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  • Who has the overall discipline authority in schools?

    The principal is responsible for maintaining good order and discipline in the school, but the principal’s disciplinary authority is limited, depending upon the level of discipline.  For more serious disciplinary actions over a longer period of time, the local school board and superintendent review the principals’ decisions.

  • Under what circumstances can a student be suspended or expelled?

    A student can be suspended or expelled “when the behavior of a student is disruptive and detrimental to the operation of the school.”  Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11(C)(1).

    In-school Suspension.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11(C)(2).

    • Student Notification Requirement: A student may not receive an in-school suspension without being given the reasons and an opportunity to respond before the suspension begins.
    • Parent Written Notification Requirement: The school principal must provide the parents with written notification of the action. After 10 days of cumulative in-school suspension, the student, parents or guardian, and the principal, must have a conference. 

    School Responsibilities for Suspension for 10 Days or Less

    • The school principal can suspend a student for 10 days or less. Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11(C)(3).
    • Parent Conference: The student’s parent or guardian “promptly shall be given a conference with the principal or other appropriate personnel.”  The conference must be during the suspension period.  MD Education Code §7-305 (a).
    • Resource List for Parent: The parents/guardian must receive a “community resource list” from the school. This list should include the name and contact information of local and statewide social services and nonprofit health care providers that provide non-discriminatory services to children and families in need of assistance.
    • Limits on Discipline for Attendance-Related Offenses: A student may not be suspended or expelled for attendance-related offenses only. However, the student may receive “in school” suspension for such offenses.  MD Education Code §7-305 (b).
    • Immediate Suspension: A student who “poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process may be removed immediately from school, if the notice and conference. . . is provided as soon as possible.” Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11 (C)(3)(d).

    School Responsibilities for Expulsion or Suspension for longer than 10 Days

    • Principal’s Report to Superintendent: The principal must provide a report to the County Superintendent, who has the ability to take action. 
    • Superintendent Investigation: The County Superintendent or his/her chosen representative investigates to decide if a suspension or expulsion for more than 10 days is appropriate.
    • Conference with Parents about Investigation: The Superintendent and the student’s parents or guardians talk about this investigation’s decision.
    • Resource List for Parents: The parents/guardian must receive a “community resource list.”  This list should include the name and contact information of local and statewide social services. The list should also include non-profit health care providers that provide nondiscriminatory services to children and families in need of assistance.
    • Appeal Process for Long-term Expulsion or Suspension:
    • Who can appeal? Parents, guardians, or student
    • When can the appeal take place? The appeal can take place within ten days of the determination.
    • Who do parents appeal to? Parents can appeal to the County Board of Education, a committee put together by the Board of Education, or a hearing examiner.
    • What are the parents’ rights during an appeal? The student/parent/guardian may be represented by counsel and bring witnesses. Unless the student/parent/guardian requests a public hearing, only people that the School board decides are necessary, have the right to attend.
      • NOTE: The appeal to the board does not delay the Superintendent’s suspension or expulsion decision.


    • The decision of the Board is final.  MD Education Code §7-305 (c); Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11 (C)(4).

    On Zero-Tolerance Policy:  Maryland does not have a “zero tolerance” policy. However, if the County Superintendent finds that a student brought a firearm onto school property, the student shall be expelled for a minimum of 1 year.  MD Education Code §7-305 (f).

    On Damaging School Property: If the student damaged school property, the student or parent may be required to pay the school back for the damage. This payment cannot be more than the fair market value of the damaged property and this payment cannot be greater than $2500. MD Education Code §7-305 (h); Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11 (D).

  • Is corporal punishment at schools permitted?

    No.  Corporal punishment, or punishment in the form of physically causing pain to a child’s body, is not permitted in Maryland. A school employee “may not administer corporal punishment to discipline a student in a public school in [Maryland].”  MD Education Code §7-306; Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.01.11 (E).

  • Are there different policies for disciplining students with disabilities?

    Suspension for 10 Days or Less.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.03.03 (A).

