Rules, policies and behavior
- Code of conduct
- Statement on harassment
- Open campus and after-school hours
- Academic integrity
- Responsible use agreement
- Student web publishing guidelines
- After-school study hall
The American School in London
Middle and High School Student Code of Conduct
The School’s Code of Conduct is based on ASL’s Mission, Portrait of a Learner and our DEI statement, and reflects our Core Values and all applicable UK laws and regulations. As an ASL community member, you have the right to an excellent education that excites and challenges you in a safe learning environment, to engage actively and constructively in school-sponsored events and activities with other members of the community, to feel cared for and valued as an individual, and to respectfully express your beliefs and opinions. As a member of the community, you contribute to the learning and social environment and also have the responsibility of upholding ASL’s values. ASL’s expectations for all community members are outlined below.
It is vital that all members of our community understand behavioral expectations and the school’s Code of Conduct. If a student violates school policy or rules, or acts in a way that is in conflict with our Core Values, appropriate disciplinary measures will be taken by the School. All members of the school community share the responsibilities that come with the privilege of being part of our community. To that end, we expect parents/guardians to help their students, and other ASL students in their care, to make positive and healthy choices.
Please note that ASL’s expectations of student behavior apply to all school-sponsored events, whether on or off campus. The School acknowledges UK laws regarding alcohol and tobacco use. On trips outside of the UK, both the laws of the host nation and the Code of Conduct apply. Furthermore, ASL reserves the right to intervene or take disciplinary action for serious breaches of the Code of Conduct which take place outside of school and/or at events not affiliated with school, if the School felt the breaches resulted in risks to health and safety and/or could be damaging to other students, our greater community, or the reputation of the student or school. In such cases, the School may use the same disciplinary process as described below.
We treat others the way we expect to be treated. We value diversity of thought and experience.
Respect for others
Members of the ASL community respectfully recognize, affirm and value people of all identities. ASL is an anti-bias school. ASL does not tolerate emotional, physical or sexual harassment, labeling, bullying, hazing, violence, discrimination, or hurtful behavior of any kind. We expect students to promote a positive learning environment in the classroom, across campus, and at all school-related events. Inappropriate language and gestures and excessive public displays of affection do not demonstrate respect for others and are therefore not allowed. We are a safe place to be one’s whole self with people who are not like us, and we welcome the whole selves of others. Please see ASL’s Statement on Harassment and the Anti-Bullying Policy for more details. These policies apply to all members of our community, including students, family members, faculty and staff.
Respect for self
Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, nicotine and e-cigarettes/vaporizers are all potential dangers to the health and safety of the individual, as well as to a sound learning environment. Possession, use, transmission or being under the influence of any illegal drug or UK-banned substance is prohibited. The misuse of prescription and/or nonprescription drugs is also prohibited, as is distributing prescription drugs to others. Cigarettes, e-cigarettes, “Juuls,” vaping or drug paraphernalia, alcohol or other intoxicants are not allowed on campus.
Students’ attire should support a safe and positive learning environment. We expect students to dress for school in a way that is respectful of themselves, of others in our diverse community, and of the School as a learning environment. Please see the appropriate divisional Attire Policy (under the general rules and information tab) for more information.
Respect for property
We expect students to clean up after themselves, and to recycle and reuse as appropriate. We also expect students to respect the property of others and the school. ASL does not tolerate vandalism or theft of any kind, including borrowing items from others without prior consent.
We take ownership of our words and actions. We fulfill our obligations to ourselves and to others.
Responsible students attend classes regularly and on time. Please see the appropriate division’s Attendance Policy for more details.
Responsible students complete assignments in a timely manner and communicate with teachers as necessary regarding make-up work due to absence.
Responsible students are active and engaged in their own learning. We encourage and expect students to advocate for themselves, seeking help from teachers, advisors and other trusted adults when necessary. Communicating with teachers about deadlines or difficult assignments and seeking support for academic struggles can help students to make good choices under pressure.
Responsible students use technology appropriately. Our values and rules extend beyond face-to-face interactions to include online communication and social media. Students are expected to read, sign and abide by the school’s Responsible Use Agreement.
Responsible students abide by all UK laws. Students and families should familiarize themselves with UK law regarding illegal substances, harassment and hate speech, possession or sending of indecent images, and carrying and/or use of weapons.
We act with compassion. We help others.
Kindness is at the heart of ASL’s values and the expectations we have for all students, families and employees. We are a welcoming school with a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Kind students act with compassion and help others. Students should remember that ASL is a K-12 school and to respect every student and adult in the building. Students should be particularly respectful of K-12 shared spaces within and around the building where older students serve as role models for younger students. ASL students are ambassadors for their school and their families, and they are kind and respectful to those outside our school community as well.
We are honest. We make the right choice even when no one is watching.
Students at ASL act with integrity; they are honest with adults and peers and do the right thing whether or not anyone is watching. Lying, withholding information, and obstructing the truth are inconsistent with ASL’s values.
Students are to complete their own work and not take credit for the work of others. This is essential to students’ and teachers’ ability to work together to create an honest and trusting atmosphere. Students are expected to exhibit integrity in all facets of their studies. Additional information is available in the middle school handbook or online in the high school Rules, Policy, and Behavior section of the website.
Courage to Act
We have the courage to speak up for ourselves and for others.
We take positive action to make our community and world a better place.
If students observe behavior which is not in line with ASL’s values, we hope that they will take positive action. We encourage students to stand up for each other and themselves, which could include saying something in the moment, reporting the incident to an adult, and/or supporting those who have been impacted.
Overview of the Disciplinary Process
Most student infractions are addressed in the moment, by a faculty or staff member, when and where they occur. In responding to behavioral infractions, other adults, including advisors, administrators and/or parents/guardians may be included in the process as appropriate.
