Welcome to Independence High School! We are dedicated to providing all our students with an exemplary educational experience. We ask that all students and parents read through the content of this agenda to familiarize themselves with school policies and helpful information about IHS.
The 2022-23 handbook will be posted soon.
District Wide High School Student Handbook
Williamson County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
See the district website for more information.
Although every effort will be made to update the handbook on a regular basis, Williamson County Schools reserves the right to change this handbook and any content within, without notice, except as may be required by state and federal law. As a result, the online version of the handbook shall be the official version.
Version Date: July 19, 2022
Administration of Schools
All students participating in interscholastic athletics must have a current athletic physical form, concussion release form, and cardiac arrest form on file with the athletic department prior to participation in any tryout or practice. Forms may be submitted on Final Forms. Information regarding individual teams and expectations for student athletes may be found on the school’s website. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.301 for additional information.
Custodial Issues/Parenting Plan
Custodial parents/guardians must inform the school immediately upon any changes in custody, especially court restraining orders. Non-custodial parents may contact the school regarding access to their student’s academic progress. All families with a parenting plan must have that plan on file with their child/children’s front office(s), along with any subsequent orders or changes to the parenting plan or court order establishing the primary residential parent. See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.209.
Students shall not unlawfully possess, handle, transmit, use, be under the influence of, share, or sell drugs or any controlled substances in any way in school buildings, on school grounds, or on other grounds used for school purposes, (including parking lots or athletic facilities), on school buses, or at any school sponsored activity (See WCSB Policy 6.307).
Parents/guardians of Williamson County Schools students will receive school closure notifications by phone, text, email, mobile app, and social media. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download our app for free. Search for Williamson County Schools.
The district aims to notify parents/guardians and staff members of delays and cancellations by 9:00 PM the night before. If not possible, the district will begin notifying families as early as 5:00 AM the morning of the day school is closed.
Parents/guardians will be notified only at the main number on file in the phone notification system. If school is dismissed during the day, parents/guardians will receive notification to all of the phone numbers on file.
Extracurricular Activities, Clubs, and Organizations
See school website for information about activities, club, and organizations.
Students may have the opportunity to participate in several field trips as extensions of classroom activities throughout the year. Teachers will notify parents/guardians concerning field trips and send home permission forms for parent/guardian's signature. The school must have on file written permission from the parent/guardian before a student may go on a field trip. If the written permission slip is not returned by the due date, the child will not be able to attend the field trip. Students will travel by bus to and from all off-campus trips. Any exceptions to this procedure must be approved by the principal. See the WCSB Policy 4.302 for more information.
Fire, Tornado, and Emergency Drills
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 3.202 for more information on emergency procedures.
Moment of Silence or Prayer
Tennessee State Law – (TCA 49-6-1004):
In order for all students and teachers to prepare themselves for the activities of the day, a period of silence of approximately one minute in duration shall be maintained in each grade in public schools at the beginning of each school day. The teacher shall not indicate or suggest to the students any action to be taken by them during this time but shall maintain silence for the full time. It is lawful for any teacher in any of the schools of the state to permit the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer. Nothing contained in this section shall authorize any teacher or other school authority to prescribe the form or content of any prayer.
Parent and Family Communication
Ongoing communication from school to home and from home to school is essential. Your ideas, questions, and concerns are important. Teachers, administrators, and some support staff have a WCS e-mail address. Although you may wish to communicate with your child’s teacher by e-mail, please be aware that e-mail is not always confidential. Please do not send time sensitive information by e-mail. It is our goal to return parent/guardian communication in all forms within 48 hours on Monday-Friday when school is in session.
Photography and Videography Guidelines
The WCS Communications Department has provided the following guidelines for parents regarding photography and videography in schools. The purpose of the guidelines is to address problems that have occurred at some schools when parents have taken pictures at school and posted them on online social media sites.
- Parents are advised not to post on social media any pictures taken at school that include any children other than their own.
- Picture-taking at non-public school events: These events occur before, during, and after school and include class parties, field trips, assemblies to which the public is not invited (ex. talent show during the day, etc.) Parents are encouraged to take photos/video of their own children but should not take photos/video of other children.
- Picture-taking at public school events: This includes events that are open to the public such as Back to School Bash, Family Fun Night, etc. Parents may take photos at public school events that include other people's children but should avoid posting these photos to social media.
School Nutrition Program
See the WCS website (here) for more information about the school nutrition program.
All new students will register online using their Family Access account login. If you choose not to use the online registration, paper packets can be picked up in the front office. Returning students should submit the intent to return documentation on Skyward each year. If you need computer access or assistance, you may contact your front office. See WCS website (here) for more information about open enrollment and other enrollment options.
See WCS website (here) for more information about student fees.
If a move or other circumstance requires a withdrawal from school, a withdrawal form must be completed, all WCS issued materials and devices must be turned in, and a student must be in good standing with the library and cafeteria. Once all requirements are met, a parent/guardian may withdraw a student from school. Contact your school for more information regarding withdrawal.
