2023-2024

District Code of Character, Conduct and Support

The Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct & Support is designed to promote equity and strongly supports our principles and efforts to be trauma-sensitive, culturally responsive and presents a strong focus on restorative practices.

In addition to outlining guiding principles, rights, responsibilities and various types of consequences, this document services to provide a preventative approach and therapeutic response as we aim to keep students in the classroom and out of the juvenile justice system.

In the Schenectady City School District, we approach student behaviors as teachable moments and opportunities for learning instead of punishment.  While it is important that we hold students accountable for their actions, consequences without re-teaching and reflection do little to change behavior in the long run.  To improve educational outcomes for our students, we must provide interventions and behavior support that is directed at addressing academic gaps and the causes of misbehavior.  We know that suspension does not improve outcomes for students.  

In this document, we outline and describe practices and alternative pathways that are diagnostic and prescriptive, such as diversion.  This alternative pathway provides an opportunity for mental and behavioral health treatment, and potentially reduces the amount of time a student is out of school.

Our Code of Character, Conduct and Support also emphasizes the importance of implementing strategies, practices, interventions and plans that address students’ needs before behavior issues rise to a most serious level.  Students are most likely to make positive decisions when they understand the expectations, know that adults care about them and when they feel respected.

Please read the Code of Character, Conduct and Support in its entirety.  It should be used as a guide and reference throughout the upcoming school year.

Our top priorities are to ensure that our schools are safe, that all students have what they need to be academically successful, and that race, economics and disability are never predictors of student achievement.

We are partners in the education of our students.  Together we can ensure that every student is academically successful and on the path to graduation.

If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, please contact us through Let’s Talk.

Board of Education

Erica Brockmyer
Nohelani Etienne
Cathy Lewis
Jamaica Miles
Vivian Parsons
Bernice Rivera
Amanda Sponable-Pantalone

Elementary School Students Outdoors in the fall

Introduction

WHY DO WE HAVE A CODE OF CHARACTER, CONDUCT AND SUPPORT?

The goal of the Schenectady City School District’s Code of Character, Conduct and Support is to outline expectations which are aimed to ensure that all students receive an education in a safe, engaging, and caring environment.  For our schools to be safe and supportive environments, everyone within the school community must demonstrate and offer mutual respect and cooperation.

The Code of Character, Conduct and Support serves as a guide to good citizenship, promoting positive behavior and helping students understand expectations which are based on the principles of mutual respect, citizenship, character, acceptance, honesty, and integrity.  Students are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, school personnel and other members of the school community as well as for the care of school facilities and equipment.

The board of education recognizes the need to clearly define expectations for acceptable conduct and identify the potential responses to unacceptable conduct.  Levels of behavior concerns, violations and responses, interventions and consequences are outlined in the Code of Character, Conduct and Support.

The Code of Character, Conduct and Support applies to all students while in Schenectady City School District schools and on school grounds, in school vehicles, at school-related and district-sponsored activities including those held at locations off school property.  It also applies to actions that occur outside of school hours and off school property when behavior can negatively affect the educational process or endangers the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the school community.

The Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct and Support serves to ensure that students have equitable access to behavioral support and interventions.

ACCESS & FEEDBACK

  • There is a 30-day public comment period during which time staff, students, parents, guardians, caregivers, and community members can provide comment & feedback.

  • A public hearing is held prior to board of education approval.

  • Copies of the Code of Character, Conduct and Support are made available at the beginning of the school year.

  • All faculty and staff are provided with the code of character, conduct & support.

  • The Code of Character, Conduct and Support is posted on the district website.

A committee of stakeholders meets to review relevant data & discuss necessary changes to the Code of Character, Conduct and Support.

Tapping the Tree for Syrup

BELIEFS ABOUT CHILDREN, LEARNING, OUR WORK

All our students must be assured that they will be treated in a fair, consistent, and non-discriminatory manner.  We must ensure that all students have what they need to be academically successful.

  • Equity is the main pillar of our work.

  • All children can achieve their personal best and can improve behavior with guidance, instruction, support, and coaching.

  • Children should not be asked, “what Is wrong with you?”  They should instead be asked, “what has happened to you?”

  • Students need varying kinds and amounts of time, attention, and supports to succeed academically and achieve at high levels.

  • Out-of-school suspension does not improve outcomes for students.  Students are more likely to make positive decisions when:

    • They understand the positive behaviors that are expected of them

    • They feel that staff members care about them and will help them learn and grow

    • They feel respected

    • All staff consistently uses the same language and practices

    • All staff provide positive feedback for appropriate behavior and effort


Graduates on graduation day

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct and Support is based on key principles for ensuring that our schools are safe, healthy, and supportive environments.

All adults have an obligation to help students learn to be good citizens by:

  • Helping kids learn right from wrong

  • Fostering a desire to make good decisions

  • Encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions and words

  • Modeling behaviors that we want to cultivate

Policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are respectful.  Adults are expected to protect the dignity of every student and ensure a tone of decency, compassion, and respect.

Improving educational outcomes for all students requires that schools provide support, and that behavior support is directed at addressing academic learning gaps and the causes of misbehavior.  Prevention and intervention strategies may include more personalized instruction, support services, and programming to address personal and family circumstances and social-emotional learning.  Examples of strategies include conflict resolution, peer mediation, anger management, positive behavior strategies, circles, and other restorative and therapeutic interventions.

School personnel is responsible for developing and using strategies that promote learning and positive behavior in school, and for addressing behaviors which disrupt learning.

Administrators, teachers, counselors, social workers,
psychologists, other school staff, and parents are expected to
engage students in intervention and prevention strategies that
address behavioral issues.  These should be discussed with the
student and parents, guardians, or caregivers through the
School-Based Support Team (SBST).

Administrators, teachers, counselors, social workers,
psychologists, other school staff, and parents are expected to
engage students in intervention and prevention strategies that
address behavioral issues.  These should be discussed with the
student and parents, guardians, or caregivers through the
School-Based Support Team (SBST).

The School-Based Support Team (SBST) is a problem-solving team that supports student social-emotional, and academic need.  A referral can be made to the SBST by a parent, staff member or administrator by contacting the school psychologist.

THE ROLE OF THE SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST
School psychologists are valuable resources to solve problems and provide knowledge and recommendations through the committees on special education, section 504 and the SBST.  Each school in our district has at least one school psychologist who collaborates with colleagues, administration, and families to support student growth.  School psychologists are responsible for psycho-educational evaluations as a tool to make instructional and behavioral recommendations on a case-by-case basis.  They work closely with administration to guide and support best practice in our schools for school climate, suspensions, tiered behavioral and instructional support.

THE ROLE OF THE BEHAVIOR SPECIALIST
Behavior specialists are clinically trained professionals who support school staff in exploring best practice solutions for overcoming barriers in the classroom.  They are skilled at working to help promote academic engagement, positive behaviors, and social-emotional skills.  Using a preventative approach, they empower, collaborate, and problem-solve with teachers and school teams with a focus on trauma-sensitivity, cultural responsiveness, and equity.

OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
Other related service-providers who can provide resources for the SBST include school counselors, social workers, speech, physical and occupational therapists, and our psychiatric nurse practitioner. 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES: RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

Student discipline, policies, and practices must be implemented in ways that are accountable and restorative.  Students and families need to know that the school will provide interventions inside and outside the classroom that support a restorative, rather than punitive, response.  Students have the option to accept assigned consequences and fully participate in the interventions designed to address specific behaviors.  These interventions require students to own the problem, reflect on the impact of their behavior on themselves and others, and understand why the behavior was unacceptable or inappropriate. 

We need to be aware that the person whose actions we are attempting to correct must be in a place where they admit they were wrong and want to make amends or alter their behavior.

As an administrative team we are trying to use the common language when discussing discipline referrals with students:

  • What is the problem?

  • Who is being impacted by the problem?

  • Use of “I” statements

  • What is it like when the problem does not exist?

  • How do we get there?                                

Restorative Practice Specialists work throughout the district to build capacity in this area.   

Examples of Restorative Practices

Affective Statements refers to the tone in which we speak to students to help us build relationships and show that we care about the students.  For example, “I like the way you worked the whole class period today,” is more effective than, “good job.”

Classroom Circles can be used as a response to wrongdoing and as a vehicle for discussion when creating respect and classroom norms.  This should be used in the beginning of the school year so that students understand expectations and a positive classroom culture can be developed. 

Restorative Conference is a formal response to wrongdoing where the facilitator helps both parties explore what happened and who was affected.  This can be done with a facilitator, teacher, and a student after a disruption to the learning environment has occurred.

Restorative Reflections is an exercise in which students complete a writing assignment and go through the restorative questions and steps as they try to reflect on their actions and make a better plan.

Restorative Harm Repair Circles are full-scale circles involving parents, advocates and those affected.  This is appropriate with students who acknowledge they have done harm and want to repair the relationship.

Conflict Coaching sessions are one-on-one meetings between individual parties and a trained restorative practice specialist. These sessions help the party gain perspective on the conflict, make decisions about next steps, as well as learn key communication skills, all while exploring position, emotions, needs and power in their conflicts.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CAREGIVERS AS PARTNERS

Students, parents, guardians, caregivers, and school personnel all have a role in making school a safe learning environment and must cooperate with one another to achieve this goal.  School staff should ensure that parents are informed of their child’s behavior and enlist parents as partners in reinforcing positive behavior and addressing areas in need of growth.  Parents, guardians, and caregivers are encouraged to discuss any concerns or history that may affect student behavior and discuss any known effective strategies with their child’s teacher and other school staff.  Open communication is essential, and parents are the experts in their children.

EQUITY

Student discipline, policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are fair, equitable, & differentiated.  All students must be treated fairly without favor toward or prejudice against any one group of students according to ability, age, gender, disability, race, ethnic group, socioeconomic status, religious or spiritual orientation or indigenous heritage.

TRAUMA SENSITIVITY

Awareness and intervention are essential when behaviors may be symptomatic of more serious problems that students are experiencing.  It is important that school personnel be sensitive to issues that may influence the behavior of students and respond in a manner that is most supportive of their needs.  Appropriate disciplinary responses should emphasize prevention and effective intervention, prevent disruption to learning and promote a positive school culture.

SENSORY SPACE/ROOM 

A special room or space, therapeutic in nature, that is designated to engage a person’s senses usually through special or soft lighting, music, objects, and manipulatives.  It is designed as a safe place for students to retreat to avoid anticipated behavior escalation.  Sensory spaces promote self-organization and positive change.

TURN-AROUND SPACE/ROOM 

A designated place where a student goes in response to a behavior or multiple behaviors, where they can discuss what happened, take responsibility for it and work to better understand why it happened.  Highly skilled staff work with the student to problem-solve so it won’t happen again and to develop pro-social skills.

PRO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR

Each SCSD school is expected to promote a positive school climate and culture that provides students with supports so that they can grow both academically and socially.  Schools take a proactive role in nurturing students’ pro-social behavior by providing a range of positive behavioral supports as well as meaningful opportunities for social-emotional learning.  Effective social-emotional learning helps students develop fundamental life skills.  Examples include implementing a social emotional curriculum, classroom guidance lessons, and a variety of social skills groups.  

