Student Handbook & School Policies
Welcome to Griffiths Middle School
It is our hope that you will have a successful and challenging school year with many new and fun experiences. Please read through the student handbook so you are familiar with the rules, regulations, and expectations of all our students.
Griffiths Middle School is committed to ensuring that our students learn to think through, share, and defend their ideas. To obtain our goal, we need to work as a team of parents, teachers, and students. We are dedicated to provide rigorous academics, prepare our students to be college and career ready, and instill Character Counts!
We expect our students to abide by Griffiths’s code of conduct: each student has the right to learn and each teacher has the right to teach. Therefore, all students will come to class prepared to learn, apply Character Counts! pillars at all times, and follow all laws and District and school rules.
Please sign-up for Q Parent Connect and follow us on social media so you can be aware of all upcoming special dates and events. Have a great school year!
The mission of Griffiths Middle School is to provide a safe learning environment where staff and students work in partnership with the community. Students will demonstrate knowledge, character, and skills necessary to become creative problem solvers, achieve personal success, and contribute responsibly to our diverse, dynamic world. We believe that all students will thrive in an environment built on trust and mutual respect. Through accessing rigorous and varied academic standards, we will work together to prepare our students to become both college and career ready and to take a productive role in society as lifelong learners.
At Griffiths Middle School, we are helping teachers, parents, students, and neighbors learn ways to treat each other better. By focusing on the six core values of Character, TRUSTWORTHINESS, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, FAIRNESS, CARING, CITIZENSHIP, we have developed a way for everyone to become a better person. If each of us works at becoming a better person, and tries to treat everyone we are involved with decently, then together we can create a better environment for everyone. Using the “Six Pillars of Character” is a way to become a person of character. Students of character often feel better about their school, friends and family. Students of character also see that doing their fair share is a great way to help make things better for everyone. Griffiths Middle School has put into place several different Character Counts awards, rewards, and programs into our school culture that support and foster the concepts of good character.
Regular School Day Hours are 7:00 a.m. to 2:41 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Early Release Day (Wednesday) Hours are 7:00 a.m. to 12:55 p.m.
Minimum Day school hours are 7:00 a.m. to 12:28 p.m.
“Q” PARENT CONNECT & DUSD APP
“Q” parent connection is a web application that provides parents with direct access to student data via the internet. Using a confidential pin and password, parents can connect to the school district’s student database using a web browser and view their child’s data.
Information can also be connected to the DUSD App for smartphones and parents are able to get real-time updates on their students grades, assignments, and attendance. See the front desk for assistance downloading the app and signing up for Q Parent Connect.
All students in DUSD are expected to abide by the district’s attendance policy, as follows: Excused absences: Students are allowed 7 recognized absences for the school year. Beginning on the 8th absence (for illness, injury, legal matters, bereavement, or religious reasons) all future absences will require documentation/verification by a physician, school nurse, health assistant or an appropriate school employee. Absences not verified will be considered unexcused.
Parents will have 10 school days to verify the absence, from the day the student returns to school. Unverified absences will be marked as unexcused.
REPORTING AN ABSENCE
If a student is going to be absent, the parent/guardian can call the school to report the absence (562) 904-3580, or email the Attendance Records Clerk directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adequate time is provided between class periods to pass from room to room. Students are required to be in class, in their seats, or at their workstation, ready to work when the bell rings. Students missing less than 30 minutes of a period will be considered tardy. At Griffiths Middle School, excessive tardiness can result in lunch exclusion, detention, or Saturday School. Students more than 30 minutes late to school must report to the office before going to class that day. Students missing more than 30 minutes of a period will be considered absent or truant for that period.
It is the student’s responsibility to clear the first period tardies with a note signed by a parent or guardian, or a parent phone call. All notes or phone messages regarding student attendance should include the students I.D. number. We will accept a maximum of three notes from parents per semester to excuse tardiness to school.
Books are issued free with the understanding that a student must pay for them if they are lost or damaged. Individual teachers will issue a supply list at the beginning of the school year. Students are expected to bring the listed supplies. You may be asked to voluntarily donate lab fees for some of the elective classes. Lab donations should be given directly to the teacher.
The library can be used by any student attending Griffiths Middle School and is open before school, at snack and lunch, and after school. The library is closed Friday during snack.
