Introduction | Definitions | Student Rights & Responsibilities | Essential Partners | Student Dress Code | Prohibited Student Conduct | Reporting Violations | Retaliation Prohibited | Disciplinary Consequences, Procedures, and Referrals | Consequences | Due Process | Minimum Periods of Suspension | Referrals | Student Searches and Interrogations | Visitors to the School | Public Conduct on School Property | Dissemination and Review | Review
The Board of Education of the Canajoharie Central School District is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment where teaching and learning occur without disruption or interference. Responsible behavior by students, teachers, other district personnel, parents and other visitors is essential to achieving this goal.
The district has positive 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 and at school functions, 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”).
For purposes of this code, the following definitions apply:
“Cyberbullying” means harassment and/or bullying through any form of electronic communication that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. Cyberbullying may include, among other things, the use, both on and off school property, of electronic technology, including, but not limited to, e –mail, instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms, pagers, cell phones, gaming systems and social media websites, to deliberately harass or threaten others.
“Disability” means (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term must be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held.
“Discrimination” means discrimination against any student by a student or students and/or employee or employees on school property or at a school function including, but not limited to, discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
“Disruptive student” means a student under the age of 21 whose choices in behavior negatively impacts classroom learning or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom.
“Emotional Harm” that takes place in the context of “harassment or bullying” means harm to a student’s emotional well-being through creation of a hostile school environment that is so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s education.
“Employee” means any person receiving compensation from a school district or employee of a contracted service provider or worker placed within the school under a public assistance employment program, pursuant to the title nine B of article five of the Social Services Law, and consistent with the provisions of such title for the provision of services to such district, its students or employees, directly through contract, whereby such services performed by such person involve direct student contact.
“Gender” means actual or perceived sex and includes a person’s gender identity or expression.
“Harassment” means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical wellbeing; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; such conduct, verbal threats intimidation or abuse includes but is not limited to conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abused based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
“National Origin” means a person’s country of birth or ancestor’s country of birth.
“Parent” means parent, guardian or person in parental relation to a student.
“School Bus” means every motor vehicle owned and operated by a public or governmental agency or private school and operated for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teacher and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity, to or from school or school activities, or, privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to or from school or school activities.
“School Function” means a school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity on or off school property.
“Sexual Orientation” means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.
“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.
“Violent student” means a student under the age of 21 who:
- Commits an act of violence upon a school employee, or attempts to do so.
- Commits, while on school property or at a school function, an act of violence upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property or at the school function, or attempts to do so.
- Possesses, while on school property or at a school function, a weapon.
- Displays, while on school property or at a school function, what appears to be a weapon.
- Threatens, while on school property or at a school function, to use a weapon.
- Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys the personal property of any school employee or any person lawfully on school property or at a school function.
- Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys school district property.
“Weapon” means a firearm as defined in the Gun-Free Schools Act (18 U.S.C. §921). It also means any other gun, BB gun, pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, disguised gun, 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.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
The district is committed to safeguarding the rights given to all students under state and federal law. In addition, to promote a safe, healthy, respectful and civil school environment, all district students have the right to:
- Expect that school will be a safe, orderly and purposeful place for all students to learn and be treated fairly.
- Be respected as an individual.
- Respectfully express one’s opinions verbally or in writing, so as not to offend, slander or restrict the rights of others.
- To dress in such a way as to express one’s personality in accordance with the dress code
- Take part in all district activities on an equal basis regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation or disability.
- Present their version of the relevant events to school personnel authorized to implement a disciplinary penalty in connection with the imposition of the penalty.
- Access school rules and, when necessary, receive an explanation of those rules from school personnel.
- To be protected from intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practice, sex, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, by employees or students on school property or at a school-sponsored event, function or activity.
All district students have the responsibility to:
- Contribute to maintaining a safe and orderly school environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect to other persons and to property. To respect one another and treat others fairly in accordance with this code and the provision of the Dignity Act. To conduct themselves in a manner that fosters an environment that is free from intimidation, harassment, or discrimination.
- Be familiar with and abide by all district policies, rules and regulations dealing with student conduct.
- Attend school every day unless they are legally excused and be in class, on time, and prepared to learn.
- Work to the best of their ability in all academic and extracurricular pursuits and strive toward their highest level of achievement.
- Follow directions given by teachers, administrators and other school personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
- Use appropriate skills to express anger.
- Ask questions when they do not understand a direction, rule or policy.
- Dress appropriately for school and school functions.
- Accept responsibility for their actions.
- Conduct themselves as positive representatives of the district when participating in or attending school-sponsored extracurricular events and to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct, demeanor, and sportsmanship.
