The Rhinebeck Central School District Board of Education (“Board”) is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment where students may receive and district personnel may deliver quality educational services without disruption or interference. Responsible behavior by students, teachers, other district personnel, parents and other visitors is essential to achieving this goal.
This commitment is consistent with the District’s mission, vision and core values. The mission is to provide an excellent learning environment and the dedicated development of every student’s generosity of spirit, passion for learning, and ultimate success. The vision is educating students to become ethical decision-makers, self-directed learners, complex thinkers, collaborative workers, quality producers, and community contributors. This aligns with the District’s core values of Safety and Health, Resources, Respect, Responsibility, Courage, Integrity, the Whole Child, Collaboration, Student Achievement, and Recognition as the hallmarks of a quality education.
The District has a long-standing set of expectations for conduct on school property and at school functions. These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty and integrity.
The board recognizes the need to clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, to identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct, and to ensure that discipline when necessary is administered promptly and fairly. To this end, the Board adopts this code of conduct (“code”).
Unless otherwise indicated, this code applies to all students, school personnel, parents and other visitors when on school property or attending a school function.
While there are formal disciplinary procedures in place, it is critical that parents and educators realize the importance of communication and positive relationships in resolving discipline issues. The formal discipline process is often unnecessary when parents, educators, and students have an opportunity to develop cooperative partnerships. Collaborative discussions of this type often lead to creative and student-specific solutions that support appropriate behavior and educational achievement. If parents or school officials believe that a student’s placement is not appropriate, they should work together to recommend an appropriate change. Collaborative and cooperative partnerships between parents, educators, and students are more likely to result in a change that will meet the needs of the student, ensure improved learning opportunities, and create a safe environment.
The following key points from the publication Safeguarding Our Children: An Action Guide (Dwyer, K. and Osher, D, 2000) highlights certain principles that research or expert-based experience demonstrate to have a significant impact on the success of prevention and intervention plans for students with behavior problems.
Principles Underlying Behavior Intervention
For purposes of this code, the following legal definitions apply:
“Disruptive student” means an elementary or secondary student under the age of 21 who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom.
“Parent” means parent, guardian or person in parental relation to a student.
“School property” means in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of a public elementary or secondary school, or in or on a school bus, as defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law §142.
“School function” means any school-sponsored trip, extra-curricular event, or activity.
“Violent student” means a student under the age of 21 who:
“Weapon” means a firearm as defined in 18 USC §921 for purposes of the Gun-Free Schools Act. It also means any other gun, BB gun, pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, disguised gun, paintball gun, pocket knife, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, gravity knife, brass knuckles, sling shot, metal knuckle knife, box cutter, cane sword, electronic dart gun, Kung Fu star, electronic stun gun, pepper spray or other noxious spray, explosive or incendiary bomb, or other device, instrument, material or substance that can cause physical injury or death when used to cause physical injury or death.
The District is committed to safeguarding the rights given to all students under state and federal law. In addition, to promote a safe, healthy, orderly and civil school environment, all district students have the right to:
All district students have the responsibility to:
C. Other School Staff
D. School Counselors
E. Building Administrators (Principals and Assistant Principal)
G. Board of Education
Individual students and parents have the responsibility for student dress and general appearance. Students are required to attend school in appropriate attire that also meets health and safety standards and does not interfere with the educational process. Clothing that contains sexual innuendo, that glorifies or promotes drug, alcohol, or tobacco use, or violence, and/or is otherwise materially disruptive to the learning environment, as determined by the building principal or his/her designee, is prohibited.
Students are required to wear appropriate protective gear in certain classes (i.e. home and careers, technology, P.E.), as directed by the teacher. All undergarments must be covered, and apparel should be respectful of the student and of others in school, on school grounds, and at school activities, Furthermore, a student’s attire should not create, or be reasonably anticipated to create, a material disruption to the learning environment, as determined by the building principal or his/her designee.
Hats, clothing, attire and other articles which have an expression (phrase, word or words) or insignia (picture, symbol, patch, or pin) which is obscene, sexually suggestive, or libelous (that is, which contains objectionable language, including insults, whether directed to themselves or others), or which advocates racial, religious, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation prejudice is forbidden. Hats and coats may be worn in the hallways. However, individual teachers may prohibit students from wearing hats or coats in the classroom. Appropriate footwear must be worn. Footwear that is a safety hazard, in terms of walking and/or participating in specific activities, will not be allowed.
If found wearing such attire, the student will be required to change clothes prior to returning to class. Any student who repeatedly fails to comply with the dress code shall be subject to further discipline.
The Board of Education expects all students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, district personnel and other members of the school community, and for the care of school facilities and equipment.
The best discipline is self-imposed, and students must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, as well as the consequences of their misbehavior. District personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline.
The Board recognizes the need to make its expectations for student conduct while on school property or engaged in a school function specific and clear. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others. Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior and who violate these school rules will be required to accept the penalties for their conduct.
Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they:
A. Engage in conduct that is disorderly. Examples of disorderly conduct include:
B. Engage in conduct that is insubordinate. Examples of insubordinate conduct include:
C. Engage in conduct that is disruptive. Examples of disruptive conduct include:
D. Engage in conduct that is violent. Examples of violent conduct include:
E. Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. Examples of such conduct include:
F. Engage in misconduct while on a school bus. It is crucial for students to behave appropriately while riding on district buses to ensure their safety and that of other passengers and to avoid distracting the bus driver. Students are required to conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with established standards for classroom behavior. Excessive noise, pushing, shoving and fighting will not be tolerated.
G. Engage in any form of academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include:
H. Engage in conduct that is committed off school premises or at non-school sponsored activities to the extent that the Superintendent of Schools and/or the Board of Education believes that the continued attendance in school of the student would constitute an endangerment to the health, safety, welfare or morals of the students and/or others in the schools.
We live in a time when we must pay increased attention to the conversations that our children have with us and with their friends. This includes all conversations and comments that mention or imply the threat of physical harm to an individual or a group. These remarks should be immediately reported to an appropriate adult, i.e. a parent and/or a teacher and, ultimately, to a school official. It is important that students, parents, and staff understand that any threat of violence, even one seemingly made jokingly or in a casual manner, is a cause for concern and will be treated seriously by Rhinebeck school authorities.
In addition, all students are expected to promptly report other violations of the code of conduct to a teacher, guidance counselor, the assistant principal, the building principal or his or her designee. Any student observing a student possessing a weapon, alcohol or illegal substance on school property or at a school function shall report this information immediately to a teacher, the assistant principal, the building principal, the principal’s designee or the superintendent.
All district staff who are authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to do so in a prompt, fair and lawful manner. District staff who are not authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to promptly report violations of the code of conduct to their supervisor, who shall in turn impose an appropriate disciplinary sanction, if so authorized, or refer the matter to a staff member who is authorized to impose an appropriate sanction.
Any weapon, tobacco product, alcohol or illegal substance found shall be confiscated immediately, if possible, followed by notification to the parent of the student involved and the appropriate disciplinary sanction if warranted, which may include permanent suspension and referral for prosecution.
The building principal or his or her designee must notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of those code violations that constitute a crime and substantially affect the order or security of a school as soon as practical, but in no event later than the close of business the day the principal or his or her designee learns of the violation. The notification may be made by telephone, followed by a letter to the contacted law enforcement agency. The notification must identify the student and explain the conduct that violated the code of conduct and constituted a crime.
Notification of these types of code violations will be communicated to the building staff on a need-to-know basis, in consideration of the confidentiality rights of the student who violated the code of conduct.
When addressing student behaviors that may impede learning, school personnel should consider a range of positive supports, strategies, and interventions before removals and suspensions. Discipline policies, practices, and behavioral intervention plans should include a variety of interventions. These may include addressing a student’s motivation, social skills, and problem-solving abilities, and using positive reinforcement and logical consequences.
Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with the problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that students view as fair and impartial. School personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline.
Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair and consistent so as to be the most effective in changing student behavior. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means that a student’s first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations.
If the conduct of a student is related to a disability or suspected disability under IDEA, Article 89, and the Part 200 Regulations, copies of which are available by contacting the Director of Special Education, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education. Discipline, if warranted, shall be administered consistent with the separate requirements of this code of conduct for disciplining students with a disability or presumed to have a disability. A student identified as having a disability shall not be disciplined for behavior related to his/her disability. The relationship between the disciplinary infraction and the disability shall require a determination by the Committee on Special Education.
Students who are found to have violated the district’s code of conduct may be subject to the following interventions, either alone or in combination. These interventions are not necessarily listed in sequential order. The school personnel identified after each intervention are authorized to provide or arrange for the provision of that intervention.
Students who are found to have violated the district’s code of conduct may be subject to the following consequences, either alone or in combination. The school personnel identified after each consequence are authorized to impose that consequence, consistent with the student’s right to due process. Administrators seeking to address a particular code infraction with a penalty that is outside the range of consequences designated for that infraction must first consult with the superintendent of schools to review the unique and/or extenuating circumstances that might justify such a deviation.
The repetition of an infraction may lead to the imposition of the next measure of discipline. Chronic repetition of infractions may lead to long-term suspension or permanent suspension.
The type of due process a student is entitled to receive before a penalty is imposed depends on the consequence being imposed. In all cases, regardless of the consequence imposed, the school personnel authorized to impose the consequence must inform the student of the alleged misconduct and must investigate, to the extent necessary, the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct. All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to the school personnel imposing the disciplinary consequence in connection with the imposition of the penalty. Students who are to be given consequences other than an oral warning or written notification to their parents are entitled to additional rights before the penalty is imposed. These additional rights are explained below.
Teachers, the assistant principal, principals and the superintendent may use detention as a consequence for student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate. Detention may be conducted during the school day, during the time normally reserved for lunch and/or recess.