Parents and guardians shall accept full responsibility for the proper care, preservation, return, or replacement of textbooks and instructional materials, including Chromebooks. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.401 for more information about textbooks and instructional materials.
See the WCS website (here) for information, policies, and practices regarding bus transportation.
Your school will communicate with you at the beginning of the school year regarding procedures for car riders.
Your school will communicate with you at the beginning of the school year regarding procedures for walkers and/or bikers.
Parking/Driving on Campus
Parking and driving on campus are privileges. See school website for polices and procedures regarding parking and driving privileges.
Visitors to Schools
- All visitors must enter and exit through the main office doors.
- Parents/guardians, visitors, and volunteers must present photo identification to enter the building.
- All visitors must sign in and out in the office and wear a visitor or volunteer sticker/badge at all times.
- School personnel escort visitors touring the school.
See WCSB Policy 1.501 for additional information.
Student Academic Achievement
Three components play a critical role into every Williamson County Schools student’s educational program: a solid curriculum, effective instruction, and quality assessment. Curriculum, derived from state standards, defines what students need to know. Instruction is the practice of teaching each student that curriculum. Assessment is used to measure the student’s progress and mastery of what is being taught.
Please make every effort to have your student at school on time during assessment windows. No absences will be excused for family trips during these windows. You may view the district assessment resources here.
Consistent attendance and punctuality is a cornerstone of student progress and success. If students repeatedly miss school or are often tardy, it puts them at risk for misunderstanding concepts that are taught and reinforced while they are not present. Additionally, student attendance is one of the categories the federal and state governments use to evaluate schools and assess whether or not they are making adequate yearly progress. Consistent attendance is a priority for Williamson County Schools.
Tardies and Early Dismissals
Students arriving after the start of school are tardy. See WCS website here for start times and dates for Late Start Days.
Early dismissals are strongly discouraged within 30 minutes of the end of the school day due to the interruption of instructional time in classes and are a disruption to the regular dismissal process. Instructional time continues until dismissal. Office personnel must verify the identification of individuals when releasing a student. The parent/guardian must sign the student out in the office when the parent/guardian arrives to pick up the student, stating time and reason, and office personnel will call the student to the office when the parent/guardian arrives to pick up the student.
Parents/guardians must communicate in writing the permission for someone to pick up a student other than the parent/guardian. Office personnel will ask for a state-issued photo ID when someone comes to school to check out a student. Students may not be picked up from car services such as Uber and Lyft. These companies prohibit minors from being transported alone.
Late arrival and early dismissal may be excused for the following reasons: (1) illness, (2) death in the family, (3) recognized religious holiday, (4) doctor or dentist appointment, or (5) principal approved emergency or exceptional circumstances.
As detailed in Williamson County Board of Education Policy 6.200, excused absences include: (1) illness, (2) death in the family, (3) recognized religious holiday, (4) doctor or dentist appointment, or (5) Principal approved emergency or exceptional circumstances.
The Williamson County School Board Policy 6.200 requires written parental or medical documentation for all absences, tardies, and early dismissals. This documentation ensures that school personnel are fully and accurately informed about your child. All absences are considered “unexcused” until a note is sent, preferably within 48 hours of the student’s return to school. When a student’s absences exceed 8 days, a doctor’s note will be required to excuse all future absences. Notes are kept on file for the school year. Parents/guardians may also send an email with all appropriate information to the school’s front office.
Notes should state:
- Child’s name
- Teacher’s name
- Date(s) of absence
- Reason for absence
- Doctor’s note attached (if applicable)
- Parent or guardian signature
When a student accumulates a total of 8 excused absences, all other absences will be considered unexcused unless a doctor’s note is presented within 48 hours of returning to school.
In accordance with state guidelines for schools related to truancy, Williamson County Schools has implemented a three-tiered system to monitor attendance. Parents/guardians will be notified as unexcused absences accumulate (recorded) to proactively help with truancy concerns.
- 3 unexcused absences - parents/guardians will be notified via email or phone.
- 5 unexcused absences – Tier II truancy intervention begins, and a meeting will be held with family and school personnel. The team will create a contract to support the family and ensure subsequent school attendance. Follow-up meetings will be planned to monitor progress.
- If the student continues to accumulate absences, Tier III of truancy intervention may be triggered and additional interventions, including potential juvenile court referral, will be established.
- The Tennessee Department of Education Accountability Regulations (ESSA) defines students as "chronically absent" after 18 absences per year, regardless of excused or unexcused. Students who accumulate 18 or more absences will be considered “Chronically Absent” and reported to the state.
See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.600 for information regarding the grading system.
Homework is defined as purposeful academic assignments given to students by teachers, which are to be completed outside of class time. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.609 for more information on homework.
Response to Intervention (RTI)
A general education initiative, Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI, is a comprehensive framework for supporting students academically that focuses on high-quality instruction and evidence-based interventions. Instruction and intervention is tailored to meet the needs of the student through the use of initial screening data. Screening data come from assessments designed to identify student strengths and areas of need in reading, mathematics, and written expression.
