Code of Conduct - Adopted 2020-21
You can access a PDF version of our Code of Conduct here, if you would like a printed copy, please reach out to your student's main office.
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District Code of Conduct
Table of Contents
Roles of the School Community Members: Rights and Responsibilities
Additional Policies (Law Enforcement, PINS, Juvenile Offenders, Corporal Punishment, Searches & Investigations)
1) Superintendent’s Message
Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) Central School District is committed to providing a high-quality education to all our students, in a safe and healthy environment. As we continue into the 2021-2022 school year, I encourage each student to push themselves to reach their fullest potential. We know there is greatness within every student, and our administrators, teachers and staff are committed to providing the opportunities and challenges needed to ensure student success.
The 2021-2022 Student Code of Conduct provides expectations for student behavior that supports personal growth and promotes student learning. As you will see, there are updates to this year’s code, so we ask parents/guardians and students to carefully read each page and familiarize themselves with the responsibilities and expectations that we believe will result in a successful school year. We encourage parents/guardians and students to discuss the Code of Conduct so that they both are fully aware of how we can create a positive learning environment and experience for all students.
The Student Code of Conduct is available online here. If there are updates to the code during the school year, they will be available there also. Please contact your child’s principal if you have questions about policies and procedures.
Parental/Guardian involvement is imperative to student success and we thank you for your partnership in pursuing our vision of 100 percent student success. We are truly a team and together we can ensure that students who graduate from RCS are prepared for college, career and life.
Dr. Brian Bailey, Ed.D.
This Code of Conduct addresses the development of student character as well as student conduct. The code, in conjunction with the district safety plan, contains standards and procedures that assure the security and safety of students and school personnel.
The Board of Education of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (RCS) Central School District recognizes the need to:
Clearly define the expectations for acceptable conduct on school property and in school-related activities;
Ensure that schools provide equal access to a wide range of supports and interventions that promote positive behavior;
Help students develop self-discipline and social and emotional life skills;
Enable students to improve and correct inappropriate, unacceptable and unsafe behaviors;
Identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct; and
Ensure that when discipline is necessary, it is administered promptly and equitably.
The following principles form the foundation for creating safe, healthy and supportive learning environments. These principles will guide school district staff, students and families, and community partners in the shared work of ensuring positive school environments and improved student outcomes.
The Code of Conduct is built on these key principles:
Adults, including teachers, principals, administrators, school staff, parents/guardians and the larger community, have an obligation to help students learn to be good citizens and lead productive lives by:
Teaching them to discern right from wrong.
Fostering in them the desire to do what is right.
Encouraging them to take responsibility for their words and actions.
Modeling positive behaviors in all situations.
Student discipline and support policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are respectful and equitable. Interactions between and among district and school staff, students and parents/guardians are expected to protect the dignity of each individual.
Improving educational outcomes for all students requires that schools provide support at three levels of care and instruction throughout the whole school: in classrooms, in small groups, and with individual students and families.
A multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is aimed at addressing the root causes of students’ academic and behavioral challenges. Prevention and intervention strategies may include differentiated academic instruction and support; student support services and programs to address personal and family circumstances; explicit social and emotional skill instruction and practice, such as conflict resolution, peer mediation, anger management, communication skill building; behavior replacement strategies; and other restorative interventions that may include discipline circles and family group conferencing.
Student discipline and support policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are perceived to be fair, equitable, and differentiated. Differentiated responses must occur within a larger framework of fair and equitable practices under which all students are treated fairly without favor toward or prejudice against any one group.
Student discipline and support policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are enforceable, viable and effective. The district must ensure that all stated rules, policies, consequences, and interventions meet legal parameters, are sustainable within the capacity of the school, and result in desired outcomes in future student behaviors.
The Code of Conduct supports the use of a leveled system of interventions and consequences addressing inappropriate, unacceptable, and unsafe behaviors, with the ultimate goal of teaching positive behaviors and strengthening students’ personal, social and academic efficacy. A leveled student discipline and student support system emphasizes both student accountability and behavioral change. The goal is the prevention of a recurrence of unacceptable behavior by helping students to:
Learn from their mistakes;
Understand why the behavior is unacceptable;
Acknowledge the harm that they have caused or the negative impact of their actions;
Understand what they could have done differently in the situation;
Take responsibility for their actions;
Be given the opportunity to learn strategies and skills to use in the future; and
Understand that more intensive consequences and interventions will take place if unacceptable behaviors persist.
Inappropriate behavior or violations of the Code of Conduct may be symptomatic of more serious concerns that students are experiencing. It is, therefore, 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. Every reasonable effort should be made to correct student misbehavior through guided interventions.
Effective schools promote and model mutual respect, high-quality professionalism and transparent accountability based on trust among and between administration, staff, students, and families.
The district values a culture based on high expectations, respect, and shared accountability. At the heart of a healthy school culture is the commitment of all staff to take responsibility for the healthy development of students and model the skills, behaviors and mindsets they seek to cultivate in children and young people. To this end, school staff, teachers and administrators are encouraged to set high expectations for student success, build positive relationships with students and teach and model for students how to behave successfully and safely in all school settings.
3) Roles of the School Community Members: Rights & Responsibilities
Obtain a quality education that will provide you the opportunity to be college and career ready;
Attend school in an environment that is safe, promotes learning and encourages respect;
Be treated fairly and with respect by fellow students and school staff;
Participate, be welcomed and be engaged in district activities;
Access the processes and procedures described in the Code of Conduct and the New York State Education Law when facing a disciplinary issue.