When more serious behavioral infractions occur, the School will use the following process to investigate and determine next steps.
First, there will be an initial assessment to determine the nature of the allegation(s), what information is available and what further information is needed, who might be at risk, and who should lead the investigation.
Second, the information gathering stage will take place, which could include interviewing and/or taking statements from students and/or adults as appropriate. Parents/guardians will be notified in due course as appropriate. The School reserves the right to interview students prior to notifying parents of disciplinary incidents. For the most serious (Level III, see table below) infractions, which may result in a suspension or expulsion, students will be supported during an interview by the presence of a teacher, advisor or counselor who will serve as an advocate for the student. Under some circumstances, students may be asked to remain out of school during an investigatory process.
Third, the consequence(s) for the infraction will be determined. In the Middle School, the divisional principal will make a decision about the outcome and consequences related to an investigation. In the High School, the Student Faculty Disciplinary Board (SFDB) will in most cases hold a hearing with students who have been found guilty of a violation after the administration has conducted an investigation. The SFDB does not itself conduct investigations or determine guilt or innocence. The SFDB makes recommendations to the HS administration as to appropriate consequences, following which the high school administration makes the final decision. Parents will be notified if a student is asked to appear before the SFDB. Please see the ASL website for more information on the purpose and work of the SFDB.
For the most serious discipline infractions, which could result in a student being asked to leave the School, a hearing will take place with the student and their parents/guardians and the relevant school administrator(s), including the Head of School. Prior to the hearing, the family will be made aware of the allegations and receive a written copy of the school’s evidence and be given time to respond. During the hearing, the Head of School will review the disciplinary process, findings, and possible consequences, and invite the student and their parents/guardians to give additional input or feedback. Following the hearing, the Head of School will make a decision about the appropriate sanction(s) for the student, which may include permanent expulsion. Following the Head of School’s decision, the family has the right to request an appeal in accordance with the guidelines of the 2014 Education Regulations for Independent School Standards. Full details of the Parental Complaints policy can be found on the ASL website in each of the three divisional Program areas.
Involvement of Outside Authorities
ASL will usually report to the police any activity which it believes may amount to a criminal activity which takes place either within the school grounds or outside of its grounds. Drugs and weapons found at school will be confiscated immediately and held for the police as potential evidence.
Sexual offences will generally be reported to the police immediately, including in cases where a student is suspected or alleged to have committed such an offence, provided a reasonable amount of evidence is available. The alleged victim’s parents/guardians will usually also be informed immediately of the incident and told that the police have been informed. Whether the victim and parents/guardians then speak to the police is a matter for them to decide.
Students and parents should feel comfortable approaching the school counselor about substance abuse issues. Dependency, addiction, and off-campus drug and alcohol use will be handled confidentially and as a counseling matter.
As a school, we try to do what is best for each student and the community at-large, and in doing so, the full circumstances of each situation will be considered. In dealing with disciplinary incidents, ASL considers a variety of factors including precedent, a student’s age, past record and standing at ASL, and any and all other circumstances related to the incident or individual of which we are aware and deem relevant. However, ASL must also take into consideration the safety of the wider community and the overall values of the School. The needs of an individual must therefore be reasonably balanced with the school’s responsibility to the community.
While student behavioral problems vary in frequency and degree of seriousness, and the corrective action must be a matter of judgment by the appropriate teacher or administrator, the tables below serve as a guide to ASL’s three general levels of behavioral infractions and possible consequences. For most lower level behavioral infractions the philosophy of discipline at ASL is to foster the notion of “learning from mistakes,” while more serious or repeated behavioral infractions would also result in more significant consequences. The list below gives examples and is not exhaustive.
Level I Behavioral Infractions
● Chewing gum (MS only)
● Disrupting others’ ability to learn or the school environment
● Attire Policy violation
● Inappropriate, profane, or derogatory language (this may also fall into the more serious category of harassment)
● Littering, and/or not cleaning up after yourself
● Not using a school ID card properly
● Being present in an unsupervised or prohibited location in the School
● Roughhousing, pushing or shoving
● Excessive tardiness
● Violation of classroom rules or other disruptive behavior
Level I infractions are usually handled in the moment through a conversation or redirection by faculty and staff. Consequences for minor infractions could include loss of privileges, assigned duties, a written reflection from the student, and/or parental/guardian notification. Students will make amends for their behavioral choices as appropriate.
Level II Behavioral Infractions
● Repeated behavior or extreme violation of Level I behavioral infractions
● Breach of academic integrity
● Destruction of school or personal property
● Disrespect, disobedience or defiance to any member of the faculty or staff
● Lying or other matters of honesty
● Technology policy violations
Level II infractions usually begin with a referral to an administrator and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. Consequences for Level II infractions could include but are not limited to those listed for Level I infractions, formal written warnings, lunch or after- school detention, exclusion from extracurricular activities and trips, in- or out-of-school suspension, and/or a meeting with parents/guardians. Students will make amends for their behavioral choices as appropriate.
Level III Behavioral Infractions
● Repeated behavior or extreme violation of Level I or Level II behavioral infractions
● Sexual misconduct, including any kind of solicitation or sending of inappropriate photos, materials, messaging, or social media content
● Endangering the welfare of other students
● Physical assault, including fighting, hitting, kicking, etc.