During class time, students must be accompanied by a teacher or must have a signed pass from their teacher to work in the library. Lost or damaged library books must be paid for.
Students are expected to dress and participate in P.E. classes each day. The uniform consists of a gray t-shirt, navy shorts, white athletic socks and athletic tennis shoes. Students will also need a Master combination lock with a key spot on the back. These items may be purchased throughout the school year through the P.E. Department.
Students are expected to remain in their assigned locker, unless instructed to move to a newly assigned locker by a PE teacher or administration. Backpacks that are extra- large may not fit in the locker.
Jewelry that the teacher feels would pose a safety hazard to oneself or others will not be allowed in P.E. No cell phones are allowed out in the locker rooms or in the P.E area at any time for privacy and security reasons.
Students with a parent note will excuse the student from P.E only for that day. A parent can write a note each day for up to 3 days. A doctor’s note is needed for more than 3 days. Students with a medical condition should have it documented with their
P.E teacher each semester. Students with asthma need to have an asthma care plan on file in the office.
Each student is assigned a locker in the gym for P.E. Students need to purchase a lock for their lockers. V62 Master Brand locks are required so that we have access to the keys in the event they need to be unlocked and may be purchased from the coaches in P.E. for $5.00. Students are responsible for the contents of their locker. Never let others know your lock combinations and do not share a locker unless given permission to do so. All locker problems should be reported to the teacher. Lockers are provided as a service to students. The school is not responsible for the theft or vandalism of school or personal items stored in the lockers. If students leave their lockers unlocked, they may receive a detention.
All students are welcome to participate in open recreation. Open recreation will be held before school on the basketball courts Monday through Friday from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. No personal athletic equipment is allowed on campus. All needed equipment will be provided each morning.
The Intramural Sports program is voluntary and open to all GMS students. Every student is encouraged to participate. Students will be given the opportunity to learn and compete in many different team sports (basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, flag football, track and field, dance, and a weight room.) Each student will be placed on a team and the teams will play against each other. Students participating in an Intramural sport must have a signed parent consent form on file with the P.E. department to play. The Intramural sports program will begin in October.
ELIGIBILITY FOR EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
All students who participate in some extracurricular activities must maintain a C (2.0 GPA) average with not more than two D’s and/or F’s. Achievement grades of E, S, and N count as 3, 2, and 1, respectively, in computing grade point averages.
Eligibility will be based on the previous grading period. Eligibility must be maintained through the sports season.
A student on suspension is ineligible to attend or participate in extra-curricular activities throughout the period of suspension. Any student receiving more than two 5’s (unsatisfactory) in citizenship on the report card will be ineligible for that grading period.
The Griffiths Middle School staff’s goal is to provide a safe orderly environment where teachers are free to teach, and students can learn through a fair and consistently applied discipline program. By working together, we can provide a safe, pleasant, and academically rewarding environment where students can achieve maximum success. School rules apply on campus always, not just during school hours.
Classroom conduct is one of the most important determiners of a student’s success in school. Teachers will expect students to use their time wisely, complete assignments, and do their best at all times. Lack of materials, failure to follow directions, lack of effort, or misbehavior will not be permitted. Continued violation of classroom regulations may result in removal from class, school, or both.
Good campus behavior is stressed as well as classroom conduct. Students will be held responsible for maintaining a neat and orderly campus and following all rules both in and out of class.
Failure to comply with the Griffiths School Discipline Policy may result in any of the following consequences:
- Referral to a school administrator, counselor, or dean
- Parent conference
- Assignment of lunch exclusion, campus clean-up, detention, Saturday School, or otherdiscipline assignment(s)
- Loss of school privileges (i.e. dances, field trips, athletic participation, )
- Community Service
- Up to five days of off-campus or in-school suspension
- Parent may be required to attend school with their child
- Social adjustment transfer of the student to another campus within the Downey Unified School District
- Alcohol and Other Drug Contract
- Referral to a School Attendance Review Team and/or a School Attendance Review Board hearing
- Referral for expulsion from the Downey Unified School District
- Police notification, student arrest and removal from school with subsequent legal action
- CLOSED CAMPUS
Griffiths has a closed campus. This means that students must not leave the school grounds during the school day without permission from the office. If you must leave school for a doctor or dental appointment, bring a note from your parent to the office before 7:50 a.m. Your parent or another adult listed on your emergency card will need to come to the school office to check you out. All visitors must check-in at the front office.
