Code of Conduct

Under requirements of the New York State SAVE Act, the Fort Plain Central School District is providing this summary of its Code of Conduct.

This Code of Conduct applies to ALL students, school personnel, parents and other visitors when on school property (including school buses/vehicles) or attending a school-sponsored activity.

The Code contains information pertaining to possible actions/consequences to be taken by the classroom teacher or staff member in order to handle the offense. The classroom teacher/staff member may use the consequences as a guideline and he/she is not limited to the suggested action/consequences outlined in the Code of Conduct.

Included with the Code of Conduct is the Bill of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which outlines issues such as:

  • Prohibited acts
  • Student activities
  • Rights of privacy
  • Search of student lockers
  • Alternative Education policies
  • Maintenance of public order on school property
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Enforcement and penalties

Also included in the Code of Conduct are procedures for disciplinary measures and the appeal process.
Please be aware that all students will be informed of the Code of Conduct as a requirement of the SAVE legislation.

Introduction

Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School faculty and staff want your time here to be educationally profitable to you. Your years here will be as good as you make them. It is up to you to make the most of your education, to be a loyal supporter of the school, and to keep alive school spirit. Your teachers will provide knowledge, encouragement and advice. The future is yours!

Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School is responsible for maintaining a safe, nurturing and orderly learning environment, and for ensuring the equitable treatment of all students. To achieve this end, there must be organizational rules governing the conduct and behavior of all who learn here. These rules must be firmly and consistently enforced throughout the school, on school buses, and at all school sponsored activities. The rationale of this discipline policy is to provide notice to parents, students and staff of their respective responsibilities and rights.

In order to specify and clarify the fundamental guidelines of student behavior in our school and to establish procedures to be followed should serious disciplinary action by school authorities become necessary, the following rules and regulations have been adopted for the Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School under the direction of the Fort Plain Central School Board of Education.

Student Rights

The Fort Plain Central School District is committed to promote a safe, health, orderly and civil school environment. Students have the right to expect a school in which they have the opportunity to use available educational resources to study and learn to the best of their ability. Student rights are protected by the Constitution of the United States, New York State Educational law, and Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education. The following statements set forth the rights of Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School students.

Students’ Property

A student’s personal property is his/her own. Students are discouraged from bringing to school valuables such as jewelry, electronic items, and valuable clothing, which could be stolen or damaged. Bringing money to school other than that necessary for lunch or other school-related activities is discouraged. If valuable property is to be used in a school-related project, the student must arrange with staff for safekeeping.

If a student brings valuable personal items to school, he/she is solely responsible for his/her property even if that valuable is placed in a hallway locker or gym locker. If said personal property is found to be missing during the school day, the educational process of other students will not be interrupted to locate the property. The school district is not responsible for replacing or reimbursement of said item.

Search and Seizure

The district retains the right to search persons and property on school premises or at school functions consistent with applicable laws. Students and parents should be aware that:

  • Lockers, school desks and computer files are school property and students should have no expectation that the contents of the locker and/or desk will remain private. A general inspection of school properties such as lockers, desks, etc. may be conducted on a regular basis. During these inspections items which are school property may be collected (example: overdue library books). The privacy rights of the pupil will be respected regarding any items that are not illegal or against school policy
  • Students shall not place, keep or maintain any articles or materials forbidden by district policy in vehicles parked on school property
  • Searches of student’s outer clothing, pockets or property may be conducted if a reasonable cause exists. Intrusive invasion of a student’s privacy, such as searches of the student’s person, will be conducted only if probable cause exists to believe that the student possesses contraband.
  • All items which have been seized will be turned over to proper authorities or returned to the true owner, depending upon the situation
  • Periodic unannounced use of canines accompanied by law enforcement officials will be permitted

Police Questioning of Students

District officials are committed to cooperating with police officials and other law enforcement authorities to maintain a safe school environment. Police officials, however, have limited authority to interview or search students in schools or at school functions, or to use school facilities in connection with police work. Police officials may enter school property or a school function to question or search a student or to conduct a formal investigation involving students only if they have:

  • Search or an arrest warrant; or
  • Probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school function; or
  • Been invited by school officials If police are involved in the questioning of students on school premises, whether or not at the request of school authorities, it will be in accordance with applicable law and due process rights afforded students. Generally, police authorities may only interview students on school premises without the permission of the parent/guardian in situations where a warrant has been issued for the student’s arrest (or removal) or the questioning of students concerns a crime committed on school property. If the police wish to speak to a student without a warrant, they should take the matter up directly with the student’s parent/guardians. If a student is 16 years of age or older, parental permission is not required for police questioning

Student Responsibilities

Students share with the administration and staff the responsibility to maintain a climate within the school that is conducive to effective learning. No student has the right to interfere with the educational opportunity of other students. Students are expected to use reason, good judgment, respect for others, proper manners, and to follow school rules and policies. Students are expected to attend school and classes regularly, arrive on time, bring required materials, and to fulfill to the best of their abilities the course objectives. Students should be willing to contribute toward establishing and maintaining a school climate that emphasizes mutual respect for all students, teachers, and school personnel.

In order to fulfill this responsibility, the student should:

  • Respect and protect the rights of ALL involved in the educational process (from fellow students to administration)
  • Practice academic honesty
  • Express ideas and opinions in a respectful manner which does not offend or slander others
  • Be aware of all rules and regulations for student behavior, and abide by them
  • Be willing to assist in the investigation of disciplinary actions
  • Dress and groom so as to meet fair standards of heath and safety, and not cause disruption to the educational environment
  • Assist the school staff in maintaining a safe learning environment for all students
  • Assume that until a rule is waived or altered, it is in full effect
  • Protect and take care of school property
  • Make up work when absent or suspended from school following established guidelines
  • Do not use indecent or obscene language
  • To adhere to the code of conduct contained herein when participating in or attending school sponsored extracurricular events. The student is a representative of Fort Plain Central School, and as such, should show high standards of conduct, demeanor and sportsmanship Along with their responsibilities, students must recognize that there are channels through which rules or conditions can be studied or questioned, and must realize that they should use these channels

Parent Responsibilities

Connections between home and school are important. Discipline begins in the home between parent and child, and continues in the school with the relationship between the teacher, student and administration. Each has a mutual responsibility for the maintenance of that discipline.

The parents of Fort Plain Junior-Senior High School students should:

  • Assist your child in attending school regularly, on time, and to notify the school when the student is absent
  • Provide for your child’s health, personal cleanliness, acceptable grooming, and suitable dress
  • Listen to, consult with, understand and trust your child
  • Work with school personnel to communicate concerns which may interfere with a child’s education
  • Teach your child to respect the law and rights of others

Teacher Responsibilities

The maintenance of an orderly and safe learning environment is crucial to the academic success of the students. In order maintain this environment; the teachers must:

  • Respect the individuality of students
  • Assist students to become self-reliant, independent, and effective learners
  • Work with parents, students and school staff to provide for a positive change
  • Notify parents and/or students that a student may be failing a course
  • Be fair, firm, and consistent in enforcing both classroom rules and school rules

Before the students are referred to the office, the classroom teacher will make every effort to improve student behavior as it relates to classroom (non-administrative) offenses.

Non-Administrative Offenses may include:

  • rude or discourteous behavior
  • being disruptive or uncooperative
  • not being prepared for class
  • cheating on school work
  • refusing to comply with classroom rules

Actions to be followed by the teacher may include (but are not limited to):

  • verbal reprimand
  • conference with student
  • change in seating assignment
  • telephone call to parent/guardian
  • letter mailed to parent/guardian
  • conference with parent/guardian
  • teacher detention

At the least, the teacher will inform the parent by telephone or by mail after the second incident of inappropriate behavior, as well as inform the administration of continuing behavior. They will also be in contact with the parent/guardian when they refer this student to the office.

The classroom teacher is required to handle discipline matters in the classroom. When all attempts by the classroom teacher to resolve the situation have failed, students referred to administration will be disciplined in keeping with the school discipline code.

Administrative Responsibilities

The principal, along with all other supervisory personnel, is responsible for setting a climate of understanding for the school, not only for students and their parents, but for the staff as well. The administrative staff will seek to develop a sound and helpful atmosphere of mutual respect within the school by:

  • Knowing and consistently fairly enforcing the rules and policies of the district
  • Encouraging innovative practices which will increase student self-respect, self-reliance and educational progress

Administrative Offences

Administrative offenses will include the interaction with the school administrative staff, and possibly law enforcement authorities. Since the school environment is an extension of the public community, any legally unacceptable behavior, demonstrated in a school setting will also include the intervention of public law officials.