● Verbal abuse/threatening behavior against students or adults
● Malicious accusations against school staff
● Harassment, bullying (including through social media and other forms of cyber-bullying) and hazing
● Use of racist language or any form of racism no matter the stated intent
● Hate speech
● On-campus possession, use, or being under the influence of any illegal drug or banned substance, alcoholic beverage, e-cigarette, paraphernalia or intoxicant of any kind
● Transmission of any illegal drug or banned substance, alcoholic beverage, e-cigarette, paraphernalia or intoxicant of any kind
● On campus possession of a facsimile of any illegal drug or banned substance, alcoholic beverage, e-cigarette or paraphernalia
● Transmission of a facsimile of any illegal drug or banned substance, alcoholic beverage, e-cigarette or paraphernalia
● Possession or transmission of a firearm, knife, or dangerous instrument or weapon of any kind, regardless of intention for use, including replica (fake) weapons
● Violation of UK Law
Level III infractions begin with a referral to an administrator and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident. Decisions about the consequences for these most serious infractions are made by the divisional principal in consultation with the Head of School. Level III behavioral infractions will most often result in suspension or expulsion from school. Students will make amends for their behavioral choices as appropriate.
Approved by Board of Trustees, 13 March 2019
Statement of intent
We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our students so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all students should be able to talk to an adult they trust and know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
Definition of bullying
At ASL, bullying is defined as any type of verbal or physical abuse against another student, which is repeated and purposeful. The underlying purpose of this type of behavior is always to humiliate or hurt someone else. A bullied person is one who is repeatedly exposed to negative action by one or more persons. Bullying can include, but is not necessarily limited to the following categories and specific behaviors in person, online or on the phone: verbal bullying, threatening, social exclusion, physical bullying, vandalism, extortion or theft. Though it is not explicitly stated here, the School recognizes that in our modern age, many of these forms of bullying can take place electronically, either through email or online encounters or through texts and instant-messaging systems. See below for further descriptions of these categories and behaviors.
Why is it important to respond to bullying
Bullying hurts. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. Students who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving. Bystanders need to understand how they contribute to bullying. Schools have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying.
Objectives of this policy are:
- To assure the entire school community knows what the school policy is on bullying and what to do if it arises
- To make it clear that, as a school, we take bullying seriously, and to assure students and parents will be supported when bullying is reported
- To establish and maintain a clear norm that bullying will not be tolerated
- To provide students with prevention and intervention strategies to help them stay safe within school and in the community at large.
We expect anyone who knows that bullying is happening to tell a trusted adult in the School. This trusted adult will, in turn, seek solutions from the assistant principals, counselors or principals. Each division will determine individual responses and consequences of bullying based on the appropriate Code of Conduct.
Bullying categories and specific behaviors
- Name-calling, teasing
- Making fun of or being disrespectful of another person’s: a) physical characteristics, b) nationality, c) religion, d) color, e) size, f) sexual orientation, g) physical disabilities, h) family problems (i.e., divorce), i) ability to learn, or j) athletic ability
- Using inappropriate language (i.e., swearing)
- Spreading lies or rumors about a person
- Laughing at another’s misfortune
- Inciting others to fight or bully someone in any way
- Putting people down.
- Saying that someone will be beaten up if the person does not comply with the bully’s requests
- Using antagonistic language towards someone (i.e., saying things such as, “I don’t like the way you’re looking at me!”).
- Not allowing someone to play with or participate in your group
- Forming a circle or group on the playground or in the hallways so that another person cannot join in
- Speaking with a group so that one person is excluded either because of the language or slang being used by a group
- Ignoring a person
- Group pressure to isolate someone or exclude them as a friend
- Refusing to allow someone her/his place in a line or on a bus.
- Pushing or shoving someone, hitting someone, poking or jabbing someone with hands or fingers or objects such as pencils or sticks
- Grabbing someone’s clothes (i.e., taking off someone’s hat and throwing it down or giving it to someone else or grabbing a person’s clothes with the intent to tear them)
- Damaging someone’s books or locker
- Breaking someone’s pencils, pens or art supplies
- Writing on someone’s notebook or binder.
Extortion or theft
- Taking someone’s lunch money
- Taking someone else’s lunch
- Taking or hiding something that belongs to someone else.
Harassment, discrimination, bullying or hazing of any individual or group will not be tolerated. These are serious offenses, prohibited by ASL, as well as UK law.
Students are expected to be sensitive to the diversity of ASL’s community, and to be respectful of others. Students must exemplify ASL’s core values at all times, and they should act with compassion and thoughtfulness in all interactions with members of the school community.
Duty to report
ASL takes any form of harassment extremely seriously. All reports will be investigated. If in doubt, report.
Any student who feels victimized by harassment, discrimination, bullying or hazing, or who is concerned about such behavior, should reach out to any trusted adult, such as an advisor, counselor, teacher, dean or administrator, who will, in turn, report the complaint to the director of student life.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of every member of the school community to stand up and speak out on behalf of others. ASL works hard to provide a safe environment for all, and issues must be brought promptly to the school’s attention.
Finally, students are always encouraged to self-advocate, advocate for each other and say no without fear of retaliation.
There may be times when the alleged harassment involves ASL students but is alleged to have taken place off campus or online. There may also be incidents where some of the students concerned attend schools other than ASL. Nevertheless, the repercussions of off-campus or online incidents may be felt on campus and within the school community, and the School will investigate such incidents.
Harassment and Discrimination
- ASL is an anti-bias school
- Harassment is a form of discrimination where one’s conduct or behavior—as it relates to race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, physical or mental disability, national origin or ancestry—is personally offensive or threatening, impairs morale, or is so pervasive or severe that it has the purpose or effect of:
- Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment
- Interfering unreasonably with an individual’s academic performance
- Harassment can involve an individual or group
- Harassment can include but is not limited to physical, verbal, written, visual or electronic/online interactions, postings, pictures, advances or communications
- Individuals might act unintentionally in a manner that others experience as harassing or humiliating. Justifying such behavior as a prank or joke does not change its harassing nature. The intent cannot justify or excuse the impact.