Have access to information about concerns you might be facing, such as substance abuse, anxiety, depression, or outside-of-school conflict, as well as access to individuals or agencies that can help you or your family members;
Be protected from intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on factors which include, but are not limited to: actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, sex, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
Provide regular feedback about school culture and climate, participate in leadership opportunities, and have a voice in improving the school for the future.
Meet the standards of behavior in the Code of Conduct and follow school-specific rules.
Attend school regularly and be on time to school and class.
Accept directions, requests, feedback and support respectfully and thoughtfully from adults.
Be truthful about and accountable for your words and actions.
Conduct yourself to the highest standards of conduct, behavior and sportsmanship.
Demonstrate self-discipline by making responsible behavioral and academic choices.
Accept consequences when they are assigned.
Make an effort to correct and improve unsafe behavior, with the support of teachers and staff.
Dress appropriately for school and school functions.
Work to the best of your ability in all academic and extracurricular activities.
Be prepared to learn, seek help when needed and ask questions when you do not understand.
Bring an open mind and positive attitude to learning every day, and challenge yourself.
Treat others and express your thoughts with kindness, care and respect.
Listen politely when others are speaking to you.
Respect others’ personal space and property and keep your hands to yourself.
Work with others cooperatively in large and small groups.
Use school technology appropriately as directed by adults.
Contribute to the safety and well-being of our school community and help keep it free of violence, intimidation, bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Ask for assistance when you need help resolving conflicts and differences.
Report violations of the Code of Conduct or other school rules.
Parent, Guardian or Caregiver Rights
Be an active partner in your child’s education.
Be treated courteously, fairly and respectfully by all school staff and principals.
Receive ongoing information about the policies of the RCS and procedures that relate to your child’s education.
Receive prompt and clear notification about:
inappropriate or disruptive behaviors by your child and any disciplinary actions taken by principals or school staff;
incidents that may impact your child;
due process procedures for disciplinary matters concerning your child, including information on conferences, hearings, and appeals.
Be contacted immediately if it is believed that your child has committed a crime and police are summoned.
Collaborate with school staff to find ways to best support your child’s academic or behavioral progress, including, but not limited to: counseling, intervention services, after-school programs, academic programs and mental health services within the school district and in the community.
Obtain information about services for students with disabilities and English language learners.
Receive regular reports (written or oral) from school staff regarding your child’s academic progress or behavior, including but not limited to report cards, behavior progress reports and conferences.
Participate in shared decision making committees, provide feedback, and engage in other opportunities that help shape the educational environment and school climate for students.
Parent, Guardian or Caregiver Responsibilities
Collaborate with school staff to support the education of your child.
Read and become familiar with the RCS Code of Conduct.
Help your child understand how to abide by the rules in the Code of Conduct and their purpose in maintaining a safe, orderly environment.
Provide updated contact information to the your child’s school in order to promote open communication between home and school;
Inform school officials and/or staff of changes in the home situation that may affect student conduct or performance.
Ensure your child attends school regularly, is on time and that any absences are excused;
Partner with the school to support expectations of academic achievement and appropriate behavior in school and in the community.
Contribute to a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students and staff personnel regardless of, among other things, actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex in accordance with Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).
Tell school officials about any concerns or complaints in a respectful and timely manner;
Work with principals and school staff to address any academic or behavioral problems your child may experience;
Encourage your child to do their best in both in-school and out-of-school assignments;
Be respectful and courteous to staff, other parents/guardians and students while on school premises.
RCS Staff Members Rights
Work in a safe and orderly environment;
Be treated courteously, fairly, and respectfully by students, parents or guardians and other school staff;
Receive supportive professional development and training related to student social-emotional health and behaviors;
Receive the necessary resources to support social-emotional wellness.
RCS Staff Member Responsibilities
Promote and maintain a climate of mutual respect and dignity for all students regardless of, among other things, actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex, which will strengthen students’ self-concept and promote confidence to learn.
Know school policies and rules, and enforce them in a fair and consistent manner.
Maintain confidentiality in conformity with federal and state law.
Participate in school-wide efforts to provide adequate supervision in all school spaces.
Address issues of harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student, school employee or other person who is lawfully on school property or at a school function.
Reflect on possible personal biases that may prevent equal treatment of all students in the school or classroom setting.
Assist students in coping with peer pressure and emerging personal, social and emotional problems;
Initiate or participate in student-centered conferences, involving guardians as necessary, as a way to resolve problems
Be respectful and courteous to students, colleagues, and guardians, serving as role models for students
Additional Responsibilities of the RCS Teaching Staff:
Expectations for students;
The progressive classroom discipline plan to students and parents/guardians;
Regularly with students, parents/guardians and other teachers concerning social-emotional wellness.
Follow district and school-created procedures and protocols for progressive classroom discipline.
Work closely with and support administration and teaching support staff in developing and implementing supports for sustained improvements for social-emotional wellness for all students.
Additional Responsibilities of the RCS School Administrators:
Develop and maintain a process that allows for teachers and students to provide ongoing feedback and vocalize concerns regarding social-emotional wellness, student behaviors, and school climate/culture;
Encourage regular opportunities for students to participate in community service and other civic-minded opportunities that foster social-emotional skills;
Disseminate the Code of Conduct and anti-harassment policies;
Enforce the Code of Conduct and resolve all disciplinary matters promptly and equitably, ensuring adherence to:
Policies of the Board of Education
Administrative regulations and rules
Federal and state laws and regulations about the disciplinary process for students, including students with disabilities
Other legal rights of students, guardians, and teachers
Communicate policies, expectations and concerns, and respond to complaints or concerns from students and parents or guardians in a timely manner in understandable language;
Refer students to the appropriate district committees and/or outside entities when additional support is necessary;
Oversee the process of providing alternative education for students with lawful (excused) absences, including those students who are absent for disciplinary reasons;
Comply with DASA and district protocols for responding to any alleged incidents of discrimination and harassment in a timely manner.
