Last Reviewed by State Dept of Education: 12/1/2012
Contact us with corrections or additions Montana Last Updated: 6/16/2014
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Curriculum and Instruction
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Health Education
     Last Updated: 10/29/2013

Mandates: In Montana, elementary, middle/junior high, and high school students are required to take health enhancement courses per standards for school accreditation outlined in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.54.2501 (2001). State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.905 (2013) requires high school students to complete 1 unit of health enhancement, with one-half unit each year, for two years. (Note: In the Montana School Accreditation Standards, the traditional disciplines of ‘health education’ and ‘physical education’ are combined into one content area called Health Enhancement. Simply put, Health Enhancement is a health outcome approach (rather than a performance outcome approach) that uses the combination of classroom and activity-based instruction to mutually reinforce the content mater in each of the two disciplines.)

Curriculum Content: With State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.54.7010-7073 (1999), the State Board adopted the Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards for grade levels (by end of grade 4, 8 and 12). The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum.

State Assessment Requirement: None.

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Physical Education
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

Mandates: In Montana, elementary, middle/junior high, and high school students are required to take health enhancement courses per standards for school accreditation outlined in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.54.2501 (2000). State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.905 (2000) requires 1 unit of health enhancement, with one-half unit each year, for two years in high school and 1/2 unit each year for middle school students.  A "unit" is equal to 225 minutes per week. (Note: In the Montana School Accreditation Standards, the traditional disciplines of 'health education' and 'physical education' are combined into one content area called Health Enhancement. Simply put, Health Enhancement is a health outcome approach (rather than a performance outcome approach) that uses the combination of classroom and activity-based instruction to mutually reinforce the content mater in each of the two disciplines.)

Exemptions: None.

Curriculum Content: With State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.54.7010-7073 (1999), the State Board adopted the Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards for grade levels (by end of grade 4, 8 and 12). The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum.

Physical Fitness Assessment: None.

Asthma Awareness Education
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

Not specifically required.

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Emotional, Social, and Mental Health Education
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.1301 (2001) requires schools to adopt a Health Enhancement (HE) Program, which combines the health and physical education disciplines to address the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual dimensions of a healthy lifestyle. State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.1302 (1989) requires every student participate in these programs, and State Board of Education Administrative Rule 10.55.1003 (2003) requires HE Programs be provided at every grade level.

Benchmarks for HE Program Content 1 are set forth in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.54.7011 (1999) for the end of 4th grade, 10.54.7012 (1999) for the end of 8th grade, and 10.54.7013 (1999) upon graduation, which include stress management.

Character Education: Not specifically required.

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HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Mandate: The Montana State Board of Public Education's Position Statement on HIV/AIDS (1999) says that, "All Montana school districts are strongly encouraged to develop appropriate communicable disease policies that specifically include HIV and AIDS, and which address age-appropriate education, rights and accommodations of students and staff who are infected, and safety procedures." The Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Montana School Boards Association have jointly published "Communicable Diseases: Model Policies and Procedures for HIV Education, Infected Students and Staff, and Work Site Safety" (2003) that contains specific policy language for local school districts to consider.

Curriculum Content: HIV prevention, though not STD or pregnancy prevention, is addressed in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.54.7011, 7012, and 7013 (1999) through the benchmarks for the Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards (1999) for students at the end of grades 4, 8, and 12. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum for such instruction.

Parental Approval: No state policy: exemption requests are a local district prerogative.

Montana does not provide state funds for school-related HIV, STD, or teen pregnancy prevention activities.

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Nutrition Education
     Last Updated: 3/10/2010

State Board of Education Administrative Rule 10.54.7013 (1999) establishes the benchmark for health enhancement content standard 1 for a student upon graduation as having the ability to develop personal health enhancing strategies that encompasses nutrition.

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Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Education
     Last Updated: 9/16/2010

Alcohol: The Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards (1999) for grade levels 4, 8 and 12 requires "comprehensive health" to include components of alcohol prevention. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum.

Tobacco: The Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards for grade levels 4, 8 and 12 requires "comprehensive health" to include components of tobacco use prevention. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum.

Drugs: The Health Enhancement K-12 Content and Performance Standards for grade levels 4, 8 and 12 requires "comprehensive health" to include components of drug prevention. The state does not require schools to follow a specific curriculum.

MCA 44-2-702 (1991) creates the Montana drug abuse resistance education program, funded by the drug abuse resistance education trust fund account per MCA 44-2-701 (1991), which funds "services and activities operated by nonprofit, private, community-based educational and service organizations, units of local government, or school districts if those services and activities relate solely to the development, enhancement, and expansion of drug abuse resistance education in Montana".