- Racial harassment is where one’s conduct or behavior either through an isolated incident or repeated incidents is intended or is likely to intimidate, offend or harm an individual or group because of their ethnic origin, color, race, religion or nationality. Such behavior may include but is not limited to:
- Physical, verbal, written or electronic/online threats, insults, derogatory name-calling and racist jokes
- Displays, either physically or online, of racially offensive material
- Exclusion from normal conversation or activities
- Encouraging others to commit any such acts
- A racist incident is any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. Justifying such behavior as a prank or a joke does not change its harassing nature. The intent cannot justify or excuse the impact.
- Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, solicitations, requests for sexual favors or other verbal/physical/online conduct of a sexual nature or related to a person’s sex or sexual orientation, which has the purpose or result of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s performance or creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.
- Examples include but are not limited to:
- Verbal behavior: sexual comments or innuendo, such as: telling sexual stories, making lewd comments, making sexual or inappropriate remarks about clothes, body and appearance; calling someone sexualized names; sexual jokes, slurs or taunting
- Physical behavior, such as: deliberately brushing against someone; touching, patting or pinching; interfering with someone’s clothes
- Visual sexual harassment, including the creation of and/or display of derogatory pictures, cartoons, posters or drawings
- Online sexual harassment through means of electronic devices, including non-consensual sharing of sexual images and videos; sexualised online bullying; unwanted sexual comments, ratings and/or messages on social media; sexual exploitation; coercion and threats.
- Bullying is when a student or students are the target of negative actions intended to ridicule, harass, humiliate or intimidate, usually in the form of intentional, repeated, hurtful acts, words or other behaviors.
- Examples include but are not limited to:
- Intimidation, name calling or threats
- Social alienation or shunning
- Physical aggression
- Creation of a hostile or intimidating environment
- Any of the aforementioned actions perpetrated electronically or online
- Individuals might act unintentionally in a manner that others experience as bullying. Justifying such behavior as a prank or a joke does not change its bullying nature. The intent cannot justify or excuse the impact.
- Hazing is any conduct, coercion or intimidation intentionally used as a method of initiation into a group, organization, team or activity that is likely to cause embarrassment and/or endanger the physical or mental health of an individual, regardless of the individual’s willingness to participate.
- Examples include but are not limited to:
- The destruction or stealing of property
- Being physically mistreated
- Committing dangerous, painful or embarrassing acts
- Being deprived of sleep, food or hygiene
False accusations/Cooperation in investigation
- False accusations will be taken very seriously and can result in disciplinary action.
- All students are expected to cooperate and share pertinent or material information during school investigation.
- Failure to cooperate and/or falsifying information can result in disciplinary action.
- Retaliation against individuals who report harassment and/or cooperate in an investigation will not be tolerated.
- Retaliation will be treated as a form of bullying.
- Complaints of retaliation will be investigated and addressed separately from the original complaint.
UK Safeguarding and Harassment Laws
ASL has a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of our students. All of our policies are aligned with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018, Working Together to Safeguard Children, and Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges, May 2018.
Classroom learning experiences are a meaningful and essential part of a student’s education. Even when a student makes up work while out of school, the classroom experience simply cannot be replicated. In addition to students missing out on the opportunity to ask clarifying questions in class or discuss concepts with a classmate, absences also impact teachers who have to re-teach material and students in attendance who may miss out on collaboration with and contributions from their peers. Also, an absent student misses out on the social-emotional connections to their peers, teachers, and staff in the community, which can make re-entry increasingly difficult. ASL’s comprehensive attendance policy is based on the premise that students must be present at school to learn at their highest potential. Please note that in addition to classes, attendance is mandatory at advisory meetings, assemblies, grade-level meetings, and other events during the school day, such as Human Rights Symposium and Aequitas workshops.
For safety reasons, it’s imperative that the attendance office is notified if a student is not at school. Following the procedure below will help develop a sense of personal responsibility among students.
Parents should contact the attendance office before 9 am on the day of absence, 020 7449 1208 or HSattendance@asl.org. If necessary, the attendance office will contact parents after 9 am to establish the whereabouts of students who are not at school. If no contact is made between the family and the attendance office, an automated email will be sent out at the end of each day alerting parents and students that class absence(s) has been recorded as unexcused. Please note that all communication with regard to attendance should go directly to the attendance office, although if sending an email, we encourage parents to copy advisors and affected teachers as appropriate.
If a student believes there has been an error with regard to attendance in a class, they should contact the appropriate teacher immediately.
Leaving School Early
Students who need to leave school before the end of the day for an appointment should have a parent or guardian contact the attendance office by 9 am on the day of the proposed absence. Students should sign out at the attendance office prior to leaving. A student may not leave school early unless the attendance office has permission from a parent or guardian. This does not include students using open-campus privileges during breaks, lunch, or free periods.
We understand that there will be days when sickness or other special circumstances necessitate a student missing school. In certain cases—examples of which are listed below—absences will be excused by the School.
- Personal illness and recovery
- Family emergency
- Bereavement and funeral attendance
- Religious holidays
- Interviews or examinations for a new school or university
- University visits
- Visa/Passport renewal
- Graduation or wedding of an immediate family member
- Medical and dental appointments (please schedule these outside school hours when possible)
ASL realizes that many families enjoy taking advantage of the numerous travel opportunities that exist by virtue of the school’s location. Please note, however, that the School strongly discourages the extension of vacations and other recreational travel to include scheduled school days.
