Middle School Rules Your Child Should Know

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It doesn't matter where your child attends middle school, the school will undoubtedly have a code of conduct, and a list of student behavior expectations that your child will be expected to follow. Many schools spell out their rules and regulations at the school orientation or open house, but it's also possible that your child's school will spell out expectations in the student/parent handbook.

Whatever your school's particulars, it's up to you and your student to understand what the school demands of every student. Below is a list of likely expectations your child will have to follow.

The Dress Code

Just about every school adheres to a dress code, and these codes will vary widely from school to school. Many private (and some public) schools require school uniforms, and those uniforms may be very casual (khakis and polos) or formal (jacket and tie). Public schools that require uniforms are generally very casual, and the clothes can be purchased either online, through the school or at local stores.

Schools that don't require uniforms may put other limitations on clothing. Skirts may have to be below the knee, spaghetti straps may not be allowed, and clothing with vulgar or obscene images may also be prohibited.

In addition, schools may send students home if they're caught wearing clothing that is associated with gangs, prevents a hazard to the wearer, or could cause a disturbance at school.


All students will be required to follow behavior rules. Action may be taken against your child if he or she engages in disruptive conduct if he or she threatens or intimidates teachers or bus drivers, if he or she uses profane or obscene language, or if he or she participates in vandalism or defies school personnel. In addition, your child will be held accountable for academic behavior, including finishing homework assignments, staying up-to-date on assignments when he or she misses school, and refraining from cheating or allowing another student to cheat off of his or her work.

Many middle schools also have honor codes that students must follow. Your child may be required to take an oath that his or her work is their own, that they answer questions honestly and that they adhere to any other important codes of conduct that the school requires.

Forbidden Items

It's important to know what is and is not allowed on school premises. Of course, weaponry is not allowed, but schools may also forbid students to have drugs, including prescription drugs or over the counter drugs, on their person or in their locker. Fireworks, cigarettes, alcohol and other items will also be forbidden and confiscated. In some cases, schools may prohibit certain electronic devices, including cell phones, or personal game players.


Every school or school district will have a limit on the number of tardies or school absences that a student can have in the course of a year. Of course, exceptions can be made for certain circumstances, such as an extended illness.

Be sure you know how many tardies or unexcused absences are allowed before you allow your child to play hooky or plan an extended family vacation during the school year.

If your child has excessive absences, that might prevent him or her from exempting out of exams, playing on a school team, or even participating in a field trip adventure.


Bullying has received a lot of attention in the media in recent years, and rightfully so. If your child's school doesn't have a bullying policy, it should. Bullying behavior includes physical, verbal or emotional abuse, cyberbullying, name-calling, taunts, insults, and threats. How your child's school deals with bullying will likely depend on the specifics of each case, but if you suspect your tween has become the victim of school bullying, it's important to know what you can do as a parent and to demand action on behalf of your child.

If your child is behaving aggressively towards another student, you should attempt to curb the behavior as soon as possible before you find your tween in trouble with the school, other parents, and even you.

Illegal Activity

It should go without saying, but schools have to make it clear to parents and students that certain behaviors are not allowed on school property, at any time. Obvious violations would include selling illegal substances, gambling, theft, gang activity, and sexual harassment.

1 Source
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  1. National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. School Discipline Laws & Regulations by State & Category.

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.