Please read the following statements carefully to better understand the policies and procedures of the school district, as well as your and your child’s rights and responsibilities.
The following notices are provided, as required, by state and/or federal statute.
Student Handbooks - Student Handbooks are approved annually by the Board and will be made available, electronically, or distributed within the first few days of school or at registration. You and your child should become familiar with the content of the handbook. Please contact the principal’s office if you or your child did not receive a handbook or you need a replacement. A Student Handbook Receipt Verification Form is required to be returned asking for both student and parent signature.
The handbook is only a summary of board policies that govern the district. These policies are available in paper form in the district office or the building principal’s office. If you have questions or problems locating a policy please contact either the building principal or the district superintendent. We have made several attempts at referencing policy numbers throughout this handbook.
As laws change and needs arise, this handbook may be amended without notice. (Policy 7:190)
Access to Electronic Networks - Electronic networks, including the Internet, are a part of the District's instructional program in order to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication. The Superintendent or designee shall develop an implementation plan for this policy.
The School District is not responsible for any information that may be lost, damaged, or unavailable when using the network, or for any information that is retrieved or transmitted via the Internet. Furthermore, the District will not be responsible for any unauthorized charges or fees resulting from access to the Internet.
The use of the District’s electronic networks shall (1) be consistent with the curriculum adopted by the District as well as the varied instructional needs, learning styles, abilities, and developmental levels of the students, and (2) comply with the selection criteria for instructional materials and library-media center materials. Staff members may, consistent with the Superintendent's implementation plan, use the Internet throughout the curriculum.
The District’s electronic network is part of the curriculum and is not a public forum for general use.
All use of the District's electronic network must be (1) in support of education and/or research, and be in furtherance of the Board of Education's stated goal, or (2) for a legitimate school business purpose. Use is a privilege, not a right. Students and staff members have no expectation of privacy in any material that is stored, transmitted, or received via the District's electronic network or District computers. General rules for behavior and communications apply when using electronic networks. The District's Authorization for Electronic Network Access contains the appropriate uses, ethics, and protocol. Electronic communications and downloaded material, including files deleted from a user's account but not erased, may be monitored or read by school officials.
Each District computer with Internet access shall have a filtering device that blocks entry to visual depictions that are (1) obscene, (2) pornographic, or (3) harmful or inappropriate for students, as defined by the Children’s Internet Protection Act and as determined by the Superintendent or designee. The Superintendent or designee shall enforce the use of such filtering devices. An administrator, supervisor, or other authorized person may disable the filtering device for bona fide research or other lawful purpose, provided the person receives prior permission from the Building Principal.
The Superintendent or designee shall include measures in this policy’s implementation plan to address the following:
- Ensure staff supervision of student access to online electronic networks,
- Restrict student access to inappropriate matter as well as restricting access to harmful materials,
- Ensure student and staff privacy, safety, and security when using electronic communications,
- Restrict unauthorized access, including “hacking” and other unlawful activities, and
- Restrict unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information, such as, names and addresses.
Authorization for Electronic Network Access
Each staff member must sign the District's Authorization for Electronic Network Access as a condition for using the District's electronic network. Each student and his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) must sign the Authorization before being granted unsupervised use.
All users of the District’s computers to access the Internet shall maintain the confidentiality of student records. Reasonable measures to protect against unreasonable access shall be taken before confidential student information is loaded onto the network.
The failure of any student or staff member to follow the terms of the Authorization for Electronic Network Access, or this policy, will result in the loss of privileges, disciplinary action, and/or appropriate legal action.
Access to Student Records - The Illinois Schools Records Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act both address the accesses granted to parents and students. It is suggested parents and students familiarize themselves with these as well as Board Policy 7:340.
Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities - The district will make reasonable attempts to accommodate those with disabilities the ability to participate in all school activities. Please notify the superintendent what special services or assistance will be required as far in advance as possible. (Policy 8:70)
Asbestos Management Plan - The asbestos management plans of the Federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act are available in the district administration offices for public review. The district employs an outside asbestos management firm to monitor any areas in the building that may contain asbestos and also participates in a systematic removal process.
