Code of Conduct

The Board of Education (Board) is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment where students may receive, and district personnel may deliver, quality educational services without disruption or interference. Responsible behavior by students, parents, district personnel, and visitors is essential to achieving this goal.

What follows is Plain Language Summary which is followed by the complete Valley Central Code of Conduct.

A copy of the complete Code of Conduct is given to every student at the beginning of the school year. To request a copy email ellen.mcgoldrick@vcsdny.org.

Printed copies of the complete Code of Conduct are also available at all school sites and at the Central Office.

Supporting Board of Education policies are available at all school sites and Central Office.  Please also refer to each school’s handbook for specific details.

Publication, Dissemination and Review

Dissemination of Valley Central’s Code of Conduct Plain Language Summary

The Board will work to ensure that the community is aware of the District’s Code of Conduct by:

  • Mailing this Plain Language Summary to all parents of District students before the beginning of the school year and making the Summary available later upon request.
  • Providing copies of the Summary to all students at a general assembly held at the beginning of each school year.
  • Providing all current teachers and other staff members with a copy of the Summary and a copy of any amendments to the Code as soon as practicable after adoption.
  • Posting the Code of Conduct and Plain Language Summary on the School District Website.

Plain Language Summary

Student Discipline

Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with the problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that is viewed as fair and impartial by the student. Therefore, before seeking outside assistance, teachers will first use all their resources to create a change of behavior in the classroom. When the teacher has made every effort to bring about positive behavioral change, and has been unsuccessful, the student will be referred to the administration. At that point, the administration will decide what further action will be taken. 
See Board Policies 5311.5, 5312, 5313.1, 5313.2, 5313.3

Detention, Suspension, and Removal of Students

Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair, and consistent so as to be the most effective in changing student behavior. In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:

  • The student’s age.
  • The nature of the offense and the circumstances that led to the offense.
  • The student’s prior disciplinary record.
  • The effectiveness of other forms of discipline.
  • Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate.
  • Other extenuating circumstances.

See Code of Conduct D page 7

Procedures and Progressive Discipline

+iolations are reported and determined, and by which discipline measures are imposed and carried out

In Valley Central Schools, routine procedures exist for reporting and investigating violations of the Code.  Depending upon the nature of the violation, it is the desire of the Board that student discipline be progressive.  That is, a student’s first violation should merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations. However, individual behavior management plans or severe infractions may preclude a gradual process.

Further, an early return from suspension may be conditioned upon completion of approved counseling or special classes.

See Board Policy 5313 and 5313.3R
See Code of Conduct D & E pages 7 & 10

Consequences for the possession and use of illegal substances or weapons, the use of physical force, vandalism, violation of another student’s civil rights and threats of violence

The Valley Central School District will not tolerate violence, threats, bullying, and substance abuse.  Students who break the law; use, possess, sell, transfer or facilitate these activities with regard to alcohol and/or drugs, tobacco products, synthetic tobacco products/paraphernalia; e-cigarettes, vaporizers or other devices used to inhale non-prescribed substances; weapons or explosive devices; attend school or school functions under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or use vulgar language; or exhibit inappropriate behavior (including sexual misconduct and/or sexting) will be held accountable not only to the District Disciplinary Code, but may also be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.  This includes students who fail to report threats of danger or physical violence to appropriate school personnel.  
See Code of Conduct E page 10

Removal of individuals from classrooms, buses and school property

Removals from the classroom, buses or school property occur when an individual is substantially disruptive or violent at school or a school function, in the professional judgment of staff or administrators.  For the purposes of this Code, the following definitions apply:

Disruptive Student

“Disruptive Student” means an elementary or secondary student up to the age of 21 who: 

  • continuously interferes or substantially disrupts the educational process;
  • continuously interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom;
  • demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher’s instructions;
  • intimidates, bullies or defames others in word, action or dress; bullying is generally the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, as defined by the Dignity for All Students Act.
  • harasses others on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation,  disability, age, religion, religious practice, weight, ethnic group, national origin, socio-economic status, or predisposing  genetic characteristics; or
  • makes an audio and/or video recording and/or transmittal, including photographs during any portion of the school day without the express authorization from appropriate school personnel; or fails to comply with school rules related to cell phones or other electronic devices.

Violent Student

“Violent Student” means an elementary or secondary student up to the age of 21 who:

  • commits, or attempts to commit, an act of violence upon a school employee;
  • commits, or attempts to commit, while on school property, on buses or at a school function, an act of violence upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property, on buses or at a school function (including reckless behavior);
  • possesses, while on school property, on buses or at a school function, a weapon, or an object used as a weapon;
  • displays, while on school property, on buses or at a school function, what appears to be a weapon;
  • threatens, while on school property, on buses or at a school function, to use a weapon, or to inflict bodily harm, or communicates acts of violent intent;
  • intimidates others in word, action or dress; or
  • knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys personal or school property of any school employee or any person lawfully on school property or at a school function.

See Code of Conduct D page 7

Minimum Suspension: Disruptive Student

When a student engages in conduct which would define that student as “repeatedly, substantially disruptive” 

(i.e., engaging in conduct requiring removal from classroom on four or more occasions during a semester), a minimum suspension will be two days subject to modification on a case-by-case basis, based upon the particular circumstances present.

