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Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Response

The Code of Conduct lays out expectations for the positive management of student behavior and the responses when a student acts inappropriately or causes harm. 

When the atmosphere and "feel" of a school are positive, that school becomes a place that students, staff, families, and community members want to be — and where teaching and learning can thrive. All members of a school community have a role to play in creating that kind of atmosphere in a school, and all should have shared expectations about positive behavior.

The Baltimore City Public Schools Code of Conduct was written in accordance with the policies of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, CEO administrative regulations, and Maryland law and regulations, with input from members of the City Schools community. 

It includes definitions of disciplinary responses, student and parent rights with respect to suspensions, and descriptions of levels of intervention and response to inappropriate or disruptive behavior. Disciplinary responses focus on promoting positive relationships, restorative practices, intervention strategies, and the use of suspensions only as a disciplinary measure of last resort.

Download the Code of Conduct booklet





Suspensions and expulsions

Whenever possible, disciplinary response should not remove a student from the classroom. When behavior does warrant suspension or expulsion, here are student and family rights. For questions or concerns, contact suspension services in the Whole Child Services and Supports department.

  • Students may not be excluded from their regular school program or denied instructional time (more than 59 minutes per day) in the absence of a documented, official, disciplinary intervention (i.e. suspension, expulsion, alternative educational placement, or alternative educational setting).
  • Schools may not contact parents to pick up students or seek permission from parents to send students home for behavior that does not merit a suspension under the Code of Conduct. Likewise, parents should not grant the school permission to exclude their children from their classes without an official suspension.
  • Students cannot be suspended for more than three consecutive school days without the CEO’s (or CEO designee’s) approval.
  • Behaviors that should not result in suspension include, but are not limited to, cutting class, unexcused absences, or failing to wear a school uniform.
  • Students are entitled to a conference with the principal at the time when a decision is made to remove them from the classroom or school for disciplinary reasons. Students are also entitled to receive written notification of why they are being removed from the classroom or school for disciplinary reasons.
  • Students must be given an opportunity to tell their side of the story before a decision is made to place them in in-school, short-term, long-term, or extended suspension or expulsion.
  • Parents will be provided written notification any time their child is removed from the classroom or school for disciplinary reasons. School staff will make diligent efforts to contact parents by telephone, e-mail, or text message (if permission has been secured) when excluding a student from the classroom or school.
  • Students are entitled to make up classwork and assignments for full credit and without penalty when they are excluded from school for any period of time. Each school shall assign a school staff liaison between the suspended student and teachers to support this process. The school staff liaison will communicate weekly about classwork, assignments, and school-related issues with all students suspended for more than three days. Teachers are required to provide students all daily classwork, assignments and will correct and return all completed work to students on a weekly basis. Students are responsible for completing classwork and assignments in a timely manner.
  • Students will be reintegrated into the school community once the conditions of a suspension or expulsion are met. Schools should develop a plan that supports the positive transition of a student back into the school and classroom, including, where needed, to address harm that may have been caused by the student’s behavior and rebuild relationships with those affected.
  • In accordance with Board policy, students and parents have a right to appeal an extended suspension or expulsion within 10 days after receiving the final decision on the disciplinary action. The Board of School Commissioners will render a written decision within 45 days from receiving the appeal. If this decision is not made within 45 days, the student will be allowed to return to school unless there is a finding that the student’s return would pose an imminent threat of serious harm to other students or staff.

Uniforms and dress code

At most schools, students wear a uniform — usually a polo, Oxford-style, or t-shirt and skirt, pants, or knee-length shorts. Check with your school for detailed information.

Please note that students cannot be excluded from school or from school activities (for example, field trips) for not wearing their uniform. If you have a concern about the way school uniform requirements are enforced at your school, please speak with your school's principal. 

If financial need makes purchasing the required uniform difficult for your family, please ask at your school. There may be uniform vouchers available, or the school may have information about uniform exchanges or low-cost purchasing options.

At the few City Schools that do not require a uniform, students must conform to this dress code.

General requirements
  • The style of clothes that a student wears may not endanger him, her, or other students.
  • The style of clothes worn may not disrupt the daily school routine.
  • Students may be required to wear certain types of clothing, usually for safety reasons, while participating in classes such as physical education, shop, chemistry, etc., or in curricular and extracurricular classes or activities such as band, choir, dance, drama, and theater.
  • Students are responsible for keeping themselves and their clothes neat and clean.
  • Students may wear their hair in any style they choose, provided the hair is kept neat and clean.
Specific requirements
  • No pajama-type attire, undershirts or other bedtime attire is allowed during the school day or during school-sponsored activities.
  • Footwear such as slippers, thongs,“heelys,” and flip-flops are not allowed during the school day or during school-sponsored activities.
  • No real or imitation leather, fur, or animal-skin jackets, coats, vests, pants, or skirts are allowed.
  • No hats, hair rollers or curlers are allowed during the school day or at school-sponsored activities.
  • Because theft and loss are school security concerns, wearing jewelry in schools is prohibited. Specifically, the following items cannot be worn: metal chains, ropes, necklaces, bracelets, rings, large or extravagant earrings, multifingered rings. Exceptions are wedding rings for married students (these students will have to supply proof to the school of their marriage), school rings, nonvisible metal religious items, and medical identification bracelets.
  • Pants should be worn appropriately at the waist, without undergarments showing.
  • Apparel with vulgar statements or statements promoting illegal drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, or gangs is not allowed.
  • Shorts and skirts may not be shorter than fingertip length. Halter tops, tank tops, spaghetti straps, muscle shirts, or see-through tops are not allowed.
  • No sweatpants or jogging pants with elastic at the bottom of the legs are allowed. No elastic fabric sportswear is allowed.
  • No clothing designed or altered to expose undergarments or parts of the body except arms or legs is allowed.
  • No undergarments worn as outerwear are allowed. Clothing should be worn so that undergarments, including boxer shorts, thongs, or bras, are not exposed.