Code of Conduct

The Ulster County BOCES programs have a set of expectations for the conduct on school property, at school functions, and at school supervised events. These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty, and integrity, which are reflective of community and workplace standards and essential to develop strong character.

The expectations for students are found in the Code of Conduct. This Code of Conduct is reviewed, revised, and approved annually by the Ulster BOCES Board of Education.

NOTE: It is beyond the scope of this document to identify all potentially relevant state laws, rules, or regulations and School Board policies that may apply to a specific disciplinary case. Therefore, this publication of the Code of Conduct is not an exhaustive representation of every possible example of inappropriate behavior for which a student may receive a disciplinary consequence. However, it does represent a good faith effort to address the more frequently observed behaviors of students generally.

Please contact your child's principal should you have any questions about the Code of Conduct.

Approved by the Ulster BOCES Board of Education: July 12, 2017



Code of Conduct Committee

The Ulster County BOCES Code of Conduct was developed, reviewed, and/or revised by the following committee members. Original members involved in the development are notated with an *:

Administrators:
Mary Jalloh
Dean Lucera
Marita Kitchell*
Henry Pollinger
Carleen Meers
Jonah Schenker*
Suzanne Smith
Amy Storenski

Teachers:
Victor Arnao
Carol Giangrasso*
Gwen Kramer-Gold*
Kathy Landers*
Jamie Lucks
Donna Matthews*
Betsy Nosonowitz*
Joyceanne Wlodarczyk

Support Staff:
Jeralyn Perretta

Community Members/Parents:
Ian Winter*


Introduction

The Ulster County BOCES Programs have a set of expectations for conduct on school property, at school functions and at school supervised events. These expectations are based on the principles of civility, mutual respect, citizenship, character, tolerance, honesty and integrity, which are reflective of community and workplace standards and essential to develop a strong character.

The school setting provides an opportunity to teach children, and emphasize among staff, that cooperation with and respect for others is a key value of Ulster County BOCES. A program geared to prevention is designed to not only decrease incidents of discrimination, harassment, bullying, taunting or intimidation, but to help students build more supportive relationships with one another by integrating the prevention and intervention program into classroom instruction. Staff members and students will be sensitized through BOCES-wide professional development and instruction, to the warning signs of discrimination, harassment, bullying, taunting or intimidation, as well as to their responsibility to become actively involved in the prevention of such acts before they occur.

The Board recognizes the expectation and responsibility to educate students for appropriate conduct. Our goal is to clearly define these expectations for acceptable conduct on school property, identify the possible consequences of unacceptable conduct, and to ensure that discipline when necessary is administered promptly and fairly. To this end, the Board adopts this Code of Conduct (“Code”).

Unless otherwise indicated, this code applies to all students, school personnel, parents and other visitors when on school property or attending a school function.

In summary, the purpose of this Code is to promote an orderly and safe environment which will provide students with opportunities to achieve their fullest potential, and to instill in those students responsibilities and abilities they will need to become contributing members of society.

Definitions

For the purpose of this Code, the following definitions apply and Appendices A & B should be referenced for compliance with the Dignity for All Act:

“Parent” means the biological, adoptive, or foster parent, guardian or person of record in parental relation to the student.

“School Property” means in or within any building, structure, school vehicle, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of the Ulster County BOCES and its satellites; or in or on a school bus (Education Law §11[1]) and Vehicle and Traffic Law §142).

“School Bus” means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency or private school and operated for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity, to or from school or school activities, or, privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to or from school or school activities (Vehicle and Traffic Law §142 and Education Law §11[1]).

“School Function” means any school-sponsored curricular-related event or activity.

“Disability” means (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term must be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held (Education Law §11[3] and Executive Law §292[21]). (See also Appendix A & B).

“Employee” means any person receiving compensation from a school district or employee of a contracted service provider or worker placed within the school under a public assistance employment program, pursuant to title nine-B of article five of the Social Services Law, and consistent with the provisions of such title for the provision of services to such district, its students or employees, directly or through contract, whereby such services performed by such person involve direct student contact (Education Law §§11[4] and 1125[3]).

“Sexual Orientation” means a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality (Education Law §11[5]).3 (See also Appendix A & B).

“Gender” means a person’s actual or perceived sex and includes a person’s gender identity or expression (Education Law §11[6]).4 (See also Appendix A & B).

