STAMFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL
Code of Conduct
Consistent with our mission statement, the Board of Education is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment where students may receive, and district personnel may deliver, quality educational services without disruption or interference, without bullying, harassment or discrimination.. Responsible and respectful behavior by students, teachers, other district personnel, parents and other visitors is essential to achieving this goal.
The district has a long-standing set of expectations for conduct on school property (including athletic fields, playgrounds and parking lots), in school buildings, on a school bus/ vehicle and at school functions.
These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty and integrity and the new Dignity for all Students Act. . The board recognizes the need to clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, to identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct, and to ensure that discipline when necessary is administered promptly and fairly. To this end, the board adopts this code of conduct ("code").
Unless otherwise indicated, this code applies to all students, school personnel, parents and other visitors when on school property or attending a school function.
For purposes of this code, the following definitions apply.
"Disruptive student" means any student who substantially interferes with the educational process or the teacher's authority over the classroom.
"Parent" means parent, guardian or person in parental relation to a student.
"School property" means in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of the school, or in or on a school bus.
"School function" means any school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity.
"Weapon" means a firearm as defined in 18 USC §921 for purposes of the Gun-Free Schools Act. It also means any other gun, BB gun, pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, disguised gun, 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.
"Bullying" means a hostile activity which harms or induces fear through the threat of further aggression and/or creates terror. Bullying may be premeditated or a sudden activity. There are at least three types of bullying: verbal, physical and social/relational. It may be subtle or easy to identify, done by one person or a group. Bullying often includes the following characteristics:
1. Power imbalance-occurs when a bully uses his/her physical or social power over a target.
2. Intent to harm-the bully seeks to inflict physical or emotional harm and/or takes pleasure in this activity.
3. Threat of further aggression-the bully and the target believe the bullying will continue.
4. Terror-when any bullying increases, it becomes a "systematic violence or harassment used to intimidate and maintain dominance." (Barbara Coloroso, the Bully, the Bullied &
the Bystander, 2003)
"Discrimination" means the act of denying rights, benefits, justice, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to all others, to an individual or group of people because of the group, class or category to which a person belongs (as listed under Harassment as defined below).
"Harassment"means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse 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 well-being; 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. The harassing behavior may be based on any characteristic, including but not limited to a person's actual or perceived:
• National origin
• Ethnic group
• Religious practice
• Sexual orientation, or
• Gender (including gender identity and expression).
o Gender identity-is one's self-conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex or sex assigned at birth.
o Gender expression-is the manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms.
"Hazing" means an induction, initiation or membership process involving harassment which produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur.
III. Student Rights and Responsibilities
A. Student Rights
The district is committed to safeguarding the rights given to all students under state and federal law. In addition, to promote a safe, healthy, orderly and civil school environment, all district students have the right to:
1. Take part in all district activities on an equal basis regardless of race, weight, national origin, ethnic groups, religion, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex.
2. Present their version of the relevant events to school personnel authorized to impose 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.
~ A challenging education, free of disruption, a safe and supportive school climate where students can learn and focus, rather than fear being discriminated against and /or verbally and/or physically harassed.
B. Student Responsibilities
All district students have the responsibility to:
1. Come to school on time and ready and willing to learn.
2. Contribute to maintaining a safe and orderly school environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect to other persons and to property.
3. Be familiar with and abide by all district policies, rules and regulations dealing with student conduct.
4. Attend school every day unless they are legally excused and be in class on time, and prepared to learn.
5. Work to the best of their ability in all academic and extracurricular pursuits and strive toward their highest level of achievement possible.
6. React to direction given by teachers, administrators and other school personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
7. Work to develop mechanisms to control their anger.
8. Ask questions when they do not understand.
9. Seek help in solving problems that might lead to discipline.
10. Dress appropriately for school and school functions.
11. Accept responsibility for their actions.
12. Students must recognize that younger students look up to them and follow their leadership. Therefore, they should hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct.
IV. Essential Partners
It is expected that parents, Board of Education members, teachers and administrators will work together to educate the children of Stamford central School as a collaborative responsibility.
All parents/guardians are expected to:
1. Recognize the importance of their child(ren)'s education and to send them to school regularly, on time and ready to learn.
2. Instill in their children a supportive attitude towards the programs and rules of the school and promote positive relationships with others.
3. Maintain open communication between the home and school.
All school personnel are expected to.
