Handbook - Policies and Procedures

Non-Discrimination Statement | Civil Rights Compliance | Section 504 | Individuals With Disabilities Act | McKinney-Vento ActReporting Requirements | Juvenile Offender Act | Safe Harbor Provision | Searches and Seizures | Student Arrest | Threat Assessment | Unsafe School Choice Option and Victims of Violent Crime | Violation of Personal Rights | Policies Related to the Administration of Schools | English Learners | Students with Disabilities | Homework Guidelines | Inappropriate Use of Internet and Electronic Devices | Permissions Related to Policies

 

Non-Discrimination Statement

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, color, age and/or disability in admission to, access to or operation of its programs, services or activities and provides access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. MNPS does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices.

Learn more in the MNPS Legal section.




Civil Rights Compliance

MNPS is committed to ensuring all students and adults are given the opportunity to learn, participate and work in an environment that is free from discrimination by adhering to laws below. Please report discrimination or harassment online using the Incident Reporting Form.

Learn more in the MNPS Legal section.




Section 504 and 504 Complaint Procedures


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities.

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that no otherwise qualified individual with handicaps in the United States solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs and activities provided by state and local government entities.

Read more about ADA.


Notice

  • MNPS will make available the name(s), office address and telephone number of the ADA and Section 504 coordinator(s)

    • Ashley Collins, 504 Coordinator 2601 Bransford Avenue Nashville, TN 37204; Phone: 615-259-8781

    • Jennifer Earwood, ADA Title II Coordinator 2601 Bransford Avenue Nashville, TN 37204; Phone: 615-259-8530

  • The district's initial and continuing notification may include posting notices, publishing in newspapers, web and in student and employee handbooks, and distributing written communications.

  • There are two complaint processes: the informal grievance process and formal complaint process.


More information

  • For more information about students' rights and services, contact the Tennessee Department of Education:

    • Address: Andrew Johnson Tower, 710 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, Tenn., 37243

    • Phone: 615-741-2731

  • For the address and phone number of the Office of Civil Rights that serves your area, call 1-800-421-3481.




IDEA - Individuals With Disabilities Act

IDEA is a federal law that ensures services to children with disabilities. It governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services. IDEA requires schools to provide parents of a child with a disability with a notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards available under the IDEA, U.S Department of Education regulations and Tennessee law and regulations. If you have questions regarding IDEA, email the Exceptional Education Department.

View a pdf of the Tennessee Procedural Safeguards.
Tennessee Procedural Safeguards

 

McKinney-Vento Act

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized in 2015 by Title IX, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act, (42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq.) is a Federal law that addresses the educational needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness.

The McKinney-Vento Act addresses educational barriers and challenges created by homelessness by guaranteeing students experiencing homelessness the right to enroll in and attend school, and providing supports needed for school success. The law places the responsibility for ensuring the rights of homeless students on states and school districts. McKinney-Vento eligible students have the right to:

  • receive a free, appropriate public education;

  • enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment, or having missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness;

  • enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents;

  • continue attending the school of origin, or enroll in the local attendance area school if attending the school of origin is not in the best interest of the student or is contrary to the request of the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth;

  • receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested by the parent or guardian, or by the local liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth; and

  • receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to each student’s need.




Reporting Requirements 

MNPS is committed to providing all students a learning environment free from bullying or harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, ancestry or gender, including gender identity, expression and appearance. Bullying and harassment are prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Any students with knowledge of bullying or harassment should report to the principal or online using this Online Incident Report.

Bullying, harassment, intimidation or hazing (including by electronic transmission) that is reported to any staff member must be reported to the principal. Review the entire MNPS Bullying and Harassment Policy (6.304).

All students have the right to attend school in a safe environment that is conducive to learning. A threat is considered an expression to harm others or self through verbal, written or gestured communication. Any threat will be taken seriously if it is communicated, observed or reported by the recipient(s) of the threat or by a third party who has knowledge of the threat. For this reason, policies and procedures have been established to assist the Threat Assessment Team's investigation and response to any threats to harm self or others. If the Threat Assessment Team concludes that a threat is credible, the consequences for the person or individuals making the threat may include, but are not limited to: the development of a safety plan, a referral to outside agencies, school level consequences, suspension, school reassignment or expulsion for up to one calendar year.

