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IG Student Discipline

Adopted: January 1, 1975 
Amended: August 26 1996, June 23 1997, June 14, 1999, May 9, 2006, May 22, 2007

Policy

The Fort McMurray Public School District Board of Trustees is committed to the development and maintenance of a learning environment in schools which is safe, secure and conducive to effective learning.

The Board supports school procedures for enforcing expectations concerning student conduct, which are fair, reasonable, objective, and patterned after the action, which would be taken by a kind, firm, and judicious parent/guardian. They are to be consistent with the policies and regulations of the Board of Trustees and Alberta Education, and with the legislation of the various levels of government.

The Board considers school discipline to be comprised of two essential components, first, the conditions of school order and of student behavior, which provides an effective learning environment; and second, the practices used to secure and maintain those conditions.

A state of order in a school setting implies the existence of expectations concerning student conduct, of known consequences for failure to meet those expectations, and of an authority empowered to act with respect to each in achieving a state of order.

In meeting the needs of the individual student, school discipline should emphasize development of socially responsible behavior, which includes respect for the rights and well-being of people, property, and self. School discipline is to be directed at promoting the growth of students with respect to self-discipline.

In fostering and maintaining school discipline, emphasis is to be placed upon effective learning and

teaching and upon achieving a positive school climate.

Notwithstanding the foregoing emphases, schools are expected to take firm and decisive action in responding to behavior, which causes or threatens harm to persons or property. Students who are responsible for serious misconduct of this kind are to face formal suspension, expulsion and, when appropriate, referral to the police.

School expectations concerning student conduct and the responsibilities of parents/guardians and staff are to be developed by the principal through consultation with students, parents/guardians and staff and communicated to all three groups. When appropriate, consultation is to include community agencies. Students, parents/guardians and staff are to be made aware of the possible consequences faced by students who are found responsible for serious or repeated misconduct.

In planning and implementing provisions for effective school discipline and safe school environments, schools should take advantage of community agencies and resources. At all levels at which disciplinary decisions are made which seriously affect the education of the student, provisions for appeal are to be established and made known to students, staff and parents/guardians.

For the purposes of this policy, staff shall include all employees and designated supervisory personnel.

Definitions

1. Personal harassment is any behavior that has as its intent or effect to alarm, provoke, intimidate, or belittle a person. It can include but is not limited to the following:

i. unwanted physica1 contact

ii. unwelcome remarks or compromising invitations

iii. verbal abuse or display of suggestive pictures

iv. inappropriate gestures

2. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome behavior, which is sexual in nature. It can include but is not limited to the following:

i. unwanted physica1 contact

ii. unwelcome remarks or compromising invitations

iii. verbal abuse or display of suggestive pictures

iv. leering, whistling, innuendoes, jokes or other behaviors or gestures of a sexual nature

v. demands for sexual favors

Guidelines

A.   The Board believes that there should be a range of consequences for negative behavior including but not limited to:

1. Counseling or referral to counselling

2. Teacher/Administrator conference

3. Parent/Guardian/School conference

4. Detention (If students are to be detained after school hours, available transportation must be taken into consideration. Students should not be detained beyond 4:30 p.m. Parents/Guardians of elementary students should be informed if their children are being detained for more than one-half hour after school).

5. Loss of Privileges

6. In School Suspension

7. Out of School Agency referral

8. Out of School Suspension

9. Expulsion

The Board accepts the use of student suspensions as a disciplinary measure designed to encourage students to demonstrate self-discipline and appropriate behavior.

The Board accepts the use of expulsion where the continued presence of a student in a school is deemed to be a danger to the safety and well being of staff and/or students or the quality of the learning environment.

The Board prohibits corporal punishment.

