Code of Conduct

Exterior of the school

The Durham Catholic District School Board recognizes that a school should be a place that promotes 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. It is the responsibility of all members of the school community to work together to create a positive learning environment where all members feel supported.

Each school has developed a School Code of Conduct based on the Ministry of Education's Code of Conduct. As per our Board's policy Safe, Caring and Healthy Secondary Schools and the Ontario Safe School Act, a school's Code of Conduct is developed in consultation with parents, educators and the Catholic School Advisory Council. All members of our school community are responsible for adhering to the expectations as outlined in this Code of Conduct.

Schools within the Durham Catholic District School Board will focus on prevention, early intervention and progressive discipline as the key to maintaining a positive school environment in which students can learn and educators can teach. When inappropriate behaviour occurs, all staff members will utilize a range of interventions, supports and consequences that are developmentally appropriate, that include opportunities for students to learn from mistakes, and that focus on improving behaviour. In some circumstances, short term suspension may be the method of progressive discipline utilized. In the case of a serious incident, long-term suspension or expulsion, which is further along the continuum of progressive discipline, may be the response that is required.

Statement of Purpose

The provincial Code of Conduct sets clear provincial standards of behaviour. These standards of behaviour apply not only to students, but also to all individuals involved in the publicly funded school system whether they are on school property, on school buses, at school-related events or activities, or in other circumstances that could have an impact on the school climate.

The purpose of the Provincial Code of Conduct and the School Code of Conduct is:

To ensure that all members of the school community, especially people in positions of authority, are treated with respect and dignity.

  • To promote responsible citizenship by encouraging appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community.
  • To maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility.
  • To encourage the use of non-violent means to resolve conflict.
  • To promote the safety of people in the schools.
  • To discourage the use of alcohol, cannabis and illegal drugs.

Guiding Principles

  • Responsible citizenship involves appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community.
  • Active and engaged citizens are aware of their rights, but more importantly, they accept responsibility for protecting their rights and the rights of others.Members of the school community are expected to use non-violent means to resolve conflict.
  • Physically aggressive behaviour is not a responsible way to interact with others.
  • The possession, use or threatened use of any object to injure another person endangers the safety of oneself and others.
  • Alcohol, cannabis and illegal drugs are addictive and present a health hazard.
  • The school will work cooperatively with police, drug and alcohol agencies to promote prevention strategies and, where necessary, respond to school members who are in possession of, or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Insults, disrespect, and other hurtful acts disrupt learning and teaching in a school community.
  • Members of the school community have a responsibility to maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility.

Standards of Behaviour

I) Respect, Civility, and Responsible Citizenship

All members of the school community must:

  • Respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws;
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • Respect differences in people, their ideas, and their opinions;
  • Treat one another with dignity and respect at all times, and especially when there is disagreement;
  • Respect and treat others fairly, regardless of, for example, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
  • Respect the rights of others;
  • Show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others;
  • Take appropriate measures to help those in need;
  • Seek assistance from a member of the school staff, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully;
  • 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 and teaching;
  • Not swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority. 

II) Safety

All members of the school community must not:

  • Engage in bullying behaviours;
  • Commit sexual assault;
  • Traffic weapons, illegal or illicit drugs;
  • Give alcohol, cannabis or illegal drugs to a minor;
  • Commit robbery;
  • Be in possession of any weapon, including firearms;
  • Use any object to threaten or intimidate another person;
  • Cause injury to any person with an object;
  • Be in possession of, or under the influence of, or provide others with alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • Inflict or encourage others to inflict bodily harm on another person;
  • Engage in hate propaganda and other forms of behaviour motivated by hate or bias;
  • Commit an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property or to property located on the premises of the school.

Consequences for Student Behaviour

Commensurate with the Durham Catholic District School Board’s Progressive Discipline Policy, when inappropriate behaviour occurs, schools are required to utilize a range of interventions, supports, and consequences that are developmentally appropriate, provide opportunities for students to learn from mistakes, and focus on improving behaviour. In some circumstances, short-term suspension may be the appropriate consequence while in more  serious incidents, long-term suspension or expulsion  may be the response that is required.

Suspension

The infractions for which a suspension may be considered by the principal include:

  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
  • Possessing alcohol, illegal drugs or cannabis (unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user);
  • Being under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or cannabis (unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user);
  • 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;
  • Bullying
  • Uttering a racial slur or comment;
  • Sexual slurs or harassment;
  • Possession and/or use of tobacco products;
  • Disrespect towards or desecration of the religious dimension of the school;
  • Conduct deemed to be unacceptable: e.g.,
    • Fighting/Violence
    • Use of profane or improper language
    • Persistent opposition to authority
    • Persistent tardiness and/or truancy including “skipping” classes
    • Theft
    • Inappropriate use of Social Media
    • Any other behaviours deemed to be contrary to the school Code of Conduct.

A student may be suspended for a minimum of one (1) school day and a maximum of twenty (20) school days.

