AMDSB Code of Conduct

Introduction

All students, parents and guardians, teachers and staff have the right to be safe, and to feel safe, in their school community. With this right comes the responsibility to be law-abiding citizens and to be accountable for actions that put at risk the safety of others or oneself. There is a Code of Conduct for all schools in the Avon Maitland District School Board. Included in this code are the standards of behaviour and mandatory consequences outlined in The Provincial Code of Conduct, legislated by the provincial government.

These standards of behaviour apply not only to students, but to all members of the school community. The school community includes parents/guardians, volunteers, support workers, school staff, and all those who contribute to the school environment. These standards apply on school property, school buses and at school- authorized events and activities. This includes any activity that will have an impact on the climate of the school.

The information in this booklet outlines guiding principles, roles and responsibilities, standards of behaviour, consequences for unacceptable behaviour and for behaviours that contravene the Code of Conduct.

The model for positive behaviour and relationships is based upon defined character traits established by the school community in 2005.

All members of the school community are to be treated with respect and dignity. Members of the school community are expected to maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility.  Non-violent strategies shall be used to resolve conflict.

The Avon Maitland District School Board believes that school learning environments must be safe, orderly, positive and respectful. They must be free from abuse, bullying, discrimination, intimidation, hateful words and deeds, and physical violence in any form.

The Board is committed to establishing and maintaining high expectations for behaviour in order to help students develop appropriate behaviours and self-discipline as responsible members of a democratic society. It also supports the efforts of principals, staff, and community agencies that provide programs that emphasize early identification, conflict prevention and intervention, counselling and the inclusion of social skills in the curriculum.

Responsibility

Responsibility creates a community of respectful individuals. It is not always easy to make responsible choices, especially if someone else is not being responsible. It is important to remember that individuals control their own actions.

Why?

Before respecting other people or other people’s authority or property, one must demonstrate self-respect. Students are capable of making appropriate choices. Drug and alcohol abuse, inappropriate sexual behaviour, physical or verbal assault and bullying are not compatible with the dignity of the school community.

Respect for the Rights and Property of Others

Everyone has the right to be safe and feel safe in the school community. Individuals are expected to be courteous to and considerate of everyone and compassionate to those in need. Respect for school property and the personal property of others must be demonstrated at all times.

Why?

Our school communities are better places to learn and work when the rights and property of others are respected. This includes being polite, accepting differences among people, and encouraging others to do their best. Bullying and harassment are unacceptable behaviours.

Bullying

Bullying is a form of repeated, persistent, aggressive behavior that is directed at an individual or individuals and is intended to cause (or could be known to cause) fear, distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation.

Bullying adversely affects students’ ability to learn and undermines healthy relationships and the school culture. Bullying will not be accepted on school property, at school-related activities, on school buses, or in any other circumstances (e.g. online) where engaging in bullying will have a negative impact on the school climate.

Academic Expectations

Students are expected to attend school, be on time and be prepared for all classes. Prepared means bringing all notebooks, textbooks, and necessary material to class and completing assigned homework.

Why?

Daily school attendance is important for student success. Missing class time affects student achievement and the progress of the class. Best effort generates best results.

Roles and Responsibilities

Students

Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, student behaviour must demonstrate respect for self, others and the responsibilities of citizenship.

Students are responsible citizens when they:

  • come to school prepared, on time and ready to learn;
  • show respect for themselves, others and property;
  • demonstrate consideration and ensure the safety of others;
  • follow established rules and take responsibility for their own actions; and comply with the school’s dress code as established by individual School Councils.

Staff

Teachers and school staff, under the leadership of school administration, are expected to adhere to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour.

As role models, staff uphold these high standards when they:

  • demonstrate and model respect;
  • help students unlock their full potential and promote self-esteem;
  • communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
  • maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students; and prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship.

Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians have a responsibility to support the school community.

Parents/Guardians fulfil this responsibility when they:

  • regularly communicating with their child about their school work and encouraging them to seek help as required;
  • communicate regularly with teachers and promptly report to the school children’s absence or late arrival;
  • promote good hygiene and appropriate clothing choices;
  • ensure that children attend school regularly, on time and prepared;
  • encourage and assist children to follow the Code of Conduct and school expectations;
  • work in partnership with school staff regarding student concerns, academics and disciplinary issues.

Principals

All principals and vice principals must comply with the requirements of the Education Act and the Regulations.

  • demonstrating care and commitment to student success and a safe teaching, learning and working environment;
  • holding everyone accountable for behaviour and actions;
  • communicating regularly and meaningfully with school communities; and
  • assisting staff in addressing individual student needs.

Community Partners

Police and community agencies work in partnership with the Board to actively promote, support and recognize appropriate and positive student behaviour. The Police respond and investigate incidents at the school in accordance with the Police-School Board Protocol. Where inappropriate behaviour occurs, disciplinary measures will be both corrective and supportive. Community partners play an essential role in safe schools.  Community resource agencies deliver prevention and intervention programs.