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

Engagement is integral to creating a positive school climate and culture that effectively fosters academic achievement and social-emotional growth.  Providing students with multiple opportunities to participate in pro-social activities and develop a bond with caring, supportive adults, positively influences behavior.  A few examples include providing students with opportunities to share ideas and concerns and participating in school-wide initiatives such as PBIS (Positive Behavior in Schools), Circle Up, or No Place for Hate. Student attendance and engagement specialists work across the district to assist in the removal of school attendance barriers and increased engagement.

RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

All members of the school community must assume a responsible role in promoting behavior that enhances academic and social success.  Courteous, respectful, and responsible behavior fosters a positive climate and one that promotes learning.

STUDENTS

  • Students learn best when adults serve as positive role models.

  • Students learn best when there is unconditional acceptance of differences.

  • Students learn best when respect and civility are modeled by all.

  • Students learn best when behavioral expectations are clearly defined and consistently enforced.

All students are guaranteed the right to express opinions, support causes, organize and assemble to discuss issues and demonstrate peacefully and responsibly, in support of, and in accordance with policies and procedures established by the Schenectady City School District Board of Education.

Students have the right to:

  • A sound, quality education in a school environment that is safe, orderly and promotes learning.

  • Be respected as an individual, treated fairly and with dignity by other students and school staff.

  • Organize, promote, and participate in student activities and clubs as part of the formal education process or as authorized by the school principal.

  • Dress in such a way to express one’s personality if it does not distract or disrupt the learning environment.

  • Provide representation of appropriate school-wide committees that influence the educational process as designated by school personnel.

  • Participate and express opinions through the publication of school newspapers and newsletters with oversight from faculty advisors.

  • Exercise freedom of inquiry and expression, written and oral, within appropriate limits under the law and provided that the rights of others are not diminished.

  • Be protected from intimidation, harassment or discrimination based on (actual or perceived) race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion or religious practice, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or 

    disability, by employees and students on school 

    property or at any school-sponsored activity.

SHS Graduates on graduation day

Students have the responsibility of:

  • Owning and being active participants in their learning.

  • Attending school daily, arriving on time, and being prepared for learning.

  • Being truthful about and accountable for words and actions.

  • Respecting themselves and others in class, on school grounds, on buses and any school-related activity.

  • Respecting the rights and feelings of fellow students, parents, school staff, visitors, and guests.

  • Knowing and complying with school district rules and policies.

  • Trying to correct and improve behavior through restorative interventions.

  • Expressing thoughts and opinions in ways that are polite, respectful, and courteous.

  • Respecting others’ personal space.

  • Participating in learning communities, including helping to formulate rules and procedur

  • es in the school, engaging in school-related activities and fostering a culture of respect for learning and for others.

  • Seeking help and assistance when needed.

  • Taking care of property that belongs to others or of the school.

  • Helping to make school a community that is free from violence, intimidation, bullying harassment, and discrimination.

PARENTS, GUARDIANS AND CAREGIVERS

Parents, guardians, and caregivers have the right to be active participants in the learning process, to express their views and to provide input into decisions that affect their children.  They are vital to the success of students in school.  Parents, guardians, and caregivers should have high expectations for their children.  They are always welcome in our schools.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers have the right to:

  • Be actively involved in their children’s education.

  • Be treated courteously, fairly, and respectfully by all school staff.

  • Receive timely information about policies and procedures that relate to their children.

  • Receive regular reports from school staff regarding academic progress and behavior.

  • Receive notification and information of inappropriate or disruptive behaviors by their children and of any disciplinary actions.

  • Receive information about due process procedures for disciplinary matters concerning their children.

  • Receive information about ways to improve their child’s progress including counseling, tutoring, after-school programs, academic programs, and mental health services.

  • Receive information about services for students with disabilities and English language learners (ELL).

  • Be contacted when their child is believed to have committed a crime or when police are called.

  • Receive communication through provided translators.

Parents, guardians, and caregivers have the responsibility of:

  • Providing updated contact information to the Schenectady City School District Student Registration Office and their child’s school.

  • Making sure that their children attend school regularly and on time.

  • Letting school know when and why children are absent.

  • Telling school officials about any concerns or complaints. (See below for school contact info.)

  • Supporting their children by providing an environment suitable for homework and developing good study habits.

  • Working with school staff to address any academic or behavioral struggles their children may be facing.

  • Talking with their children about expectations and behavior.

  • Teaching and modeling respect.

  • Advocating for their children and taking an active role in the school community.

  • Attending parent/teacher conferences and monitoring their child’s grades and progress.

  • Being respectful and courteous to staff, other parents, guardians, caregivers, and students while on school premises.

  • Teaching children that all children have the right to attend school and be treated with respect and dignity regardless of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex.

Schools will ensure that parents, guardians, and caregivers have a right to participate in decision-making that affects school policies and procedures including:

  • Informing them in a timely and clear manner as to when and how they can participate and to ensure that all parents, guardians, and caregivers have equal access to information and opportunities for participation.

  • Ensuring they have opportunities to make recommendations to school about effective methods for participation.

  • Giving them opportunities to provide input, receive information, and help guide decision-making.

Schools will ensure that parents, guardians, and caregivers have the right to participate in decisions that affect their child’s education including:

  • The identification of academic or behavioral challenges as soon as possible and working with parents, guardians, and caregivers to identify solutions.

  • Participation in restorative solutions

  • Protection of due process rights as related to school discipline.


EDUCATORS

Principals, educators, and all school staff have the right to:

  • Work in a safe and orderly environment.

  • Be treated courteously, fairly, and respectfully by students, parents, or guardians and other school staff.

  • Communicate concerns, suggestions, and complaints.

  • Receive supportive professional development and training.

  • Receive necessary resources.

Educators have the responsibility of:

  • Fostering and nurturing so that students develop as learners, both academically and socially.

  • Recognizing that children should be subject to behavior management, support and discipline policies appropriate with their ages and levels of understanding.

  • Being respectful and courteous to students, parents, guardians, and caregivers.

  • Serving as role models for students.

  • Cooperating and scheduling conferences with students, parents, and others in an effort to understand and resolve academic and behavioral concerns.

  • Making every effort to accommodate families whose work schedules, access to transportation or distance from school, limits their ability to meet or participate.

  • Keeping families informed of their student’s progress, challenges, effort, and achievements.

  • Encouraging students to participate in classroom, extracurricular and other school-related activities.

  • Knowing and enforcing rules, policies, and procedures consistently, fairly, and equitably.

  • Confronting issues of discrimination and harassment in any situation that threatens the emotional, physical health or safety of any students, employee, or anyone on school property or at a school function and reporting incidents of discrimination and harassment to the attention of the teacher, counselor, administrator, staff member or to the dignity act coordinator.

  • Striving to meet students where they are an provide equitable supports based on their needs.

PRINCIPALS

Principals have the responsibility of:

  • Promoting a safe, supportive, and orderly school environment for all school community members, regardless of (actual or perceived) race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

  • Reviewing the code of character, conduct & support, and procedures for reporting incidents with all staff at the beginning of the school year.

  • Ensuring all staff participate in mandated yearly training such as The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), school violence prevention, and mental health first aid.

  • Maintaining confidentiality and respecting student and parent rights to privacy.

  • Developing the capacity of staff, students, and families to intervene regarding behavioral concerns.

  • Ensuring equity and that all students are treated fairly.

  • Partnering with parents and caregivers through the facilitation of the SBST process.

  • Leading the implementation of the strategies and protocols in the Student Attendance Guide

  • Treating students, staff, and families courteously, fairly, and respectfully.

SUPERINTENDENT

The Superintendent has the responsibility of:

  • Promoting a safe, supportive, and orderly environment for all school community members, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

  • Reviewing the policies of the board of education and state and federal laws relating to school operations and management, with all district administrators.

  • Working with district administrators to enforce the code of character, conduct, & support and ensuring that all incidents are resolved promptly and that students are treated fairly and equitably.

  • Addressing issues of discrimination, harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, employee, or person on school property or at a school function.

BOARD OF EDUCATION

Members of the Board of Education have the responsibility of:

  • Promoting a safe, supportive, and orderly school environment for all school community members, regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex.

  • Approving the Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct, and Support annually.

  • Working with the Superintendent to addressing issues of discrimination, harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, school employee or person who is lawfully on school property.

  • Ensuring that policies promote and ensure equity.

  • Addressing issues of discrimination, harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, employee, or person on school property or at a school function.

  • Ensuring that race, economics, and disability do not predict student achievement.

RE-ROUTING THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

Examples ...

The school-to-prison pipeline is the disproportionate tendency of minors to become incarcerated due to increasingly harsh school and municipal policies (such as zero-tolerance).  

Adopting a responsive approach to discipline with help keep students in the classroom and out of the juvenile justice system.  This requires a shift in mindset.  The Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct, & Support is designed to help guide where disciplinary practices can become more responsive.  

Strategies should include:

  • Adopting a social emotional & trauma informed lens.

  • Knowing students and developing cultural competency.

  • Planning and delivering effective student-centered instruction.

  • Moving the paradigm from punishment to skill development.

  • Resisting the criminalization of school behavior.

  • Engaging in restorative practices.

  • Creating school wide systems aimed to increase school climate & culture.

District-wide responsive discipline policies are critical to stopping the school-to-prison pipeline.  When SCHOOL DISTRICT PERSONNEL become agents for change, they support teachers, counselors, and building level administrators to make these shifts.

TEACHERS have the most face-to-face contact with students and a front-line opportunity to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.  Instructional practice and discipline structure can keep kids in class or push them out.

From locating wrap-around services to understanding and uncovering issues that adversely affect students in the classroom, COUNSELORS are equipped to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline through their work with both teachers and students.

VERBAL DISRESPECT

Student is defiant and uses inappropriate language when verbally directed.

ADULT RESPONSES TO AVOID

  • Communication that we are personally offended.

  • Emotional replies that focus on re-asserting adult authority over the student.

  • Responses that conflate the student’s disrespectful behavior with their personal identity and character traits. Ex) “You’re disrespectful” or “That’s another example of you making a bad choice.”

  • Referral for disciplinary action by another adult.

RECOMMENDED ADULT RESPONSES

  • Nonverbal communication that we won’t let anything the student says in anger, cause us to be emotionally reactive toward them. Ex) mindful breathing to model self-awareness and non-judgment.

  • Offering even-tempered and predictable expressions of patience and respect. Ex) using empathetic listening and offering choice – “You’re telling me that was really upsetting.”  You can use X or Y as an in-class break to help yourself cool down.

  • Making a mental note about the situation that is so triggering for the student and committing to invest in relationship-building. Ex) using topics of interest, humor, affection with the student at times when they are more emotionally regulated.

  • Taking actions that demonstrate sensitivity to and plans for addressing those issues in the future. Ex) adjusting seating arrangements to prevent conflict with same peer in the future; pre-setting students about expectations for discussion around emotionally provocative topic; planning 1:1 conference time to collaboratively problem-solve with the student and demonstrate that we may have somehow been part of the problem in the situation and hope we can be part of the solution through our respect for and interest in the student’s point of view.

TRUANCY

Student is frequently absent from or tardy to their first period class and is failing.

ADULT RESPONSES TO AVOID

  • Verbal and nonverbal communication (privately or publicly) of our judgement that the student’s tardiness represents a character flaw.

  • Actions that demonstrate zero tolerance or brings undue attention to a student’s falling short of our expectations Ex) when we refuse to admit a late student into class.