“Harassment” means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional, or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; such conduct, verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse includes, but is not limited to, verbal threats, intimidation, or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex (Education Law §11[7]). (See also Appendix A & B).

“Weapon” means any item, material, instrument or substance capable of causing physical injury or death.

“Disruptive Student” means a student who substantially interferes with the educational process and/or interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom.

“Violent Student” means a student who:

  • when on school property, commits or attempts to do so, an act of violence on school personnel, student or visitor;
  • possesses, displays or threatens the use of a weapon, bomb or dangerous instrument capable of inflicting physical injury or death;
  • damages or destroys property of staff, student or district.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Rights of Students: Education in a free society demands that students be aware of their rights and learn to exercise them responsibly. To this end, students have a right:

  • to be provided with an education that is intellectually challenging and relevant to demands of the 21st century;
  • to learn in an environment free from interruption, harassment, bullying, discrimination, intimidation and fear;
  • to participate in district activities on an equal basis regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, creed, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, gender or sex, sexual orientation or disability;
  • to be informed of all school rules;
  • to be guided by a discipline policy which is fairly and consistently implemented, and learn appropriate behaviors for the school/work environment.

Student Responsibilities: The Board recognizes the need to specify and clearly state expectations for student conduct while on school property or while engaged in school functions, specific and clear. The rules of conduct listed below focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others. Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior and who violate school rules and/or the Code of Conduct will be required to accept the penalties for their conduct. All students have the responsibility to:

  • show respect to other persons and property;
  • respect the rights and beliefs of others and not discriminate or harass based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex;
  • contribute to the maintenance of a safe and orderly school environment that is conducive to learning;
  • be familiar with and abide by all Ulster County BOCES student conduct expectations;
  • attend school every day, unless they are excused, and to be in class, on time and prepared to learn;
  • work to the best of their ability in all educational and extracurricular pursuits and to strive toward their highest level of achievement;
  • respond to direction given by teachers, administrators and other school personnel in a respectful, positive manner;
  • develop skills to control any inappropriate behavior;
  • ask questions when they do not understand;
  • seek help in resolving problems that will avoid disciplinary interventions;
  • dress appropriately for the academic setting (i.e.: sneakers for physical education, uniforms for Career & Technical Education classes);
  • accept responsibility for their actions;
  • actively discourage inappropriate behavior of other students and report any incidents to the administration;
  • report acts of bullying, discrimination, harassment and other inappropriate actions that hurt others or make them feel unsafe;
  • conduct themselves as representatives of Ulster County BOCES programs when participation in or attending school-sponsored extracurricular events, and to hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct, demeanor, and sportsmanship.

School and Classroom Conduct Rules

All Staff

Expectations for appropriate student behavior should be maintained and upheld by all staff in all locations. All staff shall be responsible for the early identification of student behavioral problems, alerting appropriate administration officials in a timely fashion, and for the referral of the student to his counselor, social worker, school psychologist and/or the building intervention team when ordinary discipline measures do not seem to be effective.

Maintaining acceptable student behavior is the business of every District employee – principals, teachers, aides, cafeteria workers, custodians, secretaries and all other staff members; it is not just the business of the classroom teacher or the Principal/Supervisor to discipline students. All staff are responsible to help students select appropriate behavior patterns. Ulster BOCES staff members are committed to an educational environment that provides a culture of prevention and intervention. Staff has the right to make a reasonable request(s) of a student and/or to question a student. Further, as they carry out their responsibilities to insure the safety and well being of everyone, they may request that a student do something contrary to the student's wishes. It is the student’s obligation to comply with a request. Failure to follow such directions may be considered insubordination and subject to a range of penalties, including the possibility of suspension.

Preventive interventions used by the faculty and staff may include, but are not limited to;

  • classroom meetings;
  • restitution or restoration;
  • verbal warnings or reprimands;
  • written warnings or reprimands;
  • requests for parent conferences;
  • requests for conferences with guidance counselors, coaches, advisors, and/or administration;
  • refusal of pass privileges;
  • removal from class to detention room;
  • assignment to short detention; and
  • assignment to detention or reorientation.

Infractions, which require more serious punishments, are used only by the administration, e.g.;

  • permanent removal (expulsion) from class;
  • in-school suspension;
  • suspension from school;
  • petition to Family Court (PINS);
  • expulsion from school; and
  • other options created to elicit positive behavioral outcomes.