- To report and encourage others to report any incidents of intimidation, harassment or discrimination. Reports can be made to one of the Dignity Act Coordinators: Ms. Stacy Ward 673-6310; Mr. Chris DePaolo 673-6320; Ms. Rebeca Gleason 673-6330; Dr. Kelly Swart 673-6307; Mrs. Lindsey Hodge 673-6330 ext. 100-3128.
All parents are expected to:
- Recognize that the education of their child(ren) is a joint responsibility of the parents and the school community.
- Send their children to school ready to participate and learn.
- Ensure their children attend school regularly and on time.
- Ensure absences are excused.
- Insist their children be dressed following the student dress code.
- Help their children understand that in a democratic society appropriate rules are required to maintain a safe, orderly environment.
- Know school rules and help their children follow those rules.
- Convey to their children a supportive attitude toward education and the district
- Build good relationships with teachers, other parents and their children’s friends.
- Help their children deal effectively with peer pressure.
- Inform school officials of changes in the home situation that may affect student conduct or performance.
- Provide a place for study and help ensure homework assignments are completed.
- Teach your children respect and dignity for themselves, and other students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, or sex which will strengthen the child’s confidence and promote learning in accordance with the Dignity Act.
All district teachers are expected to:
- Maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex, with an understanding of appropriate appearance, language, and behavior in a school setting, which will strengthen students’ self-image and promote confidence to learn.
- Be prepared daily to teach.
- Demonstrate interest in learning and concern for student achievement.
- Follow school policies and rules, and enforce them in a fair and consistent manner.
- Communicate to students and parents through written or electronic means:
- Course objectives and requirements
- Marking/grading procedures
- Assignment deadlines
- Expectations for students
- Classroom discipline plan
- Communicate regularly with students, parents and other teachers concerning learning and achievement.
- Confront issues of discrimination and harassment in any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any students, school employee or any person who is lawfully on school property or at a school function.
- Address personal biases that may prevent equal treatment of all students in the school or classroom setting.
- Report incidents of discrimination and harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to a teacher’s attention to the building administrator and /or Dignity Act Coordinator not later than one school day after receipt of the report.
- Reports can be made to one of the Dignity Act Coordinators: Ms. Stacy Ward 673-6310; Mr. Chris DePaolo 673-6320; Ms. Rebecca Gleason 673-6330; Dr. Kelly Swart 673-6307; Mrs. Lindsey Hodge 673-6330 ext. 100-3128.
- Assist students in coping with school-based peer pressure and emerging personal, social and emotional problems through solution-focused counseling and skill building
- Maintain and encourage a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, or sex, with an understanding of appropriate appearance language, and behavior in a school setting, which will strengthen student’s self-image and promote confidence to learn.
- Initiate teacher/student/counselor conferences and parent/teacher/student/counselor conferences, as necessary, as a way to resolve problems.
- Regularly review with students their educational progress and career plans.
- Provide information to assist students with career planning.
- Encourage students to access and participate in curricular and extracurricular programs.
- Report incidents of discrimination and harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to the counselor’s attention to the building administrator and/or Dignity Act Coordinator not later than one school day after receipt of report. Reports can be made to one of the Dignity Act Coordinators: Ms. Stacy Ward 673-6310; Mr. Chris DePaolo 673-6320; Ms. Rebecca Gleason 673-6330; Dr. Kelly Swart 673-6307; Mrs. Lindsey Hodge 673-6330 ext. 100-3128.
- Maintain and encourage a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, or sex, with an understanding of appropriate appearance language, and behavior in a school setting, which will strengthen student’s self-image and promote confidence to learn.
- Ensure that students and staff have the opportunity to communicate regularly with the principal to actively problem solve issues and concerns.
- Evaluate on a regular basis all instructional programs.
- Support the development of and student participation in appropriate extracurricular activities.
- Be responsible for enforcing the code of conduct and ensure that all cases are resolved promptly and fairly.
- Follow up on any incidents of discrimination and harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to the Principal’s attention in a timely manner in collaboration with the Dignity Act Coordinators.
- Promote a safe, orderly, respectful and stimulating school environment, free from intimidation, discrimination, and harassment, supporting teaching and learning.
- Review with district administrators the policies of the board of education and state and federal laws relating to school operations and management.
- Inform the board about educational trends relating to student discipline.
- Create and maintain instructional programs and classroom instruction that minimize problems of misconduct and are sensitive to student and teacher needs,
- Work with district administrators to enforce the code of conduct and ensure that all cases are resolved promptly and fairly.
- Conduct Superintendent Hearings as required within the scope of disciplinary consequences.
Board of Education
- Collaborate with student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel to develop a code of conduct that clearly defines expectations for the conduct of students, district personnel and visitors on school property and at school functions.
- Adopt and review at least annually the district’s code of conduct to evaluate the code’s effectiveness and the fairness and consistency of its implementation.
- Lead by example by conducting board meetings in a professional, respectful, courteous manner.