  • Giving up on action planning to support the student. Ex) failing to offer opportunities to make up missed work.

RECOMMENDED ADULT RESPONSES

  • Verbal and/or nonverbal communication (privately and/or publicly) of our belief that we all do well when we can, and that there are lots of reasons people might have a problem with lateness.

  • Actions that demonstrate a restorative approach that involves limit-setting and a desire to help remove barriers.
    Ex) Insistence on check-ins or conferences with the student to collaboratively problem-solve and focus on why their attendance matters, paired with high encouragement and nurture. Consistent expressions of empathy for the student and faith that together we can work toward personal growth and both attendance and academic improvements.



  • Committing to ongoing work on the home-school partnership and school-wide efforts at reducing barriers to school attendance and achievement, with recognition that these problems often represent manifestations of social injustice and everyday hassles that SCSD student and families have disproportionately been faced with navigating over multiple generations.

Source:  Adapted from Code of Conduct, A Guide to Responsive Discipline www.learningforjustice.org

DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT

New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) took effect on July 1, 2012.  The law seeks to provide the state’s public-school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property, school buses and/or at school functions.

No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at any school function; nor shall any student be subject to discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived:

  • Race

  • Color

  • Weight

  • National Origin

  • Ethnic Group

  • Religion

  • Religious Practice

  • Disability

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Gender (defined to include gender identity or expression)

SHS students on graduation day

Each school & the district has dignity act coordinators who are trained to address issues in areas protected by the law and is accessible to the community.

Parents who feel that their child has been bullied should contact their child’s principal who will coordinate with the school’s DASA coordinator to investigate.  More information about DASA, including the DASA complaint form, can be found on the district website https://www.schenectadyschools.org/page/dignity-for-students-act-dasa .  Questions may be directed to the Office of Student Support Services at 518-881-3412 or through Let’s Talk.  

  • The district will act promptly to investigate all complaints and will take appropriate action to protect individuals from further discrimination, harassment, bullying, and retaliation.

  • Any student who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, bullying or retaliatory conduct, as well as any individuals who are aware of or have knowledge of this behavior, should immediately report it to any staff member or administrator.

    • The staff member/administrator to whom the report is made shall document and take appropriate action to address the situation immediately and promptly report it verbally and in writing within 24 hours.  The school principal is charged with receiving all reports of harassment, bullying, discrimination, or retaliation.  Students and parents, however, may make an oral or written complaint to any teacher, administrator, or school employee.

  • All complaints shall be promptly investigated, forwarded to the school dignity act coordinator for monitoring and are treated as confidential and private to the extent possible within legal constraints.


Bullying and cyberbullying, harassment and intimidation, hazing and bias behaviors are unsafe and do not reflect respect for others as defined by the Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct, & Support.  The district has adopted a Bulling/Cyberbullying Policy (#7552) which states:  Bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors, is conduct that disrupts both a student’s ability to learn, an educator’s ability to teach, and threatens classroom and school safety.  Cyberbullying is defined as harassment or bullying that occurs through any form of electronic communication.  The district is committed to providing a school environment that values and teaches respect for all.

In recognition of the dangers of cyberbullying and related conduct that can occur off campus, the 2012 amendments to the Dignity Act broaden the definition of harassment and bullying to include conduct that occurs off school property and creates of 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 (Education Law 11 [7].

If you or someone you. Know is a target of bullying, harassment, or intimidation, you can report it on the DASA complaint form available on the district website or in the main office and counseling office of every school.  You can also report it through “Let’s Talk” on the district website or by telling a staff member, who will respond quickly.

If you are being bullied:

  • Tell someone – a parent, teacher, counselor

  • Calmly tell the student to stop ... or say nothing and walk away

If you know someone who is being bullied:

  • If you feel safe, be an “upstander” and

    • Tell the bully to stop by saying, “It’s not right to treat someone like that.”

    • Offer support to the student being bullied, be a friend

    • Don’t encourage the bully by laughing or joining in

    • Tell other bystanders how to help stop bullying

  • If you don’t feel safe:

    • Tell an adult

    • Encourage the bullied student to talk to someone

What do I do if my child is bullying others?

  • Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your child’s behavior

  • Praise and reinforce your child for following rules and use non-physical consequences for rule violation

  • Carefully supervise and monitor your child’s activities

  • Know who your child’s friends are and how and where they spend free time

  • Encourage your child to get involved in pro-social activities such as clubs, music, or sports

  • Share your concerns with your child’s teacher, counselor and/or principal

  • Work together to send clear messages to your child that bullying must stop

  • If you need additional help, talk with a school counselor or mental health professional

  • Educate yourself on social media platforms

What Does Digital Citizenship Mean?
Good digital citizenship engages young students and shows them how to connect, empathize, and create lasting relationships with each other.  Poor digital citizenship, on the other hand, includes cyberbullying, irresponsible social media usage and a general lack of knowledge about how to safely use the Internet.  At SCSD, we are committed to working with our students and families to learn about and practice good digital citizenship.

SCHOOL CONTACT INFORMATION

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NAME

PHONE NUMBER

Hamilton Elementary School
1091 Webster St. Schenectady, NY. 12303

Ph: 518-881-3720
Fax: 518-881-3722

Howe Elementary School
1065 Baker Ave. Schenectady, NY. 12309

Ph: 518-370-8295
Fax: 518-881-3542

Keane Elementary School
1252 Albany St. Schenectady, NY 12304

Ph: 518-881-3960
Fax: 518-881-3962

Lincoln Elementary School
2 Robinson St. Schenectady, NY. 12304

Ph: 518-370-8355
Fax: 518-395-3576

Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School
918 Stanley St. Schenectady, NY 12307

Ph: 518-370-8360
Fax: 518-370-8363

Paige Elementary School
104 Elliott Ave. Schenectady, NY. 12304

Ph: 518-881-3520
Fax: 518-881-3522

Pleasant Valley Elementary School
1097 Forest Rd. Schenectady, NY. 12303

Ph: 518-881-3640
Fax: 518-881-3742

Van Corlaer Elementary School
2300 Guilderland Ave. Schenectady, NY 12306

Ph: 518-370-8270
Fax: 518-881-3742

Woodlawn Elementary School
3311 Wells Ave., Schenectady, NY 12304

Ph: 518-370-8280
Fax: 518-3708283

Yates Elementary School
725 Salina St. Schenectady, NY 12308

Ph: 518-370-8320
Fax: 518-881-3862

Zoller Elementary School
1880 Lancaster St. Schenectady, NY 12308

Ph: 518-370-8190
Fax: 518-881-3882

MIDDLE SCHOOL NAME

PHONE NUMBER

Central Park Middle School
421 Elm St. Schenectady, NY. 12304

Ph: 518-370-8250
Fax: 518-881-3662

Mont Pleasant Middle School
1121 Forest Rd. Schenectady, NY 12303

Ph: 518-370-8160
Fax: 518-881-3562

Oneida Middle School
1529 Oneida St. Schenectady, NY 12308

Ph: 518-370-8260
Fax: 518-370-8267

HIGH SCHOOL

PHONE NUMBER

Schenectady High School
1445 The Plaza Schenectady, NY 12308

Ph: 518-881-2044 Ext. 44801
Fax: 518-881-3802

Steinmetz Career & Leadership Academy
880 Oakwood Ave. Schenectady, NY 12303

Ph: 518-881-2030 Ext, 30100
Fax: 518-881-3602

WASHINGTON IRVING EDUCATION CENTER & READY TO LEARN

PHONE NUMBER

552 Mumford St. Schenectady, NY. 12307

Ph: 518-370-8220
Fax: 518-370-8225

VISITORS TO OUR SCHOOLS

The board of education encourages parents and community members to visit the district schools and classrooms to observe the work of students, teachers, and other staff.  The school principal or their designee is responsible for anyone in the school and on school grounds.  Since schools are a place of work and learning the following rules must be followed:

Photos of kids in Code of Conduct Section:  Visitors to Our School

  • Anyone who is not a regular staff member or student of the school is considered a visitor. Thi includes contractors, guests, & volunteers.

  • Each district building has one entrance d

    esignated as the “main entrance” where all 

    visitors will enter and visitor management 

    system will be located.

  • Visitors will present a photo ID which will be r

    ecorded in the visitor management system.

    Currently the District utilizes “Raptor” software, 

    which clears visitors against local databases and the NYS Sex Offender Registry.  


  • All visitors to District buildings are required to show ID for Raptor clearance to gain access to buildings and school grounds. If a parent, guardian or caregiver does not have an ID, the school principal will work with them to find a solution.

  • Visitors will be issued a visitor’s badge/sticker which must be worn at all times while in a District building or on school grounds.  

  • Visitors must return the visitor’s badge and sign out at the Main Entrance before leaving the building they are visiting.  

  • Visitors return the visitor’s badge and sign out at the Main Entrance before leaving the building they are visiting.  

  • All visitors are expected to abide by District policies regarding visitors as well as all NYS and local laws while on school property.

  • Anyone on school property or attending a school function is expected to conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. 

When the school principal or designee observes disruptive or disorderly conduct, he or she will advise the individual that the conduct is prohibited and ask that the behavior stop.  If the behavior does not stop or if the conduct poses an immediate threat of injury to anyone or the property, the school principal will ask the visitor to leave immediately.  If necessary, local law enforcement will be contacted to assist. 

LEVELS OF BEHAVIOR CONCERNS, INTERVENTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

School officials must refer to this document when determining which disciplinary intervention and consequence to impose.  Practices that allow educators to address behavior concerns as opportunities for learning instead of punishment are far more successful in changing a student’s behavior then imposing punitive measures. In determining how to best address inappropriate, & unacceptable behaviors, it is necessary to evaluate all the circumstances surrounding the behavior.

Photo of student in Code of Conduct Section:  Levels of Concerns, Interventions and Resolutions

There are many factors that must be considered before determining consequences and interventions, including:

  • The student’s age and health

  • The student’s disciplinary record

  • Appropriateness of students’ academic placement

  • Disciplinary consequences and interventions applied

  • Nature, severity, and scope of the behavior

  • The circumstances in which the conduct occurred

  • Student’s understanding of the impact of his or her behavior

  • Seriousness of the behavior and the degree of harm caused

  • Impact on overall school community

  • The student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP), and 504 Accommodation Plan, when applicable

  • The student’s response to intervention



    SCSD understands the importance of restorative practices when student behavioral issues affect the safety of the classroom and school or interfere with the learning of all students.

Restorative Practices are interventions designed to hold students accountable for harm while addressing the needs of students, staff, and the school community. Restorative practice may be defined as a way of thinking and responding to conflict and problems and one which includes all participants. Collectively, they determine a logical and balanced resolution. Examples of restorative practices include family group counseling, classroom circles, reparation of harm, therapeutic/resource strategies (mental health treatment, anger management and/or behavior coaching).

When choosing interventions and consequences for student behavior, teachers, administrators, and all staff must balance SCSD’s goals of ensuring equity, minimizing disruptions, and maximizing student instructional time.  Consequences paired with meaningful instruction and guidance (corrective feedback and re-teaching) offer students an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE 2

Aggressive behavior in young children is often a result of a child’s unskillful attempt to communicate what they want, need and/or don’t like.  When a child engages in a violent act that threatens or harms other children or makes the learning environment feel unsafe, special procedures need to be in place to ensure that any children involved receive immediate attention.