OTHER SCHOOL CAMPUSES
Students are not permitted to be on another school campus before, during, or after school without the permission of the principal of the other school. If a student is going to another school to walk a younger brother or sister to or from school, they must wait off the campus, out of the buildings and outside the school gates and leave as soon as possible after meeting your brother or sister. Students are not permitted to take short cuts through other school grounds on their way to or from school.
- ATTENDANCE, TARDIES, TRUANCY
No student should be absent, tardy, or out of class without a valid reason. School Policy states that students must be in your seat when the tardy bell begins to ring. A student is considered truant when they are absent from school, class, or more than 30 minutes late, without permission.
California State Law states that students must attend school regularly. When a student is absent from school without the permission of the school and his/her parents, that student is truant, and will pay back school time by serving Saturday School Detention. Truant students can be issued a citation by the Downey Police. Truancy on campus (i.e. cutting class) is also a citable offense.
Students who miss a great deal of school could get themselves and their parents in serious trouble. A SART or SARB report is filed with the District Office. The student and parents must appear in court and the judge can fine the parents, place the student in a youth detention camp, place the parents in jail, or all three
- DRUGS, ALCOHOL, WEAPONS, OTHER MAJOR OFFENSES
Using, giving, or selling to another person, or in possession of, drugs, alcohol, weapons, look-alike weapons (example: air soft pellet gun, rubber knife, etc.) or dangerous objects on campus is strictly forbidden. Any overt act or threat directed at a student, teacher or other school employee is also a serious violation.
Fighting is a serious violation of school and district rules. It is important to remember that it does not usually matter who starts the fight. It is not right to hit a person because he or she hit you. There is no good reason to fight. When students are involved in a fight, they are often suspended from school for one or more days. It is the student’s responsibility to inform a school administrator or counselor if they think they might be involved in a fight. Everything possible to prevent the fight will be done.
- DISRESPECT, DEFIANCE OF AUTHORITY
Any student that is discourteous, impolite, or rude to school personnel is guilty of disrespect. Defiance is refusal to follow a staff member’s directions. Failure to serve detention may be considered defiance of authority.
- PROFANITY, VULGARITY, OBSCENE MATERIAL
No student is permitted to use profane or vulgar language at any time while at school or any school activity. Any profanity directed at or about a teacher or any other school employee will be considered an extreme violation. Profanity includes spoken and/or written expression.
- THEFT OR POSSESSION OF LOST/STOLEN PROPERTY
Theft is taking anything that does not belong to you from a person or from any place. This includes taking anything from a classroom, from a person’s purse, wallet, backpack, book bag, or from a P.E. locker, etc. If you even have anything that does not belong to you, you are guilty of being in possession of stolen property. A person caught stealing or in possession of stolen property may be suspended from school and the police notified.
Destruction of any property is called vandalism. This includes breaking a person’s lock, breaking windows, defacing school property with graffiti, etc. Students guilty of vandalism will be suspended from school for one or more days, the police will be notified, and their parents will have to pay for all the damages.
Marker Pens and Graffiti:
Pride in the school’s appearance and reputation is the responsibility of the whole student body. Drawing or writing on school buildings, posts, desks, restroom walls, or damaging any other property by writing or drawing on it is called graffiti. This rule applies to any time of day including before school, after school, at night, or on the weekend. Students found seriously damaging property will be suspended, issued a citation, the police notified, a possible expulsion hearing, and the parents required to pay for all damages.
Forgery is the act of a student signing a parent’s, teacher’s, or other school employee’s name or altering such signature or other mark such as a grade, date, time, etc. If a student impersonates such person by voice on the telephone, he or she will be guilty of forgery.
The act of smoking or the mere possession of tobacco, cigarettes, and/or electronic cigarettes by a minor is illegal and is considered a violation of this policy. Cigarette lighters, matches, or other tobacco-related paraphernalia are not permitted on campus at any time.