Ensure the proper collection and documentation of social-emotional and behavioral data in order to maintain timely and accurate reporting to district, state and federal agencies.
Facilitate supportive professional development and training related to student social-emotional health and behavior.
4) Reporting a Concern or Incident
Student Problem at School
If a student has a concern related to discipline, security, personal safety or welfare, or vandalism please:
Tell the nearest teacher or adult staff member. Tell them exactly what has happened or what has been observed happening to someone else. Concerns related to discipline, security and personal safety are considered very serious and will be held confidential to the greatest extent possible.
If the student cannot, in a timely manner, tell a teacher of their concern … email …
Make an appointment to the principal or assistant principal if the student feels that administrative support is necessary. The student may also prefer to speak to a counselor or other support staff person, if the incident is making them anxious or uncomfortable.
Discuss the concern with guardians. It is important that the student or family notify the teaching or administrative staff if concerns have not already been communicated to school staff members. Please be assured that all conversations are confidential.
Bullying, discrimination, or harassment
Bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation, hazing and bias behaviors are unsafe and do not reflect respect for others as defined by the Code of Conduct. If a student is a target of one of these behaviors, please refer to district Policy #7552 - Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). Incidents may be reported using the DASA Incident Report Form, available on the school website or in the main office or the counseling office of your school. Students may also verbally report alleged incidents of bullying and harassment to staff members, who will respond quickly and provide a practical, private and safe place to report.
The administrator will follow the processes established in this Code of Conduct for students who require progressive discipline. The student(s) who has been affected by these behaviors will receive support from a student support service staff member or other school personnel to ensure the student feels safe and supported. If needed, a plan may be constructed for the student(s) and staff to follow that promotes ongoing communication, timely response, and continued support.
5) Levels of Interventions and Responses
Determining disciplinary responses and consequences
Disciplinary responses will be firm, fair and consistent to ensure equity and promote positive impacts on future student behavior. School officials will consult this document when determining whether a disciplinary response is warranted and identifying which responses best address inappropriate, unacceptable and unsafe behaviors.
The following factors will be considered prior to determining appropriate consequences and interventions:
The student’s age and maturity;
The student’s disciplinary record (including the nature of any prior misconduct, the number of prior instances of misconduct and effectiveness of interventions applied in prior behavior violations);
The nature, severity and scope of the infraction;
The circumstances/context in which the conduct occurred;
The frequency and duration of the behavior;
The number of persons involved in the behavior;
Information from parents/guardians, teachers and student’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan), BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) and 504 Accommodation Plan, if applicable; and/or
Other extenuating circumstances.
Multiple incidents or chronic violations of the same behavior will warrant more intensive interventions and more serious consequences.
The interventions and consequences that are aligned with each level represent a menu of responses. Teachers and administrators can select one or more responses in each level. Administrators, teachers and student support teams are not expected to select and use all interventions in each level.
Administrators, teachers and student support teams may also use a lower-level intervention when it is appropriate. They will strive to match students with interventions that are the least intensive, while being the most effective. Interventions will be progress-monitored and adjusted based on student response.
Teacher Removal of a Student from the Classroom:
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 use redirection prompts and reminders or a quick check-in conference to support the student’s re-engagement.
When an elementary or secondary student is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with a teacher’s authority over the classroom, the teacher may remove a student from the classroom using the following protocol after other interventions have been attempted:
When removing a student from the classroom, the teacher must explain to the student the reason for the removal and give the student an opportunity to respond, unless there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the student(s) or teacher. In the event that there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the student(s) or teacher, the teacher shall provide the student with an explanation of the basis for the removal and an informal opportunity to be heard within twenty-four hours of the student’s removal.
The teacher should promptly contact the school office and, when appropriate, the student should be escorted from the classroom for intake by school staff or an administrator.
The teacher must promptly submit a Discipline Referral, or if unable to do so, must provide the office with essential details about the reason for the removal, including safety concerns.
The teacher must complete the Discipline Referral form by the end of the school day, including details about what happened prior to the removal, as well as any prior responses or interventions that the teacher has implemented for similar behaviors/incidents.
The referring teacher should contact the parent/guardian regarding the incident and the reason for removal.
For students in Pre-kindergarten-Grade 5, an administrator determines the appropriate amount of time out of class. It is recommended that the time not exceed 45 minutes unless the seriousness of the incident leads to a disciplinary consequence of an extended removal from classes or school.
For students in Grades 6-12, the removal from class extends to the end of the period, unless the seriousness of the incident leads to a disciplinary consequence of an extended removal from classes or school.
The administrator must fully investigate the incident within 24 hours, including hearing the teacher’s and student’s version of the incident. If additional disciplinary actions are warranted, the administrator will complete all accompanying documentation.
Removal of a student with a disability under certain circumstances may constitute a change in the student’s placement. Accordingly, no teacher may remove a student with a disability from his or her class until they have verified with the principal that the removal will not violate the student’s rights under state or federal law or regulation.