The Schenectady City School District is committed to reducing and significantly limiting expulsion and suspension practices, with the goal of eliminated these practices in all early childhood settings.

If a student in grades Pre-K through 2 engages in pervasive or serious aggressive acts that cause injury or threaten children’s safety in the classroom, the principal can determine the most appropriate interventions and request an out of school suspension.

Photo in classroom in Code of Conduction Section:  Pre-K through Grade 2

Any suspension of a student in grades Pre-K through 2 requires the permission of the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent or Assistant superintendent of Student Support Services.   The principal must immediately provide written notification to the superintendent’s designee upon suspension.  In addition, an intervention plan should be developed, and parents invited to be directly involved in its development.

LEVELS OF BEHAVIORS AND RESPONSES

The Schenectady City School District Code of Character, Conduct, & Support includes five levels of possible response to inappropriate behavior.  Each inappropriate behavior is assigned to one or more levels of intervention/response.

If the behavior is assigned to or falls under two or more levels, the lowest level of intervention and disciplinary response should be imposed first.  For example, if a student refuses to follow directions, intervention strategies and responses in Level 1 should be issued before moving to any response in Level 2.

In all cases, the school personnel authorized to impose the consequence or response must inform the student of the alleged misconduct and must investigate the facts surrounding it.  All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to the school personnel imposing the disciplinary penalty.  If students are given penalties other than a verbal warning, parents should be notified before the penalty is imposed.

The following pages present an overview of each of the resolutions to behaviors and a chart that outlines grade appropriate responses based upon the level of offense.  You will notice that as behaviors increase in severity (1 being least and 5 being most severe), the response becomes more intense (A being least and D being most intense).  Please note that the student’s grade level is considered for all behaviors and responses.  The chart and a listing of behaviors on the range of resolutions at each level is located in this document.

PROGRESSIVE CONSEQUENCE (RESOLUTION)

Understanding consequences as “teachable moments” is fundamental to a positive approach to discipline.  Instead of seeking punishment, progressive consequences seek to ensure accountability and behavior change.

With progressive consequences, a student’s first violation will usually merit a lower-level consequence than subsequent violations.  A variety of factors are however considered before determining consequence.  In instances where a student’s conduct is dangerous or threatens the safety of others, more severe disciplinary action may be warranted, even if it is the student’s first violation.

Photo of students in Code of Conduct section:  Progressive Consequence

With progressive consequences, we aim to help students:

  • Understand why the behavior is unacceptable

  • Understand the harm the behavior caused and the impact that it has

  • Take responsibility for their action

  • Be given the opportunity to repair the harm caused by their behavior

  • Be given the opportunity to learn pro-social strategies and skills to use in the future

Every reasonable effort should be made to correct student misbehavior through interventions and other school-based resources.  Interventions are essential because inappropriate behavior or violations of the code of character, conduct, & support may be symptomatic of more serious problems that students are experiencing such as homelessness, poverty, trauma, and loss.  It is imperative that school personnel be sensitive to any issues that may influence the behavior of students and respond in a manner that is most supportive of their needs.  SCSD supports a trauma sensitive schools’ model which provides all staff with professional development in responsive and supportive intervention strategies.

When student conduct becomes a disruption to the educational process, school staff and principals respond logically, appropriately, and consistently.

THE IMPACT OF OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSION

Suspension from school does not benefit the suspended student or peers.  Not only is a student who is suspended from school less likely to graduate but being suspended also increases a student’s risk for dropping out of school.  A single 9th grade suspension doubles the risk that a student will drop out of school.

Research also shows that within 12 months of being suspended from school, a student is 50% more likely to engage in anti-social behavior and 70% more likely to engage in violent behavior.  Out-of-school suspension should be avoided whenever possible.  If a suspension is necessary, it should always be coupled with intense intervention and support.

LEVELS OF BEHAVIOR CONCERNS AND RESOLUTIONS

LEVEL 1 responses aim to teach, correct behavior, and promote the practice of pro-social behaviors, self-discipline, and healthy well-being.  Teachers are encouraged to try a variety of teaching and classroom management strategies.

Classroom interventions and responses include but are not limited to attendance intervention plan, turn around or sensory room, verbal reprimand, special seating, parent conference, social consequences, strict supervised study, detention, behavior contract, routing slip, peer mediation, withdrawal of computer privileges, restorative practices and/or referral to SBST.  The responses are designed to prevent minor behavior issues from becoming major incidents.

1

LEVEL 2 interventions involve school administration and aim to correct behavior by stressing the seriousness of the behavior while keeping the student in school.  Responses might be similar to those in Level 1 but are often more focused and stretch beyond the immediate situation.

Student support team interventions and responses include but are not limited to attendance intervention plan, turn around or sensory room, verbal reprimand, special seating, parent conference, social consequences, strict supervised study, detention, behavior contract, routing slip, peer mediation, withdrawal of computer privileges, restorative practices and/or referral to SBST. 

More intense responses include half day or less in-school suspension, exclusion from extra-curricular activities for 1-4 days, in-school suspension, teacher/schedule change, referral to outside agency, out-of-school suspension for 1, 2 or 3 days.

2

LEVEL 3 violations are more serious in nature and jeopardize order, safety and/or include property damage.  Level 3 interventions may involve short-term removal of a student from the environment depending on the severity of the behavior.  The duration of a short-term suspension is to be limited as much as possible, while still addressing the behavior.

Suspension and referral responses depend on the behavior.  More intensive responses in Level 3 could include out-of-school suspension for 4 or 5 days. Temporary removal from class, restitution of property or repair of damage, informal hearing, campus or community service, referral to attendance supervisor and/or a family home visit.

3

LEVEL 4 behaviors threaten the safety and we-being of others.  Response to Level 4 behaviors may include removing the student from the classroom or school environment because of the seriousness of the behavior.  The duration of removal should be limited, as much as possible, while still addressing the behavior.

Responses to Level 4 include all responses in level 3 and/or more intensive responses such as 5-day suspension with formal hearing, referral to appropriate outside agency, counseling, or drug treatment program and/or diversion.

4

LEVEL 5 behaviors are the most extreme often using force, causing harm or injury, involving violence, possession, or use of weapon, causing substantial risk or a pattern of persistent Level 4
behavior.

Responses to level 5 encompass all responses in Level 4 including 5-day suspension with formal hearing, referral to appropriate law enforcement agency, counseling, or drug treatment program and/or diversion.

5

Photo of high school students in the Code of Conduct section: Levels of behavior concerns and resolutions

Interventions and consequences should be implemented in a culturally responsive and consistent manner across all schools and grade levels.

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

The chart below indicates grade-appropriate responses based upon level of offense.  The letter (A, B, C, D) corresponds with possible responses as outlined by level on the following pages.  For example, for Level 2 offenses, responses with letter B should only be considered for high school students.  You will find the letter on the net pages under “Range of Responses” heading.

As you move down the chart (1-5) behaviors increase with severity (1 being least and 5 being most severe), and across the chart (A-D), the response becomes more intense (with D being most intense).  Lower-level responses are often used in combination with the aligned level of response.

MAXIMUM LEVEL CONSEQUENCES

LEVEL
OFFENSE

PRE-K - GR 2

GRADES 3-5

GRADES 6-8

GRADES 9-12

1

A

A

A

A

2

A

A

A

B

3

A

B

B

C

4

B

B

D

D

5

B

C

D

D

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

LEVEL 1 BEHAVIOR

These responses and interventions aim to teach and correct behavior and promote the practice of pro-social behaviors, self-discipline, and healthy well-being.  Teachers are encouraged to try a variety of teaching and classroom management strategies.

RANGE OF RESOLUTIONS FOR LEVEL 1

A

Attendance Intervention Plan

111

A

Turn Around/Sensory Room

100

A

Verbal Reprimand by Admin/Warning

101

A

Special Seating

102

A

Parent Conference (In Person/Phone/Virtual)

103

A

Counseling in School

104

A

Social Consequences/Withdrawal of Privileges

105

A

Strict Supervised Study (1/2 day or less with certified staff)

107

A

Detention

108

A

Behavior Contact/Plan

109

A

Use of Routing Slip

112

A

Conference with Student

113

A

Peer Mediation

316

A

Withdrawal of Computer Privileges

317

A

Restorative Practices

327

A

Referral to SBST

321

BEHAVIOR

CODE

Truancy (first instance)

102

Attire which endangers/disrupts education process

103

1-10 tardiness to school/class during the year

109

11-15 tardiness to school/class during the year

118

16-26 tardiness to school/class during the year

119

Inappropriate use of electronic devices

126

Caught in hall sweep/checks

129

Failure to comply with sign in or ID system

132

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

LEVEL 2 BEHAVIOR

These responses and interventions aim to correct behavior by stressing the seriousness of
the behavior while keeping the student in school.  Responses might be similar to those in
Level 1, or used in combination, but are often more focused and stretch beyond the immediate situation.

RANGE OF RESOLUTIONS FOR LEVEL 2

A

Attendance Intervention Plan

111

A

Turn Around/Sensory Room

100

A

Verbal Reprimand by Admin/Warning

101

A

Special Seating

102

A

Parent Conference (In Person/Phone/Virtual)

103

A

Counseling in School

104

A

Social Consequences/Withdrawal of Privileges

105

A

Strict Supervised Study (1/2 day or less with certified staff)

107

A

Detention

108

A

Behavior Contact/Plan

109

A

Use of Routing Slip

112

A

Conference with Student

113

A

Peer Mediation

316

A

Withdrawal of Computer Privileges

317

A

Restorative Practices

327

A

Referral to SBST

321

A

Parent, Teacher & Admin Conference

202

B

Half Day or Less in School Suspension

203

B

Exclusion from Extra-Curricular Activities 1-4 Days

204

B

In-School Suspension

205

B

Teacher/Schedule Change

206

B

Referral to Outside Agency

208

B

Suspension Less Than a Day

230

B

Out of School Suspension - 1 Day

231

B

Teacher Disciplinary Removal - 3 Days

024

BEHAVIOR

CODE

Using profane, obscene, vulgar, lewd, or abusive language or gestures

200

Making excessive or distracting movements or noises

201

Repeatedly talking out in class or out of turn

202

Throwing objects (without physical injury to others)

203

Truancy (repeated)

204

Smoking/possession of smoking materials (ex. tobacco/vape)

207

Using forged notes, excuses or passes

208

Gambling

209

Failure to serve detention

210

More than 26 tardiness to school/class during the year

216

Failure to comply with sign in or ID system

221

Multiple lunching/skipping class

222

Truant from CTE Programming

226

Lying or intentionally misleading school personnel

227

Misusing property belonging to school or others

228

Refusal too follow staff directives

230

Failure to comply with school rules or procedures

231

Taking or attempting to take property belonging to others (under
$1,000)

229

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

LEVEL 3 BEHAVIOR

These responses and interventions may involve short-term removal of a student from the environment depending on the severity of the behavior.  The duration of a short-term suspension is to be limited as much as possible, while still addressing the behavior.