Disciplinary Measures

The following are some examples of disciplinary action, which may be used when a student’s behavior interferes with his educational opportunity or that of others or with the safe orderly conduct of school activities.

Conference – A meeting arranged for consultation between school personnel and parent

Removal from classroom – Teachers will establish rules concerning general student behavior. Violators of these classroom rules are to be handled by the individual teacher on a reasonable basis. A student may be temporarily removed from a classroom and referred to the office when the seriousness of the offense, the persistence of the misbehavior, or the misconduct disrupts the educational process of the other students in the classroom, or the student has been disrespectful and defiant to the teacher

Detention – As an alternative disciplinary method, the principal or teacher may establish a detention period. A teacher detention is encouraged to be held after school is dismissed, but may be held at another time, at the teacher’s discretion. Principal’s detention will be held after school, and the time is set. Each faculty member who assigns a student a detention will be responsible for the student serving the detention

Suspension – A student may be suspended from school for a definite period of time by the superintendent or principal for violation of any law, of this Student Code of Conduct, a School District Policy, regulation, or rule. Any violation of the state or local law will promptly be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authority. Suspensions may be temporary or for an extended period. The severity of the penalty should be relative to the seriousness of the offense. Parents will be notified of the dates and reason for the suspension

The classifications of suspension are:

ISS – In School Suspension – Students are assigned to the in school suspension room from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Teachers provide students with work and assignments during the entire school day, and the student will receive credit for the work completed. The student may not participate in extra-curricular activities the day(s) of the suspension

PASS – Program Alternative to School Suspension – Students must take the bus in the morning to the Broadalbin Alternative School. Assignments may be either sent with the students, or faxed to this location, and students are expected to work during the day. They receive credit for all assignments completed. The student may not participate in extra-curricular activities the day(s) of the suspension

Out-of-School Suspension – This suspension is for serious infractions, and may last from one to five days. During an out-of-school suspension, the student may not be on school grounds for any reason, including participation in clubs, sports and extracurricular events. After the third day, the parent/guardian may request a tutor for their child. A conference may be required with the administration and parent/guardian before the student is allowed to reenter school.

Superintendent’s Hearing – A Superintendent’s Hearing is for a major infraction where a long term suspension will result

Corporal Punishment

The Fort Plain Central School District’s Board of Education and New York law prohibits corporal punishment. Corporal punishment means the deliberate infliction of physical pain by any means upon the whole or any part of a pupil’s body as a penalty or punishment for a pupil’s offense.

Parents and students should be aware the following are not corporal punishment:

  • Restraining or removing a pupil whose behavior is interfering with the orderly exercise and performance of school district functions within a school or at a school related activity and/or if that pupil has refused to comply with a request to refrain from further disruptive acts
  • Quelling a disturbance that threatens physical injury to any person
  • Protecting oneself, another student, teacher, or any other(s) from immediate physical injury
  • Obtaining possession of a weapon or other dangerous object upon or within the control of a pupil
  • Protecting property of the school or others

Categories of Misconduct

These categories of misconduct have been prepared to assist students, parents and staff to understand what actions are inappropriate in our school.

This list, while it sets forth some very important areas of misconduct, does not contain every possible action which might violate the rules and rights of others. Any action which disrupts school activity or which might cause danger to persons or destruction of property may result in disciplinary action. Any behavior which has a negative impact on the health, safety and welfare of persons or on the learning environment may result in discipline at the discretion of administration. The penalties set forth are only the minimum penalties. All days of suspension reflect days in which school is in session. More severe discipline, up to and including a superintendent’s hearing, may result depending on the seriousness of the misconduct. In appropriate circumstances, there may also be a referral to law enforcement or other agencies.

Cafeteria Behavior

All students are expected to be in the cafeteria through their scheduled lunch time. Classes are still in session so hallway behavior should not distract or disrupt our learning environment. Cafeteria behavior should be no different than classroom behavior.

