In our Catholic school system, positive assets are:
- A way to collectively understand, promote, and measure positive child and youth development;
- Created to clarify the positive relationships, youth competencies, self-perceptions, and values needed for children and youth to succeed;
- Grounded in research – children with many assets are more likely to develop positively and less likely to participate in risk-taking behaviour.
For this reason, building positive assets in our students is an initiative that supports our collective work to achieve the desired outcomes for many of our strategic priorities (mental health, student retention, responding to/meeting the needs of all learners, student/parent engagement, etc.)
In 2014, The Search Institute developed a framework called Developmental Relationships® with a focus on a broader web of 5 critical relationships that children need to succeed – Express Care, Challenge Growth, Provide Support, Share Power, and Expand Possibilities. These relationships between a young person and adult and/or between a young person and a peer can powerfully and positively shape their identity for years to come.
In response to the Ministry’s Creating Pathways to Success initiative, we also actively promote the use of online career planner – My Blueprint for students in Grade 7-8.
ONTARIO PROVINCIAL SCHOOL CODE OF CONDUCT
Standards of Behaviour
Respect, Civility and Responsible Citizenship
All members of our Catholic school community (eg. students, parents or guardians, bus drivers, volunteers, and staff members – whether on school property, on school buses or at school-authorized events or activities) must:
- Demonstrate honesty and integrity;
- Not swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
- Respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws;
- Respect and treat others fairly, regardless of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
- Respect differences in people, ideas & opinions;
- Respect all members of the school community, especially persons in positions of authority;
- Respect the need of others to work in an environment that is conducive to learning;
- Respect the rights of others;
- Seek assistance from a member of the school staff to resolve conflict peacefully;
- Show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others;
- Take appropriate measures to help those in need;
- Treat one another with dignity and respect at all times, and especially when there is disagreement.
STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
All students in our Catholic school community have a right to be treated and respected as children of God. They have a right to a learning environment that is safe, orderly, supportive and caring. They also have a responsibility to:
- Accept consequences for their actions/choices;
- Allow others to learn without disruption;
- Be in attendance and punctual, prepared to learn with required materials at hand, working hard and completing assigned work to the best of their ability;
- Contribute positively to the Catholic climate of the school by helping others and participating fully in the religious life of the school (eg. prayer, liturgy);
- Have respect for staff members, parent volunteers, students, property of others and school property;
- Respect themselves and the rights and safety of all others in the school community;
- Set a good example, complying with school rules and expectations in the Code of Conduct, using appropriate language; being polite and considerate.
EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENT CONDUCT at SCHOOL
According to Section 23 “Requirements for Pupils” Regulation 298, Operation of Schools ( Education Act )
A pupil shall:
- Accept such discipline as would be exercised by a kind, firm and judicious parent;
- Attend classes punctually and regularly;
- Be clean in person and habits;
- Be courteous to fellow pupils and obedient and courteous to teachers (and other adults at school);
- Be diligent in attempting to master studies as part of the program in which pupil is enrolled;
- Exercise self-discipline;
- Show respect for school property;
- Take such tests/examinations as are required by/under the Act or as directed by the Minister.
Every pupil is responsible for his/her conduct to the Principal (…staff members, bus drivers, and parent volunteers…) on school premises, to/from school and on out-of-school activities that are part of the school program.
Progressive discipline is a whole-school approach that makes use of a range of interventions, supports, and consequences, building upon strategies that promote positive behaviours. Inability to meet expectations outlined in the Code of Conduct may result in the use of the following range of consequences and/or intervention strategies:
- Alternative suspension program;
- Attendance/behaviour/performance contract;
- Children’s Aid Society is contacted;
- Community service/volunteering;
- Counselling (CYC/Social Worker);
- Detention at recess;
- In/formal interview with student;
- Letter of apology/think paper;
- Parents are phoned/conference;
- Police/fire department are contacted;
- Pre-suspension letter;
- Restitution/replacement of property;
- Restorative justice/conflict mediation;
- School/Board expulsion;
- Seizure of illegal substances/weapons;
- Suspension from school for 1-20 days;
- Suspension of bicycle/bus/computer/ lunch /sports team/trip privileges;
- Review of expectations; and
- Withdrawal from class/school.
In accordance with the Progressive Discipline and Safe Schools Act, Accepting Schools Act, the Education Act and Board policy II-39, immediate suspension from 1-20 days will be the minimum penalty faced by a student for the following infractions. Police may be involved, as indicated by the police/school protocol, and conditions for return to school will be specified in accordance with board policies.
A pupil may be suspended from his/her school and from engaging in all school-related activities for committing any of the following infractions while at school, at school-related activities or in other circumstances where engaging in the activity will have an impact on the school climate:
- Being under the influence of alcohol/drugs;
- Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property;
- Possessing alcohol or illegal/restricted drugs;
- Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
- Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person.
Notwithstanding the foregoing and in keeping with Regulation 472/07- Suspension of Pupils, a suspension is not considered if, in the judgment of the Principal, the pupil:
- Does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of others, given his/her continuing presence in school;
- Does not have the ability to control or understand the foreseeable consequences of his/her behaviour;
- Has a history of being a victim of harassment; and
- Has received other forms of progressive discipline.