View all MNPS policies.
Board of Education Policy Manual



Juvenile Offender Act 

Pursuant to TCA 55-10-701, the juvenile court judge may issue an order of denial of driving privileges for any offense or prohibited conduct described in TCA 55-10-801(a). This section applies to any criminal offense, status offense, violation, infraction or other prohibited conduct involving the possession, use, sale or consumption of any alcoholic beverage or any controlled substance, as defined in TCA 39-17-4, or involving the possession or carrying of a weapon on school property, as defined in TCA 38-17-1309(b) or (c).

On first offenses, the judge may exercise discretion and sign a withdrawal to reinstate driving privileges after three months. Beyond this limited circumstance, the denial or suspension of driving privileges are outlined in TCA 55-10-702.

For more information, contact the Department of Student Support Services.




Safe Harbor Provision

A student may approach a school official and voluntarily surrender an object, the possession of which is prohibited by these rules, provided the object is one that the student could lawfully possess off school grounds (such as a pocket knife) and is not a firearm. This safe harbor provision does not apply if a search is in progress at the school.

If a student approaches a school official and voluntarily surrenders such an object, then the student will not be subject to any disciplinary action under these rules. The principal will make arrangements to return the object to the student's parents or legal guardian, when applicable.

If a student discovers an illegal item such as drugs, a weapon or other contraband (e.g. tobacco, alcohol) on school property, or a school bus, or at a school bus stop, the student may approach a school official and report the discovery. A student will not automatically be in violation of school codes by solely making such a report.

School officials will use discretion in determining whether the circumstance surrounding the report warrant further investigation of the reporting student.




Searches and Seizures 

Searches and seizures are conducted in accordance with Tennessee Code as part of the School Security Act of 1981.

We all have a part to play with firearm safety.
Safe Storage for Firearms



Student Arrest 

Parents or guardians of a student arrested while at school or at a school-sponsored activity will be contacted after the principal/designee is made aware of the arrest and after the police department has assumed custody of the student.




Threat Assessments 

There may be times when a student makes a written, verbal or electronic threat that might involve a specific, credible plan to cause harm to students, staff or school. In these instances, a Threat Assessment team may convene and proceed to:

  • Assess threats of potentially harmful or lethal behavior

  • Determine the level of concern and action required

  • Organize school and community resources and strategies

  • Manage situations involving students that pose threats to others

  • Help to maintain a sense of psychological safety within the climate of the school community




Unsafe School Choice Option and Victims of Violent Crime

Students who attend a public elementary or secondary school identified by the state as "unsafe," or students who are victims of a violent crime while in or on school grounds, as defined by federal law, must be given the option of enrolling in a different school within the same school district. Transportation for qualified students who decide to change schools must be provided by the school district for the remainder of the school year. In addition, families of a student who attends a school designated "unsafe" due to a pattern of violence and/or the student is a victim of a violent crime on school grounds, may choose to transfer the student to a different school that has not been designated as unsafe. Transportation will be provided by the school district. Currently, all MNPS schools are deemed safe by the State Department of Education.




Violation of Personal Rights 

It is a violation for any student, teacher, administrator or other school district employee to violate the personal rights of others. Violation of personal rights is any act of intimidation, harassment/hazing, physical force or threat of physical force directed against all persons or their property or advocate, motivated either in whole or in part by hostility to their real or perceived race, ethnic background, religious belief, gender (including gender identity), age, disability or sexual orientation, with the intention of causing fear or intimidation, or to deter the free exercise or enjoyment of any rights or privileges secured by the Constitution or the laws of the State of Tennessee whether or not performed under the color of law.




Policies Related to Administration of Schools 

The information contained in this section is a brief description of the most frequently referenced policies and procedures. The information included does not describe policies in their entirety, but full policies can be viewed on the Policies and Procedures site. For questions or help, contact the Family Information Center at 615-259-4636 (INFO).

View policies related to the administration of schools.
View Policies



English Learners 

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA), public schools must ensure that English learner (EL) students can participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs.


Home Language Survey

  • School districts must have procedures in place to accurately and timely identify potential EL students.