Any absence not covered by the list above will be considered unexcused; however, absences that fall into the excused categories above will also be recorded as unexcused if the attendance office is not notified in time by a parent/guardian. If students are to be absent from school, it is important to notify the attendance office before 9 am. On rare occasions when parents forget to call or email, it is important to inform the attendance office as soon as possible. After-the-fact reporting is permitted until midnight on the Sunday following the absence. If the absence satisfies the school’s criteria for excusal, then the absence will be recorded as excused.
Please note that for absences not reported to the attendance office by midnight on the Sunday following the absence, the recorded unexcused status will become permanent.
Medical letters or certificates are required for absences after three consecutive days of illness, for an ongoing illness that results in cumulative days of absences in a short time period, or for absences from PE owing to a medical restriction. Medical notes must be on official-headed paper; personal emails from a doctor will not be accepted. In general, families should always liaise with the school in cases of medical emergencies - we always stand ready to support students.
Absences not covered above will be deemed unexcused and include but are not limited to:
- Purposefully skipping school
- Missing school owing to oversleeping, poor planning, or forgetfulness
- Staying home to catch up on work or prepare for an assessment (Note: students who have an AP exam in the afternoon may take that morning off; students who have a morning AP exam may take that afternoon off)
- Any absences not reported by a parent/guardian by Sunday of each week (please note that absences cannot be retrospectively excused after this period)
Consequences for unexcused absences
For every class (including Advisory) a student misses that is deemed unexcused, students and parents will be sent an automatically generated email from Veracross, our student information system. Students are expected to immediately reach out to their teacher, find out what they missed, and make plans with their teacher to complete make-up work as soon as possible. At the discretion of the teacher and department head, classwork from unexcused absences may receive reduced credit or no credit at all.
The following consequences shall be incurred for unexcused absences:
- For every class a student misses which is not excused, the student will attend one After-School Study Hall.
- The study hall will take priority over any other school-related extracurricular activity a student might have on the day their study hall is scheduled.
- Any student who receives more than three unexcused absences in a semester will have their campus closed indefinitely and be required to attend a meeting with their parents and the Director of Student Life to discuss next steps.
- Further truancy could lead to more serious consequences, including but not limited to a family meeting with the principal and suspension.
The number of excused and unexcused class absences (with the exception of school trips) and tardies accrued by each student will be part of their permanent record.
Patterns of excessive absence (regardless of whether excused or unexcused) will be monitored and recorded throughout the year. The School will require an attendance review meeting with the student and parent/guardian, the dean, the advisor, and other personnel as appropriate to discuss an appropriate course of action when a student’s attendance record gives the School cause for concern. In accordance with UK law, the School is obligated to report excessive absences to Westminster Council.
A student who misses more than 6 class periods in a semester-long course and 12 class periods in a yearlong course may not receive credit in that course. When a student has reached 4 (semester)/8 (year) absences, an attendance review meeting will be set by the dean and a plan will be put in place. In the event that a student exceeds the 6 (semester)/12 (year) threshold, a second attendance review with the HS Principal and/or Assistant Principal will take place. At this point, the student risks losing credit and may need to repeat the course if it is a graduation requirement. Exemptions to this policy may be considered in exceptional cases by the administration.
These figures include both excused and unexcused absences, but exclude absences owing to school activities, such as AP exams, athletic competitions, drama or music performances, and school trips.
A student arriving less than 10 minutes late to class (5 minutes for Advisory) will be deemed tardy. A student arriving 10 or more minutes late (5 minutes for Advisory) will be deemed absent from class. Students should not leave class without permission from their teacher, and unnecessarily long breaks will result in consequences which could include After School Study Halls.
Patterns of tardies and/or those of significant duration (longer than just a few minutes) will also be monitored, and parents may be contacted to address excessive lateness.
Students arriving to class late should report to the attendance office (O-346) and sign in by scanning the QR code and by completing and submitting the online form, which is confirmed by their teacher when they get back to class. The attendance officer will adjust the attendance from “absent” to “tardy” if the student is less than 10 minutes late for a class period, or less than 5 minutes for Advisory. If the attendance office is unattended, students must still sign in using the QR code and form, then go directly to class.
- It is the responsibility of students to ensure that they are present and prepared for the beginning of each class. If a student arrives to class after attendance is taken, they must go immediately to the attendance office to have their attendance adjusted.
- Students who are taking tests in SLD must check in with their classroom teacher at the start of the period so that the correct attendance can be recorded.
- PE students must go directly to the locker rooms at the beginning of class, where they are then given five minutes to change into their PE uniform. Students who are late to the meeting point will receive a tardy. On days when a PE class travels off-campus, students who miss the bus for PE will be given an unexcused absence and must check in immediately with the attendance office, after which they will be instructed to go to the library.
Consequences for excessive tardies
- After a student’s third unexcused tardy in a given week, the student will attend one After School Study Hall the following week.
- The study hall will take priority over any other school-related extracurricular activity a student might have on that day.
- Any student who receives more than ten unexcused tardies in a semester will have their campus closed indefinitely and be required to attend a meeting with their parents and the Director of Student Life to discuss next steps. Further tardies in a quarter could lead to more serious consequences.
- Tardy counts will reset back to zero at the conclusion of each semester.
Students who are absent from more than two classes in one school day, regardless of whether the absences are excused or unexcused, may not participate in extracurricular/athletic activities (including practices, games, rehearsals, competitions, and performances) on that day. The attendance office will run reports during the last block of each day and notify the appropriate personnel if any student-athletes are ineligible for participation that day, although students are expected to monitor their own eligibility on a day-to-day basis. Students with excessive class absences may have their participation in extracurricular/athletic activities suspended indefinitely.