In accordance with the Progressive Discipline and Safe Schools Act and Board policy II-39, the following infractions may result in suspension, but are not limited to:
- Conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school including but not limited to: academic dishonesty, inappropriate use of school property including electronic and/or voicemail systems, theft;
- Conduct injurious to the physical or mental well-being of others in the school including but not limited to: extortion, fighting, fire setting, harassment and intimidation, hazing activities, possession of a replica of a prohibited weapon, use and/or possession of explosive devices;
- Distribution of hate material, hate crimes;
- Habitual neglect of duty;
- Infractions where the student’s conduct off school property adversely affects the moral tone of the school and has an impact/connection to the school;
- Persistent opposition to authority/defiance;
- Persistent truancy/unexplained absence;
- Smoking on school property;
- Trespassing on school property;
- Use of profane/improper language;
- Willful destruction of school property.
A pupil who is subject to a suspension is not entitled to attend school nor engage in school-related activities until the completion of the period of suspension.
In conjunction with the suspension, a re-entry meeting will be held when the pupil returns to school after the suspension period to provide positive and constructive redirection for the pupil as part of the transition process. Counselling and rehabilitative services may be offered at this time as an opportunity for reconciliation or restorative justice.
When a Suspension Occurs …
The Board acknowledges that suspension cautions students and may deter them from continuing with or repeating unacceptable behaviour; prevents other students from being exposed to or involved in dangerous and damaging activities; disciplines students who have transgressed the rules of the school; and warns parents of serious discipline problems with their child/ren. Principals and teachers shall hold students under their authority accountable for their behaviours and actions.
The parent/guardian of a suspended pupil is contacted by telephone on the day of the suspension and the following information given:
- Pupil has been suspended, duration of suspension, and for what reason(s);
- Letter will be taken home by the pupil or letter will be mailed home to the parent/guardian;
- Requirement that the pupil is expected to undertake assigned school work and complete it as directed;
- Requirement that the pupil is not to be on school property/at school-related activities during the time of suspension;
- An indication of the suspension appeal process.
In accordance with the Progressive Discipline and Safe Schools Act, where a suspension is 6-20 days in length, the pupil must attend an Alternative Suspension Program in a different school setting. Both academics and counselling are provided in a Student Action Plan for each pupil enrolled.
Bullying at School
Bullying and harassment can often become a vicious cycle: bullies who get what they want from their target, bullied students who are afraid to tell, bystanders who either watch, participate, or look away, and adults who see the incidents as simply “teasing” and a normal part of childhood. To understand the implications of bullying in schools, we must share a common definition of the term itself:
“Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent, aggressive behaviour directed at an individual/s which is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear, distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.”
The Ministry’s Accepting Schools Act (2012) goes on to clarify that this bullying behaviour is intended by the student to have the effect/likelihood of causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation and/or property, or creating a negative environment at a school for another individual.
Bullying behaviour whether physical, verbal, electronic, or relational in nature occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the bully and the individual bullied based on factors such as size, strength, intelligence, peer group power, economic/social status, age, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, religion, gender, gender identity/expression, race, disability or receipt of special education services.
Electronic bullying behaviour or cyber-bullying is becoming even more prominent these days. It includes the following behaviours: creating a web page/blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person; impersonating another person as the author of content or messages posted on the Internet; and communicating material electronically to more than one individual or posting material on a website that may be accessed by one or more individuals.
Now more than ever, a whole-school approach is needed to create a healthy, safe and inclusive learning environment, supporting both students who are impacted by and who have engaged in inappropriate behaviour, to assist them in developing healthy, positive relationships, making good choices, and achieving academic success.
In an effort to reduce bullying and create a positive school climate in which everyone feels safe and respected, staff and students are engaged in a variety of strategies that address anger management, compassion, and pro-social behaviour.
We observe and actively promote Bullying Awareness Week and the Vow of Silence Day in November, Pink T-Shirt Day in February and Mental Health Awareness Week in May. We are also very proud of our new Buddy Bench initiative – a gathering spot for students seeking to make new friends – designed to promote and foster kindness, inclusiveness and empathy among students at recess. Ultimately, students learn to solve problems, share perspectives and regulate their emotions and behaviour in a positive, productive manner. We also promote positive social behaviour through various clubs/activities – Me to We and Roots of Empathy programs, P.A.L.S. (Playground Activity Leaders in Schools), Peace Team, Prayer Club, Running Team & Wellness Team.
Students who are being bullied should report incidents to their classroom teacher/staff on yard duty immediately who will inform the Principal. The situation will be subject to progressive discipline in accordance with Board/Ministry Safe Schools policy and our School Code of Conduct.
What can someone who is being bullied do?
- Don’t fight back; try not to show your anger;
- Say “NO” firmly, then turn and walk away;
- Stay with a group/friend. It will be harder for the bully to pick on you when you have support;
- Tell your parents, teachers or other adults that you need their help. Don’t suffer in silence.
Our Catholic schools ultimately provide a rigorous academic program in a healthy, safe and inclusive environment that integrates learning, religious instruction, Gospel values and virtues and spiritual formation into all aspects of the Ontario curriculum. Spirituality and the witness and practice of our Faith are lived out in the daily interactions and experiences of staff and students as disciples of Jesus Christ.