Standards of Behaviour

The following standards apply to all school communities in the Avon Maitland District School Board. Respect, civility and responsible citizenship

All school community members:

  • respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws;
  • demonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • treat each other with dignity;
  • respect differences in people and treat others fairly, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin,      colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
  • respect the rights of others;
  • seek assistance, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully;
  • show proper care and regard for school property and for the property of others; and
  • assist those in need.

Consequences for Unacceptable Behaviour

Students are at various stages of learning acceptable behaviours. Consequences for misbehaviour include a number of progressive options and will be appropriate to the individual and related to the circumstances.

Consequences may include:

  • warnings;
  • notification of parents/guardians;
  • time-outs;
  • restricted privileges;
  • withdrawal from classes;
  • restorative practices including; restitution or community service;
  • detentions;
  • conflict mediation and resolution;
  • peer mentoring;
  • referral to counselling and/or consultation;
  • suspension; and
  • expulsion.

Principals and teachers take into account the student’s age, level of maturity, and other factors when considering appropriate consequences. The goal is to help the student learn acceptable behaviour. Principals will access the Board’s support services when required.

Suspensions

The denial of a student’s privilege to attend school and/or school activities for a specified period of time.

Expulsion

The full-time withdrawal of a student’s right to attend a particular school.

Special circumstances

When deciding to impose a suspension or expulsion, a principal will consider:

  • whether the student has the ability to control his or her behaviour;
  • whether the student has the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour; and
  • whether the student’s continuing presence in the school does or does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety or well-being of any other individual at school.

Infractions for which a suspension may be considered:

  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person
  • Possessing alcohol or restricted drugs
  • Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority
  • Committing an act of vandalism against any school property or to property located on the school premises
  • Bullying
  • Persistent opposition to authority
  • Willful destruction of school property
  • Habitual neglect of duty
  • The use of profane language or gestures which convey a disrespectful or inappropriate message
  • Any act considered by the Principal to be injurious to the moral tone of the school
  • Any act considered by the Principal to be injurious to the physical or mental well-being of any member of the school community
  • Any act considered by the Principal to be contrary to the Board or School Code of Conduct

Long Term Suspensions

‘Where a student is suspended for six (6) or more days, the student will be assigned an alternative program (Alternative Suspension Program, ASP). A Student Action Plan (SAP) will be developed for every pupil who agrees to participate in an Alternative Suspension Program. The principal/designate will hold a planning meeting to develop the SAP.

A student suspended for eleven (11) or more school days will be provided with educational and social supports where appropriate and available.

Smoking/Tobacco Control Act

The use of any tobacco products (for example cigarettes and chewing tobacco) are not allowed on school property.  Using e-cigarettes and vaping on school grounds is also prohibited.  The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is a law that bans anyone (including visitors) from smoking or holding lit tobacco on school property, 24 hours a day. This also includes smoking in your car on school property. You can be fined $305 for breaking these laws.

Providing friends with tobacco is a “Bad Way to be Nice”. Supplying anyone under the age of 19 with tobacco is against the law and you may be fined $365 for breaking it. If you want to show friends that you care about them, do not give them tobacco as this can lead to a long-term and deadly addiction. School staff will report cases of tobacco use or supplying tobacco to the Tobacco Enforcement Officer at the Heath Unit.

The purpose of the Ontario Tobacco Control Act is to reduce smoking. Under the Act, smoking and/or using a tobacco product is prohibited on all Avon Maitland District School Board properties, school buses and at school or board sponsored events. Principals and Vice-Principals are required to notify the Tobacco Enforcement Officer at the local health unit of any infractions. Consequences may include warnings, suspensions and/or a Provincial Offence ticket.

Be good to yourself, your future, your friends and your school by following this Tobacco Use Policy and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. If you smoke and would like to quit, call the Health Unit at 519-482-3416 or 1- 877-837-6143.

Police Involvement

The Police/School Board protocol outlines the types of incidents that require mandatory reporting to police and those for which reporting is discretionary. The following incidents require mandatory reporting to police. Mandatory reporting does not always mean that charges will be laid; however, for the incidents listed, police must be notified. The incidents include those that happen at school, during school-related activities in or outside school, or in other circumstance if the incident has a negative impact on school climates.

The following incidents require mandatory notification of police:

  • All deaths
  • Physical assault causing bodily harm requiring medical attention;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Robbery;
  • Criminal Harassment;
  • Relationship-based violence;
  • Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm;
  • Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person;
  • Trafficking weapons or illegal drugs;
  • Possessing an illegal drug
  • Hate and/or bias motivated occurrences;
  • Extortion;
  • Arson;
  • Gang related occurrences;
  • Vandalism causing serious damage;
  • Bomb threats