Student Discipline & Suspension

Background

Menno Simons Christian School expects students to conduct themselves in a manner which demonstrates good citizenship and which encourages appropriate citizenship in others in both the classroom and school settings so that effective learning is made possible. Student discipline is not judgmental, arbitrary, confusing or coercive. Rather, it shows individuals what they have done wrong; it gives them ownership for the problem; it provides a process for solving the issue they have created; and it leaves their dignity intact. The goal should be to instruct, teach, guide and help children develop self-discipline so that learning can be maximized for all students.

Procedures

  1. The principal is responsible for administering the general discipline of the school.
    He/she shall ensure that the school has developed a school discipline policy, incorporating provisions of Appendix 351A – Safe School Action Plan as part of the school’s discipline policy. School handbooks shall publish the expectations for behaviour and the discipline procedures established for use within the school.
  2. For the purposes of this administrative procedure:
    1. Suspension is the removal of a student from the classroom, school property, school activities or bus for a period of up to five (5) school days.
    2. Expulsion is the Board-approved removal of a student from the classroom or bus for a period of time longer than five (5) school days.
    3. Exceptions – Extracurricular activities such as team sports, club membership and field trips outside of school hours are considered a student privilege. A student's failure to conform to the rules  may result in the removal of the privilege. This loss of privilege is not considered a suspension under this administrative procedure. If the breach of rules is also a matter for which suspension or expulsion would otherwise be considered, these measures may also be applied.
    4. Suspension shall be considered when a student:
      1. Exhibits open opposition to authority;
      2. Exhibits willful disobedience;
      3. Habitually neglects duty;
      4. Uses improper or profane language;
      5. Engages in conduct potentially injurious to others;
      6. Willfully damages school property;
      7. Exhibits behaviour that interferes with school- or division-approved activities;
      8. Exhibits behaviour prohibited by other Board policies, administrative procedures, the School Actor the Criminal Code of Canada; or
      9. Exhibits behaviour inconsistent with Section 12 of the School Act– responsibilities of students.

Disciplinary Actions – School 

  1. Each teacher is responsible for maintaining discipline in the classroom and school. In some cases, the principal may provide assistance. The following provisions shall apply with regard to disciplinary actions of teachers:
    1. The attitude towards maintenance of discipline must be positive rather than negative.
    2. Punishment must be meaningful when punishment is deemed necessary.
    3. Mass punishment of a whole class for the misdemeanour of a few students is to be avoided.
    4. Acceptable forms of punishment for the school shall be formulated by the staff and principal.
    5. The use of corporal punishment by system staff is not permitted.
    6. Good discipline often depends upon the ability to check unacceptable behaviour in its early stages before it becomes a serious problem.
    7. Disciplinary problems should be dealt with in an objective, professional manner that considers the needs of the individual child, and each infraction should be considered a learning situation to be handled intelligently and patiently.
    8. The child should be treated in a kindly, just manner. Teachers should be guided by a spirit of charity and understanding. Verbal attacks upon students, including name calling, use of sarcasm, unfavourable personal references, attempts to belittle the students, or threatening to send students to the principal do nothing to raise the self-worth of all parties involved and, therefore, shall not be employed.
    9. The teacher or school should not act as the disciplinary agent for the home.
    10. Sufficient force is justified to restrain a student who is determined to carry out some destructive act or to prevent a student from attacking another individual.
    11. Removal from the classroom of a student where conduct continues to be detrimental to the work of the class (after the student has been given reasonable warning that the behaviour is unacceptable) is justified.
    12. Any disciplinary measure involving the automatic imposition of certain penalties or punishment without considering the nature of the act and the individual(s) involved does not have its basis in the basic principles of modifying behaviour.
    13. Though dignity and authority of the teacher must be upheld, it must be remembered that recognizing the dignity of students is equally important. The teachers will find that a quietly worded statement to a student is likely to be more effective than strongly voiced commands in securing his/her compliance.
    14. The right to detain students for disciplinary purposes is not questioned. However, the exercise of that right in an arbitrary or inflexible fashion that prevents a student from meeting other legitimate and important commitments cannot be supported.
  2. A teacher may suspend a student from one (1) class period and shall report the suspension to the principal.
  3. A principal may suspend a student from:
    1. One (1) or more class periods;
    2. One (1) or more courses or school programs;
    3. School;
    4. Riding in a school bus; and/or
    5. Activities sponsored or approved by the Board.
      Note: A form suspension letter shall be used by principals when advising parents/guardians of student suspensions (see Forms Manual).
  4. A student suspended by the principal or by a teacher may be reinstated at any time by the principal.
  5. When a principal suspends a student, the principal shall:
    1. Telephone the student’s parents as soon as possible to inform them of the suspension.
    2. In the case of an out-of-school suspension, report, in writing, to the student's parents all the circumstances of the suspension.
    3. In the case of an out-of-school suspension, upon the student’s return to school, facilitate with the student and his/her parents a plan to promote the student’s adherence to the student discipline procedures and confirm the circumstances in writing.
    4. If requested, provide an opportunity to meet with the student’s parents/guardians and the student if the student is sixteen (16) years of age or older to discuss the reasonableness of the suspension.  The student may be present at this meeting if that is considered in the student's best interest by the principal or the parents/guardians.
  6. If the principal is recommending expulsion, the principal shall refer the recommendation to the Superintendent, accompanied by a report of the measures taken to address the unacceptable behaviour(s) of the student and notification of the parents/guardian of same.
  7. If the Superintendent supports the recommendation for expulsion, the Superintendent shall provide the parents/guardians a copy of Policy 13 - Appeals and Hearings Regaring Student Matters and the principal's report, and convene a meeting of the Board of Appeal Committee to hear evidence in an in-camera hearing within 10 days of the  start of the suspension.

