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Board Approves Updated Student Code of Conduct to Reflect Pandemic

HOUSTON – Aug. 13, 2020 – The Spring ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved several changes to the 2020-21 Student Code of Conduct that incorporates revisions and additions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, the handbook now includes guidance around how students are expected to behave to promote safety when health conditions permit in-person learning on the campuses, including maintaining social distancing procedures, handwashing, wearing masks and keeping mouth and nose covered while sneezing and/or coughing. 

‘We think it’s important for everyone to know the expectations so that we can keep our school community safe,” said Chief Academic Officer Khechara Bradford after the meeting. “Our goal is to really emphasize how our students all have an individual responsibility to follow these protocols and that there are consequences for not doing so.” 

Students could face disciplinary action for purposefully trying to cough or sneeze on another person, refusing to adhere to social distancing standards, and removing personal protective equipment like a mask with the goal of trying to harm or threaten another person with bodily fluids. 

Students who show up to school without a mask or refuse to wear one during the school day may face a dress code violation. Bradford said all schools will have extra masks should a student occasionally forget. The expectation is that all students come to school wearing a face covering, just as they would adhere to dress code.

“Our goal is to educate, coach and basically raise awareness about all of our new safety protocols,” Bradford said. “These changes to our Code of Conduct give us a way to enforce these measures and keep everyone safe.”

Other updates in this year’s Code of Conduct include more specific language around vaping.  Although e-cigarettes are already banned, students will now face disciplinary action for using a vaping device or pen, which are often disguised to look like flash drives or other harmless products. 

The new language also allows for disciplinary action regardless of the substance in the vaping device.

Trustees on Tuesday discussed the importance of making sure the Code of Conduct is administered in a way that promotes equity and does not penalize any specific groups of students.

“School teams will receive guidance throughout the year on how to ensure we’re equitable,” Bradford said. “We’ll have ongoing data review to help us provide interventions and supports for leadership teams.”

In another change, the board agreed to allow for the electronic distribution only of the Code of Conduct, rather than paper copies, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To view the entire Code of Conduct, please visit www.springisd.org/codeofconduct. Parents without ability to download the Code of Conduct may request one in print by emailing Thomas Graham, the director of Student Affairs at tgraham@springisd.org.