Catholic Schools promote responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable and accepted. As a Catholic School Board we believe that this environment is achieved when conduct reflects Gospel values and the Board’s Mission Statement.
Referenced from the following HCDSB policies:
Policy No: II-27
Student Behaviour JK-Grade
Policy No: II-39
Progressive Discipline and Safety in Schools / Code of Conduct Suspension & Expulsions
Policy No: II-40
Bullying Prevention Intervention
Roles and Responsibilities of the Student
Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. Students have the right to learn in a safe, orderly and stimulating Catholic environment and to be conscientiously instructed by the teaching staff. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:
- Participates fully in the religious life of the school, including the celebration of liturgy, Religious Education courses and related activities;
- Develops personal skills and talents to serve God, and thereby his/her neighbor;
- Contributes positively to the Catholic climate of the school and exhibits the responsibilities of citizenship;
- Co-operates with all adults in positions of authority in the school community;
- Complies with all school expectations and regulations respecting student behavior;
- Uses language that is appropriate to their dignity as Catholics;
- Adheres to the school uniform policy;
- Respects the school property and property of others at all times;
- Comes to school prepared, on time and ready to learn;
- Refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others;
- Exercises self-discipline and accountability for their actions based on age and individual ability.
Teachers and other school staff members, under the leadership of administrators, maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to high standards of respectful and responsible behavior. As Catholic role models, staff upholds these high standards when they:
- Help students work to their full potential and develop their self-worth;
- Empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school and community;
- Communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
- Maintain consistent standards of behavior for all students;
- Demonstrate respect for all students, parents, volunteers and other members of the school community;
- Prepare students for the full responsibility of citizenship as outlined in the Catholic Graduate Expectations.
Parents play an important role in the education of their children, and can support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Parents fulfill their role when they:
- Show an active interest in the child’s school work and progress;
- Communicate regularly with the school;
- Help their child to be neat, appropriately dressed and prepared for school;
- Ensure that their children attend school regularly and on time;
- Promptly report to the school their child’s absence or late arrival;
- Show that they are familiar with the provincial Code of Conduct, the Board’s code of conduct and the school rules;
- Encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour;
- Assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their children.
Progressive discipline is a whole-school approach that makes use of a continuum of interventions, supports, and consequences, building upon strategies that promote positive behaviours. The range of interventions, supports, and consequences used by the Board and all schools must be clear and developmentally appropriate, and must include learning opportunities for pupils in order to reinforce positive behaviours and help pupils make good choices. For pupils with special education and/or disability related needs, interventions, supports and consequences must be consistent with the expectations in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and/or his/her demonstrated abilities.
The Board, and school administrators, must consider all mitigating and other factors, as required by the Education Act and as set out in Ontario Regulation 472/07.
Progressive discipline may include early and/or ongoing intervention strategies, such as:
- Contact with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s);
- Verbal reminders;
- Review of expectations;
- Written work assignment with a learning component;
- Volunteer service to the school community;
- Peer mentoring;
- Referral to counseling;
- Conflict mediation and resolution; and/or
Progressive discipline may also include a range of interventions, supports and consequences when inappropriate behaviours have occurred, with a focus on improving behaviour, such as one or more of the following:
- Meeting with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s), pupil and principal;
- Referral to a community agency for counseling;
- Withdrawal of privileges;
- Withdrawal from class;
- Restitution for damages;
- Restorative practices;
- Transfer with support
In some cases, short-term suspension may also be considered as a useful progressive discipline approach.
Notwithstanding the above, the principal will take immediate and appropriate action in any situation involving the welfare of others.
The Board also supports the use of suspension and expulsion as outlined in Part XIII of the Education Act where a pupil has committed one or more of the infractions outlined below on school property, during a school-related activity or event, and/or in circumstances where the infraction has an impact on the school climate.