Techniques intended to give a student the opportunity to regain his or her composure and self-control in order to return to the classroom ready to learn do not constitute a disciplinary removal. These may include strategies such as providing the student with a brief break in an alternative setting or providing the student with an opportunity to speak briefly with a student support team member.
Break Time - Sometimes students need a break that allows for them to “cool down.” This intervention allows a student to reflect on behavior and to encourage self-awareness and self-regulation by promoting the making of better choices and decisions. Examples of this include “Sensory Breaks” (ie. providing time for sensory interventions) and “in-class” or “out-of-class” breaks, such as taking a walk, deep breathing, etc. Breaks should last 2-5 minutes. If a student regularly utilizes breaks and/or the need for breaks increases, formal behavioral plans may be necessary to better support the student.
Time Out (#7700) - A “timeout” is an intervention for elementary students who may need direct supervision due to behaviors that may result in harm to oneself or others. Time-out locations are available for this intervention to occur. If utilization of a timeout space occurs more than twice, Functional Behavior Analysis and Behavior Improvement Plan and/or a Crisis Plan processes should be implemented. Timeouts vary in time; dependent on the needs of the student. Follow-up from a timeout incident includes the completion of a “timeout” form by a supervising staff member, parent/guardian contact by the principal, and an examination by the school nurse.
Detention is assigned by administrators as part of progressive discipline. Detention is the assignment of a student to a quiet supervised area for a designated time.
Elementary Detention - Occurs during lunch time and allows the student to reflect on inappropriate behavior. Students may be asked to complete a reflection activity or work on academic assignments.
Middle School and High School Detention - May occur during school lunch time or after the instructional day. For after school detention, parents/guardians should be notified in order for transportation to be scheduled. Assignment to detention is serious and should take precedence over all school-related activities. Failure to attend on the assigned day will result in further disciplinary consequences, included but not limited to a parent/guardian conference.
In-School Placement (ISP)
The board recognizes the school must balance the need of students to attend school and the need for a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. As such, the board authorizes building principals and the superintendent to place students who would otherwise be suspended from school as the result of a Code of Conduct violation in “in-school placement.” In-School Placement (ISP) is an alternative placement for teaching and support for a specified period of time, other than the assigned classroom, as a consequence for behavior
A student subjected to an in-school placement is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent/guardian will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the in-school placement to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Procedures for a student receiving ISP may vary based on individual school buildings and the capacity to run ISP effectively. For schools who utilize an ISP program, the following should occur:
Building Principal/Assistant Principal
Receive notification from staff members of a student’s behavioral concern. The behavioral concern should be recorded in the disciplinary referral in a timely manner. The building principal should meet with the student (and staff as appropriate) to discuss the behavioral issue;
Assign a student to ISP immediately if an alternative placement is needed to maintain safety and order or to allow for time to investigate the behavioral issue;
Assign a student to ISP on a future date as a component of progressive discipline;
Notify pertinent staff that the student has been placed in ISP and that they should send appropriate work;
Notify the parents/guardian that the student has been/will be placed in ISP.
Must write a disciplinary referral in the school management system within 24 hours;
Provide work for students. Students who receive modifications should receive modifications to the greatest extent possible;
Provide students with related services (ie. OT/PT) should continue to receive related services;
Contact parent/guardian with the intent to remedy the issue(s); especially if the student was referred by the staff member.
Receive notification of assignment to ISP;
Receive communication from reporting staff members to discuss the behavioral concern and how the student will achieve future academic success.
Reflect on behavior and participate in restorative practices or social learning;
Participate in re-integration (ie. returning to the classroom) conversations;
Complete academic assignments to the greatest extent possible.
Suspension from School
The board retains its authority to suspend a student from instruction, but places primary responsibility for the suspension of a student with the Superintendent and building principals.
When an incident has occurred that warrants possible suspension, the following protocol must be followed pursuant to Education Law §3214(3):
The referring staff member will complete a Discipline Referral as soon after the incident as possible, no later than the end of the school day. If immediate completion of the referral is not possible, the staff member must provide the office with essential details about the reason for the removal, including safety concerns.
The administrator will gather the facts relevant to the matter and record them for subsequent presentation if necessary.
If the administrator determines that a suspension of five (5) days or fewer is warranted, the administrator must immediately notify the student orally. If the student denies the misconduct, the administrator must provide an explanation of the basis for the proposed suspension.
An opportunity for an informal conference must take place before the student is suspended unless the student’s presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process
The administrator will notify the student’s parent/guardian that the student may be suspended from school:
Written notice must be provided in person, by certified mail, or another means that can reasonably assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the decision to propose suspension.
The notice must be in the dominant language of the guardian.
The notice shall provide a description of the nature of the incident, the charges against the student, and inform guardians of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the administrator.
When possible, the above information should also be communicated to the guardian by phone.
If a conference is requested, the administrator will schedule it with the guardian prior to the onset of the suspension, unless the student’s presence in school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process. In such cases, the conference will be scheduled as soon as practicable.
At the conference, if requested, the guardian shall be permitted to ask questions of complaining witnesses under such procedures as the district has established.
After the conference, the administrator will promptly inform the guardian in writing of the decision to impose or dismiss the suspension. If the guardian is not satisfied with the decision, they may file a written appeal to the superintendent within 5 business days.
The superintendent will issue a written response to the appeal within 10 business days of its receipt.
Guardians may contest the superintendent’s decision to the Board of Education by sending a written appeal to the district clerk within 10 days of the issuance of the superintendent’s decision.
