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2017-2018 Student Handbook

Diagonal Handbook




School District Mission Statement, Educational Goals and Expected Student Outcomes


The Diagonal Comm. School believes that challenging expectations lead to high achievement for all students.  This can be accomplished by cooperative efforts among students, teachers, administrators, and parents to provide skills for lifelong learning.  Our students will attain an understanding of proper conduct in various life settings in order to become productive, self-fulfilled citizens in a global society


Affirmative Action


It is the policy of the Diagonal Community School not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, gender, disability, religion, age, socioeconomic status (for programs), political party affiliation or actual or potential parental, family or marital status in its programs, activities or employment practices as required by the Iowa Code sections 216.9 and 256.10 (2). Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C.2000d and 2000E), the Equal Pay Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.206 et.seq) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12101,etseq).   If you have questions or grievances related to compliance with this policy by the Diagonal Community School District, please contact the legal counsel for the Iowa Department of Education, Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319-0146, telephone number 515-281-5295 or the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Citigroup Center, 500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 60661, telephone number 312-730-1560


The school district, in its educational program, has a process to assist students experiencing behavior and learning difficulties. Shelly Bentley and/or Kim Nieman are responsible for this process.  Representatives from the area education agency may also assist the school district in this process. Parents wanting access to this process should contact David VanHorn at Green Hills Area Education Agency.


Jurisdictional and Behavioral Expectations Statement


This handbook is an extension of board policy and is a reflection of the goals and objectives of the school board. The board, administration and employees expect students to conduct themselves in a manner fitting to their age level and maturity and with respect and consideration for the rights of others. Students are expected to treat teachers, employees, students, visitors and guests with respect and courtesy. Students may not use abusive language, profanity, obscene gestures or language or engage in public displays of affection

This handbook and school district policies, rules and regulations are in effect while students are on school grounds, school district property or on property within the jurisdiction of the school district; while on school-owned and/or school-operated buses or vehicles or chartered buses; while attending or engaged in school activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school district or involves students or staff. School district policies, rules and regulations are in effect 12 months a year. A violation of a school district policy, rule, regulation or student handbook may result in disciplinary action and may affect a student's eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities whether the violation occurred while school was in session or while school was not in session.

Students are expected to comply with and abide by the school district's policies, rules, regulations and student handbook. Students who fail to abide by the school district's policies, rules, regulations and student handbook may be disciplined for conduct which disrupts or interferes with the education program; conduct which disrupts the orderly and efficient operation of the school district or school activity; conduct which disrupts the rights of other students to obtain their education or to participate in school activities; or conduct which interrupts the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere. Disciplinary measures include, but are not limited to, removal from the classroom, detention, suspension, probation and expulsion. Discipline can also include prohibition from participating in extracurricular activities, including athletics. The discipline imposed is based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and the student's record.

The school reserves and retains the right to modify, eliminate or establish school district policies, rules, regulations and student handbook provisions as circumstances warrant, including those contained in the handbook. Students are expected to know the contents of the handbook and comply with it. Students or parents with questions or concerns may contact the office for information about the current enforcement of the policies, rules, regulations or student handbook of the school district.




In this handbook, the word "parent" also means "guardian" unless otherwise stated.  An administrator's title, such as superintendent or principal, also means that individual's designee unless otherwise stated.  The term "school grounds" includes the school district facilities, school district property, property within the jurisdiction of the school district or school district premises, school-owned or school-operated buses or vehicles and chartered buses.  The term "school facilities" includes school district buildings and vehicles. The term "school activities" means all school activities in which students are involved whether they are school-sponsored or school-approved, whether they are an event or an activity, or whether they are held on or off school grounds.


School Fees


The school district charges fees for certain items, such as textbook rental.  Students whose families meet the income guidelines for free and reduced price lunch, the Family Investment Program (FIP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), transportation assistance under open enrollment, or students who are in foster care are eligible to have their student fees waived or partially waived. Students whose families are experiencing a temporary financial difficulty may be eligible for a temporary waiver of student fees. Parents or students who believe they may qualify for temporary financial hardship should contact the secretary at registration for a waiver form. This waiver does not carry over from year to year and must be completed annually.


Emergency Forms


At the beginning of each school year, parents must file an emergency form with the office providing the emergency telephone numbers of the parents as well as alternate persons to contact in the event the school is unable to locate the parents. The emergency form also includes a statement that gives the school district permission to release the student to the alternate person in the event the parents cannot be reached. Parents must notify the office if the information on the emergency form changes during the school year.


Laws/Rules in society are usually needed for a small percentage of people who need boundaries in order to get along. Rules in school are somewhat the same. Below are the expectations and rules the Diagonal Community School staff have for you.



Student Attendance

STUDENT ATTENDANCE In order for students to get maximum benefit from their educational opportunities, it is imperative that they be in school. Students are expected to be in class and to make attendance a top priority. Only through attendance and class participation do students achieve the benefits of the education program. Participating in class discussion, developing an appreciation for the views and abilities of other students, and forming the habit of regular attendance are Iowa Core Employability Skills objectives. Learning lost due to an absence can never be replaced. Regular attendance and being well prepared for class helps students in school as well as prepares students for adulthood. Employers are looking for workers with a consistent work record, and they recognize that school attendance is the best indicator. In accordance with Iowa law, it is the parent’s responsibility to cause the child to attend school (Code of Iowa, Chapter 299).  A child who has reached the age of six, and is under sixteen years of age by September 15th, is of compulsory attendance school age under Iowa law.

Students will be allowed a maximum of six (6) non-school activity related absences (excused or unexcused) per class, per semester.  Upon reaching the sixth day of absence from any class, in any one semester, notification to the parents/guardian and student will be made.  The student may be dropped from the class, placed in study hall (if available), and will receive neither a grade nor credit for the class. ….

…The school determines whether an absence is excused or unexcused.  Excused absences include, but are not limited to, illness, family emergency, recognized religious observances and school activities.  Unexcused absences include, but are not limited to, tardiness, shopping, hunting, concerts, preparation or participation in parties or other celebrations, family vacations and employment…”

Therefore, the Diagonal Community Middle/Senior High School will follow the procedures listed below.



1.      Parents are expected to contact the school by 7:45 AM via phone or email when a student will be absent for any reason.  Attempts will be made to contact the parents if the child is absent and we have not received notification to ensure the child’s safety, however, a phone call from the parent saves time and concern. Please call the office at 641-734-5331. An email to Sara (secretary@diagonalschools.org), or an email to Mrs. Paxson (lpaxson@diagonalschools.org), is also acceptable and appreciated.

2.      A student who misses 1-4 classes in a day will be counted .5 day absent (either excused or unexcused.

3.      More than 4 classes missed in a day will be counted as a full day absent (either excused or unexcused).

4.      ALL absences (excused, or unexcused) will be recorded on the student’s cumulative record for future scholarship and/or employment considerations.

5.      The student is required one half (.5) day of attendance (12:00 p.m. - 3:13 p.m.) to participate in extracurricular activities.  This rule may be waived by the principal in exceptional circumstances (ex. Funeral, doctor’s appointments, etc).

6.      There are three Attendance-related categories which define student absence: Excused Absent (AE on JMC), Unexcused Absent (AU on JMC) and AWOL (absent without leave)/Truant. See below for further explanation.

8.      The final determination for excused absences is left to the administration, and will be given due consideration to extenuating circumstances.

Excused Absence

If known in advance, contact from a parent is required for the following criteria to be coded as “Excused Absence”. In the case an absence is not foreseen/planned, a parent still needs to call and students are required to bring in documentation upon return to school.

1.    Death or serious illness in the immediate family

2.   Documented student issues related to  Medical/Dental including Chiropractic, Mental Health, Orthodontic, and/or Physical Therapy

3.    Court appearances or other legal proceedings beyond the control of the family

4.    School Activity (FFA, Fine Arts, Academic Contests, etc.)

5.    Pre-approved college visits (2 – seniors, 1 – juniors)

6.    Religious holidays requiring absence from school

7.    Other verified emergency as approved by the building administrator

8.    Other reasons which can be justified from an educational standpoint and which the building administrator approves in advance.

Consequences for Excused Absence:  As long as the above absences are properly documented and the student has all work completed (or has made other arrangements with the teacher) prior to leaving, there are no consequences for an Excused Absence.  If no notification is given, or work is not completed prior to absence (or within the timeframe required by the teacher), the student will be charged with an unexcused absence and the work missed will be subject to the late-work policy of the teacher.