B.   Suspensions:

1.   Suspensions are defined as exclusions up to five school days from regular student activities (classes, school, riding on a school bus or extra-curricular)

2.   Suspensions should generally be used only after less severe forms of action have been taken.

3.   Circumstances under which suspension may be considered include but are not limited to:

a. Habitual neglect of duty;

b. Chronic truancy;

c. Open opposition to authority;

d. Use of improper or profane language;

e. Inappropriate or threatening gestures;

f. Disruptive classroom behavior;

g. Deliberate and wanton destruction of property;

h. Violation of the Division's smoking and use of illegal drugs (including alcohol) policy;

i. Personal or sexual harassment; or

j. Actions which are injurious to the moral tone or well-being of the school or other individuals.

C. Expulsions

1.   Expulsions are defined as exclusions from regular student activities for more than five school days.

2.   Expulsion will only be used when:

a.   It is dteemed that other means of corrective action including consultation with parents/guardians, counseling and suspensions have failed to achieve orderly and appropriate student behavior; or

b.  The student's continued presence in the school is deemed to seriously threaten or disrupt the orderly functioning of the school or the student’s presence is deemed to be a danger to persons or property.

3.   Expulsion procedures must ensure that the rules of natural justice and due process are followed including a right to appeal the Board's decision to the Minister.

4.   The seriousness of misbehavior may warrant immediate suspension or a recommendation to the Board for expulsion on the first offense.

D. GENERAL PROVISIONS

1.   Expectations for School and Classroom Discipline Practices

a. It is expected that school and classroom discipline practices in general will be based on the following:

i. Treatment of individuals which is consistently typical of that which would be practiced by a kind, firm and judicious parent/guardian.

ii. Procedures which are fair, objective, consistent and reasonable

iii. Avoidance of threats, and other measures which can be regarded as coercive

iv. Early detection of attendance concerns and other potential discipline problems and early action to resolve them without resorting to severe punitive measures

v. Involvement of school resource personnel and outside agencies as considered appropriate

vi. Early and ongoing communication with parents/guardians throughout the entire process of dealing with discipline problems

vii. Concentration upon the development of positive school practices and effective teaching as a means of encouraging appropriate student behavior and maintaining school order

viii. Prompt action to resolve discipline problems, especially those which may occasion a suspension

ix. Decisions regarding the use of disciplinary measures should be made on consideration of the following:

a) Effect of the student's behavior upon other students, the staff, the school, and the community.

b) Nature of the action or incident that calls for disciplinary measures.

c) Student's previous conduct.

d) Student's age and maturity.

e) Impact of proposed action on the student's future behavior.

f) Previous disciplinary actions.

g) Views of the parents/guardians of students who have been harmed by the student's behavior.

2.   Development and Communication of School Discipline Polices and Regulations

a.  School discipline polices and regulations are to be maintained in the form of a written statement and included in the school handbook and include school expectations for student behavior and provisions for serious forms of misbehavior.

b.  The school's discipline policies and regulations concerning student conduct are to be:

i.    Developed by the principal in consultation with students, parents/guardians and staff, and, if considered appropriate by the principal, with community agencies

ii.   Consistent with law and with the policies and regulations of the Fort McMurray Board of Trustees and Alberta Education

iii.   Reviewed at regular intervals.

c.   Following initial development and major revisions, the above statement is to be given to:

i. All staff, parents/guardians and students at the beginning of the school year; and

ii. New students upon registration during the school year.

d.   The statement provided to staff, parents/guardians and students is to make clear reference to:

i. The school's expectations for student conduct

ii. The consequences faced by students when they are found responsible for serious or repeated misconduct.

e.   In communicating with parents/guardians regarding discipline, schools are expected to make an effort to reach all members of the school's parent/guardian community

3. Development and Communication of Classroom Discipline Policies and Regulations

a. Classroom behavior expectations will be:

i.    Developed by the teacher in consultation with the students and principal

ii.   Consistent with law and with the policies and regulations of the school, the Fort McMurray Board of Trustees and Alberta Education

iii.   Made known to students and parents/guardians.