See Code of Conduct L page 13

Minimum Suspension:  Violent Student

Where a student engages in conduct which would define that student as “violent”, a minimum suspension will be three days subject to modification on a case-by-case basis, based upon the particular circumstances present.

See Code of Conduct M page 13

Notification of Parent or Guardian

Notification of parents/guardians in parental relation that a Code violation has occurred will be accomplished in accordance with the procedure for removal of disruptive students and the due process rights of students.  See Board Policy 5311.1

See Code of Conduct I page 13

Safety and Security

The Valley Central School District considers school safety an essential priority.  The District will not tolerate violence, threats, bullying, and substance abuse. Students who break the law; use, possess, sell, transfer or facilitate these activities with regard to alcohol and/or drugs or drug paraphernalia, tobacco products, synthetic tobacco products/paraphernalia; e-cigarettes, vaporizers or other devices used to inhale non-prescribed substances; weapons or explosive devices; attend school or school functions under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or use vulgar language; or exhibit inappropriate behavior (including sexual misconduct and/or sexting) will be held accountable not only to the District Disciplinary Code, but may also be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.  This includes students who fail to report threats of danger or physical violence to appropriate school personnel.

To promote a safe and healthy environment for all students, the provisions of this section will be addressed through board policy.  The safety of students shall be ensured through close supervision of students (including surveillance cameras) in all school buildings, on buses and on school grounds.  Loitering and trespassing are prohibited. Students, parents, visitors and employees must comply with all security measures including signing into buildings with picture identification.  In addition, off-campus misconduct will be dealt with according to the Code.

See Board Policies 5311, 5450, 5450.1, 8111, 8115, 8120, 8414, 1240-R, 1500, 1520-R.

See Code of Conduct B page 3; F page 11

Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying 

The Valley Central School District recognizes its responsibility to protect students from unlawful harassment, discrimination and bullying while on school property.  Students or staff who wish to report harassment, including sexual harassment, should contact the District’s Title IX coordinator. Students or staff who wish to report discrimination should contact the appropriate compliance officer.  Students or staff wishing to report an incident of bullying should contact the appropriate building Dignity Act Coordinator.  

The Dignity Act Coordinators are as follows: 

  • Berea Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Katherine Gusmano, 845-457-2400 x11647
  • East Coldenham Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Alexandra Lerman, 845-457-2400 x12006
  • Montgomery Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Melinda Sulzbach, 845-457-2400 x14645
  • Walden Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Diane Smith, 845-457-2400 x15645
  • Walden Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Lydia Pabon-Genovez 845-457-2400 x15650
  • Middle School, Student Assistance Counselor Catherine Heil, 845-457-2400 x16241
  • High School, Student Assistance Counselor TBA, 845-457-2400 x17647 

See Code of Conduct B6 page 6

Provisions for Students with Disabilities
 

The Board recognizes that it may be necessary to suspend, remove, or otherwise discipline students with disabilities to address disruptive or problem behavior. The Board also recognizes that students with disabilities have certain procedural protections in disciplinary matters. The Board is committed to ensuring that the procedures followed for suspending, removing, or otherwise disciplining students with disabilities are consistent with the procedural safeguards required by applicable laws and regulations.

See Board Policies 5310, 5311.

See Code of Conduct F & G page 11 & 12

Provisions for Students, Parents, Employees and Visitors Conduct, Dress and Language

All students are expected to give proper attention to personal cleanliness and to dress appropriately for school and school functions. Students, their parents, staff members and visitors have the primary responsibility for their own conduct and for acceptable student dress, conduct, and appearance as outlined in the Code.

See Board Policies 5311.5, 5312, 5313, 5450, 5450.1, 8111, 8120, and 8414.

See Code of Conduct A & B pages 1 & 5

Each building principal or his or her designee shall provide information to all students and their parents of the student dress code at the beginning of the school year through the student handbook and /or an assembly.

Involvement of Law Enforcement Agencies and Criminal Investigations
 

In consultation with local law enforcement, the District understands that the following types of conduct are generally considered criminal offenses and referable to law enforcement as crimes:

  • disorderly conduct
  • forcible sexual offenses
  • use or possession of weapons
  • drug offenses
  • assaults resulting in serious physical injury
  • serious credible threats which a reasonable person would perceive as placing a person or persons in danger

The usual contact between the District and law enforcement agencies will be the School Resource Officer (SRO).  The SRO program is a collaborative initiative between the District and local law enforcement agencies. An SRO is a police officer assigned to the school campus who helps to create a healthy and safe environment for the school community.

See Board Policy 5313.

Objective of the School Resource Officer Program

  • To maintain a safe campus environment that is conducive to learning.
  • To create a unity between law enforcement and school officials.
  • To improve relationships between youth, law enforcement and community.
  • To serve as consultants to school, staff, parents and youth on safety matters.
  • To serve as role models to students.

See Code of Conduct H page 12

Referrals to Human Service Agencies

When any student need is beyond the scope of the district’s resources, a referral to appropriate human service agencies will be made.  All administrators, faculty, pupil services personnel, and other support staff will serve as mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect.  They will communicate these and other referrals through the principal or his/her designee.