Student performance may be accessed through Skyward Family Access for all students. Parents/guardians may request that a printed copy of their student’s report card be sent home each nine weeks. More information regarding student progress polices can be found in WCS Board of Education Policy 4.603.
No student shall be denied an education solely because of a communicable disease, and his/her educational program shall be restricted only to the extent necessary to minimize the risk of transmitting the disease.
When determining whether your child is well enough to attend school, please refer to the Williamson County Schools Illness Guidelines. Please note that your child should not be sent to school until he/she has been fever free for at least 24 hours without taking a fever reducing medication.
If the school nurse determines that your child needs to leave, we ask that you or an emergency contact pick up your child within the hour that you are called.
If you have any other questions regarding health services, policies or procedures, please visit the Williamson County Schools Health Services Site.
No students entering school, including those entering kindergarten or first grade, those from out-of-state, and those from nonpublic schools, will be permitted to enroll (or attend) without proof of immunization, as determined by the Tennessee Commissioner of Health. It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) to have their children immunized and to provide such proof to the school for which the student is to attend.
Exceptions, in the absence of an epidemic or immediate threat thereof, will be granted to any student whose parent/guardian files with school authorities the following:
- A signed, written statement that such immunization and other preventative measures conflict with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets and practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury;
- A written statement from the student’s doctor excusing the student from immunization due to medical reasons;
- Any student determined to be homeless, pursuant to federal law, may not be denied admission because of the student’s lack of immunization records due to being homeless.
Proof of exceptions will be in writing and filed in the same manner as other immunization records.
The school nurse may only administer medications that are provided and authorized by the parent/guardian. Students should not have prescription or over-the-counter medicines on their person or stored in their locker. You can find the medication authorization form here.
Each student shall have a complete physical examination prior to:
- Entering public school for the first time
- Participation as a member of any interscholastic athletic team on an annual basis.
Cost of the examination shall be borne by the parent/guardian of the student. These records shall be on file in the student’s record.
Screening tests as required by the Tennessee Departments of Education and Health will be conducted. Parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive written notice of any screening result that indicates a condition that might interfere or tend to interfere with their student's progress.
In general, the school will not conduct physical examinations of a student without parental consent or by court order, unless the health or safety of the student or others is in question.
Student Discipline & Behavior
Corporal punishment may be defined as physical contact and is distinguished from a reprimand, a suspension, or an expulsion. Corporal punishment shall not be administered as a method of correcting inappropriate behavior in Williamson County Schools per WCSB Policy 6.314.
Discipline in Williamson County Schools is student centered, responsive, and timely. Students will be responsible for abiding by the district’s Student Code of Conduct, WCS Board of Education Policy 6.300. Consequences for inappropriate student conduct are stepped and may include, but are not limited to, detention such as Friday or Saturday School, In-School Suspension, Out-of-School Suspension, and Alternative Learning Center placement.
Disciplinary Hearing Authority
A Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA) shall conduct appeals for students who have been suspended for more than ten (10) school days. Upon receiving notification of the request to appeal the suspension decision, the DHA shall provide written notification to the parent(s)/guardian(s)of the student, the student, and any other appropriate person of the time, place, and date of the hearing. The hearing shall be held no later than ten (10) days after the beginning of the suspension.
For more information, refer to Williamson County Board of Education Policy 6.309.
Students should dress appropriately for comfort, weather and learning. Students will follow the guidelines set forth by Williamson County School Board policy 6.310.
- Tops of shoulders must have a minimum of a 1-inch strap unless otherwise covered by an opaque top garment;
- Skin and undergarments must be covered with opaque clothing from the underarm to mid-thigh.
- Mid-thigh is defined as the mid-point between the waist and mid-knee;
- All pants, trousers, shorts and skirts must be held at the waist;
- Leggings and other compression-style garments may be worn so long as an opaque top garment covers the private body parts;
- Hats may be worn in buildings on special occasion as permitted by administration;
- Appropriate shoes are required;
- Tennis shoes with non-marking soles are required for physical education.
- It is recommended that students wear tennis shoes for recess. Please do not send students in flip flops or shoes without a back as this can result in injury.
Any type of clothing, apparel or accessory, including that which denotes such students' membership in or affiliation with any gang associated with criminal activities is not permitted (TCA 49-6-4215).
Student uniforms related to student extra-curricular activities (band, cheerleading, dance, sports team, etc.) must be in compliance with this policy during the academic day.
Any apparel or dress that advertises or promotes products or activity prohibited by law or by the Williamson County Board of Education is prohibited (e.g., profanity, illustrations, or suggestive language, etc).
Administrators and teachers shall enforce the dress code policy. The principal or his/her designee shall be the final judge as to compliance with the dress code. Parents/guardians will be notified and asked to bring appropriate clothing if a student is in violation of the dress code.
Interrogation and Searches
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.303 for more information regarding interrogation and searches of personal belongings and lockers.
Williamson County Schools has determined that a safe, civil, and supportive environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. In order to maintain that environment, acts of bullying, cyber-bullying, discrimination, harassment, hazing, or any other victimization of students, based on any actual or perceived traits or characteristics, are prohibited.