When students engage in misconduct while on the Ulster BOCES sponsored bus or at any Ulster BOCES sponsored activity, whether on or off campus, they will be subject to interventions and/or consequences. It is crucial for students to behave appropriately while riding on district buses to ensure their safety and that of the other passengers, and to avoid distracting the bus driver. Students are required to conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with established standards on school property. Students waiting for buses when not on school property are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the district’s Code of Conduct. It is the home school district that is responsible for inappropriate bus behavior and/or consequences in that situation. However, for students attending Ulster County BOCES in a full-day program, Ulster County BOCES has been given the authority to apply the Code of Conduct, interventions and consequences.

Teachers

All teachers have devised a clear set of classroom management and behavior guidelines and expectations. These rules have the full support of the administration and are compatible with District policy. During the first few class sessions of each year and/or semester, these expectations will be reviewed with all assigned students and, when appropriate, given to the class in written form.

Such guidelines will include (but will not be limited to) classroom attendance, student preparation for class, a homework policy (which is consistent with District guidelines), participation in class, rules of common courtesy, assignment of seats and a range of consequences for violations of classroom policies and expectations.

  • Teachers shall work closely with parents to establish a wholesome relationship between home and school by sending communications home regularly and promptly.
Counselors, Social Workers, School Psychologists

School Counselors, Social Workers and School Psychologists play an important role in the education of students. In view of this responsibility, Counselors, Social Workers and School Psychologists

  • assist students in coping with peer pressure and emerging personal, social and emotional problems;
  • initiate and participate in parent/teacher/student conferences, as necessary, as a way to resolve problems;
  • work closely with parents to establish a wholesome relationship between home and school by sending communications home regularly and promptly;
  • regularly review with students their educational progress and career plans;
  • provide information to assist students with career planning; and
  • advise students, provide strategies so that students may fully participate and benefit from the curriculum and extracurricular programs
  • develop and update FBAs and BIPs, as necessary or required.
Building Administrators

As the educational leaders of the school, the administrators set the disciplinary climate for the school. Therefore, they:

  • seek to develop a sound and healthful atmosphere of mutual respect within the school;
  • evaluate the program of instruction in the school to achieve a meaningful educational program;
  • help the staff evaluate their own procedures and attitudes in relation to the interactions within their classrooms;
  • provide teachers with strategies to relieve serious problems as soon as possible and support all building personnel in maintaining appropriate and effective discipline;
  • communicate discipline issues with staff as appropriate;
  • work closely with parents to establish a wholesome relationship between home and school by sending communications home regularly and promptly;
  • establish necessary building security;
  • assume responsibility for the dissemination and enforcement of the District's discipline policy and insure that all cases are resolved promptly; and
  • enforce this code in a consistent manner and in coordination with teacher and counselors.
  • provide an age-appropriate summary of the COC in plain language to all students and continually reinforce it throughout the year;
  • identify a Dignity Act Coordinator and disseminate contact information to all school personnel, students and parents/guardians;
  • train staff on how to respond to issues of discrimination and harassment or any situation that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student regardless of actual or perceived categories in the eleven named classes in the Dignity Act;
  • follow up and investigate incidents promptly;
  • incorporate curricula on diversity and sensitivity into lessons on civility/citizenship.
Superintendent of Schools

As the Chief Executive Officer or designee of the school district and the educational system, it shall be the responsibility of the Superintendent to:

  • take such steps as are necessary to develop, publicize and carry out the rules and regulations for students;
  • work with the administrators, law enforcement officials and other agencies to make certain that the rules and responsibilities of each are understood and to make plans for cooperative working arrangements;
  • consider and act upon recommendations for suspensions in keeping with the policy of the Board, and this Code;
  • review with each Principal the policies of the Board and state laws relating to discipline;
  • listen and react to the view of the total community;
  • inform the Board of educational trends relating to discipline;
  • provide for the development of innovative educational programs which may help to minimize problems of misconduct and which may be sensitive to the needs of the faculty; and
  • advise on serious discipline matters and support the Principal so long as the latter has acted in accordance with this Code, the disciplinary policies of the school district and the laws of the State of New York.
Board of Education

The primary task of the Board is to establish school district policy. In this regard, it shall be the responsibility of the Board to:

  • adopt and support a clearly defined discipline policy (this Code of Conduct) for the school district;
  • approve a procedure for hearing appeals relating to disciplinary action which will protect the rights of all parties in the action;
  • listen and react to the views of the total community; and
  • annually review the discipline policy (this Code of Conduct) of the school district.

