Student Rights & Responsibilities

Guardianship and Custody
When a student’s legal guardianship requires clarification, please contact your school principal or counselor. The school will require documentation from the student’s legal guardian to protect all parties. When child custody is an issue, the school will operate according to the documentation on file. State and federal laws require that schools treat both parents equally regarding school visitations and access to student-related information. Exceptions include court orders limiting access. If a parent is not allowed to have contact with the child, a copy of the court order specifying the restriction must be submitted to the child’s school.

Attendance Laws  

Compulsory Attendance Law
Good attendance is critical to your child’s success at school and is supported by Washington State Attendance laws which state that children aged eight to eighteen are required to attend school. Six and seven year olds who are enrolled at school must also attend regularly under the same law. Please refer to RCW Chapter 28A.225 for the full version of the law.

BECCA Law
Regular attendance is essential to the learning process. When students are absent, they miss out on valuable learning opportunities. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators must work together to ensure the continuity of learning time. Families whose students are experiencing attendance problems should stay in touch with the attendance secretaries and with counselors. School attendance is guided by District policy and the Washington State Attendance law. The intent is to reduce student truancies from school by requiring interventions such as parent conferences and referring students to the juvenile court system. The following summarizes the state law:  

Schools are required to:

  1.  Notify parents when their student has one unexcused absence during a month.
  2. Schedule a conference with parents when a student has two unexcused absences during a month.
  3. Notify juvenile court when a student has seven unexcused absences during a month.
  4. Notify the juvenile court when student has 10 unexcused absences or more during a school year.

Absences and Tardies
Good attendance is critical to your student’s success in school. When students are absent or late, they fall behind in their studies and may find it difficult to catch up with their peers. Ensuring that students arrive on time, ready for class is one of the most important roles that families play. Regular attendance teaches students valuable lessons about responsibility—a character trait they will need when they enter the world of work.  

When Should Illness Keep a Student at Home?
Families often wonder when students should stay home from school because of illness. For many families, deciding what to do can be even more difficult because of parental work responsibilities and a lack of child care. Reasons to keep your child at home include:

  • A fever of 100 degrees or more. Children should be fever free, without medications, for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea. Children should be symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Unknown rash that may be related to a disease such as chicken pox or if the cause of the rash is unknown.
  • Consult your family physician before sending your child back to school.

Excusing Absences
Parents are expected to send a written note, or call the school, to excuse all absences. Students may be excused from a class period or day of school for an illness, family emergency, religious observances, or medical appointments. Your school principal works with families to determine whether absences will be considered excused or unexcused and in doing so, considers your rights as a parent to make essential decisions regarding your student’s attendance. However, the District is obligated to follow the attendance law and report unexcused absences to the juvenile court system as noted above. Students who acquire an excessive number of excused absences may be placed on an attendance contract and reported to the juvenile court system.

Pre-arranged Absences
If you wish to pre-arrange your student’s absence from class, you must obtain and complete a pre-arrangement form from the school office explaining the reason for the absence. The principal will determine whether the absence will be excused, giving consideration to the student’s performance in class and previous absences. If the principal approves the absence, your student will be permitted to make up the work missed.  Unexpected Absences When illness or family emergencies result in an unexpected absence, you need to call your school’s office within 24 hours to inform staff of your student’s absence or the absence will be considered unexcused. In some cases, the principal may require that you provide a written excuse for documentation purposes.

Tardies
Students are expected to arrive to class on time. At the High School and Middle School levels, students who arrive after the designated start time are considered tardy. Students who arrive 10 or more minutes late to class are considered absent for that period. Elementary students are marked for a half day absence if they arrive after 9:00 or leave before 2:00. Late Arrivals/Early Dismissals Students who must leave the school during the day must check out through the school office. We require that parents either send a note with your child or call the school for an early release or late arrival. Students who leave school without authorization will be considered truant and in violation of the attendance law. Parent permission is required for all students, including 18 year olds, who wish to leave campus.

SCHOOL SAFETY

Commitment to Safe Schools
The Granite Falls School District Board of Directors, administrators, and staff are committed to creating a positive and safe learning environment for all students. To ensure such an environment, the School District requires and models mutual respect, proper behavior, openness, and fairness. Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation It is the policy of the Granite Falls School District to maintain a safe and civil educational environment for all students free from harassment, intimidation, and bullying. This means any image or message (written, electronic or verbal) or physical act that is intended to harm or intimidate and has the effect to substantially interfere with a student’s education or create an intimidating or threatening educational environment, or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school. Harassment, intimidation, and bullying in any form are unacceptable and are against District policy and state and federal law. Students who engage in such activity on school grounds or off campus, and disrupts school operations, shall be subject to school disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution. Anytime a student feels harassed, intimidated, or bullied the student should tell their parent, guardian, teacher, or a trusted adult. The student, parent, or other adult, should notify school officials as soon as possible. The District’s compliance officer, Carol Panagos or designee, can be reached at 360.691.7717.

