Handbooks & Policies

Is your handbook a sword or a shield? Handbooks are legal terra firma when it comes to defending disciplinary decisions, terminations and separations. How are you keeping up with an ever-changing world of legal precedent, technology advances, and changes in societal norms? Do your handbooks resemble a patchwork quilt with mismatched terminology and incongruity between student and employee handbooks?

COS matches mission and tradition with best practices. We can comb through all your policies to overhaul an entire handbook — or we can modernize a single policy. Our process is more than just providing words on a page. We believe in collaborating with those responsible for various aspects of the handbooks, releases, forms and risk management to ensure confidence with new practices and procedures.

COS experts have worked on polices and handbooks for over 3000 institutions over 30 years. We are steeped in knowledge, practice and understand how to help implement new expectations within a wide array of communities.

How can we help?

Case Study

Faced with a student disciplinary issue, a school had long relied on its excellent relationship with the local law enforcement to address discipline that was also against criminal laws. However, the victim and her parents did not want to have the male student face possible jail time as a result of the reported sexual assault. The male student had already had other female students complain about his interactions with them, but no one had been willing to officially make a report to the school. The school faced potential liability should the male student sexually assault a student in the future but had no policy in place whereby they could move ahead in their investigation to be able to make their own finding.

COS Solution

COS worked with the school and the families to address the current situation. Next we updated the Family and Employee Handbooks to address this situation going forward.

OUTCOME: The school administration feels solid in making its own disciplinary decisions about the fit of a student within their community, regardless of the willingness of a victim to provide formal testimony.

“I must say that I do sleep better at night knowing that our handbooks will protect us around every corner. THANK YOU!”

Head of School

Masters School, NY

COS MODEL FORMS

  • Residence Life/Overnight Care Room Inspection (Health and Wellness) Checklist
  • Residence Hall Staff Guidelines and Agreement
  • Overnight Travel Risk Management Checklist for Supervisors
  • Overnight Trips/Care Health and Wellness Checklist
  • Overnight Trips/Care Inspection Notice

Could you use our help? Try these questions.

  1. Are you consistent in your disciplinary treatment of off campus drinking and off campus cyber-bullying by students – both as stated in your School Handbook as well as in practice?  
  2. Do you use a preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, a more likely than not standard, or a beyond a reasonable double standard for addressing allegations of policy violations by students and/or employees?
  3. Is the definition of sexual misconduct in your handbook a match to the definition of sexual misconduct taught in your health classes?

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Campus Outreach Services © 2020