Students are responsible for arranging to make up schoolwork and are allowed to make up schoolwork only upon the approval of their teacher. Students who know they are going to be absent prior to an absence must make arrangements with their teachers in advance to make up schoolwork.  Students have two days for every day missed, up to 10 total days, to make up schoolwork upon return from the absence, unless other arrangements are made with their teacher(s).

Unexcused Absence

All other absences other than the ones listed under “Excused Absence” above are considered Unexcused.

Consequences for Unexcused Absence:

1.     Contact from a Parent before, or the morning of the absence, and/or a note on the student’s first day back after an absence is required.  Without a phone call or a note immediately following the student’s absence, the student will be considered AWOL/Truant (see “AWOL/Truant” below).

2.     All missed assignments and quizzes must be made up within 2 school days of the absence, or be subject to “late work” rules for the classroom, unless arrangements are made with the teacher.

3.     All assignments, tests and projects which were assigned before and/or due on the day of the absence must be turned in upon return from the absence, or be subject to “late work” rules for the classroom, unless arrangements are made with the teacher.

4.     After the equivalent of six (6) unexcused absences in a class per semester, the student will be required to make up an equal amount of time missed in order to receive credit for that class. For example, on the 7th absence, the student will be required to make up 45 minutes per class periods missed. This make up time will be scheduled after school or on possible selected Saturdays.  Work related to the Common Core will be completed during make-up time in the event that students don’t have other schoolwork to do.

5.     If a student has any time to make up for excessive absences, that student will have 10 school days at the end of the semester to complete the time. (Semester 1 - Jan. 16, 2015, Semester 2 - June 9, 2015)  Failure to do so will result in a loss of credit.  The student’s transcript will show an “NC” for a grade.  Prior to imposing the loss of credit in one or more classes, the principal shall provide the student an opportunity for an informal hearing.

6.     Parents or guardians will be notified when a student has missed the equivalent of 4 unexcused days of school in a single semester.  This notification is for informational purposes only.  Parents or guardians will again be notified if a student misses the equivalent of 6 unqualified days and at that time a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the attendance issues.  If a student is of compulsory attendance age (under 16 on September 15) and accumulates the equivalent of ten unexcused days of school per semester, the matter will be referred to the Ringgold County Attorney.  If any student accumulates twenty days of unexcused absences from a class in a single semester, he/she may be dropped from class enrollment. A conference with parents, student and principal will be arranged.


AWOL/TRUANCY (Unexcused Absence on JMC) Any student beyond the age of compulsory attendance (16 on or before September 15) who is absent from school or a class without the knowledge and prior approval of his/her parents and/or school authorities will be coded “AWOL”. Any student at or below the age of compulsory attendance who is absent from school or a class without the knowledge and prior approval of his/her parents and/or school authorities will be coded “Truant”.

1.   A phone call the day of/before the absence and/or a note the day the student returns to school are required in order for the student not to be considered AWOL/Truant.  

2.   A student who skips or leaves a class without permission after reporting to school is AWOL/Truant.  AWOL/Truant students will make up all time missed plus an equal amount of time.  (If a student is AWOL/Truant 45 minutes, they will make up 90 minutes) Time will be made up after school or on selected Saturdays.

3.   AWOL/Truant days do count on the attendance policy as unexcused absences.  A total of 5 periods of being AWOL/Truant will result in making up all time missed plus an equal amount of time, as well as one In-School Suspension.  A total of 14 periods of being AWOL/Truant will result in a 2-day In-School Suspension.  The parents must confer with the principal before the student is readmitted.  Further incidences of being AWOL/Truant will result in additional suspension, and shall result in a request for the parents and the student to meet

with the superintendent to determine action to be taken (expulsion may be recommended).



Students are expected to be on time to school and classes.

Excused Tardy (TE on JMC)

1.  Students are expected to check in with homeroom or other regular teachers if they are going to be late for or miss a class due to an obligation to another teacher. (Ex: Meetings during homeroom; student need to report to homeroom first before going to any scheduled meeting.)

2.  Teachers may issue a “tardy excused” pass to students who are late to their next class due to an occasional extended class activity (lab cleanup, test, clarification of assignments, etc.)

3.  Students returning from excused (qualified) absences in the middle of a class period will be recorded as excused tardy.

4.  As long as the tardy is sanctioned by the teacher or the principal, it will be recorded as “excused” and will carry no consequence.

Unexcused Tardy (TU on JMC)

1. A student who is late to a class due to a time management issue: lack of planning, poor use of time, social interaction between classes, etc. will be recorded as unexcused tardy. If a pass is required by the teacher for admittance into class, the pass will be marked TU.

2. Students with 3 or more unexcused tardies will be required to make up the time before or after school.  The number of tardies accumulated will determine detention time. The first 3 unexcused tardies will earn 10 minutes each in detention time. The next 3 tardies will earn 20 each in detention time, etc.  Students with excessive unexcused tardies may be required to serve In-School Suspension and parents will be contacted.

3. Students who are more than 10 unexcused minutes late to a class will be counted unexcused absent for that period.


Students who need to leave school during the school day must receive permission from the Jr./Sr. High School office and have a note signed by the student's parents, have their parents telephone the office prior to the time to leave,  or have their parents pick them up in the school office.  Students who return to class or arrive after the school day has begun must present a signed note from their parents to the office for re-admission.  Students are not released to anyone other than their parents during the school day unless the office has a note signed by the student's parents.


Parents needing to get in contact with their child or needing to remove them from school for an appointment must call the office. We will have your child contact you during a class break or sooner if it is an emergency or requires immediate response from your child.   If your child is ill and the school finds it necessary for them to go home, the secretary or principal will call you.  Please do not call or text your child during the school day.  Students are not to have cell phones on or in their possession during the school day. ALL COMMUNICATION REGARDING STUDENT ATTENDANCE NEEDS TO GO THROUGH THE SCHOOL OFFICE.


Notes for Doctors and Other Appointments


We have noticed an increase in the number of students missing school for doctors’ appointments of various kinds, as well as other appointments.  Diagonal Community School believes the best way for students to be successful is to be in class as much as possible and yet we want to make sure all students are healthy and not at risk of exposing others to illness, therefore, upon return to school, WE REQUIRE STUDENTS TO SUBMIT A NOTE FROM THE DOCTOR, DENTIST, ETC., STATING THE DATE AND TIME OF THE APPOINTMENT and that the child may return to school.


As always, we encourage students to make their appointments after school, on weekends or over holiday breaks as much as possible, however we do realize that sometimes this is impossible.  Most appointments are necessary.


The school determines whether an absence is excused or unexcused.


As each student is provided access to essential concepts and meaningful learning experiences in the core academic content areas, it is imperative that we also look to 21st century skills to build capacity in students so they are prepared to lead productive, satisfying lives. Attendance at school is an important part of that preparation.


Electronic Devices and/or Disruptive Devices:

Technology is a very useful tool.  It also can be an intrusive tool and as a tool the district wants to teach student responsible use of technology.  Cell phones have become a nuisance in classrooms and on the bus,  and have been used not a resource or tool, but an additional way to bully, harass, and disrupt students through the day.  More and more employers are also forbidding use of cell phones during work hours. It is the responsibility of The Diagonal community School to teach responsible use of technology and we have chosen to provide the tools we want to utilize in our classrooms.  We issue each 6-12th grade student a computer for use during the school year.


Students may not use any disruptive or electronic device, such as, but not limited to; cell phones, tablets, e-readers, hand-held games, music devices, hacky sacks, toys, etc, which are not provided by the district during school hours without prior approval of administration and in case of extreme emergency.  If a student needs to use the phone he/she may ask permission to go to the office. Permission will then be obtained for him/her to use either the school phone or their cell with staff supervision.  There will be no unauthorized use of electronic devices at any times through the school day.  If a student is feeling ill, he/she will need to go to the office and a parent will be notified by school officials if there is a need to remove their child due to illness.


ALL STUDENT’S cell phones are to be placed in the appropriate box in the office designated for that student’s cell phone.  Students will turn their phone in at the

beginning of the day and pick it up at the end of the day.  


Camera phones are not to be used in restrooms/locker rooms before, during, or after school hours.    


They are to remain turned off and placed in lockers or bags.Phones may not be used on the bus to and from Mount Ayr during the school day.  This is to prevent disruptions and phone use to bully and harass other students to and from Mount Ayr, causing distraction to students and the driver.


 School employees will be required to monitor unauthorized use of disruptive or electronic devices at all times.  Unauthorized use will result in IMMEDIATE confiscation of the item. Students are expected to comply with this request without delay.