See Code of Conduct K page 13

District Cooperation with Criminal Court, Juvenile Delinquency Petition, or “PINS” Petition

The District will observe all applicable procedures under the Family Court Act for the filing of PINS petitions, Juvenile Delinquency petitions.  It will follow the appropriate sections of Penal Law and Criminal Procedure Law and other statutes for filing criminal complaints.

See Board Policy 5161.                     

See Code of Conduct J page 13

Dress Code

Students are expected to attend school in appropriate type  apparel. Standards for student dress are set forth in the Code of Conduct. The standards of dress will prevail at all times including examination periods and other activities planned for inside the building. Be advised that administration reserves the right to challenge any students dress or appearance which, in the judgment of a school administrator, may cause a material or substantial disruption to the educational process and/or create a health and safety hazard

See Code of Conduct N page


Valley Central Code of Conduct For Maintenance of Order on School Property

The Valley Central School District, in accordance with Section 2801(2) of the New York State Education Law, hereby enacts the following Code of Conduct for maintenance of order on school property: 

Provisions Regarding Conduct, Dress and Language Deemed Appropriate and Acceptable on School Property I Standards and Procedures to Ensure Security and Safety of Students and School Personnel I Provisions for the Removal from the Classroom and from School Property, Including a School Function of Students and Other Persons Who Violate the Code I Provisions for Detention, Suspension and Removal from the Classroom of Students, Consistent with $3214 and Other Applicable Federal, State and Local Laws Including Provisions for the School Authorities to Establish Policies and Procedures to Ensure the Provision of Continued Educational Programming and Activities for Students Removed from the Classroom, Placed in Detention, or Suspended from School I Disciplinary Measures to Be Taken in Incidents Involving the Possession or Use of Illegal Substances or Weapons, the Use of Physical Force, Vandalism, Violation of Another Students Civil Rights and Threats of Violence I Procedures by Which Violations Are Reported, Determined, Discipline Measures Imposed and Discipline Measures Carried Out I Provisions Ensuring this Code and the Enforcement Thereof Are in Compliance with State and Federal Laws Relating to Students with Disabilities I Provisions Setting Forth the Procedures by Which Local Law Enforcement Agencies Shall Be Notified of Code Violations Which Constitute a Crime I Provisions Setting Forth the Circumstances under and Procedures by Which Persons in Parental Relation to the Student Shall Be Notified of Code Violations I Provisions Setting Forth the Circumstances under and Procedures by which a Complaint in Criminal Court, a Juvenile Delinquency Petition or Person in Need of Supervision Petition as Defined in Articles Three and Seven of the Family Court Act Will Be Filed I Circumstances under and Procedures by Which Referral to Appropriate Human Service Agencies Shall Be Made I A Minimum Suspension Period, for Students Who Repeatedly Are Substantially Disruptive of the Educational Process or Substantially Interfere with the Teacher’s Authority over the Classroom, Provided That the Suspending Authority May Reduce Such Period on a Case by Case Basis to Be Consistent with Any Other State and Federal Law. For Purposes of this Section, the Definition of “Repeatedly Are Substantially Disruptive” Shall Be Determined in Accordance with the Regulations F the Commissioner I A Minimum Suspension Period for Acts That Would Qualify the Pupil to Be Defined as a Violent Pupil Pursuant to a Paragraph a of Subdivision 2-a of 8 3214 of the Education Law, Provided That the Suspending Authority May Reduce Such Period on a Case by Case Basis to Be Consistent with Any Other State and Federal LawI Dress Code

Provisions Regarding Conduct, Dress and Language Deemed Appropriate and Acceptable on School Property 

A. Provisions regarding conduct, dress and language deemed appropriate and acceptable on school property, including a school function, and conduct, dress and language deemed unacceptable and inappropriate on school property and provisions regarding acceptable civil and respectful treatment of teachers, school administrators, other school personnel, students and visitors on school property, including a school function, including the appropriate range of disciplinary measures which may be imposed for violation of such code, and the roles of teachers, administrators, other school personnel, the board of education and parents. 

1. Conduct, Dress and Language Deemed Acceptable 

a) Students – Student conduct, dress and language on school property shall be governed by articles 

“C” – “J” of this Code, as well as Section N. 

b) Employees – Conduct, dress and language for employees on school property shall be determined in accordance with law and collective bargaining agreements. 

c) Contractors with the school district will be required to adhere to the district policy section regarding conduct, dress and language on school property, as applicable. See B(5) of this Code of Conduct. 

d) Visitors – Conduct, dress and language of visitors on school property shall be governed by Section “B(5)” of this Code of Conduct. 

