Catholic schools, as articulated in the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations promote a unique vision of the learner as growing to be:
- A discerning believer formed in the Catholic Faith community who celebrates the signs and sacred mystery of God’s presence through word, sacrament, prayer, forgiveness, reflection and moral living.
- An effective communicator who speaks, writes and listens honestly and sensitively, responding critically in light of Gospel values.
- A reflective, creative and holistic thinker who solves problems and makes responsible decisions with an informed moral conscience for the common good.
- A self-directed, responsible, lifelong learner who develops and demonstrates their God-given potential.
- A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity and vocation in work which respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good.
- A caring family member who attends to family, school, parish and the wider community.
- A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.
To this end, Catholic Schools promote responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment.Students, parents, teachers and staff are all members of the Catholic school community. We base the development of our community on compassionate, responsible, fair, respectful treatment of each other as members of the Body of Christ, a community of the Light. To that end, all members of the Catholic school community have the right to be safe, and feel safe in their school community. With this right comes the responsibility to be law-abiding citizens and to be accountable for actions that put at risk the safety of others or oneself.
The Code of Conduct for Halton Catholic Schools sets clear standards of behaviour. In accordance with the Ontario Code of Conduct, it specifies the consequences for student actions that do not comply with these standards. The standards of behaviour apply not only to students, but also to all individuals involved in the Catholic school system – principals, teachers and other school staff members, parents or guardians, and volunteers whether they are on school property, on school buses or at school-authorized events or activities.
Code of Conduct for Halton Catholic Schools
The Halton Catholic District School Board is dedicated to providing and enhancing a Catholic community of learning in which students will be afforded reasonable opportunities to achieve their potential in spiritual, moral, intellectual, physical and social development. It is the expectation of the Board that students will respond positively to this policy and act accordingly.
The Halton Catholic District School Board expects staff, students and community members involved in school programmes and school and Board authorized activities to exhibit behaviour which complies with:
- the Halton Catholic District School Board Code of Conduct;
- the Standards of Behaviour in the Ontario Code of Conduct;
- Halton Catholic District School Board Policies II-39, VI 44;
- the Education Act as amended by the Progressive Discipline and Safety in Schools Act, 2007.
Roles and Responsibilities
Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. Students have the right to learn in a safe, orderly and stimulating Catholic environment and to be conscientiously instructed by the teaching staff. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others, and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:
- participates fully in the religious life of the school, including the celebration of liturgy, Religious Education courses, and related activities;
- develops personal skills and talents to serve God, and thereby his/her neighbour;
- contributes positively to the Catholic climate of the school and exhibit the responsibilities of citizenship;
- cooperates with all adults in positions of authority in the school community;
- complies with all school expectations and regulations respecting student behaviour;
- uses language that is appropriate to their dignity as Catholics;
- adheres to the school dress code;
- respects the school property and property of others at all times;
- comes to school prepared, on time and ready to learn;
- refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others;
- exercises self-discipline and accountability for their actions based on age and individual ability.
- Principals, under the direction of the Board and appropriate senior staff, take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school.
They provide this leadership when they:
- demonstrate care for the school community and a commitment to academic excellence in a safe teaching and learning environment;
- hold everyone, under their authority, accountable for their behaviour and actions;
- empower students to be positive leaders in their school and community;
- communicate regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community.
Teachers and other school staff members, under the leadership of their principals, maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to high standards of respectful and responsible behaviour. As Catholic role models, staff uphold these high standards when they:
- help students work to their full potential and develop their self-worth;
- empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community;
- communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
- maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students;
- demonstrate respect for all students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the members of the school community;
- prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship as outlined in the Catholic Graduate Expectations.
Parents play an important role in the education of their children, and can support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Parents fulfil their role when they:
- show an active interest in the child’s school work and progress;
- communicate regularly with the school;
- help their child to be neat, appropriately dressed and prepared for school;
- ensure that their child attend school regularly and on time;
- promptly report to the school their child’s absence or late arrival;
- show that they are familiar with the provincial Code of Conduct, the Board’s code of conduct and the school rules;
- encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour;
- assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child.