- FIRECRACKERS, FIREWORKS, EXPLOSIVES
Firecrackers, fireworks, and other explosives are illegal, dangerous, and never permitted at school or any school activity. Simple possession of such materials is a violation of this policy. Lighting or attempting to light or explode such materials is a serious and major violation of school policy
- CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM
Cheating is not allowed at Griffiths Middle School. Cheating is considered an action that is not honest. Copying the test or papers of another student is considered cheating. Plagiarism is the act of taking work from another source and turning it in as your own. Plagiarism will be considered as an act of cheating. Students guilty of cheating will receive a minimum of two hours of detention, a failing grade on the test or paper and their parents will be notified of the incident.
- CLASSROOM DISRUPTION, FAILURE TO FOLLOW RULES
Teachers have the authority to develop rules for their individual classrooms. To assure maximum learning, teachers will issue classroom rules/expectations which must be followed. Parents will be contacted as necessary if students fail to maintain proper class behavior and/or follow classroom expectations.
- DISRUPTION OF SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
Students violating school rules at any school activity may be asked to leave and further action, as necessary, will be taken. Students having unserved detention or major behavioral violations will not be admitted to school activities. Students may be placed on school probation, where future behavior will be agreed upon and carefully monitored. Any student violating the probation agreement may be transferred to another school and/or denied participation in future activities which includes promotion exercises, dances, and year-end activities. Any misbehavior on school field trips will be considered a violation of school rules.
Students are to remain in assigned areas during snack and lunch. Students are not allowed in staff parking areas at any time. All students with food must remain in the student quad. Students who are finished eating may participate in games on the basketball courts and athletic fields during lunch only. Students are not permitted in the halls during lunch or snack. Cutting in line, leaving trash or throwing food will not be tolerated.
- BOOK BAGS & BACKPACKS
Griffiths Middle School does not have hall lockers for regular student use. Students are encouraged to carry book bags or backpacks. Having a book bag or backpack provides you with a convenient way to carry books and other school materials. By carrying all your materials together, you will always have your assignments and materials when going to class.
Book bags and backpacks are the personal property of the owner. No student may pick up a book bag or backpack or open one up without the immediate permission of the owner. Any student found in possession of another student’s book bag or in possession of any materials taken out of the bag will be considered guilty of theft.
- DRESS CODE
While on campus or at any school activity, students will be dressed and groomed in a manner that will not distract, interfere, or disrupt the educational program or create a safety hazard for themselves or others. Griffiths Middle School desires to keep the school and students free of the intimidation and harmful influence of gangs or any groups which advocate drugs, alcohol, tobacco, violence or disruptive behavior.
Therefore, the presence of any grooming which by virtue of its color, arrangement, trademark or any other attribute denotes affiliation with or membership in such a group is strictly prohibited. All students who come to school without proper attention having been given to personal cleanliness or neatness of dress may be sent home to be properly prepared for school. Additional disciplinary action may be taken as necessary. The Griffiths Middle School standards of student dress and grooming are as follows:
- CONDITION: All clothes must be properly sized, neat, clean, and in good
- MESSAGE: Logos, pictures or writing on clothing, backpacks, jewelry, and/or school supplies must be age-appropriate and not advocate any of the following: drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, violence, vandalism, disruptive behavior, disrespect, gang activity, or in any way display profanity, obscene illustrations, illegal activity or degrade any gender, cultural, religious or ethnic values, nor promote one ethnic group over
- UNDERGARMENTS: Undergarments must be worn at all times and must not be visible at any
- TOPS: Shirts and tops must have sleeves, cover the stomach and back always. Halter/crop tops, tube tops, tank tops, muscle tees, under tank(s), spaghetti straps, see-through tops, bare midriffs, or low-cut tops are not
- BOTTOMS: Pants, shorts, and skirts must cover the buttocks and undergarments. All bottoms must be worn at the waist always (no sagging). Shorts, skirts, etc. must extend to at least the mid-thigh. The bottom of the short(s) must be no longer than the bottom of the knee. “Distressed” (fraying, cuts, holes, rips, etc.) areas must not be higher than mid-thigh.
- SHOES: Safe footwear must be worn always. Students may not wear open-toe sandals, slides, and/or slippers. Shoes with heels higher than one inch are not
- JEWELRY/ACCESSORIES: Jewelry that poses a safety hazard, is gang-related, or that distracts from the educational process is not permitted. This includes pant/wallet chains and hoop earrings that are larger than a nickel in diameter. BLANKETS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON CAMPUS AT ANY TIME.
