MVLA > Los Altos High School > About LAHS > School Policies

School Policies


  Attendance and Tardy Policy
    Reporting Absences
    Attendance Definitions
    Calling In and Excusing Absences
    Emergency Information
    Grading Policy
    Assignment to Alternative Programs
  School Rules
    Audio/Electronic Devices (radios, beepers, pagers, etc.)
    LAHS Cell Phone Policy
    Books/School-Issued Materials
    Dance Regulations
    Drug & Alcohol Policies 
    Food in Class
    Off-Limit Areas
    Skateboards, Roller Skates/Blades, and Mopeds
    Thrown Objects (Frisbee, balls, etc.)
    Drug-Free Schools
    Disciplinary Actions
    Mandatory Expulsion
    Tobacco-Free Environment
    Sex Education
    Student Activities Transportation

Attendance and Tardy Policy 

Absences (TOP OF PAGE)

An “unexcused absence” is an absence in excess of a 30-minute period occurring in a given class.  Students may not exceed 14 absences across their entire schedule. A full day, unexcused absence counts as 5, 6, or 7 absences; depending on how many classes a student carries toward the total of 14.  On the 15th unexcused absence, students may be referred to an alternative educational program/site pursuant to the District’s involuntary transfer policy (AR/OP 5113).

Points to Remember:

  1. Unexcused absences will be counted across a student’s entire schedule.
  2. Parents and students will receive telephone calls and mailed warnings as absences accumulate.
  3. At the 10th unexcused period absence, there will be a mandatory parent conference with the student’s Assistant Principal.  The conference will be scheduled to occur the morning after the family is contacted by the school.
  4. At the student/parent conference, consequences for continued cutting are discussed and the student is assigned Saturday School.  An attendance contract will also be signed at this meeting.  Failure to attend Saturday School may result in transfer to an alternative educational program/site.
  5. Students may receive a failing grade (“F”) in a class if they accumulate 6 or more unexcused absences in a given class.  Prior to assigning a student a failing grade, the student or student’s parent will be given a reasonable opportunity to explain the absences.
  6. Students are not entitled to make up assignments and tests missed due to unexcused absences or to receive credit for such work when it is made up.

Tardies (TOP OF PAGE)

Students may not exceed 19 unexcused tardies across their entire schedule.  On the 20th unexcused tardy, students may be referred to an alternative educational program/site pursuant to the District’s involuntary transfer policy.

Points to Remember:

  1. Unexcused tardies will be counted across a student’s entire schedule.  An unexcused tardy is absence from class from when the bell rings until up to 30 minutes of a class period.
  2. At the 15th unexcused tardy, there will be a mandatory parent conference with the student’s Assistant Principal.  This conference will be scheduled to occur the morning after the family is contacted by the school.
  3. At the student/parent conference, consequences for continued tardiness are discussed and the student is assigned to Saturday School.  An attendance contract will also be signed at this meeting.  Failure to attend Saturday School may result in transfer to an alternative educational program/site.

Reporting Absences (TOP OF PAGE)

Parents are required to call the attendance office the day their student is absent as early as possible or within 2 school days of an absence, at the latest.  When parents do not call within 2 school days, the absences are counted as unexcusedAbsences will not be cleared after 48 hours. We will not accept late phone calls.  We do not accept notes.  Parents must call the attendance office.  Messages may also be left in Spanish and Vietnamese.

(650) 941–2761.......... 24 Hour Attendance Line
(650) 960–8832..................... Attendance Office

Please call Lori Ilano, attendance clerk, at 960-8832 if you have any questions concerning attendance. For more assistance, your assistant principal is assigned by your student’s last name:

Perla Pasallo               A-G    960-8822
Galen Rosenberg        H-O    960-8814
Cristy Dawson            P-Z     960-8875

Students leaving campus for appointments during their regular class periods must check out through the attendance office. Please call in advance to excuse these appointments. Students who become ill or injured while at school are required to go to the attendance office so parents can be notified.

Attendance Definitions (TOP OF PAGE)

Excused - Illness, quarantine, health appointments (medical, dental, and optometry), religious holiday observances, death in the immediate family or serving on jury duty are the only legal reasons to be absent from school.  School-initiated activities that cause a student to miss a class are also considered “excused absences.”

Unexcused - “Cuts” or other absences not classified as excused in the paragraph above are designated as “unexcused absences.”  Unexcused absences will be counted across a student’s entire schedule; e.g. if a student has one unexcused absence in second period, two in third, and one in sixth, that equals four unexcused absences.