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Injury and Violence Prevention Education
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Local districts are encouraged to establish and maintain a firearms safety education course according to MCA 20-7-132 (1997). The district may adopt a course of instruction developed by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks, a law enforcement agency, or a firearms association.

Bullying/Harassment: No state policy that specifically addresses bullying. However, the teaching of the causes of interpersonal conflict and conflict resolution are addressed in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.54.7087 (1999) for grade 4 and 10.54.7092 (1999) for grade 8.

Fighting/Gangs: State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.54.7061 (1999), 10.54.7062 (1999), and 10.54.7063 (1999) establish grade level benchmarks for Health Enhancement Program content, which includes for all grades the teaching of non-violent strategies to resolve conflicts. The teaching of the causes of interpersonal conflict and conflict resolution are also addressed in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.54.7087 for grade 4 and 10.54.7092 for grade 8.

Suicide and Other Self-Abuse Prevention: No state policy.

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Staff
Requirements for All Educators Regarding Health Education
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Professional Development: No state policy; however, the State Board of Public Education unofficially recommends professional development in the areas of violence and gang prevention, bullying, harassment, and hazing prevention, and suicide prevention when meeting the professional development requirements laid out in Administrative Rule 10.16.3135 (2000).

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Requirements for Health Educators
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service requirement: The minimum requirement for prospective health teachers in elementary and middle grades prior to licensure is a bachelor's degree, with no additional coursework in health. For prospective health teachers in high school, a candidate is required to minor in health, in addition to a bachelor's degree. The specific details of licensure are outlined in State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules Chapter 10, Title 57 (2002).

MCA 20-25-603 (2009) requires that all education degree students must have successfully completed a course in health education to include drug and alcohol education and abuse prior to being awarded the degree."

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for Physical Educators
     Last Updated: 6/10/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for School Nurses
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: No state policy. State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.501 (2002) does require a teaching license for the appropriate level of education if nurses are teaching in a classroom setting.

Professional Development: No state policy. State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.501 does require nurses who are teaching in a classroom setting to undergo the same professional development as a regular teacher.

Student-to-Nurse Ratio: None specified.

Requirements for Non-Certified Personnel to Administer Medication
     Last Updated: 6/18/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for School Counselors
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: A Class 6 Specialist License is required for all school counselors. A master's degree in school counseling (K-12) or a master's degree with an equivalent graduate school level counseling content along with a supervised internship and at least 600 hours in a school setting are required for licensure per State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.435 (2002).

Professional Development: For license renewal, a minimum of four additional graduate credits must be earned as stipulated by State Board of Public Education Administrative Rules 10.57.215 (2003) and 10.57.433 (2002).

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.55.710 (2002) requires one counselor for every 400 students at all grade levels.

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Requirements for School Psychologists
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: A Class 6 Specialist License is required for all school psychologists. A master's degree in school psychology or credentials as a nationally certified school psychologist is required for licensure per State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.434 (2002).

Professional Development: For license renewal, a minimum of four additional graduate credits or 60 hours of approved professional development activities must be earned as stipulated by State Board of  Public Education Administrative Rules 10.57.215 (2003) and 10.57.433 (2002).

Student-to-Psychologist Ratio: None specified.

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Requirements for School Social Workers
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Pre-service Requirement: In order to practice in Montana, including providing services in schools, a social worker must be licensed by the Montana Board of Social Work Examiners and Professional Counselors. ARM 24.291.504 and MCA 37-22-301 detail the licensure requirements for social workers. State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.501 (2002) requires a teaching license for the appropriate level of education if they are teaching in a classroom setting.

Professional Development: No state policy. State Board of Public Education Administrative Rule 10.57.501 does require social workers teaching in a classroom setting to undergo the same professional development as a regular teacher.

Student-to-Social Worker Ratio: None specified.

Requirements for Food Service Personnel
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

Pre-service Requirement: None specified. However foodservice professionals are encouraged to be certified by the School Nutrition Association for their specific position. Foodservice professionals can find out information on certification at this link. While there are no state food safety training requirements, school foodservice managers/directors are strongly encouraged to take the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe (8 hour course) upon hire and every five years to keep updated on food safety practices and as a first step to implementing the USDA meal regulation of implementing a HACCP plan.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Requirements for Athletic Coaches
     Last Updated: 7/21/2008

Pre-service Requirement: None specified.

Professional Development: None specified.