The infractions for which a suspension may be imposed by the principal include:
- Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
- Possessing alcohol, illegal and/or restricted drugs;
- Being under the influence of alcohol;
- Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
- Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the pupil’s school or to property located on the premises of the pupil’s school;
Aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a pupil where;
(a) the behaviour is intended by the pupil to have the effect of, or the pupil ought to know that the behaviour would be likely to have the effect of;
- i) causing harm, fear or distress to another individual, including physical, psychological, social or academic harm, harm to the individual’s reputation or harm to the individual’s property, or
- ii) creating a negative environment at a school for another individual, and
- b) the behaviour occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between the pupil and the individual based on factors such as size, strength, age, intelligence, peer group power, economic status, social status, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, family circumstances, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, disability or receipt of special education; (“intimidation”)
Behaviour includes the use of any physical, verbal, electronic, written or other means.
Bullying includes bullying by electronic means (COMMONLY KNOWN AS CYBER-BULLYING), including,
(a) creating a web page or a blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person;
(b) impersonating another person as the author of content or messages posted on the internet; and
(c) communicating material electronically to more than one individual or posting material on a website that may be accessed by one or more individuals.
- 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 members of the school community;
- Any act considered by the principal to be contrary to the Board or School Code of Conduct including but not limited to the following:
- Academic dishonesty – attempting to deceive by cheating, copying or plagiarizing
- Defiance – refusal to comply with persons in authority
- Disorderly conduct – persistent opposition to authority, conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school or to the physical and mental well-being of others in school
- Explosive devices – use of or possession of explosive devices
- Extortion – to take money, homework or property under threat of harm or duress
- Fire setting, bomb threat, fire alarm – setting a fire or an act that places individuals, property or community at risk
- Harassment – repeated comments or conduct that is known or ought to be known as unwelcome
- Hate Crimes – words or actions considered offensive in reference to a person’s race, religion, culture, gender, age, appearance or disability
- Smoking on school property – violation of the Tobacco Control Act
- Theft – taking, possessing property without the permission of the owner
- Trespass – unauthorized presence on school property
- Truancy – persistent unexplained absence
- Vehicle use – reckless or dangerous use of a vehicle i.e. Car, motorcycle, bicycle etc.
A pupil may be suspended only once for an infraction and may be suspended for a minimum of one (1) school day and a maximum of twenty (20) school days.
Expulsion is a possible consequence in extreme circumstances. Refer to page 6 & 7 of Policy No: II-39 Progressive Discipline and Safety in Schools / Code of Conduct Suspension & Expulsions.
Mitigating and Other Factors
Before imposing a suspension, the principal, as required by the Education Act, must consider any mitigating and other factors as set out in the Student Discipline Procedures. For the purpose of the Student Discipline Procedures, the Board interprets the provisions of the Education Act and Regulations consistent with the Ontario Human Rights Code.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is the purpose of a suspension?
It is meant to signal to the student that the behaviour that caused the suspension must change as it is totally unacceptable to the school community and warns parents/guardians of possible serious problems with their son or daughter.
What are suspended students expected to do while away from school?
A student who is subject to a suspension of five (5) or fewer school days will be provided with school work to complete at home while serving the suspension. A Student Action Plan (SAP) will be developed for every student subject to a suspension of six (6) or more school days.
A student subject to suspension for eleven (11) or more school days will be provided with both academic and non-academic supports, which will be identified in the student’s SAP. Students subject to a suspension of fewer than eleven school days may be offered non-academic supports where such supports are appropriate and available. Suspended students are not allowed on school property, on school buses or at school-authorized events or activities throughout the suspension period.
What is the difference between a suspension and an expulsion?
Ø Suspension is an imposed absence from school to a maximum of 20 days.
Ø School expulsion is an expulsion from the school of the Board that the pupil was attending at the time of the incident.
Ø Board expulsion is an expulsion from all schools of the Board.
A parent, guardian or adult student may appeal a suspension or an expulsion.
How are weapons defined in the policy?
Weapons are defined as:
Ø any object or thing used to threaten or inflict harm on another person and includes, but is not limited to knives, replica knives, guns, replica guns and animals
The decision as to whether an object is a weapon rests with the Principal.
How do school programmes support Safe Schools?
The Progressive Discipline and Safety in Schools Act, 2007 and the Halton Catholic District School Board’s Code of Conduct are supported by programmes that provide students with academic and non-academic skills. Religion and Family Life, Health and Social Skills and Bullying Prevention programs provide students with key learnings that foster healthy relationships and encourage students to respect the needs, feelings, rights, and cultures of other individuals.Code of Conduct