Definitions – Key words and phrases used throughout the Code are defined in this section. These include: disruptive student; parent; school property; school functions; violent student; and weapon (Code of Conduct, Page 2)
Student Rights and Responsibilities – Students have the right to a safe, healthy, orderly and civil environment and are entitled to have the opportunity to learn and participate in school activities free from discrimination or harassment of any nature. In turn, students must conduct themselves in a manner conducive to learning. This includes attending school on a daily basis and working to the best of their abilities. They are expected to cooperate with each other, all school personnel, and parents in order to maintain a climate which enables them to succeed in their academic pursuits, and in which they demonstrate respect for themselves and all members of the school community. Further, students are expected to accept responsibility for their actions and seek appropriate help in solving problems in the school setting.
(Code of Conduct, Pages 3-4)
Participation of Essential Partners – Parents, teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, student assistant counselors, school social workers, principals, the Superintendent, and the Board of Education should cooperate with one another and with the students to facilitate adherence to the Code of Conduct and promote student’s academic achievement, self-esteem and good citizenship. This section details the expected behavior and actions of the essential partners. (Code of Conduct, Pages 4-8)
Appropriate Dress – Students are expected to use good judgment and follow the guidelines established in the Code of Conduct concerning proper attire for school and school functions. Students must demonstrate good hygiene and wear clothing that is suitable for attending class or a particular school activity or function, and that does not denigrate others or promote illegal, violent, or inappropriate sexual activity. (Code of Conduct, Pages 9-10)
Prohibited Student Conduct – Students shall not engage in any conduct that is disruptive to the educational process or endangers the health and safety of themselves or others. It is mandatory that students are knowledgeable of prohibited behaviors set forth in the Code of Conduct and that the violation of the Code of Conduct shall result in disciplinary measures commensurate with the misconduct. Students may be disciplined for infractions that occur in school buildings, on school property or school vehicles, and at school related functions on or off school property.
(Code of Conduct, Pages 10-14)
Reporting Violations – Students should promptly report violations of others to appropriate personnel as provided for in the Code of Conduct, and should immediately report incidents involving possession or use of a weapon, alcohol, or illegal substances on campus. The building principal must report to the law enforcement agency, acts that may be felonies, acts of violence resulting in physical injury, bomb threats, possession of alcohol or drugs, or other serious offenses that may constitute a crime, as soon as practical. It is a violation of the Code of Conduct to retaliate against any individual who reports a disciplinary infraction. (Code of Conduct, Page 14)
Disciplinary Penalties, Procedures and Referrals – District staff members that are authorized to impose disciplinary penalties shall do so in a prompt, fair and lawful manner. Except in cases where the disciplinary violation involves drugs, weapons, violence or injury, discipline will be progressive – the penalty for the first offense will be lighter than for subsequent violations. The disciplinary procedures and penalty for a student with a disability shall depend on the nature of the offense, and whether the infraction was related to the student’s disability as determined by the Committee for Special Education. The severity of the disciplinary penalties may range from oral or written warnings, detention, suspension from transportation, extracurricular activities and other privileges, in-school suspension, and teacher removal from classroom, to short and long term out-of-school suspension and permanent suspension from school. The Superintendent shall have the authority to take additional disciplinary measures in appropriate cases as defined in the Code of Conduct. Students who are suspended from school must be provided with alternative instruction.
Pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), students with disabilities must be referred to the C.S.E. if the disciplinary action contemplated is a suspension of more than ten (10) days or if cumulative days of suspension including the current proposed suspension exceed ten (10) days and constitute a pattern of behavior. The C.S.E. will then determine whether the behavior is a manifestation of the disability. If the behavior is not determined a manifestation, then the student may be disciplined in the same manner as non-disabled students. In addition, students with disabilities may be placed in an Interim Alternative Education Setting (IAES) if the misconduct involves weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances or if the student poses a danger to himself or others as determined by an impartial hearing officer. Parents and students, if appropriate, should consult the Code of Conduct and the Notice of Procedural Safeguards setting for the due process rights of students with disabilities and their parents.
