Table of Contents
Students’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
Investigation and Resolution Procedures
Disciplinary Penalties, Procedures and Referrals
Suspension from School
Minimum Periods of Suspension
Discipline of Students With Disabilities
Student Searches and Interrogations
Visitors to the School
Public Conduct on School Property
Behavior Expectations During School
Cell Phone/Electronic Device Communications
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. Responsible 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 and at school functions as well as conduct off school premises, which relates to the Cohoes City School District, its students, and staff. These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty, and integrity.
The Board recognizes the need to clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, 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”).
For purposes of this code, the following definitions apply.
- “Disruptive student” means an elementary or secondary student under the age of 21 who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom
- “Disability” means (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term must be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held. (Education 11(4) and Executive Law §292(21)).
- “Cyberbullying” means harassment or bullying as defined in subdivision K of this section where such harassment or bullying occurs through any form of electronic communication.
- “Employee” means any person receiving compensation from a school district or employee of a contracted service provider or worker placed within the school under a public assistance employment program, pursuant to title nine-B of article five of the Social Services Law, and consistent with the provisions of such title for the provision of services to such district, its students or employees, directly or through contract, whereby such services performed by such person involve direct student contact. (Education Law §§ 11(4) and 1125(3)
- “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 a public elementary or secondary school, or in or on a school bus, and Education Law 11(1).
- “School Bus” means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency or private school and operated for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity, to or from school or school activities, or, privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to or from school or school activities. (Education Law §11(1) and Vehicle and Traffic Law 142).
- “School function” means any school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity on or off school property as defined in Education Law 11(2).
- “Sexual Orientation” shall mean actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality”.
- “Gender” shall mean actual or perceived sex and shall include a person’s gender identity or expression.
- “Harassment” shall mean the creation of a hostile school environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyber bullying as defined in Education Law §11(8) that either has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, and/or physical well-being; including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or reasonably causes or would be reasonably expected to cause physical injury to a student or cause the student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such conduct includes acts of harassment, discrimination and/or bullying that occur (1) on school property; and/or (2) at a school function or (3) off school property where such acts of harassment and bullying create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. Acts of harassment, discrimination and/or bullying shall include but are not limited to nonverbal and verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
- “Hostile Environment” in the context of harassment and bullying refers to an environment that is so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s education.
- “Emotional Harm” in the context of harassment and bullying refers to harm to a student’s emotional well- being through the creation of a hostile school environment that is so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s education.
- “Material Incident of Harassment, Bullying and/or Discrimination” means a single verified incident or a serious of related verified incidents where a student is subject to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination by a student and/or employee on school property or at a school function. Such term shall include a verified incident or series of related incidents of harassment or bullying that occur off school property, meets the definition of subpart K of this section, and is the subject of a written or oral complaint to the superintendent, principal or their designee, or other school employees.
- “Violent student” means a student under the age of 21 who:
- Commits an act of violence upon a school employee, or attempts to do so.
- Commits, while on school property or at a school function, an act of violence upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property or at the school function, or attempts to do so.
- Possess, while on school property or at a school function, a weapon.
- Displays, while on school property or at a school function, what appears to be a weapon.
- Threatens, while on school property or at a school function, to use a weapon.
- Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys the personal property of any school employee or any person lawfully on school property or at a school function.
- Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys school district property
- “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 cutters, cane sword, electronic dart gun, Kung Fu star, electronic stun gun, pepper spray or other noxious spray, incendiary bomb, ammunition, imitation ammunition or exploding substances, or other device, instrument, material or substance that can cause physical injury or death when used to cause physical injury or death.
Students Rights and Responsibilities
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:
- Take part in all district activities on an equal basis regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, religious practice, weight, gender, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation or disability
- 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
- To be protected from intimidation, harassment, bullying and/or discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, sex, gender, including gender identity, sexual orientation or disability, by employees or students on school property or at a school-sponsored event, function or activity.
All district students have the responsibility to:
- Contribute to maintaining a safe and orderly school environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect to other persons and to property
- Be familiar with and abide by all district policies, rules, and regulations dealing with student conduct
- Attend school every day unless they are legally excused and be in class, on time, and prepared to learn.
- Work to the best of their ability in all academic and extracurricular pursuits and strive toward their highest level of achievement possible
- React to the direction given by teachers, administrators, and other school personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
- Work to develop mechanisms to control their anger.
- Ask questions when they do not understand.
- Seek help in solving problems that might lead to discipline.
- Dress appropriately for school and school functions.
- Accept responsibility for their actions.
- Conduct themselves as representatives of the district when participating in or attending school-sponsored extracurricular events and to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct, demeanor, and sportsmanship.
- To respect one another and treat each other fairly and civilly in accordance with the District Code of Conduct and provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act, including the responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that fosters an environment free from intimidation, harassment bullying and/or discrimination.
All parents are expected to:
- Recognize that the education of their child(ren) is a joint responsibility of the parents and the school community.
- Send their children to school ready to participate and learn.
- Ensure their children attend school regularly and on time.
- Ensure absences are excused.
- Insist their children be dressed and groomed in a manner consistent with the student dress code.
- Help their children understand that in a democratic society appropriate rules are required to maintain a safe, orderly environment.
- Know school rules and help their children understand them.
- Convey to their children a supportive attitude toward education and the district.
- Build good relationships with teachers, other parents, and their children’s friends.
- Help their children deal effectively with peer pressure.
- Inform school officials of changes in the home situation that may affect student conduct or performance.
- Provide a place for study and ensure homework assignments are completed.
- Teach their children respect and dignity for themselves and for other students, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or sex, which will strengthen their child’s confidence and help promote learning in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act.
Teachers and other instructional staff
All district teachers and other instructional staffs are expected to:
- Maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity, for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity or sex, which will strengthen students’ self-confidence and promote learning.
- Be prepared to teach.
- Demonstrate an interest in teaching and concern for student achievement.
- Know school policies and rules; enforce them in a fair and consistent manner.
- Confront issues of discrimination and harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, school employee or any person who is lawfully on school property or at a school function.
- Address personal biases that may prevent equal treatment of all students in the school or classroom setting.
- Report incidents of discrimination, bullying and/or harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to a teacher’s attention to the building administrator and/or Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) by reporting orally within one (1) school day any such incident and by filing a written report with the designated official within two (2) school days following the oral report.
- Communicate to students and parents:
- Course objectives and requirements
- Marking/grading procedures
- Assignment deadlines
- Expectations for students
- Classroom discipline plan
- Communicate regularly with students, parents and other teachers concerning growth and achievement
- Assist students in coping with peer pressure and emerging personal, social and emotional problems.
- Initiate teacher/student/counselor conferences and parent/teacher/student/counselor conferences, as necessary, as a way to resolve problems.
- Regularly review with students their educational progress and career plans.
- Provide information to assist students with career planning.
- Encourage students to benefit from the curriculum and extracurricular programs.
- Maintain and encourage a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity or sex, with an understanding of appropriate appearance, language and behavior in a school setting, which will strengthen students’ self-image and promote confidence to learn.
- Report incidents of discrimination, bullying and/or harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to the counselor’s attention to the building administrator and/or Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) by reporting orally of any such conduct witnessed or reported to the designated school official within one (1) school day and by filing a written report with the designated official within two (2) school days following the oral report. in a timely manner.
Principals and Supervisory Personnel
- Seek to develop a sound and helpful atmosphere of mutual respect within the school.
- Evaluate the program of instruction in their school to achieve a meaningful educational program;
- Help their staff self-evaluate their own procedures and attitudes in relation to the interactions within their classrooms;
- Develop procedures which reduce the likelihood of student misconduct; this includes the authority to administer tests on suspicious substances, administer breath tests on students and to use metal detection devices if a reasonable suspicion exists that a student possesses or is under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or is in possession of a weapon
- Provide the opportunity and encouragement for students and staff to approach the principal or other appropriate administrators directly for redress of grievances;
- Work with students and staff to formulate individual school regulations;
- Assist staff members to resolve any school-related problems which may occur;
- Work closely with parents to establish a cooperative relationship between home and school;
- Utilize all appropriate support staff and community agencies as resources to help parents and students identify problems and seek solutions;
- Establish necessary building security;
- Assume responsibility for the distribution of the code of conduct and ensure that all discipline cases referred are resolved justly and promptly;
- Ensure fairness, reasonableness, and consistency,
- Comply with pertinent state laws governing hearings, suspensions and student rights;
- Demonstrate desirable standards of behavior through personal example.
- Maintain and encourage a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion and religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity or sex, with an understanding of appropriate appearance, language and behavior in a school setting, which will strengthen student’ self-image and promote confidence to learn.
- Lead or supervise the thorough investigation of all reports of discrimination, bullying and/or harassment that are witnessed or otherwise brought to the Principal or supervisory personnel’s attention in a timely manner in collaboration with the Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) or other district designee and ensure that the investigation is completed promptly after receipt of any written or oral report of such conduct.
- Take prompt actions reasonably calculated to end harassment, bullying and/or discrimination.
- Attempt to eliminate any hostile environment and try to create a more positive school culture and climate.
- Ensure the safety of student(s) against whom harassment, bullying and/or discrimination was directed.
Superintendent and District Administration
- Take such steps as are necessary to develop, publicize and carry out the rules and regulations for students;
- Consider and act upon recommendations for suspensions in keeping with the Board of Education policy;
- Review with the principals and other supervisory personnel the policies of the Board of Education and State Laws relating to discipline,
- Listen and consider the views of the total community;
- Inform the Board of Education of educational trends relating to discipline;
- Provide for the development of innovative educational programs which will help to minimize problems of misconduct;
- Make himself/herself available to administrators, teachers and other staff, advise them on serious discipline matters and support them so long as the latter has acted in accordance with the discipline policies of the District and the laws of the State of New York;
- Be well informed on the programs and the problems of the District and work with staff in offering leadership.