- HEADWEAR: GMS hats may be worn outside on campus and must be removed when in class or any other building. All other hats, caps, sports headbands, headbands, hairnets, and bandannas are not allowed on campus. Sweatshirt hoods must remain down except for cold mornings or rainy days outside of class.
- GANG APPAREL: Gang-related apparel is not allowed. Any combination of clothing that law enforcement agencies currently consider gang related will not be allowed at Griffiths Middle
Bullying and harassment are not tolerated at Griffiths Middle School. Bullying and harassment have two key elements:
- they involve potentially harmful words or actions repeated over sufficient time to cause being at school to become grossly uncomfortable for the victim (known in the law as hostile atmosphere)
- there is a significant social or physical imbalance between the perpetrator and the victim.
If a student feels he/she is a victim of bullying at school, he/she needs to report it immediately to a teacher, counselor, or administrator. Students receive resources during anti-bullying week each year and throughout the year regarding their rights, responsibilities, how to report, and what to expect when bullying is reported. School and families will work together to respond appropriately to bullying, and disciplinary action will result when necessary. This includes cyberbullying.
- SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment of or by any employee or of or by any student shall not be allowed. Sexual harassment is prohibited by the Downey Unified School District and may result in disciplinary action to the offending employee or student.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature by someone under any of the conditions delineated in Ed Code 212.5. An individual or group feeling subjected to sexual harassment should directly inform the offending person/persons that such conduct must stop. Any conduct of a sexual nature following such notice may be determined to be sexual harassment.
The District will take appropriate action to protect the reporting individual or group from retaliation or other forms of harassment.
Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported to the principal or the Title IX coordinator 904-3200.
Sexual harassment can include:
- Unwanted sexual advances (trying to meet someone and start a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship when the other person does not want to, the suggestion that you get to know each other better).
- Making threats to another person if they don’t want a boyfriend/girlfriend
- Showing the other person vulgar or “dirty” pictures, objects, or
- Giving the other person continual sexual “looks” or making sexual movements or signals.
- Saying sexual things, making sexual jokes or comments, or writing sexual letters or
- Touching a person in ways they do not want to be touched, blocking their movements, bumping,
It does not matter if you think you are just fooling around or joking. If the other person does not like it, and especially if they have told you to stop, you may be guilty of sexual harassment. This can be serious and may result in your being suspended from school, expelled from Downey schools, or even arrested by the police. It is important to remember that both boys and girls can be guilty of sexual harassment.
- PROHIBITED ITEMS ON CAMPUS
Items that are dangerous, problematic, or distractive are banned from campus. Prohibited items that are brought on campus will be confiscated. Confiscated items may be held for a parent to pick up, held for the remainder of the semester, held for the remainder of the school year, turned over to the District, or turned over to law enforcement authorities. Items being held for a parent, and not picked up by the end of the school year will be donated to charity or discarded. The school will not be responsible for the loss or destruction of contraband items. Contraband items include, but are not limited to:
- Any item that is illegal for minors to
- Any item that poses a danger or is disruptive to the educational
- All medication (prescription and over the counter) must be checked into the office by a parent or guardian. Arrangements will be made for the student to use the medicine under the supervision of office Students may not carry medication (prescription or otherwise) on campus unless arrangements have been made in writing by a doctor and the Griffiths office staff.
- Items that have no educational purpose including but not limited to gum, toys, permanent marking pens, imitation electronic
- Students may not sell items on campus to make money for
- For the health and safety of our students, third party food deliveries are NOT allowed. All third-party food deliveries, including UBER Eats and PostMates, will be turned away at customer’s
- PARTY FLIERS AND ADVERTISEMENTS
It is against school rules to bring written material to school that advertises non-school activities. When materials are passed out at school by students, parents sometimes think that the school supports the activity. If the school feels an activity is safe and is sponsored by a legitimate organization, materials would be made available to those interested in the school office. Party fliers may never be distributed by students at school. Party fliers may not be brought to school or be in the possession of students on campus. Students bringing party fliers to school or having them in their possession at school will have the fliers taken away and will face disciplinary action.