Essential Partners

Parents

All parents are expected to:

  • recognize that the education of their children is a joint responsibility of the parent, school, and community;
  • send their children to school ready to participate and learn;
  • ensure that their children attend school regularly and on time;
  • ensure absences are legitimate and necessary;
  • insist their children be dressed and groomed in a manner consistent with the student dress code;
  • help their children understand that in a democratic society appropriate rules are required to maintain a safe, orderly environment;
  • know school rules, their children’s rights and responsibilities as expressed in this code and help them to understand those responsibilities;
  • convey to their children a supportive attitude toward education and the Ulster BOCES programs;
  • foster good relationships through communication with teachers, other parents, and their children’s peers;
  • help their children deal effectively with peer pressure;
  • inform school officials of changes in the home situation that may affect student conduct of performance including changes in phone number, address, or emergency contacts; and
  • provide a place for learning and ensure homework assignments are completed.
  • teach respect for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression), or sex;
  • learn about discriminatory, harassing and bullying behavior and how to encourage your children to act appropriately and follow the Code of Conduct.

All BOCES Instructional and Support Staff

All staff members play an important role in the education of our students. In view of this responsibility they must:

  • model appropriate behavior that shows respect for all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression), or sex;
  • not discriminate or harass any student;
  • promote a climate of mutual respect and dignity which will strengthen each student’s positive self-image;
  • teach the common courtesies by precept and example;
  • treat students in an ethical and responsible manner;
  • guide students to reach their maximum potential;
  • demonstrate desirable standards of behavior through personal example;
  • report violations of the Code of Conduct at the appropriate level; and
  • comply with policy and procedures regarding confidential information.
Teachers

In addition to the responsibilities of all Ulster BOCES staff members, teachers must:

  • plan instruction that will make learning challenging and stimulating;
  • utilize classroom routines which contribute to the total instructional program and to the students’ development of civic responsibility;
  • distinguish between minor student misconduct best handled by the teacher and major problems requiring the assistance of the administrator;
  • explain and interpret the discipline code to students;
  • communicate regularly with students, parent and other teachers concerning growth and achievement; and
  • communicate to students and parents the following:
      • course objectives and requirements
      • marking/grading procedures
      • assignment deadlines
      • expectations for students
      • classroom discipline plan
      • students’ rights and responsibilities
  • always conduct oneself in a professional manner consistent with New York Teaching Standards;
  • teach students to be culturally sensitive and to support, appreciate and respect differences of all students regardless of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression), or sex;
  • respond to issues of discrimination and harassment and incidents that threatens the emotional or physical health or safety of any student regardless of actual or perceived categories in the eleven named classes in the Dignity Act;
  • be aware of and support the instruction for students that raises awareness and sensitivity to discrimination or harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived eleven named classes in the Dignity Act;
  • listen to students about incidents of discrimination and harassment and follow reporting procedures.

Student Driving Permit

Student must obtain permission prior to driving to school. Student must show a valid driving license.

Permission slips are available in the Ulster BOCES main office. Students must have the signatures of the home school principal, parent/guardian, employer, teacher and Ulster BOCES administrator.

Students will be given permission to drive if they are employed after school. Verification of student employment may be requested. Students MAY NOT TRANSPORT any other student under any circumstance. Driving privilege will be immediately terminated if this situation occurs.

Each driving request will be reviewed by Ulster BOCES administration on an individual basis. Driving privileges may be addressed by administrative review as needed.

Prohibited Student Conduct

The Board of Education expects students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for themselves, the rights and welfare of other students, district personnel and other members of the school community. Respect for one’s self, and all individuals in the BOCES environment are required. Students are also expected to conduct themselves appropriately with regard to the care of school facilities and equipment.

The best discipline is self-imposed and students must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, as well as the consequences of their misbehavior. Personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary consequences/penalties only when necessary and to place emphasis on the student’s ability to grow in self-discipline and to learn socially acceptable behavior. This approach creates a culture where intervention and prevention maintain a culture of respect and honor.