Bullying is not tolerated. We ask all parents/guardians and students to report any bullying to a teacher or staff member in the building. The report will be investigated by administration within 48 hours. The investigation and required intervention will be implemented within 20 calendar days. Administration will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of all students involved. Administration will also provide information regarding any support services available. Administration will follow investigation procedures and definitions set forth in WCS Board Policy 6.304. Behavior that is found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including suspension as deemed by administration.
Definition: Bullying is defined by Tennessee law as any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance. Bullying is: 1) repeated, 2) intentional harm, 3) against someone perceived with less power.
Bullying has the effect of:
- Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property.
- Knowingly placing the student or students in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property.
- Causing emotional distress to a student or students; or
- Creating a hostile educational environment.
If a student needs help with resolving a conflict or if a student feels that he/she is being bullied, he/she should communicate with a staff member such as a teacher, counselor, or administration.
If a student or parent/guardian does not feel comfortable reporting a bullying incident directly to a WCS teacher or administrator, he/she can submit a Bullying Report. The student can leave his/her name or submit the report anonymously. An incident can also be reported through the WCS App. Falsifying reports will not be tolerated, and consequences will be given if it is determined that a bullying report has been falsified.
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.316 for more information regarding suspensions.
Title IX & Sexual Harassment
In order to maintain a safe, civil, and supportive learning environment, all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex are prohibited. This shall cover employees, employees' behaviors, students, and students' behaviors while on school property, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided equipment or transportation, or at any official school bus stop in accordance with federal law.
The Title IX Coordinator shall respond promptly to all general reports as well as formal complaints of sexual harassment and may be reached at any time by phone or email.
The following are zero-tolerance offenses that will result in a calendar year expulsion:
- Bringing to school or being in unauthorized possession of a firearm or any dangerous weapon on school property;
- Possession of drugs or alcohol, including any controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, or legend drug on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event;
- Aggravated assault; and
- Assault that results in bodily injury upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of the school, or school resource ofﬁcer.
For more information, refer to Williamson County School Board policy 6.309.
Individual Needs of Students
If the inability to speak and understand the English language excludes a student from effective participation in the educational programs offered by WCS, WCS shall take reasonable actions to provide the student equal access to its programs. Students who are English learners (EL) shall be identified, assessed, and provided appropriate services. No student shall be admitted to or excluded from any program or extracurricular activity based on the student’s surname or EL status.
The Superintendent shall evaluate the effectiveness of the district’s language assistance programs to ensure EL students will acquire English proficiency and the ability to participate in the standard instructional program within a reasonable period of time.
Parents/guardians of EL students shall be given notice of, and information regarding, the instructional program within the first thirty (30) days of the school year or within the first two (2) weeks of a student being placed in a language instruction educational program.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 4.207.
The homebound instruction program is for students who because of a medical condition are unable to attend the regular instructional program. The homebound instruction program shall consist of three (3) hours of instruction per week while school is in session for a period of time determined, on a case-by-case basis, by WCS.
To qualify for this program, a student shall have a medical condition that will require the student to be absent for a minimum of ten (10) consecutive instructional days, or for an aggregate of at least ten (10) instructional days for a student who has a chronic medical condition. The student shall be certified by his/her treating physician as having a medical condition that prevents him/her from attending regular classes. The services provided to the homebound student shall reflect the student’s capabilities and be determined by the homebound instructor, after consultation with appropriate professional staff of the student’s assigned school.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 4.206.
Homeless students shall be immediately enrolled, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (i.e., academic records, immunization records, health records, proof of residency) or missed the district’s application or enrollment deadlines. Parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to submit contact information to the district’s homeless coordinator. The Superintendent shall ensure that each homeless student is provided services comparable to those offered to other students within WCS, including transportation, special education services, programs in career and technical education, programs for gifted and talented students, and school nutrition.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.503 or visit the WCS website.
The District shall:
- Identify migratory students and assess the educational and related health and social needs of each student;
- Provide a full range of services to qualifying migrant students including applicable Title I programs, special education, gifted education, vocational education, language programs, counseling programs, elective classes, ﬁne arts classes, etc.;
- Provide migratory students with the opportunity to meet the same statewide assessment standards that all students are expected to meet;
- To the extent feasible, provide advocacy and outreach programs to migratory students and their families and professional development for district staff; and
- Provide parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity to participate in the program.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.503 for more information.
Section 504 and ADA Grievance Procedures
WCS is committed to maintaining equitable employment and educational practices, services, programs, and activities that are accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. To discuss concerns or seek resolutions related to Section 504 or the ADA, contact Student Support Services. SSS shall respond to all complaints within twenty (20) days with a written response as well as information on further grievance procedures that may be followed if the complaining party is not satisfied with the coordinator's proposed resolution.
Students in Foster Care
Students in foster care, including those awaiting foster care placement, shall be immediately enrolled, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (i.e., academic records, immunization records, health records, proof of residency) or missed the district’s application or enrollment deadlines.