- Appoint at least one Dignity Act Coordinator in each building. The Dignity Act Coordinators will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, and sex. The Dignity Act Coordinators will be accessible to students and other staff members for consultation and advice as needed in the Dignity Act.
Student Dress Code
All students are expected to give proper attention to personal cleanliness and to dress appropriately for school and school functions. Students and their parents have the primary responsibility for acceptable student dress and appearance. Teachers and all other district personnel should model and reinforce acceptable school dress and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance in the school setting.
A student’s dress, grooming, and appearance, including hair style/color, jewelry, make-up and nails, shall:
- Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the learning.
- Not wear brief garments such as shorts (including boxer and biker), skirts (less than mid-thigh), tube tops, net tops, halter-tops, spaghetti straps (less than 3 fingertips wide), plunging necklines (front and/or back) and see-through clothing.
- Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.
- Wear footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed (closed toed shoes required in some instructional areas that involve the use of machinery or equipment).
- Not include the wearing of hats or hoods in the classroom, except for a medical or religious purpose or when given permission by the teacher or faculty member in charge of the classroom.
- Not wear items that are vulgar, obscene, and libelous or denigrate others on account of actual or perceived race, color, religion or religious practice, creed, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or physical appearance. Students will be asked to remove or turn these clothes inside out.
- Not wear items that promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or violent activities. Students will be asked to remove or turn these clothes inside out.
Each building principal or his or her designee shall be responsible for informing all students and their parents of the student dress code at the beginning of the school year and any revisions to the dress code made during the school year.
Students who violate the student dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item and, if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to discipline, up to and including notifying the parent and in-school suspension for the day. Any student who repeatedly fails to comply with the dress code shall be subject to further discipline, up to and including out of school suspension.
Prohibited Student Conduct
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 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’ 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 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 accept consequences for their conduct.
Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they:
- Engage in conduct that is disorderly. Examples of disorderly conduct include but are not limited to:
- Running in hallways.
- Making unreasonable noise.
- Using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive.
- Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
- Engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.
- Trespassing. Students are not permitted in any school building, other than the one they regularly attend, without permission from the administrator in charge of the building.
- Computer/electronic communications misuse, including any unauthorized use of computers, software, or internet/intranet account; accessing inappropriate websites; or any other violation of the district’s acceptable use policy. Unauthorized use of personal electronic devices/equipment (i.e. cell phones, MP3 devices, cameras or other personal electronic devices deemed inappropriate by the administration). Unauthorized use of personal computer, laptop, tablet, or e-reader and/or other computerized information resources through the District computer system is prohibited.
- Students are prohibited from using or having on or in an operational mode any paging device, mobile telephone, cellular telephone, laser pointer or pen in any other type of telecommunications or imaging device during instructional time except as expressly permitted in connection with authorized use in classrooms. While students are permitted to possess such devices during the school day, they are prohibited from using their own personal electronic devices to intimidate, harass, or threaten others. This type of harassment is generally referred to as cyberbullying. If a student violates this prohibition, then he/she is subject to discipline under this code that may be applicable to the circumstances involved. Teachers and all other personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable student dress and behavior and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance and conduct in the school setting.
Engage in conduct that is insubordinate.
Examples of insubordinate conduct include:
- Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of students or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.
- Lateness for, missing or leaving school without permission.
- Skipping detention.
Engage in conduct that is violent.
Examples of violent conduct include:
- Committing an act of violence (such as hitting, kicking, punching, and scratching) upon a teacher, administrator or other school employee or attempting to do so.
- Committing an act of violence (such as hitting, kicking, punching, and scratching) upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property or attempting to do so.
- Possessing a weapon. Authorized law enforcement officials are the only persons permitted to have a weapon in their possession while on school property or at a school function.
- Displaying what appears to be a weapon.
- Threatening to use any weapon.
- Engaging in harassing conduct, verbal or nonverbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical well-being.
- Intentionally damaging or destroying the personal property of a student, teacher, administrator, other district employee or any person lawfully on school property, including graffiti or arson.
- Intentionally damaging or destroying school district property.
Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others.
Examples of such conduct include:
- Lying to school personnel.
- Stealing the property of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
- Discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, age, sexual orientation, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, color, creed, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, sex, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, marital or veteran status, or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner on school property or at a school function.
- Harassment, the creation of a hostile environment by conduct, verbal or nonverbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s education performance or opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional, or physical wellbeing based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, political affiliation, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, marital or veteran status, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
- Defamation which includes making false or unprivileged statements or representations about an individual or identifiable group of individuals that harm the reputation of the person or the identifiable group of individuals that harm the reputation of the person or the identifiable group demeaning them. This can include posting or publishing video, audio recordings, or pictures.
- Hazing, which includes any intentional or reckless act directed against another for the purpose of initiation into, affiliating with or maintaining membership in any school-sponsored activity, organization, club or team.