  • All school districts, including MNPS, use a home language survey (HLS) at the time of enrollment to gather information about a student's language background and identify students whose primary or home language is other than English. (Tennessee State Board Rule on English as a Second Language Programs, Chapter 0520-01-19.) 

  • A parent/guardian must complete an HLS when the student enrolls. An HLS should be completed only once in a student’s educational career. The form must be completed in its entirety, signed and dated.

  • If the first three questions of the HLS indicate the student speaks another language or that another language is spoken at home, the parent/guardian should make an appointment with the International Student Registration Center at the EL Office by emailing the Center or calling 615-259-8608.


Identifying and Assessing All Potential EL Students

  • MNPS must then determine if potential EL students are eligible for EL services through a valid and reliable test that assesses English language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are assessed with the WIDA Screener. The assessment has no bearing on school assignment or grade placement. (Tennessee State Board Rule on English as a Second Language Programs, Chapter 0520-01-19.) 

  • If students are identified as English learners, they will receive EL services during the regular school day from an English as a Second Language (ESL)-endorsed teacher. Once the student is identified and enrolled as an English learner, he or she is assessed annually for English proficiency through the ACCESS for English language learners test. If the student scores proficient, he/she will be "exited" from EL services.


Assessment Locations

  • The MNPS International Student Registration Center offices help families parents in their native language and act as a resource and support for families and schools. If a family is not able to access one of our locations, MNPS will make accommodations for the family. 


Translation and Interpretation Services

  • Families have the right to request an interpreter for any communication with the school. To request an interpreter, contact your child's school (a teacher or administrator), the Family Information Center at 615-259-4636, or the Office of English Learners at 615-259-8608.

View U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education fact sheet.
View Fact Sheet
Learn more about English Learner services.
EL Services webpages



Students With Disabilities

It is the responsibility of the district to seek ways to meet the unique educational needs of all children within the general education program prior to referring a child to special education. Tennessee's approach to teaching and learning is called RTI2.

Pursuant to IDEA Regulations at 34 C.F.R. §300.301(b), a parent or the school district may refer a child for an evaluation to determine if the child is a child with disability. If a student is suspected of an educational disability at any time, he or she may be referred by the student's teacher, parent, or outside sources for an initial comprehensive evaluation based on referral concerns. The team, not an individual, then determines whether it is an appropriate referral (i.e., the team has reason to suspect a disability) for an initial comprehensive evaluation. The school team must obtain informed parental consent and provide written notice of the evaluation.

Child Find is the affirmative, ongoing obligation of states and local districts to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities residing within the jurisdiction who are in need of special education and related services. Learn more about Child Find.


Discipline

  • If a student who has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) violates school rules or district policies outlined in this handbook, he or she will be disciplined in accordance with district policy and state and federal laws that govern Special Education, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If a student is suspended for an accumulated 10 days, the student's Individualized Educational Program team (IEP-team) will convene to determine if the behavior displayed is a manifestation of the student's disability. For more information contact your student's school or review Tennessee's Notice of Procedural Safeguards.


Protections for Students Not Yet Eligible (34 CFR §300.534)

  • If a student has not been determined eligible for special education and related services and violates a code of student conduct, but the school district had knowledge (as determined below) before the behavior that brought about the disciplinary action occurred that the student was a child with a disability, then the student may assert any of the protections described in this notice.

  • Basis of knowledge for disciplinary matters: a school district must be deemed to have knowledge that a student is a student with a disability if, before the behavior that brought about the disciplinary action occurred:

  1. The parent of the student expressed concern in writing to supervisory or administrative personnel of the appropriate educational agency, or a teacher of the student that the student is in need of special education and related services; or

  2. The parent requested an evaluation related to eligibility for special education and related services under Part B of the IDEA; or

  3. The student's teacher, or other school district personnel, expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the student directly to the school district's director of special education or to other supervisory personnel of the school district.

  • A school district would not be deemed to have such knowledge if:

  1. The student's parent has not allowed an evaluation of the student or refused special education services; or

  2. The student has been evaluated and determined to not be a student with disability under Part B of the IDEA.


504 Services

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. It guarantees students with disabilities the right to an equal educational opportunity.

  • Qualified students who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having impairment must be provided a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and have procedural safeguards under the law.