WCS and the child welfare agency shall determine whether placement in a particular school is in a student’s best interest. Other parties, including the student, foster parents/guardians, and biological parents/guardians (if appropriate), shall be consulted. If the child has an IEP or a Section 504 plan, then the relevant school staff members shall participate in the best interest decision process. This determination shall be made as quickly as possible to prevent educational disruption.
WCS shall collaborate with the local child welfare agency to develop and implement clear and written procedures governing how transportation to a student’s school of origin shall be provided, arranged, and funded. This transportation will be provided for the duration of the student’s time in foster care.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.505.
Students from Military Families
A student who does not currently reside within Williamson County shall be allowed to enroll if he/she is a dependent child of a service member who is being relocated to Tennessee on military orders. To be eligible for enrollment, the student will need to provide documentation that he/she will be a resident of the district on relocation. Within thirty (30) of enrollment, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student shall provide proof of residency within the district.
Students with parent(s)/guardian(s) in the military may also be eligible for excused absences related to his/her deployment.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.506.
Students with Disabilities
Williamson County Schools, in compliance with federal and state law, performs a countywide Child Find. Child Find uses screening to find students in both public school or private school located in the geographic region who may need special education services and supports.
There are two types of screening. The first is a general screening of preschool age children throughout the school year. These screenings are on-going and serve preschool-aged children. The other kind of screening is only for school-aged children. A child can be referred for screening by school personnel, the family and/or individuals in the county (physicians, child care providers, etc.) This should be done any time it is suspected that a child has a disability.
Visit the Student Support Services tab on the WCS website (here) for more information.
Use of the Internet
Williamson County Schools supports the right of students to have reasonable access to various information formats and believes that it is incumbent upon students to use this privilege in an appropriate and responsible manner. Students will be given appropriate instruction in internet safety as a part of any instruction utilizing computer resources. Before students are allowed access WCS instructional resources online, both the child and parent/guardian must read and sign the Acceptable Use Policy, the Video Conferencing form and the Authorization District Device form. These forms will be made available in Skyward prior to the start of school for review and acceptance. If your child violates these policies, they could lose technology access while at school.
For more information, refer to Williamson County Board of Education policy 4.406.
Use of Personal Communication Devices
Personal communication devices of any kind may not be used to take pictures, video, or audio recording in the school setting. Personal communication devices of any kind are only to be used during the school day for instructional purposes only, at the direction of a teacher. Students take full responsibility for personal communication devices at all times.
Independence High School Student Handbook
Cell Phone Policy
All schools in WCS are a part of the Bring Your Own Technology initiative. Students will have opportunities to bring digital devices to schools, and they themselves will be asked to help identify the tools and strategies that will help them the most in their own learning. Teachers and administrators will work together to increase their capacity to differentiate instruction, teach students good communication skills, and extend the learning beyond the classroom walls.
The use of personal electronic devices during instructional time is at the discretion of the teacher. Approved devices include smartphones, tablets, iPads, iPods, e-readers, and laptops. If the teacher feels that use of a digital device is inappropriate for a particular activity or time period, the student will be expected to comply with all teacher directions regarding the digital device. If the device is confiscated it will only be returned after the student serves a detention.
1st Offense Detention—returned once detention is completed
2nd Offense Detention—returned only to parent once detention is completed
3rd Offense Opportunity School—returned once Opportunity School is completed
Refusal to give up the cell phone will result in 1 Day ISS and confiscation of the device.
IHS and WCS do not assume any responsibility should any of these items be lost, damaged, or stolen. Keeping track of the device’s serial number, model, and type at home is a good idea. Many vendors of digital devices offer insurance against theft or breakage, and tracking features can be installed in many of the devices as well. Theft or vandalism of any kind should be reported to the school administrator so he or she can take appropriate steps.
All students have to use the WCS Guest login to access the internet, as required by the Acceptable Use and Internet Safety Agreement. Students should not access the internet through a cellular provider while on campus.
All students must comply with the Williamson County Board of Education Policy IFBDA, the Student Acceptable Use, Media Release, and Internet Safety Procedures Contract, and the Williamson County Schools Computer Guidelines. A written parental request shall be required prior to the student being granted independent access to electronic telecommunications including the Internet involving district technological resources. The required permission/agreement form, which shall specify acceptable uses, rules of on-line behavior, access privileges and penalties for policy/procedural violations, must be signed by the parent/legal guardian of minor students (those under 18 years of age) and also by the student. This document shall be kept on file as a legal, binding document. In order to modify or rescind the agreement, the student’s parent/legal guardian (or the student who is at least 18 years old) must provide the Director of Schools with a written request.
Terms and Conditions for the Internet:
- Acceptable Use: The use of electronic media must be in support of education and research and consistent with the educational objectives of the school district. Use of another organization’s network or computing resources must comply with the rules appropriate for that network. Transmission of any material in violation of any U.S. or state regulation is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: copyrighted material, threatening or obscene material, or material protected by a trade secret. Use for commercial activities is not acceptable. Use for product advertising or political lobbying is also prohibited.