A

Attendance Intervention Plan

111

A

Turn Around/Sensory Room

100

A

Verbal Reprimand by Admin/Warning

101

A

Special Seating

102

A

Parent Conference (In Person/Phone/Virtual)

103

A

Counseling in School

104

A

Social Consequences/Withdrawal of Privileges

105

A

Strict Supervised Study (1/2 day or less with certified staff)

107

A

Detention

108

A

Behavior Contact/Plan

109

A

Use of Routing Slip

112

A

Conference with Student

113

A

Peer Mediation

316

A

Withdrawal of Computer Privileges

317

A

Restorative Practices

327

A

Referral to SBST

321

A

Parent, Teacher & Admin Conference

202

B

Half Day or Less in School Suspension

203

B

Exclusion from Extra-Curricular Activities 1-4 Days

204

B

In-School Suspension

205

B

Teacher/Schedule Change

206

B

Referral to Outside Agency

208

B

Suspension Less Than a Day

230

B

Out of School Suspension - 1 Day

231

B

Out of School Suspension - 2 Days

232

B

Out of School Suspension - 3 Days

233

C

Out of School Suspension - 4 Days

234

C

Out of School Suspension - 5 Days

235

C

Restitution of Property or Repair of Damage

306

C

Informal Hearing

318

C

Campus or Community Service

319

C

Referral to Attendance Team/Supervisor

322

C

Family Home Visit

325

BEHAVIOR

CODE

Verbal confrontation

300

Leaving class/school without permission

302

Unsafe driving on school property

307

Academic Dishonesty (ex. Plagiarism)

317

Failure to identify self to an adult

318

Trespassing at or in another district school

319

Refusal to serve in-school suspension

316

Unauthorized presence in classroom or on school grounds

327

Physically pushing, hitting, kicking, biting, or scratching another person

330

Physically pushing through staff

331

Play fighting that escalated to physical conflict

332

Failure to follow emergency procedures

340

Posting or distributing derogatory, threatening, or lewd material

342

Failure to comply with sign in or ID system (5 or more times)

343

Caught in hall sweep/checks repeatedly (5 or more)

344

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

LEVEL 4 BEHAVIOR

Responses and interventions may include removing the student from the classroom or school environment because of the seriousness of the behavior.  The duration of removal should be limited as much as possible.

A

Attendance Intervention Plan

111

A

Turn Around/Sensory Room

100

A

Verbal Reprimand by Admin/Warning

101

A

Special Seating

102

A

Parent Conference (In Person/Phone/Virtual)

103

A

Counseling in School

104

A

Social Consequences/Withdrawal of Privileges

105

A

Strict Supervised Study (1/2 day or less with certified staff)

107

A

Detention

108

A

Behavior Contact/Plan

109

A

Use of Routing Slip

112

A

Conference with Student

113

A

Peer Mediation

316

A

Withdrawal of Computer Privileges

317

A

Restorative Practices

327

A

Referral to SBST

321

A

Parent, Teacher & Admin Conference

202

B

Half Day or Less in School Suspension

203

B

Exclusion from Extra-Curricular Activities 1-4 Days

204

B

In-School Suspension

205

B

Teacher/Schedule Change

206

B

Referral to Outside Agency

208

B

Suspension Less Than a Day

230

B

Out of School Suspension - 1 Day

231

B

Out of School Suspension - 2 Days

232

B

Out of School Suspension - 3 Days

233

C

Out of School Suspension - 4 Days

234

C

Out of School Suspension - 5 Days

235

C

Restitution of Property or Repair of Damage

306

C

Informal Hearing

318

C

Campus or Community Service

319

C

Referral to Attendance Team/Supervisor

322

C

Family Home Visit

325

C

5-Day Suspension with Formal Hearing

401

D

Referral to Appropriate Law Enforcement Agency

402

D

Mental Health Counseling or Drug Treatment Program

403

D

Diversion Program

406

BEHAVIOR

CODE

Enabling access to school for unauthorized visitor

400

Threats to school

414

Sending, receiving, or displaying offensive material via electronic devices

416

Violation of Code on School Bus

428

Taking or attempting to take property belonging to others (over $1,000 including credit and bank cards)

429

Intimidation, menacing, discrimination, or threats that do not rise to DASA (Unfounded DASA)

430

Knowingly possessing property that belongs to others

432

Attempting to or throwing liquids or spitting on another person

431

Refusal of Search

433

Violates health and safety of others (ex. tatooing)

434

Hits or injures adult attempting to intervene in physical violence

435

Recording, promoting/posting or transmitting violence

436

Chronic failure to comply with sign in or ID system

437

Throwing objects causing physical injury

438

RESOLUTIONS TO INFRACTIONS

LEVEL 5 BEHAVIOR

Responses and interventions include, but are not limited to, suspension for five days or more, short-term suspension up to five days, counseling, or drug treatment and/or diversion.

A

Attendance Intervention Plan

111

A

Turn Around/Sensory Room

100

A

Verbal Reprimand by Admin/Warning

101

A

Special Seating

102

A

Parent Conference (In Person/Phone/Virtual)

103

A

Counseling in School

104

A

Social Consequences/Withdrawal of Privileges

105

A

Strict Supervised Study (1/2 day or less with certified staff)

107

A

Detention

108

A

Behavior Contact/Plan

109

A

Use of Routing Slip

112

A

Conference with Student

113

A

Peer Mediation

316

A

Withdrawal of Computer Privileges

317

A

Restorative Practices

327

A

Referral to SBST

321

A

Parent, Teacher & Admin Conference

202

B

Half Day or Less in School Suspension

203

B

Exclusion from Extra-Curricular Activities 1-4 Days

204

B

In-School Suspension

205

B

Teacher/Schedule Change

206

B

Referral to Outside Agency

208

B

Suspension Less Than a Day

230

B

Out of School Suspension - 1 Day

231

B

Out of School Suspension - 2 Days

232

B

Out of School Suspnsion- 3 Days

233

C

Out of School Suspension - 4 Days

234

C

Out of School Suspension - 5 Days

235

C

Restitution of Property or Repair of Damage

306

C

Informal Hearing

318

C

Campus or Community Service

319

C

Referral to Attendance Team/Supervisor

322

C

Family Home Visit

325

C

5-Day Suspension with Formal Hearing

401

D

Referral to Appropriate Law Enforcement Agency

402

D

Mental Health Counseling or Drug Treatment Program

403

D

Diversion Program

406

D

Expulsion

408

BEHAVIOR

CODE

Physical attack on student or staff without immediate provocation

540

Arson

507

Physical altercation between two or more students

510

Forced entry-school property (ex. school, classroom, desk, or locker)

530

Inciting or participating in an incident of group violence

521

Vandalism, graffiti, or damage to school property

531

Engaging in sexual acts at school

545

Homicide

R501

Forcible sex offenses

R502

Other sex offenses

R503

Assault with serious physical injury

R505

Bomb Threat

R514

False Alarm

R515

Use, possession, or sale of drugs

R518

Use, possession, or sale of alcohol

R519

Weapons possession - routine security check

R517S

Weapons possession - other

R5170

Material incident of discrimination, harassment, bullying (cyber) (founded DASA)

R530C

Material incident of discrimination, harassment, bullying (not cyber) (founded DASA)

R530

UNDERSTANDING TYPES OF DISCIPLINE

The amount of due process a student is entitled to receive before a penalty is imposed depends on the penalty.  In all cases, the school personnel who is authorized to impose the penalty, must inform the student of the alleged misconduct, and must investigate 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.  

DETENTION

Teachers, principals, other school administrators, designees, and the superintendent may use lunch, before-school, and after-school detention as a penalty for student misconduct in situations where removal from the classroom or suspension would be inappropriate.

Detention is imposed only after the student’s parents have been notified and arrangements for appropriate post-detention transportation home have been made.

In elementary or middle school, the teacher and/or administrator is responsible for notifying the parent of the detention and for ensuring that the parent plans for appropriate transportation home, following detention.

The school will provide a late bus to ensure appropriate transportation home following detention.

SUSPENSION FROM TRANSPORTATION

If a student engages in inappropriate behavior on a school bus, the bus driver is expected to bring the misconduct to the school principal's attention.

Students who exhibit dangerous or chronically problematic behavior on the bus may have their riding privileges suspended by the school principal, superintendent, or their designees. In such cases, the student’s parent will become responsible for getting their child to and from school safely.  Should the suspension from transportation lead to school absence, the district will make appropriate arrangements to provide for the student’s education.  The student suspended from transportation is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214. The student and parent, however, will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the school principal or the principal’s designee to discuss the conduct and the penalty.  An SBST meeting will be conducted to develop an intervention plan. 

TEACHER DISCIPLINARY REMOVAL OF DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS

A student’s behavior can affect a teacher’s ability to teach and 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 using good classroom management techniques such as a brief calming/sensory break in the classroom or an alternative setting. The goal is to give the student an opportunity to regain their self-control and readiness to learn. These actions do not constitute a disciplinary removal. 

If a student is removed, the teacher should provide the student and parent with an explanation as to why he or she is being removed and an opportunity to explain his or her version of the relevant events.

If the student poses a danger to self or others, the teacher may order the student to be removed immediately.  In the case of serious misconduct, the teacher may request that the principal exclude the student from class pursuant to subdivision 3 of Section 3214 of the Education Law – and not be re-admitted until after the principal, parents, and teacher have conferred jointly.

The teacher must complete the district’s “Disciplinary Removal” form and meet with the school principal or designee as soon as possible – but no later than the end of the school day – to explain the circumstances of the removal and present the removal form.  The school principal or designee may overturn the removal of a student from class if:

  • The charges against the student are not supported by substantial evidence.

  • The student’s removal is otherwise in violation of law, including the code of character, conduct, & support.

The principal or 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 of removal ends, whichever comes first.

Any student removed from the classroom by the teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities until he or she is permitted to return to the classroom.

The principal will keep a record – on the district form – of all student removals and ensure the SBST convenes to evaluate the root cause and intervene.

IN-SCHOOL SUSPENSION

School principals and the superintendent are authorized to place students, who would otherwise be suspended from school because of a code of character, conduct, & support violation, in “in-school suspension.”  A student subjected to in-school suspension is not entitled to a full hearing, pursuant to Education Law 3214.  The student and parent, however, will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the principal imposing the in-school suspension to discuss the conduct and penalty involved.  They will also be provided with academic work, from the classroom teachers, to complete.

STRICT SUPERVISED STUDY

Strict supervised study may be used when a student is sent to an alternative location for half a day or less for a time out period.  The location must be staffed with a certified staff member such as a teacher, teaching assistant, or social worker.

OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSION

  • Suspension from school shall be imposed in accordance with the requirement of applicable law and this District Code of Character, Conduct and Support.

  • Suspension from school is a severe penalty which may be imposed only upon student whose violent actions or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, moral character, physical or mental health or welfare of others.  The board of education retains authority to suspend student, but places primary responsibility for the suspension of students with the superintendent and school principals.

  • All staff members must immediately report and refer violent incidents to the school principal or the superintendent as violation of the District Code of Character, Conduct and Support.   All recommendations and referrals shall be made in writing unless the conditions underlying the recommendation or referral warrant immediate action.

  • The superintendent or principal, upon receiving a recommendation or referral for suspension, shall gather the facts relative to the matter and record them for subsequent presentation if necessary.


SHORT TERM (5 DAYS OR LESS) SUSPENSION FROM SCHOOL

  • When the superintendent or principal proposes to suspend a student for misconduct, for 5 days or less, pursuant to Education Law 3214 (3), the suspending authority must immediately notify the student verbally.

  • If the student denies the misconduct, the suspending authority 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 parent.  Whenever possible, the notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number for the purpose of contacting the parents, guardians, or caregivers.