Confiscated items will be given to the office. The item will be returned at the appropriate time. (see below

Unauthorized use will result in discipline ranging from a verbal warning to possible suspension or expulsion.


First Offense:  Item will be taken from the student and turned in at the office. Student will meet with the principal.  Student will be allowed to pick up the item at the end of the day.


Second offense:  Item will be taken from the student and turned in at the office.  Student will serve a 30 minute detention.  Student will be allowed to pick up the item after the detention is served.


Third offense:  Item will be taken from the student and turned in at the office.  Student will receive a one day in-school suspension and the student’s parent/guardian will be required to pick up the item.


Subsequent Offenses:  Item will be taken from the student and turned in at the office. Subsequent offenses will result in one or more of the following, up to and including but not limited to: loss of school privileges, Saturday School, 2-5 days in-school suspension, 1-5 days out-of-school suspension, application of the Good Conduct Rule penalties, or in severe cases the student may be taken before the Board for purposes of expulsion.  The student’s parent/guardian will be required to pick up the item.


General Notice to Parents regarding Green Hills AEA


As part of its general education programming, Diagonal Community School District provides “general education interventions” to any and all students who require them.  These interventions are provided in an attempt to assist your child in being as successful as possible in school.  Professionals from Green Hills Area Education Agency 14 who serve our district assist in developing and implementing these interventions. These professionals work collaboratively with your child’s teacher to resolve difficulties your child in experiencing.


At times, we enlist the support of professional staff from Green Hills Area Education Agency to assist in developing these accommodations and modifications. Professional staff from GHAEA consist of Speech-Language Pathologists, Itinerant Hearing and Vision Teachers, Occupational Therapists, Transition/Work Experience Instructors, School Social Workers, Special Education Consultants, and School Psychologists. If involved, staff from GHAEA may assist through their work with our team of teachers in a particular building, through observations of a child in the child’s classroom and through review of a student’s educational record. Prior to any direct involvement (i.e., talking with a student) of the GHAEA staff with a particular student, a parent’s permission must be secured through their signing of an “Informed Consent” form.  Regardless of the type of involvement, GHAEA staff are to keep the length of their involvement brief (i.e., through indirect contact on no more than two occasions for a particular child).

Retention and Classification Policy


The Diagonal School wants every student to succeed. In order for this to happen, each student needs a solid background in the “core” courses.  Failure to get the necessary background will normally lead to continued failure throughout a school career. In order to help prevent this, the following policy is in place:


To be promoted from grade six to grade seven, to be promoted from grade seven to grade eight, or to be promoted from grade eight to grade nine, a student must be passing at least four out of five “core” classes per semester.  A core class would include Reading, English, Math, Science, and History. Any student not receiving at least a passing grade in four of five of the above classes per semester may be required to repeat that grade.


In order to properly classify high school students as to a senior, junior, etc., the following policy will be used:

A Senior will be defined as an individual that has earned at least 34 credits.

A Junior will be defined as an individual that has earned at least 22 credits.

A Sophomore will be defined as an individual that has earned at least 10 credits.

A Freshman will be defined as an individual that has earned less than 10 credits


College Visits


Seniors are encouraged to visit college campuses on weekends or school holidays. However, if that cannot be arranged, seniors may be excused up to two days to visit college campuses with the permission of the principal and with a note signed by the student's parents.  Juniors may be excused up to one day to visit college campuses with the permission of the principal and with a note signed by the student’s parent.


Inclement Weather


When school is canceled because of inclement weather prior to the start of the school day, students and parents are notified over WHO (1040) and KSIB/KITR (1520 AM and 101.3 FM radio and WHO Channel 13, KCCI Channel 8, and WOI Channel 5 television stations, and through the mass messaging service Bright Arrow, via e-mail and text message.  The missed day may have to be made up at a later date.

If school is dismissed because of inclement weather after the school day has begun, parents are notified by the same means. The superintendent determines whether buses will follow the regular routes.  If the buses do not follow the regular routes, they follow emergency routes or the parents are responsible for picking up the students at the student's school.


Extracurricular activities or practices scheduled for the day or evening of a day when school is canceled or dismissed early are generally canceled and re-scheduled.  The principal may determine whether to hold extracurricular activities or practices.



School Day


Students may be present on school grounds before 7:45 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m. only when they are under the supervision of an employee or an extracurricular activity sponsor. Students arriving earlier must remain in the commons area by the superintendent’s office and are NOT to be in classrooms.  If school is dismissed early, students are expected to leave the school grounds within fifteen minutes of dismissal.


HAWK-I Insurance for Children


Parents can apply for low- or no-cost health insurance for their children through the state’s Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (HAWK-I) program.  Children birth to 19, who meet certain criteria, are eligible.  The coverage includes doctor’s visits, hearing services, dental care, prescription, immunizations, physical therapy, vision care, speech therapy and hospital services to name a few. Parents are urged to call 1-800-257-8563 (toll-free) or go to the web site at www.hawk-i.org for more information.




Prior to starting school or when transferring into the school district, students must present an approved Iowa Department of Public Health immunization certificate signed by a health care provider stating that the student has received the immunizations required by law. Students without the proper certificate are not allowed to attend school until they receive the immunizations or the student makes arrangements with the principal. Only for specific medical or religious purposes are students exempted from the immunization requirements.   Parents who have questions should contact the office.


Physical Examinations


Parents are encouraged to have their children receive periodic physical examinations. Students participating in athletics are required to provide a school district physical examination form signed by the student's doctor, chiropractor, or physician’s assistant stating the student is physically fit to perform in athletics prior to the start of the sport. Failure to provide proof of a physical examination makes the student ineligible.  With the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, parents will also be required to sign a concussion form before the student may practice.


Emergency Drills


Periodically the school holds emergency fire and tornado drills. At the beginning of each semester, teachers notify students of the procedures to follow in the event of a drill. Emergency procedures and proper exit areas are posted in all rooms. Students and employees will be notified by school officials when it is safe to return.

Students are expected to remain quiet and orderly during a drill or an emergency.  Students who pull the fire alarm or call in false alarms, in addition to being disciplined under the school district's policies, rules and regulations,  and may be reported to law enforcement officials.  Should the school not be able to determine who pulled the alarm, each class treasury will have $10\ deducted from their account to pay for damages.


Administration of Medication


Students may need to take medication during school hours.  Students may carry medication only with the permission of the parents and principal. The school must know the medications a student is taking in the event the student has a reaction or illness. Students must provide written instructions for administration of the medication as well as parental authorization to administer the medication. (See the office for an authorization form)

Medication is held in a locked cabinet and distributed by trained personnel. Medication must be in the original container with the following information either on the container, in the instruction sheet or in the parental authorization: name of the student; name of the medication; directions for use including dosage, times and duration; name, phone number and address of the pharmacy (if applicable); date of the prescription (if applicable); name of the physician (if applicable); potential side effects; and emergency number for parents.


Student Illness or Injury at School


A student who becomes ill or is injured at school must notify his or her teacher or another employee as soon as possible. In the case of a serious illness or injury, the school shall attempt to notify the parents according to the information on the emergency form. If the student is too ill to remain in school, the student will be released to the student's parents or, with parental permission, to another person directed by the parents.

While the school district is not responsible for treating medical emergencies, employees may administer emergency or minor first aid if possible.  The school will contact emergency medical personnel, if necessary, and attempt to notify the parents where the student has been transported for treatment.


Student Insurance


Student health and accident insurance is available to students at the beginning of the school year. Parents may purchase insurance for their children at their discretion. Parents who would like more information about student health and accident insurance should contact the office.

Student athletes must have health and accident insurance in order to participate in intramural or extracurricular athletics. Students must provide written proof of insurance prior to the start of the athletic activity. A letter from the parents stating that the student is covered is adequate proof of insurance. Student athletes who do not have and cannot afford insurance, should contact their coach.


Communicable and Infectious Diseases


Students who have an infectious or communicable disease are allowed to attend school as long as they are able to do so and their presence does not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to themselves or does not create a substantial risk of illness or transmission to other students or employees.  If there is a question about whether a student should continue to attend classes, the student shall not attend class or participate in school activities without their personal physician's approval.  Infectious or communicable diseases include, but are not limited to, mumps, measles and chickenpox.

Students will be checked on an as-needed basis for head lice and/or nits.  Parents will receive notification if their child is suspected of having lice or nits. By Board action, the school had adopted a no-nit policy.  Students will be sent home when lice/and or nits are observed and the student may not return to school until all nits are removed.