- Privileges: The use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use will result in cancellation of these privileges. The system administrators will deem what is an inappropriate use, and their decision is final.
- Network Use: All students have a personal login for access to computers and a personal account for storage of files related to school work. The account is accessible only on computers located at Independence High School. Students must save all documents to this network account.
- Student email is provided by Williamson County Schools at http://mail.myplace.wcs.edu
- Students are not permitted to use other online email accounts at school.
- Students are to use their personal login to access only their own account and files.
- Do not allow anyone to use a computer while you are logged in. All students should logoff from the network before leaving their computer.
- Use of software designed to gain passwords or access beyond the rights assigned to a user or computer is strictly prohibited. Use of such programs risks the security of the network and is considered “hacking”. Violators will be prosecuted.
- No user should encrypt files or folders or attempt to hide files or folders stored on a network server or local workstation. Any encrypted or hidden files will be deleted. Encrypted and hidden files are a security risk since they cannot be managed by IT administrators.
- Students are prohibited from installing any software on any computer. Illegal downloads or use of copyrighted software, music, videos, pictures or other files is strictly prohibited.
- Use of a broadcast messenger service such as “net send” to send messages over the network is prohibited except in the case of an emergency and then only with the approval of a teacher or administrator.
- Student use of online games is prohibited.
- Students taking pictures or videos of fellow students is prohibited.
- Vandalism: Vandalism will result in the cancellation of privileges and/or further disciplinary actions. Vandalism is defined as any malicious attempt to harm or destroy data of another user, the Internet, or other networks that are connected to the Internet backbone. This includes, but is not limited to, the uploading or creation of computer viruses.
- Security: Security on any computer system is a high priority, especially when the system involves many users. Never share your password or account number with anyone. You will have full responsibility for the use of your account, and can be held responsible for any policy violations that are traced to your account.
- Violations: Any violation of the regulations above is unethical and may constitute a criminal offense. Students who violate the above terms and conditions will receive a minimum of 1 day of ISS. Should a person commit any violation, his/her access privileges may be revoked, school disciplinary action may be taken and/or appropriate legal action.
- Items kept on the P drive or on the U drive that are not pertinent to academic achievement will be deleted and the student will face disciplinary action.
All students are expected to produce their own, original work. Violations of this concept include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Taking information of any form into a test situation for the purpose of responding to test items.
- Plagiarism. The submission of another person’s published words or ideas as one’s own. This includes not just verbatim copying of an author’s work but also paraphrasing from that work without giving appropriate reference to the original source.
- Copying the work of others when the copied material is to count as a grade. This includes electronic copying.
- Providing test information to others in or out of class.
- Taking test questions (complete test, answer key, teacher’s edition) to provide assistance in later test situations.
- Selling or buying papers
- Forging of notes
- Sharing of information by the use of calculators is not allowed. This is a form of cheating.
Students will not be given credit for work submitted under dishonest circumstances. The teacher will contact the student’s parent or guardian and refer to the administration.
Dishonesty and misrepresentation of student work will not be accepted.
Recommended Disciplinary Actions could include:
Zero on assignment, parent notification by teacher, administration notified, and/or 1-3 Days of ISS
Each student will be issued an individual locker so he/she will have a secure place to store school supplies and personal items needed at school. Do not store valuables or money in your locker and do not give out your locker combination. If your locker is not working properly or you feel someone has tampered with it, inform Student Services. The following rules apply to lockers:
- Do not deface or damage any part of your locker (only put items inside doors that are easily removed).
- Do not switch lockers without administrative approval, which will be given only for good reason.
- Do not leave food, pop cans, etc. in lockers for extended periods of time.
- The administration retains the right to periodically inspect lockers for cleanliness.
- The student assigned a locker will be held responsible for all contents of that locker.
- Students are required to clean their locker at the year’s end.
- Students are not allowed to share lockers.
- Students are reminded that lockers are the property of the school. Student lockers may be searched if there exists a “reasonable suspicion” that the locker contains any item that is either illegal or inappropriate.
Failure to comply with locker policy will result in the loss of locker use.
Lost & Found
Lost and Found is located in Student Services and will be donated to charity on the last school day of each month.
If you have lost a textbook or school issued laptop/accessory, these will be in the library.
Outside Food Policy
Students are not allowed to “order in” unless it is an organization-sponsored event and approved by the Administration.
Student Behavior Expectations
The Board of Education, and we at IHS, believe that discipline in the school setting provides each student with the most favorable atmosphere for learning. It recognizes that the incorporation of limits and controls by individual students is an important part of the learning process. It believes that limits on the individual are necessary for the orderly function of any society.
While an effort has been made to write a complete code, the following rules are not considered to be a complete list. Faculty and administration acting as en loco parentis may discipline students for unforeseen inappropriate behavior.
Where a range of consequences are possible, the administrator will determine the appropriate punishment based upon the severity of the incident, and the consequences listed in the handbook.
