Standards of Conduct
Updated July 2014
SECTION I — LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL LAWS
If a student is arrested or if it is reliably confirmed that the student has acted illegally, program sponsorship will be revoked, resulting in early return as soon as legally possible to the home country at the expense of the student’s parents with no refund of program fees. The student is bound by all local, state, and federal laws whether included in the Standards of Conduct or not.
- Drinking of alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, is illegal in all states for persons under 21 years of age. Students are not permitted to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages while under ERDT/SHARE! sponsorship. The student must not associate with any persons involved in illegal alcohol purchase or use.
- Purchasing and using tobacco products are illegal in most states for persons under 18 years of age. If a student is found to be a smoker after having stated otherwise, he/she may be placed on probation and asked to quit. If the student is a smoker, he/she must comply with all smoking restrictions imposed by the host family, host school, any public or private venue, and state laws.
- The student must not buy, sell, possess, or use illegal or controlled drugs, unless prescribed for him/her by a licensed physician. If the student is taking prescription drugs, the name, dosage, and length of time of use for each drug must be listed on the ERDT/SHARE! Medical History and Information form. The student must not associate with any persons involved in illegal drug use or drug trafficking.
- Students must not commit or take part in any act of violence against another person or property. Such acts will lead to probation and/or repatriation with no refund.
- Shoplifting and theft are illegal and may lead to criminal charges and immediate repatriation with no refund.
- It is illegal for the student to take regular employment while in the U.S. Occasional odd jobs, such as yard work or baby-sitting, are permitted if they do not interfere with schoolwork and if the student has host family permission.
- It is illegal for minors to access pornography on the Internet or download pornography from the Internet to the host family’s computer or other Internet-enabled device. Students who violate this rule will be placed on probation and may be asked by the host family to leave the home immediately.
SECTION II — HIGH SCHOOL GUIDELINES & INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS & ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION
All decisions regarding grade placement, credit, graduation, diplomas, sports eligibility, and sports participation are at the discretion of individual high schools and/or school districts.
- GRADUATION AND/OR GRADE PLACEMENT IS NOT GUARANTEED. The student must accept and respect all decisions made by the school or school district regarding grade placement, credit, graduation, diplomas, sports eligibility, sports participation, and any other decision that the school has legal authority to make. A student who continues to lobby the school personnel and/or school district after a final decision has been made will be placed on probation.
- A student who is dismissed or expelled from school for any reason will be terminated immediately from the SHARE! program with no refund and returned home as soon as arrangements can be made.
- SPORTS PARTICIPATION IS NOT GUARANTEED. If a student has graduated from high school in the home country or has completed a certain number of years of high school, he/she may be deemed ineligible for interscholastic sports.
- A student who wishes to participate in school sports and/or activities may be subject to a school-imposed random drug test for qualification. Participation in the sport or activity would be dependent on both the student’s willingness to take the test and the results of the test.
- The student must obey all school rules, attend classes regularly, and be responsible for assuming a full course load, for making a strong effort in all classes, and for maintaining at least a “C” average, with no “F” (failing) grades. Students who receive failing grades will be placed on probation. All tutoring costs are to be borne by the student.
- The student is responsible for all school fees, including but not limited to: registration, books, lockers, laboratories, gym/physical education, yearbook, class ring, letter jacket, student activities, etc.
- The student may choose one of the following options for lunch on school days: a) bring a sack lunch from home containing, for example, a sandwich and an apple; or, at the student’s expense, b) buy a lunch at school or lunch off campus, if the school permits.
SECTION III — DRIVER’S EDUCATION AND DRIVING MOTORIZED VEHICLES
The student may not drive any car, motorcycle, or any other motorized vehicle while under the sponsorship of ERDT/SHARE! (This includes automobiles, mopeds, motorized scooters, motorcycles, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, jet skis, All Terrain Vehicles, motorboats, aircraft, riding mowers, golf carts and all motorized recreational vehicles.)
- Participation in high school driver’s education courses or the acquisition of a driver’s license even if through a private driving school while on the SHARE! program is not permitted.
- The student is not allowed to rent or purchase a vehicle while on the SHARE! program or at the end of the SHARE! program.
SECTION IV — STUDENT PLACEMENT, HOST FAMILY PARTICIPATION, AND HOST FAMILY RULES
All U.S. Host Families are volunteers and receive no compensation for hosting a foreign exchange student. Program fees are used for administrative and supervisory purposes.
- No guarantee is made with regard to placement in a particular region of the U.S., nor in a town of a certain size, nor with a particular kind of host family (for example, with a teenager in the home).
- Both a private bedroom and a private bathroom are not guaranteed. Only a separate bed is guaranteed.
- The student must comply with all reasonable rules of the host family, including but not limited to curfews, household chores, visitors, phone calls, etc. If a student violates host family rules, a meeting will be set up with the student, host family, and local coordinator to discuss the situation and come to an agreement about necessary changes in behavior and/or expectations. If the student violates the agreement, he/she will be placed on probation.
- The student must comply with host family rules and governing laws pertaining to any type of weapons training and/or safety courses in order to participate, with biological parent approval, in hunting, shooting, archery, or any other type of weapon activity.
- The student must keep the host family informed at all times of his/her whereabouts, with whom he/she is associating, and times of departure from and return to the host family’s home.
- The student must not lend money to or borrow money from the host family or from any other source. Natural parents must supply the student with an adequate amount of spending money at all times, a minimum of $300 per month.