The Police are essential partners in making our schools and communities safer. The police play an essential role in making our schools and communities safer. Police investigate incidents in accordance with the protocol developed with the local school board. These protocols are based on a provincial model developed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Ministry of Education.
Progressive discipline is a non-punitive, whole-school approach that uses a continuum of corrective and supportive interventions, supports and consequences to address inappropriate behaviour and to build upon strategies that promote positive behaviours. Consequences include learning opportunities for reinforcing positive behaviour and assisting pupils to make good choices.The range of interventions, supports, and consequences used by the Board and all schools must be clear and developmentally appropriate. For pupils with special education and/or disability related needs, interventions, supports and consequences must be consistent with the expectations in the student’s IEP and/or his/her demonstrated abilities. Appropriate action must consistently be taken by schools to address behaviours that are contrary to provincial and Board Codes of Conduct.
The Board, and school administrators, must consider all mitigating and other factors, as required by the Education Act and as set out in Ontario Regulation 472/07. Progressive discipline may also include early and/or ongoing intervention strategies, such as:
- Contact with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s);
- Oral reminders;
- Review of expectations;
- Written work assignment with a learning component;
- Peer mentoring;
- Referral to counselling;
- Conflict mediation and resolution; and/or
Progressive discipline may also include a range of interventions, supports and consequences when inappropriate behaviours have occurred, with a focus on improving behaviour, such as one or more of the following:
- Meeting with the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s), pupil and participant;
- Referral to a community agency for anger management or substance abuse counselling;
- Withdrawal of privileges;
- Withdrawal from class;
- Restitution for damages;
- Restorative practices; and/or
- Transfer with support
In some cases, short-term suspension may also be considered a useful progressive discipline approach. Notwithstanding the above, the principal will take immediate and appropriate action in any situation involving the welfare of others.
Suspension and Expulsion
The Board supports the use of suspension and expulsion as outlined in Part XIII of the Education Act, the Progressive Discipline and Safety in Schools Act, 2007, Board Policy II-39, Administrative Procedure VI – 44, where a student has committed one or more of the infractions outlined below on school property, during a school-related activity or event, and/or in circumstances where the infraction has an impact on the school climate.
The principal will also contact the police consistent with the Police and School Response Protocol if the infraction the pupil is suspected of committing requires such contact. When in doubt, the principal will consult with his or her Superintendent.
The infractions for which a suspension may be imposed by the principal include:
- Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
- Possessing alcohol, illegal and/or restricted drugs;
- Being under the influence of alcohol;
- Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
- Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the student’s school or to property located on the premises of the student’s school;
- Bullying; Any act considered by the principal to be injurious to the moral tone of the school; Any act considered by the principal to be injurious to the physical or mental well-being of members of the school community; or Any act considered by the principal to be contrary to the Board or School Code of Conduct including but not limited to the following:
- academic dishonesty – attempting to deceive by cheating, copying or plagiarizing
- defiance – refusal to comply with persons in authority
- disorderly conduct – persistent opposition to authority, conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school or to the physical or mental well-being of others in the school
- explosive devices – use of or possession of explosive devices
- extortion – to take money, homework or property under threat of harm or duress
- fire setting, bomb threat, fire alarm – setting a fire or an act that places individuals, property or community at risk.
- harassment – repeated comments or conduct that is known or ought to be known as unwelcome
- hate crimes – words or actions considered offensive in reference to a person’s race, religion, culture, gender, age, appearance or disability
- smoking on school property – violation of the Tobacco Control Act
- theft – taking, possessing property without the permission of the owner
- trespass – unauthorized presence on school property
- truancy – persistent unexplained absence
- vehicle use – reckless or dangerous use of a vehicle, e.g., car, motorcycle, bicycle etc.
A pupil may be suspended only once for any incident of an infraction may be suspended for a minimum of one (1) school day and a maximum of twenty (20) school days. Before Deciding to Impose a Suspension
Before deciding whether to impose a suspension, or some other form of discipline, a principal will make every effort to consult with the pupil, where appropriate, and the pupil’s parent(s)/guardian(s) (if the pupil is not an adult pupil) to identify whether any mitigating and/or other factors might apply in the circumstances.