- Promote a safe, orderly, respectful and positive school environment, free from intimidation, harassment, bullying and/or discrimination.
- Be informed of the investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination to ensure that such investigations are completed promptly after receipt of any written reports.
- Take prompt actions reasonably calculated to end harassment, bullying and/or discrimination; try to eliminate any hostile environment and to try to create a more positive school culture and climate.
- Ensure the safety of the student or students against whom harassment, bullying or discrimination was directed.
Board of Education
- Collaborate with student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel, and other school personnel to develop a code of conduct that clearly defines expectations for the conduct of students, district personnel and visitors on school property and at school functions
- Adopt and review at least annually the district’s code of conduct to evaluate the code’s effectiveness and the fairness and consistency of its implementation.
- Appoint a Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) in each school building. The Dignity Act Coordinator will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in areas of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity and sex. The Dignity Act Coordinator must be accessible to students and other staff members for consultation and advice as needed on the Dignity Act.
- To be eligible for appointment as a Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC), the individual must be employed by the District, a BOCES or a charter school, and be licensed and/or certified by the Commissioner as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse, school social worker, school administrator or supervisor or superintendent of schools;
- In the event that a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates their position, designate another eligible employee to immediately act as an interim appointed Coordinator, pending approval of a successor Coordinator by the Board within thirty (30) days of the date that the position was vacated. In the event that a Coordinator is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another eligible employee shall be immediately designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending return of the previous Coordinator to their duties as the DAC.
- Designate the school employee(s) charged with receiving reports of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination.
- Report annually on verified material incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination to the Commissioner of Education.
- Lead by example by conducting Board meetings in a professional, respectful, courteous manner.
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. 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.
A student’s dress, grooming, and appearance, including hair style/color, jewelry, make-up, and nails, shall:
- Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process. A student’s attire shall not be excessively baggy. Students will keep coats and jackets in their lockers during the school day
- Recognize that extremely brief garments such as tube tops, net tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, plunging necklines (front and/or back) and see-through garments are not appropriate. A student’s attire will ensure their midriff is completely covered.
- Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.
- Include footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed.
- Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, libelous, or denigrate others on account of actual or perceived race, color, weight, religion or religious practice, creed, national origin, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, sex or disability.
- Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or violent activities. This includes the prohibition on gang symbols, signs, colors, or other related apparel.
- Not include the wearing of hats or head coverings in the classroom except for a medical or religious purpose.
Each Building Principal or his/her designee shall be responsible for informing all students and their parents of the student dress code at the beginning of the school year and any revisions to the dress code made during the school year.
Students who violate the student dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item, and if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so shall be subject to discipline, up to and including in-school suspension for the day. Any student who repeatedly fails to comply with the dress code shall be subject to further discipline, up to and including out of school suspension.
Prohibited Student Conduct
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. It is important to remember that the conduct and discipline actions outlined below are not all-inclusive and individual situations may differ and result in differing disciplinary consequences. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to 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 the 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 engage in conduct that is disorderly. Examples of disorderly conduct include:
- Running in hallways.
- Making unreasonable noise.
- Using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive.
- Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
- Engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.
- 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.
- 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, including the use of such devices for purposes of cyberbullying.
- Engage in conduct that is insubordinate. Examples of insubordinate conduct include:
- Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of students or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.
- Lateness for, missing or leaving school without permission.
- Skipping detention.
- Failing to comply or fulfill consequences set forth by a teacher or an administrator.
- Engage in conduct that is disruptive. Examples of disruptive conduct include:
- Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school personnel in charge of students.
- Engaging in harassing, bullying or discriminatory conduct, including through threats, intimidation or abuse which may include verbal and non-verbal actions, which has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being, including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably could cause emotional harm; or could cause a physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or well-being or creates or would create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.
- Engage in conduct that is violent. Examples include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Displaying what appears to be a weapon.
- Threatening to use any weapon.
- 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.
- Intentionally damaging or destroying school district property.
- Engaging in harassing or bullying conduct through verbal or non-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 and/or physical well-being including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such conduct includes acts of harassment or bullying that occur on school property; at a school function; or off school property where the acts create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.
- Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. Examples of such conduct include:
- Lying to school personnel
- Stealing the property of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function
- 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.
- Discrimination, which includes the use of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, gender, gender identity sexual orientation or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner.
- Engaging in harassing or bullying conduct through verbal or non-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 and/or physical well-being including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such conduct includes acts of harassment or bullying that occur on school property; at a school function; or off school property where the acts create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property.
- Intimidation or bullying. Threatening, stalking or seeking to coerce or compel a person to do something; engaging in non-verbal, verbal or physical conduct that threatens another with harm, including intimidation through the use of epithets or slurs involving actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, religious practices, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age or disability that substantially disrupts the educational process or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially intervening with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well- being. Intimidation, cyber-bullying, and bullying are forms of harassment.
- 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.
- Selling, using or possessing obscene material.
- Using vulgar or abusive language, cursing or swearing.
- Possessing or smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe, bidi, clove cigarette, and any other smoking product; as well as spit tobacco, also known as smokeless, dip, chew, and snuff, and any other spit tobacco product in any form.
- Possessing, consuming, selling, distributing or exchanging alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, or drug paraphernalia or being under the influence of either. “Illegal substances” include, but are not limited to, inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look-alike drugs, and any substances commonly referred to as “designer drugs.”
- Inappropriately using or sharing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Indecent exposure, that is, exposure to sight of the private parts of the body in a lewd or indecent manner.
- Initiating a report warning of fire or other catastrophe without valid cause, misuse of 911, or discharging a fire extinguisher.
- 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.
- Engage in any form of academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include:
- Altering records
- Assisting another student in any of the above
- Engage in inappropriate use of electronic devices during the school day; including, but not limited to, cell phones, cameras, pagers/beepers, radios, iPods, MP3 players and CD players. Cyber bullying using electronic devices is prohibited. Students who do not comply with the electronic device policy may be subject to disciplinary action and the device may be confiscated. A parent or guardian will be called to pick up the confiscated item.
All students are expected to promptly report violations of the code of conduct to a teacher, guidance counselor, the Building Principal or his/her designee. Any student observing a student possessing a weapon, alcohol or illegal substance on school property or at a school function shall report this information immediately to a teacher, the Principal, the Principal’s designee or the Superintendent of Schools.
Any student observing a student being harassed, bullied and/ or discriminated against by another student or a staff member shall report this information immediately to a teacher, the Principal, the Principal’s designee, the Superintendent of Schools or the Dignity Act Coordinator.
Staff who receive oral or written reports of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination or witness such acts shall report the incident orally within one (1) school day to the principal, their designee, or the superintendent or the Dignity Act Coordinator. Following an oral report, a written report of acts of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination shall be filed within two (2) school days. The principal, superintendent or their designee shall lead or supervise the thorough investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination and ensure that such investigation is completed promptly after receipt of any written report made.
When an investigation verifies a material incident of harassment, intimidation and/or discrimination, the superintendent, principal or their designee shall take prompt action, consistent with the District’s code of conduct, including but not limited to provisions in Section 100.2(1)(2)(ii)(h) reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying and/or discrimination; eliminate any hostile environment; create a more positive school culture and climate, prevent recurrence of the behavior and ensure the safety of the student or students against whom such behavior was directed.
Any retaliation against an individual who, in good faith, reports or assists, conducts or participates in the investigation of incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination is prohibited.
Any district staff that is authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to do so in a prompt, fair and lawful manner. District staff who are not authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to promptly report violations of the code of conduct to their supervisor, who shall in turn impose an appropriate disciplinary sanction, if so authorized, or refer the matter to a staff member who is authorized to impose an appropriate sanction.
Any weapon, alcohol, tobacco, or illegal substance found shall be confiscated immediately, if possible, followed by notification to the parent of the student involved and the appropriate disciplinary sanction, which may include permanent suspension and referral for prosecution.
The Principal or his/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, but in no event later than the close of business the day the Principal or his/her designee learns of the violation. The notification must identify the student and explain the conduct that violated the code of conduct and constituted a crime.
The Principal, Superintendent or their designee shall notify promptly the appropriate local law enforcement agency when it is believed that any harassment, bullying and/or discrimination may constitute criminal conduct.
It is District policy to respect the privacy of all parties and witnesses to bullying. To the extent possible, the District will not release the details of a complaint or the identity of the complainant or the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed to any third parties who do not need to know such information. However, because an individual’s desire for confidentiality must be balanced with the District’s legal obligation to provide due process to the accused, to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation, and/or to take necessary action to resolve the complaint, the District retains the right to disclose the identity of parties and witnesses to complaints in appropriate circumstances to individuals with a need to know. The staff member responsible for investigating complaints will discuss confidentiality standards and concerns with all complainants.
If a complainant requests that his/her name not be revealed to the individual(s) against whom a complaint is filed, the staff member responsible for conducting the investigation shall inform the complainant that:
- The request may limit the District’s ability to respond to his/her complaint;
- District policy and federal law prohibit retaliation against complainants and witnesses;
- The District will attempt to prevent any retaliation; and
- The District will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs. If the complainant still requests confidentiality after being given the notice above, the investigator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request as long as doing so does not preclude the District from responding effectively to the bullying and preventing the bullying of other students.
Investigation and Resolution Procedure
Initial (Building-level) Procedure
Whenever a complaint of bullying is received by a staff member, whether verbal or written, it should be reported immediately to the principal or their designee within one (1) school day of receiving or witnessing the incident; within two (2) school days of verbally reporting the incident, the staff member must file a written report with the principal or their designee. Except in the case of severe or criminal conduct, the principal, the principal’s designee or the Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) shall make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints at the school level. The goal of the investigative process is to address incidents of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination promptly and to end the bullying, prevent future incidents, ensure the safety of the target and obtain a prompt and equitable resolution to a complaint.