The principal is charged with the proper enforcement of discipline in the total school setting. He/she has the discretionary authority to use or authorize other certified personnel to use the following disciplinary measures to correct pupil behavior:
- Assign Out-of-School Suspension (OSS)
- Prescribe other acceptable disciplinary measures
- Suspend driving and parking privileges on school property
- Call Juvenile authorities and/or notify police
- Arrange student and/or parent conference
- Refer to Juvenile Court
- Assign Alternative Learning Center Placement (ALC)
- Assign In-School Suspension (ISS)
- Assign Opportunity School
- Restrict privileges
- Assign detention, including school service hours
Rules for ISS, detention, but are not limited to the following:
- Students who are in ISS or OSS may not attend or participate in any school activities including weekend school activities.
- Students will only read or study teacher approved materials pertaining to one of their classes or alternate material assigned by the ISS teacher
- Students will not communicate with any other student
- Students will sit up straight in their desks
- Students will not sleep, eat, or drink anything other than water
Students are reminded that these rules are applicable at any time the student is on any school grounds, en route to and from school, during all school activities on or off campus, and at all times the student is under the supervision of the school or school officials.
It is considered a fundamental understanding by each student and his/her parents that any teacher or school official has not only the right, but also the duty to insist on good behavior. The right of discipline extends to all areas of the school program.
It is a fundamental requirement of an orderly school that student respect for the faculty and administration will be accompanied by an equal respect for the students on the part of the faculty and administration.
The primary purpose of Independence High School is teaching and learning. For this purpose to be accomplished, every person—student and staff—must accept the responsibility for contributing to an appropriate teaching and learning climate:
- Respect the worth and dignity of each individual and respect the rights of fellow students.
- Exhibit good behavior and manners, dress appropriately, and use appropriate language.
- Come to school with the attitude that the purpose for being in school is to learn.
- Come to all classes with proper tools (books, pencils, etc.) and with all assignments completed.
- Be familiar with and adhere to all school policies and rules, and be willing to accept the responsibilities that accompany rights and privileges.
- Attend school regularly and be on time to all classes.
- Turn in all assignments by their due date.
- Treat others in a manner that builds them up rather than puts them down.
- Seek to make the school better for everyone by positive contributions.
- Represent the school with pride and quality behavior, both on and off campus.
- Exhibit a sense of pride toward the school and exercise proper use and care of equipment and facilities.
No student will throw or drop objects, pretend to throw or drop objects, pretend to throw individuals, pour liquid, pretend to pour liquid, spit over the balcony or otherwise participate in dangerous or disruptive balcony behavior.
No glass containers or balloons are allowed on buses. The Director of Schools or the principal may suspend the right and privilege of transportation from any student attending the Williamson County Schools to whom transportation is provided due to misconduct or misbehavior of each student en-route to or from school. Any students who interfere with the safe operation of a school bus will be held accountable.
Cafeteria/Eating Area Rules
All students are expected to eat and remain in the cafeteria or other designated eating areas during their lunch times. Students are expected to dispose of all trash and clean up after themselves. Proper manners are expected in the cafeteria. Use of improper manners will face disciplinary action.
Disrespect Toward Staff Personnel
Students are expected to treat each other and IHS staff members with respect at all times.
Part A - A student shall not be verbally disrespectful toward any staff member. The use of an obscenity directed toward a staff member would be a severe form of disrespect.
Part B – A student shall not assault a staff member, either verbally or in writing.
All Offenses – Zero Tolerance (see policy)
Part C – A student shall not physically assault a staff member.
All Offenses – Zero Tolerance (see policy)
Disrespect Toward Another Student
Students are expected to treat each other with the utmost respect. Forms of disrespect include, but are not limited to: Graffiti, notes, cartoons containing discriminatory language, name calling, bullying, jokes, or rumors, racial, sexual, and ethnic remarks.
Disruption of the Normal School Day
A student shall not continuously and/or intentionally do anything that will interfere with the normal operation of the school.
At the beginning of the day in first period, teachers will check their students for appropriate dress. Those students not in compliance with the rules will be sent to the administration, will be required to change into appropriate clothing provided by the school, and will be subject to further disciplinary action which may include but is not limited to a Detention, Opportunity School, or In-School Suspension.
Below is the Williamson County Board of Education dress code policy: (6.310)
- Tops of shoulders must have a minimum of a 1-inch strap unless otherwise covered by an opaque top garmet.
- Skin and undergarments must be covered with opaque clothing from the underarm to mid-thigh. Mid-thigh is defined as the mid-point between the waist and mid-knee.
- All pants, trousers, shorts, and skirts must be held at the waist.
- Leggings and other compression-style garments may be worn so long as an opaque top garment covers the private body parts.
- Hats may be worn in buildings with the permission of building administration.
- Appropriate shoes are required.
- Any type of clothing, apparel or accessory, including that which denotes such students’ membership in or affiliation with any gang associated with criminal activities is not permitted (TCA 49-6-4215).
With dress code, one general rule always prevails:
If you have any doubts about the appropriateness of any article of clothing…DON’T WEAR IT!