At the middle school level, detention may also be conducted after school on designated days from 2:40 p.m. through 3:20 p.m. At the high school level, detention may also be conducted after school on designated days, either from 2:40 p.m. through 3:20 p.m. (minor detention) or from 2:40 p.m. through 4:40 p.m. (major detention). After-school detention will be imposed as a consequence only after the student’s parent has been notified to confirm that there is no parental objection to the penalty and the student has appropriate transportation home following detention.
If a student does not conduct himself/herself properly on a bus, the bus driver is
expected to bring such misconduct to the building principal’s attention. Students who become a serious disciplinary problem may have their riding privileges suspended by the building principal or the superintendent. In such cases, the student’s parent will become responsible for seeing that his or her child gets to and from school safely. Should the suspension from transportation amount to a suspension from attendance, the district will make appropriate arrangements to provide for the student’s education.
A student subjected to a suspension from transportation is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal hearing with the building principal or the superintendent to review the conduct and the penalty involved.
A student subjected to a suspension from athletic participation, extra-curricular activities or other privileges is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal hearing with the district official imposing the suspension to review the conduct and the penalty involved.
The board recognizes that the school must balance the need of students to attend school and the need for order in the classroom to establish an environment conducive to learning. As such, the board authorizes building principals and the superintendent to place students who would otherwise be suspended from school as the result of a code of conduct violation in “in-school suspension.” The in-school suspension teacher will be a certified teacher.
A student subjected to an in-school suspension is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the in-school suspension to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
A student’s behavior can affect a teacher’s ability to teach and can make it difficult for other students in the classroom to learn. In most instances the classroom teacher can control a student’s behavior and maintain or restore control over the classroom by using good classroom management techniques. These techniques may include defusion, de-escalation, and redirection.
After the classroom teacher has exhausted these and other appropriate interventions, the teacher may need to direct a student to leave the classroom briefly to give the student an opportunity to regain his or her composure and self-control in an alternative setting. Such practices may include, but are not limited to: (1) short-term “time out” in an elementary classroom or in an administrator’s office; (2) sending a student into the hallway briefly; (3) sending a student to the principal’s office for the remainder of the class time only; or (4) sending a student to a guidance counselor or other district staff member for counseling. These classroom management techniques do not constitute disciplinary removals for purposes of this code.
On occasion, a student’s behavior may become disruptive in class. For purposes of this code of conduct, a disruptive student is a student who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom. A substantial disruption of the educational process or substantial interference with a teacher’s authority occurs when a student demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher’s instructions or repeatedly violates the teacher’s classroom behavior rules.
A classroom teacher may remove a disruptive student from class for up to two days. The removal from class applies to the class of the removing teacher only.
If the teacher finds that the student’s continued presence in the classroom does not pose a continuing danger to persons and property and does not present an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, the teacher shall, prior to removing the student from the classroom, provide the student with an explanation of the basis for the removal and allow the student to informally present his/her version of the relevant events. In all other cases, the teacher shall provide the student with an explanation of the basis for the removal and an informal opportunity to be heard within twenty-four hours after the student’s removal.
If the student poses a danger or ongoing threat of disruption, the teacher may order the student to be removed immediately. The teacher must, however, explain to the student why he or she was removed from the classroom and give the student a chance to present his or her version of the relevant events within 24-hours.
The teacher must complete a district-established disciplinary referral form and meet with the principal or his or her designee as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day, to explain the circumstances of the removal and to present the referral form. If the principal or designee is not available by the end of the same school day, the teacher must leave the form with the secretary and meet with the principal or designee prior to the beginning of classes on the next school day.
Within 24-hours after the student’s removal, the principal or another district administrator designated by the principal must notify the student’s parents, by telephone and letter, that the student has been removed from class and the reasons for the removal. The notice must also inform the parent that he or she has the right, upon request, to meet informally with the principal or the principal’s designee to discuss the reasons for the removal.
If the parent, upon notification by the authorized administrator, requests an informal conference, the teacher who ordered the removal is required to be present at the informal conference.
If at the informal meeting the student denies the charges, the principal or the principal’s designee must explain why the student was removed and give the student and the student’s parents a chance to present the student’s version of the relevant events. The informal meeting must be held within 48 hours of the student’s removal. The timing of the informal meeting may be extended by mutual agreement of the parent and principal.
The principal may overturn the removal of the student from class if the principal finds any one of the following:
The principal may overturn a removal at any point between receiving the referral form issued by the teacher and the close of business on the day following the 48-hour period for the informal conference, if a conference is requested. No student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher will be permitted to return to the classroom until the principal makes a final determination, or the period of removal expires, whichever is less.
Any disruptive student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities until he or she is permitted to return to the classroom. In the event of teacher removal of a disruptive student in accordance with the code of conduct, continued educational programming will be provided as soon as practicable.
Each teacher must keep a complete written log, including student name, class, explanation of infraction with details, date of infraction, and date(s) of removal from class, for all cases of removal of students from his or her class. The principal must keep a written log, to include the same information, of all removals of students from classes in that principal’s school.
