HISD To Vote Today On Changes To Code Of Student Conduct
The Houston Independent School District board will vote today on changes in the Code of Student Conduct that a include new restrictions for students trying to wear or be tattooed with gang-related symbols or attempting to bribe school officials for better grades.
The school board will meet at 5 p.m. at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 West 18th Street.
Every year HISD’s Code of Student Conduct is updated with recommendations from a committee of school principals, teachers and parents. This year, HISD attorneys said one school reported a student attempted to bribe a data-entry clerk to change a grade. Although bribery is illegal, there was no language in HISD’s Code of Student Conduct that specified punishment for such an attempt.
As a result, the committee of principals, teachers and parents recommended that bribery or attempted bribery be added to the list of prohibited activities. If the school board approves the change today, from now on any student who tries to offer a teacher, clerk or any other school official a gift in exchange for a better grade may face suspension from school or removal to a disciplinary alternative school, in addition to any possible criminal sanctions under the law.
The committee also determined that stronger language was needed in the Code of Student Conduct to prohibit the display of gang-related tattoos and other gang symbols.
The language in the old Code of Student Conduct prohibited “Wearing dress or attire signifying gang affiliation.” The proposed new language broadens the code to include tattoos, prohibiting any “visual display of gang-related signs or symbols on the body, clothing, accessories, or personal property of the student (e.g. notebooks, book covers, journals). Gang-related associations may be referred to the HISD Police Department for appropriate documentation.”
The new Code of Student Conduct language says students must “cover up while on campus or at a school-related activity any tattoo that is inappropriate, obscene, offensive, vulgar or gang-related.”
Violations of the new Code of Student Conduct language regarding gang symbols could cause a student to be suspended or removed to a disciplinary alternative school.
“It should be understood loudly and clearly that HISD will not tolerate any gang activity of any kind, and that includes showing gang signs and symbols,” Superintendent Abelardo Saavedra said. “Our number one priority is to keep schools safe and we’re going to do that.”
The proposed changes in the Code of Student Conduct also would enact in HISD rules changes required by state law prohibiting dating violence.