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Health Promoting Environment
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Wellness Policies
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Additional Accountability Requirements: None

Additional Content Requirements: None

Guidance Materials: The Office of Public Instruction provides links to established policies and models on its website.

Other: The State Board of Public Education adopted a position statement encouraging districts to adopt and implement local wellness policies.

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School Meals Program
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

Food Services: MCA 20-10-201 to 20-10-208 describes in detail the requirements for providing school food services. The Board of Public Instruction adopted a position statement (2005) encouraging all Montana schools to adopt a school wellness policy. Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 (2003) also urges districts to offer nutritious food and beverage choices whenever possible.

Adequate Time to Eat:   No state policy. However, the Montana Office of Public Instruction encourages schools to create pleasant and positive mealtimes through implementing a recess before lunch schedule and allowing adequate time to eat. State developed resources can be found at the following links: Recess before lunch – www.opi.mt.gov/recessbeforelunch and pleasant mealtimes – www.opi.mt.gov/pleasantmealtimes

School Breakfast
: No state policy.

Food Allergies: No state policy. 

Farm-to-School: No state policy.

 

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Competitive Foods in School
     Last Updated: 6/16/2014

No state policy.

 

Fundraising Exemptions:

As of July 1, 2014, all fundraisers must meet USDA's Smart Snacks standards.

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Physical Activity Other Than Physical Education
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

General Physical Activity Requirement:  Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 (2003) urges districts to provide opportunities for physical activity whenever possible.

Recess or Physical Activity Breaks: No state recommending or requiring recess.

Recess Before Lunch: The Montana Office of Public Instruction encourages schools to adopt a recess before lunch policy. Extensive resources, information and marketing and implementation materials and have been developed to support schools in this effort. 

Walking/Biking to School: No state policy.

Organized Sports
     Last Updated: 12/31/2013

Interscholastic Athletics: No state policy.

Concussion and Sports-Related Head Injury: SB 0112 (2013) requires each school district in the state that offers organized youth athletic activities to adopt policies and procedures to inform athletic trainers, coaches, officials, youth athletes, and parents or guardians of the nature and risk of brain injuries, including the effects of continuing to play after a concussion. The policies must be consistent with CDC guidance. The policy requires that a youth athlete’s parent or guardian must annually sign and return a form documenting the receipt of educational materials as described in the policy. School districts must ensure access to a training program as described in the policy. Each coach, athletic trainer and official participating in organized youth athletic activities must complete the training program at least once a school year. The policy also requires an athletic trainer, coach or official to remove a youth athlete from participation in any organized youth athletic activity at the time they exhibit signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion. Once removed from play, they may not return to the activity until they no longer exhibit signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion, and receive an evaluation and written clearance from a licensed health care provider. Requirements for the clearance are outlined in the policy.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED): No state policy.

Safe and Drug-Free Schools
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

Fighting/Gangs: MCA 20-4-302 (1991) gives authority to a person employed or engaged by a school district to use physical restraint, defined as the placing of hands on a pupil in a manner that is reasonable and necessary to quell a disturbance or protect a pupil or others from harm. MCA 45-8-404 (1997) gives additional sentencing penalties of two to four years for criminal street gang-related felonies when committed on the grounds of or within 1,000 feet of public school grounds while class or school-related activities are in session or when minors are using the facilities.

Weapons: MCA 45-8-351 (2011) grants local government the power to prevent the carrying of weapons in schools and firearms by minors. MCA 20-5-202 (2009) requires local districts to adopt a policy requiring a student to be expelled for is determined to have brought a firearm to school and to refer the matter to local law enforcement. MCA  45-8-361 (1999) states the penalties and allows for seizing of weapons found in school buildings, and MCA 20-4-302 allows school employees to use physical restraint to obtain possession of a weapon or other dangerous object on the person of the pupil or within control of the pupil.

Drugs and Alcohol: No state policy.

Collaboration with Law Enforcement: MCA 20-5-202 (2009) requires local districts to adopt a policy requiring a student to be expelled for is determined to have brought a firearm to school and to refer the matter to local law enforcement.

Bullying, Harassment and Hazing
     Last Updated: 12/17/2012

Bullying/Harassment: Administrative Rule 10.55.701 requires local school boards to have policy designed to address bullying, intimidation, and harassment of students and school personnel (2006). The policy must be in writing and available to the public. (2013).  Administrative Rule 10.55.801 requires local school boards to develop policies and procedures promote an awareness of and concern for the well-being of others, and address bullying, intimidation, and harassment of students and school personnel (2013). 