- “Cyberbullying” including the use of instant messaging, email, websites, chat rooms, text messaging, blogs, gaming systems, social media websites, or by any other electronic means, when such use interferes with the operation of the school; or infringes upon the general health, safety and welfare of students or employees.
- Sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, taking, sending or receiving sexually explicit videos, pictures, or auditory recordings and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.
- Selling, using or possessing obscene material.
- Using vulgar or abusive language, cursing or swearing.
- Smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe or using chewing or smokeless tobacco.
- Possessing, consuming, selling, attempting to sell, distributing or exchanging alcoholic beverages or illegal substances, or being under the influence of either. “Illegal substances” include, but are not limited to, inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look-alike drugs, synthetic cannabinoids, and any substances commonly referred to as “designer drugs.”
- Inappropriately using or sharing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Indecent exposure, that is, exposure to the sight of the private parts of the body in a lewd or indecent manner.
- Initiating a report warning of fire or another catastrophe without valid cause, misuse of 911, or discharging a fire extinguisher.
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. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated.
Engage in any form of academic misconduct.
Examples of academic misconduct include:
- Altering records
- Assisting another student in any of the above actions
All students are expected to promptly report violations of the code of conduct to a teacher, guidance counselor, 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 building principal, the principal’s designee or the superintendent.
Administrators and teachers are authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to do so in a prompt, fair and lawful manner. Other district staff is 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, 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 mailed on same day as the telephone call is made. The notification must identify the student and explain the conduct that violated the code of conduct and constituted a crime.
Any student observing a student being harassed or discriminated against by another student or a staff member shall report this information immediately to a teacher, the Principal, the Principal’s designee, the Superintendent of Schools or the Dignity Act Coordinator.
Staff who know or reasonably should know of possible harassment or discrimination must take immediate and appropriate action to report the incident to the Principal, the Principal’s designee, the Superintendent of schools or the Dignity Act Coordinator. Following the report, the District shall investigate or otherwise determine what occurred and should take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment or discrimination, eliminate any hostile environment and prevent the conduct from reoccurring.
Reports of any incidents of intimidation, harassment or discrimination should be made to one of the Dignity Act Coordinators: Ms. Stacy Ward 673-6310; Mr. Chris DePaolo 673-6320; Ms. Rebecca Gleason 673-6330; Dr. Kelly Swart 673-6307; Mrs. Lindsey Hodge 673-6330 ext. 100-3128.
Any act of retaliation against any person who reports or has filed a complaint of harassing or discriminatory behavior, is strictly prohibited and illegal, and therefore subject to disciplinary action. Likewise, retaliation against any person who has testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of a harassment or discrimination complaint is prohibited. For purposes of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to: verbal or physical threats, intimidation, ridicule, bribes, destruction of property, spreading rumors, stalking, harassing phone calls, and any other form of harassment. Any person who retaliates is subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination, as applicable.
Where incidents involve violations of civil rights, the victim and the alleged perpetrator have the right to be represented by a person of their choice, at their own expense, during investigations and hearings. In addition, victims have the right to register complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Employee victims also have the right to register complaints with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York State Division of Human Rights. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court.
Disciplinary Consequences, Procedures, and Referrals
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’ growth 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 consequences will consider the following:
- The student’s age.
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances that led to the offense.
- The student’s prior disciplinary record.
- The effectiveness of other forms of discipline.
- Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate
- Other extenuating circumstances.
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means that a student’s first violation will usually merit a lesser consequence than subsequent violations unless the principal or designee deems the first offense to be severe enough to warrant a stiffer consequence.
If the conduct of a student is related to a disability or suspected disability, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education and the consequences, 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 receive consequences for behavior related to his/her disability.
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 penalty are authorized to impose that consequence, consistent with the student’s right to due process.
- Oral warning – any member of the district staff
- Written warning – bus drivers, hall and lunch monitors, coaches, guidance counselors, teachers, principal, superintendent
- Written notification to parent – bus driver, hall and lunch monitors, coaches, guidance counselors, teachers, principal, superintendent
- Detention – teachers, principal, superintendent
- Suspension from transportation – director of transportation, principal, superintendent.
- Suspension from athletic participation – coaches, principal, superintendent
- Suspension from social or extracurricular activities – activity director/advisor, principal, superintendent.
- Suspension of other privileges – principal, superintendent
- In-school suspension – principal, superintendent
- Removal from classroom by teacher – teachers, principal
- Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school – principal, superintendent, board of education
- Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school – principal, superintendent, board of education
- Permanent suspension from school – superintendent, board of education.
The amount of due process a student is entitled to receive before a consequence is implemented depends on the consequence being imposed. In all cases, regardless of the consequence imposed, authorized school personnel must inform the student of the alleged misconduct and must investigate the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct. All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to authorized school in connection with the imposition of the consequence.