Alternatives & Music Tour
Participation in Alternatives and Music Tour is mandatory. All students are expected to participate in the Alternatives or Music Tour programs, including group meetings, half-day excursions, and the four-day/three-night spring trips. Both programs are a fundamental part of the school’s culture and learning. Additionally, great time and care were taken to place a diverse mix of students in each experience. A student who misses any portion of the experience upsets this balance and can potentially leave students without a roommate or friend from their grade on their trip. Completed Alternatives trips will be recorded on each student’s transcript.
Assessments & assignments
Coming to school late or leaving early does not exempt students from due dates. If a student arrives late to school and misses an assessment or the chance to turn in an assignment earlier in the day, they should see their teacher that same day to turn in the assignment or arrange to take the assessment later that day.
If students are in school for any period of time on assessment days or days when assignments are due, they are responsible for taking their assessment(s), turning in the assignment(s), or meeting with their teacher if there is a complication. The same procedure should be followed if a student is temporarily ill during the school day and misses an assessment or an assignment that’s due while in the nurse’s office. Students should not miss class when there is work due or an assessment to take and then attend the rest of school. Patterns of unexcused or excused absences on assessment or assignment due days will be monitored closely and any concern in this area will result in a meeting with the student, parents, and appropriate school personnel for further discussion.
Absence from any class for the purpose of preparing or studying for another class is not permitted and is considered unexcused.
Students are encouraged to email teachers and/or look online for assignments when absent from school. Students returning after an excused absence will be given sufficient time to complete missed work. Typically, the work missed should be made up within an equal number of school days that were missed. Students with an excessive amount of make-up work after an absence should talk with their teacher(s) to determine next best steps and/or consult with their advisor for help and to determine whether an extension on certain assignments is necessary. Advisors and teachers will work together with students to come up with make-up deadlines that are fair and appropriate. Students will be required to adhere to these new deadlines as they would an original due date. Failure to make up work within the agreed-upon timeline may result in consequences including, but not limited to, reduced or no credit, after-school study hall, and closed campus.
When students are too ill to attend school for multiple days, they should email their teachers (copying their advisor) and arrange when possible for a peer to receive notes or pass on assignments from their respective classes. In more severe instances, the advisor or dean will meet with the family to discuss the impact on learning while ill and devise a plan for making up work and school re-entry. Please remember that a medical note is needed to excuse any absence owing to an illness of more than three days in length.
In the event that a long-term illness causes a student to exceed the maximum number of allowable absences in any given class, the School will work together with the family to determine an appropriate course of action. This may include the opportunity to make up enough work to avoid receiving an incomplete in affected courses, a leave of absence, or the student retaking a course the following year. Please see the Office of Student Advising academic policies on medical exemptions and waivers.
When a student takes part in an authorized school project or field trip that conflicts with the class schedule, the student must ensure that the teachers of the missed classes are aware in advance of the planned absence. Attendance on the field trip or involvement in a school project is dependent on the agreement of the advisor and the teachers that the student can afford to miss class(es) and has the time to make up any work assigned while away.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, which sometimes lead to the opportunity to travel on day and even overnight trips. While we support these experiences, we’re aware of the burden they can put on students as they try to balance travel and classwork. Thus, there may be times when the School does not allow a student to participate on an ASL-sponsored trip. Students are encouraged to identify these opportunities well ahead of time and work with their teachers, advisor, and dean to make sure they are in good academic standing so they can participate.
Students must follow the pre-arranged absence procedure (see below) a week before departure on all ASL-sponsored trips. ASL reserves the right to suspend a student’s participation in a pre-scheduled activity/trip if this process is not completed. Please note that ISSTs and robotics competitions do not require pre-arranged absences for students.
Pre-arranged absence procedure
In certain cases, including scheduled medical appointments and school-related trips, performances, or competitions in which students know that they will be absent ahead of time for more than half a day of school, the pre-arranged absence procedure must be followed. This process, outlined below, needs to be completed no later than one week before the absence begins.
- The adult responsible for the absence should notify the attendance office via email. If this is a school-sponsored trip, this will come internally from an ASL faculty member. If the absence is not school-related, then a parent should email the attendance office, HSattendance@asl.org, with a note explaining the reason, dates, and times of the absence, copying in the student’s advisor, dean, and affected teachers.
- The student will then request an electronic pre-arranged absence form from the attendance office. For a personal absence, this form will only be given to the student if the attendance office has received an email from the parent regarding the absence (see step 1).
- The student will then forward the pre-arranged absence form submission to their teachers, requesting details of any work they are expected to miss.
Following the pre-arranged absence procedure is ultimately the responsibility of the student. This process helps students, parents, teachers, advisors, and deans manage these absences in a way that minimizes the impact on all involved. Failure to follow this procedure in a thorough and timely manner may result in reclassifying the absence as unexcused, not allowing the student to miss school (in the case of a school-sponsored trip), and in some cases, the denial of such a request in the future.
Teacher not present in class
In the unlikely event that a teacher is not present at the start of the class owing to unforeseen circumstances, the following procedure should be followed:
- Students must remain in the classroom.
- One nominated student should go to the nearest occupied classroom and inform the teacher that their classroom is unattended.
- The same nominated student should then go directly to the HS office and speak to either the attendance officer, an HS administrative assistant, or any of the administration team to notify them of the teacher’s absence.
Open campus policy
The High School has a flexible schedule that provides for unstructured time for students in Grades 9-12. Students are expected to organize their unscheduled time effectively. The High School extends open-campus privileges (based on the schedule below) to students who do not have a scheduled class, activity or meeting at the time. Students may leave campus, if time permits, as long as they exhibit acceptable behavior while off campus and return promptly for their next commitment.
Students must carry their ASL ID to leave and return to school. Students who do not have their ID may be denied the privilege of open campus. Students may not miss a class, an advisory, a class meeting, or an assembly to go off campus unless they have been given special permission to do so.