Truant - A truant is defined as any student who is absent from school without a valid excuse for three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than any 30 minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof.  (Ed. Code 48260) A truant will be reported to the Associate Superintendent in charge of Educational Services. 

Upon a student’s initial classification as a truant, the District will notify the student’s parent or guardian of the following:

  1. Student is a truant
  2. Parent or guardian is obligated to compel the attendance of the student at school
  3. Parents or guardians who fail to meet this obligation may be guilty of an infraction and subject to prosecution
  4. Alternative educational programs are available in the District
  5. Parent or guardian has the right to meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss solutions to the student’s truancy
  6. Student/parent may be subject to prosecution
  7. Student may be subject to suspension, restriction or delay of driving privileges
  8. It is recommended that parent or guardian accompany the student to the school and attend classes with the student for one day.

Any student who has been reported as a truant and who is again absent from school without valid excuse one or more days, or tardy, or absent from class for more than 30 minutes on one or more days, will again be reported as a truant to the Associate Superintendent in charge of Educational Services. 

Any student is deemed a habitual truant who has been reported as a truant three or more times per school year, as long as an appropriate district officer or employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with a parent or guardian or the student and the student himself, after the filing of the reports.

Grade Penalty – Students may receive a failing grade in a class if they accumulate 15 or more unexcused absences in that class.

Calling In and Excusing Absences (TOP OF PAGE)

Parents are required to call the attendance office the day their student is absent.  When parents do not call within 2 school days, the absences are counted as unexcused.  We will not accept late phone calls.  We do not accept notes.  Parents must call the attendance office.  Messages may also be left in Spanish and Vietnamese.  Calls can be made 24 hours a day to (650) 941-2761.

Emergency Information (TOP OF PAGE)

The emergency information sheet is required when a student registers at LAHS. It is important to provide all requested information on this sheet. A current emergency information sheet for each student must be on file in the attendance office. Please report any changes in the emergency information to Lori Ilano at 960–8832 immediately.  It is essential that updated emergency sheets be kept on file in the attendance office.

Illness (TOP OF PAGE)

Students who are ill are encouraged to stay home. Students who become too ill to continue classroom activities must report to the attendance office. The student’s parent or guardian will be notified and will be expected to make appropriate arrangements for the student to leave the campus. It is critical that all emergency numbers be kept up-to-date in the event of student illness or emergency.

Grading Policy (TOP OF PAGE)

Each teacher has an established written grading policy. Students will be informed of the grading policy for each course through the course information sheet that is distributed to students on the first day of class.

Quarter grades reflect students’ progress to date. Semester grades include second and fourth quarter grades and are the official grades that appear on the transcript. Transcripts follow a standard grading system: A, B, C, D, F, P (pass-credit) or I (incomplete).

Progress reports are issued mid-way through each of the four academic quarters.

Students are not entitled to make up assignments and tests missed due to unexcused absences. Excessive unexcused absences may lead to a failing grade in the class in which the absences occurred.

If an absence is excused, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the teacher outside of class and make up missed work within the number of days that he/she was absent.

Assignment to Alternative Programs (TOP OF PAGE)

Students may be transferred to an alternative program under the following conditions:

  1. Credit Deficiency: A student who is more than 20 units behind in earning credits toward graduation may be assigned to an appropriate alternative program. A credit deficiency of 15 units together with a GPA lower than 2.0 may also result in transfer to an alternative program. (Board Policy 6182, AR 6184).

    To be  "on target" for graduation, students must have accumulated:
    =>   55 credits at the end of their Ninth grade year
    => 110 credits at the end of their Sophomore year
    => 160 credits at the end of their Junior year

  2. Violation of the district’s attendance policy (outlined above).

  3. Violation of Education Code 48900 Serious infractions of school rules and regulations, as well as expulsions, will result in a transfer to a Community School for expelled students and those with serious behavior problems.

Note: Students who have lost credit in class because of attendance are expected to make up credit in summer school.

Students’ Rights

If a student disagrees with an action taken by a teacher or school official, he/she should first comply with the request and then discuss the matter after class with the teacher. If the issue is not resolved, the student should follow these steps:

1.   Involve parent
2.   Involve counselor
3.   Speak with an assistant principal
4.   Appeal to the principal
5.   Appeal to the district administration  

School Rules (TOP OF PAGE)

Students are expected to be courteous, responsible, and to obey all school/district rules. The following is an abbreviated list of school rules:

Audio/Electronic Devices (radios, beepers, pagers, etc.) (TOP OF PAGE)

Students are not allowed to bring walkie-talkies, pagers, CD players, or Walkmans to school.  Portable and Walkman-type radios are not allowed on campus because they distract from the educational process.  Use of any of these devices during the school day will result in confiscation until the end of the school year.