As soon as possible, but no later than three school days following receipt of a complaint, the principal, the principal’s designee or the Dignity Act Coordinator (DAC) will begin an investigation of the complaint by:
- Reviewing any written documentation provided by the target(s).
- Conducting separate interviews of the target (Victim (s), alleged perpetrator(s), and witnesses, if any, and documenting the
- Providing the alleged perpetrator(s) a chance to respond and notify him/her that if objectionable behavior has occurred, it must cease immediately. The individual will be made aware of remediation opportunities as well as potential disciplinary
- Determining whether the complainant needs any accommodations to ensure his/her safety, and following up periodically until the complaint has been resolved. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- A “permanent” hall pass that allows the student to visit a designated adult at any time;
- Access to private bathroom facilities;
- Access to private locker room facilities;
- An escort during passing periods;
- A “stay away” agreement with the aggressor/harasser;
- Reviewing and adjusting schedules to avoid interaction between the target and the alleged aggressor(s)
- If the student feels unsafe in a specific class, an opportunity for individual tutoring or independent study until the case is resolved; upon request
- Permission to use personal cell phone to in the event that the student feels threatened and needs immediate assistance;
- Assignment of a bus monitor
- Counseling support
The District recognizes that there is a need to balance accommodations which enhance student safety against the potential to further stigmatize the targeted student. Therefore, each case will be handled individually, and the student, parent/guardian, and school administration will collaborate to establish safety provisions that best meet the needs of the targeted student. Follow-up discussion and/or meetings will be scheduled, as needed, to ensure that safety concerns have been adequately addressed and to determine when and if accommodations need to be changed or discontinued.
Where appropriate, informal methods may be used to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to:
- discussion with the accused, informing him or her of the District’s policies and indicating that the behavior must stop;
- suggesting counseling, skill building activities and/or sensitivity training;
- conducting additional training or education for the department or school in which the behavior occurred, calling attention to the consequences of engaging in such behavior;
- requesting a letter of apology to the target;
- writing letters of caution or reprimand; and/or
- separating the
- establishing a “stay away” agreement
Appropriate disciplinary action shall be recommended and imposed in accordance with District policy, the applicable collective bargaining agreement or state law. School District should make every effort to attempt to first resolve the misconduct through non-punitive and remedial measures.
Disciplinary measures to address incidents of harassment, discrimination and/or bullying shall incorporate a progressive model of student discipline that includes measured, balanced and age-appropriate remedies and procedures that make appropriate use of prevention, education, intervention and discipline and considers among other things, the nature and severity of the student’s offending behavior(s) the developmental stage of the student, the previous disciplinary record of the student and other extenuating circumstances, as well as the impact the student’s
behaviors had on the individual(s) who was physically injured and/or emotionally harmed. Responses shall be reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, prevent recurrence, and eliminate the hostile environment. This progressive model for student discipline shall be consistent with other provisions of the code of conduct.
The investigator shall report back to both the target and the accused, within a reasonable time period not to exceed three weeks unless extenuating circumstances apply. The investigator will notify them in writing, and also in person, as appropriate, regarding the outcome or status of the investigation and the action taken to resolve the complaint. The actions taken will be in conformance with the Remediation/Discipline/Penalties section of this regulation. The target shall report immediately if the objectionable behavior occurs again or if the alleged perpetrator retaliates against him/her. Retaliation against a student or staff member who, in good faith, makes a report or participates in the investigation of a complaint of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination is strictly prohibited.
If the administrator or district designee believes that a reported incident may constitute criminal action, the District shall notify the proper law enforcement agency promptly and shall notify the Superintendent that such a report was made. To the extent appropriate, the complainant will also be advised of other avenues to pursue their complaint, including contact information for state and federal authorities.
Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation may request a District-level investigation by submitting a written complaint to the Superintendent within 30 days.
The Superintendent or his/her designee shall promptly arrange for the investigation and resolution of all bullying, harassment and/or discrimination appeals complaints that are referred to him/her. In the event that a complaint involves the Superintendent, the complaint shall be filed with or referred to the Board President, who shall refer the complaint to the Board counsel or his/her designee for investigation.
The Superintendent shall also promptly address any appeals of the outcome of an initial investigation. The District level investigation should begin as soon as possible (three working days) following receipt of the appeal by the Superintendent or Board President.
If a District level investigation results in a determination that bullying did occur, prompt corrective action will be taken to end the misbehavior in accordance with the Remediation/Discipline/Penalties section of this regulation.
No later than 30 days following receipt of the complaint, the Superintendent (or in cases involving the Superintendent, the Board-appointed investigator) will notify the target and alleged perpetrator, in writing, of the outcome of the investigation. If additional time is needed to complete the investigation or take appropriate action, the Superintendent or Board-appointed investigator will provide all parties with a written status report within 30 days following receipt of the complaint.
Any party who is not satisfied with the outcome of the District-level investigation may appeal to the Board of Education by submitting a written request to the Board President within 30 days.
When a request for review by the Board has been made, the Superintendent shall submit all written statements and other materials concerning the case to the President of the Board.
The Board shall notify all parties concerned of the time and place when an informal hearing will be held. Such hearing will be held within 15 school days of the receipt of the request of the complainant.
The Board shall render a decision in writing within 15 days after the informal hearing has been concluded.
Any individual who violates this policy by engaging in harassment, bullying and/or discrimination will be subject to appropriate action, which may include disciplinary action. Remedial responses to bullying include measures designed to correct the problem behavior, prevent another occurrence of the behavior, and protect the target of the act. Appropriate remedial measures may include, but are not limited to:
- Restitution and restoration;
- Peer support group;
- Corrective instruction or other relevant learning or service experience;
- Changes in class schedule
- Supportive intervention;
- Behavioral assessment or evaluation;
- Behavioral management plan, with benchmarks that are closely monitored;
- Student counseling;
- Parent conferences; or
- Student treatment or therapy.
Environmental remediation may include, but is not limited to:
- School and community surveys or other strategies for determining the conditions contributing to the relevant behavior;
- Modification of schedules;
- Adjustment in hallway traffic and other student routes of travel;
- Targeted use of monitors;
- Parent education seminars/workshops;
- Peer support
Disciplinary measures available to school authorities include, but are not limited to the following:
Students: Discipline may range from a reprimand up to and including suspension from school, to be imposed consistent with the Code of Conduct and applicable law.
Employees: Discipline may range from a warning up to and including termination, to be imposed consistent with all applicable contractual and statutory rights.
Volunteers: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of volunteer assignment.
Vendors: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including loss of District business.
Other individuals: Penalties may range from a warning up to and including denial of future access to school property.
Retaliation Prohibited: Any act of retaliation against any person who reports or has filed a complaint of harassing or discriminatory behavior, is strictly prohibited, and therefore subject to disciplinary action. Likewise, retaliation against any person who has testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of a harassment or discrimination complaint is prohibited. For purposes of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to: non-verbal, verbal and/or physical threats, intimidation, ridicule, bribes, destruction of property, spreading rumors, stalking, harassing phone calls, and any other form of harassment. Any person who retaliates is subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination, as applicable.
Where incidents involve violations of civil rights, the victim and the alleged perpetrator have the right to be represented by a person of their choice, at their own expense, during investigations and hearings. In addition, victims have the right to register complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Employee victims also have the right to register complaints with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the New York State Division of Human Rights. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to limit the right of the complainant to file a lawsuit in either state or federal court.
Prevention is the cornerstone of the District’s effort to address bullying, discrimination, and harassment. The components of such an effort involve the following:
- Following the principles and practices of “Educating the Whole Child Engaging the Whole School: Guidelines and Resources for Social and Emotional Development and Learning (SEDL) in New York State – Adopted by the Board of Regents July 18, 2011.” District curriculum will emphasize developing empathy, tolerance, and respect for others.
- Creating a dynamic learning environment for all
- Learning about and identifying the early warning signs and precursor behaviors that may lead to
- Gathering information about bullying at school directly from students (through surveys and other mechanisms); analyzing and using the data gathered to assist in decision-making about programming and resource allocation.
- Establishing clear school-wide and classroom rules about bullying consistently with the District’s code of
- Providing staff training to promote a positive school environment free from discrimination and
- Providing training to raise awareness and sensitivity to potential acts of discrimination and /or harassment and understanding of the Code of
- Providing staff training to enable employees to prevent and respond to incidents
- Providing staff training to make school employees aware of the effects of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and/or discrimination. Such training shall raise awareness among adults, through training, of the school experiences of marginalized student populations (as enumerated in the Definitions section above), social stigma in the school environment, gender norms in the school environment, and strategies for disrupting bullying, intimidation, harassment or other forms of violence.
- Providing training to assist staff in addressing the social patterns of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, to identify and mitigate acts of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination and to use strategies to effectively address problems of exclusion, bias, and aggression in the school setting.
- Ensuring the effective implementation of school policy on conduct and discipline, including but not limited to guidelines on promoting a safe and supportive school climate while discouraging harassment, bullying and/or discrimination against students by students and/or school employees.
- Providing adequate supervision, particularly in less structured areas such as in the hallways, cafeteria, school bus, and playground.
- Raising parental awareness and involvement in the prevention program and in addressing problems.
- Using educational opportunities or curriculum, including, if applicable, the Individual Educational Program (IEP), to address the underlying causes and impact of bullying.
- Instruction to students in grades K-12 shall include a component on civility, citizenship and character education. This instruction shall provide guidance and information to students on the principles of honesty, tolerance, personal responsibility, respect for others, observance of laws and rules, courtesy, dignity and other traits which shall enhance the quality of the student’s experiences and will contribute to the community. Concepts of dignity, tolerance and respect for others includes awareness and sensitivity to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination as well as the importance of civility in relation to actual or perceived race, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practice, disability, sex, sexual orientation and gender (including identity and expression). Instruction to students shall also include instruction on the safe and responsible use of the Internet and electronic communications. All such student instruction shall include an emphasis on discouraging acts of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination.