Expulsion

  • The infractions for which a principal shall suspend and may consider recommending to the Board that a pupil be expelled from the pupil’s school or from all schools of the Board include:
  • Possessing a weapon, including possessing a knife or a firearm;
  • Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person;
  • Bullying, if the pupil has previously been suspended for engaging in bullying, and the pupil’s continuing presence in the school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person;
  • Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner;
  • Committing sexual assault;
  • Trafficking in weapons or restricted or illegal drugs;
  • Committing robbery; 
  • Giving cannabis to a minor;
  • Giving alcohol to a minor;
  • Any activity listed in the Code of Conduct for which a suspension must be considered that is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other similar factor;
  • Engaging in activities or patterns of behaviour on or off school property that cause the pupil’s presence in the school to create an unacceptable risk to the physical or mental well-being of other person(s) in the school or Board;
  • Engaging in activities on or off school property that have caused extensive damage to the property of the Board or to goods that are/were on Board property;
  • Conduct deemed to be unacceptable:
  • Any act considered by the Principal and Family of Schools Superintendent to be a serious violation of the Board or school Code of Conduct.

Mitigating Factors

Before the principal or vice principal makes a decision to suspend or recommend an expulsion he/she must consider all mitigating circumstances.

  • 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 behavior; and
  • Whether the student’s continuing presence in the school does or does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person in the school.

Other Factors to be Considered

  • The student’s academic, discipline and personal history
  • Whether a progressive discipline approach has been used with the student;
  • Whether the activity for which the student may be or is being suspended or expelled was related to any harassment of the student because of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation or to any other harassment;
  • The impact of the discipline on the student’s  ongoing education;
  • The age of the student;
  • In the case where the student has an Individual Education Plan(IEP) or disability-related needs:
    • Whether the behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the student’s Individual Education Plan;
    • Whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided, and
    • Whether the suspension is likely to result in aggravating or worsening of the student’s behaviour or conduct. 

 

Roles and Responsibilities

School Boards

School Boards provide direction to their schools to ensure opportunity, academic excellence, and accountability in the education system. It is the responsibility of the School Board to:

  • Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Develop policies that set out how their schools will implement and enforce the provincial Code of Conduct and all other rules that they develop that are related to the provincial standards that promote and support respect, civility, responsible citizenship, and safety;
  • Review these policies regularly with students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the community;
  • Seek input from school councils, their Parent Involvement Committee, their Special Education Advisory Committee, parents, students, staff members, and the school community;
  • Establish a process that clearly communicates the provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of Conduct to all parents, students, staff members, and members of the school community in order to obtain their commitment and support;
  • Develop effective intervention strategies and respond to all infractions related to the standards for respect, civility, responsible citizenship, and safety; and
  • Provide opportunities for all of the staff to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to develop and maintain academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment; and wherever possible, Boards should collaborate to provide coordinated prevention and intervention programs and services, and should endeavor to share effective practices.

Principals

Under the direction of their School Boards, principals take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school. They provide this leadership by:

  • Modeling Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Demonstrating care for the school community and a commitment to academic excellence in a safe teaching and learning environment;
  • Holding everyone under their authority accountable for his or her behaviour and actions;
  • Empowering students to be positive leaders in their school and community; and
  • Communicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community.

Teachers and Other School Staff Members

Under the leadership of their principals, teachers and other school staff members maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour. As role models, teachers and school staff uphold these high standards when they:

  • Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Help students work to their full potential and develop their sense of self-worth;
  • Empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community;
  • Communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
  • Maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students;
  • Demonstrate respect for all students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the members of the school community; and
  • Prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship.

Students

Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. 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:

  • Models Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • Comes to school prepared, on time., and ready to learn;
  • Shows respect for himself or herself, for others, and for those in authority;
  • Refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others; and
  • Follows the established rules and takes responsibility for his or her own actions. 

Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians 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:

  • Support the values of our Catholic school system;
  • Conduct themselves in an appropriate manner;
  • Take responsibility and support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students;
  • Show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress;
  • Communicate regularly with the school;
  • Help their child be neat, appropriately dressed, and prepared for school;
  • Ensure that their child attends 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 school rules;
  • Encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour; and
  • Assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child.

 

School Code of Conduct on School Bus Vehicles

All school bus vehicles are considered an extension of the classroom and all school policies such as Safe Schools, and School Code of Conduct apply to the school bus. All transported students whether on a field trip or home to school transportation are expected to behave in a manner on the bus that ensures that everyone remains safe.  Since the bus is an extension of the school, students are accountable to the school principal who has the authority to ensure that student conduct on the school bus is appropriate.

Due to the nature of the activity of riding a bus, the following are expectations for all methods of school transportation as per the School Code of Conduct.

All students must:

  • Respect other people’s property and belongings while waiting for the school bus;
  • Treat the driver with respect and follow his/her instructions;
  • Be courteous and respectful to others on the bus at all times;
  • Act appropriately in a manner that does not endanger the safety of oneself or others including, but not limited to:
    • Not engaging in any activity that interferes with the safe operation of the bus
    • Remaining seated at all times, facing forward while the bus is in motion
    • Keeping hands, arms, feet, head and belongings inside the vehicle until the student has exited at his/her stop
    • Not distracting or speaking to the bus driver except in the case of emergency
    • Refraining from inappropriate behavior on the bus, e.g., throwing items, swearing, fighting, or bullying
    • Not bringing alcohol, drugs or weapons onto the school bus
    • Not touching safety equipment or emergency exits except in the case of an emergency
    • Not eating or drinking on the bus

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