The Board endorses, and students will be subject to progressive disciplinary action, depending upon the severity of the incident. These actions may range from reminders and instruction up to suspension from school, when they:

Engage in any form of academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating

Engage in the use of Electronic Communication Devices

Students are prohibited from using or having on or in an operational mode any Paging device, cellular telephone, laser pointer or pen or another type of telecommunications or imaging device during instructional time, except as expressly permitted in connection with authorized use in classrooms. In addition, they are prohibited from using them in any manner which invades the privacy of students, employees, volunteers or visitors or creates a disruption to the academic program. If a student violates this prohibition, then he/she is subject to discipline under this provision and/or any other provision in this Code of Conduct that may be applicable to the circumstances involved. (Any electronic device that is permitted on school property is encouraged to be kept on the person and/or in a locker.)

Teachers and all other BOCES personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable possession/use of electronic devices, behavior and dress, to help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance and conduct in the school building.

Engage in conduct that is disruptive, disorderly, destructive and/or insubordinate. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • failing to comply with the lawful directions of teachers, school administrators or other school personnel in charge of students;
  • being late for school or class;
  • being unprepared for class;
  • inappropriate use of educational materials;
  • throwing objects in class or shop, cafeteria, hallways or on school grounds;
  • chronic talking; and
  • failing to comply with the lawful directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of students;
  • lateness for, missing, leaving school or class without permission; and
  • refusing to participate in assigned alternative instruction;
  • running in hallways;
  • making unreasonable noise;
  • using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar, abusive, or bullying;
  • obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
  • engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community;
  • driving on campus recklessly; and
  • NOT following classroom, shop and safety rules
  • unauthorized use of electronic devices
  • Misusing computer/electronic communication devices, including any unauthorized or inappropriate use of computers, software, or Internet/intranet account; accessing inappropriate Web sites; or any other violation of the Ulster BOCES Acceptable Use Policy.
  • Use of personal electronic devices/equipment (i.e. cell phones, MP3 devices, and other electronic devices) in a manner that invades the privacy of others and/or creates a disruption to the educational process.
  • Use of a personal computer, laptop and/or other computerized information through the BOCES computer system is prohibited unless approved by administration and for an approved purpose.

Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • lying to any school personnel;
  • stealing the property of other students, school personnel or any other person on school property or attending a school function;
  • verbal or physical taunting or bullying;
  • acts of sexual harassment as defined in the district’s sexual harassment policy;
  • selling, using or possessing obscene material;
  • smoking any substance such as a cigarette, e-cigarette, cigar, pipe or using chewing or smokeless tobacco;
  • under the influence of, possessing, consuming, selling, distributing or exchanging alcoholic beverages, synthetic cannabinoid products; illegal or controlled substances;
  • inappropriately using or sharing prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs, aerosols; synthetic cannabinoid products and
  • initiating false alarms, bomb threats, pulling fire alarms, misusing 911 or inappropriately discharging a fire extinguisher;
  • gambling and gaming;
  • displaying signs of gang affiliation or engaging in gang-related behaviors that are observed to increase the level of conflict or violent behavior;
  • defamation, which includes making false or unprivileged statements or representations about an individual or identifiable group of individuals that harm the reputation of the person or the identifiable group by demeaning them. This can include posting or publishing video, audio recordings or pictures (written material, cell phones, Internet, YouTube, etc.);
  • discrimination, which includes the use of race, age, sexual orientation, use of recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner.

Engage in conduct that is violent. Examples of violent conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • committing or threatening an act of violence (such as hitting, kicking, biting, spitting, punching, hair pulling and scratching) upon another student, a teacher, an administrator, and/or other school employee, and/or any other person on school property;
  • possessing a weapon; authorized law enforcement officials are the only persons permitted to have a weapon in their possession while on school property or at a school function;
  • displaying what appears to be a weapon;
  • threatening to use any weapon;
  • intentionally damaging or destroying the personal property of a teacher, administrator, student, other district employee or any person on school property, including graffiti or arson; and
  • intentionally damaging or destroying school property on or off-campus
  • communication by any means, including oral, written or electronic (such as through the Internet or email) off school property, where the content of such communication (a) can reasonably be interpreted as a threat to commit an act of violence on school property; or, (b) results in material or substantial disruption to the educational environment.