LAHS Cell Phone Policy (TOP OF PAGE)

Having a cell phone on campus is a privilege not a right.  Therefore, any misuse of a cell phone may cause the phone to be taken away from the student.  If a phone is taken away from a student, it will be turned in to the attendance office and the student’s Assistant Principal will be notified. The first time a student’s cell phone is taken away, students will receive a warning and they may bring a parent in to the office to retrieve their phone after school. On the second offense, the cell phone will be held until the end of the school year. Cell phones must be turned off during “class time” (7:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.). Students may use their cell phones before and after school and during brunch and lunch.  The school is NOT responsible for the loss of a cell phone.  Students are responsible for their personal property.

Behavior (TOP OF PAGE)

Disruption of class is unacceptable. Disruptive, insubordinate, or rude behavior is not permitted at any time and may result in suspension.

Bicycles (TOP OF PAGE)

Students electing to ride bicycles to school are required to observe the following rules:

Walk bicycles on campus.
Provide individual lock and chain
Lock them in the bike cage or on a bicycle rack.
Bicycles locked to trees or poles will be removed.

LAHS assumes no liability in case of theft or vandalism.

Books/School-Issued Materials (TOP OF PAGE)

Required textbooks and/or other materials will be issued to students before school according to the textbook check- out schedule.  Students are responsible for the care and condition of the textbooks/ clothing/equipment assigned. If any item is lost or stolen, the student will be required to pay the replacement cost.  If damaged, charges will be assessed.  Students with outstanding obligations will not receive schedules at the beginning of the year and they will not be eligible for extra curricular activities (e.g. dances). Students must turn in their books at the end of the second semester finals to clear their accounts.

Cheating (TOP OF PAGE)

Honesty, trust and integrity are vital components of the education process.  As such, cheating is a serious offense.  Anyone who copies another's work or turns in someone else's ideas as his or her own has engaged in cheating. 

Collaboration with another student or students could be considered cheating if students are expected to complete an assignment independently.  Teachers have a responsibility to proctor tests carefully and to explain to students when collaboration is and is not appropriate on assignments completed inside and outside of class.

Examples of cheating include:
1.  Copying homework.
2.   Allowing someone else to copy your work.
3.   Plagiarism (passing off another’s ideas, writing, etc. as one's own).
4.   Copying from another's exams.
5.   Improperly obtaining and/or using tests, questions, or keys.
6.   Using unauthorized notes/materials.

First Offense:  Zero on assignment or test, contact with parent and student’s A.P. by teacher, and possible suspension from the class for the day of the suspension and the day following.

Second Offense:  A second offense is another cheating incident in any class during the remainder of the student’s career at LAHS.  They will receive a zero on the assignment or test, be removed from class with no chance for re-enrollment and face a possible suspension from school.  The student will be given the option of making up that class in summer school or through independent study.

Dance Regulations (TOP OF PAGE)

Dances are open only to current LAHS students. If a student wishes to invite a guest, a guest pass must be completed. Guest passes are available in the bookkeeper’s office. If students leave the dance, they may not return to the dance. We are committed to providing a safe and drug-free environment at our school dances, and will continue to use the Breathalyzer at dances.

Drug & Alcohol Policies  (TOP OF PAGE)

One of the major responsibilities of Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District is to protect the health and safety of students in its charge. The position of the district is that the use and abuse of controlled substances, commonly called drugs and alcohol, are not only against the law, but harmful to the individual, fellow students, the school community, and eventually to society.

The district subscribes to and supports the state and national program for drug-free schools. It is the district's intent to keep its schools free of the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol and from the harmful effects that such substances have on the lives of students. In those instances when use and abuse do occur, the schools will take the prescribed disciplinary action. Concurrently, assistance will be offered to students and parents through intervention programs.

Co-curricular activities include, but are not limited to, interscholastic athletes, rally committee, school music groups, drama and dance performance, elected positions (ASB, class officers, etc.) and other activities in which students are representing the school as an
organized group. Students in these activities are defined as going to and from school, while on campus, during brunch or lunch whether on or off campus, school activities on or off campus, and going to or coming from these activities.

The purposes of the Co-curricular Drug and Alcohol Policy are to provide participants with a healthy, safe environment to assist them in obeying the law; to encourage them to take responsible, effective control of their lives; and to take steps to promote, enhance and
maintain a drug-free co-curricular program.