Students who receive consequences other than an oral warning, written warning or written notification to their parents are entitled to additional rights before the consequence is imposed. These additional rights are explained below:
Teachers, principals, and the superintendent may use after school detention as a consequence of student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate. Detention will be used 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.
Suspension from transportation
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 or their designees. 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.
The student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the building principal or the principal’s designee to discuss the conduct and consequence.
Suspension from athletic participation, extracurricular activities, and other privileges
Students who are suspended from participation in athletics or extracurricular activities, along with their parents will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the authorized district staff member to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
The board recognizes the school must balance the need for 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.
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 consequence involved.
Teacher disciplinary removal of disruptive students
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 practices that involve the teacher directing a student to briefly leave the classroom 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 or middle school 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 such as these do not constitute disciplinary removals for purposes of this code.
On occasion, a student’s behavior may become disruptive. For purposes of this code of conduct, a disruptive student is a student who substantially interrupts classroom learning 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 for the remainder of the period of instruction. Removal up to two days will be determined after a joint conference with the student, parents/guardians, teacher, and principal.
If the disruptive student does not pose a danger or ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, the teacher must provide the student with an explanation for why he or she is being removed and an opportunity to explain his or her version of the relevant events before the student is removed. Only after the informal discussion may a teacher remove a student from class.
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 removal 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. If the principal or designee is not available by the end of the same school day, the teacher must 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, in writing, that the student has been removed from class and why. 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.
The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or some other means (such as email or fax) that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the student’s removal 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 parents.
The principal may require the teacher who ordered the removal to attend 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 or the principal’s designee may overturn the removal of the student from class if the principal finds any one of the following:
- The charges against the student are not supported by substantial evidence.
- The student’s removal is otherwise in violation of law, including the district’s code of conduct.
- The conduct warrants suspension from school pursuant to Education Law §3214 and a suspension will be imposed.
- The length of time a student is to be barred from class is warranted by the severity of the offense.
The principal or his or her designee 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.
Each teacher must keep a complete log for all cases of removal of students from his or her class. The principal must keep a log of all removals of students from class.
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 or the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education that the removal will not violate the student’s rights under state or federal law or regulation.
Suspension from school
Suspension from school is a severe penalty, which is used only for students who are repeatedly insubordinate, disorderly, violent or disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, health or welfare of others.
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 is 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.
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, 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 the last known address for the parents. 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. 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 principal shall promptly advise the parents in writing of his or her decision. The 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.
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 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.
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.
Minimum Periods of Suspension
Students who bring a weapon to school
Any student, other than a student with a disability, found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property will be subject to suspension from school for at least one calendar year. 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 suspension, the superintendent may consider the following:
- The student’s age
- The student’s grade in school
- The student’s prior disciplinary record
- The superintendent’s belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective
- Input from parents, teachers and/or others
- Other extenuating circumstances
- A student with a disability may be suspended only in accordance with the requirements of state and federal law
Students who commit violent acts other than bringing a weapon to school
Any student, other than a student with a disability, who is found to have committed a violent act, other than bringing a weapon onto school property, shall be subject to suspension from school for at least five days. 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 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.
Students who are repeatedly substantially disruptive of classroom learning or repeatedly substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority
Any student, other than a student with a disability, 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 five days. 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 this code on four or more occasions during a semester, or three or more occasions during a quarter. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, 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 the minimum 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 five-day suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the consequence, 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. Students found guilty of harassment or discrimination may be referred for counseling.
Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) Petitions
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:
- Being habitually truant and not attending school as required by part one of Article 65 of the Education Law.
- Engaging in an ongoing or continual course of conduct that makes the student ungovernable, or habitually disobedient and beyond the lawful control of the school.
- Knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana in violation of Penal Law § 221.05. A single violation of § 221.05 will be a sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition.
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:
- Any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school, or
- Any student-14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status under the Criminal Procedure Law §1.20 (42).
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.
Intervention for Harassment and/or Discrimination
Intervention by knowledgeable and trained individuals is an important step in preventing escalation of harassment and discrimination may lead to resolution of issues at an early stage. Staff intervention towards incidents of discrimination and harassment will emphasize measured, balanced and age-appropriate responses to the discrimination and harassment of students by students and/or employees.
Successful intervention may involve remedial measures. Remedial responses to bullying and harassment include measures designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior and protect the target of the act. Remediation may be targeted to the individual(s) involved in the harassing or discriminatory behavior or may include environmental approaches which are targeted to the school or district as a whole. Appropriate remedial measures may include, but are not limited to:
- peer support groups;
- assignment of an adult mentor at school that the student checks in with at the beginning and end of each school day;
- corrective instruction that reemphasizes behavioral expectations or other relevant learning or service experience;
- engagement of student in a reflective activity, such as writing an essay about the misbehavior and its impact on others and how the student might handle the situation differently in the future and/or make amends to those who have been harmed;
- supportive intervention and/or mediation where constructive conflict resolution is modeled;
- behavior assessment or evaluation;
- behavior management plans or behavior contracts, with benchmarks that are closely monitored;
- student counseling and parent conferences that focus on involving persons in parental relation in discipline issues.