  • The notice shall provide a description of the charges against the student and the incident for which the suspension is proposed and shall inform the parent of the right to request an immediate informal conference with the principal.

  • Translation services will be offered at all stages of the process.

  • 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, property, or an on-going threat of disruption to the academic process.  If the student’s presence does post 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 practical.


  • After the conference, the principal shall promptly advise the parent in writing of the decision.

  • The principal shall advise the parent 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 (5) business days, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so.

  • The superintendent shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal within thirty (30) business days of receiving the appeal.

  • If the parent is not satisfied with the superintendent’s decision, the parent must file a written appeal to the board of education with the clerk of the board within ten (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 within thirty (30) days of the decision.  The district may, in its discretion, continue to impose the suspension during the pendency of any appeal.


LONG-TERM (MORE THAN 5 DAYS) SUSPENSION FROM SCHOOL

  • When the superintendent or principal determines that a suspension for more than five (5) days may be warranted, he or she shall give reasonable notice to the student and the student’s parent of the 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/her and the right to produce witnesses and other evidence on his/her behalf.

  • The superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding, or may, in his/her decision, 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 them.  A record of the hearing shall be maintained but no stenographic transcript should be required.  Tape 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 of any part thereof.

  • The superintendent shall render a written decision.

  • Appeal of the decision of the superintendent may be made to the board of education.  The board will make its decision based solely upon the record before it.  All appeals to the board must be in writing and submitted to the clerk of the board within thirty (30) business days of the date of the superintendent’s decision, unless the parents can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so.


  • The board may adopt or reject, in whole or in part, the decision of the superintendent.

  • Final decision of the board may be appealed to the commissioner within thirty (30) days of the decision.  The district may, in its discretion, continue to impose the suspension during the pendency of any appeal.

SHORT-TERM IN-SCHOOL OR OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSION PROCEDURES

INCIDENT TODAY
BY THE END OF DAY

Administrative Determination After Incident Occurs

Administrator investigates the incident by gathering versions of the facts and speaking with students & staff to determine if the incident warrant in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension.

Principal confers with school psychologist to determine if there may be a manifestation, due to a known or suspected disability.

WITHIN 24 HOURS
OF INCIDENT

Suspension Documentation &
Parent Notification

Suspension documentation includes:

  • Recommended suspension type and number of assigned days

  • Summary or evidence including description of violation, incident report, statements, video photographs, and any other relevant materials or testimony.

  • Recommended
    interventions during or after suspension.

Parent is notified by telephone and in writing.  

Communication must inform parent that they can request a conference with administration to discuss reasons for suspension, actions taken prior to suspension, assigned interventions, and return from suspension.

WITHIN 24 HOURS AFTER PARENT NOTIFICATION


Suspension Begins

Student serves designated days of:

In-school suspension OR out-of-school suspension 

Parent Request
for Conference

Parents can request a conference with the principal.

WITHIN 48 HOURS OF STUDENT'S RETURN TO CLASS

Interventions
and Re-Entry

  • Restorative interventions must be in place that address the behaviors that resulted in the suspension.


  • Return from suspension protocol must be in place for student returning from out-of-school suspension.

Appeal to Superintendent

Parent or student can file a written appeal to the superintendent within 5 business days of suspension.  The superintendent issues a written decision regarding the appeal within 30 business days of receiving the appeal.

LONG-TERM IN-SCHOOL OR OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSION PROCEDURES


AFTER INCIDENT

Assignment of Initial
Five-Day Suspension

All procedures required for assignment of a short-term suspension must be followed to assign a five-day suspension before hearing process can begin.

Principal confers with school psychologist to determine if there may be a manifestation, due to a known or suspected disability.

WITHIN 5 DAYS OF START OF 5-DAY SUSPENSION

Hearing Request
from School

Hearing Request documentation:

  • Hearing request form to Office of SSS

  • Summary of evidence including description of violation, incident report, statements, video photographs, and any other relevant materials or testimony.

  • Suspension letter sent to parent

  • Recommended interventions during or after suspension

Parent is notified by telephone and in writing.  

Communication must inform parent that they can request a conference with administration to discuss reasons for suspension. 


WITHIN 24 HOURS OF RECEIVING HEARING REQUEST

Superintendent Decision & Parent Notification

  • After review of Hearing Request, superintendent (or designee) approves or denies hearing request for long-term suspension.

  • If Hearing Request is approved, written notice is sent to parents within 48 hours of receiving Hearing Request documentation.

  • Written notice must include time, date, and location of superintendent’s hearing, description of alleged behavior violation, description of incident and student’s actions, parent, and student’s rights to be represented by counsel, present evidence and question witnesses.

DIVERSION

If further suspension is assigned, the notice of decision letter will include information about the Diversion Program.  See section on diversion for more on this intervention.


WITHIN 5 DAYS OF STUDENTS INITIAL SUSPENSION

Superintendent’s
Hearing

  • Participants include hearing officer, administrator from student’s school, student, parent, any witnesses requested by the school, student, or parent.

  • Hearing officer determines whether student is guilty or not guilty of alleged behavior violation.

  • Hearing officer recommends the consequences and interventions to be assigned.

  • Superintendent makes final determination and notifies parent in writing.

Appeal

Parent or student can file a written appeal to the superintendent within 30 business days to the Board of Education or the New York State Commissioner of Education.

DIVERSION (Grades 6-12)

Practices that allow educators to address disciplinary matters as opportunities for learning instead of punishment are far more successful in changing a student’s behavior than a reliance on increasing punitive measures.  The diversion process is a therapeutic pathway that a student and parent can choose when a student has been referred to a superintendent’s hearing and has been assigned a long-term suspension.  The diversion program may shorten the length of suspension if the student engages in a therapeutic treatment plan.  After a superintendent hearing, a notice of decision letter is mailed to the parent and student.  This letter includes information about the diversion program and how to sign up.  

The diversion process begins with an intake appointment.  At the intake there is a parent and student interview by trained SCSD clinicians, and the student is assessed using the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument (MAYSI) and/or the Youth Adolescent Screening Instrument (YASI).  These assessments help to identify any underlying causes for the behavior or interventions that may be needed. 

The next step is for the parent and student to participate in an emergency response team meeting (ERT) along with the school team (administrator, school counselor, parent liaison, and other necessary or requested support staff).  The meeting is facilitated by the diversion team clinician.  The team discusses relevant assessment results and attempts to identify any root causes for the behavior, and then matches evidence-based interventions and develops a treatment plan.  

Diversion is a diagnostic and prescriptive process, using evidence-based treatments designed to identify and address underlying causes for behavior and to reduce recidivism. Evidence–based interventions include:

  • Strengthening Families

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Therapy

  • Anger Replacement Training (ART)

  • Family Functional Therapy (FFT)

  • Restorative Practices/Circles

  • T4C Thinking for Change

  • Substance Abuse Evaluation & Treatment

Other best practice interventions are often also considered when developing a treatment plan. Examples include:

  • Mediation

  • Fire Prevention

  • Mentoring

  • Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan     

  • Check and Connect System with Trusted Adult

  • Teen Intervene

  • Interactive Journaling

  • Girls Circle

  • Decision Points

Abeyance is when a student earns an early return to school while serving a long-term suspension.  It comes with a set of abeyance conditions which are determined by the ERT (Emergency Response team) and often occurs when the student has engaged in their treatment plan, is regularly attending tutoring, and has proven they no longer pose a safety risk at school. 

DIVERSION PROCESS

  • Superintendents Hearing occurs and student is issued a long-term suspension.

  • Family schedules diversion intake appointment.

  • Intake Appt: Diagnostic-MAYSI/YASI Assessment
    MAYSI - Massac Husetts Youth Screening Instrument
    YASI - Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument

  • Emergency Response Team (ERT) meeting is held and treatment plan developed

  • Treatment plan is implemented and follow-up ERT meetings held

  • Student is engaging in treatment plan and ERT has recommended an abeyance

  • ERT meets to develop re-entry plan to include abeyance conditions and supports at school

Student returns to school

RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER SUSPENSION

Plans are created by the home team and Washington Irving Education Center (WIEC) team to ensure that the student has care, intervention and support needed for successful re-entry to school.  Every plan will be customized for the student based on what he or she needs to be educationally successful and will be an extension of the treatment the student has been receiving while on suspension.

It is important the student continues to be monitored.  Ensuring that the student does not repeat the behavior that put them on suspension (recidivism) is a critical component of the planning and support provided.Re-ent

Photo of students in Code of Conduct Section: Returning to School After Suspension

MINIMUM PERIODS OF SUSPENSION

STUDENTS WHO BRING WEAPONS TO SCHOOL

Any student found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property may be subject to suspension from school for one calendar year.  Before being suspended, the student will have an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214.  Weapon:  A firearm is 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 as a gun, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, gravity knife, brass knuckles, slingshot, metal knuckle knife, box cutter, cane sword, electronic dart gun, sandbag, or sand club, loaded or blank cartridges, Kung Fu star, electronic stun gun, pepper spray or other noxious spray.

STUDENTS WHO COMMIT OTHER VIOLENT ACTS 

Any student who is found to have committed a violent act, may be subject to suspension from school for at least five (5) 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 LENGTH OF SUSPENSION ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the following:

  • Student’s age

  • Student’s grade

  • Student’s prior disciplinary record

  • 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 WITH DISABILITIES

STUDENTS WHO BRING WEAPONS TO SCHOOL

Any student found guilty of bringing a weapon onto school property may be subject to suspension from school for one calendar year.  Before being suspended, the student will have an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214.  Weapon:  A firearm is 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 as a gun, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, gravity knife, brass knuckles, slingshot, metal knuckle knife, box cutter, cane sword, electronic dart gun, sandbag, or sand club, loaded or blank cartridges, Kung Fu star, electronic stun gun, pepper spray or other noxious spray.

STUDENTS WHO COMMIT OTHER VIOLENT ACTS 

Any student who is found to have committed a violent act, may be subject to suspension from school for at least five (5) 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 LENGTH OF SUSPENSION ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

In deciding whether to modify the penalty, the superintendent may consider the following:

  • Student’s age

  • Student’s grade

  • Student’s prior disciplinary record

  • 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.


PROCEDURE FOR FORMAL HEARING OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES OR PRESUMED DISABILITIES

The procedures relating to the discipline of students with (or suspected) disabilities requires that school administrators work closely with their school psychologist and the Committee on Special Education (CSE) to consider whether the behavior is a ‘manifestation’ of the student’s disability. How this question is answered affects how the discipline should be implemented.

The principal has the authority to suspend a student with a disability for a period, not to exceed five consecutive school days, and not to exceed the amount of time that 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 interim alternate educational placement (IAES), another setting or suspension of up to ten consecutive school days for the same behavior, if the superintendent determines that the student warrants a suspension (in accordance with Education Law 3241). The duration of any such suspension or removal shall not exceed the amount of time that non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior. The superintendent may order additional suspensions, of not more than ten consecutive school days, in the same year, for separate incidents of misconduct.