Health Screening


Throughout the year, the school district sponsors health screening for vision and hearing. Students are automatically screened unless the parent submits a note asking the student be excused from the screening. The grade levels included in the screening are determined annually. However, upon a teacher's recommendation and with parental permission, students not scheduled for screening may also be screened.


Sexual Abuse and Harassment of Students by Employees


The school district does not tolerate employees physically or sexually abusing or harassing students. Students who are physically or sexually abused or harassed by an employee should notify their parents, teacher, principal or another employee. The Iowa Department of Education has established a two-step procedure for investigating allegations of physical or sexual abuse of students by employees.  That procedure requires the school district to designate an independent investigator to look into the allegations. The school district has designated Lorna Paxson and Karleen Stephens at 641-734-5331 as its Level I investigators.


Physical abuse is a non-accidental physical injury that leaves a mark at least 24 hours after the incident.  While employees cannot use physical force to discipline a student, there are times when the use of physical force is appropriate. The times when physical force is appropriate include, but are not limited to, times when it is necessary to stop a disturbance, to obtain a weapon or other dangerous object, for purposes of self-defense or to protect the safety of others, to remove a disruptive student, to protect others from harm, for the protection of property or to protect a student from self-infliction of harm.

Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, sexual acts involving a student and intentional sexual behavior as well as sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the student's education or benefits; submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for academic decisions affecting that student; or the conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student's academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment.


Student Bullying and Harassment


The school district is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the school district has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment as well as processes and procedures to deal with incidents of bullying and harassment when they occur. Bullying and harassment of students by other students, school officials, faculty, staff, and volunteers who have direct contact with students will not be tolerated in the school district. The school district prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization based on real or perceived race, gender, creed, color, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, physical appearance, and/or personality characteristics.


This policy is in effect while students are on property within the jurisdiction of the school district; while on school-owned and/or school-operated vehicles; while attending or engaged in school sponsored activities; and while away from school grounds if the misconduct directly affects the good order, efficient management and welfare of the school district. If after an investigation a student is found to be in violation of this policy, the student shall be disciplined by measures up to and including suspension and expulsion.


Harassment as set forth above may include, but is not limited to the following behavior/overt acts and or circumstances:

•Verbal, nonverbal, physical or written harassment, bullying, hazing, or other  

 victimization that have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or

             suffering to the victim;

•Repeated remarks of a demeaning nature that have the purpose or effect of causing

injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim;

•Implied or explicit threats concerning one's grades, achievements, property, etc. that

have the purpose or effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim;

•Demeaning jokes, stories, or activities directed at the student that have the purpose or

effect of causing injury, discomfort, fear, or suffering to the victim; and/or

•Unreasonable interference with a student's performance or creation of an intimidating,

offensive, or hostile learning environment.


Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

•Submission to the conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of the

student’s education or benefits;

•Submission to or rejection of the conduct by a school employee is used as the basis for

academic decisions affecting that student; or

•The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s

academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive education



Retaliation against a student because the student has filed a bullying or harassment complaint or assisted or participated in a harassment investigation or proceeding is also prohibited. Students who knowingly file false harassment complaints or give false statements in an investigation shall be subject to discipline by measures up to and including suspension and expulsion, as shall any student who is found to have retaliated against another in violation of this policy.

The district will promptly and reasonably investigate allegations of harassment. The building principal or designee will be responsible for handling all complaints by students alleging harassment.


During the first week of school, each student will review and sign the District harassment policy as an indication of receipt, knowledge, and understanding of the policy.

For future reference harassment complaint forms are  included in the back of this handbook.


Asbestos Notification


Asbestos has been an issue of concern for many years.  The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1986 (AHERA) was designed to determine the extent of asbestos concerns in the schools and to act as a guide in formulating asbestos management policies for the schools. The school district facilities have been inspected by a certified asbestos inspector as required by AHERA. The inspector located, sampled and determined the condition and hazard potential of all material in the school facilities suspected of containing asbestos. The inspection and laboratory analysis records form the basis of the asbestos management plan.

A certified management planner has developed an asbestos management plan for the school district facilities which includes: notification letters, training for employees, a set of procedures designed to minimize the disturbance of asbestos-containing materials, and plans for regular surveillance of the materials.  A copy of the management plan is available for inspection in the office.






Throughout the year the school district sponsors school assemblies. Attendance at these assemblies is a privilege. Students must act in an orderly fashion and remain quiet on their way to an assembly, during an assembly and on their way back to the classroom after an assembly.  Students attend assemblies unless, for disciplinary reasons, the privilege is taken away.  Students who are not attending assemblies shall report to the main office during assemblies.

Field Trips

In certain classes, field trips and excursions are authorized and may be taken as an extension of the classroom to contribute to the achievement of the educational goals of the school district. If a field trip is required for a course, students are expected to attend the field trip.  Absences in other classes or school activities due to attendance on field trips or excursions are considered excused absences.

While on field trips, students are guests and considered ambassadors and representatives of the school district. Students must treat employees, chaperones and guides with respect and courtesy.

Prior to attending a field trip, students must return a note signed by the student's parents.

School-Sponsored Student Organizations

Participation in school-sponsored student organizations is a privilege.  Individual sponsors or coaches may impose rules in addition to those contained in this handbook. The privilege of participation may be suspended or canceled for violating an individual coach's or sponsor's rules as well as for violation of school district policies, rules or regulations. The school’s good conduct policy does apply to student organizations.


Student Funds and Fund Raising


Students may raise funds for school activities upon approval of the principal at least two weeks prior to the fund raising event or the start of a fund raising campaign. Funds raised remain in the control of the school district and the board. School-sponsored student organizations must have the approval of the principal or sponsor prior to spending the money raised. Classes that wish to donate a gift to the school district should discuss potential gifts with the principal prior to selecting a gift.


Use of School District Facilities by Student Organizations


School district facilities are available during non-school hours to school-sponsored and non-school-sponsored student organizations for the purpose of meetings or activities. Students wishing to use the school district facilities should contact their sponsor or the principal to reserve a room.  School district policies, rules and regulations are in effect during these meetings.



School-sponsored dances must be approved by the principal at least two weeks prior to the dance.  Students who leave a dance are not allowed to re-enter the dance.  School district policies, rules and regulations apply to students as well as non-students at school dances.  Students and non-students violating school district policies, rules or regulations are asked to leave the dance and school grounds.  Dances must end by 12:00.


Student Council

The student council provides for student activities, serves as a training experience for student leaders, gives students a share in the management of the school, develops high ideals of personal conduct, acts as a clearinghouse for student activities, seeks to interest students in school district affairs and helps solve problems that may arise. Members of the council are student representatives who have direct access to the administration.




Educational Records


Student records containing personally identifiable information, except for directory information, are confidential. For a complete copy of the school district's policy on student records or the procedure for filing a complaint, contact the board secretary, in the central administration office.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age ("eligible students") certain rights with respect to the student's education records.  They are:

(1) The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of receipt of the request.

Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal (or appropriate school official) a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.

(2 The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading or in violation of the student's privacy rights.

Parents or eligible students may ask the school district to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading.  They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading.

If the district decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the district will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.

(3) The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a Federal law, requires that Diagonal School, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, Diagonal School may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow the Diagonal School to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include: A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production, the annual yearbook, honor roll or other recognition lists, graduation programs and sports activity sheets.

Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed t outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent.  In addition, we may provide to military recruiters upon request names, addresses, and telephone listings, unless parents have advised the school that they do not want their student’s information disclosed without their prior consent.

If you do not want the Diagonal School to disclose directory information without your prior consent, you must notify the school in writing by September 1 of each school year. The Diagonal School has designated the following information as directory information: Student’s name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, dates of attendance, major field of study, grade level, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of athletic team members, degrees, honors and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.

The school also discloses information, without consent, to school officials with legitimate educational interests.  A school official is a person employed by the district as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff law enforcement unit personnel and certain volunteers); a person serving on the school board; a person or company with whom the district has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, AEA employees, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee or student assistance team, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks.

A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the district discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.


(4) The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC, 202024605.