See Board Policies 5311.5, 5312, 5313, 5450, 5450.1, 8111, 8120, 8414

Roles of Stakeholders Implementing Appropriate Conduct on School Property

All stakeholders should assist students in maintaining a safe, supportive school environment, a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex, which will strengthen students’ self-concept and promote confidence to learn. 

a) Teachers – Teachers should familiarize themselves with the requirements of this Code, including their rights and responsibilities in removal of disruptive students, referrals of “violent” students as defined in the Code; as well as reporting dangerous situations; 

b) Administrators – Administrators should review and familiarize themselves with their obligations under this Code, including their role in the removal of disruptive students; procedures for dealing with 

In the event of any dispute between the language of this Code of Conduct and the Board Policies cited throughout, the language of the Board Policies shall control “violent” students, as well as their role in enforcing the Code in a manner which will protect the safety and well-being of various populations of the school while respecting individual rights; 

c) Other School Personnel – Other school personnel should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Code and for reporting dangerous students. 

d) Board of Education – The Board’s role is to review and adopt this Code of Conduct in accordance with law, and to review, at least annually, the Code’s effectiveness and the fairness and consistency of its implementation; 

e) Parents – Parents should recognize that education is a joint responsibility of both parents and the school community and should familiarize themselves with the Code. 

f) Dignity Act Coordinators – The Dignity Act Coordinators will oversee bullying prevention measures and address issues surrounding bullying in their buildings. 

g) Students 

It shall be the right of each student in the district to: 

1. have a safe, healthy, orderly and courteous school environment; 

2. have access to all district activities on an equal basis regardless of race, sex, national origin, or disability; 

3. have access to student government activities unless properly suspended from participation pursuant to the district’s discipline policy; 

4. address the Board on the same terms as any citizen of the district; and 

5. attend school and participate in school programs unless suspended from instruction and participation for legally sufficient cause as determined in accordance with due process of law. 

It shall be the responsibility of each student in the school district to: 

1. be familiar with, and abide by, this Code of Conduct and all district policies, rules and regulations pertaining to student conduct; 

2. work to the best of his/her ability in all academic and extra-curricular pursuits and strive toward the highest level of achievement possible; 

3. conduct him/herself, when participating in or attending school-sponsored extra-curricular events, as a representative of the school district, and as such, hold him/herself to the highest standards of conduct, demeanor and sportsmanship; 

4. be in regular attendance at school and in class; 

5. contribute to the maintenance of an environment that is conducive to learning and to show due respect to other persons and property; and 

6. make constructive contributions to the school and to report fairly the circumstances of school-related issues. 

7. report to appropriate school personnel threats of danger and/or physical violence to others and/or destruction of property. 

See Board Policy 5311 

Standards and procedures to ensure security and safety of students and school personnel

1. Safety of Students 

The Board of Education encourages and supports all rules and regulations that must be implemented to provide a safe and healthy environment for all students. The provisions of this section will be addressed through board policy. The safety of students shall be ensured through close supervision of students (including surveillance cameras) in all school buildings, on buses, on school grounds, and through special attention to: 

a) maintenance of a safe school environment; 

b) observation of safe practices on the part of school personnel and students, particularly in those areas of instruction or extra-curricular activities that offer special hazards; 

c) provision of safety education for students, particularly laboratory courses in science, technology courses, and health and physical education; 

d) provision, through the school nurse, of first aid care for students in case of accident or sudden illness; and 

e) alerting the school nurse to all accidents. An accident report shall be completed and filed for each accident. 

See Board Policy 5450 

2. Notification of Sex Offenders 

The Board of Education also acknowledges the efforts of local law enforcement to notify the district when a person with a history of sex offenses against a child is being paroled or released into the community, in accordance with the provisions of the Sex Offender Registration Act, commonly known as Megan’s Law. The purpose of this notification is to protect members of the community, particularly children, by notifying them of the presence of individuals in their midst who may present a danger. Consistent with its duty to protect students under its care, the district shall cooperate with local law enforcement agencies in this endeavor. 

The Superintendent of Schools shall ensure the dissemination of such information, as appropriate, provided by local law enforcement officials pursuant to Megan’s Law to all staff who might come into contact with the offender in the course of doing their jobs, including Building Principals, staff who issue visitors’ passes, bus drivers, custodians, playground monitors, security personnel, and coaches. All other staff members and community residents shall be informed of the availability of such information, upon written request. All staff requests for information provided by the law enforcement agencies shall be directed to the Building Principal. Requests for information from community residents shall be directed to the Superintendent. 

See Board Policy 5450.1 

3. Reporting of Hazards 

The Board of Education further recognizes its responsibility to provide an environment which is reasonably secure from known hazards. The Board therefore directs the Superintendent of Schools and all professional and support staff members to comply with occupational safety and health regulations, including the Hazard Communication Standard and “Right-to-Know” legislation. 

The Superintendent will direct appropriate personnel to develop and oversee a written hazard communication program. Such program will include the following: 

a) the acquisition, maintenance and review of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS’s) for all known hazardous materials on district property; 

b) the compilation of a hazardous materials inventory; 

c) employee training in hazardous materials management and protection, and 

d) the recording of all incidents involving exposure to known hazardous materials. 

The district will comply with the requirements for the visual notification of pesticide spraying as set forth in the Environmental Conservation Law. 

It is the responsibility of the entire school community to report any unsafe building or equipment conditions to the main office as soon as possible. In addition, designated administrators will provide notice of hazardous materials within 72 hours of an employee’s request. 

See Board Policies 8111, 8115 

 4. Students and Staff Reporting Unsafe Conditions 

The Board of Education also seeks to ensure the safety of students and employees of the district while on district property. 

The Board and administrative staff, in cooperation with students and employees, will take reasonable measures to prevent accidents on the school premises. 

Any dangerous conditions involving equipment or buildings or any unsafe practices by anyone in the building or on the grounds of the district are to be immediately reported to the Building Principal and/or Head Custodian. 