Only final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Education Department within 30 days of the decision.
If, after a suspension from school of five days or fewer has been imposed, the administrator determines that a suspension for more than five days may be warranted, the student and the student’s guardians shall be given reasonable written notice of their right to a fair hearing.
The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the parameters set forth under the Education Law, including but not limited to Education Law Section 3214.
If the student is suspended for more than 5 days the building administrator will take immediate steps to provide alternative means of instruction for the student in accordance with law and/or District practice.
If the student is suspended, the building administrator will establish a reentry transition meeting. This meeting often includes the principal or assistant principal, the parent and/or the student. The principal will review school and classroom expectations and may provide a more formalized, tiered support as part of the student’s reentry, such as regularly meeting with a “check-in” person, participation in restorative circles, etc. School support personnel may also be involved (ie. school counselor, social worker, etc.) to discuss any formal behavior plan.
Suspension from Transportation
Student misconduct on a bus can create significant safety issues for the bus driver and other students. Bus drivers can use strategies such as reminders, redirection and assigned seats to respond to inappropriate bus conduct. If those techniques are not successful or the behavior is chronic or egregious, the following protocol will be followed:
The bus driver or representative from the Transportation Department will complete a Discipline Referral.
The building administrator will conduct an investigation and process the referral in the same timely manner as for incidents that occur within the building.
If the student’s conduct is creating a safety issue, the administrator may suspend the student’s bus riding privileges. The student’s guardian will become responsible for ensuring that their child gets to and from school safely.
A student subjected to a suspension from transportation is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent/guardian will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the administrator to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
Suspension from athletic participation, extracurricular activities and other privileges
A student subjected to a suspension from athletic participation, extracurricular activities or other privileges is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law §3214. However, the student and the student’s parent/guardian will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the district official imposing the suspension to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved. Refer to Board of Education Policies #7110 and #7420, Interscholastic Athletics.
Preventative Strategies & Levels of Response
The RCS Code of Conduct utilizes a four-level system of support and responses that emphasizes both student accountability and behavioral change. The goal is preventing the recurrence of unacceptable behavior by helping students to:
Learn from their mistakes;
Understand why the behavior is unacceptable;
Acknowledge the harm that they have caused or the negative impact of their actions;
Understand what they could have done differently in the situation;
Take responsibility for their actions;
Have the opportunity to learn and practice social strategies and skills to use in the future; and
Understand that more intensive consequences and interventions will take place if unacceptable behaviors persist.
The levels provide a variety of strategies, interventions, and consequences for teachers and administrators to use in response to specific code of conduct violations. The more serious and/or frequent the violation, the higher the level of response.
Level 1 responses incorporate universal school and classroom practices that promote the development and practice of social behaviors, self-discipline, habits of scholarship and health and well-being. Through monitoring and prompt responses, teachers aim to prevent minor discipline problems from becoming major disciplinary incidents.
Level 2 responses involve targeted interventions and assigned consequences when a behavior violation warrants a more focused response, or when the Level 1 responses have been applied consistently and student behavior has not improved.
Level 3 and Level 4 responses involve intensive, individualized interventions and/or immediate, significant consequences for behavior violations that seriously jeopardize school and classroom safety and order. Students who are experiencing high-risk or pervasive behavioral, academic, and physical and mental health concerns should receive interventions in addition to, or sometimes in place of, more traditional consequences, in order to address and ameliorate the underlying root causes of the behaviors.
District-wide behavior chart: intervention and consequences*
*Please note that the following interventions and consequences are for guidance purposes and the District may, in its discretion, assign different and/or additional consequences to any given behavior where it deems necessary and appropriate under the unique circumstances.
6) Student Dress Code
A student’s dress, grooming and appearance shall:
Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process.
Not include extremely brief garments and see-through garments.
Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.
Include footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed (e.g., dragging laces or heels).
Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, and libelous or denigrate others on matters of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs and/or encourage other illegal or violent activities.
Not depict or suggest gang associations.
Allow the face and ears to be visible and not interfere with the line of sight to any student or staff; this includes hats, hoodies, and other headwear, other than religious headwear.
Clothing must be suitable for all scheduled classroom activities including, but not limited to physical education, science labs, career and technical education, and other activities where unique hazards exist.
7) Additional Policies (Law Enforcement, PINS, Juvenile Offenders, Corporal Punishment, Searches & Investigations)
Law Enforcement - The principal or his/her designee must notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of code violations that may constitute a crime and substantially affect the order or security of a school as soon as practical.
Attendance & PINS - The Board of Education, in compliance with state education law, requires that students regularly attend school on a full-time basis from the first day of session in September of the school year in which they become six years of age.
Also in accordance with the state education law, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District encourages the enrollment of children who have turned five on or before December 1. Students must be enrolled through the last day of the school year in which they become sixteen years of age, unless they have completed a four-year high school course of study. Students may attend a school other than a public school or receive home instruction, provided the instruction is equivalent to that given in the public schools.
The Board of Education believes that regular attendance is a critical factor in student academic success. It is the district’s responsibility to work collaboratively with families to assist with identifying and removing barriers to regular attendance and to communicate to families the importance of regular attendance. The excused and unexcused absence list can be found in Board Policies #7110 and #7111 under the title “Attendance.”
The district may file a PINS petition in Family Court on any student who is subject to compulsory attendance and who demonstrates that they require supervision and treatment by:
Being habitually truant and not attending school as required by part one of Article 65 of the Education Law;
Engaging in an ongoing or continual course of conduct which makes the student ungovernable or habitually disobedient and beyond the lawful control of the school.