The School District may share any information with the Juvenile Court Liaison Officer contained in a student's permanent record which is directly related to the juvenile justice system's ability to effectively serve the student.  Prior to adjudication, information contained in the permanent record may be disclosed by the school district to the parties without parental consent or court order. Information contained in a student's permanent record may be disclosed by the school district to the parties after adjudication only with parental consent or a court order. Information shared pursuant to the agreement shall be used solely for determining the programs and services appropriate to the needs of the student or student's family or coordinating the delivery of programs and services to the student or student's family.  Information shared under the agreement is not admissible in any school disciplinary proceeding or court proceedings which take place prior to a disposition hearing, unless written consent is obtained from a student's parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian. This agreement only governs a school district's ability to share information and the purposes for which that information can be used.

The purpose for the sharing of information prior to a student's adjudication is to improve school safety, reduce alcohol and illegal drug use, reduce truancy, reduce in-school and out-of-school suspensions, and support alternatives to in-school and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions which provide structured and well supervised educational programs supplemented by coordinated and appropriate services designed to correct behaviors that lead to truancy, suspension, and expulsions and to support students in successfully completing their education.  Information shared will not be used in a school disciplinary proceeding.




Student Searches

In order to protect the health and safety of students, employees and visitors to the school district and for the protection of the school district facilities, students and their belongings and school owned lockers and desks may be searched or inspected. School officials may conduct periodic inspections of all, or a randomly selected number of, school lockers, desks, and other facilities or spaces owned by the school and provided as a courtesy to a student. A search of a student will be justified when there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating the law or school district policy, rules, or regulations affecting school order.  The search will be conducted in a manner which is reasonably related to the objectives of the search and which is not excessively intrusive in light of the age and gender of the student and the nature of the infraction.

Reasonable suspicion may be formed by considering factors such as the following:

•eyewitness observations by employees;

•information received from reliable sources;

•suspicious behavior by the student; or,

•the student's past history and school record although this factor alone is not sufficient to

provide the basis for reasonable suspicion.


A search will be permissible in its scope or intrusiveness when the measures adopted are reasonably related to the objectives of the search. Reasonableness of scope or intrusiveness may be determined based on factors such as the following:

•the age of the student;

•the sex of the student;

•the nature of the infraction; and

•the emergency requiring the search without delay.


“Protected“student area” includes, but is not limited to (a) a student’s body (b) clothing worn or carried by a student (c) a student’s pocketbook, briefcase, duffel bag, bookbag, backpack, or any container used by a student for holding or carrying personal belongings of any kind and in the possession or immediate proximity of the student.

Personally intrusive searches will require more compelling circumstances to be considered reasonable.  If a pat-down search or a search of a student's garments (such as jackets, socks, pockets, etc.) is conducted, it will be conducted in private by a school official of the same sex as the student and with another adult witness of the same sex present, when feasible. A more intrusive search, short of a strip search, of the student's body, handbags, bookbags, etc., is permissible in emergency situations when the health and safety of students, employees, or visitors are threatened.  Such a search may only be conducted in private by a school official of the same sex as the student, with an adult of the same sex present unless the health or safety of students will be endangered by the delay which may be caused by following these procedures. A school official will not conduct a search which involves (a) a strip search (b) a body cavity search or (c) the use of a drug sniffing animal to search a student’s body.

Students are permitted to park on school premises as a matter of privilege, not of right.  The school retains authority to conduct routine patrols of the student parking lots. The interior of a student's automobile on the school premises may be searched if the school official has reasonable and articulable suspicion to believe that illegal, unauthorized or contraband items are contained inside.


Threats of Violence


All threats of violence, whether oral, written, or symbolic, against students, employees, visitors, or to school facilities are prohibited. All such threats will be promptly investigated.  Law enforcement may be contacted. Threats issued and delivered away from school or school activities may be grounds for disciplinary action if the threat impacts the orderly and efficient operation of the school.

Students engaging in threatening behavior will face disciplinary consequences up to and including expulsion.

The following factors will be considered in determining the extent to which a student will be disciplined for threatening or terroristic behavior; the background of the student, including any history of violence or prior threatening behavior; the student's access to weapons of any kind; the circumstances surrounding the threat; the age of the student; the mental and emotional maturity of the student; cooperation of the student and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s) in the investigation; the existence of the student's juvenile or criminal history; the degree of legitimate alarm or concern in the school community created by the threat; and any other relevant information from any credible source.




Individual student accounts and electronic mail addresses may be issued to students. It is a goal to allow teachers and students access to the rich opportunities on the Internet, while we protect the rights of students and parents who choose not to risk exposure to questionable material. The amount of time available for each student may be limited by the number of available terminals and the demands for each terminal. Personal identification of students will be limited to only those students whose parents/guardians have given permission.

It is the policy of the Diagonal Community School to 1) prevent user access over its computer network to access or transmit material that is defined as obscene, that contains child pornography, or that is harmful to minors. To this extent, the Diagonal Community School, in compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, will provide filtering of material through the Green Hills Area Education Agency 14. To the extent practical, technology protection measures shall be used to block or filter internet access to inappropriate information. Subject to staff supervision, technology protection measures may be disabled or, in the case of minors, minimized only for bona fide research or other lawful purposes.

It shall be the responsibility of all members of the Diagonal Community School staff to supervise and monitor usage of the online computer network and access to the internet in accordance with this policy and the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Procedures for the disabling or otherwise modifying any technology protection measures shall be the responsibility of the Principal or designated representative.

The use of the network is a privilege and may be taken away for violation of board policy or regulations.  As a user of the Internet, students may be allowed access to other networks. Each network may have its own set of policies and procedures. It is the user's responsibility to abide by the policies and procedures of these other networks.


Students will abide by the Diagonal Community School district Authorized Users Policy and agree to adhere to Diagonal Community School’s Laptop Rules and Responsibilities. Failure to follow these rules can result in loss of the privilege to use the Laptop and/or district internet.


Students will adhere to on-line protocol:


¥Respect all copyright and license agreements.

¥Cite all quotes, references and sources.

¥Remain on the system long enough to get needed information, then exit the system.

¥Apply the same privacy, ethical and educational considerations utilized in other forms of



Students should adhere to the following guidelines:

¥Others may be able to read or access the mail so private messages should not be sent.

¥Delete unwanted messages immediately.

¥Use of objectionable language is prohibited.

¥Always sign messages.

¥Always acknowledge receipt of a document or file.

¥Students are not allowed into chat rooms without permission from the principal or designated representative and only for educational reasons.


Restricted Material -

  • Students will not intentionally access or download any inappropriate text file or picture.  

  • Students will not engage in any  internet activity that includes material which is obscene, libelous, indecent, vulgar, profane or lewd;

  • Students will not engage in any internet activity that advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law;

  • Students will not engage in any internet activity that constitutes insulting or fighting, or includes word which injure or harass others; or presents a clear and present likelihood that it will cause a material and substantial disruption of the proper and orderly operation and discipline of the school or school activities.

  • Students will not engage in internet activities that will cause the commission of unlawful acts or the violation of lawful school regulations.


Unauthorized Costs - If a student gains access to any service via the Internet which has a cost involved or if a student incurs other types of costs, the student accessing such a service will be responsible for those costs.


Guidelines for use of Personal Computing Devices on School Wireless Networks

The use of a computer or device is solely at the teacher's discretion.

The use of a computer or device must support instructional activities

The use of a computer or device must not be disruptive to other's learning

The use of a computer or device must be in a supervised area of the school.  Areas   

 specifically off-limits include restrooms and locker rooms.

Students must sign an acceptable use policy

Students must submit the device for inspection at any time a teacher, administrator, etc.


School technology people are not permitted by regulation to provide technical support for personal computers

School does not assume responsibility for damage or loss of these computers or



Students who access restricted items on the Internet are subject to the following consequences:

¥First Violation - A verbal and written "Warning" notice will be issued to the student.  The student may lose Internet access for a period of three weeks at the discretion of the Principal.  A copy of the notice will be mailed to the student's parents.

¥Second Violation - A verbal and written "Second Violation" notice will be issued to the student.  A copy of the notice will be sent to the student's parent.  The student will forfeit all Internet privileges for a minimum period of six weeks.

¥Third Violation - A verbal and written "Third Violation" notice will be issued to the student.  A copy of the notice will be sent to the student's parent.  The student will forfeit all Internet privileges the balance of the school year.


This Internet Safety Policy was reviewed by the Board of Education at a public meeting on July 22, 2015.


The district Authorized user policy and the Laptop Rules and responsibilities documents are enclosed for reference.


Dress Code


There is a strong connection between academic performance, students' appearance and students' conduct.  Inappropriate student appearance may cause material and substantial disruption to the school environment or present a threat to the health and safety of students, employees and visitors on school grounds. Students are expected to adhere to reasonable levels of cleanliness and modesty.  Students are expected to wear clothing that is appropriate and does not disrupt the school or educational environment.