Engage in any form of conduct that is deemed Harassment, Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Hazing, and/or Sexual Harassment which are defined as, but not limited to:

  • Harassment: The creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. The harassing behavior may be based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability including use of recognized guide, hearing, or service dog, political affiliation, age, marital or veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender (identity or expression).
  • Bullying/Cyber Bullying: A hostile activity which harms or induces fear through the threat of further aggression and/or creates terror. Bullying may be premeditated or a sudden activity. Internet bullying, also referred to as cyber bullying, can include the use of instant messaging, e-mail, Web sites, chat rooms, and text messaging, when such use interferes with the operation of the school; or infringes upon the general health, safety and welfare of students or employees. The bullying can be verbal, physical, emotional and/or social/relational.
    • Verbal Bullying includes name calling, insulting remarks, verbal teasing, frightening phone calls, violent threats, extortion, taunting, gossip, spreading rumors, racist slurs, threatening electronic communications (i.e.: social networking websites, texting) anonymous notes, etc.
    • Physical Bullying includes poking, slapping, hitting, tripping or causing a fall, choking, kicking, punching, biting, pinching, scratching, spitting, twisting arms or legs, damaging clothes and personal property, or threatening gestures.
    • Social/Relational Bullying includes excluding someone from a group, isolating, shunning, spreading rumors or gossiping, arranging public humiliation, undermining relationships, teasing about clothing, looks, giving dirty looks, aggressive stares, etc.
  • Hazing: Hazing is defined as any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. Activities considered hazing include personal servitude; sleep deprivation and restrictions on personal hygiene; yelling, swearing and insulting new members/rookies; being forced to wear embarrassing or humiliating attire in public; consumption of vile substances or smearing of such on one’s skin; brandings; physical beatings; binge drinking and drinking games; sexual simulation and sexual assault.
  • Sexual Harassment: Conduct is deemed to be sexual harassment when the individual perceives such behavior as unwelcome. Unwelcome behavior includes but is not limited to: inappropriate touching, requests for sexual favors, taking, sending or receiving sexually explicit videos, pictures or auditory recordings, verbal comments, sexual name calling, spreading sexual rumors, gestures, jokes, or blocking a student’s movement;
  • Engaging in discriminating or harassing behavior that hurts another student or makes them afraid by using language, gestures, verbal threats or physical contact – hitting, pushing, fighting, etc. – because of what is or appears to be their race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex;
  • Engaging in aggressive behavior that results in serious physical injuries;
  • Purposely using words or gestures that hurt, harm or embarrass others-name calling, teasing, etc. because of what is or appears to be someone’s race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

* In the remainder of this document the term “bullying” will be used to refer to harassing or hazing behaviors because that is the term most commonly used by students and parents.

Student Dress Code

Our community takes pride in the appearance of our students. Clothes can reflect the quality of the school, conduct, and schoolwork. Students are expected to dress in a manner that is appropriate for the educational setting. Teachers and all other district personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable student dress and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance in the school setting.

A student’s dress, grooming and appearance shall:

  • be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process; (e.g. the wearing of pajamas or gang affiliated clothing is not allowed. The wearing of outerwear, book bags, heavy vests, layered garments and/or headgear is not allowed. These garments must be stored in lockers while in school. Heavy jewelry, hanging pocket chains and jewelry with spikes that can injure others is not allowed.)
  • hats or head coverings worn inside the school except for medical or religious purposes or for a specific purpose or trade setting;
  • shorts, skirts and dresses must be even with or longer than a student’s finger tips when their arms are hanging freely at their sides;
  • be dressed in appropriate clothing and protective equipment as required for physical education classes, participation in athletics, science laboratories, home and career skills classes, Career & Tech and other similar areas; footwear is to be included at all times; footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed.

The following items will be considered a violation of the Ulster County BOCES dress code:

  • see through and/or plunging necklines, tube tops, spaghetti straps;
  • visible undergarments (must be covered with outer clothing);
  • clothing that promotes alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, encourage other illegal/violent activities;
  • clothing that displays vulgar, obscene, or libelous subject matter or images that are denigrating to others.