  • A diagnosis of a disability does not automatically qualify a student for eligibility under Section 504.

  • To be eligible as a student with a disability under Section 504, a student must be evaluated and determined eligible under Section 504 by a 504 team. Families who suspect their student has a disability may submit a verbal or a written request for the school to start the 504 evaluation process. The 504 team will review all concerns and proceed with the 504 evaluation eligibility process.

  • To obtain 504 services:

  • If a student who has been determined eligible under Section 504 violates school rules or district policies outlined in this handbook, he or she will be disciplined in accordance with district policy, state and federal laws that govern Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and IDEA. For more information, contact the school or click here.

  • If a student has not been determined eligible for 504 services and violates a code of student conduct, but the school district has knowledge the student has a disability before the behavior that brought about the disciplinary action occurred, then the student may assert any of the protections described in this notice. In determining whether the school district had a basis of knowledge that the student has a disability, the district will follow similar guidelines as provided for under the IDEA outlined under the Exceptional Education Services section.

Learn more about our Exceptional Education Services.
Exceptional Education



Homework Guidelines

Research provides strong evidence that, when used appropriately, homework benefits student achievement (Good & Brophy, 2003; Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006). Homework is beneficial and important in a student's overall program and is required in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

View our homework guidelines by grade level.
Homework Guidelines



Inappropriate Use of Internet/Electronic Devices

Use of Personal Communication and Electronic Devices, MNPS policy 6.312

Use of Personal Communication and Electronic Devices, MNPS Procedure 6.312.1p

Students may not use personal technology during instructional periods except when used as an aid to instruction, at the discretion of the classroom teacher and building administrator. A student who brings his/her device to school does so at his/her own risk. No searches or investigations will be conducted for lost or stolen devices. Personal technology includes, but is not limited to:

  • cellular phones,

  • wireless earpieces,

  • iPods,

  • iPads,

  • other mp3 players,

  • calculators and

  • portable gaming devices.

Headphones must be used for personal technology used to play music or video.

A student in possession of personal technology in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action.




Permissions Related to Policies

Certain permissions are required for students to participate in some school-related activities. Parents or guardians should indicate on the permission form whether or not their student has permission to participate.


Attendance & Truancy 

Students are subject to compulsory school attendance laws.

The Compulsory Attendance Law (TCA 49-6-3001) of the State of Tennessee mandates that children ages 6-17 attend school. In accordance with state law (TCA 49-6-3007), failure to comply with the Compulsory Attendance Law can result in further action, including but not limited to, school level supports and interventions, a referral to the Metro Student Attendance Center and/or a petition to Juvenile Court for truancy/educational neglect.

Read more at our attendance webpage.

 FERPA

 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides parents, students (over 18 years of age) and others certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. Learn more about FERPA rights.

Health Screenings

Hearing, Vision, Height, Weight & Blood Pressure Screenings

  • As mandated by the State of Tennessee, MNPS provides color perception screenings, hearing and vision screenings at designated grade levels at both elementary and middle schools. Additional screenings in elementary, middle and high school, for height, weight and blood pressure are also provided. Unless you deny permission, your student will be included in the available health screenings.

COVID-19 Testing

  • In the event there is a surge in COVID-19 cases, MNPS is seeking your consent to test your child for infection. Testing will be conducted by either a school nurse. A student will not be selected for random testing more often than once a week. Every effort will be made for testing to occur outside of core instructional time.
  • Read more at our COVID-19 webpage
Family Life Education Lifetime Wellness Course

The Lifetime Wellness course includes Family Life Education and Sexual Health Education. The following topics are covered: abstinence, self-esteem, healthy relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, consent, reproductive systems, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, methods of protection, pregnancy, adoption, Safe Haven Law, Tennessee Human Trafficking Law, and Erin’s Law.

Parents and guardians have the option of waiving their child’s participation of any portion of family life/sexual health education unit. Students will not be penalized for not participating; rather, those students will receive independent and equitable health and wellness lessons in a different location.

Parents can choose to opt students out of some of these lessons or all of these lessons. Parents can select their preference in the online Permissions Portal or by notifying their student's school.

Use of the Internet

MNPS provides students with access to the internet under the MNPS Use of Internet Policy 4.406.