Unless specifically authorized, no recreational motorized vehicles are permitted on school property. 

The 15 mile per hour speed limit is to be observed and other posted signs on school grounds are to be obeyed. 

Formal objective investigations of all accidents or unsafe conditions are to be immediately conducted by the Building Principal and the results of the investigation are to be presented to the Superintendent in a written report. The results of selected investigations should be communicated to employees and students for the purpose of determining how the accident might have been avoided. 

See Board Policy 8120 The Superintendent of Schools and Building Principals shall cooperate with the governmental agencies on matters of safety. The district has determined that BUS-CAMS will be used to assist in the enforcement of transportation rules. They shall establish and check loading and unloading procedures at each school and student conduct on buses. The Superintendent shall arrange for bus emergency drills, including instruction in the use of windows as a means of escape in case of fire or accident, to take place a minimum of three times during the school year. Such drills shall include such instruction and be held at such times as required by the Regulations of the Commissioner. 

See Board Policy 8414 

5. Visitors to Schools 

Visitors to the schools of the district shall be governed by the following rules: 

a) Each building principal shall establish and maintain a safety plan outlining the process to authorize visitors to his/her school. Such plans shall be submitted to the superintendent of schools for approval, and thereafter be made available in the school. 

b) The building principal must be contacted by the person or group wishing to visit and prior approval must be obtained for the visit. 

c) Parents or guardians wishing to speak with a specific teacher concerning the progress of a child must make an appointment with the teacher, in addition to obtaining the permission of the building principal. 

d) All visitors must enter through the designated single point of entry (except in the case of a handicapped entrance being more suitable for a disabled individual), show photo identification, sign in, and be issued a visitor’s permit (as applicable), which must be displayed at all times. The permit must be returned and the visitor must sign out at the conclusion of the visit. Firearms are banned on school property except by uniformed law enforcement agents. 

e) Visitor’s permit shall not be required for school functions open to the public, whether or not school-related. 

f) Parents are encouraged to visit guidance counselors, school nurses, school psychologists and other support personnel, by appointment, in order to discuss any school-related problems or concerns the parent may have regarding the student. 

g) Any visitor wishing to inspect school records or interview students on school premises must comply with all applicable board policies and administrative regulations. In questionable cases, 

the visitor shall be directed to the superintendent’s office to obtain written permission for such a visit. 

h) Visitors displaying inappropriate conduct, dress or language shall be requested to leave school premises immediately. If they refuse, the visitors may be subjected to prosecution for trespassing or be arrested pursuant to Penal Law; banned from the premises; and/or faced with other consequences from school authorities. The principal is authorized to take any action necessary to secure the safety of students and school personnel. 

See Board Policies 1240-R, 1500, 1520-R 

6. Reporting Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying 

The Board of Education recognizes its responsibility to protect students from unlawful harassment, discrimination and bullying while on school property. Students or staff who wish to report harassment, including sexual harassment, should contact the District’s Title IX coordinator. Students or staff who wish to report discrimination should contact the appropriate compliance officer. Students or staff wishing to report an incident of bullying should contact the appropriate building Dignity Act Coordinator. 

The Dignity Act Coordinators are as follows: 

Berea Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Katherine Gusmano, 845-457-2400 x11647

East Coldenham Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Alexandra Lerman, 845-457-2400 x12006

Montgomery Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Melinda Sulzbach, 845-457-2400 x14645

Walden Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Diane Smith, 845-457-2400 x15645

Walden Elementary, Student Assistance Counselor Lydia Pabon-Genovez 845-457-2400 x15650

Middle School, Student Assistance Counselor Catherine Heil, 845-457-2400 x16241

High School, Student Assistance Counselor TBA, 845-457-2400 x17647 

Provisions for the Removal from the Classroom and from School Property, Including a School Function of Students and Other Persons Who Violate the Code

a) Teachers – Teachers will have the authority to remove disruptive students (as defined below) for up to two days in accordance with the process described. The removal from class applies to the class of the removing teacher only. 

Disruptive Pupil – One who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom. 

Removal – Students are precluded from returning to the class of the teacher from which they were removed. 

Process for Removal of a Disruptive Student – 

1. If the student does present a danger or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, removal can be immediate, but teacher must provide removed student an opportunity to present his/her version of the events within 24 hours of removal. 

2. If the student does not present a danger or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, before removal teacher must provide student with explanation as to why being removed, and an opportunity to present his/her version of the events. 

3. Within 24 hours of removal, parents must be notified by principal of removal and reasons for removal. 

4. Informal conference – If the pupil denies the charge, an opportunity for informal hearing must take place with parents and principal within 48 hours of removal. 

5. Principal’s determination – The principal must make determination by close of business on the day following the informal conference to either uphold or reverse determination (determination can only be reversed if finding lacks substantial evidence, inconsistent with code of conduct, a violation of law, or if conduct warrants suspension). The principal may designate a school district administrator (e.g., an assistant principal) to carry out the principal’s functions in this regard. No pupil removed by a teacher may return until: (a) the principal or designee) makes a final determination, or (b) the period of removal expires, whichever is less. 