Each program administrator or his/her designee shall be responsible for informing all students and their parents of the student dress code at the beginning of the school year, later in the year when a student is admitted to a program and of any revisions to the dress code made during the school year. Students who violate the dress code shall be required to modify their appearance by covering or removing the offending item and if necessary or practical, replacing it with an acceptable item. Any student who refuses to do so is deemed insubordinate and shall meet with the program administrator or his/her designee for additional disciplinary action as appropriate.

Reporting Violations of the Code of Conduct

Any violation of the Code of Conduct shall be reported immediately to the program administrator or any Ulster BOCES administrator.

The Superintendent and/or designee must notify the appropriate local law enforcement agency of those violations that constitute a crime and substantially affect the order or security of a school. The notification may be made by telephone, followed by written notification on the same day as the telephone call is made. The notification must identify the student(s) and explain the conduct that violated the Code of Conduct and constitute a crime.

Disciplinary Measures

Disciplinary measures authorized by the Student Code of Conduct may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • warnings (oral or written)
  • detention (in school or after school)
  • in-school suspension
  • suspension from school for up to five (5) school days
  • suspension from school in excess of five (5) days
  • suspension from school for at least one (1) year for possession of a weapon pursuant to the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (subject to the right of the Superintendent to modify such penalty) or, in the case of a student with a disability whose possession of a weapon is determined to be related to his/her disability, placement in an interim alternative educational setting for a period of up to forty-five (45) days;
  • placement in an interim alternative educational setting for a period of up to forty-five (45) days, in the case of a student with a disability whose knowing possession or use of illegal drugs, or sale or solicitation of the sale of a controlled substance at a school or a school function and at times when a student makes serious threats to loss of life, is determined to be related to his/her disability;
  • permanent suspension (expulsion); and
  • other based on administrative decision.

Removal of Disruptive Students from the Classroom by a Teacher

A disruptive student is defined as a student who, despite previous intervention strategies, has failed to comply with classroom expectations and interferes with classroom instruction and/or learning. Grounds for removal include but are not limited to the following:

  • refusal to comply with teacher’s direction;
  • excessive arguing with teacher;
  • poses a danger e.g. physical and/or verbal behavior which in any ways threatens staff or students.

Students may be removed for a maximum of five class periods from that class only. The student will be permitted to attend all other classes. For the duration of the removal, the following conditions apply:

If the student poses an immediate danger, the teacher will:

  • remove the student, explain the reason and allow an opportunity for the student to be heard regarding the incident within 24 hours or the next school day;
  • supply class work for the student; and
  • inform the principal or designee of reasons for removal and demonstrate previous intervention strategies applied.

If the student does not pose an immediate danger, the teacher will:

  • before removing, explain the basis for removal and allow the student to informally present his/her version of relevant events; and
  • provide the student with classwork so that the removal has minimal impact on the student’s learning process;
  • inform the principal or designee of reasons for removal.

Principal’s or designee’s responsibilities triggered by teacher removal are:

  • notification of the parent within 24 hours of the teacher’s reasons for the removal (see also Removals of Students with Disabilities section on page 21 on this Code);
  • on request, student/parent must be given an opportunity to discuss reasons with principal or designee; teacher must attend to provide substantiation and clarification;
  • if student denies the charges, student/parent must be given explanation of the basis for the removal and an opportunity to present his/her version; this should take place within 24 hours of removal; and
  • principal or designee must decide, by the close of business on the day following the opportunity to be heard by the principal or designee, whether or not the discipline will be set aside; the principal or designee may only set aside discipline if:
      • The charges against the student are not supported by substantial evidence.
      • The student’s removal is in violation of the law.
      • The conduct warrants suspension and the suspension will be imposed.

The written notice must be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery or some other means that is reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the student’s removal at the last known address for the parent. Where possible, notice should also be provided by telephone if the school has been provided with a telephone number(s) for the purpose of contacting parents.

If at the informal meeting the student denies the charges, the Principal or the Principal’s designee must explain why the student was removed and give the student and the student’s parents a chance to present the student’s version of the relevant events. The informal meeting must be held within 48 hours of the student’s removal. The timing of the informal meeting may be extended by mutual agreement of the parent and Principal.

The Principal or his/her designee may overturn a removal at any point between receiving the referral form issued by the teacher and the close of business on the day following the 48-hour period for the informal conference, if a conference is requested. No student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher will be permitted to return to the classroom until the Principal makes a final determination, or the period of removal expires, whichever is less.

