Maplewood Middle School Principal Jerrill Adams emailed parents and guardians tonight to clarify an item in the school’s new Discipline Plan disallowing head coverings from being worn in school.
“At no time has any member of the MMS staff informed students that head coverings for religious reasons are banned. We embrace the diversity of our students and fully permit and respect all head coverings for religious purposes. The power point presentation was making a reference to hats (baseball caps, knit caps, etc…),” wrote Adams.
On Feb. 18, Adams emailed a presentation to parents and guardians informing them of the school’s new Discipline Plan, which was introduced to students this week and will be implemented starting Monday, Feb. 23.
The plans included the rule: “No hats, hoods, bandanas or head coverings. It cannot cover the top of your head or forehead.”
The plan, according to Adams’ original email, was developed by parents, guardians, faculty and staff who joined the School Culture Committee, and includes input from education team leaders and the school’s administrative team (see the full plan presentation below).
In tonight’s email, Adams said, “The School Culture/PBIS Committee would like to thank the entire MMS community for your feedback on our new school-wide discipline plan. The plan is a work in progress and the committee takes all comments and concerns seriously and will use them to improve the plan for September 2015.” Adams added, “We are still looking for parent volunteers to join the school culture committee, which meets every Friday from 3:15-4:00. Please email Assistant Principal, Mr. Marc Gold, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested.”
The plan includes strictures such as no cellphone use (they can be stashed in pockets or lockers), no visible headphones, no chewing gum, walking on the right side of hallways only, and an admonition to “Keep your hands to yourself. It is NOT permitted to put your hands on someone else at any time.”
A strict after-school conference policy has been put into place. Students are given one warning to change a behavior/address an issue. If they fail to do so, an after-school conference is given during which the student meets with the adult who issued the conference and creates a plan to address the behavior.
A new dress code is also part of the plan. It reads:
- No hats, hoods, bandanas or head coverings. It cannot cover the top of your head or forehead.
- No coats
- No sandals or shoes without backs. For example: flip flops, slides
- Undergarments CANNOT be visible For example: sagging pants, bras
- Offensive or insensitive clothing is not allowed.
In working to revise the district’s dress code last fall, the Board of Education noted that it does not have a role in approving detailed regulations at individual schools or school levels. However, part of the new policy language for Policy 5511: Dress and Grooming, which the board unanimously passed in October, reads: “Interpretation and expansion of the dress code at the school level shall be overseen by the Superintendent consistent with all relevant Board Policies, and will be done in collaboration and communication between staff members, students, and parents or legal guardians. Interpretation and expansion shall be consistent across schools serving the same grade levels.”
The district was at the center of a controversy last spring regarding whether school dress codes were inconsistently enforced and unfairly singled out female students.
Much of the new MMS Discipline Plan appears to be standard with the South Orange-Maplewood Code of Conduct.
In response to questions sent in an email, South Orange-Maplewood School District Director of Strategic Communications Suzanne Turner wrote that Central Office staff were aware that new discipline guidelines were being developed at MMS, and that the plan was not in response to any specific issue, “rather it was created to ensure consistency of expectations and consequences across teams and grade levels.”
Turner also wrote that the “new plan is specific to MMS and there are not currently plans to unveil similar changes at the other schools.”
Read the full Maplewood Middle School Discipline Plan here:
Maplewood Middle School
Expectations and Procedures
– The following information explains the expectations you have as part of our learning community at MMS.
– Your choice to contribute to a positive learning environment will result in positive rewards.
– Your choice not to follow these expectations will result in an after school disciplinary conference.
The Four Basic Rules
Please honor this school by working to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for all by:
1) Following directions the first time given.
2) Respecting everyone’s right to learn.
3) Arriving on time and prepared to learn.
4) Participating effectively in class.
AFTER SCHOOL CONFERENCES
– Any adult in the building will give you ONE warning to stop or change a behavior that does not follow the four basic rules.
(ANY ADULT = Principal, Assistant Principals, Teachers, Guidance Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, Secretaries, Custodians, Paraprofessionals, Lunch Aides, Substitutes, etc… ANY ADULT.)
– If you CHOOSE not to improve, stop or change your behavior you will receive an after-school conference.
LATE TO SCHOOL
– Period 1 begins promptly at 8:20 a.m.
– If you are late to school, without a note, you will report immediately to Period 1.
– You will NO LONGER report to the Main Office.
– Your Period 1 teacher will mark you late.
– You will receive an after-school conference each time you are late.
– This is your official ONE warning!
KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF
– It is NOT permitted to put your hands on someone else at any time.
– If you are in the hallway you must have a pass and permission from an adult!
– Walk on the RIGHT side of the hallways.
– Throw away any trash or garbage into the nearest trash can.
You are allowed to go to your locker:
→ Before school
→ Before lunch
→ After lunch
→ After school
*Time at your locker should be SHORT!*
– Food and/or drink are NOT allowed to be carried out of the lunch room.
– Gum is not permitted in the building.
– Glass bottles are not allowed in the building.
– You cannot eat and/or drink outside of the lunchroom without a laminated pass.
YOU NEED A LAMINATED PASS TO…
– Carry a bookbag
– Drink or eat outside of the lunchroom
– Wear a hat
– Use the elevator
*Or any other situation discussed with administration.*
– Cell phones are TURNED OFF in the building.
– Your cell phone can be kept in your locker or your pocket but it must be out of sight!
– Visible cell phones will be turned in by an adult to Mr. Gold or Mr. Brown.
– Only a parent and/or guardian can pick up your cell phone from an Assistant Principal.
– Headphones CANNOT be visible.
– You may carry your headphones in your pocket or your pencil case for class use.
– You will receive an after school conference each time your headphones are visible.
– This is your official ONE warning!
– No hats, hoods, bandanas or head coverings. It cannot cover the top of your head or forehead.
– No coats
– No sandals or shoes without backs. For example: flip flops, slides
– Undergarments CANNOT be visible. For example: sagging pants, bras
– Offensive or insensitive clothing is not allowed.
AFTER SCHOOL CONFERENCES
– If you choose not to follow the above rules an adult in the building will assign you an afterschool conference.
– This means that you must report to that adult during the 2:45 – 3:15 afterschool conference period to work on an improvement plan regarding your choices not to follow the expectations.
– You have TWO days to report to the adult that assigned you the after school conference.
– The day you received the conference and the following school day.
– You and your family and that adult may work out alternative dates depending on specific situations.
– After school commitments, more than one conference
– If you CHOOSE not to report after school or work out alternate dates within TWO school days the adult that assigned you the conference will contact home.
– Ideally a phone call or email home will allow you, your family and that adult to pick an alternate date for you to report after school.
– If you CHOOSE to not report after an alternate date has been worked out with you and your family the situation will then be dealt with by your team leader and/or administration.
– Unserved conferences or an excessive amount of conferences will keep you out of participating in reward activities.
– When you report for a conference…
– You and the adult that assigned you a conference will discuss the situation and work on an improvement plan together.
– You will then write down the improvement plan that you and teacher have agreed upon.
– You and the teacher will both then sign the conference form as an agreement as to how you can work together to improve your choices and the learning environment.
A Chance to Clear Existing Detentions
– If a student has 60 minutes or less worth of detention minutes they can clear their detentions by serving a 1-hour administrative detention on 2/20/15 from 3:15pm-4:15pm in the MMS Library.
– If a student has more than 60 minutes worth of detention minutes they can clear their detentions by serving a 3 hour administrative Saturday detention on 2/21/15 from 8am-11am in the Cafeteria
Maplewood Middle School
Let’s work together to make your time at MMS outstanding!