Continued Educational Programming – In the event of teacher removal of a disruptive student in accordance with this Code of Conduct, continued educational programming will be provided during the period of removal as soon as is practicable. The type of continued educational programming will vary depending upon the student’s individual needs but may consist of, for example, study hall; in school suspension; or other instruction as provided by the teacher and determined by the principal. 

a) Staff 

Removal shall be determined in accordance with applicable law and collective bargaining agreement. 

b) Visitors and Contractors 

Removal of visitors and contractors will be accomplished in accordance with section B(5) of this Code of Conduct. 

Provisions for detention, suspension and removal from the classroom of students, consistent with $3214 and other applicable federal, state and local laws including provisions for the school authorities to establish policies and procedures to ensure the provision of continued educational programming and activities for students removed from the classroom, placed in detention, or suspended from school

a) “Violent” pupils – Teachers shall report and refer a “violent” pupil (as defined below) to the principal for appropriate action under the Code of Conduct, and a minimum suspension period in accordance with section “M” of this Code of Conduct. 

For purposes of this section, a “violent” pupil is an elementary or secondary student up to 21 years of age who on District property, on school buses, or at school activities: 

1. commits an act of violence upon a teacher, administrator or other school employee; 2. commits an act of violence upon another student or any other person lawfully upon District property, school buses, or at school activities; 3. possesses what appears to be a gun, knife, explosive or incendiary bomb or other dangerous instrument capable of causing death or physical injury; 4. displays what appears to be a gun, knife, explosive or incendiary bomb or other dangerous instrument capable of causing death or serious bodily injury; 5. threatens to use any instrument that appears capable of causing physical injury or death; 6. intimidates others in word, action, or dress; 7. knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys the personal property of a teacher, administrator, other school district employee, or any person lawfully upon school district property, or knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys school district property; or 8. harasses another student or member of the school community on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, religious practice, weight, ethnic group, national origin, socio-economic status, or predisposing genetic characteristics. 

Serious and/or flagrant violations of the district’s code of conduct at school or school functions can result in an immediate Superintendent of Schools’ hearing. A student may be suspended from school or subjected to other disciplinary action when such student: 

1. engages in conduct which is: 

a) disorderly, i.e., 

i. fighting or engaging in violent behavior, threatening another with bodily harm; ii. intimidation or bullying of students or school personnel;  making unreasonable noise; iv. using abusive language or gestures, including racial or ethnic remarks which are improper; v. recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury; vi. defaming individuals, including making false statements or representations about an individual or group; vii. _creating and/or possessing and/or distributing sexually explicit, nude, or semi-nude images or videos of oneself and/or others (i.e., sexting); viii. Using, wearing, depicting, possessing or displaying the Confederate flag or its likeness, except when they are used as part of the curriculum and approved by a teacher or administrator. 

Vi. viii.ix._videotaping or taking pictures of an altercation at school or other school incident or the distribution of such video or pictures using cell phone, camera, internet, social media or YouTube; or is b) insubordinate, i.e., i, failing to comply with the lawful directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of the student; ii. missing or leaving school without permission; or iii. making an audio and/or video recording and/or transmittal, including photographs during any portion of the school day, or on buses, or at school related activities without the express authorization of appropriate school personnel; iv. failing to comply with school rules related to cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices; or 

2. engages in any of the following forms of academic misconduct: 

a) missing or leaving school without permission; and/or  

b) submitting another’s work as your own (electronically or otherwise) and/or other 

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) violations; c) plagiarism; and/or 

3. engages in conduct violative of the Board’s rules and regulations for the maintenance of public order on school property or at school events, i.e., vandalism or graffiti, arson, use of tobacco products/synthetic tobacco products/paraphernalia, e-cigarettes, vaporizers or other devices used to inhale non-prescribed substances, theft, sexual misconduct, truancy, possession/use/sale/transfer or facilitation thereof of alcohol and/or drugs or drug paraphernalia, weapons and explosive devices. Further, a student shall not be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs on school property or at school events. 

4. trespassing; See Board Policy 5312; loitering. 

5. is a “violent” pupil as defined above. 

6. is “repeatedly substantially disruptive” as defined in Educ. Law § 3214. 

“Disruptive Student” means an elementary or secondary student up to the age of 21 who: 

a) continuously interferes or substantially disrupts the educational process; b) continuously interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom; c) demonstrates a persistent unwillingness to comply with the teacher’s instructions; d) intimidates, bullies or defames others in word, action or dress; 

i. bullying is generally the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, as defined by the Dignity for All Students Act. harasses others on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, religious practice, weight, ethnic group, national origin or predisposing genetic characteristics; or f) makes an audio and/or video recording, including still photographs during any portion of the school day without the express authorization from appropriate school personnel; or fails to comply with school rules related to cell phones or other electronic devices. 

e) See Board Policies 5313.3 and 5311.9 

The range of penalties which may be imposed for violations of the student disciplinary code includes the following: 

1. verbal warning

2. written notification to the parents

3. probation

4. reprimand

5. suspension from transportation

6. suspension from co-curricular/extra-curricular activities (including interscholastic sports)

7. suspension of other privileges

8. exclusion from a particular class

9. in-school suspension

10. out-of-school suspension

11. Superintendent’s hearing

12. referral to appropriate authorities 

13. permanent suspension 

Depending upon the nature of the violation, it is the desire of the Board of Education that student discipline be progressive, i.e., a student’s first violation should merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations. It is also the Board’s desire that an employee or agent take into account all other relevant factors in determining an appropriate penalty. The above penalties may be imposed either alone or in combination. Such penalties will be imposed by the Superintendent of Schools or with his/her permission. 