Removal of a student with a disability, under certain circumstances, may constitute a change in the student’s placement. Accordingly, no teacher may remove a student with a disability from his or her class until he or she has verified with the principal that the removal will not constitute a change in placement.
Suspension from school is a severe penalty, which may be imposed only upon students who are insubordinate, seriously disorderly, violent or disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. A student suspended from a BOCES vocational program is automatically suspended from the home school, and a student suspended from the home school is automatically suspended from the BOCES vocational program.
The Board retains its authority to suspend students, but places primary responsibility for the suspension of students with the superintendent and the building principals. Any staff member may recommend to the superintendent or the principal that a student be suspended. All staff members must immediately report and refer a violent student to the principal or the superintendent for a violation of the code of conduct. All recommendations and referrals shall be made in writing unless the conditions underlying the recommendation or referral warrant immediate attention. In such cases a written report is to be prepared as soon as possible by the staff member recommending the suspension.
The superintendent or principal, upon receiving a recommendation or referral for suspension or when processing a case for suspension, shall gather the facts relevant to the matter and record them for subsequent presentation, if necessary.
a. Short-term (5 days or less) suspension from school
When the superintendent or principal (referred to as the “suspending authority”) proposes to suspend a student charged with misconduct for five days or less pursuant to Education Law §3214(3), the suspending authority must immediately notify the student orally. If the student denies the misconduct, the suspending authority must provide an explanation of the basis for the proposed suspension. The suspending authority must also notify the student’s parents in writing that the student may be suspended from school. The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or some other means that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the decision to propose suspension at the last known address for the parents. Where possible, notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number(s) for the purpose of contacting the parents.
The notice shall provide a description of the charges against the student and the incident for which suspension is proposed and shall inform the parents of the right to request an immediate informal conference with the principal. Both the notice and informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the parents. At the conference, the parents shall be permitted to ask questions of complaining witnesses under such procedures as the principal may establish.
The notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place before the student is suspended unless the student’s presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process. If the student’s presence does pose such a danger or threat of disruption, the notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably practicable.
After the conference, the building principal shall promptly advise the parents in writing of his or her decision, at which point in time the suspension will be served, as designated by the building principal. The building principal shall advise the parents that if they are not satisfied with the decision and wish to pursue the matter, they must file a written appeal to the superintendent within five business days, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. The superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within 10 business days of receiving the appeal. If the parents are not satisfied with the superintendent’s decision, they must file a written appeal to the board of education with the district clerk within 10 business days of the date of the superintendents’ decision, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. Only final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision.
b. Long-term (more than 5 days) suspension from school
When the superintendent or building principal determines that a suspension for more than five days may be warranted, he or she shall give reasonable notice to the student and the student’s parents of their right to a fair hearing. At the hearing the student shall be informed regarding the privilege against self-incrimination, and shall have the right to be represented by counsel, the right to question witnesses against him or her and the right to present witnesses and other evidence on his or her behalf.
The superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his or her discretion, designate a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the proceeding before him or her. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required. A tape recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record. The hearing officer shall make findings of fact and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the superintendent may accept all or any part thereof.
An appeal of the decision of the superintendent may be made to the Board that will make its decision based solely upon the record before it. All appeals to the board must be in writing and submitted to the district clerk within 10 business days of the date of the superintendent’s decision, unless the parents can show that extraordinary circumstances precluded them from doing so. The Board may adopt in whole or in part the decision of the superintendent. Final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within 30 days of the decision.
c. Permanent suspension
Permanent suspension is reserved for extraordinary circumstances such as where a student’s conduct poses a life-threatening danger to the safety and well-being of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
Any student found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property will be subject to suspension from school for at least one calendar year. A student with a disability or suspected disability shall be reviewed in accordance with Section X of this document.
Before being suspended, the student will have an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. The superintendent has the authority to modify the one-year suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the following:
A student with a disability may be suspended only in accordance with the requirements of state and federal law.
Any student who is found to have committed a violent act, as outlined in Section II and Section VI, other than bringing a weapon onto school property, shall be subject to suspension from school for at least five days. A student with a disability shall be reviewed in accordance with Section X of this document.
If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parents will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension. If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parents will be given the same notice and opportunity for a superintendent’s hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension. The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a weapon.
Any student who repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom will be suspended from school for at least two to five days. A student with a disability shall be reviewed in accordance with Section X of this document. For purposes of this code of conduct, “repeatedly is substantially disruptive” means engaging in conduct that results in the student being removed from the classroom by teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law §3214(3-a) and this code on four or more occasions during a semester. If the proposed penalty is the minimum suspension of two to five days, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension. If the proposed penalty exceeds a five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension. The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a weapon.
The Guidance Office shall handle all referrals of students to counseling.