- ELECTRONICS AND CELL PHONES
Cell phones are permitted on campus in accordance with California State law. In accordance with that law, cell phones must remain turned off and put away during the school day (7:55 a.m. – 2:38 p.m.) unless being used with permission for educational purposes. Cell phones and electronic items (including headphones/AirPods/etc.) that are brought to school, are brought entirely at the risk of the owner. The school will not be responsible for the loss, theft, or destruction of electronic items or cell phones. Electronics and cell phones being used without permission or for non-educational purposes will be confiscated and only released to a parent. Students whose electronics and/or cell phones are confiscated may receive a Saturday School assignment.
- BICYCLES, SKATEBOARDS, ROLLER BLADES, SCOOTERS, ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT, ETC
Bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and roller blades are not allowed on campus at any time. Scooters, rollerblades, bicycles, and skateboards must be locked in the bike and skateboard racks that are provided. Students must provide their own locks. Personal athletic equipment such as balls, bats, racquets, crosses, etc., are not allowed on campus. Equipment for school supervised athletic and sports activities will be provided.
Bike helmets must be worn on the way to and from school. Sharing of locks is not allowed. Do not lock your bike to a friend’s bike. The school is not responsible for loss or damage to your bike, skateboard, scooter or rollerblades.
- SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF LAWS OR SCHOOL RULES
Acts which endanger the safety or welfare of students or school personnel are grounds for suspension from school. Some of these acts include fighting, intimidation, possession or use of matches, tobacco, narcotics or other drugs, alcohol, explosive devices (including firecrackers), weapons of any type, shooting or throwing objects that might endanger sight or hearing, vandalism, theft, or injury to another person. Students may also be suspended for gambling, profanity, vulgarity, or immorality. Unfortunately, such acts often result in the notification of police and/or fire departments, citation by the school administration, and/or expulsion from the Downey Unified School District. All off-campus suspensions and expulsion become a permanent part of the student’s school records. A more detailed explanation of Griffiths Middle School’s rules and regulations are printed in the school’s Discipline Policy. This policy was developed with the assistance and cooperation of parents, teachers, counselors, and school administration. The policy is available online and included in the Griffiths Guide. Please read the Griffiths Middle School Discipline Policy and discuss it with your parents. Special assemblies are held each school year where these policies and consequences of any violations are clearly explained to students. For the purpose of maintaining a safe, secure and peaceful campus, metal detectors, breath alcohol test devices, and/or drug dogs may be used on campus.
A referral is very serious. Most of the student body can spend three years at Griffiths without getting one referral. When a student’s behavior in the classroom is very bad or does not improve no matter what steps the teacher has taken to change the behavior, the teacher writes a referral. The student is sent to the office with the referral. The office decides what needs to be done to change the wrong behavior and takes action. This may be a severe warning, calling the parents, detention, Saturday School, off-campus suspension, or, in very serious situations, transfer to another school or an expulsion hearing with possible expulsion from the Downey Unified School District. Copies of all referrals are kept in the student’s file in the office and may be seen by the student’s parents upon request.
School detention is assigned before school from 7:00 – 7:50 a.m., or after school from 2:38 – 3:38 p.m. Students are assigned detention by individual teachers for failure to complete assignments, for poor conduct in the classroom, for tardiness, or for lack supplies. Students are given written notice (detention form) prior to all detentions so that their parents can be
informed. It is the student’s responsibility to notify their parent(s) of the assigned detention.
Failure to serve an assigned detention is considered defiance and may result in Saturday School, or suspension.
If a student is involved in serious or repeated violations of school rules or fails to serve teacher or office-assigned detention, he or she may be assigned detention to be served on Saturday. While serving this detention, the students will be required to complete classwork, homework, missing assignments, makeup assignments, reading assignments, projects, etc. Parents will be notified of all Saturday assignments. Saturday detention is often assigned in place of suspension. Any student failing to report to an assigned Saturday detention will be suspended for one or more days.
A more serious action than detention for poor behavior is the suspension. Suspension from school means that the student will not be permitted to attend school for one or more days. If a student comes to the school grounds during a period of off-campus suspension, the suspension will be extended, and the student may be arrested by the police. Suspension is given when a student violates a major school rule or law. All off-campus suspensions become a permanent part of the student’s school record.
Suspension is not intended as a punishment, but rather to alert the student and parent that problems have reached a serious level that requires parent intervention. The suspended student has disrupted the learning environment or safety of campus. California teachers and school administrators have a moral and legal duty set down in State law and affirmed by the courts to protect the health and safety of students and preserve the integrity of the classroom environment for self-disciplined learners. A safe and positive learning environment is an indispensable component of the learning process and must be consistently and fairly protected.