Be aware that students:

  • Must report directly to the cafeteria once class has been dismissed. There are three minutes between classes, which does not change for lunch
  • May sign out of the cafeteria if they have: A pre-signed pass; scheduled lunch with a teacher in a classroom (the teacher should notify the cafeteria); or verbal permission from the person on duty
  • Must use the sign out form before leaving the cafeteria and sign in upon return

Failure to follow the above procedures may result in loss of cafeteria sign-out privileges and/or lunch detention.

Intimidation, Harassment, Bullying

The school district is committed to providing all students with a safe and civil school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect.

To that end, the school district has in place policies, procedures, and practices that are designed to reduce and eliminate bullying and harassment. Bullying and harassment of students by other students, faculty and staff will not be tolerated in the school district.

The school district prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization based on real or perceived race, sex, creed, color, national origin, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, physical appearance, and/or personality characteristics. This category includes any form of harassment that does not involve actual physical contact but does involve the threat of harm, including verbal harassment. Violations of this policy will result in the steps outlined in the discipline policy.

Dress Code

All students are expected to take pride in their personal appearance.

They should be clean, neat and dressed in the proper clothing. Certain styles and trends in clothing and appearance, now in fashion with some, will not be permitted. Attire should not disrupt the educational process or constitute a possible threat to the safety and health of the student or his/her peers.
Teachers and administrators are necessarily left with the responsibility of maintaining the general appearance of the students as representatives of the school and community.

The principal has the final authority to determine if the dress of a student interferes with the orderly conduct of classes.

The following guidelines for acceptable school attire include:

  • Head wear, such as caps, hats, bandanas, hoods and sweatbands, may not be worn upon arrival until departure during the school day
  • Sunglasses are not to be worn in school during the school day
  • Some type of footwear must be worn. However, footwear that may cause damage to individual property, e.g. shoes with cleats, may not be worn. Socks are not considered to be footwear
  • All pants, shorts and skirts must be worn at the waist or hips with no undergarments visible
  • Students may not have chains hanging from their belt loops. Such chains may be considered as weapons.
  • Students are permitted to wear shorts, skirts and dresses of moderate length
  • Clothing with tears or holes that expose bare flesh or undergarments is not acceptable
  • Any article of clothing with printed word or pictures advertising or promoting alcohol, tobacco, drugs, derogatory connotations, profanity or sexual suggestions is strictly prohibited
  • Shirts or blouses must completely cover the midriff area and not have plunging necklines
  • Strapless or backless shirts, dresses and blouses are not permitted unless worn with another garment covering the student’s back and shoulders
  • No mesh or see through blouses, shirts, or dresses may be worn
  • Coats and jackets will not be worn during school hours and should be kept in school lockers, unless the student has permission from an individual teacher for that class

Students wearing such clothing will be required to remove, change, or turn the clothing inside out. Students may call home for proper apparel. If proper apparel cannot be brought to school, students may change into gym clothes, see the nurse for clothes, or be assigned to ISS. Continued violations of the Dress Code will result in the steps outlined in the discipline policy.

Public displays of affection

Students demonstrating affection to each other is personal and not meant for public display. Only the following will be allowed on school property: holding hands; a quick hug; a quick peck (kiss) on the cheek; escorting (an arm around the shoulder or waist).

All other public displays of affection are deemed inappropriate and will be dealt with as per the discipline policy.

Electronic Devices

It is recognized that the use of electronic devices (such as calculators) can be a crucial part of the curriculum of many courses. However, with the ever-expanding capabilities of many electronic devices, opportunities for inappropriate use by the students increase.

The following are electronic devices that may not be used on school grounds during the school day (7:55 a.m.-2:38 p.m.):

  • beepers
  • cell phones
  • pagers
  • MP3 players
  • laser pointers
  • CD players
  • Walkmans
  • video game players

Students may not wear headphones in the building during school hours.

Hand held computers (PDA’s), portable computers and laptop computers may be used in classrooms for educational purposes at the discretion of the individual teacher. Under no circumstances, should they be in student possession during testing situations. If these devices have Internet or phone capability, students may not use these functions during school hours. If a device has the capability for infrared beaming, using that function is prohibited. Students are not to play games, watch videos, or listen to music on a PDA or laptop during school hours.