Any suspension of a student with a disability, for more than ten school days, over the course of the school year, shall be referred to the committee on special education for placement in an IAES (Interim Alternative Education Setting) during the time of such suspensions – when the suspension constitutes a disciplinary change in placement. If the CSE finds that the behavior leading to the suspension is related to the student’s disability, no further suspension may be imposed, and the student must return to the placement they were in prior to the suspension, unless:

1. The CSE decides to recommend a new placement; or

2. The behavior involved drugs, weapons, or inflicted serious bodily injury.

There is an exception when the student is found guilty of possessing, using, selling, or soliciting illegal drugs, using, or possessing a weapon or inflicting serious bodily injury. In this case, the superintendent may suspend the student for up to 45 school days even if the manifestation team finds that the behavior leading to the suspension was related to the student’s disability. During a superintendent’s hearing if the manifestation team finds that the behavior leading to the student’s suspension is not a manifestation of the student’s disability, the student will be referred to the hearing for the penalty phase. The superintendent may impose the same period of suspension applicable to a non-disabled student.

If the superintendent concludes, based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, that maintaining the student in their current educational placement is unsafe, the matter will be referred to the CSE to determine whether additional steps can be reasonably taken to minimize the potential for harm. If the CSE is unable to identify additional supports or services to eliminate the concern for safety, and the CSE is unable to reach a mutually agreeable alternative plan to continue the student’s education elsewhere, the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services may, after consultation with the Superintendent, initiate an expedited hearing or petition a court to seek permission to enforce a unilateral removal of a student.

DETERMINATION OF GUILT PHASE OF SUPERINTENDENT’S HEARING

DETERMINATION:  STUDENT IS GUILTY
OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT

DETERMINATION:  STUDENT IS NOT GUILTY
OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT

MANIFESTATION DETERMINATION MEETING

CSE MEETING IS HELD TO REVIEW STUDENT’S IEP AND PROGRAMMING

NOT A MANIFESTATION OF DISABILITY

Student will be disciplined in the same manner as a nondisabled student but will continue to receive IEP services

MANIFESTATION OF DISABILITY

Superintendent hearing dismissed  

Exception for charges of weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury.  In this case, goes to penalty phase ----------------------> Penalty phase of Superintendent's Hearing

PENALTY PHASE OF SUPERINTENDENT’S HEARING

CSE MEETING HELD TO REVIW STUDENT’S IEP AND PROGRAMMING

Any suspension 10 days or more is referred to the CSE.

CSE CONVENES IAES TO DETERMINE PLACEMENT AND SUPPORTS.

A student will not be a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if the district either:

  • Conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability, or

  • The parent of the student has refused services, or

  • The parent of the student has not allowed an evaluation of the student pursuant to Section 200.4 of the commissioner’s regulations.

During a superintendent’s hearing, the hearing officer will ask whether the student is “suspected of having a disability.”  If the parent or school team answers “yes,” an administrator from student support services will be called upon to make this determination, using one of more of the following criteria:

  • The parent of the student has expressed concern to the school district personnel in writing that the student needs special education.

  • The behavior or performance of the student demonstrates the need for special education, as defined by federal and state law and regulations.

  • The parent of the student has requested an individual evaluation of the student for special education services.

  • A teacher of the student, or other staff, has expressed concern about the behavior or performance of the student to the director of special education or to other school district personnel.  

If it is determined that the student may be “suspected of having a disability,” the student will be afforded the same protections as students with disabilities and shall be evaluated.  Eligibility will be determined by the committee on special education in an expedited manner.

Photo of students in Code of Conduct section:  Students with Disabilities

THREAT ASSESSMENT

A threat assessment is an approach to violence prevention. It is a way to analyze a wide range of situations and is conducted when a person(s) threatens to commit a violent act or engages in behavior that appears to threaten an act of violence.  The process involves evaluating the threat and the circumstances surrounding it to uncover any evidence that indicates the threat is likely to be carried out.  Student search can be a tool for maintaining safe schools, but school administrators must balance students' individual rights with the school community's need for a safe learning environment.  School officials may conduct a search of lockers and/or student person/property if they have reasonable suspicion of weapon, drugs, or possession of other items in violation of the Code of Character, Conduct, & Support.  

What is a threat?  A threat is an expression of intent to harm someone.  Threats can be spoken, written, posted on social media, made through a phone call, or express in other ways.  They can be direct, indirect, or implied.  When in doubt about whether a behavior is a threat, we evaluate it as a threat.

There are several steps that take place when conducting a threat assessment.  It is necessary to form the trained threat assessment team, consider the context, investigate, determine the facts, gather information from multiple sources and more.  Through the assessment, it will be determined if the threat is substantive (threats where there is a serious intent to harm someone) or transient (there is no sustained intent to harm)

Why do we need threat assessment?  Schools need a safe, rational approach to evaluating potentially dangerous behavior.  Media attention to high profile incidents resulted with the public becoming sensitized and creating misperceptions about the likelihood of violence in schools. The fear of school shootings drew an extreme reaction and resulted in an expansion of zero tolerance policies.  With zero tolerance, a student can be automatically suspended even if the violation was accidental or posed no serious threat to others.  As such, children would be suspended from school for bringing a tiny plastic gun to school or point a finger like a gun. It is also important to identify any substantive threats in a timely manner to prevent school violence and ensure a safe learning environment.  When a student’s threat does not indicate a substantive intent to harm anyone, the incident can be resolved without significant disruption to the student’s education.  Threat Assessment is part of a comprehensive approach.

Serious Behavior Concerns

  • Intensive mentoring and supervision.

  • Ongoing counseling

  • Community-based treatment

Students with Risk Factors
Demonstrating Problem Behaviors

  • Short-term counseling

  • Mentoring and after-school programs

  • Academic intervention and supports

School-Wide Prevention
All Students

  • Clear and consistent expectations

  • Positive behavior support system

  • Restorative practices

  • Character development

  • Pro-social skill development

STUDENT DRESS CODE (Policy #7312)

The Schenectady City School District is committed to providing a safe, secure, orderly, and appropriate environment for learning.  This includes the responsibility of ensuring a student’s dress, grooming, and overall appearance is safe and does not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.  A student’s style of dress may reflect individual choice but must be within the constraints of reasonable rules and appropriate standards consistent with an environment that promotes a positive learning atmosphere free of disruptions and distractions.   Students and their parents are responsible for adhering to the district dress code.

To equitably enforce the district dress code students must follow these guidelines and expectations: 

  •  All students and parents must be notified of the policy at the beginning of each school year.

  • Clothing, attire, or grooming may not depict or advocate violence, criminal activity, use of alcohol or drugs, pornography, or hate speech.

Specifically, the following is prohibited: 

  •  Clothing that depicts, advertises, or advocates the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other controlled substances.

  • Clothing that depicts pornography, nudity, or sexual acts.

  • Clothing that depicts hate speech or symbols targeting groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or any other protected classification.

  •  Attire (including jewelry) must not pose a threat to the health or safety of any student or staff member.

  • Students must wear a top with fabric on the font and sides, including opaque (non-see through) fabric over breasts; a bottom that cover the genital, buttocks, and all portions of underwear except the waist band.

  • Clothing that masks a student’s identity is prohibited.

  • Appropriate footwear must always be worn, specifically, footwear that allows students to walk comfortably through the school and move quickly in the event of an emergency.


To equitably enforce the district dress code, all students, school staff, teachers and administrators are expected to follow these guidelines:

  •  All school staff, students, administrators, and parents must be notified of the dress code policy at the beginning of each school year.

  • If a student’s clothing is in violation of the dress code, they will be required to modify their appearance to gain compliance with the policy.

  • When staff or administrators address a grooming or dress violation, they should present options for obtaining appropriate clothing (ex, school clothing closet).  Where possible, students should not be required to wear school-owned replacement garments as a disciplinary measure.

  • Chronic dress or grooming violations will be subject to further disciplinary actions.

  • SCSD reserves the right to revisit and make modifications to the dress code if necessary.

  • Enforcement must accommodate clothing worn by students as an expression of religious beliefs (head scarves, for example) and worn by students with disabilities (protective helmets, for example).



PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES (Policy #7318)

SCSD has created a policy to govern the possession and use of personal electronic devices on school premises at school- sponsored activities and on school transportation.

Personal electronic device (PED) refers to a privately-owned device that is used for audio, video, text communication or any other type of computer-like instrument. Personal electronic devices may include but are not limited to:

  • Existing and emerging mobile communication systems and smart technologies (cellular phones, iPhones, Smartphones, internet-enabled phones, etc.)

  • Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), palm organizers, pocket PCs etc.

  • Handheld entertainment systems (video games, CD players, compact DVD players, MP3 players, iPods,

    earphones, etc.)

  • Portable internet devices (mobile messengers, iPads, etc.)

  • Current or emerging wireless handheld technologies or portable information technology systems that can be

    used for word processing, wireless internet access, image capture/recording, sound recording, and information transmitting/receiving/storing, etc.



    ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL

    Personal electronic devices may not be used by students for any disruptive purpose including phone calls, text messaging, taking photos and videos or other functions during the regular school day. Students may possess PEDs on their person, but they must be powered off and out of sight in backpacks/purses or lockers. It is not permissible for PEDs to be on silent or vibrate during this time.

    HIGH SCHOOL

    Students are permitted to possess and use personal electronic devices only as follows:

    • Before and after the regular school day

    • At lunch time

    • As directed by a teacher for educational purposes

      Students may not use PEDs at other times during the school day. They may possess PEDs on their person, but they must be powered off and out of sight in backpacks/purses or lockers.

  • PEDs shall not be used in any way that threatens, humiliates, harasses, or intimidates students, school personnel or visitors or otherwise violates district policies and regulations or local, state, or federal laws. Students are prohibited from sending, sharing, viewing, or possessing picture, text message, emails, or other material of a sexually explicit nature on the PEDs while on school premises at school-sponsored activities or on school transportation. Further, students are prohibited from using the camera video or recording function of their personal electronic devices on school premises or at school-sponsored activities where another student or individual has an expectation of privacy, including but not limited to locker rooms, counseling sessions, restrooms, dressing area, etc.

  • Students are responsible for the security of the personal electronic devices brought to school. The district is not responsible for lost, stolen, damaged, or unauthorized use of personal electronic devices. Further, the district is not liable to any student or their parent or guardian for any claims, losses, damages, suits, expenses, or costs of any kind arising out of or related to the use or possession of a student’s personal electronic device.

  • In addition to the potential disciplinary action, a student who violates this policy may have his or her personal electronic device confiscated.

  • Any school staff person who confiscates a PED will provide it to the school administrator immediately. The school administrator will hold the PED until the student’s parent or guardian makes an appointment to collect the item.



    Any violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action as set forth in the District Code of Character, Conduct and Support.

    If applicable, violations of this policy may be referred to law enforcement. Additionally, a student may be prohibited from possessing a personal electronic device on school premises, at school-sponsored activities or on school transportation.

Photo of Students in Code of Conduct section:  Personal Electronic Devices

ATHLETIC & EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Students who participate in athletics and extra-curricular clubs and activities should recognize that they have an obligation to themselves, their team and club members, coaches, teachers, advisors, school, and community to strive for excellence.

Respect for one’s health and physical development must be an integral part of daily living.  Every athlete and participant in extra-curricular activities and clubs must be in good standing as a school community citizen.  Any student who is absent (unexcused), serves an in-school or out-of-school suspension will be ineligible to attend clubs, practice and/or compete on that day.  A student may be suspended from the team or club for:

  • Demonstrating an improper attitude toward the community, school, administration, staff, coaches, or fellow students.

  • Inappropriate behavior on cyber space (photos, videos).  This may result in suspension from the team, activity, or club.