Expulsion is the most serious action that can take place for very serious violations of school rules and/or laws. If a student is expelled from the Downey Unified School District, it means that he or she may no longer attend any school in Downey. This becomes a permanent part of the student’s school record. If a student is to be expelled, an expulsion hearing is held, and the Board of Education makes the final decision.
We are proud of our students at Griffiths Middle School. As a reward for the responsibility, hard work, and good citizenship of our students, we offer a variety of extracurricular activities such as assemblies, athletics, awards, dances, field trips, outings, special activities, etc. We look forward to seeing our students share in the rewards for their commendable efforts. However, all the above extracurricular activities are privileges and can be revoked if necessary, for poor citizenship, attendance problems, or poor academic performance. In addition to the penalties for violating school rules explained in this discipline policy, the loss of privileges may be added as an additional consequence as deemed necessary by counselors or administration. We believe that all our students are capable of achieving great things. It is our hope that all our students will be able to participate and enjoy all of the privileges we have planned, but each student will determine that by their own behavior and performance.
Middle school students should expect to spend approximately one hour each school night on homework and studying. To organize your homework, use this Griffiths Guide for each period. If you finish your homework in less than an hour, put in the remaining time on reading, studying for an upcoming quiz or test, or completing a long- term project or report.
Griffiths provides many before- and after- school Support Personalized Learning tutorial classes to assist students in most core subjects. See your Counselor for more information about SPL classes. Homework Assistance is a drop-in program held Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 2:38 P.M. – 3:38 p.m. It is available to all students. Copies of the schedule are available in the school office.
Following an excused absence, a student has the same number of days as he or she was absent to make up work. Students are responsible for all class work missed due to school activities, i.e. field trips, programs, club activities, etc.
REPORT CARDS & PROGRESS REPORTS
Progress reports are issued every six weeks and report cards are issued at the end of each semester. A letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) is given for academic and elective classes. Exploratory and physical education classes are graded Excellent, Satisfactory, or Needs Improvement (E, S, N). The need for improvement in behavior, attendance, and assignments is also noted with number comments. Progress Reports and First Semester Report Cards will be given to the students to take home approximately one week after the end of each reporting period. Second Semester Report Cards are mailed home approximately one week after the end of school. Letters regarding poor scholarship or attendance are regularly mailed home.
Grade point average is the average of all earned letter grades calculated with the following numeric values: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0, E=4, S+=3, S=2, S-=1, N=0.
SNACK & LUNCH PROCEDURES
A 16-minute snack period is provided every morning. You may bring a snack from home or purchase food on campus. All food must remain in the quad during snack and lunch.
Lunch is 30 minutes long. Complete lunches may be bought in the cafeteria. Separate items such as hamburgers, pizza, ice cream, milk, etc., are sold at the snack shack and food carts. Many students bring sack lunches from home.
All food must be eaten in the quad area. Information regarding reduced and free-lunch programs is available from the cafeteria manager. When finished eating, students may visit with friends or participate in recreation activities in the P.E. area during the lunch period. On rainy days special instructions will be given as to where students may spend the lunch period. The following rules must be observed during the lunch and snack periods:
- No sitting on tabletops
- Walk to the lunch line.
- No cutting in line.
- No pushing or shoving.
- Place all trash in containers.
- No food outside of the quad area.
- Follow all lunch supervisor instructions.
Students are not allowed to go to classrooms unless given permission by a lunch supervisor.
PLEASE NOTE: For the health and safety of all our students, the office will not accept outside food, drink AND 3rd party deliveries (UBEREats, PostMates, etc.) during the school day. All food deliveries will be turned away by office staff, and 3rd party deliveries will be at the customer’s expense.
The school cannot be responsible for the loss or destruction of students’ personal property, including electronic devices. For this reason, valuable items are not to be brought to school.
The lost and found is in the main office. Every ten weeks, unclaimed property is donated to charity or discarded.