    • A disabled student may be removed from his current placement (plan for educational study), for up to 10 consecutive days for any of the reasons a student without a disability may be removed.
    • There is no “change in placement” if the removal lasts less than 10 days in a row or 10 days total over a period of time. Unless the removal lasts for 10 days or more, a disabled student may be moved to an alternative educational setting, to another setting, or suspended from school.  The IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team must consider both the length of the removal from school and how close together the times when the student was suspended occurred. .  Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.05.05.

    Suspension for More than 10 Days.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.08.03.03 (B).

    • Case-by-case Consideration: School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis to determine whether suspension for longer than 10 days is appropriate for a student with a disability.
    • Determining the Influence of the Disability: A disabled student may be removed to the same extent a non-disabled student may be removed, unless his IEP team determines that the behavior was a “manifestation” of his disability, or that the disability in some way caused the misbehavior.
    • What Services Must the School Provide?
      • The student must continue to receive educational services, a functional behavior assessment (to determine how to change the student’s IEP to account for the misbehavior), and behavioral intervention services, if appropriate.  (Visit the link below for a detailed explanation of functional behavior assessments and behavioral intervention services.)

    The discipline of a student with disabilities must be in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the US law.  MD Education Code §7-305(g).

    For more information, view Maryland’s “Resources and information on Effective Practices and Requirements under the IDEA” at

  • Can school officials search a student?

    Reasonable Search of Students: A school principal, assistant principal, or school security guard may make a reasonable search of a student on the school campus or on a school-sponsored trip. The official searching the student must have “reasonable belief” that the student possesses an item that is a criminal offense or violates the rules of the school board MD Education Code §7-308(a).

  • Can school officials intervene in student actions such as fights?

    Interventions by School Officials: A school principal, teacher, school security guard, or other school personnel may take “reasonable action” necessary to prevent violence at the school or on a school-sponsored trip, including breaking up a fight.  MD Education Code §7-307(a)(1).

  • Is there a state policy on bullying?

    Yes.  Bullying is student behavior performed on purpose, that interferes with the educational environment of a student. Bullying is also behavior that is driven by actual or perceived personal characteristics of a student such as race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or physical attributes.

    “Bullying, harassment, and intimidation” means:

    intentional conduct (verbal, physical, or written) or an intentional electronic communication that creates a hostile educational environment by substantially interfering with a student’s educational opportunities or physical or psychological well-being and is motivated by a personal characteristic (including race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, or physical or mental disability.)  MD Education Code §7-424(a)(2).

    Responsibility of County Board of Education: The County Boards of Education must report to the state acts of bullying, harassment, or intimidation against students attending public schools. MD Education Code §7-424(b).

    Reporting and Confidentiality: The Department of Education has a standard “victim of bullying, harassment, or intimidation report form,” that schools must use to report acts of bullying. The information in this report is confidential and may not be shared.  Additionally, the report may not be made a part of the victim’s permanent educational record.  MD Education Code §§ 7-424(c) & (e).

    State of Maryland’s Model Policy: The Maryland State Board of Education has developed a Model Policy that school districts must use in writing their own plans, which prohibits bullying, harassment, or intimidation.  Among other things, the policy provides for consequences, remedial actions, a prohibition against retaliation for reporting acts of bullying, and procedures for reporting and investigating reports of bullying. MD Education Code §7-424.1(b). MD Education Code §7-424.1(c).

    Educational Programs that Schools Must Have: Each County Board must also have educational programs for students, staff, volunteers, and parents, in an effort to prevent bullying, harassment, and intimidation.  MD Education Code §7-424.1(g).

  • Are there dress code requirements for schools?

    No State Regulations: In Maryland, there is no statute or regulation addressing dress codes or school uniforms.

    For homeless students: However, to protect the rights of homeless students to a public education, each local school system must have a policy written to increase the success of homeless students and to reduce their barriers to success. This means that schools must assist homeless students in meeting the dress code so that the dress code does not stop homeless students from accessing education. Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.09.03 (A)(1)(e).

  • Can schools require uniforms?

