CODE OF CONDUCT ON SCHOOL PROPERTY
The District has developed and will amend, as appropriate, a written Code of Conduct for the Maintenance of Order on School Property, including school functions, which will govern the conduct of students, teachers and other school personnel, as well as visitors and/or vendors. The Board will further provide for the enforcement of such Code of Conduct.
For purposes of this policy, and the implemented Code of Conduct, 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 the District’s elementary or secondary schools, or in or on a school bus; and a school function will mean a school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity regardless of where such event or activity takes place, including those that take place in another state.
The District Code of Conduct has been developed in collaboration with student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.
The Code of Conduct will include, at a minimum, the following:
a) Provisions regarding conduct, dress and language deemed appropriate and acceptable on school property and at school functions, and conduct, dress and language deemed unacceptable and inappropriate on school property; provisions regarding acceptable civil and respectful treatment of teachers, school administrators, other school personnel, students and visitors on school property and at school functions; the appropriate range of disciplinary measures which may be imposed for violation of such Code; and the roles of teachers, administrators, other school personnel, the Board and parents or persons in parental relation to the student;
b) Provisions prohibiting discrimination, bullying and/or harassment against any student, by employees or students on school property, at a school function, or off school property when the actions create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment or where it is foreseeable that the conduct might reach school property,
that creates a hostile environment by conduct, with or without physical contact, threats, intimidation or abuse (verbal or non-verbal), of such a severe nature that:
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; or
2. Reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety.
When the term “bullying” is used, even if not explicitly stated, such term includes cyberbullying, meaning such harassment or bullying that occurs through any form of electronic communication.
Such conduct will include, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, or abuse 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 Section 11(6), or sex; provided that nothing in this subdivision will 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 USC Section 1681, et seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;
c) Standards and procedures to assure security and safety of students and school personnel;
d) Provisions for the removal from the classroom and from school property, including a school function, of students and other persons who violate the Code;
e) Provisions prescribing the period for which a disruptive student may be removed from the classroom for each incident, provided that no such student will return to the classroom until
the principal (or his or her designated District administrator) makes a final determination in accordance with Education Law Section 3214(3-a)I or the period of removal expires, whichever is less;
f) Disciplinary measures to be taken for incidents on school property or at school functions involving the use of tobacco, the possession or use of illegal substances or weapons, the use
of physical force, vandalism, violation of another student’s civil rights, harassment and threats of violence;
g) Provisions for responding to acts of discrimination, bullying and/or harassment against students by employees or students on school property, at a school function, or off school property when the actions create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment or where it is foreseeable that the conduct might reach school property, in accordance with clause (b) of this subparagraph;
h) Provisions for detention, suspension and removal from the classroom of students, consistent with Education Law Section 3214 and other applicable federal, state and local laws, including provisions for school authorities to establish procedures to ensure the provision of continued educational programming and activities for students removed from the classroom, placed in detention, or suspended from school, which will include alternative educational programs appropriate to individual student needs;
i) Procedures by which violations are reported and determined, and the disciplinary measures imposed and carried out;
j) Provisions ensuring the Code of Conduct and its enforcement are in compliance with state and federal laws relating to students with disabilities;
k) Provisions setting forth the procedures by which local law enforcement agencies will be notified of Code violations which constitute a crime;
l) Provisions setting forth the circumstances under and procedures by which parents or persons in parental relation to the student will be notified of Code violations;
m) Provisions setting forth the circumstances under and procedures by which a complaint in criminal court, a juvenile delinquency petition or person in need of supervision (“PINS”) petition as defined in Articles 3 and 7 of the Family Court Act will be filed;
n) Circumstances under and procedures by which referral to appropriate human service agencies will be made;
o) A minimum suspension period for students who repeatedly are substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interfere with the teacher’s authority over the classroom, provided that the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case-by-case basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law. For purposes of this requirement, as defined in Commissioner’s regulations, “repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom” will mean engaging in conduct which results in the removal of the student from the classroom by teacher(s) in accordance with the provisions of Education Law Section 3214(3-a) and the provisions set forth in the Code of Conduct on four or more occasions during a semester, or three or more occasions during a trimester, as applicable;
p) A minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify the student to be defined as a violent student in accordance with Education Law Section 3214(2-a)(a). However, the suspending authority may reduce the suspension period on a case-by-case basis consistent with any other state and federal law;
q) A Bill of Rights and Responsibilities of Students which focuses upon positive student behavior and a safe and supportive school climate, which will be written in plain-language, publicized and explained in an age-appropriate manner to all students on an annual basis; and
r) Guidelines and programs for in-service education programs for all District staff members to ensure effective implementation of school policy on school conduct and discipline, including but not limited to, guidelines on promoting a safe and supportive school climate while discouraging, among other things, discrimination, bullying and/or harassment against students by students and/or school employees; and including safe and supportive school climate concepts in the curriculum and classroom management.
