PINE BUSH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Code of Conduct Summary
The Safe School Against Violence in Education (SAVE)and §100.2(1) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education require that each school district adopt a written policy on school conduct and discipline “designed to promote responsible student behavior.” Below is a summary of the key elements of the Code of Conduct. A copy of the complete document is available at all Pine Bush Central School District schools and on the district website at www.pinebushschools.org for any interested parent or community member.
The Board of Education (Board) 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, parents, teachers, administrators, other district personnel, and 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. These expectations are based on the following principles:
- mutual respect
The Board recognizes the need to:
- clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, at school functions and during virtual learning;
- identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct;
- ensure that discipline, when necessary, is administered promptly and fairly.
To this end, the Board adopts the Code of Conduct (Code), which, unless otherwise indicated, applies to all students, parents, school personnel, and visitors when on school property or attending school functions or during virtual learning.
For the purpose of this code, the following definitions apply:
A. Disruptive Student
Any student who:
- through his/her behavior, prevents another student from completing work, participating in class, or cooperating with the teacher, principal, or staff member;
- undermines the authority of the teacher, other professional staff, principal, or support staff;
- engages in any act, that disrupts any learning environment in the school or in the virtual classroom;
- engages in any behavior that causes instruction, discipline, or learning to be interrupted;
- by not adequately preparing for class, disrupts, postpones or otherwise interrupts the instruction and learning that is going on in the classroom/virtual learning.
B. Substantially Disruptive Student
Any student who demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher’s instructions, repeatedly violates the teacher’s classroom/virtual learning behavior rules, or persistently interrupts the learning environment of the physical classroom and/or virtual classroom.
C. Violent Student
Any Student who:
- plans, threatens to commit, attempts to commit, or commits an act of violence against a school employee or their property;
- plans, threatens to commit, attempts to commit, or commits an act of violence against another student or any other person or their property;
- plans, threatens to commit, attempts to commit, or commits an act of violence against him/herself;
- possesses a weapon while on school property or at a school function;
- displays what appears to be a weapon while on school property or at a school function;
- threatens the use of a weapon on school property or at a school function;
- knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys the personal property of a school employee or other person who is lawfully on school property or at a school function;
- knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys school district property.
Students of the Pine Bush Central School District shall have the rights afforded them under the following provisions:
- federal and state constitutions;
- laws of the State of New York;
- policies of the school district established by the Board of Education;
- rules and regulations established by the school the students attend.
In accordance with these rights, students are held to corresponding responsibilities whether in school, on school grounds, at school functions or in the virtual classroom. It is expected that students will conduct themselves in accordance with these responsibilities. Furthermore, it is expected that they will contribute in a positive way to the maintenance of an orderly environment in which the safety and welfare of others are protected, and learning is not jeopardized.
Students have important responsibilities to uphold in order to ensure the schools they attend are safe, orderly, and well disciplined. At the same time, the essential partners have a collaborative responsibility. They include parents, students, teachers and the other staff, administrators, the superintendent, and the Board of Education.
All essential partners should assist students in maintaining a safe, supportive school environment, 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 (identity, expression) or sex, which will strengthen students’ self-concept and promote confidence to learn.
All students are expected to give proper attention to personal cleanliness and 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.
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.
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.
The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and 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 these 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 or disruptive as an individual or member of a group.
- Engage in conduct that is insubordinate as an individual or member of a group.
- Engage in conduct that is violent as an individual or member of a group.
- Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health, or welfare of self or any other person as an individual or member of a group.
- 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/virtual learning behavior. Any distraction to the driver such as: excessive noise, pushing, shoving, throwing objects, fighting, or being out of one’s seat while the bus is in motion, will not be tolerated.
- Engage in any form of academic misconduct as an individual or member of a group.
- Students may also be disciplined for conduct occurring off school premises (including where actions were precipitated by actions on school premises) which negatively impacts the health, safety, and/or welfare of students or staff in the Pine Bush Central School District. This would include, but not be limited to, for example, threatening or assaulting another student or staff member off school premises.
- Engage in cyberbullying which is harassment or bullying that occurs through any form of electronic communication, (Ed. Law §11) including, but not limited to, cell phones, computers, and tablets, or other communication tools, including social media sites, text messages, chat rooms, and websites and virtual classrooms.
Cell Phones and Other Communication Devices
Cell phones and communication devices are valuable and sometimes necessary tools, however, these devices are not needed for use in school. If a student decides to carry a communication device, these devices are to be turned OFF and kept out of sight throughout the school day. Students who possess communication devices shall assume responsibility for their care. Each building principal will be responsible for informing all students and their parents of the grade level regulations regarding cell phone and wireless communication devices.
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 building principal, the principal’s designee, or the superintendent. District staff who are not authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to promptly report violations of the Code of Conduct to his/her supervisor, who shall impose an appropriate disciplinary sanction, if so authorized, or refer the matter to a staff member who is authorized to impose an appropriate sanction.
The building 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.