Students are not chaperoned by adults when leaving school during open campus, and the School is not responsible for their safety and whereabouts when they leave campus during these times. At the beginning of each academic year, the High School, in collaboration with ASL’s security team, briefs all students on how to navigate safely the community and its surrounding neighborhoods. If a high school student feels s/he is not ready for this privilege or would like more structure, s/he can contact the director of student life and request a personalized open/closed campus policy to best meet his/her needs.
Each grade is awarded open-campus privileges at different times throughout the year. Every student’s campus is closed on the first day of school, after which campus is opened in adherence to the schedule below:
Open campus start dates
Grade 12 Second day of school
Grade 11 Second day of school
Grade 10 At the conclusion of October Break
Grade 9 At the beginning of semester 2
While many students prefer to stay on campus during their free time, a significant number of students enjoy getting off campus for a break. Most students walk to the high street or around the corner for something to eat or drink, but some students travel further, occasionally using public transportation. Because this is free time for the students, we do not restrict the distance or locations they may travel during this time, but we do expect them to be back on campus in time for their next scheduled class or activity.
Arriving late & leaving early
Students with open campus who begin the day with a free period are permitted to sleep in and come to school later in the morning, provided they arrive in time for advisory, assembly, or their first class, whichever comes first. Students may leave school early if they end the day with a free period. Students with closed campus who begin the day with a free period may also sleep in and come to school later in the morning, provided they arrive in time for advisory, assembly, a class meeting, or their first class, whichever comes first. However, students with closed campus must stay on campus until the end of the school day, even if they end the day with a free period.
Please remember that the High School reserves the right to close a student’s campus at any time. A student’s campus might be closed in an effort to provide structure and help someone who is struggling academically, or as a consequence for other actions. If you have any questions, please contact the director of student life.
Students are expected to make responsible choices regarding dress, including dressing neatly and appropriately. Clothing that is inappropriate or distracting is not acceptable. Examples of inappropriate clothing include T-shirts or any other item of clothing or jewelry that makes reference to anything that is illegal, possibly offensive, or carries a crude slogan; or attire that may cause injury or damage to the wearer or others. Students are expected to wear shoes at all times.
Respect for ASL’s learning environment, as well as teachers and peers, is exhibited through maintaining academic integrity. Because the ASL community believes that the learning process is dependent upon academic honesty, students and teachers must work together to create an honest and trusting atmosphere. Communicating with teachers about deadlines or difficult assignments and seeking aid during academic struggles can help students avoid making poor choices that may get them in trouble. Students are responsible for exhibiting integrity in all facets of their studies, including but not limited to:
- Conducting all group work in an appropriate manner, ensuring individual integrity within a collaborative project
- Exhibiting appropriate test-taking conduct
- Completing daily assignments, including homework
- Seeking clarity about expectations, procedures and processes.
Teachers set guidelines as to what is expected regarding classroom procedures or processes. Students are responsible for making sure that they fully understand and comply with what is expected of them.
Cheating may involve giving or receiving unauthorized assistance or using unauthorized materials during a test or assignment; receiving assistance from another student or an adult without acknowledgment of the assistance; copying parts of or an entire assignment; and collaboration with another student, unless authorized to do so by the teacher. It is subject to a teacher’s discretion whether a student’s work violates the guidelines set forth for the class. In addition, use of internet translators as a substitute for a student’s own work in language study is considered academic dishonesty.
Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s ideas, words or information without proper citation, as if they were one’s own. Ideas, words or information are not restricted to written text, but include images and material from oral interviews, lectures or discussions.
High School Student Responsible Use Agreement
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is the electronic means of capturing, processing, storing and communicating information. The primary purpose of ICT at the American School in London is to support and enhance learning. Although limited personal use is authorized, the primary function of ASL’s ICT resources is to support learning, consistent with the ethos and curriculum of ASL.
In using ASL ICT resources, I accept the following statements:
Respect and protect myself
- I will take responsibility for my actions when posting or viewing online information and images.
- I will use appropriate online etiquette and represent myself as an ASL ambassador.
- I will use my assigned school account(s) only and will use strong, secure and unique passwords.
- I will change the password to my school account(s) at least once a year.
- I will not reveal private information about myself with any online service or person.
- I will follow school and ASL procedures and behavior standards.
- I will not access inappropriate material.
- I will be responsible for backing up my data regularly.
- I will not use VPN (virtual private network) services to access the internet when I am at school and connected to the ASL network.
Respect and protect others
- I will not degrade or defame others.
- I will not reveal private or personal information of other individuals with any online service or person.
- I will obtain permission of individual(s) before sharing photographs, video or any information about them.
- I will obtain permission from individuals before sharing commonly created electronic data.
- I will not forward inappropriate materials or communications.
- I will not attempt to gain access to any parts of the network or to files and data that I am not authorized to use.
Respect and protect intellectual property
- I will follow copyright laws and fair-use guidelines.
- I will learn and use citation and proper attribution correctly.
- I will respect information owned by ASL.
- I will not install or distribute pirated software.
Respect and protect property
- I will take full responsibility for, and respectfully use, any digital resources available to me within ASL.
- I will report abuse of digital resources to a school administrator.
- I will report security or network problems to a school administrator.
- I will not use ASL ICT resources for personal entertainment during the instructional time in class.
- I will not use ASL ICT resources for commercial or personal financial gain.
- I will not use ASL ICT resources for transmission, use or storage of inappropriate material such as political propaganda, threats, personal abuse, obscene materials, spam, viruses or any other harmful files.
Students may bring personal technology to school for learning purposes. When using personal technology at ASL, all of the above conditions apply, in addition to the following:
- I will turn off all peer-to-peer (music/video/file-sharing) software or web-hosting services on my technology.