Bus conduct and electronic recordings on school buses - The district has set policies on behavior on school buses that center around the safety of the occupants of the bus. Most district buses are equipped with video and audio recording devices. (Policy 7:220)
Directory Information (Name, address, phone number) - Under state and federal law, this information is public and may be released if requested. Under federal law it must be released to military recruiters. The district does not sell or market student information. (Policy 7:15, 7:340)
Discipline Procedures---Reciprocal Reporting System - The School District participates in a reciprocal reporting system with local law enforcement agencies regarding criminal offenses committed by students. This system includes automatic notification to the appropriate police department(s) and other appropriate agencies when students may have been involved in criminal activities. Likewise, the School District can provide information to and receive such information from those agencies.
Emergency Medical Treatment - Under district policy the principal or designated representative of your child’s school is authorized to secure medical care and automobile or ambulance transport to the nearest hospital facility when you cannot be immediately reached at the time of emergency. You will be responsible for the associated emergency medical charges.
Fees - Registration fees are charged for all students except those specifically exempted by law or unable to pay due to emergency circumstances. Students that have been approved for the free lunch program or are currently receiving aid under Article IV of the Illinois Public Aid Code are eligible for fee waivers. Unless exempted by law or special arrangements are made for emergency purposes, all fees are to be collected. Individuals in need of alternative payment schedules or a fee waiver should contact the building principal. If necessary, the collection process will involve the referral of unpaid fees to a collection agency. (Policy 4:140)
Free and Reduced Priced Lunches - The district takes part in the state and federal school lunch and breakfast programs. These programs have very strict guidelines on what can be served to our students. Families that complete required paperwork and meet eligibility requirements will be notified if they qualify for the free or reduced price breakfast and lunch programs. These programs require proof of information entered on the forms and are subject to state audits. (Policy 4:130)
Health exams and screenings and admission documents - The district has a rather extensive list of State required health related exams and admission documents as required by school codes. Contact your building secretary to obtain a current list of when these exams are required. Please do not overlook this requirement as state requirements require these immunizations in order to attend school. (Policy 7:50, 7:100)
Medications at school - Students should not take medication during school hours or during school-related activities unless it is necessary for a student’s health and well-being. When a student’s licensed health care provider and parent/guardian believe that it is necessary for the student to take a medication during school hours or school-related activities, the parent/guardian must request that the school dispense the medication to the child and otherwise follow the district and building’s procedures on dispensing medication.
A student may possess an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen®) and/or medication prescribed for asthma for immediate use at the student’s discretion, provided the student’s parent/guardian has completed and signed a “School Medication Authorization Form.” The School District shall incur no liability, except for willful and wanton conduct, as a result of any injury arising from a student’s self-administration of medication or epinephrine auto-injector or the storage of any medication by school personnel. A student’s parent/guardian must indemnify and hold harmless the School District and its employees and agents, against any claims, except a claim based on willful and wanton conduct, arising out of a student’s self-administration of an epinephrine auto-injector and/or medication, or the storage of any medication by school personnel. Nothing in this policy shall prohibit any school employee from providing emergency assistance to students, including administering medication. (Policy 7:270)
Notification of Deletion and Destruction of School Records - The principal or his/her designee(s) will review the temporary records of all eighth and twelfth grade regular education students after May 15 of each school year. The purpose of this process is to remove any information that is no longer pertinent to a student’s continued education. Parents/guardians have the opportunity to receive a copy of any students’ records and any information that is to be deleted or destroyed at the end of each year by contacting the building principal prior to record destruction.
Nondiscrimination - Equal educational and extracurricular opportunities shall be available for all students without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religious beliefs, physical and mental handicap or disability, status as homeless, or actual or potential marital or parental status, including pregnancy. Further, the District will not knowingly enter into agreements with any entity or any individual that discriminates against students on the basis of sex or any other protected status, except that the District remains viewpoint neutral when granting access to school facilities under Board policy 8:20, Community Use of School Facilities. Any student may file a discrimination grievance by using the Uniform Grievance Procedure. (Policy 7:10, 7:20)
Pesticides - The district refrains from the application of pesticides but does contract with certified applicators to treat problem areas noted in the buildings with products deemed safe for school use. Please notify building principals if your child may have a reaction to certain pesticides. (Policy 4:160)
Photo Release - From time to time the district allows media coverage of activities and events. Your child’s picture/video and/or name (including the school the student attends) may be included in informational news coverage and for educational purposes, including being shown on the District’s web site.