MNPS does not control the content available on, or through, internet sites, however, MNPS does undertake good faith efforts to filter objectionable material available on sites that can be accessed by MNPS students but that filtering efforts may not completely block objectionable content.

Parents can grant or deny permission to use the internet in the online Permissions Portal

Laptop & Device Use

MNPS students may be issued a laptop or similar device for learning both on and off campus. This laptop or similar device will utilize the internet filtering provided by MNPS, as explained in the Use of Internet Policy. 

Parents and students should review the MNPS Student Device Procedure 3.301.1P.

Parents can grant or deny permission for laptop and device use in the online Permissions Portal

Permissions for Wrap-Around Services

Navigator Program

  • The MNPS Navigator program connects students with faculty and staff with supplemental check-ins outside of the school day. Your student’s assigned Navigator will check-in throughout the school year with your student and/or families. These check-ins can occur in-person or over the phone.

School Psychologist Services

  • School psychology services are available in every MNPS school. Among other services, school psychologists provide free group-based, general education services to students during the school day at their school. All records regarding a student's session with the school psychologist are kept confidential except as required by law.

School Social Work Services

  • School social work services are available in every MNPS school. The Social Work Department is committed to helping students reach their highest academic potential. School social workers provide free counseling to students during the school day at their school. All records regarding a student's session with the school social worker are kept confidential except as required by law.

Universal Behavior Screeners

  • Through our Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) framework, educators and administrators have proven tools at their disposal to support a timely and effective response to academic and behavioral needs for each student. The MTSS Universal Screening Process provides a starting point for identification of students who may need additional support using nationally normed assessments. As part of MTSS, all students are screened for behavior risks so educators can better identify a student’s needs.

Parents can grant or deny permissions for wrap-around services in the Permissions Portal.

Media Permissions

Parents can grant or deny permissions for MNPS to: 

  • honor my student publicly, including submitting honors received to the media.
  • interview, photograph or video record my student for use in print, on the internet, and in all other forms of media.
  • allow news media and other non-MNPS media to interview, photograph or video record my student.

Parents can select these permissions in the Permissions Portal

School Climate Survey 

During the 2022-2023 school year, MNPS will conduct two to three short (10-20 minute) surveys for students in third grade and above. These surveys will help us to learn more about our students and their perceptions of school. Participation is voluntary. Parents may exempt their student(s) from participating in these surveys at any time prior to survey administration. In addition, your student can choose whether to take the survey or to answer any particular question. There will be no penalty if you or your student choose not to participate.  

Military Status of Parents & Legal Guardians 

High School Students Only

State and federal policymakers seek to help school districts assess the performance of students whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) serve in the military to better understand the relationship between military life and child development. State legislation requires districts to identify students whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) serve in the military. Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) defines students with parent(s) or legal guardian(s) on active-duty military service as a subgroup for assessment reporting. Students are identified whose parent(s)/legal guardian(s) fall within the three military-related classifications: Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve.

Students or parents and legal guardians can complete the Military Connections Survey in the Permissions Portal

Special Populations Survey

High School Students Only 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) requires higher education institutions to “provide activities to prepare special populations who are enrolled in career and technical education programs for high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand industry sectors or occupations.” To collect this data for reporting purposes, you have the option of completing this Special Populations Form for each MNPS high school student in your household and returning to each student’s school.

You can complete the form in the Permissions Portal. 

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is participating in the 2023 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), as we did in 2019 and 2021. This survey focuses on the health and risk behaviors among U.S. high school students in grades 9–12. The Metro Public Health Department, through a cooperative agreement with MNPS and the Center for Disease Control, will conduct the survey with a random sample of students. While we encourage participation, a student may decide at any time not to participate. Parents may also choose in advance for their student to not participate. You may review a copy of the survey on the Health Department's website or at your student's school. or at your school’s front office.

You may opt-out your child from survey participation at permissions.mnps.org, by calling 615-340-8608 or emailing YRBS.

Military Recruiters

MNPS is required by law to provide military recruiters contact information for high school students approaching eligibility age for military service, UNLESS the parent has requested that the district not share the information. Confirm your permission to release your student's name and contact information to a military recruiter on the permission forms available on the MNPS Student-Parent Handbook landing page.  Unless you deny permission, your student's information will be included.