In addition to addressing the discriminatory or harassing conduct, intervention shall also include support and assistance to the student that was the target of the harassment as well as identification of prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment; to eliminate any hostile environment and to prevent such conduct from reoccurring. When harassment has occurred, staff, in conjunction with the DAC, the parents and the student, as appropriate, shall review whether the student requires counseling support, accommodations or other services to remedy the effects of the harassment and, if such a need exists, shall arrange for the appropriate services or supports. Accommodations and on-going supports provided to a target of harassment shall be reviewed, as needed, to ensure that any safety concerns have been addressed and to determine whether accommodations or supports should be continued, adjusted or discontinued.
When a teacher removes a student of any age 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. Such alternative means may include tutoring or education in an alternative setting.
Discipline of Students with Disabilities
The Board of Education 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 have 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.
Authorized Suspensions or Removals of Students with Disabilities
For purposes of this section of the code of conduct, the following definitions apply:
A “suspension” means a suspension pursuant to Education Law § 3214.
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 accommodations to address the behavior which precipitated the IAES placement that are designed to prevent the behavior from recurring and to teach appropriate behaviors.
- School personnel may order the suspension or removal of a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement as follows:
- The board, the district (BOCES) superintendent of schools or a building principal may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, another setting or suspension for a period not to exceed five consecutive school days and not to exceed the amount of time a non-disabled student would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, another setting or suspension for up to 10 consecutive school days, inclusive of any period in which the student has been suspended or removed under subparagraph (a) above for the same behavior, if the superintendent determines that the student has engaged in behavior that warrants a suspension and the suspension or removal does not exceed the amount of time non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The superintendent may order additional suspensions of not more than 10 consecutive school days in the same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, as long as those removals do not constitute a change of placement.
- The superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES to be determined by the committee on special education (CSE), for the same amount of time that a student without a disability would be subject to discipline, but not more than 45 days, if the student carries or possesses a weapon to school or to a school function, or the student knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function.
- 1) “Weapon” means the same as “dangerous weapon” under 18 U.S.C. § 930(g)(w) which includes “a weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, except…[for] a pocket knife with a blade of less than 2 1/2 inches in length.”
- 2) “Controlled substance” means a drug or other substance identified in certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act specified in both federal and state law and regulations applicable to this policy.
- 3) “Illegal drugs” means a controlled substance except for those legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally possessed or used under any other authority under the Controlled Substances Act or any other federal law.
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.
Change of Placement Rule
- A disciplinary change in placement means a suspension or removal from a student’s current educational placement that is either:
- for more than 10 consecutive school days; or
- for a period of 10 consecutive school days or less if the student is subjected to a series of suspensions or removals that constitute a pattern because they cumulate to more than 10 school days in a school year and because of such factors as the length of each suspension or removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and the proximity of the suspensions or removals to one another.
- 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.
Special Rules Regarding the Suspension or Removal of Students with Disabilities
The district’s Committee on Special Education shall:
Conduct functional behavioral assessments to determine why a student engages in a particular behavior, and develop or review behavioral intervention plans whenever the district is first suspending or removing a student with a disability for more than 10 school days in a school year or imposing a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement, including a change in placement to an IAES for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances.
If subsequently, a student with a disability who has a behavioral intervention plan and who has been suspended or removed from his or her current educational placement for more than 10 school days in a school year is subjected to a suspension or removal that does not constitute a disciplinary change in placement, the members of the CSE shall review the behavioral intervention plan and its implementation to determine if modifications are necessary.
If one or more members of the CSE believe that modifications are needed, the school district shall convene a meeting of the CSE to modify such plan and its implementation, to the extent the committee determines necessary.
Conduct a manifestation determination review of the relationship between the student’s disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action whenever a decision is made to place a student in an IAES either for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or because maintaining the student in his current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or a decision is made to impose a suspension that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
The parents of a student who is facing disciplinary action, but who has not been determined to be eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Article 89 at the time of misconduct, shall have the right to invoke applicable procedural safeguards set forth in federal and state law and regulations if, in accordance with federal and state statutory and regulatory criteria, the school district is deemed to have had knowledge that their child might be presumed to be a student with a disability before the behavior precipitating disciplinary action occurred. If the district is deemed to have had such knowledge, the student will be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes.
The superintendent, building principal or other school official imposing a suspension or removal shall be responsible for determining whether the student is a student presumed to have a disability.