- The principal shall provide at least an annual report of data and trends related to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination to the Superintendent.
- The Board condemns and strictly prohibits all forms of discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of any student, by employees or students that creates a hostile school environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyber bullying, of such a severe nature that either 1)has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being, including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would be expected to cause emotional harm; or 2)Reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such prohibited conduct shall include, but is not limited acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender as defined in Education Law §11(6), or sex; provided that nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a person’s gender that would be permissible under Education Law sections 3201-a or 2854(2) (a) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681, et seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Retaliation by any school employee or student is prohibited against any individual who, in good faith, reports or assists in the investigation of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination complaints.
Disciplinary Penalties, Procedures and Referrals
Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with the problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that students view as fair and impartial. School 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.
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:
- The student’s age
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances, which led to the offense.
- The student’s prior disciplinary record
- The effectiveness of other forms of discipline
- Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate.
- 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.
If the conduct of a student is related to a disability or suspected disability, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education and discipline, if warranted, shall be administered consistent with the separate requirements of this code of conduct for disciplining students with a disability or presumed to have a disability. A student identified as having a disability shall not be disciplined for behavior related to his/her disability.
In the event of disciplinary actions in response to acts of harassment, bullying and or discrimination against students by employees or students , a progressive model of student discipline shall be imposed which includes measured, balanced and age-appropriate remedies and procedures that make appropriate use of prevention, education, intervention and discipline and shall consider, among other things, the nature and severity of the offending student’s behavior, the developmental age of the student, the previous disciplinary record of the student and other extenuating circumstances as well as the impact the student’s behaviors had on the individual(s) who was physically injured or emotionally harmed as a result of such acts. Responses shall be reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying and/or discrimination, prevent recurrence and eliminate the hostile environment.
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. The school personnel identified after each penalty are authorized to impose that penalty, consistent with the student’s right to due process.
- Oral warning – any member of the district staff
- Written warning – bus drivers, hall and lunch monitors, coaches, guidance counselors, teachers, Principal, Superintendent
- Written notification to parent – bus driver, hall and lunch monitors, coaches, guidance counselors, teachers, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Detention – teachers, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Suspension from transportation – Director of Transportation, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Suspension from athletic participation – coaches, athletic director Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Suspension from social or extracurricular activities – activity director, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Suspension of other privileges – Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- In-school suspension – Principal, Superintendent
- Restitution- coaches, athletic director, Director of Transportation, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Restorative justice – coaches, athletic director, Director of Transportation, Principal or his/her designee, Superintendent
- Alternatives-to-Suspension Program (For tobacco violations only) – Principal, or his/her designee, Superintendent.
- Removal from the classroom by teacher – teachers, Principal or his/her designee.
- Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school – Principal, Superintendent, Board
- Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school – Principal, Superintendent, Board
- Permanent suspension from school – Superintendent, Board.
The amount of due process a student is entitled to receive before a penalty is imposed depends on the penalty being imposed. In all cases, regardless of the penalty imposed, the school personnel authorized to impose the penalty must inform the student of the alleged misconduct and must investigate, to the extent necessary, the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct. All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to the school personnel imposing the disciplinary penalty in connection with the imposition of the penalty.
Students who are to be given penalties other than an oral warning, written warning or written notification to their parents are entitled to additional rights before the penalty is imposed. These additional rights are explained below.
Teachers, Principals, or their designees, and the Superintendent may use after school detention as a penalty for student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate. Detention will be imposed as a penalty only after the student’s parent has been notified to confirm that there is no parental objection to the penalty and the student has appropriate transportation home following detention.
Suspension from transportation
If a student does not conduct himself/herself properly on a bus, the bus driver is expected to bring such misconduct to the administrative aide or Assistant Principal’s attention. Students who become a serious disciplinary problem may have their riding privileges suspended by the Principal or the Superintendent or their designees.
In such cases, the student’s parent will become responsible for seeing that his or her child gets to and from school safely. Should the suspension from transportation amount to a suspension from attendance; the district will make appropriate arrangements to provide for the student’s education.
A student subjected to a suspension from transportation is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the Principal or his/her designee to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Suspension from athletic participation, extra-curricular activities, and other privileges
A student subjected to a suspension from athletic participation, extra-curricular activities or other privileges is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the suspension to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
The Board recognizes the school must balance the need for students to attend school and the need for order in the classroom to establish an environment conducive to learning. As such, the Board authorizes Principals and the Superintendent to place students who would otherwise be suspended from school as the result of a code of conduct violation in “in-school suspension.”
A student subjected to an in-school suspension is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214. However, the student and the student’s parent will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the in-school suspension to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Students and their parent/guardians will be responsible to give an equivalent or compensation for loss, damage, or injury caused.
Alternative-to-Suspension (tobacco violations only)
In light of scientific evidence that the use of tobacco is hazardous to health, students may be allowed to participate in an Alternative-to-Suspension program. Student participation in a tobacco cessation program and/or tobacco education class may be allowed as an alternative to discipline. Parent will be notified of violations involving their child and subsequent action taken by the school.
Teacher Disciplinary Removal of Disruptive Students
A student’s behavior can affect a teacher’s ability to teach and can make it difficult for other students in the classroom to learn. In most instances, the classroom teacher can control a student’s behavior and maintain or restore control over the classroom by exercising good classroom management.
Unfortunately, behavior challenges occasionally require techniques at the extreme end of the behavioral management continuum. These techniques may include practices that involve the teacher directing a student to briefly leave the classroom to give the student an opportunity to regain his or her composure and self-control in an alternative setting. Such practices may include, but are not limited to: (1) short-term “time out” in an elementary classroom or in an administrator’s office; (2) sending a student into the hallway briefly; (3) sending a student to the Principal’s office for the remainder of the class time only; or (4) sending a student to a guidance counselor or other district staff member for counseling. Time-honored classroom management techniques such as these do not constitute disciplinary removals for purposes of this code.
On occasion, a student’s behavior may become disruptive. For purposes of this code of conduct, a disruptive student is a student who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom. A substantial disruption of the educational process or substantial interference with a teacher’s authority occurs when a student demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher’s instructions or repeatedly violates the teacher’s classroom behavior rules.
The removal from class applies to the class of the removing teacher only. In the case of an elementary school teacher, this removal may be up to the remainder of that school day and the next consecutive school day.
If the disruptive student does not pose a danger or ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, the teacher must provide the student with an explanation for why he or she is being removed and an opportunity to explain his or her version of the relevant events before the student is removed. Only after the informal discussion may a teacher remove a student from class.
If the student poses a danger or ongoing threat of disruption, the teacher may order the student to be removed immediately. The teacher must, however, explain to the student why he or she was removed from the classroom and give the student a chance to present his or her version of the relevant events within 24-hours.
The teacher must provide written documentation and meet with the Principal or his or her designee as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the school day, to explain the circumstances of the removal and to present the removal form. If the Principal or designee is not available by the end of the same school day, the teacher must leave the form with the secretary and meet with the Principal or designee prior to the beginning of classes on the next school day.
Within 24 hours after the student’s removal, the Principal or another district administrator designated by the Principal must notify the student’s parent that the student has been removed from class and why. The notice must also inform the parent that he or she has the right, upon request, to meet informally with the Principal or his/her designee to discuss the reasons for the removal.
The Principal may require the teacher who ordered the removal to attend the informal conference.
If at the informal meeting the student denies the charges, the Principal or his/her designee must explain why the student was removed and give the student and the student’s parents a chance to present the student’s version of the relevant events. The informal meeting must be held within 48 hours of the
student’s removal. The timing of the informal meeting may be extended by mutual agreement of the parent and Principal.
The Principal or his/her designee may overturn the removal of the student from class if he/she finds any one of the following:
- The charges against the student are not supported by substantial evidence.
- The student’s removal is otherwise in violation of law, including the district’s code of conduct.
- The conduct warrants suspension from school pursuant to Education Law §3214 and a suspension will be imposed.
The Principal or his/her designee may overturn a removal at any point between receiving the referral form issued by the teacher and the close of business on the day following the 48-hour period for the informal conference if a conference is requested. No student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher will be permitted to return to the classroom until the Principal or his/her designee makes a final determination, or the period of removal expires, whichever is less.
Any disruptive student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities until he or she is permitted to return to the classroom.
Each teacher must keep a complete log (on a district-provided form) for all cases of removal of students from his/her class. The Principal must keep a log of all removals of students from class.
Removal of a student with a disability, under certain circumstances, may constitute a change in the student’s placement. Accordingly, any removals of a student with a disability will be promptly reviewed by the Principal or the Chair of the Committee on Special Education to ensure that the removal will not violate the student’s rights under state or federal law or regulation. If such a removal would result in a change in placement, the student with a disability will be afforded due process as provided under State and Federal law and Regulation, which may include a manifestation determination, placement into an Interim Alternative Education Setting (IAES) or an impartial hearing, as appropriate.
Suspension from School
Suspension from school is a severe penalty, which may be imposed only upon students who are insubordinate, disorderly, violent or disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others.
The Board retains its authority to suspend students but places primary responsibility for the suspension of students with the Superintendent and the Principals.
Any staff member may recommend to their respective Principal that a student is suspended. All staff members must immediately report and refer a violent student to the Principal or his/her designee for a violation of the code of conduct. All recommendations and referrals shall be made in writing unless the conditions underlying the recommendation or referral warrant immediate attention. In such cases, a written report is to be prepared as soon as possible by the staff member recommending the suspension.
The Superintendent, Principal, or their designee, upon receiving a recommendation or referral for suspension or when processing a case for suspension, shall gather the facts relevant to the matter and record them for subsequent presentation, if necessary.