As required for students with disabilities who may be subject to a PINS, the Committee on Special Education will conduct a manifestation determination review prior to instituting a PINS to ensure that the underlying reason for absence is not disability related.
Juvenile Offenders - The superintendent is required to refer the following students to the county attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding before the Family Court:
Any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school;
Any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status under the Criminal Procedure Law §1.20 (42); or
Any student age 16 and older or any student 14 or 15 years old who qualifies for juvenile offender status to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Corporal Punishment - Corporal punishment is any act of physical force upon a student for the purpose of punishing that student. Corporal punishment of any student by any district employee is strictly forbidden.
However, in situations where alternative procedures and methods that do not involve the use of physical force cannot reasonably be used, reasonable physical force may be used to:
Protect oneself, another student, teacher or any person from physical injury.
Protect the property of the school or others.
Restrain or remove a student whose behavior interferes with the orderly exercise and performance of school district functions, powers, and duties, if that student has refused to refrain from further disruptive acts.
The district will file all complaints about the use of corporal punishment with the Commissioner of the State Education Department in accordance with the commissioner’s regulations.
Searches & Investigations - The Board of Education is committed to ensuring an atmosphere on school property and at school functions that is safe and orderly. To achieve this kind of environment, school officials may question a student or students about alleged violations of the district Code of Conduct or law.
Students are not entitled to any sort of “Miranda”-type warning before being questioned by school officials, nor are school officials required to contact a student’s parent/guardian before questioning the student. However, school officials will tell all students why they are being questioned.
In addition, the board authorizes the superintendent, building principals, assistant principals, the school nurse and district security officials to conduct searches of students and their belongings if the authorized school official has reasonable suspicion to believe that the search will result in evidence that the student violated the law or the district Code of Conduct.
An authorized school official may conduct a search of a student’s belongings that is minimally intrusive, such as touching the outside of a book bag, without reasonable suspicion, so long as the school official has a legitimate reason for the very limited search. Searches will be limited to the extent necessary to locate the evidence sought.
Whenever practical, searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices and students will be present when their possessions are being searched. Searches will be conducted in the presence of two adults whenever possible.
The rules in this Code of Conduct regarding searches of students and their belongings do not apply to district-issued lockers, desks and other school storage places. Students have no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to these places and school officials retain complete control over them. This means students’ lockers, desks, and other school storage places may be subject to search at any time by school officials without prior notice to students and without their consent.
8) Visitors to the Schools (BOE Policy #3210)
The Board of Education recognizes that the success of the school program depends, in part, on support by the larger community. The board wishes to foster a positive climate where members of the community have the opportunity to observe the hard work and accomplishments of the students, teachers and other staff.
Since schools are a place of work and learning, however, certain limits must be set for such visits. The building principal or the principal’s designee is responsible for all persons in the building and on the grounds.
For these reasons, the following rules apply to visitors to the schools:
Anyone who is not a regular staff member or student of the school will be considered a visitor.
All visitors to the school must report to the office of the principal (or other designated area) and follow upon arrival at the school, provide valid identification, and sign the visitor’s registry. They will be issued a visitor’s identification badge, which must be worn at all times while in the school or on school grounds. The visitor must return the identification badge to the principal’s office before leaving the building and sign out of the visitor’s registry.
Visitors attending school functions that are open to the public after the end of the school day, such as parent-teacher organization meetings or public gatherings, are not required to register, unless otherwise directed by building principal or their designees.
Visitors who wish to observe a classroom while school is in session are required to arrange such visits in advance with the principal and classroom teacher(s), so that class disruption is kept to a minimum.
Teachers are not expected to take class time to discuss individual matters with visitors.
Any unauthorized person on school property will be reported to the principal or the principal’s designee. Unauthorized persons will be asked to leave. The police may be called if the situation warrants.
All visitors are expected to abide by the rules for public conduct on school property contained in this Code of Conduct.
9) Public Conduct on School Property (BOE Policy #3410, 3411, and #3412)
The district is committed to providing an orderly, respectful environment that is conducive to learning. To create and maintain this kind of an environment, it is necessary to regulate public conduct on school property and at school functions. For purposes of this section of the Code of Conduct, “public” shall mean all persons when on school property. All persons on school property or attending a school function shall conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. In addition, all persons on school property or attending a school function are expected to be properly attired for the purpose of which they are on school property.
No person, either alone or with others, shall:
Intentionally injure any person or threaten to do so.
Intentionally damage or destroy (including graffiti and arson) district property or the personal property of a teacher, administrator, other district employee or any person lawfully on school property.
Disrupt the orderly conduct of classes, school programs or other school activities.
Display, distribute or wear materials on school grounds or at school functions that are obscene, advocate illegal action, appear libelous, obstruct the rights of others or are disruptive to the school program.
Use language that is inappropriate for a school community.
Intimidate, harass or discriminate against any person on the basis of factors which include, but are not limited to, actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or age.
Enter any portion of the school premises without authorization or remain in any building or facility after it is normally closed.
Violate the traffic laws, parking regulations or other restrictions on vehicles.
Possess, consume, sell, distribute or exchange alcoholic products or beverages, controlled substances, or be under the influence of either on school property or at a school function.
Possess or use weapons in or on school property or at a school function, except in the case of law enforcement officers or except as specifically authorized by the school district.
Loiter on or about school property.
Gamble on school property or at school functions.