Administrative Rule 10.55.1003 requires that all programs within a school system provide physically, emotionally, and educationally safe and supportive learning and working environments, including environments free from bullying, intimidation and harassment, and ensure an educational climate that promotes academic freedom and respect for diversity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, economic status, native language, disability, special gift and talent).  

Cyberbullying: Although not specific to schools, Code 48.8.213 does prohibit harassment via electronic means.

Hazing: No state policy.

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Crisis Management/Emergency Response
     Last Updated: 11/9/2010

Response and Management Plans: Montana has a recommended crisis management response protocol, which includes the involvement of the Office of Public Instruction's Crisis Management Team to work with schools in the case of a crisis.

Reporting Incidents of Violence: Per federal requirements, public schools are required to use the school discipline reporting manual and worksheet as a standard method in Montana public schools for reporting incidents of violence.

Tobacco Use
     Last Updated: 11/27/2011

MCA 20-1-220 (2005) prohibit the use of tobacco products in a public school building or on school property.

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Air Quality
     Last Updated: 11/27/2011

Montana does not have a specific policy addressing indoor air quality in schools. However, MCA 50-1-206 (1977) does mandate the department of health to adopt regulations setting requirements for school sites concerning the health and physical well-being of pupils, teachers, and others visiting the school.

Pesticide Use
     Last Updated: 9/16/2010

MCA 80-8-404 (1993) requires the department of agriculture to develop a model school integrated pest management safety program that includes information on pests, environmental concerns, and recommendations for protecting school children from exposure to pesticides and the potential acute and chronic health effects. Further, MCA 80-8-107 (1997) requires school building operators to post notices of pesticide application at each access to the room.

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Playground/Facility Safety
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

No state policy.

Shared Use Agreements
     Last Updated: 4/14/2013

Codes 20-7-801-20-7-805 (2011) authorize school districts to expend funds to acquire, equip, and maintain land, buildings, and other recreation facilities in order to operate a program of public recreation and playgrounds. School districts may operate the program independently; cooperate with any other body including a city, town, or board of park commissioners, to conduct such a program and in any manner upon which they may mutually agree; or delegate the operation to another board operating or proposing to operate a program independently or with any cooperating bodies in such manner as they agree.

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Student Services
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Screening for Health Conditions
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Administrative Rule 37.111.825 recommends recommends that students be evaluated by registered professional nurses or other appropriately qualified health professionals on a periodic basis in order to identify those health problems which have the potential for interfering with learning, including:(a) assessment of student's health and developmental status; (b) vision screening; (c) hearing screening;(d) scoliosis screening; (e) chemical and alcohol abuse;(f) nutritional screening; and (g) dental screening.

Vision and Hearing:  Administrative Rule 37.111.825 recommends recommends that students be evaluated by registered professional nurses or other appropriately qualified health professionals on a periodic basis in order to identify those health problems which have the potential for interfering with learning, including hearing and vision screening.
 
Chronic Health Conditions: No state policy.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Screening: No state policy.

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Administration of Medications
     Last Updated: 10/11/2013

Staff Administration: Board of Nursing Rule 24.159.1616 allows a nurse to delegate administration of medication in schools. The medications are limited to the types of medicine outlined in the rule.

Self-Administration of Asthma Medication: MCA 20-5-420 (2005) requires schools to permit pupils with asthma to self-administer medication provided that parents given written authorization for the self-administration of medication, the physician provides a written statement, and that documentation of the student's ability to self-administer has filed. The student may possess and administer the medication while at school,  at a school-sponsored activity, while under the supervision of school personnel, while in before or after school activities and while in transit to school or other school-sponsored activities. The law further ensures that the school district and its employees are not liable for any injury resulting from the self-administration of medication by a student.

Self-Administration of Asthma Medication
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MCA 20-5-420 (2005) requires schools to permit pupils with anaphylaxis to self-administer medication provided that parents given written authorization for the self-administration of medication, the physician provides a written statement, and that documentation of the student's ability to self-administer has filed. The student may possess and administer the medication while at school,  at a school-sponsored activity, while under the supervision of school personnel, while in before or after school activities and while in transit to school or other school-sponsored activities. The law ensures that the school district and its employees are not liable for any injury resulting from the self-administration of medication by a student.

Psychotropic Medications: No state policy.

Storage and Record-keeping: No state policy.