Under the Federal Guns Free School Act (GFSA), students who are found to be in possession of a weapon (as defined in the GFSA) on school property (including school vehicles) or at school-related functions, with the requisite due process protections shall be expelled from school for at least one year. Students with disabilities shall be disciplined in accordance with GFSA, IDEA and Article 89 of the New York State Education Law.
There may be circumstances in which the usual disciplinary procedures may not be appropriate. In such cases students may be referred for counseling by the principal, authorized District personnel may commence a Pupils in Need of Supervision (PINS) proceeding, or the Superintendent may be required to refer a student to the County Attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding in Family Court under circumstances set forth in the Code of Conduct.
Police or other law enforcement officials have limited authority to conduct investigations or interview students on school premises. Students may only be questioned by police or other law enforcement officers in the presence of a parent and the school principal or designee.
Corporal (physical) punishment is prohibited. However, in extreme circumstances where a student must be restrained by reasonable physical force to protect themselves or others, a District employee may take such action and must immediately report same. (Code of Conduct, Pages 32-33)
Due Process– Students are entitled to due process in accordance with the nature of the proposed penalty. In all cases, students will be advised of the alleged misconduct and have the opportunity to present their versions of the facts. The specific procedures for student discipline are provided in the Code of Conduct and students are urged to familiarize themselves with the Code. Students and parents should be aware that classroom teachers are authorized to discipline students by removing them from the classroom for up to one day and are advised to consult the Code of Conduct as to the specific procedures which will be followed.
Child Protective Services Investigations – School officials are obligated to report suspected abuse or maltreatment of a student in accordance with the provisions of the Child Protective Services Act of 1973, Section 412 of the Social Services Law and Section 1012 of the New York State Family Court Act which is set forth in the Code of Conduct.
Visitors to the Schools – Visitors to the schools must register in the principal’s office, obtain a visitor’s pass, and sign out when they leave the building, except if they are in the school building for a function that is open to the public. Visitors shall conduct their business in a manner that is not disruptive to the educational process and shall abide by the rules for public conduct. Visitors shall be warned of any such violation, and if the misconduct does not abate, the administrative officer designated by the Superintendent shall be authorized to eject such persons from the premises or if such cannot be accomplished with reasonable expediency and safety, to enlist the assistance of public authorities. Members of the public are urged to familiarize themselves with the rules of public conduct and the procedures and penalties that apply to persons who violate said rules set forth in the Code of Conduct. (Code of Conduct, Pages 37-38)
Dissemination and Review of the Code of Conduct – Students shall be provided with a copy of this summary at a general assembly at the beginning of the school year and a copy shall be mailed to all parents of District students before the school year begins.
Copies of the full Code of Conduct and this summary shall be available for review by students, parents, and community members at the Ramapo Central Administrative Offices located at 45 Mountain Avenue in Hillburn, New York. The Code of Conduct will also be available on the District website at www.ramapocentral.org. All current teachers and staff members shall be provided with a copy of the full Code of Conduct and any amendments thereto as soon as practical after adoption. Newly hired employees shall also be given a copy of the full Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct shall be reviewed by the Board of Education every year and shall be amended as necessary after at least one public hearing.
The full Code of Conduct addresses the following areas:
Definitions Student Rights and Responsibilities Essential Partners Student Dress Code Prohibited Student Conduct Reporting Violations Disciplinary Penalties, Procedures and Referrals Alternative Instruction Discipline of Students with Disabilities Corporal Punishment Student Searches and Interrogations Visitors to Schools Public Conduct on School Property Dissemination and Review Updates Effective in the 2014-2015 School Year Include Information on the Following Topics: Copyright Infringement Inappropriate Use of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Use of Social Media Which Has an Adverse Impact on the School Environment