Students are prohibited from wearing clothing advertising or promoting items illegal for use by minors including, but not limited to, alcohol or tobacco; from wearing shoes with cleats except for outdoor athletic practices; and from wearing clothing displaying obscenity, profanity, vulgarity, racial or sexual remarks, making reference to prohibited conduct or similar displays. Items of clothing such as “cut-offs, bare-midriff blouses, see-through shirts, muscle shirts, tank tops with straps less than 1 inch wide, spaghetti tops, etc. are not appropriate.   Shorts/Skirts must be long enough to meet your fingertips when standing with arms straight down at your side.  Under certain circumstances or during certain classes or activities a more strict dress code may be appropriate, and students must comply with the stricter requirement.  Yoga pants/leggings may be worn with a shirt or dress that comes to mid-thigh.  The principal makes the final determination of the appropriateness of the student's appearance.  Students inappropriately dressed are required to change their clothing, place a sweater or coat over the inappropriate clothing if possible,  or leave the school.


Care of School Property


Students are expected to take care of school property including desks, chairs, books, lockers and school equipment. Vandalism is not tolerated. Students found to have destroyed or otherwise harmed school property may be required to reimburse the school district.  In certain circumstances, students may be reported to law enforcement officials.


Driving to School


The school district provides bus transportation to and from school as well as between schools for students. Parents wishing to pick up their children at dismissal time should do so on the west side of the school.  The east side is for buses only. Due to the sharing arrangement with Mt. Ayr, a bus will transport students to Mt. Ayr and bring them back to Diagonal. Absolutely no student will be allowed to drive to or from Mt. Ayr without permission from a parent and administrator in advance. Should a student miss the bus to Mount Ayr, the parents are responsible to get the student to class on time. If no arrangements are possible, the student will spend his/her time at the Diagonal Community School in the library.


Parking on school grounds is a privilege, and students must park in an orderly manner in the south gym parking lot or the streets. Students are not allowed to park in the main school parking lot. Students are not to move their car during school hours without permission of a school employee. Any violation of the above policies may result in law enforcement being contacted.


Illegal Items Found in School or in Student’s Possession


Students are prohibited from distributing, dispensing, manufacturing, possessing, using, and being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or look alike substances; and possessing or using tobacco, tobacco products or look alike substances.


Weapons are not allowed on school grounds or at school activities including hunting rifles even if unloaded and locked in cars with the exception of weapons in the control of law enforcement officials or those being used for educational purposes and approved by the principal. Students bringing firearms to school or possessing firearms at school may be expelled for up to one year. Parents of students found in violation of this policy may be contacted, and the students may be reported to law enforcement officials.




Students are expected to do their own schoolwork.  Cheating by looking at another student's schoolwork, copying others' work, copying from other sources or similar cheating is not tolerated.  Discipline may include receiving a zero on the work involved and notification to the parents.  For subsequent instances of cheating, the student may receive a suspension from the class involved, a suspension from all classes, and/or a letter grade of “F” for the class.


Dual Enrollment Students


Home school or home school assistance program students enrolled in classes or participating in school activities in the school district are subject to the same policies, rules and regulations as other students and are disciplined in the same manner as other students.  Dual enrollment students interested in participating in school activities or enrolling in classes should contact the Superintendent.


Movies at School

All movies viewed at school must be approved by the administrator and those while traveling in a school vehicle must be approved by the sponsor. No “R” or “X” rated movies may be viewed at any time. Exceptions to the policy may be granted by administration, although never for an "X" rated movie.


Posting of Information


Students who wish to post or distribute information must receive permission from the principal at least two days before the posting or distribution. This applies whether the information deals with school-sponsored or non-school-sponsored activities. The principal can explain or answer questions regarding the school's rules on posting and distributing materials.


Student Complaints


Students may file a complaint regarding school district policies, rules and regulations or other matters by complying with the following procedure. This procedure is strictly followed except in extreme cases.

¥If an employee is involved, discuss the complaint with the employee within five days of the incident;

¥If unsatisfied with the employee's response or if there is no employee involved, talk to the principal within five school days of the employee's response or the incident;

¥If unsatisfied with the principal's response, talk to the superintendent within five days of the principal's response;

¥If unsatisfied with the superintendent's response, students may request to speak to the board within ten days of the superintendent's response.  The board determines whether it will address the complaint.


Student Publications


Students may produce official school district publications as part of the curriculum under the supervision of a faculty advisor and principal. Official school district publications include, but are not limited to, the school newspaper and yearbook. Expression made by students, including student expression in the school district publications, is not an expression of official school district policy. The school district, the board and the employees are not liable in any civil or criminal action for student expression made or published by students unless the employees or board have interfered with or altered the content of the student speech or expression. Copies of the school district publication code can be obtained from the Superintendent.

A faculty advisor supervises student writers to maintain professional standards of English and journalism and to comply with the law including, but not limited to, the restrictions against unlawful speech. No student shall express, publish or distribute in an official school district publication material which is:



¥slanderous; or

¥encourages students to:

¥commit unlawful acts;

¥violate school district policies, rules or regulations;

¥cause the material and substantial disruption of the orderly and efficient operation of the school or school activity;

¥disrupt or interfere with the education program;

¥interrupt the maintenance of a disciplined atmosphere; or

¥infringe on the rights of others.


Students who believe they have been unreasonably restricted in their exercise of expression in an official student publication should follow the complaint procedure outlined in this handbook.




Grade Reports


Students receive progress reports in the form of report cards at the end of each semester.  Students who have concerns about their grades should talk to their teachers to determine how they can improve their performance.

Students who receive an incomplete in a class must complete the class within two weeks after the start of the next semester.  Extensions may be granted by the teacher with the permission of the principal. Failure to finish an incomplete will result in a failing grade and loss of credit.


Teachers assign homework, extra class activities or assignments as necessary. Homework is an opportunity for students to practice skills and activities, to share and discuss ideas, to review materials, to become acquainted with resources, to organize thoughts, to prepare for classroom activities or to make-up incomplete class work.  Students are expected to complete homework on time. Failure to complete homework may result in loss of class credit and a failing grade in the class.


Late Assignment Policy and Absences


All students are required to turn all assignments in on time. For those assignments not handed in by the date due, the following policy will be in force:


Any assignment handed in one day late will receive an automatic 10% deduction.

Any assignment handed in two days late 20% three days late 30%, four days late 40%

Any assignment handed in more than Four days late but prior to the test being given for that chapter or unit will receive a 50% deduction. (Unless other arrangements are made with the teacher)


Any assignment handed in after a test has been given for that chapter or unit will receive a zero. (Unless other arrangements are made with the teacher)


On Fridays, any student with missing assignments for the week will be placed in Study Cabinet until missing work is completed. Upon completion they will return to class.


A reminder is given that absences will take precedence over the above policy.  Also, an assignment that was due while the student was absent and the student knew about it will be due upon the student’s arrival at school. Tests must also be taken on the day the student returns if the student had prior knowledge of the test’s scheduled date.


Standardized Tests


Students are given standardized tests annually. These tests are used to determine academic progress for individual students, for groups of students, for the school district and to comply with state law. Students are tested unless they are excused by the principal.  The tests given include, but are not limited to, Iowa Assessments  and the MAP test.


Human Growth and Development


The school district provides students with instruction in human growth and development. Parents may review the human growth and development curriculum prior to its use and have their child excused from human growth and development instruction. Parents should contact the principal if they wish to review the curriculum or to excuse their child from human growth and development instruction.


Open Enrollment


Iowa's open enrollment law allows students residing in one school district to request transfer to another school district upon the parents' request.  Students wishing to open enroll to another school district must apply for open enrollment by March 1 of the school year preceding the school year in which they wish to open enroll unless there is good cause. Open enrolled students from low-income families may qualify for transportation assistance.  Open enrollment may result in loss of athletic eligibility for students open enrolling. Students interested in open enrolling out of the school district must contact the Superintendent for information and forms.


Class Loads


Students must be registered for at least five classes per semester unless prior permission is granted by the principal.


Adding/Dropping Courses

Students who wish to add or drop a class must do so within five days after the start of the semester. The teacher, guidance counselor and parent's permission are necessary to add or drop a class.


