Montgomery County Public Schools
Board of Education Policy KEA
Public Comment Sought on Political Campaigns and Political Materials
The Montgomery County Board of Education is seeking comments on draft Board Policy KEA, Political Campaigns and Political Materials (KEA), and changing the policy name to Civic Engagement, Political Campaigns, and Political Materials. The revised and renamed policy reflects the Board’s desire to permit students to receive excused absences for participation in civic engagement activities.
During the latter part of the 2017-2018 school year, numerous Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students became very involved in important issues confronting our country and even received national recognition for their engagement. As a result, students, families, and Board Members expressed interest in supporting student participation in civic activities without impact on their attendance status. Currently, Policy KEA permits students in grades 9-12 to participate in political campaign activity during school hours during the two-week period immediately prior to a primary or general election, at the request of the political candidate or organization with written parent/guardian consent, and written approval of the principal/designee.
On September 11, 2018, the Board considered revisions from the Board Policy Management Committee to Policy KEA that would allow students in grades 9-12 to be excused from school, up to 3-times per year, to participate in civic-engagement activities. Similar to excused absences for political activity, to be excused from school to participate in civic activities, students must provide:
o Written parent/guardian consent
o Agreement of a representative of the sponsoring organization
o Written approval of the principal to ensure compliance with Board policies and MCPS regulations
It should be noted that this revision is for absences from school that are planned and approved in advance and not students participating in a walkout where they leave school property in the midst of the school day. While MCPS recognizes student’s right of assembly, leaving school property can disrupt instruction for other students and pose a significant safety risk. More information about how MCPS has handled walkouts is available at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/publicinfo/community/school-year-2017-2018/demonstrations.html
In order to expedite the implementation of these revisions, the public comment period for this policy will be limited to 30-days, until Friday, October 12, 2018.
Comment on revised Board Policy KEA.
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