    The Maryland regulations do not prohibit a school system from having a requirement for students to wear uniforms, but schools cannot have dress code regulations that would create a “barrier” for a homeless student to attend school or that don’t provide assistance for homeless students to meet the dress code.

  • Who is considered an NEP/LEP?

    Maryland defines a non-English or limited-English proficient student (“NEP/LEP”) as a person who:

    • Was born outside the U.S. and whose native language is not English;
    • Comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; or
    • Is an American Indian or Alaskan Native and comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the student’s level of English proficiency.
  • How is a student’s language ability assessed?

    ESL Program Requirement: Each school system must establish an English as a Second Language (“ESL”) program for students who have been identified as LEP

    Assessment of ESL Placement: Students must be identified through a home language survey as well as an assessment of English listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.07.03(A).

    Components that all ESL programs must contain: The school’s ESL program must contain the following components:

    • goals;
    • student identification;
    • student placement;
    • curriculum and instruction;
    • personnel;
    • materials of instruction;
    • facilities;
    • program organization;
    • parent and community involvement;
    • support services;
    • and program evaluation.

    Assistance from the Maryland Dept of Education: To strengthen the education programs, MSDE provides technical assistance and monitoring. Maryland uses the Language Assessment Scales Links (LASLinks) test, which is in agreement with English language proficiency standards, to measure the student’s progress towards attainment of English language proficiency. Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.07.03.

    Maryland’s Achievement Objectives: Maryland has defined annual measurable achievement objectives (AMAOs) for increasing the percentage of ELLs progressing toward and attaining English proficiency; and for meeting academic achievement standards.

    Test Exemption for “Recently-Arrived” ELL Students: Maryland exempts “recently-arrived” English Language Learners (ELL) or Limited English Proficient (LEP) students from one administration of its reading assessment during the first year of enrollment in U.S. schools per federal law.

    Score Exemption for Schools with “Recently-Arrived” ELL Students: Maryland excludes the scores of recently arrived ELL students on state mathematics and reading/language arts tests. Recently arrived ELL student are exempt from 1 cycle of the school’s adequate yearly progress (AYP) calculations by.

    Scores of “Former” ELL Students: Maryland includes “former” ELL students within the LEP (Limited English Proficiency) category when making AYP determinations in reading/language arts and mathematics for up to 2 years after the students no longer meet the state’s definition for Limited English Proficiency.

  • What services will be provided to an NEP/LEP student?

    Appropriate Services: A student who has been identified as NEP/LEP must receive appropriate ESL or bilingual services.  These students will also be evaluated each year in listening, speaking, reading, and writing English to determine their LEP status.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.07.03(C).

    Who can I contact in the local school system?

    School System Coordinators: Each local school system has an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) coordinator to help parents and students with school system processes. Parents should contact the local school system headquarters or ask the school counselor who that person is. For a list of local school system websites, go to

  • Does Maryland have any state policy on ability grouping?

    Maryland does not have any requirements for schools to “track” their students, or place them into courses based on skill-level.  However, the Maryland State Board of Education encourages “each County Board to develop and implement programs for gifted and talented students.”  MD Education Code §8-203.

    “Gifted and Talented” Programs: The State Department of Education website indicates that gifted and talented programs “are available to students in Grades K-12 throughout Maryland.” Gifted and talented services include: inquiry learning, advanced problem-solving, enrichment clusters, taking higher level courses at a faster pace in areas of student strength, Maryland Summer Centers, mentorships with respected and accomplished professionals, in-depth seminars, and debates, among others.

    Contact Information for “Gifted and Talented” Learning:

    Dr. Jeanne Paynter, Specialist for Gifted Education

    Maryland State Department of Education

    200 West Baltimore Street

    Baltimore, MD   21201

    Phone: (410) 767-0363

  • What are the state’s graduation requirements?

    State and County School Board Requirements: The State Board of Education must establish the rules and regulations applicable to promotion between grades and graduation from high school.  The students must also follow the policies of their County Boards. MD Education Code §7-205(a).