A student will not be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if, upon receipt of information supporting a claim that the district had knowledge the student was a student with a disability, the district either:
- conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability, or
- determined that an evaluation was not necessary and provided notice to the parents of such determination, in the manner required by applicable law and regulations.
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.
- The district shall provide parents with notice of disciplinary removal no later than the date on which a decision is made to change the placement of a student 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.
- The parents of a student with disabilities subject to a suspension of five consecutive school days or less shall be provided with the same opportunity for an informal conference available to parents of non-disabled students under the Education Law.
- Superintendent hearings on disciplinary charges against students with disabilities subject to a suspension of more than five school days shall be separated into a guilt/innocence phase and a penalty phase in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
- The removal of a student with disabilities other than a suspension or placement in an IAES shall be conducted in accordance with the due process 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.
- During any period of suspension or removal, including placement in an IAES, students with disabilities shall be provided services as required by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
Expedited Due Process Hearings
- An expedited due process hearing shall be conducted in the manner specified by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code, if:
- The district requests such a hearing to obtain an order of an impartial hearing officer placing a student with a disability in an IAES where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement, or during the pendency of due process hearings where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement during such proceedings.
- The parent requests such a hearing from a determination that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or relating to any decision regarding placement, including but not limited to any decision to place the student in an IAES.
- During the pendency of an expedited due process hearing or appeal regarding the placement of a student in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or on grounds of dangerousness, or regarding a determination that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability for a student who has been placed in an IAES, the student shall remain in the IAES pending the decision of the impartial hearing officer or until expiration of the IAES placement, whichever occurs first, unless the parents and the district agree otherwise.
- If school personnel propose to change the student’s placement after expiration of an IAES placement, during the pendency of any proceeding to challenge the proposed change in placement, the student shall remain in the placement prior to removal to the IAES, except where the student is again placed in an IAES.
- An expedited due process hearing shall be completed within 15 business days of receipt of the request for a hearing. Although the impartial hearing officer may grant specific extensions of such time period, he or she must mail a written decision to the district and the parents within five business days after the last hearing date, and in no event later than 45 calendar days after receipt of the request for a hearing, without exceptions or extensions.
Referral to law enforcement and judicial authorities
In accordance with the provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations:
- The district may report a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities, and such action will not constitute a change of the student’s placement.
- The superintendent shall ensure that copies of the special education and disciplinary records of a student with disabilities are transmitted for consideration to the appropriate authorities to whom a crime is reported.
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:
- Protect oneself, another student, teacher or any person from physical injury.
- Protect the property of the school or others.
- Restrain or remove a student whose behavior interferes with the orderly exercise and performance of school district functions, powers and duties, if that student has refused to refrain from further disruptive acts.
Student Searches and Interrogations
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 authorize a disciplinary consequence 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 school nurse and district security officials to conduct searches of students and their belongings if the authorized school official has reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will produce evidence that the student has violated or is violating the law and/or the district code of conduct. Searches will be conducted by a staff member of the same sex as the student upon request of a school official. Another staff member, also of the same sex, will be present as a witness.
If reasonable suspicion exists to believe that a student has violated or is violating the law and/or school rules, it is permissible for an authorized school official to search a student’s outer clothing, pockets, or property. The search may include, but is not limited to, the student’s outer clothing, such as a jacket or coat, pockets, backpack, and/or purse.
An authorized school official may search a student or the student’s belongings based on information received from a reliable informant. Individuals, other than the district employees, 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.
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.
Whenever practicable, searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices and students will be present when their possessions are being searched.
Student Lockers, Desks and other School Storage Places
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 officials, 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. Strip searches are intrusive in nature and are not permissible. If school authorities believe there is an emergency situation that could threaten the safety of others, the student shall, to the extent practicable, be isolated and secured. Police and parents will be contacted immediately.
Documentation of Searches
The authorized school official conducting the search shall be responsible for promptly recording the following information about each search:
- Name, age and grade of student searched.
- Reasons for the search.
- Name of any informant(s).
- Purpose of search (that is, what item(s) were being sought).
- Type and scope of search.
- The person conducting search and his or her title and position.
- Witnesses, if any, to the search.
- Time and location of search
- Results of search (that is, what items(s) were found).
- Disposition of items found.
- Time, manner and results of parental notification.
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 are 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.
Police Involvement in Searches and Interrogations of Students
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:
- A search or an arrest warrant; or
- Probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school-function; or
- Been invited by school officials.
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.
Students who are questioned by police officials on school property or at a school function will be afforded the same rights they have outside the school. This means:
- They must be informed of their legal rights.
- They may remain silent if they so desire.
- They may request the presence of an attorney.