The District’s Code of Conduct will be adopted by the Board only after at least one public hearing that provided for the participation of school personnel, parents or persons in parental relation, students, and any other interested parties.
The Code of Conduct will be reviewed on an annual basis, and updated as necessary in accordance with law. The District may establish a committee in accordance with Education Law Section 2801(5)(a) to facilitate review of its Code of Conduct and the District’s response to Code of Conduct violations. The Board will reapprove any updated Code of Conduct or adopt revisions only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents or persons in parental relation, students, and any other interested parties. The District will file a copy of its Code of Conduct and any amendments with the commissioner, in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner, no later than 30 days after their respective adoptions.
The Board will ensure community awareness of its Code of Conduct by:
a) Posting the complete Code of Conduct on the Internet website, if any, including any annual updates and other amendments to the Code;
b) Providing copies of a summary of the Code of Conduct to all students in an age-appropriate version, written in plain language, at a school assembly to be held at the beginning of each school year;
c) Providing a plain language summary of the Code of Conduct to all parents or persons in parental relation to students before the beginning of each school year and making the summary available thereafter upon request;
d) Providing each existing teacher with a copy of the complete Code of Conduct and a copy of any amendments to the Code as soon as practicable following initial adoption or amendment of the Code. New teachers will be provided a complete copy of the current Code upon their employment; and
e) Making complete copies available for review by students, parents or persons in parental relation to students, other school staff and other community members.
As part of any investigation, the District has the right to search all school property and equipment including District computers. Rooms, desks, cabinets, lockers, computers, etc. are provided by the District for the use of staff and students, but the users do not have exclusive use of these locations or equipment and should not expect that materials stored therein will be private.
Education Law Article 2, Sections 801-a, 2801 and 3214
Family Court Act Articles 3 and 7
Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 142
8 NYCRR Section 100.2
UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A WEAPON UPON SCHOOL GROUNDS
With the exception of law enforcement officers, as permitted by law, and individuals who have the express written permission of the Board or its designee, no person may have in his or her possession any weapon on school grounds, in any District building, on a school bus or District vehicle, or at any school-sponsored activity or setting under the control and supervision of the District. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to: any of the objects or instruments referred to in Section 265.01 of the New York State Penal Law; any air-gun, spring-gun, or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring, air, piston or CO2 cartridge; and any object that could be considered a reasonable facsimile of a weapon.
Unlawful possession of a weapon upon school grounds may be a violation of New York State Penal Law, and is a violation of District policy and the Code of Conduct.
Penal Law §§ 265.01-265.06
THREATS OF VIOLENCE IN SCHOOL
The District is committed to the prevention of violence against any individual or property in the schools, on school property or at school activities whether such acts and/or threats of violence are made by students, staff, or others. Threats of violence against students, school personnel and/or school property will not be tolerated whether or not such threats occur on school grounds or during the school day.
Any person who commits an act or threatens an act of violence, including bomb threats, whether made orally, in writing, by email, or by any other electronic format, will be subject to appropriate discipline in accordance with applicable law, District policies and regulations, as well as the Code of Conduct on School Property and collective bargaining agreements, as may be necessary.
While acknowledging an individual’s constitutional rights, including applicable due process rights, the District refuses to condone acts and/or threats of violence which threaten the safety and well-being of staff, students, visitors and/or the school environment. Employees, students, agents and invitees will refrain from engaging in threats or physical actions which create a safety hazard for others.
All staff who are made aware of physical acts and/or threats of violence directed to students or staff are to report such incidents to the building principal or designee, who will report such occurrences to the Superintendent. Additionally, the building principal or designee will also report occurrences of violence, whether involving an actual confrontation or threat of potential violence, to the school psychologist and/or Director of Special Education if applicable. Local law enforcement agencies may be called as necessary upon the determination of the Superintendent/designee.