The elevator is off limits to all students unless given specific permission by Student Services and are issued an elevator pass. Students who are given permission for legitimate reasons must abide by all rules given to him or her at the time. At times, a student with elevator permission may be allowed to have a classmate assist them with books. In these cases, only one other person may ride the elevator with the student having permission to ride. Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action.
Students involved in a fight will be suspended, referred to the ALC, and are subject to a petition being filed in Juvenile Court. Students are encouraged to seek conflict resolution from school principals, school counselors, the STARS counselor, or teachers in an effort to resolve the problem prior to an outbreak of fighting. Students found to be inciting, setting up, or causing a fight will be subject to the same or similar disciplinary action.
Food and Beverages
Because of the fragile nature of glass bottles and the danger of broken glass to students, glass bottles are not to be brought on campus by students. Glass bottles are also not permitted in the parking lot area. The consumption of any food or beverage is restricted to the common areas or the cafeteria area. Water will be allowed in classrooms with the individual teacher’s permission ONLY, provided the water is in a clear and spill-proof container. Students are not allowed to “order in” unless it is an organization-sponsored event and approved by the Administration.
Falsifying records including, but not limited to, a parent signature, staff signature, misrepresentation on the phone, etc., will be treated as forgery. Any student presenting a forged document or note, or participating in a forgery, will be subject to disciplinary action.
Students involved in gambling at Independence High School will be subject to disciplinary action.
Students leaving their classroom must have a school approved pass. A student seen in the hall should be expected to show his/her pass.
Harassing behavior or harassment because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, height, and/or weight of students by other students of this school is unlawful under both Tennessee and Federal law, and is contrary to the commitment of Independence High School to provide a stable learning environment. Independence High School will not tolerate any harassment of students. It is the practice of Independence High School that all contact between students, teachers, and other employees of Independence High School be in keeping with respect for the individual, be of a nature which does not make a person feel uncomfortable, and be conducive to a stable learning environment. Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Under certain circumstances, sexual harassment may constitute sexual abuse and will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Insubordination includes but is not limited to: a refusal by the student to follow a directive from an authority figure, failing to identify one’s self when requested by any staff member, failing to follow directions or instructions, and being dishonest to any IHS staff member. Any acts of insubordination will be immediately directed to administration and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.
Profanity, Obscenity, and Vulgarity
The use of profane language (swearing), obscene gestures, or vulgar behavior will not be tolerated.
Public Display of Affection
Students should not, under any circumstances, show affection to one another that creates a scene or draws undue attention to them. This behavior creates a poor image of the school and of the student body.
Display of Flags on Campus
Only 3 flags are permitted to be flown/displayed on school grounds. Those flags are as follows:
- American Flag
- Tennessee State Flag
- Independence high school Flag.
Any student or faculty member flying a flag on school grounds that is not one of the 3 permitted will be asked to remove the flag from display. Failure to comply shall result in disciplinary action.
Search and Seizure
Students possess the right of privacy of person as well as freedom from unreasonable search and seizure of property. This individual right, however, is balanced by the school’s responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all its students. Although school authorities will respect the rights of students in their lockers and property, it should be made clear to all that lockers are the property of the school, and a student’s locker or other possessions may be searched in the event “reasonable suspicion” dictates the administration take such action.
In addition, students who drive to school and park on school property agree to the search of their vehicles by administrators who have “reasonable suspicion” that the student’s car contains drugs, alcohol, weapons, or other items not permissible at school.
The use of skateboards and rollerblades on high school property, day or night, seven days a week, is strictly prohibited due to the potential danger to the users and pedestrians.
Skipping is missing part of a class, all of a class, or multiple classes without the prior approval of parents and/or the office staff of individual teacher whose class is being missed. Arriving more than 10 minutes late to a class will be considered skipping. Anytime a student leaves school without prior permission from the office staff he/she is skipping.
If a car is involved, the driver of the car will lose parking privileges for determined period of time.
Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes
Students shall not be allowed to possess, smoke, or use tobacco products or electronic cigarette products in any form while on school property or while participating in a school-sponsored event, or while on school buses to and from school, or on school buses to and from school sponsored events. Possession of tobacco products or electronic cigarette products in any form anywhere by a juvenile is prohibited by law and will result in a citation to Juvenile Court with a subsequent fine and other punitive consequences.
No student will intentionally damage or deface any school building, school-owned property, or personal property located at the school. A police report may be filed plus full restitution will be required. Students who commit or are involved in vandalism may be suspended from school, placed in the ALC, and/or subject to a petition being filed in the Williamson County Juvenile Court. Discharging a fire extinguisher falls under the category of vandalism.
Written, Verbal and Symbolic Expression
The school retains a responsibility to maintain an appropriate educational environment. As such, posting or distribution of any written material, but not limited to, advertising, community events, etc., must receive administrative approval prior to its dissemination. Signs may only be posted at approved locations. Failure to obtain permission will necessitate removal of the signs.
All visitors must check in to the front office. Only parents/guardians are allowed to visit students during the lunch period. All alumni or other guests must visit teachers or students before/after school hours.