See Board Policy 5313 

On appeal to the Board of Education for a long term suspension, an early return may be conditioned upon a pupil’s voluntary completion of approved counseling or specialized classes. 

See Board Policy 5313.3R 

Disciplinary Measures to Be Taken in Incidents Involving the Possession or Use of Illegal Substances or Weapons, the Use of Physical Force, Vandalism, Violation of Another Student’s Civil Rights and Threats of Violence. 

a) For any of the above violations, the range of penalties which may be imposed upon students (in accordance with Educ. Law $ 3214, Part 100 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, and this Code of Conduct) pursuant to the student disciplinary code which includes the following: 

1. verbal warning

2. written notification to the parents

3. probation

4. reprimand

5. suspension from transportation

6. suspension from co-curricular/extra-curricular activities (including interscholastic sports)

7. suspension of other privileges

8. exclusion from a particular class

9. in-school suspension

10. out-of-school suspension

11. Superintendent’s hearing

12. referral to appropriate authorities

13. permanent suspension 

Depending upon the nature of the violation, it is the desire of the Board of Education that student discipline be progressive, i.e., a student’s first violation should merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations. It is also the Board’s desire that an employee or agent take into account all other relevant factors in determining an appropriate penalty. 

Once an out-of-school suspension is assigned, all privileges for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are denied immediately. The District also reserves the right to suspend students for additional time from co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, as these are privileges. The above penalties may be imposed either alone or in combination. Such penalties will be imposed by the Superintendent of Schools or with his/her permission. 

See Board Policy 5313 

b) Detention will be accomplished in accordance with $ 5313.1 of the District’s policy. 

The Board of Education believes that detention is an effective method of discipline for students. Students may be assigned detention by teachers and/or administrators. Transportation will be made available for students who are assigned a detention and who need a ride home. The teacher/administrator supervising the detention period will be responsible for dismissing the student in time for such transportation. 

See Board Policy 5313.1 

The Board of Education recognizes the importance of school attendance. Therefore, suspension from school must be viewed as a last resort in dealing with student disciplinary infractions. The Board also recognizes the need to remove unruly or disruptive students from the regular class so that learning can take place in the classrooms. 

The Board directs the Superintendent of Schools to develop an in-school suspension program. The program should provide appropriate supervision in the in-school suspension rooms and guidelines for the imposition of an in-school suspension. 

See Board Policy 5313.2 

c) The responsibility for student dress and general appearance rests with individual students and parents. However, the Board of Education requires students, employees and visitors to attend school in appropriate dress that meets health and safety standards and does not interfere with the learning process. The Board also requires students, employees and visitors to wear appropriate protective gear in certain classes (e.g., home economics, shop, P.E.). In addition, the Board prohibits attire bearing an expression or insignia which is obscene or libelous, which advocates racial or religious prejudice, or which displays and/or encourages the use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco. 

See Board Policy 5311.5 

Procedures by Which Violations Are Reported, Determined, Discipline Measures Imposed and Discipline Measures Carried Out

  1. a) The Board of Education believes that each student can be expected to be responsible for his/her own behavior. The school administration shall develop and disseminate rules of conduct, focusing on personal safety and respect for the rights and property of others to be consistently applied in the classrooms and through the schools. Students who fail to meet this expected degree of responsibility and violate school rules will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and more regulated supervision

Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with a problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that is fair and impartial. Therefore, before seeking outside assistance, teachers will first use all their positive resources to create a change of behavior in the classroom

Disciplinary action, when necessary, will be firm, fair, and consistent in order to be most effective in changing behavior

  1. b) Early Identification and Resolution of Student Discipline Problems

    Pupil service personnel, administrators, teachers and others will report students to the Building Principals when they believe such students present a discipline problem. If the Principal suspects that the problem may be manifestation of a disability, he/she will refer the matter to the Committee on Special Education in the manner prescribed by the Commissioners Regulations and by district policy

  1. c) Individualsoffcampus behavior which jeopardizes the safety and/or welfare of school staff and students, and/or damages property and has a nexus to a disruption of the educational process will face disciplinary action in a manner consistent with school practices and procedures

This includes but is not limited to use of the internet, social media, alcohol and/or drugs, violence, harassment, and other infractions that violate the New York State Penal Law. Posts on the internet or via social media applications may rise to this level especially in the context of mean, vulgar or threatening messages or images; promoting violence; posting sensitive, private information about another person; or pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad

  1. d) Discipline Policy for Students with Disabilities 

Students with disabilities will be suspended in accordance with the procedures established under applicable federal and state law and regulation

See Board Policies 5310, 5311 

The Board of Education assures that students of the district shall have all the rights afforded them by federal and state constitutions and statutes. The district recognizes all federal, state and local laws in connection with these rights and reminds students that certain responsibilities accompany the rights they are given

See Board Policy 5313.3R 

Provisions Ensuring this Code and the Enforcement Thereof Are in Compliance with State and Federal Laws Relating to Students with Disabilities

Discipline issues regarding students with disabilities under Section 504 will be referred to the appropriate Section 504 accommodation team for processing. Code of Conduct issues pertaining to students classified under IDEA will be referred to the Committee for Special Education.

