The Fairfax County School Board has approved a number of changes to the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R) regulation, effective with the 2020-21 school year, including language pertaining to the student dress code; digital citizenship; new behavior codes, and leveled responses to student behavior.

The Board clarified language in the Dress Code about prohibited clothing to include head coverings (i.e., hats) unless worn for a bona fide purpose (religious, cultural, medical), and added prohibited clothing that is racist or culturally divisive. The Board also added the following language: School staff will resolve dress code infractions in a discreet and respectful manner and without any of the following: using any direct physical contact with the student or the student’s attire or requiring any student to undress in front of another person. Dress code standards apply to all students. Students who are not compliant with the foregoing may be subject to counseling, loss of privileges, removal from class or activities, or disciplinary action.

The Board approved an amendment to replace the “Social Media” section with a new “Digital Citizenship” section that includes the following language: Students have the right to safe, trusting, and positive physical and virtual learning environments. In accordance with Appendix A of the SR&R, these rights include: 

  • The right to be treated with respect in online learning environments. 
  • The right to express beliefs and opinions respectfully in online environments without being interrupted or punished. 
  • The right to access, support, and opportunities to use the provided technology tools and resources that support learning. 
  • The right to use technology to interact with other students, teachers, and class content to support their learning in both the physical and virtual environments. 

Students may exercise these rights and privileges as long as they do so in a manner that does not interfere with the rights of others or the schools’ ability to provide a safe learning environment.

FCPS expects students to be responsible members of society and to display good digital citizenship at all times. Students are to respect the rights of others and to refrain from the use of profanity hurtful or hateful messaging and cyber bullying in accordance with FCPS non-discrimination policy and the code of Virginia 18.2=152.7:1. Students may not post information if it violates the privacy of others, jeopardizes the health or safety of students, is obscene or libelous, causes disruption of school activities, plagiarizes the work of others, is a commercial advertisement, or is not approved by the principal.

The new behavioral codes and leveled responses to student behavior provide an opportunity to reflect and provide intervention based upon the impact of student behavior on the school environment and student learning. The categories and definitions are more school based and provide a common language for school staff, and more understanding of concerns for parents and students. This also aligns with language and practices within the framework of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), another goal noted through our discipline studies. 

The MTSS language states: Fairfax County Public Schools uses a multi-tiered system of support to support the individual needs of each student using a whole-child approach. MTSS is a framework through which teams make decisions based on data to provide differentiated classroom instruction and the necessary academic, behavior, and social- emotional wellness supports for all students across all schools.

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