What to do if you suspect that your child is being bullied: Warning signs:
  • Talk with your child. Tell your child that you’re concerned and that you’d like to help.
  • Ask questions to get the discussion going.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher, counselor or principal. Teachers are usually in the best position to understand the relationships between your child and other peers.
  • If your child is being bullied, take quick action and contact the school immediately. If you don’t suspect that your child is being bullied, stay vigilant to other possibilities or other problems that your child may be having and stay in touch with school officials.
  • For more details on bullying, see School Board policy #5005.
  • Warning signs that a child is bullied
  • Many children do not tell their parents or adults at school about being bullied. It is important that adults look for signs of bullying so that appropriate intervention can be initiated.
  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing belongings.
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.
  • Has few friends,
  • Seems afraid of going to school,
  • Has lost interest in school,
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed,
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments.
  • Has trouble sleeping,
  • Experiences a loss of appetite.
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem.

Partnership with Police and Sheriff
The school district may partner with the Granite Falls Police Department and/or the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department regarding assistance with emergency plans, truancy, discipline, and de-escalation.

Release of Information to Police
State and federal law requires the District to cooperate with police during an active investigation by providing student records when a student is under investigation and the information is deemed necessary.

Interrogations and Searches
Interrogations and searches are carried out in a manner that is consistent with applicable legal restrictions and requirements and with school district guidelines and procedures. Administrators or designees may search students and their lockers, belongings, and vehicles parked on campus with reasonable suspicion when necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of the students and the school. All student storage areas (e.g., lockers, desks, cubbies) remain the property of the school, and the school has and retains access at all times. The District may also conduct unannounced searches using dogs trained to uncover drugs, alcohol, weapons, and other contraband. RCW 28A.600.210-240.

Sexual Harassment and Nondiscrimination
The Granite Falls School District is committed to a positive and productive working and learning environment free of discrimination. The District prohibits sexual harassment, harassment, intimidation, and bullying of its employees or students, whether committed by a co-worker, supervisor, subordinate, contractor, volunteer, or student. For more details see School Board policies 4025, 5001 and 5005. The District’s compliance officer, Carol Panagos or designee, can be reached at 360.691.7717

Equal education/employment opportunities applies to all people regardless of race, color, political or religious beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, gender or gender identity, socioeconomic status, age, or disability.

Reporting Child Abuse and CPS
It is the legal and ethical responsibility of a school employee to report, in good faith, suspected child abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities. The Granite Falls School District will cooperate with Child Protective Services (CPS) and/or law enforcement should they choose to interview students at school regarding reports of abuse. See School Board Policy #5031 for full information.

Each student must develop a commitment to act within the framework of rights and responsibilities of the school community.

Belief Statement
• Learning shall be the priority in the classroom. All students have the right to an education and the responsibility to uphold that right for others.
• All students and staff have the right to a safe, secure learning and working environment.
• Students and staff are responsible for demonstrating respect for each other.
• All students can learn to be self-managers of their behavior and are accountable for their actions.
• Exceptional misconduct will not be tolerated in the Granite Falls School District.

Student Discipline
The district adheres to a philosophy of developing and upholding high expectations for all student conduct in order to maintain an environment focused on learning. Students are expected to follow school rules at all times while on school grounds, district transportation or at school events. Consequences for misbehavior are outlined in the Student Conduct Policy 5050 & Student Discipline Policy 5051, along with, the District Discipline Brochure (link below) and building discipline documents. See more information on the Student Conduct & Discipline page>

**Discipline Brochure/Student Handbooks- For more information regarding discipline actions within Granite Falls School District, you may download the official “Student Discipline Brochure” which explains in more details responsibilities and authority of teachers and principals, along with recommendations for disciplinary actions for exceptional misconduct. Much more detailed information on student behavior and harassment/bullying can be found in student handbooks.

Anti-Harassment / Bullying: Harassment, intimidation, and bullying are against the law. School Board policy outlines specific measures to address harassment/bullying. Students who engage in such activity on school grounds or who engage in such activity off campus and creates disruption of school operations shall be subject to school disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution. Read more here (pdf). The District Compliance Officer (Title IX and Section 504)/Reporting Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying and Discrimination is Carol Panagos.

Other resources include:
OSPI School Safety Center: Bullying and Harassment
OSPI School Safety Center: Cyberbullying & Digital/Internet Safety
OSPI School Safety Center: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning Youth
OSPI School Safety Center: Help Links for Youth

Microsoft Safety & Security Center

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
Suicide Prevention at College

Cell Phone Safety Cell phones can make communication a lot easier and can be very helpful in emergencies. However, as cell phones become more and more sophisticated, it is very easy to get large phone bills due to the high volume of text messages or access to the internet. Today’s cell phones have also become a sub-culture with its own language. The lack of adult supervision can lead to harassment, bullying, and even legal charges that can result in felony convictions. Read more here (pdf).