The mitigating factors to be considered by the principal before deciding whether to impose a suspension are:
- Whether the pupil has the ability to control his or her behaviour;
- Whether the pupil has the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour; and
- Whether the pupil’s continuing presence in the school does or does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any other individual at the school.
If a pupil does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour or does not understand the foreseeable consequences of his/her behaviour, the principal will not suspend the pupil. Alternative discipline and/or other intervention may be considered by the principal in such circumstances. If the pupil poses an unacceptable risk to the safety of others in the school, the principal will consult with his/her Superintendent regarding appropriate accommodations and/or strategies that might be instituted to ensure safety of pupils, staff, and others in the school.
Other Factors to be Considered
Where the pupil is able to control his/her behaviour and is able to understand the foreseeable consequences of his/her behaviour, the principal will consider whether the following factors mitigate the length of a suspension or the decision to apply a suspension as a form of discipline for the pupil:
- The pupil’s academic, discipline and personal history;
- Whether progressive discipline has been attempted with the pupil, and if so, the progressive discipline approach(es) that has/have been attempted and any success or failure;
- Whether the infraction for which the pupil might be disciplined was related to any harassment of the pupil because of race, ethnic origin, religion, creed, disability, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation or harassment for any other reason;
- The impact of the discipline on the pupil’s prospects for further education;
- The pupil’s age;
- Where the pupil has an IEP or disability related needs:
- Whether the behaviour causing the incident was a manifestation of the pupil’s disability;
- Whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided; and
- Whether a suspension is likely to result in aggravating or worsening the pupil’s behaviour or conduct or whether a suspension is likely to result in a greater likelihood of further inappropriate conduct; and Whether or not the pupil’s continuing presence at the school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of anyone in the school.
Subject to the Factors to Consider Before Deciding to Impose a Suspension below, reasonable grounds to believe that a pupil has committed one or more infractions outlined below on school property, during a school related activity or even, and/or in circumstances where the infraction has an impact on the school climate, the principal will suspend the pupil. The principal will also contact the police consistent with the Police and School Response Protocol if the infraction the pupil is suspected of committing requires such contact. When in doubt, the principal will consult with his or her Superintendent.
The enumerated activities are:
- Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm;
- Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person;
- Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner;
- Committing sexual assault;
- Trafficking in weapons or restricted drugs;
- Committing robbery;
- Giving alcohol to a minor;
- An act considered by the principal to be significantly injurious to the moral tone of the school and/or to the physical or mental well-being of others (e.g., theft, academic dishonesty, hazing activities, harassment, verbal abuse, extortion, possession of an explosive substance, distribution of hate material, etc.);
- A pattern of behaviour that is so inappropriate that the student’s continued presence is injurious to the effective learning and/or working environment of others;
- Activities engaged in by the student on or off school property that cause the student’s continuing presence in the school to create an unacceptable risk to the physical or mental well-being of other person(s) in the school or Board;
- Activities engaged in by the student on or off school property that have caused extensive damage to the property of the Board or to goods that are/were on the Board’s property, (e.g. inappropriate use of electronic and/or voice mail systems, fire setting, etc.);
- The student has demonstrated through a pattern of behaviour that s/he has not prospered by the instruction available to him or her and that s/he is persistently resistant to making changes in behaviour which would enable him or her to prosper, e.g. neglect of duty, truancy, consistent opposition to authority, etc); or
- Any act considered by the principal to be a serious violation of the Board or school Code of Conduct.
In accordance with the Police and School Response Protocol/School Board Procedural Protocol, police shall be contacted by the principal for but not limited to the above infractions. Consequences resulting from criminal charges related to school incidents are independent of those imposed under the Education Act.
Mitigating Factors and Other Factors
Before imposing a suspension pending an investigation to determine whether to recommend expulsion, the principal must consider any mitigating factors as set out in the Student Discipline Procedures.
If the principal imposes a suspension pending an investigation to determine whether to recommend expulsion, the Principal must consider any mitigating and other factors as set out in the Student Discipline Procedures in determining whether to recommend an expulsion from the pupil’s school or from all schools of the Board, as required by the Education Act. If the principal determines it is not appropriate to recommend an expulsion, the principal must consider mitigating and other factors in deciding whether to shorten the length of the suspension.