Students or staff, who wish to report harassment, discrimination or bullying should contact the appropriate compliance officer. The Dignity Act Coordinators for each building are as follows:
- PBCSD, Amy Brockner, 744-2031 ext. 4011
- PBHS, Jen Evans, 744-2031 ext. 3602
- CVMS, Seth Siegel, 744-2031 ext. 5603
- CMS, Christopher Mummery, 744-2031 ext. 4416
- STARS, Andre Spinelli, 744-2031 ext. 3680
- CES, Joseph Prestianni, 744-2031 ext. 5524
- PBE, Jennifer Fitzgerald, 744-2031 ext. 4302
- PAK, Colleen Delles, 744-2031 ext. 5716
- EJR, Anthony Muia, 744-2031 ext. 4213
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 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 nature of the offense and circumstances that led to it;
- the student’s age and maturity;
- the student’s prior disciplinary record;
- the effectiveness of other forms of discipline;
- information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate;
- the student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan), BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan), and/or 504 Accommodation Plan, if applicable;
- other extenuating circumstances.
As a general rule, discipline will be progressive. This means a student’s first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations. The goal of progressive discipline is prevention of a recurrence of negative behavior by helping students learn ·from their mistakes. Essential to the implementation of progressive discipline is helping students who have engaged in unacceptable behavior to:
- Understand why the behavior is unacceptable and the harm it has caused;
- Understand what they could have done differently in the same situation;
- Take responsibility for their actions;
- Be given the opportunity to learn pro-social strategies and skills to use in the future
- Understand the progress of more stringent consequences if the behavior recurs.
Students who are found to have violated the district’s Code of Conduct, either alone or as a member of a group, may be subject to the following penalties including, but not limited to, warning, detention, removal from classroom/virtual learning, short or long term suspension, referrals and counseling. Furthermore, discipline may include restorative and educational components, such as written and/or verbal apologies to the victims, or other assignments deemed academically appropriate.
When a student has been suspended and is of compulsory attendance age, immediate steps shall be taken to provide alternative instruction as prescribed by Education Law 3214.
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 require 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.
The use of the term “corporal punishment” in this regulation shall be defined as any act of physical force upon a student for the purpose of punishing that student. Corporal punishment is prohibited. Any use of corporal punishment or complaint of such use must be investigated by the appropriate personnel of the district and a written report submitted to the superintendent.
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 and may be required to conduct searches as a result.
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, neglect, or custody investigations.
The Board encourages parents and other community members to visit the district’s schools and classrooms/virtual learning settings 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 building principal or principal’s designee is responsible for all persons in the building and on the grounds. For these reasons, the following rules apply to visitors:
- Anyone who is not a regular staff member or student of the school will be considered a visitor.
- A visitor to the school must report to the office of the principal, or the greeter’s desk, upon arrival at the school. There the visitor will be required to show an ID and sign the visitor’s register before being 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 visitor’s identification badge to the principal’s office, or greeter’s desk, and sign out before leaving the building.
- All visitors are expected to abide by the rules for public conduct on school property that are contained in the Code of Conduct.
- 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 other community members who wish to observe a classroom/virtual learning while school is in session are required to arrange such visits in advance with the classroom/virtual learning teacher and/or the building principal, so class disruption is kept to a minimum.
- It is expected that class time will not be used to discuss individual matters with visitors.
- Any unauthorized person on school property will be reported to the principal or the principal’s designee. Unauthorized persons will be asked to leave.
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. The purpose of the 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 of their presence (also see District Policy #3280 Use of School Facilities, Materials and Equipment).
Students are required, at all times, to respect the privacy and dignity of others. Audio/video recordings or photos/screenshots of participants in any learning environment is prohibited. In addition, audio/video recordings and photos in any bathroom or locker room, as well as verbal or physical altercations, are also prohibited.
Understanding discipline as a “teachable moment” is fundamental to a positive approach to discipline.Progressive discipline uses incremental interventions to address inappropriate behavior with the ultimate goal of teaching pro-social behavior. Progressive discipline seeks concurrent accountability and behavior change.
The goal of progressive discipline is prevention of a recurrence of negative behavior by helping students learn from their mistakes. Essential to the implementation of progressive discipline is helping students who have engage din unacceptable behavior to:
- understand why the behavior is unacceptable and the harm it has caused;
- understand what they could have done differently in the same situation’
- understand the impact their behaviors have on others;
- take responsibility for their actions;
- be given the opportunity to learn pro-social strategies and skills to use in the future;
- understand the progression of more stringent consequences if the behavior recurs.
The Board will work to ensure the community is aware of the Code of Conduct by:
- providing a copy of the Code of Conduct Summary at the beginning of each school year;
- providing a copy of the Code of Conduct Summary to all new student registrants of the district;
- incorporating the Code of Conduct into the student handbooks of students in grades 6-12 and reviewing it with all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year;
- reviewing the Code of Conduct with all students in grades K-5 at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year;
- providing all current teachers and other staff members with a copy of the Code of Conduct and a copy of any amendments to it as soon as practicable after adoption;
- providing all new employees with a copy of the current Code of Conduct when they are first hired;
- providing a copy of the Code of Conduct on the district’s website at www.pinebushschools.org.
Board of Education
Gretchen Meier, President
Cara Robertson, Vice President
Brian Dunn, Superintendent
Amy Brockner, Asst. Supt. for Instruction
Joseph Lenz, Asst. Supt. for Business
Terrilyn Cohn, Director of Special Programs
Aaron Hopmayer, Pine Bush High School Principal
Lisa Hankinson, Circleville Middle School Principal
Stephen Wilder, Crispell Middle School Principal
Kristin Slover, Circleville Elementary School Principal
Elizabeth Sproul, E. J. Russell Elementary Principal
Brian Breheny, Pakanasink Elementary School Principal
Eric Winter, Pine Bush Elementary School Principal
Updated July 2023