- Student Internet use, via any internet-enabled device, must be in a common area of the host family’s home (never in a bedroom or behind closed doors) and students must adhere to the host family’s rules and restrictions regarding computer and Internet use. Misuse of the host family’s computer or the Internet is grounds for probation.
- The student must speak with the local ERDT/SHARE! Exchange Program Coordinator about any problems she/he is having and must refrain from speaking of her/his host family’s private affairs to community members and friends.
SECTION V — BIOLOGICAL FAMILY VISITS AND STUDENT TRAVEL DURING SHARE! PROGRAM
- VISITS FROM FAMILY OR FRIENDS ARE NOT PERMITTED DURING THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE PROGRAM. Parents and friends may not disturb the host family life and their son or daughters adjustment to the program. All visits are discouraged until the very end of the program. Any visit during the program must have the prior permission of the ERDT/SHARE! National Office.
- At no time is it permitted for a minor, 25 years or younger, to visit the student while on the SHARE! program, or at the end of the SHARE! program.
- Overnight travel with the host family, another family, an approved responsible adult (at least 25 years of age), and/or approved groups (e.g. church, school, etc.) is permitted if prior consent is given by the host family and Exchange Program Coordinator. The host family and Exchange Program Coordinator must be informed of all such trips and have a phone contact to reach the student in an emergency.
- If a student travels outside the U.S., he/she must always carry his/her passport and all visa documents to gain re-entry to the U.S. In addition, the student should check with the consulate of the destination countries to determine visa and entry requirements.
- IntheeventastudentdoestraveloutsidetheU.S.duringtheprogramterm,he/shemustsendhis/herDS2019formtotheSHARE! National Office in Santa Monica with enough time to receive it back from the SHARE! office prior to departing the U.S. Express postage fees will apply. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN THE DENIAL FOR RE-ENTRY INTO THE U.S.
SECTION VI — LIFE-CHANGING DECISIONS
Students will not be permitted to make life-changing decisions, including but not limited to marriage, religious conversion, and other decisions with legal, political, religious, and/or social ramifications.
- Students must refrain from sexual behavior, contact, and activity. Students found to be sexually active will be placed on probation. Students found to be pregnant or responsible for a pregnancy while on the program will be terminated from the program and returned home as soon as arrangements can be made, with no refund of program fees.
- Students will not be permitted to tattoo or pierce any part of their body while on the program.
SECTION VII— CHANGING HOST FAMILIES, WITHDRAWAL OR TERMINATION FROM PROGRAM
- A student may not leave or withdraw from the program at any time without prior permission of the ERDT/SHARE! National Office. If the student leaves the program for any reason, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, he/she may not return to the program and will not receive a refund. Any student who withdraws without the permission of the ERDT/SHARE! National Office will be reported to SEVIS, have their visa status terminated and will be subject to deportation. If there is death or serious illness in the student’s immediate family, he/she may return home to deal with the crisis and will be accepted to come back to the U.S. to complete the program.
- If the student is transferred from one host family to another, any transportation costs incurred are the responsibility of, and shall be borne by, the student and biological family.
SECTION VIII — RETURNING HOME AT THE END OF THE SHARE! PROGRAM
- The student must return to the home country at the end of the program. Departure to the home country must be arranged no later than 10 days after the last day of school for which student was enrolled.
- Unsupervised travel or travel with peers is NOT permitted at the end of the program. Adult-accompanied and adult-supervised travel (i.e. biological parents or family) may be permitted at the end of school term if written permission is granted by the biological parents and the ERDT/SHARE! National Office. This travel must commence within 10 days after the end of school for which student was enrolled. A detailed itinerary of travel plans, including modes of travel as well as addresses and telephone numbers for emergency contact during the travel period, must also be submitted. Students must also extend insurance coverage, if necessary.
- Ifastudentleavesahostfamilywithoutstandingdebts,includingbutnotlimitedtomedicalbills,telephonecalls,ordamagetothe host family’s property, the student’s biological family will be responsible for payment in addition to a $50.00 surcharge.
AGREEMENT TO ABIDE BY THE ERDT/SHARE! PROGRAM STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
The mission of Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) and the SHARE! High School Exchange Program is to provide opportunities for people of diverse cultures to come together to learn about different points of view and ways of life. ERDT/SHARE! expects the highest standards of behavior from program participants at all times.
The Standards of Conduct have been established to facilitate the mission of ERDT/SHARE!. Violation of these Standards of Conduct will lead to disciplinary action, probation, and possible repatriation, with no refund of program fees from the SHARE! High School Exchange Program.
Violators of the Standards of Conduct may expect an opportunity to explain actions to the host family, the ERDT/SHARE! local coordinator, regional staff, and/or the ERDT/SHARE! National Office staff. A decision about discipline and an agreement for future actions and/or behavior changes will be made at that time. If violations are serious and warrant further action or the agreed-upon actions have not been met, the student will be placed on probation. The decision for probation will be made in conjunction with the ERDT/SHARE! National Office staff. The student, host family, school (in cases of academic probation), and the ERDT/SHARE! Overseas Representative (who will inform the natural parents) will be notified of the terms of the probationary status. Further violations will lead to the decision to terminate the student from the program and to repatriate the student at the parents' expense and with no refund of program fees. The ERDT/SHARE! National Office staff will notify the Overseas Representative, who will inform the natural parents that the student is being terminated from the program and is being repatriated.
If the decision is made by the ERDT/SHARE! National Office staff to terminate the student from the program, the student's visa status will be revoked, and ERDT/SHARE! will notify the proper U.S. Government authorities of termination of sponsorship.