Short term (five days or less)
When the Principal (referred to as the “suspending authority”) proposes to suspend a student charged with misconduct for five days or less pursuant to Education Law §3214(3), the suspending authority or their designee, must immediately notify the student orally. If the student denies the misconduct, the suspending authority or their designee must provide an explanation of the basis for the proposed suspension. The suspending authority must also notify the student’s parents
in writing that the student may be suspended from school. The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or some other means that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the decision to
propose suspension at the last known address for the parents. Where possible, notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number(s) for
the purpose of contacting the parents.
The notice shall provide a description of the charges against the student and the incident for which suspension is proposed and shall inform the parents of the right to request an immediate informal conference with the Principal. Both the notice and informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the parents. At the conference, the parents shall be permitted to ask questions of complaining witnesses under such procedures as the Principal may establish.
The notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place before the student is suspended unless the student’s presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process. If the student’s presence does pose such a danger or threat of disruption, the notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably practicable.
After the conference, the Principal shall promptly advise the parents in writing of his other decision. The Principal or designee shall advise the parents that if they are not satisfied with the decision and wish to pursue the matter, they must file a written appeal to the Superintendent within five business days, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. The Superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within 10 business days of receiving the appeal. If the parents are not satisfied with the superintendent’s decision, they must file a written appeal to the Board of Education with the District Clerk within 10 business days of the date of the Superintendent’s decision, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so. Only final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education within 30 days of the decision.
Long-term (more than five days) Suspension from School
When the Superintendent or Principal determines that a suspension for more than five days may be warranted, he or she shall give reasonable notice to the student and the student’s parents of their right to a fair hearing. At the hearing the student shall have the right to be represented by counsel, the right to question witnesses against him or her and the right to present witnesses and other evidence on his or her behalf.
The Superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his or her discretion, designate a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the proceeding before him or her. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required. A tape or digital recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record. The hearing officer shall make findings of fact and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the Superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the Superintendent may accept all or any part thereof.
An appeal of the decision of the Superintendent may be made to the Board that will make its decision based solely upon the record before it. All appeals to the Board must be in writing and submitted to the district clerk within 10 business days of the date of the Superintendent’s decision unless the parents can show that extraordinary circumstances precluded them from doing so. The Board may adopt in whole or in part the decision of the Superintendent. Final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education within 30 days of the decision.
Permanent suspension is reserved for extraordinary circumstances such as where a student’s conduct poses a life-threatening danger to the safety and well-being of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
Minimum Periods of Suspension
Students who bring a weapon to school
Any student, other than a student with a disability, 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:
- The student’s age
- The student’s grade in school
- The student’s prior disciplinary record
- The Superintendent’s belief that other forms of discipline may be more effective
- Input from parents, teachers and/or others
- Other extenuating circumstances.
A student with a disability may be suspended only in accordance with the requirements of state and federal law.
Students who commit violent acts other than bringing a weapon to school
Any student, other than a student with a disability, who is found to have committed a violent act, other than bringing a weapon onto school property, shall be subject to suspension from school for at least five days. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five- day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension. If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension. The Superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day 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.
Students who are repeatedly substantially disruptive of the educational process or repeatedly substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom
Any student, other than a student with a disability whose conduct is directly and substantially related to his or her disability, 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 at least five days. For purposes of this code of conduct, “repeatedly is substantially disruptive” means engaging in conduct that results in the student being removed from the classroom by the teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law § 3214 (3-a) and this code on four or more occasions during a semester. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to all students subject to a short-term suspension. If the proposed penalty exceeds the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for a hearing given to all students subject to a long-term suspension. The Superintendent has the authority to modify the minimum five-day 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.
The guidance counselors and/or social workers shall handle all referrals of students to counseling. A student found guilty of alcohol or drug use and/or possession shall be scheduled for a minimum of three remedial sessions with a school counselor. Students found guilty of harassment or discrimination may be referred for counseling.
The district may file a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition in Family Court on any student under the age of 18 who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:
- Being habitually truant and not attending. school as required by part one of Article 65 of the Education Law.
- Engaging in an ongoing or continual course of conduct, which makes the student ungovernable, or habitually disobedient, and beyond the lawful control of the school.
- Knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana in violation of Penal Law § 221.05. A single violation of § 221.05 will be a sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition
A PINS Petition may be brought against a student with a disability only after a manifestation determination has been held to rule out the misconduct leading to the filing of the petition is a manifestation of the student’s disability.
Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Offenders
The Superintendent, or his designee, is required to refer the following students to the County Attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding before the Family Court:
- Any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school, or
- Any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status under the Criminal Procedure Law § 1.20 (42).
The Superintendent is required to refer students age 16 and older or any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
When a teacher removes a student of any age from class or a student of compulsory attendance age is suspended from school pursuant to Education Law §3214, the district will act promptly to provide alternative means of instruction for the student.
Discipline of Students with Disabilities
The Board recognizes that it may be necessary to suspend, remove or otherwise discipline students with disabilities to address disruptive or problem behavior. The Board also recognizes that students with disabilities enjoy certain procedural 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 the procedural safeguards required by applicable laws and regulations.
This code of conduct affords students with disabilities subject to disciplinary action no greater or lesser rights than those expressly afforded by applicable federal and state law and regulations.
Authorized Suspensions or Removals of Students with Disabilities
- For purposes of this section of the code of conduct, the following definitions
A “suspension” means a suspension pursuant to Education Law § 3214.
A “removal” means a removal for disciplinary reasons from the student’s current educational placement other than a suspension and change in placement to an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) ordered by an impartial hearing officer because the student poses a risk of harm to himself/herself or others.
An “IAES” means a temporary educational placement for a period of up to 45 school days, other than the student’s current placement at the time the behavior precipitating the IAES placement occurred, that enables the student to continue to progress in the general curriculum, although in another setting, to continue to receive those services and modifications, including those described on the student’s current individualized education program (IEP), that will enable the student to meet the goals set out in such IEP, and include services and modifications to address the behavior which precipitated the IAES placement that are designed to prevent the behavior from recurring.
- School personnel may order the suspension or removal of a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement as follows:
- The Board, the district (BOCES) Superintendent of Schools or a Principal may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, another setting or suspension for a period not to exceed five consecutive school days and not to exceed the amount of time a non-disabled student would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The Superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES, another setting or suspension for up to 10 consecutive school days, inclusive of any period in which the student has been suspended or removed under subparagraph (a) above for the same behavior, if the Superintendent determines that the student has engaged in behavior that warrants a suspension and the suspension or removal does not exceed the amount of time non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
- The Superintendent may order additional suspensions of not more than 10 consecutive school days in the same school year for separate incidents of misconduct, as long as those removals do not constitute a change of placement.
- The Superintendent may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES to be determined by the committee on special education (CSE), for the same amount of time that a student without a disability would be subject to discipline, but not more than 45 school days, if the student carries or possesses a weapon to school or to a school function, or the student knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function.
- “Weapon” means the same as “dangerous weapon” under 18 U.S.C. § 930(g)(w) which includes “a weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for or is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, except…[for] a pocket knife with a blade of fewer than 2 1/2 inches in length.”
- “Controlled substance” means a drug or other substance identified in certain provisions of the federal Controlled Substances Act specified in both federal and state law and regulations applicable to this policy.
- “Illegal drugs” means a controlled substance except for those legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health-care professional or that is legally possessed or used under any other authority under the Controlled Substances Act or any other federal law.
- Subject to specified conditions required by both federal and state law and regulations, an impartial hearing officer may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES setting for up to 45 days at a time, if maintaining the student in his or her current educational placement poses a risk of harm to the student or others.
Change of Placement Rule
- A disciplinary change in placement means a suspension or removal from a student’s current educational placement that is either:
- for more than 10 consecutive school days; or
- for a period of 10 consecutive school days or less if the student is subjected to a series of suspensions or removals that constitute a pattern because they cumulate to more than 10 school days in a school year and because of such factors as the length of each suspension or removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and the proximity of the suspensions or removals to one another.
- School personnel may not suspend or remove a student with disabilities if imposition of the suspension or removal would result in a disciplinary change in placement based on a pattern of suspension or removal.However, the district may impose a suspension or removal, which would otherwise result in a disciplinary change in placement, based on a pattern of suspensions or removals if the CSE has determined that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or the student is placed in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances.
Special Rules Regarding the Suspension or Removal of Students with Disabilities
The district’s Committee on Special Education shall
- Conduct functional behavioral assessments to determine why a student engages in a particular behavior, and develop or review behavioral intervention plans whenever the district is first suspending or removing a student with a disability for more than 10 school days in a school year or imposing a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement, including a change in placement to an IAES for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances.
If subsequently, a student with a disability who has a behavioral intervention plan and who has been suspended or removed from his or her current educational placement for more than 10 school days in a school year is subjected to a suspension or removal that does not constitute a disciplinary change in placement, the members of the CSE shall review the behavioral intervention plan and its implementation to determine if modifications are necessary.
If the CSE finds that modifications to the student’s current IEP, program or services are needed, the committee shall convene a meeting to modify such plan and its implementation, to the extent the committee determines necessary.
Conduct a manifestation determination review of the relationship between the student’s disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action whenever a decision is made to place a student in an IAES either for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or because maintaining the student in his current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or a decision is made to impose a suspension that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
- The parents of a student who is facing disciplinary action, but who has not been determined to be eligible for services under IDEA and Article 89 at the time of misconduct, shall have the right to invoke applicable procedural safeguards set forth in federal and state law and regulations if, in accordance with federal and state statutory and regulatory criteria, the school district is deemed to have had knowledge that their child was a student with a disability before the behavior precipitating disciplinary action occurred. If the district is deemed to have had such knowledge, the student will be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes.