The district may file a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition in Family Court on any student under the age of 18 who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:
3. Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Offenders
The Superintendent is required to refer the following students to the County Attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding before the Family Court:
The Superintendent is required to refer students age 16 and older or any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
In accordance with New York State’s “Dignity for All Students Act” (“DASA”), the Board of Education is committed to fostering civility and providing all students and staff within the school district with an environment in which to learn and work that is safe, civil and respectful, and free from all forms of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment. Therefore, the Board condemns, and will not tolerate, any and all instances of bullying and harassing behavior, and all behavior that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, dangerous or offensive learning or working environment. It shall be a violation of this policy for any K-12 student, school district employee or third party (school visitor, volunteer, contractor, vendor, etc.) to bully, harass, discriminate, or intimidate through word or deed any other student, employee, or any other individual associated with the school.
For the purposes of this policy and its implementation, bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment are considered as negative, hateful, and/or intimidating actions or behaviors that intend to and/or that do harm, that upset, or that compromise the physical, psychological, or emotional safety of a targeted person or persons. Anyone can become the target of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment. Bullying, discrimination hazing, and/or harassment may be based upon race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or disability, all either actual or perceived. However, bullying, discrimination hazing, and/or harassment are certainly not limited to individuals in these or other protected classes, and could be based upon other characteristics as well, such as, but not limited to, social or socioeconomic status, height, or other characteristics that an individual or individuals may target a victim for bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment. Such actions or behaviors may take place on school property, at any school-sponsored function regardless of the location, and/or on a school bus.
In addition, such actions or behaviors may otherwise take place off school grounds if they are designed to, or have the effect of, interfering with one’s ability to attend school, to work, and/or to be educated/employed in a safe, non-hostile environment. Bullying, discrimination hazing, and/or harassment that takes place at locations outside of school grounds which can be reasonably expected to materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school or impinge on the rights of other students is prohibited, and may be subject to disciplinary consequences.
The District reserves the right to discipline students who engage in harassment of students off school property under circumstances where such off-campus conduct would be violative of the student code of conduct.
Any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participate in the investigation of allegations of harassment is prohibited. Follow-up inquiries and/or appropriate monitoring of the alleged harasser and victim shall be made to ensure that the prohibited behavior has not resumed and that those involved in the investigation of allegations of the prohibited behavior have not suffered retaliation. Furthermore, any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a student or staff member has been subjected to bullying, discrimination, hazing or harassment by an employee or a student, as defined in this policy, and reports said prohibited behavior as required shall be free from retaliation of any kind.
Forms of bullying may include, but are not limited to physical aggression (such as hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, taking personal belongings), social or relational aggression (such as intimidation), social exclusion, verbal aggression (such as taunting, malicious teasing, spreading rumors, name calling, making threats), non-verbal aggression, extortion, bias harassment, hate speech or actions, sexual harassment (refer to Policy #0110), electronic bullying or cyberbullying (harassment or bullying by any form of electronic communication, such as communications using instant messaging, e-mail, websites, blogs, chat rooms, gaming systems, social media web sites, text messaging, pagers, cell phones, and/or cell phone camera photographs, including incidents occurring off school property that create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment.), and hazing (any conduct, methods of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, before, during or after school hours, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person, or which is reasonably likely to cause embarrassment, intimidation, physical, emotional or psychological harm, including loss of human dignity, to another person.). All such conduct is disruptive of the educational process and is therefore prohibited.
It is the responsibility of all students and staff to create, support, and maintain a safe, civil and respectful school environment. This includes school-sponsored functions, school buses, athletics, and other school activities, whether on or off of school premises.
School training programs to raise awareness of and to discourage bullying, discrimination, hazing, and discrimination will be developed for use with students and staff and will be provided to students and to staff on an annual basis. In addition, staff members will be trained annually in awareness of and sensitivity to potential bullying, discrimination, hazing, and harassment to enable them to prevent and respond to any and all situations therof.
In order to maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students that will strengthen students’ confidence and promote learning, members of the staff are expected to confront issues of bullying, discrimination, hazing and/or harassment and/or any other situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, school employee or any person who is lawfully on school, property or at a school function. Staff members are expected to address personal biases that may prevent equal treatment of all students in the school or the classroom setting, and to report incidents of bullying, discrimination, and/or harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to the attention of the staff member in a timely fashion.
Staff members who observe behaviors that are, or might reasonably be understood to be, incidents of bullying, discrimination, hazing, or harassment are required to intervene and address such incidents, and to report such incidents that they observe or are reported to them to the building principal, or his/her designee, as soon as possible after it occurs, and on a consistent and timely basis. The Building Principal, or his/her designee, will promptly investigate all complaints of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment, either formal or informal, verbal or written, and pursue appropriate administrative action, consisting of measured, balanced, and age-appropriate responses, with remedies focused on intervention and education, with the focus of discipline on discerning and correcting the reasons why bullying, discrimination and/or harassment occurred, as indicated by the outcome of the investigation.
Remedial responses should be designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior, and protect the target of the act or acts.
Appropriate individual-focused remedial measures may include, but are not limited to: peer support groups, corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience; supportive intervention; behavioral assessment or evaluation; behavioral management plans with closely-monitored benchmarks; student counseling; and parent conferences. School-wide or environmental remediation strategies may include, but are not limited to: supervisory systems; school and/or community surveys to identify conditions contributing to relevant behavior; research-based, systemic prevention programs; modification of schedules; adjustment of hallway traffic patterns and flow; targeted use of monitors; staff professional development; parent conferences; involvement of parent-teacher organizations; and peer support groups.