- I understand that security, care, connectivity and maintenance of my technology is my responsibility.
- I understand that I am fully responsible for my ICT resources while at school.
- I understand that ASL is not responsible for the loss, theft or damage of my ICT resources.
- I understand that all electronic communications on the ASL network, including school email and internet access, can be monitored when necessary.
The ASL network logs capture the username, site address visited, and timestamp for devices connected to the network. The logs are used to enforce our web-filtering rules for sites on allowed and blocked lists. ASL uses various web filtering and content monitoring platforms to scan students' school files and communications on G Suite as well as their internet activity for signs of serious issues.
The use of ICT at ASL is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use may result in a cancellation of those privileges. Based upon the terms in this agreement, the TILM (Technology, Information, Literacy and Media) department in collaboration with the HS administration will determine inappropriate use. Student accounts may be closed at any time without warning if such use is determined. In addition, the ASL administration may request the system administrators to deny, revoke or suspend specific user accounts.
- Only post entries, comments and other digital messages you would be proud for anyone to see.
- Be open to the ideas of others. If you disagree, use polite language to explain why.
- Get permission before recording someone (still photo, audio, video) at school, home or on school transport.
- Follow your teacher’s instructions.
- Use your blog for learning.
- Write in full sentences. Pay attention to spelling and punctuation.
- Use only first names in your posts.
- Protect your privacy - don’t include your phone number, address, or schedule in posts.
- Get permission before you post information or pictures of others.
- Treat others online the way you like to be treated.
- Use kind language in your digital messages.
- Make sure your work is your own.
- Get permission before you using images or video from the web.
- Give credit for the words, pictures and ideas of others.
- If you use information or pictures from other web pages, include a link to that page.
Courage to act
- Follow Core Values when you post from home.
- If you see unkind or inappropriate posts or comments, tell a grown up.
- Stand up to bullies. Let a teacher or adult know if someone is being mistreated.
High school guidelines
ASL encourages High School Students to create a positive digital footprint for their High School years and into their adult lives. The opportunity to create a name for oneself online is a wonderful one and can serve to highlight the projects, writing and high-level thinking of our students, creating an online portfolio of quality work. These are some guidelines for school-related work to be published online:
- In creating work online, it is important to distinguish between personal and official web publishing. Remember that material created for classwork or school-related affiliations should consider the audience carefully. References to The American School in London should be consistent with the ASL guidelines. You may wish to distinguish your accounts for personal use and school use.
- Remember that when you post your work online, you have a global audience. This is both exciting and puts a lot of responsibility on you to represent yourself well. Write in a formal manner and do some serious editing before posting work.
- Be careful about information you provide about yourself and others, including locations and activities. You may use a handle for your name or first name for online posts; but be careful not to reveal too much information about yourself.
- Give credit where credit is due. If the content you’re putting online isn’t your own, make sure to cite your sources, even if it is only via a link to the original source. For images and video, you should have the owner’s permission, or if the material is from Creative Commons, make sure to follow the guidelines of the particular resource.
- Be aware of providing metadata when you post online, especially in geo-location information from photos you’ve taken with an Internet-connected device, such as a smartphone or tablet. This can provide more information than you intended for your audience.
- When commenting or responding to another person online, remember to treat them with the same respect you would provide a person when face-to-face. Write respectfully, honestly and with consideration at all times.
- Be respectful of other people’s privacy, as well as your own. Remember to seek permission to include photos or video of anyone else in your online work, even if it’s your own family.
- Photos, videos, and other media captured for school use must not be repurposed and used in a context other than for school and education purposes.
- All use of online and computer-based systems should align with the HS Code of Conduct and ASL Core Values.
After-school study hall is a supervised, after-school class environment, where students work quietly. Student may be assigned study hall or they may elect to attend voluntarily. On the day it is assigned, study hall takes priority for students over any extracurricular activities (athletics, clubs, activities, community action programs, etc).
Study hall runs five days a week in O-345, from 3:15 to 4:45 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 2:30 to 4 pm on Wednesday.
Students can voluntarily attend study hall, or they can be assigned for one of the following reasons:
- As a behavioral consequence for late or missing assignments. This is structured time designed to hold students accountable to finish their work.
- To take make-up assessments as necessary.
- As a behavioral consequence for attendance infractions such as unexcused absences and excessive tardies.
The processes through which students might be required to attend and are ultimately assigned to study hall depend on the situation and are listed below.
- Teachers will notify students when they are required to go to study hall.
- Students will be assigned to study hall the following day (i.e., if a student misses an assignment Monday, they are assigned to Tuesday afternoon study hall).
- If a student hands in the completed work by the end of lunch on the day of the assigned study hall, the teacher can amend the form to notify the study hall proctor that the work is complete and that the student does not need to attend study hall on that day.
- Students can be assigned study hall every day until the missing work is complete.
- Teachers will notify students when they are required to go to study hall.
- The study hall proctor will administer the assessment and return it to the teacher when completed.
- Students will be assigned one study hall for each unexcused tardy they have per week in excess of two, or for each cumulative unexcused tardy they have in a semester in excess of 10.
- The HS attendance officer will email any student who crosses the aforementioned thresholds at the beginning of the following week, with instructions on when their study hall(s) will take place.
Assigned study hall sessions take priority over other extracurriculars or afternoon school commitments a student might have. Students are responsible for communicating with their parents/guardian, coaches, activity leaders, etc., if they need to attend a study hall session, causing them miss an extracurricular commitment.
Students are assigned to study hall for the entirety of the period. When students complete missing work, they must stay and work on other homework until study hall concludes for the day. Students are expected to attend study hall when assigned and will be assigned closed campus for a week following any study hall absences, in addition to making up the study hall as soon as possible.