The following may occur when students choose to abide by school and/or classroom rules:
1. Student of the Month Awards
2. Most Improved Student Awards
3. Positive Referrals and Character Counts! emails to parents
4. Attendance Awards
5. Newsletter articles commending students
6. Academic Excellence Awards
8TH GRADE PRIVILEGES
We are proud of our students at GMS. As a reward for the responsibility, hard work, and good citizenship of our students, we offer a variety of activities at the end of the year for our 8th graders. We look forward to seeing our students share in the rewards for their commendable efforts. However, these activities are privileges and can be revoked if necessary, for poor citizenship, attendance problems, or poor academic performance. We believe that all our students can achieve great things. It is our hope that all our students will be able to participate and enjoy all the privileges planned. Each student will determine that by their own behavior and performance.
CJSF, SCHOLARSHIP & HONOR ROLL ELIGIBILITY
At Griffiths, we reward excellent student achievement and behavior in many ways. Honor roll recognizes students with a 3.5 – 4.0 GPA. Scholarship Club and CJSF are available for students with high academic standing. At the end of the school year, awards are given in the areas of service, attendance, citizenship, school spirit, scholarship, and academic excellence.
Students must apply for membership during the application period. Membership requirements are as follows:
- First-semester sixth grade and second-semester sixth grade, grade averages will be used as a basis for eligibility.
- A satisfactory citizenship record is required. A member may have no 4’s or 5’s on their report card. Students who are eligible but who in the judgment of the Principal and the Advisor and unworthy citizen, shall be debarred from membership.
- All grades earned from the previous semester must be a C or better. A grade of D or F shall debar for the semester.
- Students must have earned 8 points. Each A = 3 points, each B = 1 point B in top math = 2
- E. and Exploratory classes not considered for membership.
ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODY (ASB)
The ASB at Griffiths Middle School is a great opportunity for students who are interested in developing the qualities, skills, and behaviors of a good leader. While developing personal leadership skills, students will have hands-on experience in: 1) planning, coordinating, executing and evaluating student activities; 2) raising money to fund these activities; and 3) approving budgets and spending of ASB funds.
Students apply in the spring to serve a one-year commitment and can choose to run for a specific ASB position or just serve on a committee. There are about 20-30 students selected for ASB each year.
MEDICATION FOR STUDENTS
Under no circumstances are students to be in possession of medication once they arrive at school.
A doctor’s authorization must be obtained before medicine is brought to school. It should include dosage, frequency, and time limits. Parents and doctor must fill out a written form available from the office.
Medication that must be on campus will be kept in the office and the student will be allowed to go to the office to maintain the medication schedule. Medication should be in the prescription container and clearly labeled stating the contents, schedule, dosage, physician, and the student’s name.
Students will be responsible for administrating their own medication. A school employee may observe, but not assist in any way. Aspirin is considered a medication and written (not verbal) permission must be on file in the school office.
Students who need to make an emergency telephone call during the school day may, with a pass from a teacher, use a phone in the office. Homework left at home and asking to attend after school activities do not constitute emergencies, and therefore are not appropriate requests for the use of the office phone.
Read more about Cell Phone policies under Student Discipline.
SELLING THINGS ON CAMPUS
Student clubs, the Griffiths Student Body in general, and organizations of various kinds often have fundraising activities where things are sold on campus. Sale of anything must be approved by the office and Student Council. These sales are to help earn money for activities and school materials. Items sold may include candy, novelty items, cards, etc., and are always approved before the sale with the safety of students in mind. Fundraising candy may not be sold on campus. No fund-raising food items may be sold at snack or lunch.
It is always against school rules for individuals to sell things on campus to make money for themselves. Students selling things on campus against school rules will have the items taken away, and possible disciplinary action taken. Students may not sell things on campus for other off-campus groups unless the selling has been specifically approved by the office in advance. Selling things for other groups interferes with the ability of official Griffiths organizations to make money to support their activities.
Sometimes students make very poor decisions and try to sell things like knives, drugs, or things that look like drugs, firecrackers, or “poppers.” Selling things of this type will result in the student being suspended from school and possibly arrested and expelled from the Downey Unified School District.
WITHDRAWAL FROM SCHOOL
If you are transferring from Griffiths Middle School to another school, a parent or guardian must notify the Attendance Office prior to the last day of attendance. You will be given a check-out sheet to be signed by all of your teachers. You will need to turn in all textbooks and library books you have checked out. When this sheet is completed, the office will prepare a transfer for you to take to your new school.