maintain an ongoing record of all reported instances of physical restraint, which, upon request, shall be made available to the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education.   

When a restraint has resulted in serious injury to a student or program staff member or when an extended restraint has been administered, the program shall provide a copy of the required report to the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education within five (5) school working days of the administration of the restraint.   

In special circumstances waivers may be sought from parents either through the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process or from parents of students who present a high risk of frequent, dangerous behavior that may frequent the use of restraint.        

SOURCE:  MASC   
LEGAL REF.:  603 CMR 46.00
M.G.L. 71:37G

In the event of a complaint, the appropriate individuals and agencies are as follows:

Schools:

Norwood High School                   Jonathan Bourn, Principal            781-769-2333
Coakley Middle School                 Jackie Mann, Principal                781-762-7880
Balch Elementary School             Jean Selines, Principal                 781-762-0694
Callahan Elementary School         Robert Griffin, Principal                781-762-0693
Cleveland Elementary School        Nancy Coppola, Principal             781-762-6522
Oldham Elementary School           Wesley Manaday, Principal          781-762-2417
Prescott Elementary School          Brianne Killion, Principal              781-762-6497
Willet Early Childhood Center        Diane Ferriera, Principal               781-762-6805

District:

Section 504 Coordinator
Assistant Superintendent
Savage Educational Center
275 Prospect Street
Norwood, MA 02062
781-762-6804 ext.5838

Title VI and Title IX Coordinator

Assistant Superintendent
Savage Educational Center
275 Prospect Street
Norwood, MA 02062
781-762-6804 ext.5814

ADA Coordinator

Director of Buildings and Grounds
Savage Educational Center
275 Prospect Street
Norwood, MA 02062
781-762-6804 ext.5830

Superintendent of Schools

Savage Educational Center
275 Prospect Street
Norwood, MA 02062
781-762-6804 ext.5818

In addition to the above procedures, any student or employee may report a grievance directly to the following agencies:

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
617-727-3990

Office of Civil Rights

John W. McCormack Post Office and Court House
Boston, MA 02109
617-223-9662

Bullying

The Norwood Public Schools will endeavor to maintain a learning and working environment free of bullying. Bullying of any type has no place in a school building, on school grounds, on the bus or school sanctioned transportation, or at school-sponsored functions. It will not be tolerated and will be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including suspension and expulsion for students, and termination for employees.

The district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of harassment, including bullying. The Principal of each school will be responsible for handing all complaints by students alleging harassment, including bullying.