- The Superintendent, Principal or other school official imposing a suspension or removal shall be responsible for determining whether the student is a student presumed to have a disability. A basis of knowledge exists if, prior to the time the behavior occurred:
- The Parent of such student expressed concern in writing to supervisory or administrative personnel of the District or to a teacher of the student that the student may be in need of special education. Expression of such concern may be oral when the parent does not know how to write or has a disability that prevents a written letter;
- The parent of the student has requested an evaluation of the student which is pending; or
- A teacher of the student, or other personnel of the District, have expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the student directly to the Director of Special Education of the District or to other supervisory personnel (Building Administrator, Superintendent, etc) of the District.
- A student will not be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if, upon receipt of information supporting a claim that the district had knowledge the student was a student with a disability, the district either:
- conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability, or conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability, or
- determined that an evaluation was not necessary and provided notice to the parents of such determination, in the manner required by applicable law and regulations; or.
- The parent of the student has not allowed an evaluation of the student pursuant to Section 200.4 of the Commissioner’s regulations; or
- The Parent of the student refused services under the IDEA and Article 89 of the Education Laws of New York.
If there is no basis for knowledge that the student is a student with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the student, the student may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures as any other non- disabled student who engaged in comparable behaviors.
However, if a request for an individual evaluation is made while such non-disabled student is subjected to a disciplinary removal, an expedited evaluation shall be conducted and completed in the manner prescribed by applicable federal and state law and regulations. Until the expedited evaluation is completed, the non-disabled student who is not a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes shall remain in the educational placement determined by the district, which can include suspension.
- The district shall provide parents with notice of disciplinary removal no later than the date on which a decision is made to change the placement of a student with a disability to an IAES for either misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or because maintaining the student in his/her current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or a decision is made to impose a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
The procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner shall accompany the notice of disciplinary removal.
- The parents of a student with disabilities subject to a suspension of five consecutive school days or less shall be provided with the same opportunity for an informal conference available to parents of non- disabled students under the Education
- Superintendent hearings on disciplinary charges against students with disabilities subject to a suspension of more than five school days shall be divided into a guilt phase and a penalty phase in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
- The removal of a student with disabilities other than a suspension or placement in an IAES shall be conducted in accordance with the due process procedures applicable to such removals of non- disabled students, except that school personnel may not impose such removal for more than 10 consecutive days or for a period that would result in a disciplinary change in placement, unless the CSE has determined that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability.
- During any period of suspension or removal, including placement in an IAES, students with disabilities shall be provided services as required by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code.
Expedited Due Process Hearings
- An expedited due process hearing shall be conducted in the manner specified by the Commissioner’s regulations incorporated into this code, if:
- The district requests such a hearing to obtain an order of an impartial hearing officer placing a student with a disability in an IAES where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement, or during the pendency of due process hearings where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement during such proceedings.
- The parent requests such a hearing from a determination that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or relating to any decision regarding placement, including but not limited to any decision to place the student in an IAES.
- During the pendency of an expedited due process hearing or appeal regarding the placement of a student in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or on grounds of dangerousness, or regarding a determination that the behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disability for a student who has been placed in an IAES, the student shall remain in the IAES pending the decision of the impartial hearing officer or until expiration of the IAES placement, whichever occurs first, unless the parents and the district agree otherwise.
- If school personnel propose to change the student’s placement after expiration of an IAES placement, during the pendency of any proceeding to challenge the proposed change in placement, the student shall remain in the placement prior to removal to the IAES, except where the student is again placed in an IAES.
- An expedited due process hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures specified in Section 200.5 (j) of the Regulations of the Commissioner pursuant to the following timelines, unless the Parent and District agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting or agree to use mediation:
- A Resolution meeting shall occur within seven (7) days of receiving notice of the due process complaint.
- The Expedited due process hearing may proceed unless the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the due process complaint.
- The expedited due process hearing shall occur within twenty (20) school days of the date the complaint requesting the hearing is filed.
- The Impartial Hearing Officer shall make a determination within ten (10) school days after the hearing is completed.e. No extension to an expedited impartial hearing timeline may be granted.
- The impartial hearing officer shall mail a copy of the written (or at the option of the Parents, electronic) findings of fact and the decision to the Parents, to the Board of Education and to the Office of Special Education of the State Education Department within ten (10) school days after the hearing is completed.
- Referral to law enforcement and judicial authorities -In accordance with the provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations:
- The district may report a crime committed by a child with a disability to appropriate authorities, and such action will not constitute a change of the student’s placement.
- The Superintendent shall ensure that copies of the special education and disciplinary records of a student with disabilities are transmitted for consideration to the appropriate authorities to whom a crime is reported.
Corporal punishment is any act of physical force upon a student for the purpose of punishing that student. Corporal punishment of any student by any district employee is strictly forbidden. The District has existing policy and procedures related to this topic.
Student Searches and Interrogations
The Board of Education is committed to ensuring an atmosphere on school property and at school functions that is safe and orderly. To achieve this kind of environment, any school official authorized to impose a disciplinary penalty on a student may question a student about an alleged violation of law or the district code of conduct. Students are not entitled to any sort of “Miranda”-type warning before being questioned by school officials, nor are school officials required to contact a student’s parent before questioning the student. However, school officials will tell all students why they are being questioned.
In addition, the Board authorizes the Superintendent of Schools, Building Principals or his/her designee, the school nurse 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.
An authorized school official may conduct a search of a student’s belongings that is minimally intrusive, such as touching the outside of a book bag, without reasonable suspicion, so long as the school official has a legitimate reason for the very limited search.
An authorized school official may search a student or the student’s belongings based upon information received from a reliable informant. Individuals, other than the district employees, will be considered reliable informants if they have previously supplied information that was accurate and verified, or they make an admission against their own interest, or they provide the same information that is received independently from other sources, or they appear to be credible and the information they are communicating relates to an immediate threat to safety. District employees will be considered reliable informants unless they are known to have previously supplied information that they knew was not accurate.
Before searching a student or the student’s belongings, the authorized school official should attempt to get the student to admit that he or she possesses physical evidence that they violated the law or the district code, or get the student to voluntarily consent to the search. Searches will be limited to the extent necessary to locate the evidence sought.
Whenever practicable, searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices and students will be present when their possessions are being searched.
Student Lockers, Desks and other School Storage Places
The rules in this code of conduct regarding searches of students and their belongings do not apply to student lockers, desks and other school storage places. 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, 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.
Documentation of Searches
The authorized school official conducting the search shall be responsible for promptly recording the following information about each search:
- Name, age and grade of student searched
- Reasons for the search
- Name of any informant(s).
- Purpose of search (that is, what item(s) were being sought).
- Type and scope of search
- Person conducting search and his or her title and position.
- Witnesses, if any, to the search
- Time and location of search
- Results of search (that is, what items(s) were found).
- Disposition of items found.
- Time, manner and results of parental notification
The Principal or his/her designee shall be responsible for the custody, control, and disposition of any illegal or dangerous item taken from a student. The Principal or his/her designee shall clearly label each item taken from the student and retain control of the item(s), until the item is turned over to the police. The Principal or his or her designee shall be responsible for personally delivering dangerous or illegal items to police authorities.
Police Involvement in Searches and Interrogations of Students
District officials are committed to cooperating with police officials and other law enforcement authorities to maintain a safe school environment. Police officials, however, have limited authority to interview or search students in schools or at school functions, or to use school facilities in connection with police work. Police officials may enter school property or a school function to question or search a student or to conduct a formal investigation involving student’s only if they have:
- A search or an arrest warrant; or
- Probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school function; or
- Been invited by school officials
Before police officials are permitted to question or search any student, the Principal or his/her designee shall first try to notify the student’s parent to give the parent the opportunity to be present during the police questioning or search. If the student’s parent cannot be contacted prior to the police questioning or search, the questioning or search shall not be conducted. The Principal or his/her designee will also be present during any police questioning or search of a student on school property or at a school function.
Students who are questioned by police officials on school property or at a school function will be afforded the same rights they have outside the school. This means:
- They must be informed of their legal rights
- They may remain silent if they so desire
- They may request the presence of an attorney
Child Protective Services Investigations
Consistent with the district’s commitment to keep students safe from harm and the obligation of school officials to report to child protective services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been abused or maltreated, the district will cooperate with local child protective services workers who wish to conduct interviews of students on school property relating to allegations of suspected child abuse, and/or neglect, or custody investigations.
All requests by child protective services to interview a student on school property shall be made directly to Principal or his/her designee. The Principal or his/her designee shall set the time and place of the interview. The Principal or his/her designee shall decide if it is necessary and appropriate for a school official to be present during the interview, depending on the age of the student being interviewed and the nature of the allegations. If the nature of the allegations is such that it may be necessary for the student to remove any of his or her clothing in order for the child protective services worker to verify the allegations, the school nurse or other district medical personnel must be present during that portion of the interview. No student may be required to remove his or her clothing in front of a child protective services worker or school district official of the opposite sex.
A child protective services worker may not remove a student from school property without a court order, unless the worker reasonably believes that the student would be subject to danger of abuse if not he or she were not removed from school before a court order can reasonably be obtained. If the worker believes the student would be subject to danger of abuse, the worker may remove the student without a court order and without the parent’s consent.
Visitors to the School
The Board encourages parents and other district citizens to visit the district’s schools and classrooms to observe the work of students, teachers and other staff. Since schools are a place of work and learning, however, certain limits must be set for such visits. The Principal or his/her designee is responsible for all persons in the building and on the grounds. For these reasons, the following rules apply to visitors to the schools:
- Anyone who is not a regular staff member or student of the school will be considered a visitor.
- All visitors to the school must report to the office of the Principal upon arrival at the school. There they will be required to sign the visitor’s register and will be issued a visitor’s identification badge, which must be worn at all times while in the school or on school grounds. The visitor must return the identification badge to the Principal’s office before leaving the building.
- Visitors attending school functions that are open to the public, such as parent-teacher organization meetings or public gatherings are not required to register.