Students participating in co-curricular activities shall not use, possess, or be under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Prior to participating in a co-curricular activity, students shall sign an agreement to be drug and alcohol free. The parents or guardians will also sign, indicating that both the student and the parent understand the policy and that they accept the consequences, if it is violated. The school will be responsible for the application and enforcement of this policy while the student is at school, at school activities and at other times when the school authorities are informed of and can substantiate violations. In each case, an appropriate follow up shall be made.

Participants in co-curricular activities who violate the drug and alcohol policy will be subject to co-curricular disciplinary action in addition to action delineated by existing district policies - Education Code 51260:

Possession or Use of Alcohol or Illegal drugs

  1. When any student uses or possesses alcohol or illegal drugs at school or while under school jurisdiction, the following shall result:

  1. Parent Guardian Contact.

  2. One - to five-day suspension.

  3. Referred to law enforcement authority within one school day of the suspension.

  4. Restriction from school activities.

  1. In addition, the following action may be taken:

  1. Recommendation of expulsion.

  2. Referral to an appropriate community counseling program with the expectation that at least one counseling session will be held during the time of suspension.

  3. Transfer/Alternative Placement.

FIRST OFFENSE: The student will be suspended from the team or activity for one contest or one week. The student and the parent(s) will meet with the coach, or director and the Assistant Principal/Attendance and Discipline, if necessary, to determine the conditions of reinstatement. Enrollment and participation in an approved intervention counseling or education program may be accepted as an alternative to suspension. In this case, a time schedule for attendance and completion will be agreed upon. Responsibility for submitting verification of participation rests with the student. Failure to comply will result in reinstatement of the suspension for at least twice the original time.

SECOND OFFENSE: Any second offense will result in suspension from the team for the remainder of the season for athletes or the semester for those in other activities. A student who is suspended for a season or semester under this policy may not participate again in co-curricular activities until she/he completes a substance abuse program as outlined in the First Offense. Any subsequent offense will require a conference, including the student, the parent, the advisor/coach and a school, to establish a program of appropriate action.

SELF-REFERRAL: Students who voluntarily self-refer to the school's intervention program will not be suspended from participation in their activity unless otherwise determined by the conference required in the First Offense.

VERIFICATION OF VIOLATION: Rumors cannot be a basis for restricting student participation unless they are discussed with the student and substantiated by the coach and/or advisors and administration.

Graffiti/Tagging (TOP OF PAGE)

Any graffiti or tagging that leaves damage on a surface or object resulting in a need to be replaced, sandblasted, painted, chemically treated, or otherwise removed in order to restore the surface to its previous condition, regardless of the cost or the damage, will be subject to the following disciplinary consequences:

First Offense: Three to five day suspension, five hours of school/community service, and/or consideration for expulsion depending on severity and referral to law enforcement.
Second Offense: Five-day suspension, alternative placement at another site or expulsion from the district and consideration for referral to law enforcement.

Food in Class (TOP OF PAGE)

Eating and/or drinking are not allowed in the library, offices, gymnasiums, or classrooms without teacher permission and supervision.

Language (TOP OF PAGE)

Students will not abuse or offend others through words, writings, or actions.

Lockers (TOP OF PAGE)

School officials have the right to open and inspect any school locker without student permission when there is reasonable suspicion that a search will disclose evidence of illegal possessions or activity, or if students’ health, welfare or safety is in jeopardy. LAHS assumes no liability in case of theft or vandalism.

Off-Limit Areas (TOP OF PAGE)

These areas include all parking lots.  Students are not to congregate or loiter around classrooms or other areas when classes are in session.

Skateboards, Roller Skates/Blades, and Mopeds (TOP OF PAGE)

Riding skateboards, roller skates/blades, and/or mopeds is prohibited on school grounds. LAHS assumes not liability in case of theft or vandalism.

Thrown Objects (Frisbee, balls, etc.) (TOP OF PAGE)

No objects should be thrown in the quad or around any buildings where they may land on the roof, break windows or possibly injure someone. 

Drug-Free Schools (TOP OF PAGE)

Through the cooperation between Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District and the Mountain View and Los Altos Police Departments, we are committed to combating substance use and abuse among young people in our community. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life in our community and to promote awareness and education between adults and young people. As a result of the understanding between the police departments and the school district, school officials and police officers are required to take action in any case involving substance use on or near campuses or at school functions. Depending upon the frequency of violations, the following may occur:

Suspension from school
Notification of the local police department
Suspension or expulsion from co-curricular activities
Community service
Referral to a social service agency to complete a substance abuse program
And/or expulsion from school

Disciplinary Actions (TOP OF PAGE)

Any student who disrupts instruction may be suspended by his/her teacher from that class for the day of the suspension and the next day. Continued disruption of class may lead to suspension from school by the administration. Certain acts are considered serious enough that the student may be suspended from school immediately, the police may be involved, and expulsion may result.

