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Students will receive outline of rights

May 30, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

All public middle and high school students in Washington County will receive a copy of a new edition of "Students' Responsibilities and Rights" when they return to school this fall, according to school officials.

The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday night approved the revised 21-page handbook, outlining students' rights within the school system and the responsibilities that go along with them.

It will take the place of an edition last revised in the spring of 1989, said William McKinley, director of secondary education.

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A 22-member committee of parents, students, teachers and administrators worked about two months to revise the handbook, which applies to students from kindergarten through 12th grade, McKinley said.

References to the Annotated Code of Maryland needed to be updated throughout the document, which underwent a great deal of general editing, he said.

The new edition includes two major additions, a telecommunications section that requires students to sign computer usage agreement forms in order to use the Internet and a form students can use to report sexual harassment.

It's important to have a current document defining students' rights and responsibilities that can be used to settle issues between school staff and parents and students, McKinley said.

While individual schools have some freedom in areas covered in the handbook - like discipline - their rules can't abridge any rights that have been granted, he said.

Copies of the new handbook will be distributed to the elementary schools at the beginning of the new school year and will be available on request, McKinley said.

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