- Parents or citizens who wish to observe a classroom while school is in session are required to arrange such visits in advance with the classroom teacher(s), so that class disruption is kept to a minimum.
- Teachers are expected not to take class time to discuss individual matters with visitors.
- Any unauthorized person on school property will be reported to the Principal or his/her designee. Unauthorized persons will be asked to leave. The police may be called if the situation warrants.
- All visitors are expected to abide by the rules for public conduct on school property contained in this code of conduct.
Public Conduct on School Property
The district is committed to providing an orderly, respectful environment that is conducive to learning. To create and maintain this kind of an environment, it is necessary to regulate public conduct on school property and at school functions. For purposes of this section of the code, “public” shall mean all persons when on school property or attending a school function including students, teachers and district personnel.
The restrictions on public conduct on school property and at school functions contained in this code are not intended to limit freedom of speech or peaceful assembly. The district recognizes that free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the objectives of the district. The purpose of this code is to maintain public order and prevent abuse of the rights of others.
All persons on school property or attending a school function shall conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. In addition, all persons on school property or attending a school function are expected to be properly attired for the purpose they are on school property.
No person, either alone or with others, shall:
- Intentionally injure any person or threaten to do so.
- Intentionally damage or destroy school district property or the personal property of a teacher, administrator, other district employee or any person lawfully on school property, including graffiti or arson.
- Disrupt the orderly conduct of classes, school programs or other school activities.
- Distribute or wear materials on school grounds or at school functions that are obscene, advocate illegal action, appear libelous, obstruct the rights of others, or are disruptive to the school programs.
- Intimidate, harass, bully and/or discriminate against any person on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, national origin, religion or religious practices, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or disability on school grounds or at a school function.
- Enter any portion of the school premises without authorization or remain in any building or facility after it is normally closed.
- Obstruct the free movement of any person in any place to which this code applies.
- Violate the traffic laws, parking regulations or other restrictions on vehicles.
- Possess, consume, sell, distribute or exchange alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or be under the influence of either on school property or at a school function.
- Possess or use weapons in or on school property or at a school function, except in the case of law enforcement officers or except as specifically authorized by the school district.
- Loiter on or about school property
- Gamble on school property or at school functions.
- Refuse to comply with any reasonable order of identifiable school district officials performing their duties.
- Willfully incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited by this code.
- Violate any federal or state statute, local ordinance or Board policy while on school property or while at a school function.
Persons who violate this code shall be subject to the following penalties:
- Visitors. Their authorization, if any, to remain on school grounds or at the school function shall be withdrawn and they shall be directed to leave the premises. If they refuse to leave, they shall be subject to ejection.
- They shall be subject to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant, in accordance with the due process requirements.
- Tenured faculty members. They shall be subject to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant in accordance with Education Law § 3020-a or any other legal rights that they may have.
- Staff members in the classified service of the civil service entitled to the protection of Civil Service Law 75. They shall be subject to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant in accordance with Civil Service Law § 75 or any other legal rights that they may have.
- Staff members other than those described in subdivisions 4 and 5. They shall be subject to warning, reprimand, suspension or dismissal as the facts may warrant in accordance with any legal rights they may have.
The Principal or his/her designee shall be responsible for enforcing the conduct required by this code.
When the Principal or his/her designee sees an individual engaged in prohibited conduct, which in his or her judgment does not pose any immediate threat of injury to persons or property, the Principal or his/her designee shall tell the individual that the conduct is prohibited and attempt to persuade the individual to stop. The Principal or his/her designee shall also warn the individual of the consequences of failing to stop. If the person refuses to stop engaging in the prohibited conduct, or if the person’s conduct poses an immediate threat of injury to persons or property, the Principal or designee shall have the individual removed immediately from school property or the school function. If necessary, local law enforcement authorities will be contacted to assist in removing the person.
The district shall initiate disciplinary action against any student or staff member, as appropriate, with the “Penalties” section above. In addition, the district reserves its right to pursue a civil or criminal legal action against any person violating the code.
The school day begins at times published by the principal.
The attendance office routinely calls parents of students who are absent. A note explaining the reason for absence, signed by the parent/guardian is required. If an absence note is not submitted within three days following students’ absence, the official school attendance record will reflect an “unexcused” absence.
New York State Education Law requires that a student present a written statement signed by the parent or legal guardian, explaining each absence or tardiness. Attendance statements may be used for legal purposes; therefore, forging an attendance statement is a serious offense. If excuses are not submitted within three days, the student may be assigned detention.
Students with a parental request for an early dismissal must present the written request to the attendance office before the second period. Once the early dismissal request is confirmed by way of a phone call to the parent/guardian, the student will receive an “early dismissal” pass. Before leaving school, the student presents the “early dismissal” pass to the classroom teacher. If the student returns to school that day, such student must promptly sign into school.
When possible, routine medical appointments should be avoided during the school day. When this is impossible, students should present a written request for early dismissal to the school attendance office between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. Students who abuse this procedure and repeatedly make appointments during school hours may be required to have a parent come to school and sign them out in person.
Behavior Expectations During School
Quiet Study provides a place for students to read, prepare for classes, complete their homework, and study for upcoming tests and quizzes. If students wish to use the library during quiet study, they must first obtain a pre-signed library pass from the librarian then report to their quiet study and sign their name on the library list. This assures that the library is available for students that period as only a limited number of students may sign out on this list per period. A student wishing to make up physical education classes during quiet study must also have pre-signed passes from their physical education teacher.
Application forms for working papers are available in the health office.
Students may be detained before or after school by teachers or at the direction of the assistant principal or principal. Administrative assigned detention lasts until 3:15 p.m.
Removal from school. The principal may suspend a student from one to five days. The Superintendent may suspend for more than five days. Students are responsible for making up work missed as a result of the suspension. An alternative learning opportunity is provided after school for suspended students. The suspension of students who do not attend this program will count as unexcused absences from class. A parent conference is strongly recommended when a student returns to school after a suspension. This appointment should be made ahead of time to ensure that an administrator is available to meet with you. Students are prohibited from participating in any activities related to school or from appearing on school property and time during the period of suspension, except to attend the after-school program for suspended students.
Two-Hour After School Program
Assigned by the assistant principal or principal, this program runs from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Students must come to work and will not be allowed to leave during this time.
Explanation of Disciplinary Measures
While it is the intent of the school that satisfactory behavior be fostered by positive measures, it must be recognized that some student misbehavior will require the imposition of appropriate disciplinary measures or penalties.
The code of conduct specifies and defines various areas of student involvement or behavior. These statements are followed by disciplinary measures, which will result in the event that a student fails to adhere to any of these rules.
Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair, and consistent in order to be most effective in changing behavior, and action will be appropriate to the seriousness of the offense. Progressive discipline is used to assure appropriate student behavior. The order of discipline procedures listed below is intended to be in order of progression.
The Cohoes High School Administration reserves the right to use discretion in dealing with disciplinary situations. The Administrators may take into consideration extenuating circumstances and rule on such issues accordingly as to how they impact the learning environment as a whole.
Any physical attack upon another person is assault. Instances of assault upon any member of the school community will be investigated and disciplinary measures taken.
Disciplinary measures range from Out of School Suspension to a Superintendent’s hearing and a possible referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Assault on a staff member is considered to be an offense of the most serious nature; therefore, such assault will result in a multiple day suspension, Superintendent’s hearing, and referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
The cafeteria should be a place where students relax, enjoy their meals, and converse with friends. Proper behavior is expected. In order to maintain a healthful environment in which people may eat and relax, free from discomfort, the following are NOT permitted:
- Throwing food or any type of refuse. Students are responsible for cleaning the table and immediate area where they are eating
- Sitting on tables or standing on chairs or tables
- Removing food from the cafeteria, unless students have special permission
- Cutting in line
- Behavior which staff on duty finds either disruptive, disrespectful or unsafe
Students may be permitted to go outdoors only in the cafeteria courtyard. All other areas are off limits. The only students allowed to leave the cafeteria are those with pre-signed passes, senior release or gold cards. Students are responsible to follow all directives issued by any staff member while in the cafeteria. Students not cooperating may be subject to charges of insubordination and will be disciplined accordingly.
Disciplinary measures range from the reprimand to suspension.
Dangerous Items or Substances
Harmful or potentially harmful items such as weapons, firearms, knives, explosive substances or devices, fireworks, etc., are prohibited on school property. No student may possess these or any item, which may be considered dangerous by school personnel. Disciplinary measures range from out-of-school suspension to a Superintendent’s hearing. Some infractions may be referred to legal authorities.
Cohoes High School fosters the principles of integrity, individual accountability, and honesty. Students are expected to be honest in test situations and when completing homework. Cheating in any form is a serious offense.
Penalties may range from loss of course credit to suspension. Cheating on any Regents examination is considered a misdemeanor under Section 255 of the Education Law and will result in the students’ disqualification to sit for future Regents exams until exemplary conduct is demonstrated.
Fighting will not be tolerated at Cohoes High School. Fighting not only can result in bodily harm, but also has a negative influence on the environment of the school. Students should be aware that abusive words or actions often leads to fighting and should seek alternatives to enable them to peacefully resolve their conflict.
Disciplinary measures range from out-of-school suspension to a Superintendent’s hearing and the possible referral to appropriate law enforcement agencies. All students physically involved in a fight will receive an external suspension and a parental conference will be required for reentry into school and classes.
Providing false information either verbally or in written form is prohibited. Penalties range from loss of privileges to detention. Severe cases will result in suspension.
It is the right of every person who comes to Cohoes High School to enjoy freedom from harassment, bullying and/or discrimination. Harassment and Bullying shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyber bullying, that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being; including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. This definition includes acts of harassment or bullying that occur on school property (as defined above); at a school function (as defined above); or off school property where such acts create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach the school property. Acts of harassment and bullying include but are not limited to non-verbal and verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex (Education Law Section 11).