Victims of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment, as well as individuals who have knowledge of, or who witness, a possible occurrence of bullying, discrimination and/or harassment, are strongly encouraged to report such an incident to a member of the staff as soon as possible if anticipated or after it occurs. The staff member to whom the report is made shall make a report to the Building Principal or designee and/or the official designated by the District to investigate allegations of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment. The victim’s privacy and need for anonymity will be respected by the staff member(s) to whom the incident has been reported. Anonymous reporting, while severely hampering school authorities from fully enforcing this policy and the Code of Conduct, will enable school authorities to monitor the situation in the future and intervene as necessary. Retaliation against victims, witnesses, and others for reporting such an incident, as well as deliberately falsely reporting such an incident, is a violation of this policy as well.
The Board supports initiatives on the part of staff to model respectful behavior in the District’s schools and to acknowledge appropriate behavior by students and staff members. In addition, the Building Principal of each school will serve as the Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) of that school. The school’s Dignity Act Coordinator will lead and coordinate the efforts of the school’s DASA Team, which will be comprised of the individual school’s administrators and pupil personnel staff, who will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of bullying, discrimination, hazing, and/or harassment identified in this policy, in order to proactively address, and to respond to, any and all incidents thereof.
The Superintendent of Schools is directed to develop and implement specific procedures for reporting, investigating, resolving, and documenting bullying and harassment complaints, as well as to implement training programs for staff and age-appropriate bullying and harassment prevention and education programming for students, and to communicate information about this policy to staff, students, parents and community members through various means, including the District web site.
When a teacher removes a student of any age is removed from class or a student of compulsory attendance age is suspended from school pursuant to Education Law §3214, the district will take immediate steps to provide alternative means of instruction for the student. In the event of teacher removal of a disruptive student in accordance with the Code of Conduct, continued educational programming will be provided as soon as practicable.
The Board recognizes that it may be necessary to suspend, remove or otherwise discipline students with disabilities to address disruptive or problem behavior. The Board also recognizes that students with disabilities enjoy certain procedural protections whenever school authorities intend to impose discipline upon them. The Board is committed to ensuring that the procedures followed for suspending,removing or otherwise disciplining students with disabilities are consistent with the procedural safeguards required by applicable laws and regulations.
This Code of Conduct affords students with disabilities subject to disciplinary action no greater or lesser rights than those expressly afforded by applicable federal and state law and regulations.
If guilt is determined, before a penalty may be imposed, the following rules shall apply:
Students whose sole disabilities are founded under §504 and for whom no nexus is found shall be disciplined in the same manner as their non-disabled peers.
Any penalty imposed may not be based on past behavior for which a nexus determination was not made.
The District must continue to provide a free appropriate public education to students who have been suspended from school as required by the regulations
implementing §504 (34 CFR §104 et. Seq.) until the end of the school year in which the student reaches the age of 21.
If a nexus is found between the disability and the conduct, the §3214 proceeding must be discontinued (except for weapons, drugs and dangerous behavior) and the matter placed under the jurisdiction of the CSE for any further consideration. The CSE must register a referral and bring about an evaluation in the case of a student who may be determined to be known as having a disability or, if the student is already classified under IDEA, it must consider possible program modification and disposition on a non-disciplinary basis.
Any penalty imposed may not be based on past behavior for which a nexus determination was not made.
The District must continue to provide a free appropriate public education to students who have been suspended from school.
For purposes of this section of the code of conduct, the following definitions apply.
A “suspension” means a suspension pursuant to Education Law §3214.
For purposes of change in placement, a “removal” means a removal for disciplinary reasons from the student’s current educational placement other than a
suspension and change in placement to an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) ordered by an impartial hearing officer because the student poses a risk of harm to himself or herself or others.
An “IAES” means a temporary educational placement for a period of up to 45 days, other than the student’s current placement at the time the behavior precipitating the IAES placement occurred, that enables the student to continue to progress in the general curriculum, although in another setting, to continue to receive those services and modifications, including those described on the student’s current individualized education program (IEP), that will enable the student to meet the goals set out in such IEP, and include services and modifications to address the behavior which precipitated the IAES placement that are designed to prevent the behavior from recurring.
School personnel may order the suspension or removal of a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement, as follows:
Subject to specified conditions required by both federal and state law and regulations, an impartial hearing officer may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES setting for up to 45 days at a time, if maintaining the student in his or her current educational placement poses a risk of harm to the student or others.
2. School personnel may not suspend or remove a student with disabilities if imposition of the suspension or removal would result in a disciplinary change in placement based on a pattern of suspension or removal.
However, the district may impose a suspension or removal, which would otherwise result in a disciplinary change in placement, based on a pattern of suspensions or removals if the CSE has determined that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or the student is placed in an IAES for
behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances.