Provisions Setting Forth the Procedures by Which Local Law Enforcement Agencies Shall Be Notified of Code Violations Which Constitute a Crime

In accordance with consultation with local law enforcement, it is the districts understanding that the following types of conduct are generally referable to law enforcement as crimes

1. forcible sexual offenses 2. use or possession of weapons 3. drug offenses 4. assaults resulting in serious physical injury 5. serious threat which a reasonable person would perceive as placing a person or persons in danger 6. creation, possession or distribution of sexually explicit, nude or seminude images or videos of individuals under the age of 18

The usual contact between the district and law enforcement parties will be the school resource officer

See Board Policy 5313

Provisions Setting Forth the Circumstances under and Procedures by Which Persons in Parental Relation to the Student Shall Be Notified of Code Violations

Notification of persons in parental relation of the fact that a code violation has occurred will be accomplished in accordance with the procedure for removal of disruptive students and the due process rights of students referenced above

Provisions Setting Forth the Circumstances under and Procedures by Which a Complaint in Criminal Court, a Juvenile Delinquency Petition or Person in Need of Supervision Petition as Defined in Articles Three and Seven of the Family Court Act Will Be Filed

The district will observe all applicable procedures under the Family Court Act for filing of PINS petitions, Juvenile Delinquency petitions and it will follow the appropriate sections of Penal Law and Criminal Procedure Law and other statutes for filing criminal complaints. 

See Board Policy 5161

Circumstances under and Procedures by Which Referral to Appropriate Human Service Agencies Shall Be Made

Referrals to appropriate home service agencies will be provided through a list maintained by the Orange County Youth Bureau and distributed by the Special Education Department. This list may be made available to parents where appropriate.

 A Minimum Suspension Period, for Students Who Repeatedly Are Substantially Disruptive of the 

Educational Process or Substantially Interfere with the Teacher’s Authority over the Classroom, Provided That the Suspending Authority May Reduce Such Period on a Case by Case Basis to Be Consistent with Any Other State and Federal Law. For Purposes of this Section, the Definition of “Repeatedly Are Substantially Disruptive” Shall Be Determined in Accordance with the Regulations of the Commissioner

Where a student engaged in conduct which would define that student as “repeatedly, substantially disruptive” (e.g., engaging in disruptive conduct requiring removal from classroom on four or more occasions during a semester), minimum suspension will be two days subject to modification on a case-by case basis based upon the particular circumstances present. 

A Minimum Suspension Period for Acts That Would Qualify the Pupil to Be Defined as a Violent Pupil Pursuant to Paragraph “a” of Subdivision 2-a of $ 3214 of the Education Law, Provided That the Suspending Authority May Reduce Such Period on a Case by Case Basis to Be Consistent with Any Other State and Federal Law

Where a student engaged in conduct which would define that student as “violent” (e.g., engaging in violent conduct requiring removal from classroom on four or more occasions during a semester), minimum suspension will be three days subject to modification on a case-by-case basis based upon the particular circumstances present.

Dress Code

Students are expected to attend school in appropriate type apparel. Halter tops, tube tops, bare midriffs, revealing sheer clothing, tight shorts, short-shorts, low-riding pants, tight high-slit skirts, pajamas, may be considered to be inappropriate for males and females. Chains of any kind, spiked collars, rivets, wrist bands, oversized rings, etc. are PROHIBITED and MAY be confiscated. Students are also PROHIBITED from wearing clothing containing drugs, alcohol, sex-related topics, double meanings, profanity, vulgarity, inflammatory obscene language/ pictures/ symbols. Students may not wear hats, hoods or bandanas in the school other than for religious or safety purposes. Students may wear headscarves or head wraps. Students will be issued a warning and continued violations of said rule may be met with disciplinary action. Various colored bandanas, worn on belts, pants, pockets, as headbands etc., are expressly forbidden, given their association with gang activity. Students are prohibited from using, wearing, depicting, possessing or displaying the Confederate flag or its likeness, except when they are used as part of the curriculum and approved by a teacher or administrator. 

Students are PROHIBITED from wearing violence-inspired clothing on school grounds, specifically any dress or appearance which encourages and/or advocates violence and/or illegal and/or violent activities and/or violent crimes. No outer garments should be worn around school (i.e. jackets, coats, 3/4 coats, gloves, etc.) for health and safety reasons. Due to safety concerns, all students are PROHIBITED from wearing the following items but not limited to: face paint, masks, wigs, helmets, full body costumes, and/or other materials or accessories that may prevent school personnel from properly identifying a student.

The standards of dress will prevail at all times including examination periods and other activities planned for inside the building. Be advised that administration reserves the right to challenge any student’s dress or appearance which, in the judgment of a school administrator, may cause a material or substantial disruption to the educational process and/or create a health and safety hazard. In such cases, students will be given an appropriate shirt issued by administrator or may be sent home to change their clothing. A student who refuses to comply with a principal’s request or designee’s directive may be subject to disciplinary action.