Refuse to comply with any reasonable order of identifiable school district officials performing their duties.
Willfully incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited by this Code of Conduct.
Violate any federal or state statute, local ordinance or board policy while on school property or while at a school function.
Persons who violate this Code of Conduct shall be subject to the following penalties:
Visitors may have their authorization, if any, to remain on school grounds or at the school function withdrawn and they shall be directed to leave the premises. If they refuse to leave, they may be subject to arrest.
Students may be subject to disciplinary action as the facts may warrant, in accordance with the due process requirements.
Staff members may be subject to warning, reprimand, suspension or dismissal as the facts may warrant in accordance with any legal rights they may hold.
The building principal/designee has the overall responsibility to ensure the Code of Conduct is enforced within their building or for conduct which may affect the school environment. When the Code of Conduct is being violated, the prohibited conduct should be addressed and corrected.
If the person refuses to correct the prohibited conduct, the person should be warned of the consequences. If the person’s conduct poses an immediate threat, the person should be removed from school property or the school function. If necessary, local law enforcement will be contacted to assist in removing the person.
10) Dissemination and Review of Code of Conduct
The Board of Education will work to ensure that the community is aware of this Code of Conduct by:
Providing copies of a full Code of Conduct to all students and parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year.
Provide information to parents/guardians on how to most effectively access the Code of Conduct digitally through the district website at www.rcscsd.org.
Providing all current teachers and other staff members with access to copies of the Code of Conduct and regular correspondence regarding modifications and adjustments.
Providing all new employees with a copy of the current Code of Conduct when they are first hired.
Making copies of the Code of Conduct available for review by students, parents/guardians and other community members.
The district will sponsor informational sessions for all district staff members to ensure the effective implementation of the Code of Conduct. The superintendent may solicit the recommendations of the district staff, particularly teachers and administrators, regarding professional learning programs pertaining to the management and discipline of students. Ongoing professional development will be included in the district’s professional development plan, as needed.
11) Authorized Suspensions or Removals of Students with Disabilities
A. Definitions and General Guidance
For purposes of this section of the Code of Conduct, the following definitions apply:
The district is committed to following the procedures for suspending, removing or otherwise disciplining students with disabilities consistent with Education Law §3214.
A removal means a removal for disciplinary reasons from the student’s current educational placement other than a suspension and change in placement to an Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES) ordered by an impartial hearing officer because the student poses a risk of harm to himself or herself or others.
An Interim Alternative Educational Setting means a temporary educational placement for a period of up to 45 school days, other than the student’s current placement at the time the behavior precipitating the IAES placement occurred, that enables the student to continue to progress in the general curriculum, although in another setting, to continue to receive those services and modifications. This includes those described on the student’s current Individualized Education Program (IEP), that will enable the student to meet the goals set out in such IEP, and includes services and modifications to address the behavior which precipitated the IAES placement that are designed to prevent the behavior from recurring.
School personnel may order the suspension or removal of a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement as follows:
The Board, the District Superintendent of Schools or a building principal may suspend a student, including a student with a disability, for removal not to exceed five school days, that does not exceed the amount of time non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior, and will receive alternative instruction during such period of removal, consistent with district policy.
The superintendent may issue a suspension for a student with a disability, following either a hearing or as a result of a settlement agreement, over five days. Such removals may be collective or cumulative, if the superintendent determines that the student has engaged in behavior that warrants a suspension or removal and does not exceed the amount of time non-disabled students would be subject to suspension for the same behavior. During suspension or removals up to 10 days (whether collective or cumulative), the student will receive alternative instruction consistent with district policy.
The superintendent may direct the placement of a student with a disability into an IAES to be determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE), for the same amount of time that a student without a disability would receive, but not for more than 45 school days, if the student carries or possesses a weapon to school or to a school function, or knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or school function, or causes serious bodily injury.
Subject to specified conditions required by both federal and state law and regulations, an impartial hearing officer may order the placement of a student with a disability in an IAES setting for up to 45 school days at a time, if maintaining the student in their current educational placement poses a risk of harm to the student or others, and such removal may be extended by the hearing officer in 30 day increments for good cause.
B. Disciplinary Change of Placement Rule
A disciplinary change in placement means a suspension or removal from a student’s current educational placement that is either:
For more than 10 consecutive school days; or
For a period of 10 consecutive school days or less if the student is subjected to a series of suspensions or removals that constitute a pattern because they accumulate to more than 10 school days in a school years and because of such factors as the length of each suspension or removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and the proximity of the suspensions or removals to one another.
School personnel may generally not suspend or remove a student with disabilities if imposition of the suspension or removal would result in a disciplinary change in placement based on a pattern of suspension or removal. However, pursuant to appropriate due process and consistent with the procedural safeguards, the district may impose a suspension or removal, which would otherwise result in a disciplinary change in placement, based on a pattern of suspensions or removals if the CSE has determined that the behavior was not associated with the student’s disability, or the student is placed in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or serious bodily injury.
C. Special Rules Regarding the Suspension or Removal of Students with Disabilities
The district’s Committee on Special Education (CSE) shall conduct a “manifestation determination” review of the relationship between the student’s disability and the behavior subject to disciplinary action whenever:
A decision is made to place a student in an IAES either for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances; or for conduct which results in serious bodily injury as defined by regulation;
Because maintaining the student in his current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or
A decision is made to impose a suspension that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.