If there is no basis for knowledge that the student is a student with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the student, the student may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures as any other non-disabled student who engaged in comparable behaviors.
However, if a request for an individual evaluation is made while such non-disabled student is subjected to a disciplinary removal, an expedited evaluation shall be conducted and completed in the manner prescribed by applicable federal and state law and regulations. Until the expedited evaluation is completed, the non-disabled student who is not a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes shall remain in the educational placement determined by the district, which can include suspension.
with a disability to an IAES for either misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or because maintaining the student in his/her current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or a decision is made to impose a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
The procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner shall accompany the notice of disciplinary removal.
procedures applicable to such removals of non-disabled students, except that school personnel may not impose such removal for more than 10 consecutive days or for a period that would result in a disciplinary change in placement, unless the CSE has determined that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability.
In accordance with the provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations:
Corporal punishment is any act of physical force upon a student for the purpose of punishing that student. Corporal punishment of any student by any district employee is strictly forbidden.
However, in situations where alternative procedures and methods that do not involve the use of physical force cannot reasonably be used, reasonable physical force may be used to:
The District will file all complaints about the use of corporal punishment with the Commissioner of Education in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations.
The Board of Education is committed to ensuring an atmosphere on school property and at school functions that is safe and orderly. To achieve this kind of environment, any school official authorized to impose a disciplinary penalty on a student may question a student about an alleged violation of law or the district code of conduct. Students are not entitled to any sort of “Miranda”-type warning before being questioned by school officials, nor are school officials required to contact a student’s parent before questioning the student. However, school officials will tell all students why they are being questioned.
In addition, the board authorizes the superintendent, building principals, the assistant principal, and the school nurse to conduct searches of students and their belongings if the authorized school official has reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will result in evidence that the student violated the law or the District Code of Conduct.
Before searching a student or the student’s belongings, the authorized school official should attempt to get the student to admit that he or she possesses physical evidence that they violated the law or the district code, or get the student to voluntarily consent to the search. Searches will be limited to the extent necessary to locate the evidence sought.
An authorized school official may conduct a search of a student’s belongings that is minimally intrusive, such as touching the outside of a book bag, without reasonable suspicion, so long as the school official has a legitimate reason for the very limited search.
An authorized school official may search a student or the student’s belongings based upon information received from a reliable informant. Individuals will be considered reliable informants if they have previously supplied information that was accurate and verified, or they make an admission against their own interest, or they provide the same information that is received independently from other sources, or they appear to be credible and the information they are communicating relates to an immediate threat to safety. District employees will be considered reliable informants unless they are known to have previously supplied information that they knew was not accurate.
Whenever practicable, searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices or the nurse’s office and students will be present when their possessions are being searched.
The rules in this code of conduct regarding searches of students and their belongings do not apply to student lockers, desks and other school storage places. Students have
no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to these places and school officials retain complete control over them. This means that student lockers, desks and other school storage places may be subject to search at any time by school personnel, without prior notice to students and without their consent.
A strip search is a search that requires a student to remove any or all of his or her
clothing, other than an outer coat or jacket. If an authorized school official believes it is necessary to conduct a strip search of a student, the school official may do so only if the search is authorized in advance by the superintendent or the school attorney. The only exception to this rule requiring advanced authorization is when the school official believes there is an emergency situation that could threaten the safety of the student or others.
Strip searches may only be conducted by an authorized school official of the same sex as the student being searched and in the presence of another district professional employee who is also of the same sex as the student.
In every case, the school official conducting a strip search must have probable cause – not simply reasonable cause – to believe the student is concealing evidence of a violation of law or the district code. In addition, before conducting a strip search, the school official must consider the nature of the alleged violation, the student’s age, the student’s record and the need for such a search.
School officials will attempt to notify the student’s parent by telephone before conducting a strip search, or in writing after the fact if the parent could not be reached by telephone. The student’s consent to the strip search shall be sought prior to conducting the search.
The authorized school official conducting the search shall be responsible for promptly recording the following information about each search:
The building principal or the principal’s designee shall be responsible for the custody, control and disposition of any illegal or dangerous item taken from a student. The principal or his or her designee shall clearly label each item taken from the student and retain control of the item(s), until the items is turned over to the police. The principal or his or her designee shall be responsible for personally delivering dangerous or illegal items to police authorities.
District officials are committed to cooperating with police officials and other law enforcement authorities to maintain a safe school environment. Police officials, however, have limited authority to interview or search students in schools or at school functions, or to use school facilities in connection with police work. Police officials may enter school property or a school function to question or search a student or to conduct a formal investigation involving students only if they have:
Before police officials are permitted to question or search any student, the building principal or his or her designee shall first try to notify the student’s parent to give the parent the opportunity to be present during the police questioning or search. If the student’s parent cannot be contacted prior to the police questioning or search, the questioning or search shall not be conducted. The principal or designee will also be present during any police questioning or search of a student on school property or at a school function.
