KAAA-AP: Visitors in the Schools
The Board encourages parents and community members to visit district schools to become better informed about day-to-day operations and observe the educational process. Because schools are places of work and learning, visitors shall observe the following requirements when visiting district schools, which are created to ensure the educational environment is not disrupted:
- Visitors shall comply with applicable state law, city ordinances, and district policy/regulations while on school property. No person shall enter school property for unlawful purposes or for purposes unauthorized by the Board. The District shall enforce state law on willful disruption of schools. The Superintendent shall make a reasonable effort to keep the public informed about district policies pertaining to visitors such as, but not limited to: drug, alcohol, and tobacco use; sexual offenders; patron grievances; and other policies designed to maintain order.
- The solicitation of students and staff is not permitted on school property except under the terms of applicable state law and district policy (Advertising & Fundraising, Public Material Distribution).
- Visitors shall be prohibited from videotaping and/or otherwise electronically recording district students and staff. This policy does not apply to visitors electronically recording school-sponsored events not governed by copyright laws and non-school-sponsored activities and events held on school property. The Board may also create an exception to this policy for members of the press.
- Public visits to classrooms shall not be for the purpose of evaluating teachers, teaching methods, or curriculum. Visitors who wish to observe a classroom shall schedule their visits at least 24 hours in advance, according to administrative regulations. Visitors shall agree to follow this policy and any administrative regulations governing classroom observation prior to receiving classroom observation privileges.
- Visitors proceeding past the main office during the instructional day are required to sign in via the district’s electronic visitor management system and receive a visitor’s badge before proceeding to their intended location in a school building. The badge must be visible at all times; visitors may be stopped by staff members if their badge is not visible. Reasonable notification of sign in requirements shall be conspicuously posted at the entrance to every elementary, middle, or secondary school building within West Fargo School District.
- Former students wanting appointments with teachers must have administrative permission.
- Students wishing to bring a guest to school must obtain approval from an administrator one day in advance of the visit, which is limited to no more than one-half day. Students from schools in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area are excluded from visiting WPS schools as student-invited guests.
- Building administrators are authorized to refuse admittance to any individuals or groups into schools when they believe the visit may pose a disruption, safety risk, or otherwise interfere with the operations of the West Fargo Public School District.
Individuals who violate any portion of this policy or applicable administrative regulations may receive a warning that they are in violation of a district policy/regulation and may be asked by the Superintendent, building principal, or designee to leave school property.
Visitors who are trespassing in district schools, as defined by city ordinance 12-0705 (West Fargo), 10-0320 (Fargo), 12-0505 (Harwood), and 12-0505 (Horace), may be detained by administration or a designee and referred to law enforcement.
The Superintendent, building principal, or designee shall ask admitted visitors who repeatedly violate district policy/regulations or willfully disrupt school operations to leave school property. If an individual refuses to leave when asked, school administration shall seek the assistance of law enforcement to remove the individual from school property.
Students are issued a lock and locker for their books and coats and also one in the physical education locker room for their physical education clothes. The locker is the property of West Fargo Public Schools and is provided for student use by the school. It is to house textbooks, school materials, and when not in use, coats, boots, and outdoor garments. Lockers are subject to periodic inspection for cleanliness and may be accessed by administration at any time if suspected of containing alcohol, narcotics, explosives, weapons, prohibited and unlawfully obtained items, or things considered potentially harmful to other students or the building.
No personal locks are to be used on a school locker; the school provides a lock for each locker. Students are responsible for the replacement cost in the event of a lost lock. When a locker is unattended, it is to remain locked.
Students are not to share lockers with other students.
Under no circumstance is a student to tamper with another student's lock or locker.
ACDB-AP: Video Surveillance & Recording in Schools
Purpose and Scope of Use
The West Fargo Public School District uses electronic surveillance systems in order to help ensure that school premises and individuals on school premises are safe and secure. Any person entering a school facility, on school property, at a school function, or riding a school bus is subject to being videotaped.
Cameras may be used for the following purposes:
- To protect the school premises from property damage.
- To deter property damage.
- To ensure the safety and security of all individuals who are on the school premises.
- To monitor and deter criminal activity from occurring.
Subject to the provisions below, cameras may be placed both in and outside school buildings. Areas chosen for surveillance should be where surveillance serves the purposes outlined in section one of this policy.
- All cameras must be unconcealed and clearly visible.
- Cameras shall not be placed in changing rooms, washrooms, and areas where students, staff, and others have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
- Cameras located internally shall not be directed to look through windows to areas outside the building, unless necessary to protect external assets.
- Cameras shall not be directed in adjacent, non-district buildings.
Use of Recorded Information
District personnel may only export and use recorded information for purposes as outlined in this policy or for purposes expressly stated under state and federal law.
Access to and Disclosure of Recorded Information
- Only district administration and contracted School Resource Officers shall have access to the electronic surveillance system while it is in operation.
- Video monitors for the purpose of investigation will be placed in locations free from public viewing. Video monitors with live streaming capabilities are located in the main office at each school.
- The district shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws related to access, review, and release of video recordings.
- Parent/guardians are authorized to view video recordings that include their child(ren), with a school official present. Creation of an audio or visual recording of the footage being viewed is strictly prohibited. In “view only” scenarios, the district is not required to protect the identity of others shown within the recording.
- Video recordings that may be utilized to determine fault or liability in a situation must be requested by a law enforcement officer, court official, or insurance agent. Recordings will not be released directly to individuals involved in the situation.
- Per the district’s policy on Student Education Records & Privacy, video can be considered part of a student’s educational record and therefore subject to all protocols contained within that policy and as outlined under the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA).
- If a copy of a recording is requested, the district may charge fees to the requestor as outlined under state open record laws. Redaction and identity protection measures may also be necessary before the footage can be released.
The Superintendent or designee(s) shall be responsible for auditing use and security of surveillance cameras, including recorded information.
Retention and Disposal of Recordings
- Unless previously exported by a user, all footage is automatically erased from the surveillance system server after 30 days due to server capacity.
- All exported information not in use shall be securely stored in a password-protected file storage solution.
- Recorded information may never be sold, publicly viewed, or distributed in any other fashion except as provided for by this policy and applicable laws.
- All recorded information used for the purpose of this policy shall be numbered and dated by camera site.
- All recorded information shall be retained and destroyed in accordance with applicable laws.
This policy does not apply to covert or overt surveillance cameras being used by or on behalf of the district as a case specific investigation tool for law enforcement purposes where there is statutory authority and/or the authority of a search warrant to conduct the surveillance.
Legal References: 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99