The parents/guardians of a student who is facing disciplinary action but who has not been determined to be eligible for services under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Article 89 at the time of misconduct shall have the right to invoke applicable procedural safeguards set forth in federal and state law and regulations if, in accordance with federal and state statutory and regulatory criteria, the school district is deemed to have had knowledge that their child was a student with a disability before the behavior precipitating disciplinary action occurred. If the district is deemed to have had such knowledge, the student will be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes and entitled to such procedural safeguards and an expedited evaluation to complete the eligibility determination process.
The superintendent, building principal or other school official imposing a suspension or removal shall be responsible for determining whether the student is a student presumed to have a disability. A district is deemed to have knowledge that a student has a disability and therefore the student is presumed to have a disability if prior to the time that the behavior occurred:
A parent expressed concern that the child has a disability in writing to the appropriate district designee;
An evaluation to assess whether the student has a disability was requested in writing; or
A teacher or other district personnel expressed specific concerns that the student had a disability to supervisory personnel or the district designee.
A student will not be considered a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes if, upon receipt of information supporting a claim that the district had knowledge the student was a student with a disability, the district either:
Conducted an individual evaluation and determined that the student is not a student with a disability;
The parent of the student refused the services; or
The parent of the student has not allowed an evaluation of the student pursuant to Section 200.4 of the Commissioner of the State Education Department’s regulations.
If there is no basis for knowledge that the student is a student with a disability prior to taking disciplinary measures against the student, the student may be subjected to the same disciplinary measures as any other non-disabled student who engaged in comparable behaviors.
However, if a request for an individual evaluation is made while such non-disabled student is subjected to a disciplinary removal, an expedited evaluation shall be conducted and completed in the manner prescribed by applicable federal and state law and regulations. Until the expedited evaluation is completed, the non-disabled student who is not a student presumed to have a disability for discipline purposes shall remain in the educational placement determined by the district, which can include suspension.
If the behavior is found to be a manifestation of the student’s disability, the CSE shall conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) to understand the pattern of behavior or contributing factors. As appropriate, the CSE will develop a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) whenever the district is first suspending or removing a student with a disability for more than 10 school days in a school year or imposing a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement, including a change in placement to an IAES for misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or causes serious bodily injury.
If, subsequently, a student with a disability who already has an existing behavioral intervention plan (BIP) and who has been suspended or removed from his or her current educational placement for more than 10 school days in a school year is subjected to a suspension or removal that does not constitute a disciplinary change in placement, the members of the CSE shall review the behavioral intervention plan and its implementation to determine if modifications are necessary. If one or more members of the CSE believes that modifications are needed, the school district shall convene a meeting of the CSE to modify such plan and its implementation, to the extent the committee determines necessary.
The district shall provide parents/guardians with notice of disciplinary removal no later than the date on which a decision is made to change the placement of a student with a disability to an IAES for either misconduct involving weapons, illegal drugs, or controlled substances, or causes serious bodily injury because:
Maintaining the student in his/ her current educational setting poses a risk of harm to the student or others; or
A decision is made to impose a suspension or removal that constitutes a disciplinary change in placement. The procedural safeguards notice prescribed by the Commissioner of the State Education Department shall accompany the notice of disciplinary removal.
The parents/guardians of a student with disabilities subject to a suspension of five consecutive school days or less shall be provided with the same opportunity for an informal conference available to parents/guardians of non-disabled students under the Education Law.
Superintendent hearings on disciplinary charges against students with disabilities who are subject to a suspension of more than five school days shall be separated into a guilt phase and a penalty phase in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Commissioner of the State Education Department’s regulations incorporated into this Code of Conduct, with a manifestation determination hearing conducted to determine whether the underlying conduct is a manifestation of the student’s disability.
The removal of a student with disabilities, other than a suspension or placement in an IAES, shall be conducted in accordance with the due process procedures applicable to such removals of non-disabled students, except that school personnel may not impose such removal for more than 10 consecutive days or for a period that would result in a disciplinary change in placement, unless the CSE has determined that the behavior is not associated with the student’s disability.
During any period of suspension or removal, including placement in an IAES, students with disabilities shall be provided services as required by the Commissioner’s Regulations incorporated into this Code of Conduct.
D. Expedited Due Process Hearing
An expedited due process hearing shall be conducted in the manner specified by the Commissioner of the State Education Department’s regulations incorporated into this Code of Conduct, if:
The district requests such a hearing to obtain an order of an impartial hearing officer placing a student with a disability in an IAES where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement, or during the pendency of due process hearings where school personnel maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in his or her current educational placement during such proceedings.
The parent requests such a hearing from a determination that the student’s behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disability, or relating to any decision regarding placement, including but not limited to any decision to place the student in an IAES.
During the pendency of an expedited due process hearing or appeal regarding the placement of a student in an IAES for behavior involving weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances, or serious bodily injury, notwithstanding a determination that the behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disability for a period not to exceed 45 school days; the student shall remain in the IAES pending the decision of the impartial hearing officer or until expiration of the IAES placement, whichever occurs first, unless the parents/ guardians and the district agree otherwise.
If school personnel propose to change the student’s placement after expiration of an IAES placement, during the pendency of any proceeding to challenge the proposed change in placement, the student shall remain in the placement prior to removal to the IAES, except where the IAES is continued by the hearing officer by extension.
An expedited due process hearing shall be completed within 15 business days of receipt of the request for a hearing. Although the impartial hearing officer may grant specific extensions of such time period, they must issue a written decision to the district and the parents/guardians within ten (10) school days of the last hearing date, without exceptions or extensions.