  • The Fort Plain Central School District will not be held responsible for the loss, theft or destruction of any portable electronic devices
  • Portable electronic devices may not be connected to any part of the school computer network
  • Use of a portable electronic device in the classroom is up to the discretion of the teacher as to how and when the device may be used
  • Fort Plain reserves the right to review files on any portable electronic device brought into the school
  • Any violation of the above rules will result in the loss of the student’s privilege to bring a portable electronic device to school

Cell Phones

A student who brings a cell phone to school must keep it off and in his or her locker or other wise concealed. If a student is seen by a staff member with a cell phone, he or she will be asked to give it to the staff member, who will take it to the office for safekeeping. A parent of the student in violation has to recover it.

Students who refuse to give cell phones to staff members are considered insubordinate and subject to discipline for insubordination under the student code of conduct.

Students may use cell phones when attending extracurricular activities on school property after school hours, provided the cell phone use is not disruptive to the activity. Cell phones should be turned to vibrate at school drama and music productions, with calls answered in a discreet manner outside the auditorium if practical. The Fort Plain Central School District will not be held responsible for the loss, theft or destruction of any cell phone.

Students are to go to the office or pay phone to make phone calls home. Parents/guardians are encouraged to call the school office. The school office staff is excellent at relaying messages from parents to students. Emergency phone calls can always be made in the main/office during school hours.

Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs

Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use is illegal and interferes with both effective learning and the healthy development of the student. Fort Plain Central School District has a fundamental legal and ethical obligation to prevent drug use and to maintain a drug free educational environment.

Alcohol/Tobacco/Drug use includes handling, possessing, using, soliciting, advocating or being under any degree of influence (legal intoxication not required) of any alcohol, tobacco product, drug, narcotic, hallucinogen, stimulant, depressant or other controlled substance not medically prescribed for the individual or not used according to prescription. This includes products purchased over the counter. Students may not have drug paraphernalia in their possession.

In addition to the Discipline Code, student athletes are further regulated by the rules of the adopted Athletic Code for the Fort Plain Central School District. Whenever a student is suspected of having any involvement with drugs or alcohol this fact should be immediately reported to the principal or counselor.

  • The administration will immediately investigate the matter and notify student and parent/guardian of the investigation
  • The administration will notify the parents in writing of the mandatory disciplinary action that will be imposed if there is a finding of drug or alcohol involvement, and their right to review the action
  • The principal will not impose any disciplinary action until there is a finding made that the student is involved with drugs and/or alcohol. The student will be permitted to remain in class while the investigation is conducted, except in cases where a student’s physical well-being is threatened
  • If it is determined that the student is involved with drugs or alcohol, the principal will take disciplinary action and immediately notify the parent/guardian and police.
  • If an intervention is needed, the administration/counselors will meet with student and parent/guardian to discuss the suspected problem and determine whether the student needs to seek professional support. The student’s welfare is the first and foremost concern of the school
  • A complete report will be sent to the office of the Superintendent of Schools

If the administration has reason to believe that the student has consumed alcohol or used drugs at a school activity or on school premises, or at a time previous to entering school premises or activity, the administration will immediately contact parent/guardian.

Disciplinary actions for being under the influence of alcohol, tobacco or non-prescription drugs on school property or at school sanctioned activities are set forth in the Disciplinary Code.

Weapon Possession

It is unlawful for a student or non-student to intentionally possess a firearm on school property or within 1,000 feet of school property or while on a school bus. The area surrounding the school campus or within 1,000 feet of any such school campus, or within a school bus is designated a firearm free zone.

Students are strictly forbidden to possess any firearm or weapon while on school property, in any school building, or at any school event. This will include, but not be limited to, possession of a firearm or weapon on their person or in an automobile, backpack or locker.

A “weapon” includes any firearm, knife, explosive, or other object even if manufactured for non-violent purpose that has a potentially violent use. Also included are any dangerous or deadly instruments which are not necessary for school purposes and which could be used as a weapon. Any object regardless of its original design or intent, which is used to cause harm through its inappropriate use is considered a weapon.

Considering the severity of such an act and potential for harm and injury, any student found in the possession of a firearm will be suspended from school for a period of not less than one year. The Superintendent of Schools may modify such penalty upon consideration of particular facts of the case, including but not limited to the totality of circumstances surrounding the offense and the student’s previous record.