    State Credit Requirements: To be awarded a diploma, a student enrolled in a Maryland public high school must earn 21 credits that include the following:

    • English: 4 credits;
    • Math: 3 credits, including 1 in Algebra/data analysis, 1 in geometry, and 1 other;
    • Social Studies: 3 credits, including 1 in U.S. History, 1 in world history, 1 in local, state, national, government;
    • Science: 3 credits, including in biology, 2 in a laboratory experience in any of the following areas:  earth science, life science, physical science, or environmental science;
    • Fine Arts:  1 credit
    • Physical Education: ½ credit
    • Health: ½ credit
    • Technology Education: 1 credit
    • Other: 2 credits of foreign language or 2 credits in American Sign Language; or 2 credits of advanced technology, and 3 credits of electives

    Local System Requirements: Students must also meet attendance, service-learning, and all local school system requirements.

    Required Tests: All public school students are required to take and pass the Maryland High School Assessments (HSA).  For students with disabilities, Maryland administers the Alternate Maryland School Assessment.

    Helpful Websites This website on the Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) gives answers to frequently asked questions and information about resources available, such as Core Learning Goals, publicly released forms with answer keys and scoring rubrics, online HSA courses, and a testing calendar.

  • What special programs does the state have?

    Multicultural Education Requirement — Maryland regulations require all local school systems to include “education that is multicultural” into instruction, curriculum, staff development, instructional resources, and school climate.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.04.05.

    Education that is multicultural is a curriculum with an emphasis on diversity and the things in common between many groups throughout the curriculum. Diversity factors include: race, ethnicity, region, religion, gender, language, socioeconomic status, age, and disabilities.

    Multicultural Curriculum Regulations: Maryland regulations contain specific curriculum requirements to achieve multicultural education.  See Md. Code Regs. 13A.04.05.04 (B).

  • Does the state provide services to homeless students?

    Homeless Students – Homeless children must have access to education and other services that they need to ensure that they have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State student academic achievement standards that all students are expected to meet.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.09.01.

    No separate schools: Homeless children may not be segregated into a separate school.

    May not be denied enrollment: A school may not deny enrollment to a student solely because the student lives in a shelter, lacks a permanent residence, or is otherwise homeless.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.09.05.

    Transportation Requirement: Each local school system must provide homeless students with transportation services that are comparable to the transportation services provided to non-homeless students.  Md. Code Regs. 13A.05.09.06.

    Contact Information: 

    William T. Cohee, Ed.D., Coordinator of Homeless Education

    Program Improvement and Family Support Branch

    Division of Student, Family, and School Suport

    Maryland State Department of Education

    200 West Baltimore Street

    Baltimore, MD  21201


  • State Parent Information Centers

    Maryland State Parental Information Resource Center (PIRC)
    5272 River Road, Suite 340
    Bethesda, Maryland 20816
    phone: (301) 657-7742
    fax: (301) 657-8782

    Toll-Free Bilingual Hotline: 1-877-MD-PARENTS (1-877-637-2736)



    Maryland State Board of Education
    200 West Baltimore Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    Telephone: (410) 767-0467

    • Parent Resources: The homepage has a link to “Resources for Parents.”  The Department does not specifically support the programs contained in the link.  The resources link contains information on:  High School Assessments, High School Graduation Requirements (and related Q&As), and the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program. 
    • Low-income Family Support: The Maryland State Department of Education also has a branch for “Program Improvement and Family Support.”  This office seeks to help schools with a high concentration of children from low-income families.

    Maria E. Lamb

    Director, Program Improvement and Family Support

    Maryland State Department of Education

    200 West Baltimore Street

    Baltimore, MD  21201


    Region III – Philadelphia (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
    Paul Cushing, Regional Manager
    Office for Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    150 S. Independence Mall West
    Suite 372, Public Ledger Building
    Philadelphia, PA 19106-9111
    Main Line (215)861-4441
    Hotline (800) 368-1019
    FAX (215)861-4431
    TDD (215)861-4440