When disciplinary action is taken and the student is suspended from school, the student may not participate in or observe school activities for the duration of the suspension. In addition to suspension from school, the following actions may be taken by the administration:

Work on campus
Detention before or after school
Monetary reimbursement for willful acts such as theft, vandalism, or damage to property.

Behaviors Leading to School Suspension and Possible School Expulsion
These acts are considered so serious that the student may be suspended from school immediately; the police may be involved and expulsion may result:

Fighting causing, attempting to cause, or threatening to cause physical injury to another person.
using, providing, selling, or being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or controlled substance or intoxicant.
or attempting to cause damage to school or private property.
, attempting to steal, or receiving stolen school or private property.
or use of tobacco or product containing tobacco or nicotine.
obscene acts or engaging in habitual profanity or vulgarity.
, offering, arranging or negotiating to sell any drug paraphernalia.
of school activities, disrespect/defiance of valid authority of school personnel in the performance of their duties.
Sexual harassment
Hate violence
, retaliation or intimidation of a witness.
Terroristic threats
Hostile educational environment
Gang related activity
, threats or intimidation.
of an imitation firearm.
of an electronic signaling device.

Mandatory Expulsion (TOP OF PAGE)

The following acts make a recommendation for expulsion from the school district mandatory:

Possessing, selling, furnishing a firearm.
Brandishing a knife or weapon.
Selling a controlled substance.
Committing or attempting to commit sexual assault or battery.

The acts listed below require a recommendation for expulsion, unless the principal deems that special circumstances render the recommendation inappropriate:

Causing serious physical injury.
Possession of any knife, explosive or other dangerous object.
Unlawful possession of any controlled substance.
Robbery or extortion.
Assault or battery.

Student Violence & Reporting Requirements
The school will not tolerate student threats, acts of violence, or jokes of violence. The welfare of our students requires that the school be notified immediately of potential security risks. You must immediately notify your principal, teacher of other school employee:

When a person is acting in a suspicious manner in or around the school.
When you know, suspect, or have heard that an individual has a weapon or dangerous object at school.
When you know, suspect, or have heard of any violent or potentially violent incidents, threats, jokes of threats or violence, or concerns of a risk for violence or other disturbance.

When you believe the school is otherwise not secure or safe.The school will investigate and discipline students who breach this policy, up to and including suspension and/or expulsion. A student’s failure to report any possible risk will be viewed as a defiance of the school’s valid authority under education Code 48900(k) and will result in student discipline against the student who failed to report, including but not limited to, suspension, expulsion, and/or police referral as a possible accomplice

Tobacco-Free Environment (TOP OF PAGE)

The school district is committed to a healthy and comfortable learning and working environment for students, staff and community members. Therefore, the Board of Trustees established a tobacco-free environment that prohibits the use of tobacco products on all school district property including school buildings, grounds, school-owned vehicles and at all school-sponsored events off campus.

Sex Education (TOP OF PAGE)

Issues dealing with sex education, venereal disease and AIDS are included in appropriate courses and AIDS Awareness Week. Upon written request, your student shall be excused from these activities when these topics are discussed. All written and audio-visual materials to be used in these courses are available for you to review (EC 51550, 51820).

Transportation (TOP OF PAGE)

Students are responsible for finding transportation to and from school. The district will provide a bus pass for the public transit system only to those students: (1) whose residences are two or more miles from the school of attendance, and (2) who qualify for the program based on household income. In order to participate in the program, a student must submit an application. Applications are available in the bookkeeper’s office. If you have questions regarding how to qualify for the bus pass, please contact the bookkeeper, Karen McHugh at 960–8828.

Monthly youth passes are for riders between the ages of 5 and 17 years and may be purchased at:

Longs Drug, 1041 El Monte/El Camino Rl. 

Student Activities Transportation (TOP OF PAGE)

The district has a $100.00 extracurricular participation contribution for each program that requires bus transportation. This $100.00 contribution must be paid prior to participation in all sports and performances (i.e. band), which require transportation. This fee becomes part of the annual bill clearance process for students involved in such designated programs.

If a student is unable to pay the contribution, the family may submit a confidential fee waiver form to the principal. Each request must include a statement of need that will be reviewed by the principal. Fee waiver forms are available in the Athletic Office or in the main office.

Students are not allowed to ride with other students to or from any school-sponsored activity.