Students are to report all acts and/or threats of violence, including threats of suicide, of which they are aware by reporting such incidents to the school hotline, a faculty member, or the building principal.
The District reserves the right to seek restitution, in accordance with law, from the parent or guardian and/or student for any costs or damages which had been incurred by the District as a result of the threats or acts of violence in the schools.
This policy will be enforced in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as collective bargaining agreements and the Code of Conduct as may be necessary. Additionally, this policy will be disseminated, as appropriate, to students, staff, and parents and will be available to the general public upon request.
Appropriate sanctions for violations of this policy by students will be addressed in the Code of Conduct.
NON-DISCRIMINATION AND ANTI-HARASSMENT IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Board is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Accordingly, the Board prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or other legally protected category. Such actions and occurrences are prohibited regardless of whether they take place on District premises or at school-sponsored events, programs, or activities held at other locations.
Determinations as to whether conduct or occurrences constitute discrimination or harassment for the purposes of this Policy and its implementing Administrative Regulations will be made consistent with applicable law. Such determinations may depend upon a number of factors, including but not limited to: the particular conduct or occurrence at issue, the ages of the parties involved, the context in which the conduct or occurrence takes place, the relationship of the parties to one another, the category or characteristic that is alleged to have been the basis for the action or occurrence, and other considerations as are necessary and consistent with law. The characterizations and examples below are intended to serve as a general guide for individuals in determining whether to file a complaint of discrimination or harassment, and should not be construed to add or limit the rights individuals and entities possess as a matter of law.
It is intended that this policy apply to the dealings between or among employees with employees; employees with students; students with students; employees/students with vendors/contractors and others who do business with the District, as well as school volunteers, visitors, guests and other third parties.
Discrimination is, generally, the practice of conferring or denying privileges on the basis of membership in a legally protected class. Discriminatory actions may include, but are not limited to: refusing to promote or hire an individual on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, denying an individual access to facilities or educational benefits on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, or impermissibly instituting policies or practices that disproportionately and adversely impact members of a protected class.
Harassment generally consists of subjecting an individual, on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class, to conduct and/or communications that are sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent as to have the purpose or effect of: creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or a student’s educational performance, opportunities, benefits, or well-being; or otherwise adversely affecting an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.
Harassment can include unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct which offends, denigrates, or belittles an individual because of his or her membership in a protected class. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: derogatory remarks, jokes, demeaning comments or behavior, slurs, mimicking, name calling, graffiti, innuendo, gestures, physical contact, stalking, threatening, bullying, extorting, or the display or circulation of written materials or pictures.
Civil Rights Compliance Officer
The District will designate one or more individuals to serve as Civil Rights Compliance Officer. The Civil Rights Compliance Officer will be responsible for coordinating the District’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities regarding non-discrimination and anti-harassment, including investigations of complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, or the failure of the District to comply with its obligations under relevant non-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and regulations (e.g., the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).
Prior to the beginning of each school year, the District will issue an appropriate public announcement or publication which advises students, parents/guardians, employees and other relevant individuals of the District’s established grievance procedures for resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment. Included in such announcement or publication will be the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s). The District’s website will reflect current and complete contact information for the Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s).
The Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s) for the District are:
Title VI Compliance Officers: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Executive Director of Human Resources and Data; Title IX Compliance Offers: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Executive Director of Human Resources and Data; Section 504 Compliance Officers: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Director of Special Programs (including IDEA/ADA); Assistant Director of Special Programs (including IDEA/ADA).
Investigation of Complaints and Grievances
The District will act to promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate all complaints, whether verbal or written, of discrimination and/or harassment based on any of the characteristics described above, and will promptly take appropriate action to protect individuals from further discrimination or harassment. In the event an anonymous complaint is filed, the District will respond to the extent possible.
It is essential that any individual who is aware of a possible occurrence of discrimination or harassment immediately report such occurrence. All reports will be directed or forwarded to the District’s designated Civil Rights Compliance Officer(s). Such complaints are recommended to be in writing, although verbal complaints of discrimination or harassment will also be promptly investigated in accordance with applicable law and District policy and procedure. In the event the Civil Rights Compliance Officer is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to another Civil Rights Compliance Officer, if the District has designated another individual to serve in such a capacity, or to the Superintendent.