1. Create and maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity which will strengthen a student's self-concept and promote confidence to learn.
2. Promote a safe, orderly and stimulating school environment, supporting active teaching and learning, and an environment free of discrimination or harassment.
3. Maintain open communications between the school and home.
V. 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. Parents, teachers and all other district personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable student dress and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance in the school setting.
Students who violate the Stamford Central School dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item and, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to additional discipline.
The Board of Education expects all students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, district personnel and other members of the school community, and for the care of school facilities and equipment.
The best discipline is self-imposed, and students must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, as well as the consequences of their misbehavior. District personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students' ability to grow in self-discipline.
The Board recognizes the need to make its expectations for student conduct while on school property or engaged in a school function specific and clear. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others. Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior and who violate these school rules will be required to accept the penalties for their conduct.
Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they:
A. Engage in conduct that is disorderly. Examples of disorderly conduct include, but are not limited to:
1. Running in hallways.
2. Making unreasonable noise.
3. Using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive.
4. Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
5. Engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.
6. 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.
7. 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.
B. Engage in conduct that is insubordinate. Examples of insubordinate conduct include, but are not limited to:
1. Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of students or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.
2. Lateness for, missing or leaving school without permission.
3. Skipping detention.
C. Engage in conduct that is disruptive. Examples of disruptive conduct include, but are not limited to:
1. Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school personnel in charge of students.
2. Inappropriate public display of affection and/or sexual contact.
3. Display or use of personal electronic devices, such as, but not limited to, cell phones, I-pods, digital cameras, in a manner that is in violation of district policy.
D. Engage in conduct that is violent. Examples of violent conduct include, but are not limited to:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Displaying what appears to be a weapon.
5. Threatening to use any weapon.
6. 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.
7. Intentionally damaging or destroying school district property.
E. Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, physical or mental health or welfare of self or others. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:
1. Subjecting other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function to danger by recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury.
2. Stealing or attempting to steal the property of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
3. 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 by demeaning them.
4. Discrimination, which includes the use of race, color, creed, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, sex, gender (identity or expression), sexual orientation, weight, or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner or to deny rights, equitable treatment or access to facilities available to others.
5. Harassment, which includes a sufficiently severe action or persistent pervasive pattern of actions or statements directed at an identifiable individual or group which are intended to be, or which a reasonable person would perceive as, ridiculing or demeaning.
Harassment is also the creation of a hostile environment.
6. Intimidation, which includes engaging in actions or statements that put an individual in fear of bodily harm.
7. Bullying, which consists of inappropriate persistent behavior including threats or intimidation of others, treating others cruelly, terrorizing, coercing, or habitual put-downs and/or badgering others and consists of any hostile activity which harms or induces fear through the threat of further aggression and/or creates terror.
8. 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 with the use of harassment.
9. Selling, using, distributing or possessing obscene material.
10. Using vulgar or abusive language, cursing or swearing.
11. Smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe or using chewing or smokeless tobacco.
12. Possessing, consuming, selling, distributing, sharing or exchanging alcoholic beverages, legal or illegal substances, or being under the influence of either. "Legal/Illegal substances" include, but are not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, hallucinogens, inhalants, look-alike drugs, and any substance commonly referred to as "designer drugs".
13. Inappropriately using or sharing substances, prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs.
15. Indecent exposure, that is, exposure to sight of the private parts of the body in a lewd or indecent manner.
16. Initiating a report warning of fire or other catastrophe without valid cause, misuse of 911, or discharging a fire extinguisher.
F. Engage in misconduct while on a school bus. It is crucial for students to behave appropriately while riding on district buses, to ensure their safety and that of other passengers and to avoid distracting the bus driver. Students are required to conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with established standards for classroom behavior. Excessive noise, pushing, shoving and fighting will not be tolerated.
G. Engage in any form of academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:
4. Altering records.
5. Assisting another student in any of the above actions.
H. Engage in off-campus misconduct that endangers the health and safety of students or staff within the school or substantially disrupts the educational process. Examples of such misconduct include, but are not be limited to:
1. Cyberbullying (i.e., inflicting willful and repeated harm through the use of electronic text and/or images).
2. Threatening or harassing students or school personnel over the phone or other electronic medium.
3. Using message boards to convey threats, derogatory comments or post pornographic and/or defamatory pictures of students or school personnel.
