The education of a child happens only through partnership, and among partners must be the child, the school faculty and staff, the parent(s) or guardian(s), the community and district office employees. Partnership is an active state that includes sharing responsibilities, meaningful communication and welcomed participation.
When people who are working together agree, the partnership runs smoothly. But no two people will always agree and that can make partnership difficult. The partnership is most powerful – as children are educated to reach their potential – when we agree on how to disagree. We must be civil in our discourse.
Civility is often described by its absence. We hear of harmful actions such as road rage, physical confrontation, ethnic stereotypes and slurs. But civility is not just an absence of harm. It is the affirmation of what is best about each of us individually and collectively. It is more than saying “please” and “thank you.” It is reflecting our respect for others in our behavior, regardless of whether we know or like them. It also is not simply being politically correct and is not to be used to stifle criticism or comment. It is being truthful and kind and is each of us taking responsibility for our own actions rather than blaming others.
As we communicate with each other, we need to remember that we are working together to benefit the children of this community.
Therefore, the Hernando County School Board requires that as we communicate, students, HCSD faculty and staff, parents, guardians and all other members of the community shall:
1. Treat each other with courtesy and respect at all times.
This means that:
We listen carefully and respectfully as others express opinions that may be different from ours.
We share our opinions and concerns without loud or offensive language, gestures or profanity.
2. Treat each other with kindness.
This means that:
We treat each other as we would like to be treated.
We do not threaten or cause physical or bodily harm to another.
We do not threaten or cause damage to the property of another.
We do not bully, belittle or tease another and we do not allow others to do so in our presence.
We do not demean and are not abusive or obscene in any of our communications.
3. Take responsibility for our own actions.
This means that:
We share information honestly.
We refrain from displays of temper.
We do not disrupt or attempt to interfere with the operation of a classroom or any other work or public area of a school or school facility.
4. Cooperate with one another.
This means that:
We obey school rules for access and visitation.
We respect the legitimate obligations and time constraints we each face.
We notify each other when we have information that might help reach our common goal. This will include information about safety issues, academic progress, changes that might impact a student’s work or events in the community that might impact the school.
We respond when asked for assistance.
We understand that we do not always get our way.
Authority and Enforcement of the Code of Civility
Authority and enforcement of a code for civil conduct ultimately depends on the individual and collective will of those involved – students, HCSD faculty and staff, parents, guardians and all other members of the community. However, individuals need to know how to respond to uncivil behavior and how such behavior will be responded to. The school board does not condone a lack of civility by anyone.
A student who believes that he or she has not been treated in a manner reflective of the Code of Civility should report such behavior to the appropriate school administrator.
A parent, guardian or community member who believes that he or she has not been treated in a manner reflective of the Code of Civility should report such behavior to the staff member’s immediate supervisor.
An employee who believes that he or she has not been treated in a manner reflective of the Code of Civility should use the following guidelines:
A. If personal harm is threatened, the employee may contact law enforcement.
B. Anyone on school district property without authorization may be directed to leave the premises by an administrator or security officer. Anyone who threatens or attempts to disrupt school or school district operations, physically harm someone, intentionally cause damage, uses loud or offensive language, gestures, profanity or shows a display of temper may be directed to leave the premises by an administrator or security officer.
a. If such person does not immediately and willingly leave, law enforcement shall be called.
C. If a telephone call recorded by an answering machine, email, voice mail message or any type of written communication is demeaning, abusive, threatening or obscene the employee is not obligated to respond.
a. If personal harm is threatened, the employee may contact law enforcement.
b. The employee shall save the message and contact his or her immediate supervisor or school district security.
D. If any member of the public uses obscenities or speaks in a demeaning, loud or insulting manner, the employee to whom the remarks are directed shall take the following actions:
a. Calmly and politely ask the speaker to communicate civilly.
b. If the verbal abuse continues, give appropriate notice to the speaker and terminate the meeting, conference or telephone conversation.
c. If the meeting or conference is on school district premises, request that an administrator or authorized person direct the speaker promptly to leave the premises.
d. If the speaker does not immediately leave the premises, an administrator or other authorized person shall notify law enforcement to take any action deemed necessary.