Any occurrence of discrimination or harassment involving graffiti that relates to race, religion, color or national origin, including anti-Semitic graffiti, in addition to being promptly investigated, will be promptly photographed and removed.
To the extent possible, all complaints will be treated as confidential. Disclosure may, however, be necessary to complete a thorough investigation of the charges and/or notify law enforcement officials.
If an investigation reveals that discrimination or harassment has occurred, the District will take immediate corrective action as warranted. Such action will be taken in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as any and all relevant codes of conduct, District policies and administrative regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and/or third-party contracts.
Knowingly Makes False Accusations
Any employee or student who knowingly makes false accusations against another individual as to allegations of discrimination or harassment will face appropriate disciplinary action.
Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior
The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed against complainants, victims, witnesses, and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment. Complaints of retaliation may be directed to the Civil Rights Compliance Officer. In the event the Civil Rights Compliance Officer is the alleged offender, the report will be directed to another Civil Rights Compliance Officer, if the District has designated another individual to serve in such a capacity, or to the Superintendent.
Where appropriate, follow-up inquiries will be made to ensure that discrimination and/or harassment has not resumed and that those involved in the investigation have not suffered retaliation.
Regulations will be developed for reporting, investigating, and remedying allegations of discrimination and/or harassment.
The District will maintain a No Place for Hate Committee, or similar committee, which will assist the Pine Bush school community in developing a deeper understanding of how the District is addressing bias, discrimination, bullying, intimidation and harassment and the skills, knowledge and awareness regarding prejudice and bias that are necessary to promote and sustain a culture of understanding and respect among students, staff, parents and community in our District.
In order to promote familiarity with issues pertaining to discrimination and harassment in the schools, and to help reduce incidents of prohibited conduct, the District will provide appropriate information and/or training to staff and students. As may be necessary, special training will be provided for individuals involved in the investigation of discrimination and/or harassment complaints.
A copy of this policy and its accompanying regulations will be available upon request and will be posted and/or published in appropriate locations and/or school publications. In addition, parents will be notified at the beginning of each school year about the District’s policies and procedures regarding bullying and harassment.
The District will maintain proper records of all discrimination and harassment, including but not limited to anti-Semitic harassment, in accordance with the Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting (VADIR), the requirements of the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the District’s internal recordkeeping requirements.
This policy should not be read to abrogate other District policies and/or regulations or the District Code of Conduct prohibiting other forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and/or inappropriate behavior within this District. It is the intention of the District that all such policies and/or regulations be read consistently to provide protection from unlawful discrimination and harassment. However, different treatment of any individual which has a legitimate, legal, and nondiscriminatory reason will not be considered a violation of District policy.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 USC Section 621
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USC Section 12101 et seq.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC Section 794 et seq.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC Section 2000d et seq.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC Section 2000e et seq.
Education Law Section 2801(1)
Executive Law Section 290 et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC Section 1681 et seq.
UNIFORM VIOLENT AND DISRUPTIVE INCIDENT REPORTING SYSTEM (VADIR)
In compliance with the Uniform Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting System (VADIR), the District will record each violent or disruptive incident that occurs on school property or at a school function. School property will mean 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 as defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 142. A school function will mean a school-sponsored or school-authorized extracurricular event or activity regardless of where such event or activity takes place, including any event or activity that may take place in another state.
In accordance with the manner prescribed, the District will submit an annual report of violent and disruptive incidents (on the Summary of Violent and Disruptive Incidents form) from the previous school year to the Commissioner of Education. Summary data will be used to determine the rate of violent and disruptive incidents in each school and to identify schools as persistently dangerous, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The District will utilize the Individual Violent and Disruptive Incident Report form for the reporting of individual incidents by each building and/or program under its jurisdiction and for the tally count of incidents into the Summary Form. Copies of such incident reports will be retained for the time prescribed by the Commissioner in the applicable records retention schedule. These reports will be available for inspection by the State Education Department upon request.
All personally identifiable information included in a violent or disruptive incident report will be confidential and will not be disclosed to any person for any purpose other than that specified in Education Law Section 2802, except as otherwise authorized by law.
The District will include a summary of the District’s annual violent or disruptive incident report in its School District Report Card in the format prescribed by the Commissioner.
The District will utilize the New York State Education Department’s website to obtain copies of the forms, directions, glossary and additional information at www.emsc.nysed.gov/irs/.
Education Law Sections 2801(1) and 2802
Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 142
8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 100.2 (gg)