VII. Reporting Violations
All students are expected to promptly report violations of the code of conduct and/or Dignity for all Students Act to a teacher, guidance counselor, the building principal or his or her designee especially when observing a student possessing a weapon, alcohol or illegal substance on school property or at a school function.
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. The notification must identify the student and explain the conduct that violated the code of conduct and constituted a crime.
VIII. Disciplinary Penalties
Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair and consistent so as to be the most effective in changing student behavior. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:
1. The student's age.
2. The nature of the offense and the circumstances which led to the offense.
3. The student's prior disciplinary record.
4. The effectiveness of other forms of discipline.
5. Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate.
6. Other extenuating circumstances.
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means that a student's first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations.
Students who are found to have violated the district's code of conduct may be subject to the following penalties, either alone or in combination, and not in any particular order:
1. Oral warning
2. Written warning
3. Written notification to parent including parent conference
4. Removal from classroom by teacher
6. Suspension from transportation
7. Suspension from athletic participation
8. Suspension from social or extracurricular activities
9. Suspension of other privileges
10. In-school suspension
11. Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school education
12. Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school
13. Permanent suspension from school
B. Minimum Periods of Suspension
1. Any student 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 penalty, the superintendent may consider the following:
a. The student's age
b. The student's grade in school
c. The student's prior disciplinary record
d. The superintendent's belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective
e. Input from parents, teachers and/or others
f. Other extenuating circumstances.
2. Students who commit violent acts other than bringing a weapon to school shall be subject to suspension from school for one to five days. The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a weapon.
3. Any student who repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher's authority over the classroom will be suspended from school for one to five days. The superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum suspension on a case-by-case basis. In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the same factors considered in modifying a one-year suspension for possessing a weapon.
IX. Discipline of Students with Disabilities
To address disruptive or problem behavior, the board recognizes that students with disabilities have certain legal 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 applicable laws and regulations.
X. Student Searches
The board authorizes the superintendent, building principals, 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 result in evidence that the student violated the law or the district code of conduct.
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, computer files and e-mail, 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.
SAVE PROVISIONS AND DUE PROCESS
1. Under Education Law SAVE, teachers may remove "substantially disruptive" students by filling out a discipline referral form. Staff (LTA) may refer under SAVE through their teacher; for direct referral, they and others must refer to the administration again by filling out a discipline referral form. In all instances, common sense and good judgment should be the rule. In many circumstances, teachers and staff can diffuse the situation. In general, teachers are expected to maintain home contacts with potentially problematic students to promote good communication. If a teacher puts a student out of class under the SAVE provisions, the teacher is expected to make an attempt to call home and follow up with a letter.
2. Under SAVE, the principal conducts a review of the incident within 24 hours and must find substantial evidence to overturn the action.
3. Four referrals to the office under SAVE must result in removal from program.
4. Refer to Education Law §2801.
STAMFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL POLICIES, PROCEDURES & ESTABLISHED PRACTICES
STUDENT GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
In compliance with the standards set for the governing of civil rights, all students are protected under the following grievance procedures.
NOTE: Certain areas, which are within the scope of professional teacher's responsibilities, are not subject to grievance (example: interpretation of a subject and/or work experience in the area of the teacher's expertise).
DEFINITION OF A GRIEVANCE
A grievance is a complaint regarding an alleged violation of a student's rights regarding grading, academic and laboratory work, dismissal, suspension, or student conduct.
1.1 A student or a group of students have the right to submit a complaint informally to the staff member involved. If no satisfactory resolution occurs, a formal written complaint may be filed with the building principal within five (5) school days of the complaint.
1.2 The building principal will conduct a hearing within five (5) school days of receiving the complaint and will respond in writing with in five (5) school days of the hearing.
1.3 If the student and/or students are not satisfied with the settlement offered at the first level, an appeal may be made to the superintendent within 30 days after the event given rise to the grievance.
1.4 A hearing by the superintendent, with the student and faculty, will be held within five (5) school days of receipt of the appeal.
1.5 A decision will be made in writing by the superintendent within fifteen (15) school days.
1.6 If the student and/or group of students are not satisfied at the superintendent level, they may appeal to the final level, which is the Board of Education within 15 days of receipt of the superintendent's decision.
1.7 A hearing by the board of education will be held within 30 days of receipt of the written appeal and a decision in writing submitted within five (5) school days after the hearing.
1.8 Forms for appeals are available at the main office.