Principal’s letter to Parents

Edward Smith School 1106 Lancaster Avenue Syracuse, New York 13210

May 21, 2012

Dear Families,

As we end the 2011-12 school year we are reaching out to you about some “distracting” and “time consuming” student behavior issues that can be quickly addressed and put aside with your support at home. These are issues that come up each year and we have seen a rise in the instances of having to deal with minor issues that turn into bigger issues over time.

Listed below are the issues and how we would like your support of our policies at home. All of these items can be found in the Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Code of Conduct to be found on the SCSD home page.

1.)Dress Code ~ There is a student dress code for the Syracuse City School District which we have copied off and give to students who are in violation of the code. This section is copied for you below. We ask that you pay particular attention to items # 2, 3 and 4. These items have been highlighted by as important issues that lend to distractions to learning and safety. Please discuss these items with your child and help them make appropriate choices for their appearance at school.

2.)Cell Phones ~ The policy for cell phones is also listed below. We completely support that students need to have means of communication with their parents before and after school. Therefore, we have shared the district’s policy with all of our students and our support of this policy. We do expect that our students will be responsible and we will not have to deal with cell phone issues. However, we have had numerous situations where students have used their cell phones during the school day for social reasons, texting, playing games etc. during instruction. There are also occasions when parents have called or texted their child during the school day. We ask that you remind your child of the policy and assure them that they can always make a call from the main office, or office of the social workers, guidance counselor or nurse, with a pass. We also ask you to follow the policy by leaving messages for your child through the main office, thereby alleviating the temptation for your child to check their messages.

Cell phones can be in school, on your child, but turned off. Any cell phone found turned on will be taken and turned into the main office. Students know that you will be called and you will have to come in to pick up the cell phone. If this occurs 3 times, we will ask you to keep the cell phone home.

3.) Gum ~ Gum has become a serious issue at school. It can be found in many other places other than a student’s mouth: the floor, on chairs, tables, stairs, carpets etc. We ask students to throw out their gum and within a few minutes they have another piece in their mouth. It may seem like a silly thing to discuss, but our custodians end up spending too much time scraping the gum off of many surfaces. Please reinforce that gum is not allowed in school.

(over)

We appreciate your attention to these items. We want to utilize every moment for instruction. It also takes away the opportunity for students to argue about how they are dressed, giving up their phone or chewing gum. With your support we will be able to make every day a great day for learning.

Sincerely,

Daryl J. Hall Jason Armstrong Uzo Unobagha Edward Smith Faculty and Staff Principal Vice Principal Vice Principal Policies from the SCSD Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities and Code of Conduct:

IV. Student Dress Code

A. Personal Appearance

All students are expected to give proper attention to personal cleanliness and to dress appropriately for school and school functions. Students will not be required to dress in a fashion that would violate their religious or ethnic beliefs. Students and their parents/guardians have the primary responsibility for acceptable student dress and appearance. Teachers and all other district personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable student dress and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance in the school setting. Because no list can be exhaustive nor can it anticipate all situations, building administrators will interpret and apply the dress codes of the District.

A student’s dress, grooming and appearance including bandanas, hair style/color, jewelry, make-up, and nails shall:

1. Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.

2. Exclude or reflect that extremely brief garments such as tube tops, net tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps,

muscle shirts, plunging necklines, (front or back) and see through garments which are not appropriate.

When concerning dresses, skirts and shorts: The length of a skirt, dress or shorts must be a minimum of

half the distance between the fingertips and the top of the knee when the student’s hand is fully

extended down the side of the student’s leg.

3. Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing: therefore trousers will be at waist level.

4. Include footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed (e.g. dragging laces, flip

flops).

5. Not include the wearing of hats, hoods, or scarves/bandanas except for a medical or religious purpose

(Matter of Jimenz, 9 Ed. Dept., Rep. 172).

6. Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, libelous, or denigrate others on matters of race, color, religion,

creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

7. Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or

violent activities.

8. Not depict or suggest association with a gang /cult.

While school authorities may require students participating in physical education classes to wear certain types of clothing; e.g., sneakers, white socks, shorts, tee shirts, they should not prescribe a specific brand which students must buy.

B. Dissemination of Dress Code Expectations

Each principal or his designee shall be responsible for informing all students and their parents of the student dress code at the beginning of the school year and any revisions to the dress code made during the school year.

Schools may modify dress code with the approval of the superintendent and the board of Education.

C. Consequences of Violating the Dress Code

Students who violate the student dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending items, if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to discipline, up to and including in-school suspension for the day. Any student who repeatedly fails to comply with the dress code shall be subject to further discipline, up to and including out of school suspension.

XV. Policy and Procedures

S. Student Use of Cell Phones

Students may carry cell phones to and from schools. However, cell phones may not be visible nor turned on unless the Principal has given specific written permission during regular school hours. Parents and Guardians should not call cell phones during the day. They may contact the main office when they need to contact the student. Students may use the main office or public phone when available. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen cell phones unless the phone has been confiscated by a staff member at the school. Recording images without an individual’s knowledge, posting images on public sites without permission of those involved will considered a violation of the Code of Conduct and could result in Police involvement.

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