Any student who harasses and/or threatens a member of the school community will be subject to disciplinary action.
The following are examples of harassment:
- Repeated derogatory comments that may belittle a person’s self-esteem.
- Any verbal threat of physical assault against another person
- Ridicule of an individual who is physically or mentally handicapped.
- Starting or repeating rumors about a person which are untrue.
Disciplinary measures range from reprimand to a Superintendent’s hearing with legal charges being filed. Any verbal threat of physical assault against a staff member will result in suspension and will be reported to local police jurisdiction in accordance with school and penal law.
It is the policy of the Cohoes City School District to maintain a learning environment in which sexual harassment, of any nature, will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Any student who alleges sexual harassment should report it directly to the assistant principal or principal.
One of the goals of Cohoes High School is to teach students the ability to communicate clearly within the structure of appropriate and acceptable standards of the English language. These standards are to be exemplified by all members of the school community. It is therefore stated that obscene language will not be tolerated within the school environment.
The use of profanity will result in penalties ranging from a reprimand to suspension, depending on the severity and frequency of the behavior.
One of the goals of Cohoes High School is to instill a feeling of respect for the rights and property of others. Therefore, it is expected that all students will be honest and will respect the property of others. Since stealing is against the law, any individual who violates this law will be subject to school and/or criminal punishment.
Disciplinary measures range from a reprimand to suspension and/or referral to legal authorities. Restitution will be required within the scope of the existing law.
The school district does not have insurance for students’ personal property: therefore, the best protection against theft is to avoid bringing valuables to school, or if you must, to lock them securely.
Vandalism is the intentional damage to the property of the school district or of any personal property, which results in the cleaning, repair, or replacement of the property vandalized. Examples of vandalism include defacing of walls, lockers, furniture, books, or other school equipment; damage to floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows, and bulletin boards; mistreatment of any equipment or furnishings; and destruction/defacement of the personal property of school community members.
Disciplinary measures range from a reprimand to referral to the appropriate legal jurisdiction. Students must replace, clean, or remove any litter, writing, etc. According to Education Law, paragraph 1709, subdivision 36, a students’ parent or guardian is responsible for the first $2,500.00 of vandalism committed by their child. A reasonable effort must be made to repay the damages within a time limit arranged by parent and administrator. A small claims action may be initiated to collect damages.
In the school community, as well as outside of it, a student is expected to learn to conduct himself/herself in a polite and courteous manner. In order to maintain a positive school environment, it may be necessary for staff members to give reasonable directives to students. Insubordination occurs when a student is openly defiant and willfully disregards such a directive issued by a staff member.
The following are examples of insubordinate actions:
- Deliberate disobedience
- Flagrant acts of rudeness
- Refusal to report to the office upon direction
- Disrespectful language
Disciplinary measures range from a reprimand to Superintendent’s hearing. Flagrant acts may result in suspension on the first offense.
Intentionally making a false alarm (Fire/Bomb)
Fire alarms and protection equipment are provided for the safety of the entire school community. Misuse of the system and/or equipment or the making of a bomb threat is a serious offense and will result in severe disciplinary action.
Disciplinary measures will include suspension and a Superintendent’s hearing. Referral to appropriate law enforcement agencies will be made.
The Cohoes School District carries accident insurance on all students. Whenever a pupil is injured, this information should be reported immediately to the teacher, supervisor, or bus driver in charge. An accident report must be filed within 24 hours in order to be considered by the insurance carrier. Any medical liability must first be submitted to the family’s health insurance. Benefits provided are payable only after payment by family’s private insurance is paid first. There is no liability insurance for thefts in school. The school district is not liable for injuries arising out of sporting events
Doctor appointments, family trips, motor vehicle tests, etc. should be scheduled after school hours to the greatest extent possible. If students must leave during the school day one of the following procedures must be followed:
- The student’s parent or guardian must come in to the Attendance office to sign out the
- A dismissal note must be brought to the attendance office in the morning. This note must include the date and purpose of dismissal, parental signature, and a phone number where the parent may be
- The student’s parent or guardian must phone the attendance office to request dismissal. The attendance office will take down the phone number and return the call to confirm parent
Students with early dismissal should leave the high school immediately upon dismissal.
Students who are tardy after 10:00 a.m. will not be allowed to practice in or take part in athletic or other extracurricular activities that day. Extenuating circumstances may be appealed to the principal. Students who report to school late must sign in at the attendance office.
Legal Custody of Students
Occasionally domestic problems involving child custody are brought to the attention of the school. School officials do not pass judgment in these cases. The responsibility of legal guardianship rests with the family and the courts. Legal documents must be on file if any restrictions have been established regarding a child’s custody.
Students are encouraged to make use of our library facility and its resources to meet their information needs. Students may come to the library throughout the day from quiet study.
During lunch periods, or after school. To gain admittance to the library students must present a pre-signed pass from the librarian.
The library has a number of computers that students may use which provide access to the Internet. Students and their parents, prior to student’s use of the computers, must sign an acceptable use policy form.
School lockers are the property of the Cohoes City School District and the school district shall exercise the authority over all student lockers. The school district has a master key to all student lockers and retains control over and access to all lockers.
Lost and Found
The school is not responsible for lost items. Students finding books, clothing or other items should turn these found items in to the assistant principal’s secretary. Students looking for lost items should check with the assistant principal’s secretary.
Parking and Speed Limits
Student parking at the high school is a privilege, not a right. Each student who plans to drive a vehicle to school must park in the student parking lot and register the vehicle in the Assistant Principal’s office each school year.
Vehicles must be parked within the painted lines and must display the school parking decal. Vehicles parked in the fire zone or incorrectly parked will subject to disciplinary action, and may lose their parking permit. Students who receive any disciplinary referrals may also lose their parking permit.
Parking permits will be assigned to seniors in good standing first. Seniors will be given the privilege to park in the student lot. Underclassmen may receive a sticker, but must park on Madeline Hickey Way.
When vehicles are parked, they should be locked to inhibit thefts and vandalism. Students are not to return to their vehicles until they are leaving school grounds for the day unless they receive permission from the principal or assistant principal. At no time are students to sit in their vehicles during the school day or to congregate in the parking lot. Students who abuse school parking privileges will be prohibited from further parking on school grounds. Cars parked in the parking lot may be subject to random searches.
Cohoes Board of Education has established 15 miles per hour as the legal limit for Cohoes High School. During entrance or dismissal periods, the legal limit is 5 miles per hour. Students who do not obey this limit may have their parking privileges revoked and may be subject to legal action and disciplinary action.
Students are not allowed in the halls during class periods without properly signed passes. Passes must be signed and dated by the adult supervising the student. Pupils who do not use the pass system correctly may have hall privileges withheld. Students with Gold Plus or Gold cards may move throughout the high school without a pass. However, they may not report late to a class with the use of these cards.
Senior Release is a privilege that allows qualified seniors who do not have classes scheduled to report to school after the regular 8:00am start time and/or leave the high school prior to dismissal time whenever classes are completed. To receive Senior Release, seniors must be passing all subjects and may not have any out of school suspensions or referrals. If marks fall or if the student receives a suspension, his or her senior release privilege will be rescinded for a period of time until behavior and academics improve. Seniors must obtain the necessary forms for Senior Release from their guidance counselor. These forms must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian.
Rules for Cellular Telephones & Electronic Communication Devices (ECDs)
Students are not permitted to use cellular phones and/or electronic communication devices (ECD’s) for any reason in all academic areas of the school building/property and school-sponsored activities. Also, during school activities when directed by an administrator, teacher, or other staff member, cellular phones and other ECDs shall be turned off (not just placed into vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.
Such communication devices include, but are not limited to:
- Cellular phones
- Blackberry devices and other PDAs
- iPods and MP3 players
- iPads, tablets, and other eReaders
- Laptops, notebooks, and any other personal computing devices
- Cameras or other photographic equipment
- Headphones, headsets, or in-ear headphones such as earbuds, and
- Any other device capable of recording audio, photographic or video content, capable of viewing or playing back such content
Academic areas of the school building/property and school-sponsored activities include but are not limited to:
- Quiet Study
- Computer room
- In School Suspension
- 45 min/ 2 hr. detention
- Assemblies (i.e. guest speakers, pep rally, etc.)
Students will not be allowed to be in possession of a cellular phone or electronic device during a Regents exam or during any breaks (such as a visit to the restroom). Test proctors, test monitors, and school officials shall retain the right to collect and hold any prohibited electronic device prior to the start of the test administration. Admission to the test shall be denied to any student who is in possession of a cellular phone or other prohibited device and refuses to relinquish it. If a student keeps their cellular phone or any electronic prohibited electronic device with them, their exam will be invalidated and will receive no score.
A student may possess and use a cellular phone or other electronic devices in non-academic or designated places and/or specific circumstances. These include:
- Cafeteria during lunch
- Hallways during the passing between
- The student has a special medical circumstance (i.e. an ill family member, or his/her own special medical condition) and has received prior permission from a building Principal or their
- The student is using the cellular phone or ECD during an emergency situation involving the immediate health/safety of themselves or other individual(s).
- The student is given permission by the teacher to use their cellular phone or ECD in the classroom for an academic or research
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action/or confiscation of the cellular phone or If the cellular phone or ECD is confiscated, it will be released/returned to the student’s parent after the student complies with any other disciplinary consequence that is imposed. A building principal may also refer the matter to law enforcement if the violation involves illegal activity.
The student who possesses a cellular phone or ECD is responsible for its care. The School District and/or School Board are not responsible for preventing theft, loss, damage, or vandalism to cellular phones or ECDs brought onto its property.
Consequences of unauthorized cellular phone use:
- Warning and/or redirect by teacher/staff with reinforcement of the expectation of electronic devices.
- Repeated offenses may result in teacher detention, phone calls home, and/or a referral for insubordination and/or disruption of education