Study Hall


While in study hall, students are expected to conduct themselves as they would in class. Students must bring enough work to occupy them for the entire study hall. Study Hall is a time to complete class assignments in a quiet structured study time.  If all class work is completed the student should read silently without disturbing others. Students are not to engage in Games on the computer unless permission from the study hall monitor is obtained and they are of an educational nature.  The study hall monitor may include other rules as he/she deems necessary. Once in study hall, students are only allowed to leave with the permission of the study hall monitor.


Honor Roll and Academic Honors


The school district honors students who excel academically. Honor Rolls will be calculated at the end of each grading period. To be included on the “B” Honor Roll, the student must have at least a straight “B” average (3.00 or better) with no grade below a “C-“.  To be included on the “A” Honor Roll the student must have received no grade below “A-“.  Grades from P.E., Chorus, and Band will not be included in any Honor Roll calculations.  Note: Class Rank and grade point average will include all classes.


Academic Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities


Under Iowa law students must receive passing grades in four courses the previous semester to participate in athletics. Students who do not meet this requirement are not allowed the privilege of participating in athletics.

All students who plan to participate in any interscholastic sport must have a physical examination before the sport begins. Interscholastic sports include but are not limited to football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, and track. Physicals need to be updated annually.

One of the basic requirements for participating in any program of interscholastic activity is that the student be a good citizen. Every student who represents our school is taking the role of “good will ambassador.”  Any student whose habits and/or conduct, both in or out of school during the entire year, are such as to make him/her unworthy to represent the ideals, principles, and standards of Diagonal Community School, shall be declared ineligible by the Principal and remain ineligible until the Principal reinstates him/her to eligibility.

Students who are unwilling to adhere to the general expectations of the school with respect to behavior within the classroom, within the building in general, elsewhere on the school grounds, as well as at any school-related activity, may be excluded from participation or attendance at any or all co-curricular activities.  This includes but is not limited to  all interscholastic sports, drama, speech contest, Academic Bowl, and archery.


In addition to the behavioral requirements, students may be dropped from participation for academic reasons. High School students must carry the required academic course load minimum of five academic classes and be passing at least four full-credit subjects.  Junior High students must carry the required academic course load minimum of six classes and P.E., and be passing at least five full-credit subjects.


Teachers are to have grades submitted every Monday by 3:30 PM.Any student receiving an “F” for a class for a one week period may be declared ineligible for extracurricular activities for the following week. The procedure is as follows: 1) On Tuesday  of the third week of each quarter, and weekly thereafter, grades will be checked.  Students receiving a grade 69% or less is placed on the borderline list for one week.  Students with an F will be designated Borderline with the indication that if their grade does not improve they will be ineligible the next week. The following week if students with an F the week before are still failing they become ineligible for one week. The ineligibility period runs from Tuesday to Tuesday. Students on Borderline will remain on Borderline if they have a grade that is 60% or greater and less than 70%.   2) If a student fails a class for a nine week period, they automatically become ineligible for the next week. If a student fails a class for a semester they automatically become ineligible for 30 school days.  This applies to all school sports and extra-curricular activities supported and sponsored by the school. 3) Each week grades are rechecked and students continuing to fail remain ineligible and students who continue to have grades that are greater than 60% and less than 70% will remain Borderline. Students raising their grade are removed from the list.  Minimum amount of time to be spent on the list is one week. 4) Each teacher will be responsible for notifying the Principal or designee by 3:00 on Monday. 5) A list of all ineligible/borderline students will be sent to each teacher on Tuesday and it is up to the teacher/coach in charge of the activity to inform the student.  

Students receiving a grade lower than 70% and higher than 60% will be considered borderline.  A student who continues to be borderline and makes no attempt to raise their grade can be placed on the ineligible list at the teacher discretion and will be required to remain for study table on Thursday.

Parents will be notified via phone call from the school secretary if your child is borderline/ineligible.  Please make sure we have an updated phone number to contact you.  If you do not have  a valid phone number we will attempt to send via email or  a letter will be sent by U.S. Mail.  Please check to make sure we have a current phone number, email and/or addresses for all contacts necessary, (parents-custodial and noncustodial, guardians).

Students who are ineligible are required to attend Study Table from 3:15 - 4:30 PM on Thursday of the week they are ineligible.

Any student wishing to receive assistance with assignments or wanting time to complete work are encouraged to stay for study table.

Study table is available after school on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:15 -4:30PM.


Good Conduct Policy

The Board of Directors of the Diagonal Community School District offers a variety of voluntary activities designed to enhance the classroom education of its students. Students who participate in extracurricular activities serve as ambassadors of the school throughout the calendar year, whether away from or at school. Students who wish to exercise the privilege of participating in extracurricular activities must conduct themselves in accordance with board policy and must refrain from activities that are illegal, immoral, unhealthy, or highly inappropriate. Participation in these activities is a privilege, conditioned upon meeting the eligibility criteria established by the board, administration, and individual activity coaches and sponsors.

To be eligible for an activity, students participating must

•be enrolled or dual-enrolled in school;

•have earned passing grades in at least four full-time classes the previous semester;

•be earning passing grades in at least four full-time classes in the current semester;

•for students in athletics, music, or speech activities, be under 20 years of age;

•for students in athletics, music, or speech activities, be enrolled in high school for eight

semesters or less;

•for students in athletics, have not been a member of a college squad nor trained with a

college squad, nor participated in a college contest nor engaged in that sport


•have met all transfer requirements, if the student is a transfer student, or be eligible

under state law and regulations if the student is an open enrollment student.


Special education students or students covered by a Section 504 plan shall not be denied eligibility on the basis of scholarship if the student is making adequate progress, as determined by the student's team, towards the goals and objectives on the student's IEP or 504 plan.

A. Any student who is observed by a staff member or school employee or law enforcement official, or admits to, or at a judicial or administrative proceeding is found by substantial evidence to have: 1) possessed alcoholic beverage with knowledge, intent, and and/or control thereof; 2) failed to leave the location of a party where illegal activity is occurring (such as alcoholic beverages or controlled substances being used) despite having ample opportunity to do so; 2) consumed alcoholic beverage 3) possessed controlled substances as they are defined by the Code of Iowa, without a legal prescription, and with knowledge, intent, and control thereof; 4) used controlled substances, as they are defined by the Code of Iowa, and without a legal prescription; 5) used tobacco, in any form; 6) committed theft, vandalism, or other serious offenses, including those which would violate the Iowa Criminal Code, as to make the student unworthy to represent the ideals and standards of Diagonal School, is in violation of the Good Conduct Provision.

B. The due process afforded a student in the event of a suspension shall be afforded a student charged with violating the Good Conduct Rule.

C. A student who has been found to have violated the Good Conduct Rule may be penalized as follows:     First Offense - 4 to 6 week suspension from all extra-curricular  activities     Second Offense - 1 year suspension from all extracurricular  activities     Third Offense - permanent suspension from all extracurricular  activities

D. At the discretion of the Administration, a student found to be in violation of the Good Conduct Policy for the first time may, in lieu of a full suspension, choose to enroll in a substance abuse program at an approved facility, (50-50 program if available) and at the students expense. Should the student not complete the program, he/she will be suspended from all extracurricular activities for 4 to 6 weeks.  Should the student chose to enter the program, that student will still be ineligible for four contests.

E. At the discretion of the Administration, a student found to be in violation of the Good Conduct Policy for the second time may, in lieu of a one-year suspension, choose to enroll in a substance abuse program at an approved facility (50-50 program if available) and at the student’s expense. The student will be suspended from all extra-curricular activities for six weeks. Should the student not complete the program, he/she will be suspended from all extracurricular activities for one year.

F. Should a student have reason to believe that he/she has violated the good conduct policy and voluntarily turns him/herself in within 48 hours of the incident, then the consequence of missing four contests will be cut to two for the first violation, or suspension of six weeks will be cut to four for a second violation.


Postsecondary Enrollment Options

Students in grades nine through 12 may receive class or vocational-technical credits that count toward graduation requirements for successfully completed courses at community colleges, private colleges or state universities. Students must take two courses per semester whether in the PSEO program or taking the courses via private pay, unless permission is granted by the administration.

The school district may pay up to $250 of the cost of a course taken by 9th and 10th grade talented and gifted students and 11th and 12th grade students.  If parents or guardians wish to know more about the gifted and talented program or feel their child may qualify please contact the office.  The school district pays only for courses which are not offered by the high school and which are offered during the regular school year by the community college, private college or state university. The school district does not pay for the costs of summer school classes. However, summer school classes are eligible for credit.