Prohibiting Guns and Weapons at School - Guns, ammunition, knives and other weapons clearly are hazards to a safe learning environment and people’s welfare. Meridian District 15 has established policy (See student handbook) that prohibits guns, ammunitions, knives and any other weapons from school property. If any such item is found or suspected to be present on school property or in any location related to school activities, the district will impose immediate sanctions to protect the safety of students and staff. (Policy 7:190)
Residency and Tuition - Only students who are residents of the District may attend a District school without a tuition charge. A student’s residence is the same as the person who has legal custody of the student. Please refer to policy 7:60 for clarifications on tuition and residency issues.
Search and Seizure - In order to maintain order and security in the schools, school authorities are authorized to conduct reasonable searches of school property and equipment, as well as of students and their personal effects. "School authorities" includes school liaison police officers.
School Property and Equipment as well as Personal Effects Left There by Students -School authorities may inspect and search school property and equipment owned or controlled by the school (such as, lockers, desks, and parking lots), as well as personal effects left there by a student, without notice to or the consent of the student. Students have no reasonable expectation of privacy in these places or areas or in their personal effects left there. This paragraph applies to student vehicles parked on school property. In addition, Building Principals shall require each high school student, in return for the privilege of parking on school property, to consent in writing to school searches of his or her vehicle, and personal effects therein, without notice and without suspicion of wrongdoing.
The Superintendent may request the assistance of law enforcement officials to conduct inspections and searches of lockers, desks, parking lots, and other school property and equipment for illegal drugs, weapons, or other illegal or dangerous substances or materials, including searches conducted through the use of specially trained dogs.
School authorities may search a student and/or the student’s personal effects in the student’s possession (such as, purses, wallets, knapsacks, book bags, lunch boxes, etc.) when there is a reasonable ground for suspecting that the search will produce evidence the particular student has violated or is violating either the law or the District’s student conduct rules. The search itself must be conducted in a manner that is reasonably related to its objective and not excessively intrusive in light of the student’s age and sex, and the nature of the infraction.
When feasible, the search should be conducted as follows:
- Outside the view of others, including students,
- In the presence of a school administrator or adult witness, and
- By a certificated employee or liaison police officer of the same sex as the student.
Immediately following a search, a written report shall be made by the school authority who conducted the search, and given to the Superintendent.
Seizure of Property
If a search produces evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the District’s policies or rules, such evidence may be seized and impounded by school authorities, and disciplinary action may be taken. When appropriate, such evidence may be transferred to law enforcement authorities. (Policy 7:140)
Safe and Drug free schools and violence prevention - The district offers curriculum on safe and drug free schools and violence prevention in the courses of study as well as many other required subject areas. It is advised parents review policy 6:60 to review these items.
Sex Equity - No student shall, based on sex, be denied equal access to programs, activities, services, or benefits or be limited in the exercise of any right, privilege, advantage, or denied equal access to educational and extracurricular programs and activities. (Policy 2:260, 7:10, 7:20)
Student Award/Honor Information - The district from time to time announces the names of students receiving awards and honors. In the normal course of these events, your child’s name may be released for the purpose of identifying students who excel.
Student discipline policies - The district maintains several different discipline policies grouped under subject areas. The largest of these is policy 7:190. Some of the other policies that deal with this area are 7:160, 7:180, 7:200, and 7:210.
Surveys - Anonymous surveys of students (i.e., students are not asked to put their names on the survey forms) are sometimes given to analyze students’ opinions, attitude or behavior (e.g., opinions about school programs and services, drug/alcohol use, etc.) (Policy 7:15)
Testing Programs - The School Board believes evaluation of student achievement is an important part of the teaching-learning process. To determine the degree to which students are achieving the Illinois Learning Standards and the Meridian Community Unit District #15’s student learning objectives, your child will participate in various tests and assessments. This assessment system includes student achievement tests, curriculum and instruction evaluation, and school-wide program assessments. (Policy 6:340)
Visitors and parental involvement - Parents are welcome to visit the school and become active in parent-led organizations such as the Parent Teacher Organizations, Sports and Music Boosters. Anytime you visit the building, you must stop and register in the building office and receive a visitor pass. If you wish to confer with a staff member please make arrangements prior to your arrival so accommodations can be made. Student visitors to the building are generally not allowed unless they are in the process of transferring to the district. (Policy 8:30, 8:90, 8:95)