 

References

School Act, Section 12, 24, 25, 45, 60, 123, 124
Review by the Minister – Information Bulletin 3.5.1
Cross Reference: Policy 13 – Appeals and Hearings Regarding Student Matters
Forms: Suspension/Expulsion Form Letter Template

Discipline Pyramid of Intervention

Tier 1

Productive Classroom Environment (Teacher Responsibility)

Behaviors that occur in the classroom and interfere with the learning of self and/or others. 

 Examples are:

  • Not having appropriate equipment and materials
  • Sleeping
  • Being off task but not disrupting others
  • Failure to turn in homework/failing to complete assignments
  • Failure to bring signed materials from home
  • Agenda notebooks not completely filled in daily
  • Wearing caps and/or outer garments in school
  • Failing to follow the reasonable request of a teacher
  • Talking out
  • Horseplay
  • Disturbing another student in any way
  • Being out of seat without permission
  • Showing disrespect/defiance
  • Improper use of equipment and/or materials

CONSEQUENCES – Consequences for Tier 1 misbehavior can range from a minimum of a “look” in the vicinity of the problem to a maximum of a parent conference and/or detention administered by the student’s classroom teacher.  Time out can occur either before or after school, during the noon hour, or during recess.

Tier 2

Orderly  Environment… (Teacher and Principal jointly share responsibility)

Orderly environment – Behaviors that occur outside the classroom that are not intended to cause physical or mental harm to another individual, are not illegal, but do negatively affect an orderly environment. 

Examples are:

  • Disruptive behaviors in the hallway
  • Disruptive behaviors at a school activity
  • Disruptive behaviors before and after school
  • Disruptive behaviors while at recess
  • Absence/skipping/tardy/truancy
  • Solicitation (selling unauthorized items at school)
  • Inappropriate use of the internet
  • Destruction o\or defacement of school property or property of others
  • Inappropriate display of affection
  • Inappropriate clothing
  • Repeated failure to report for teacher initiated detention
  • Forgery
  • Inappropriate language and gestures
  • Disrespect of classmates, teachers, and other school staff
  • Verbal arguments/name calling
  • Disruptive and/or disrespectful behavior when a substitute teacher is present

CONSEQUENCES – Consequences for Tier 2 misbehavior can range from a detention with the teacher to a conference with the principal and/or parent to suspension from school.  Referral to outside agencies may also occur.

Tier 3

Safe Environment… Highest Priority (Principal Responsibility) 

Safe Environment – Behaviors that are intended to cause another individual physical or mental harm and/or are illegal.  Examples are:

  • Weapons (possession or use of)
  • Theft
  • Fighting – Assault or battery of any kind
  • Intimidation/extortion./threats/verbal
  • Harassment
  • Gross disrespect and/or defiance toward and adult (cursing, name calling)
  • Alcohol/drugs/tobacco (possession, sale, or use of)
  • Sexual harassment of any kind

CONSEQUENCES – Consequences for Tier 3 misbehavior can range from a minimum of a one-day suspension from school to a maximum of an expulsion from school. Referral to outside agencies will also occur.