Consistent with the district’s commitment to keep students safe from harm and the obligation of school officials to report to child protective services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been abused or maltreated, the district will cooperate with local child protective services workers who wish to conduct interviews of students on school property relating to allegations of suspected child abuse, and/or neglect, or custody investigations.
All requests by child protective services to interview a student on school property shall be made directly to building principal or his or her designee. The principal or his or her designee shall set the time and place of the interview. The principal or designee shall decide if it is necessary and appropriate for a school official to be present during the interview, depending on the age of the student being interviewed and the nature of the allegations. If the nature of the allegations is such that it may be necessary for the student to remove any of his or her clothing in order for the child protective services worker to verify the allegations, the school nurse or other district medical personnel must be present during that portion of the interview. No student may be required to remove his or her clothing in front of a child protective services worker or school district official of the opposite sex.
A child protective services worker may not remove a student from school property unless authorized by law.
The board encourages parents and other district citizens to visit the district’s schools and classrooms to observe the work of students, teachers and other staff. Since schools are a place of work and learning, however, certain limits must be set for such visits. The building principal or his or her designee is responsible for all persons in the building and on the grounds. For these reasons, the following rules apply to visitors to the schools:
The District is committed to providing an orderly, respectful environment that is conducive to learning. To create and maintain this kind of an environment, it is necessary to regulate public conduct on school property and at school functions. For purposes of this section of the code, “public” shall mean all persons when on school property or attending a school function including students, teachers and District personnel.
The restrictions on public conduct on school property and at school functions contained in this code are not intended to limit freedom of speech or peaceful assembly. The district recognizes that free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the objectives of the district. The purpose of this code is to maintain public order and prevent abuse of the rights of others.
All persons on school property or attending a school function shall conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. In addition, all persons on school property or attending a school function are expected to be properly attired for the purpose they are on school property.
No person, either alone or with others, shall:
Faculty and staff handbooks will set forth a general dress code which does not
infringe upon individual rights. The school district does not generally prescribe faculty/staff and visitor dress while they are on school grounds or at a school function if fashion or taste is the major criterion. However, the district will impose restrictions when a faculty/staff member’s or visitor’s dress is clearly dangerous, given the activity in which they are participating, or so inappropriate as to interfere with the orderly conduct of a school activity, the learning process, and/or the teaching process. In particular, faculty/staff are asked to consider that their dress can be construed as a model for students and careful judgment needs to be exercised in the selection of appropriate clothing and attire while representing the school district.
Individual faculty/staff and visitors have the responsibility for their own dress and
general appearance. Faculty/staff and visitors are required to attend classes and activities in appropriate dress that meets health and safety standards and does not interfere with school district activities and/or the education of district students.
When necessary, faculty/staff and visitors will be asked to wear appropriate protective gear in certain classes and/or activities (i.e. home economics, shop, P.E., etc.). Clothing and attire which have an expression (phrase, word or words) or insignia (picture, symbol, patch, or pin) which is obscene, sexually suggestive, or libelous (that is, which contains objectionable language, including insults, whether directed to themselves or others), or which advocates racial, religious, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation prejudice is forbidden.
If found wearing such attire, faculty/staff and visitors may be asked to return home and change clothes prior to returning to the school. For faculty/staff
involved in such an event, continued wearing of the inappropriate clothing and attire may lead to disciplinary action.
Persons who violate this code shall be subject to the following penalties:
The building administrator or his or her designee shall be responsible for enforcing the conduct required by this code.
When the building administrator or his or her designee sees an individual engaged in prohibited conduct, which in his or her judgment does not pose any immediate threat of injury to persons or property, the principal or his or her designee shall tell the individual that the conduct is prohibited and attempt to persuade the individual to stop. The principal or his or her designee shall also warn the individual of the consequences for failing to stop. If the person refuses to stop engaging in the prohibited conduct, or if the person’s conduct poses an immediate threat of injury to persons or property, the principal or his or her designee shall have the individual removed immediately from school property or the school function. If necessary, local law enforcement authorities will be contacted to assist in removing the person.
The district shall initiate disciplinary action against any student or staff member, as appropriate, with the “Penalties” section above. In addition, the district reserves its right to pursue a civil or criminal legal action against any person violating the code.
The board will work to ensure that the community is aware of this code of conduct by:
The Board of Education will sponsor an in-service education program for all district staff members to ensure the effective implementation of the code of conduct. The superintendent may solicit the recommendations of the district staff, particularly teachers and administrators, regarding in service programs pertaining to the management and discipline of students.
The Board of Education will review this code of conduct every year and update it as necessary. In conducting the review, the Board will consider how effective the code’s provisions have been and whether the code has been applied fairly and consistently, in light of student discipline data to be reported annually to the Board, as well as feedback received from administrators, staff, students, parents, and community members.
The Board will appoint an advisory committee to assist in reviewing the code and the district’s response to code of conduct violations. The committee will be made up of representatives of student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.
Before adopting any revisions to the code, the Board will hold at least one public hearing at which school personnel, parents, students and any other interested party may participate.
The code of conduct and any amendments to it will be filed with the Commissioner no later than 30 days after adoption.