Child Protective Services Investigations
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 another 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 without a court order unless the worker reasonably believes that the student would be subject to the danger of abuse if not he or she were not removed from school before a court order can reasonably be obtained. If the worker believes the student would be subject to the danger of abuse, the worker may remove the student without a court order and without the parent’s consent.
Visitors to the Schools
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:
- Anyone who is not a regular staff member or student of the school will be considered a visitor.
- All visitors to the school must report to the office of the principal upon arrival at the school. There they will be required to sign the visitor’s register and will be issued a visitor’s identification badge, which must be worn at all times while in the school or on school grounds. The visitor must return the identification badge to the principal’s office before leaving the building.
- Visitors attending after-school functions that are open to the public, such as parent-teacher organization meetings or public gatherings, are not required to register.
- Parents or citizens who wish to observe a classroom while school is in session are required to arrange such visits in advance with the building principal, so that class disruption is kept to a minimum.
- Teachers are expected not to take class time to discuss individual matters with visitors.
- Any unauthorized person on school property will be reported to the principal or his or her designee. Unauthorized persons will be asked to leave. The police may be called if the situation warrants.
- All visitors are expected to abide by the rules for public conduct on school property contained in this code of conduct.
Public Conduct on School Property
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:
- Intentionally injure any person or threaten to do so.
- Intentionally damage or destroy school district property or the personal property of a teacher, administrator, other district employee or any person lawfully on school property, including graffiti or arson.
- Disrupt the orderly conduct of classes, school programs or other school activities.
- Distribute, wear materials or make verbal statements on school grounds or at school functions that are obscene, advocate illegal action, appear libelous, obstruct the rights of others, or are disruptive to the school program.
- Intimidate, bully, harass or discriminate against any person on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, national origin, religion or religious practice, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or disability on school grounds or at a school function.
- Enter any portion of the school premises without authorization or remain in any building or facility after it is normally closed.
- Obstruct the free movement of any person in any place to which this code applies.
- Violate the traffic laws, parking regulations or other restrictions on vehicles;
- Possess, consume, sell, distribute or exchange alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or be under the influence of either on school property or at a school function.
- Possess or use weapons in or on school property or at a school function, except in the case of law enforcement officers or except as specifically authorized by the school district.
- Loiter on or about school property.
- Gamble on school property or at school functions.
- Refuse to comply with any reasonable order of identifiable school district officials performing their duties,
- Willfully incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited by this code.
- Violate any federal or state statute, local ordinance or board policy while on school property or while at a school function. Ex: Smoking on School Property.
Persons who violate this code shall be subject to the following penalties:
- Visitors. Their authorization, if any, to remain on school grounds or at the school function shall be withdrawn and they shall be directed to leave the premises. If they refuse to leave, they shall be subject to ejection.
- Students. They shall be subject to disciplinary consequences as the facts may warrant, in accordance with the due process requirements.
- Tenured faculty members. They shall be subject to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant in accordance with Education Law §3020-a or any other legal rights that they may have.
- Staff members in the classified service of the civil service entitled to the protection of Civil Service Law §75. They shall be subject to immediate ejection and to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant in accordance with Civil Service Law §75 or any other legal rights that they may have.
- Staff members other than those described in subdivisions 4 and 5. They shall be subject to warning, reprimand, suspension or dismissal as the facts may warrant in accordance with any legal rights they may have.
The building principal or his or her designee shall be responsible for enforcing the conduct required by this code.
When the building principal 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 of 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.
Dissemination and Review
Dissemination of Code of Conduct
The board will work to ensure that the community is aware of this code of conduct by:
- Providing copies of an age-appropriate plain-language summary of the code to all students at a general assembly held at the beginning of each school year.
- Making copies of the code available to all parents at the beginning of the school year.
- Mailing a summary of the Code of Conduct written in plain language to all parents of District students before the beginning of the school year and making this summary available later upon request.
- Providing all current teachers and other staff members with a copy of the code and a copy of any amendments to the code as soon as practicable after adoption.
- Providing all new employees with a copy of the current code of conduct when they are first hired.
- Making copies of the code available for review by students, parents and other community members.
- The District shall post the complete Code of Conduct (with all amendments and annual updates) on the district’s website. The District shall file a copy of its Code of Conduct and any amendments with the Commissioner, in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner, no later than 30 days after adoption.
- The board will sponsor an in-service education program for all district staff members to ensure the effective implementation of school policy on school conduct and discipline, including but not limited to, guidelines for promoting a safe and supportive school climate while discouraging, among other things, discrimination or harassment against students by students and/or school employees, and including safe and supportive school climate concepts in the curriculum and classroom. Such training shall be designed to raise staff awareness and sensitivity to potential discrimination or harassment and provide strategies and responses to assist staff in responding to reports and incidents of discrimination and harassment and to help discourage their reoccurrence. 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.
- The board may appoint an advisory committee to assist in reviewing the code and the district’s response to a 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.