Procedures- Mandatory

Suspension From a Class

1. A teacher may suspend a student from a class period subject to the following procedures:

a.   The teacher informs the student about the suspensions, the consequence of suspension and that suspension is being considered;

b.   The student is given an opportunity to offer an explanation for his/her action;

c.   The teacher directs the student to the principal to remain under the supervision of the school until the student's normal class dismissal time;

d.   The teacher reports all of the circumstances surrounding the suspension to the principal, in writing;

e.   The teacher informs the parents/guardians of the student by telephone of the suspension and the circumstances surrounding it as soon as possible; and

f.   The teacher recommends follow-up designed to resolve the problem, which led to the suspension, e.g., counseling, etc.

2. The principal, in consultation with relevant teachers and parents/guardians, may follow one of the following courses of action:

a.   Reinstate the student;

b.   Conditionally reinstate the student;

c.   Suspend the student from school for a certain term;

d.   Suspend the student from one or more classes for a certain term; or

e.   Recommend to the Board the expulsion of the student.

 

Suspension From School and School-Related Activities

1.   The principal may suspend a student from:

a.   One or more class periods;

b.   One or more courses or school programs;\

c.   School;

d.   Riding on a school bus; or

e.   Participating in an activity sponsored or approved by the Board.

2. When a principal suspends a student from school, school activities or riding the school bus, the following procedures will apply:

a.   The principal will confer with affected staff to gather information about the student's misbehavior;

b.   The principal will inform the student about the proposed suspension, its consequences and the reason the suspension is being considered;

c.   The student will be given an opportunity to offer an explanation for his/her behavior;

d.   If a suspension is warranted, the principal will inform the student of the reason for the suspension and length of the suspension;

e.   The principal shall inform the parents/guardian of the student by telephone, of the suspension, including reasons and length, and shall report in writing all the circumstances of the suspension to the parent/guardian with a copy to the Superintendent;

f.   Where a student is not to be reinstated within five school days of the date of his/her suspension, the principal shall immediately report in writing all the circumstances of the suspension to the Board, together with his/her recommendations;

g.   Upon receiving a report from a principal pursuant to Section 19(5), the Board shall, within ten (10) school days from the first day of suspension, reinstate or expel the student.

Suspension With Recommendation For Expulsion

1.   When the student's misbehavior or history of misbehavior is very serious, the principal may suspend the student and refer the matter to the Board along with a recommendation for expulsion.

2.   When a suspension is referred to the Board, the following procedures will be adhered to:

a.   The principal shall inform the parent/guardian of the student and the Superintendent by telephone and shall immediately report in writing all the circumstances of the suspension to the parents/guardians or designate with a copy to the Superintendent. Parents/Guardians shall be advised of the date of the Board meeting at which the hearing will be held, their right to be assisted by a resource person or advocate, and their right to have access to the information to be presented.

b.   The Board, or a Committee of the Board empowered to act on behalf of the Board shall, within ten (10) school days from the first day of the suspension, conduct a hearing into the case and render a decision to either reinstate or expel the student from school.

c.   The principal shall present documents and statements outlining the circumstances leading to the suspension and other relevant data, which may assist the Committee to make a judgment. Information will include documented instances of inappropriate student behavior as well as administrative responses to the behavior. The principal will also be required to make a recommendation regarding the disposition of the case.

d.  The procedure to be followed in conducting the hearing is as follows:

i.    The Chairman will chair the meeting;

ii.   The principal or designate will present his/her report documenting the case along with a recommendation for disposition;

iii.  The student and parents/guardians will be given an opportunity to respond to the information presented as well as add information they feel is relevant;

iv.  The Committee may ask questions or request additional information from parents/guardians, students or personnel;

v.   The Board Committee shall, without administration (other than the Superintendent if so requested), students or parents/guardians present, debate the merits of the case in-camera and make a decision to reinstate or expel the student.

e.   The Committee's decision is deemed to be a decision of the Board. The Board decision shall be communicated in writing to the student and parents/guardians with copies sent to the principal and the Superintendent. If a student is expelled, the letter to the student and parents/guardians will indicate the student/parent's /guardian’s right to appeal the decision to the Minister of Education.

References

Legal Reference:

Alberta School Act: Sections, 13(5)(c), 24, 25, 45(8), 61(e), 124(1)(d)
Family Law Act Section 20 & 21

Cross Reference:

IFA Student Appeals

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