  • Hazing in any form.  Hazing is strictly forbidden by New York State Law and district policy.  Participation in or failure to report any hazing will result in disciplinary review and possible suspension and/or dismissal from the team or club.

  • Violation of criminal law.  This will result in suspension from practice and competition pending a hearing between the principal and athletic director.

  • Possession of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other controlled substances.

The following applies to students, managers, and athletes:

The possession of alcohol, tobacco in any form, marijuana or other controlled substances will result in the following:

  • First offense will result in a suspension for 20% of the total sports season.  The student must report to all practices and be recommended to attend substance abuse counseling.

  • Second offense will result in dismissal for remainder of the sports season and attendance at substance abuse counseling will be recommended.

  • Third offense will result in the removal from interscholastic sports for the remainder of the school year.

School events such as sports, concerts, shows, award, moving up, and graduation ceremonies help to create a positive school climate.  Students in good academic standing are always eligible and encouraged to attend such events.  Student participation in such events will be prohibited if the student is serving a suspension at the time of the event. Student participation may be prohibited at the discretion of the principal, if student has had chronic unexcused absences or has engaged in behavior leading up to the event that poses a safety concern.  Such decisions to restrict attendance at a school event will be discussed with the Executive Director of Elementary or Secondary Schools, the student, and their parent, guardian, or caregiver.  

New eligibility policy in process, going to BOE for 1st read on 6/21. When approved, will be inserted here.

REPORTING VIOLATIONS

All SCSD personnel who are authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to do so in a prompt, fair, and lawful manner.  School personnel who are not authorized to impose disciplinary sanctions are expected to promptly report violations of districts code of character, conduct, and support to their supervisor.

Any student observing another student in possession of a weapon, alcohol, or illegal substance on school property or at a school function is encouraged to report this information immediately to any staff member or administrator.  The school principals or designee will consult with local law enforcement regarding violations that constitute a crime.

Notification to law enforcement may be made through the Community Engagement Officer assigned to the school district.  The District Director of School Climate & safety must also be notified.  

APPEALS PROCESS-SUPERINTENDENT HEARING

If following a superintendent’s hearing a student has been found guilty of violating the code of character, conduct, and support, the student’s parent or guardian can appeal the decision and penalty.  To appeal the superintendent’s decision, the parent or guardian must:

  • Make the appeal to the board of education in writing within 30 days after receiving the written decision from the superintendent.

  • Submit the letter to the Schenectady City School District Clerk of the Board


    If the appeal to the board of education is denied, the parents or guardian may appeal the decision to the New York State Commission of Education within 30 days from the time the decision is received.  To do so, the parent or guardian must file and serve a notice of petition, a petition, and any supporting affidavit (s).  New evidence may not be submitted in support of an appeal.

    https://www.counsel.nysed.gov/appeals/instruction

If the petition is denied, the decision can be reviewed by a New York State court.

A student cannot be punished for filing an appeal.

COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

Student and parents have the right to file a complaint if they believe there has been a violation of their due process rights.

PROCESS FOR MAKING A COMPLAINT

  • Any students or parents with a question or concern about a discipline related response, should discuss the concern with the person who made the decision.

  • If the student or parent is not satisfied, a verbal or written complaint should be made to the school principal.

  • If the student or parent is still not satisfied, they should contact the executive director of elementary or secondary schools. 

  • If the student or parent is still not satisfied, they should contract the Asst. Superintendent of Student Support Services or the Deputy Superintendent.

  • If the student or parent is still not satisfied after following the above chain of contact, the superintendent should be contacted.



    Complaints can be made through “Let’s Talk” which is accessible from the district website. Any complaint submitted through Let’s Talk will be directed to the appropriate person for handling.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Academic Dishonesty:  Plagiarism, copying another’s work, altering records, and cheating by providing, receiving, or viewing answers to quiz or test items or independent assignments, using text, documents, notes, or notebooks during tests without permission from a staff member.

Arson:  Starting a fire or destruction of property because of starting a fire.

Behavior Violations:  Student behaviors that are inappropriate in school, unacceptable or that warrant response, interventions, and consequences.

Bomb Threat:  The making of threats or providing false information, in writing, in person, on the phone, including text message or other means, about the presence of explosive materials or devices on school property without cause.

Bullying:  Repeated intentional acts done willfully, knowingly and with deliberation, by an individual(s), that targets and harms another person physically or emotionally.  Bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power between two students.

Child Pornography:  Sexually explicit images of children younger than 17 years of age.

Consequence:   A result or response that follows an action.

Criminal Behavior:  Any behavior that is considered a violation against municipal, state, or federal laws.

Damage to Property:  Damage, destruction of defacement of property belonging to the school or others.

Dignity Act Coordinator:  An employee designated by the board who ensures full compliance with the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) and is trained to address issues in areas protected by the law.  Dignity Act Coordinators manage documentation, processing, actions, and interventions enforcing DASA.

Discrimination:  Unjust or prejudicial treatment toward any student by a student(s) and/or employee(s) on school property or at a school function including, but not limited to, discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, sex, or any other protected class.

Electronic Technology:   Devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, tablets.

Ethnic Group:  A group of people who identify with each other through a common heritage including language, culture, and often a shared or common religion and/or ideology that stresses ancestry.

Equity: Equity refers to fair and just practices and policies that ensure all campus community members can thrive. See board policy: http://go.boarddocs.com/ny/schenectady/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=C8WPAT63B9C9

Gender:  Actual or perceived sex and includes a person’s gender identity or expression.

Gender Expression:  The way in which we express gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, activities, voice, or mannerisms.

Harassment:  The creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would interfere with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits or mental, emotional, or physical well-being or threat, intimidation or abuse that cause or would be expected to cause a student to fear for their physical safety.

Hazing:  A specific form of harassment among students defined as any humiliating or dangerous activity expected of a student to join a group or be accepted by a formal or informal group, regardless of the student’s willingness to participate.  Hazing including, but is not limited to, any activity that intimidates or threatens a student with ostracism or adversely affects the health or safety of the student; or any activity that causes or requires the student to perform a task or act that is a violation of state or federal law of district policies/regulations.

Illegal drug:  A controlled substance (does not include a controlled substance legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health care professional).

Inciting or participating in an incident of group violence:  Causing or participating in a group altercation or large disruption to the atmosphere of order and discipline in the school (such as a riot).

Informal Hearing: A 5-day suspension with a required parent re-entry meeting, in which student, parent, & administrator meet to review & discuss an incident, consequences, and restorative interventions necessary.

Interventions:  Specific programs, strategies, restorative practices, skill-building sessions, and individual and group counseling activities, among other things, that enable students to reflect on behavior, attitudes, needs and feeling; learned replacement behaviors and habits, working through personal obstacles, resolving conflict, and developing goals and plans to get back on track.

Inappropriate use of electronic devices:  May include (but not limited to) using computer, tablet, phone, or other electronic device in ways that violate the code of character, conduct, & support (ex. Recording altercations, or accessing other accounts).  See electronic policy.

Leveled consequences and interventions:  There are five levels of behaviors and possible responses.  Level one aims at responding with strategies in the classroom to teach and correct behaviors (such as unexcused tardies, being caught in a hall sweep, etc.)  The consequences intensify as the levels increase.  For example, level five behaviors, ones that are dangerous behaviors and/or create risk of injury, can result in more severe consequences such as suspension.

Parent:  Biological, adoptive, foster parent, guardian, or person of record in parental relation to a student.

Persistent:  Repeated over a period of days after interventions have been implemented and given ample time to be effective.

Physical aggression:  Behavior causing or threatening physical harm toward others including, but not limited to, hitting, kicking, biting, and shoving.

Physical attack on another student or staff without immediate provocation:  An act of physical aggression toward another that is not immediately provoked.  Ex. A student or students set upon another student in a forceful, hostile, or aggressive way. Provocation does not include an earlier conflict or verbal disagreement.

Physical altercation between two or more students:  Physical aggression (use of physical force) between two or more students that may or may not result in injury.

Physically pushing, hitting, kicking, biting, or scratching another person: Code is often used more with grades K-5.  Reflects a behavior incident that does not result in injury of others. 

Race:  Group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

Racial Harassment:  A negative opinion or verbal expression toward an individual or group of persons who possess common physical characteristics (color of skin, eyes, hair and facial features genetically transmitted by descent and heredity) that distinguish them as a distinct division of humankind, based on these physical characteristics.

Reckless Endangerment:  Conduct that creates a substantial risk or serious physical injury or death to another person.

Religion:  Either religious or spiritual belief or preference.

Religious Practice:  Attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression or refraining from certain activities.

Restorative Practices:  An approach to resolving conflict and preventing harm.  Restorative approaches enable those who have been harmed to convey the impact of the harm to those responsible, and for those responsible to acknowledge this impact and take steps to make it right.

Sending receiving or displaying offensive material via electronic devices: Examples include sending or receiving pornography, offensive harassing content, or acts of violence. 

Sexual Offense-Reportable: Any act committed by a person 10 years of age or older which would constitute a felony under Article 130 of the Penal Law, taking into consideration the developmental capacity of the person to form the intent to commit such act, and where the school has referred the person to the police for the act reported.

School Function:  Any school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity.  This includes any event, occurring on or off school property, sanctioned or approved by the district including, but not limited to, off-site athletic events, school dances, plays, musical productions, field trips or other district-sponsored trips.

School Property:  Outside grounds, all structures, and any space 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. 

Serious Bodily Injury:  Bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

Tardiness:    Arriving late to school or class.

Theft:  Taking or attempting to take property of another person or institution without permission or knowledge of the owner, with the intent to deprive the owner of its use.  Robbery includes obtaining or attempting to obtain money, goods, services, or information from another by physical force or violence, coordinated violence or intimidation using a dangerous instrument or weapon.  Theft, possession, or transfer of stolen goods includes the act of possessing or transferring the property of another without the consent of the owner.

Threat Assessment:  A process used to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person, typically as a response to an actual of perceived threat concerning behavior.

Threats to School: Based on threat assessment, credibility and intention determine severity of consequence.

Trespassing:   Being on school property without permission, including while suspended.

Truancy: Being absent from school or class without a legal excuse/reason.

Using or Possessing:   Consuming alcohol, drugs, or inhalants or in possession of these substances on school property or at school functions.

VISION

Vision:
Schenectady City Schools will be a continually improving school district dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning, equity, engagement, and efficiency.

Goals:

  • To build a school community that supports students’ success, and which is characterized by creative demonstrated leadership, challenging suitable up-to-date curricula, innovative, varied and engaging methods of teaching and learning, strong community partnerships, and a safe, healthy and supportive climate.

  • To build a culture based on high expectations, respect, and accountability for performance.

  • To communicate effectively with all district stakeholders.

    Slogan:

Everybody Counts; Everybody Learns

SOURCES

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

  • Alliance for Excellent Education

  • Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines, Dewey Cornell

  • Hemphill S.A. & Hargreaves T. School Suspension:  A Resource for Teachers and School Administrators, Centre for Adolescent Youth

  • Montgomery County Public Schools Code of Conduct, 2017-2018

  • Restorative Practices Handbook by Costello, Wachtel and Wachtel

  • Syracuse City School District Code of Conduct, 2016-2017

  • Learning for Justice, Code of Conduct, A Guide to Responsive Discipline