To be eligible to enroll in college credit PSEO, concurrent enrollment, or career academy

courses, state law requires high school students to be proficient in reading, mathematics, and

science. To demonstrate proficiency, students must meet one of the two following criteria:


1) Score at or above the 41st percentile on the most recent administration of the Iowa Assessments in  each of the required subject areas (reading, math, and science).

2) Meet one of the district’s equivalent alternative measures of proficiency (see below).


If the student is proficient in each of the three areas as determined by the Iowa Tests, the

student meets the proficiency requirement and no further action is required. If a student does

not score at or above the 41st percentile in one or more areas, an alternate measure of

proficiency may be used to demonstrate proficiency in the subject area(s).


For Reading: Select any two of the following three--

  • High School course grade of “C” or better  on most recent course in the subject area

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent MAP RIT Score for Reading Portion

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent College Placement Exam Score (e.g., Reading Section of Compass)

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent College Entrance Exam Score (e.g., Reading Section of ACT)

  • Teacher Determination of Proficiency Based on Evaluation of Portfolio of Other Student Work


For Math: Select any two of the following--

  • High School course grade of “C” or better  on most recent course in the subject area

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent MAP RIT Score for Mathematics Portion

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent College Placement Exam Score

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent College Entrance Exam Score

  • Teacher Determination of Proficiency Based on Evaluation of Portfolio of Other Student Work


For Science: Select any two of the following—

  • High School course grade of “C” or better  on most recent course in the subject area

  • Meet or Exceed Equivalent MAP RIT Score for Science Portion

  • Teacher Determination of Proficiency Based on Evaluation of Portfolio of Other Student Work


Students interested in participating in this program should contact the Principal. Students are responsible for their own transportation and acknowledge the school assumes no liability during the time the student is going to class, at class, or returning from class, until the student returns to the Diagonal Community School. Students are expected to be at school for their regular scheduled classes, and repeated violations of this or other policies listed could be grounds for revoking the post-secondary option.


Early Graduation

Students who meet the graduation requirements set by the board prior to the end of their senior year may apply to the Principal for early graduation. Students must apply at least one semester prior to the completion of the graduation requirements. In order to graduate early, students must have the approval of the superintendent, principal, and parents and appear before the board for its approval.

Students who graduate early become alumni of the school district and are not allowed to participate in school activities, including senior activities, except for graduation ceremonies.


Students who are in good standing and who meet the graduation requirements set by the board are allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony and in senior activities. It is possible that students who are serving discipline at the time of the graduation ceremony or other senior activities will not be allowed to participate. Students are not required to participate in the graduation ceremony.


Minimum requirements for graduation:


Math (including General Math or Algebra) 6 credits Science (including General Science 9 and Biology) 6 credits Social Studies (including Word Processing/Social Studies, World History, U.S. History and Government/Economics) 8 credits English 8 credits Physical Education 2 credits (1/4 credit per semester) Service Learning 2 credits (1/2 credit per year) Electives 18 credits

Fifty credits of work will be required for graduation. Band will receive .60 credit, chorus .40 credit, physical education .25 credit, future citizenship skills .25, and health .25 credit per year

Service Learning Requirement:  Middle School students must complete 2 hours of community service work each year, High School students must complete ten (10) hours per year.  Requirements for this component are the work must not be for pay and may not be done for relatives.  We strongly encourage students to not participate in any dangerous activity.  Parents will assume all liability for their child when performing service learning work unless done on school grounds.


Suggested Guidelines for Alternative School Admittance


Any student considering attending the Alternative School will need to meet any or all of the following guidelines:

Be at least one year behind in academic credits. Our policy states how many credits are required to advance to each grade level. Thus a student that does not earn enough credits to advance to the next grade level would be eligible. Be recommended by the Administration that an alternative setting would be in the best interest of the student. Be attending an Alternative School prior to enrolling in the Diagonal District.




Telephone Use During the School Day

Generally, students receiving telephone calls during school hours will not be called to the telephone. The office will take a message and forward it to the student.  Only in emergency situations are students removed from class or another school activity to receive a telephone call.  Students may be required to pay for long-distance phone charges. .


School Announcements


Students are responsible for knowing the content of daily announcements which will be placed on the white-board in the commons area outside the school office. . Students who wish to have an item included in the daily announcements must have permission from the principal.  Announcements will be posted daily if there is a need.




Visitors to the school grounds must check in at the principal's office.  If a student wishes to bring a guest to school, the student must receive permission from the principal prior to the guest's visit.


Legal Status of Student


If a student's legal status, such as the student's name or the student's custodial arrangement, should change during the school year, the parent or guardian must notify the school district. The school district needs to know when these changes occur to ensure that the school district has a current student record.


Open Gym During Non-School Hours


Open gym may be held before or after school and on weekends.  Students and or community members may utilize the gym, however an adult over the age of 21 must be in attendance at all times.  Both the gym and locker rooms will be available for use and only those activities that are held during P.E. classes may be held.




The school district operates a lunch and breakfast program. Students may either bring their own lunches to school or purchase a lunch and other items, including milk.  Students are not allowed to leave campus during lunch time or to have food delivered to the school. No food or drink is to leave the lunch area. Students are to remain in the lunch area during their lunch break.


Buses and Other School District Vehicles


Buses are primarily used to transport students to and from school. Students who ride the bus and other school district vehicles to and from school, extracurricular activities or any other destination must comply with school district policies, rules and regulations. Students are responsible to the driver while on the bus or in another school vehicle, loading or unloading or leaving the bus. The driver has the ability to discipline a student and may notify the principal of a student's inappropriate bus conduct.

Persons riding in school district vehicles shall adhere to the following rules. The driver, sponsor and chaperones are to follow the school district policies, rules and regulations for student violations.

•Riders must be at the designated loading point before the arrival time.

•Riders must wait until the vehicle comes to a complete stop before attempting to enter.

•Riders must not extend arms or heads out of the windows at any time.

•Aisles must be kept cleared at all times.

•Riders shall load and unload through the right front door. The emergency door is for

emergencies only.

•Riders will depart from the vehicle at the designated point unless written permission to

get off at a different location is given to the driver.

•Riders may be assigned a seat by the driver.

•Riders who damage seats or other equipment will reimburse the school district for the

cost of the repair or replacement.

•Riders are not permitted to leave their seats while the vehicle is in motion.

•Waste containers are provided on all vehicles for riders' use.

•Permission to open windows must be obtained from the driver.

•Classroom conduct is to be observed by students while riding the vehicle except for

ordinary conversation.

•The driver is in charge of the riders and the vehicle, and the driver is to be obeyed

promptly and cheerfully.

•Riders should assist in looking after the safety and comfort of younger riders.

•Riders who must cross the roadway to board or depart from the vehicle must pass in

front of the vehicle (no closer than 10 feet), look in both directions and proceed to cross

the road or highway only on signal from the driver.

•Riders must not throw objects about the vehicle nor out through the windows.

•Shooting paper wads, squirt guns or other material in the vehicle is not permitted.

•Riders must keep their feet off the seats.

•Roughhousing on the vehicle is prohibited.

•Riders must refrain from crowding or pushing.

•The use or possession of alcohol, tobacco or look-a-like substances is prohibited in the


•The good conduct rule is in effect..




Being a citizen of the United States, of Iowa and of the school district community entitles students to special privileges and protections as well as requiring the students to assume civic, economic and social responsibilities and to participate in their country, state and school district community in a manner that entitles them to keep these rights and privileges.

As part of the education program, students have an opportunity to learn about their rights, privileges and responsibilities as citizens of this country, state and school district community.  As part of this learning opportunity, students are instructed in the elements of good citizenship and the role quality citizens play in their country, state and school district community.


Inspection of Educational Materials


Parents and other members of the school district community may view the instructional materials used by students in the office. Copies may be obtained according to board policy. Tests and assessment materials are only available for inspection with the consent of the superintendent.  Persons wishing to view instructional materials or to express concerns about instructional materials should contact the Superintendent.


Communications to and from School


When sending a note or money to school, the student should receive clear instruction from the parents about who the appropriate person is to receive the note or the money. Also, the school regularly sends notes and papers home with students. Parents need to remind their child to notify them of notes or papers from school for the parents.  Parents are responsible for knowing the contents of the notes or papers sent home. This will normally include school news, a calendar, lunch and breakfast schedule, and important policy changes.  

Please make sure we have current e-mail and telephone information as communications go out through our text messaging service and grade reports are e-mailed when there is an up-to-date e-mail on file.  This is an expedient and guaranteed way to get information to parents in a timely manner.