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Counseling and Mental Health Services
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

Requirement to Provide Services: Administrative Rule 10.55.1901 (2001) sets standards for all schools which counseling and mental health services to provide a comprehensive program that meets stated standards for delivery of services. In addition, the IDEA (34CFR300) and Montana rules ARM 10.16.3007-3904 require school districts to provide counseling and mental health services to students with disabilities when the need for such services has been determined by the student’s Individual Education Program team. Additionally, Administrative Rule 37-106-1955 allows mental health centers to enter into contracts with school districts to provide Comprehensive School and Community Treatment (CSCT) services to students and families in the school setting.

Identification of Students with Mental or Emotional Disorders: The IDEA and Montana regulations cited above require schools to evaluate and identify students with disabilities, including students with emotional disabilities. MCA 20-7-403 (2005) does require the superintendent of public instruction to establish procedures to be used by school district personnel in identifying a child with a disability. MCA 20-7-414 (2005) then requires the school district to determine which children require special education and the type needed. For students without disabilities, there are no specific regulations that require schools to seek the identification of students with mental disorders, but the CSCT regulations do encourage schools to actively participate with the mental health centers to identify and provide service to students with mental health issues.

Substance Abuse: No state policy.

Suicide Prevention: No state policy.

HIV, STD, and Pregnancy Testing and Counseling: No state policy.

Immunity of Liability: No state policy.
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Immunization
     Last Updated: 5/18/2011

Detailed, current information about immunization requirements by state is maintained by the National Network for Immunization Information.  Select your state from the drop down box under Search for State Vaccine Requirements for School Entry."

Exemptions: Administrative Rule 37.114.715 (2005) allows for medical exemption from immunization requirements.  A person seeking to attend school (or their parent or guardian) must submit a written and signed statement from any physician that an immunization is medically contraindicated.  The statement must include which specific immunization is contraindicated, the period of time it is contraindicated and the reasons for medical contraindication.  Administrative Rule 37.114.716 (2005) allows for religious exemption from immunization requirements.  A person seeking to attend school (or their parent, guardian, responsible adult or emancipated minor) must submit a signed, written statement indicating that the proposed immunization interferes with the free exercise of the religious beliefs of the person signing the statement.  A claim of exemption from immunization requirements on religious grounds must be maintained on a form provided by the department and provided to the school prior to each school year by the parent, guardian or responsible adult of the pupil for whom a religious exemption is claimed.  If a pupil is 18 years of age or older or emancipated, the pupil may claim his or her own exemption.

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Accommodation
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Staff with HIV
     Last Updated: 3/10/2010

Montana has no mandatory state law or administrative rule that addresses staff with HIV. However, the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Montana School Boards Association have jointly published Communicable Diseases: Model Policies and Procedures for HIV Education, Infected Students and Staff, and Work Site Safety" that contains policy language for local school districts to consider.

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Students with HIV
     Last Updated: 3/10/2010

Montana has no mandatory state law or administrative rule that addresses students with HIV. However, the Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Montana School Boards Association have jointly published Communicable Diseases: Model Policies and Procedures for HIV Education, Infected Students and Staff, and Work Site Safety" that contains policy language for local school districts to consider.

Pregnant or Parenting Students
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

No state policy.

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Individual Health Plan for Students
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

MCA 20-7-402 (2005) requires child study teams to identify disabilities and include them in an individualized education program. Administrative Rule 10.16.3018 (2007) and MCA 20-7-401 (2011) also define other health impairments" under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act to include a child with a chronic or acute health problem and requires a medical diagnosis of the health problem.

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Coordination/ Implementation
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Coordinating or Advisory Councils
     Last Updated: 12/19/2012

State-level: The state does not mandate the formation of a school health coordinating or advisory council. However Montana has a Healthy Schools committee made up of key agency/organizations that meets routinely.

Local-level: No state policy.

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School Health Program Coordinators
     Last Updated: 8/18/2008

State-level: No state policy.

Local-level: No state policy.

Confidentiality
     Last Updated: 3/10/2010

Student Health-Related Records: Appendix D of the Montana School Accreditation Standards & Procedures Manual (2001) states that a student's cumulative record includes the student's health records, and that such records must be handled in compliance with FERPA. Appendix D also requires each school district or educational agency to adopt an education records policy that meets the standards of FERPA.

Student Health-Related Services: No state policy.

Limitations on Student Surveys
     Last Updated: 1/22/2006

Montana does not have a policy limiting the number of student surveys, although Montana officials report that there is a working agreement among the State Education Agency (SEA), the State Health Agency (SHA), and schools that the SEA and SHA will not conduct more than one statewide student survey per academic year. Montana complies with federal FERPA and PPRA requirements concerning survey content and process.

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