Any disruptive student removed from the classroom by the classroom teacher shall be offered continued educational programming and activities until he/she is permitted to return to the classroom.

The Principal and the teacher must keep a log of all removals of students from class.

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 he/she has verified with the Principal or the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education that the removal will not violate the student’s rights under state or federal law or regulation.

Ulster County BOCES shall provide continued educational programming and activities for students with a disability who are removed from their classrooms.

An appeal brought by the parent or student over the age of 18 of an administrator’s removal decision must be presented to the District Superintendent or designee prior to any further appeal.

The Board of Education, District Superintendent, Superintendent of Schools, a program administrator or in his/her absence, an acting program administrator, may suspend a student from school where it is determined that the student:

  • Is insubordinate or disorderly, or exhibits conduct which endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others;
  • exhibits a physical or mental conditions(s) which endangers the health, safety or morals of himself/herself or of other student; or
  • is removed from a classroom for substantially disrupting the educational process or substantially interfering with the teacher’s authority in the classroom.

In addition to the statutory grounds for suspension from school for conduct or health condition, students shall also be subject to suspension based upon a violation of the specific disciplinary infractions listed in this Code of Conduct.

Suspensions of Five Days or Less

Prior to a proposed suspension from school for between one and five days by a Building Principal or an acting Principal in the absence of the Building Principal, the student and his/her parent shall be notified, in writing and by telephone, if possible, within 24 hours of the decision to suspend. Such written notice shall include a description of the incident(s) resulting in the suspension and shall inform the parent of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the Principal or designee at which the student may present the student’s version of the event and ask questions of complaining witnesses. The notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall be given prior to the suspension of the student, unless the student’s presence in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property, or an ongoing threat to the academic process in which case the notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably possible.

Suspensions for up to five (5) days may be ordered by the building principal, or designee after the pupil has received oral or written notice of the charges against him/her. If such charges are denied by the pupil, an explanation of the evidence against the pupil and an opportunity by the pupil to present his/her side of the story will be provided by the District. The foregoing requirements of notice, explanation and opportunity to present the pupil’s side shall not be deemed to require more than an informal discussion with the pupil. Informal discussion may occur even minutes after the alleged misconduct.

  1. If a suspension of five days or less is determined to be the appropriate form of disciplinary action, the Principal or designee shall immediately notify the student orally or in writing, and shall immediately notify the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) in writing that the student has been suspended from school.
  2. Written notice shall be provided by personal delivery, express mail delivery, or equivalent means reasonably calculated to assure receipt of the notice within 24 hours of the suspension at the last known address(es) to the parent(s) or guardian(s). The principal or designee shall also take steps to notify the parent or guardian by telephone of the suspension. The notice shall provide a description of the charges against the student, and the incident(s) which resulted in the suspension and shall inform the parent(s) or guardian(s) of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the Principal or designee. Both the notice and informal conference shall be in the dominant language or mode of communication used by the parent(s) or guardian(s).
  3. At this conference, the parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be permitted to ask questions of complaining witnesses under such procedures as may be established by the Principal or designee. After the conference, the Principal or designee shall promptly advise the parent(s) or guardian(s) of his/her decision and that they may appeal the decision to the Board.
  4. The Principal or designee shall notify the Superintendent of the name of each student suspended, the reason for the suspension, the evidence supporting the suspension, and the length of the suspension.

Suspensions of More than Five Days

Suspension for more than five (5) days may be ordered by the District Superintendent, designee or the Board of Education, but only after the pupil and his parents shall have had an opportunity for a fair hearing upon reasonable notice. At the hearing, the pupil shall be entitled to be represented by a lawyer and shall have the right to cross-examine witness(es) against him/her. The record of the hearing shall be kept, either stenographical or by tape recorder. If the hearing shall be before the District Superintendent, the pupil shall have a right to appeal to the Board of Education. Either the District Superintendent or the Board of Education shall have the right to designate a hearing officer, who shall conduct the hearing, make findings of fact a recommend the appropriate measure of discipline.

1. If the Principal or designee determined that a suspension of more than five days is warranted he/she shall refer the case to the Superintendent. If the Superintendent agrees that a suspension of more than five days may be a potential consequence of the alleged conduct, the Superintendent shall give reasonable notice to such student and parent(s) or guardian(s) of their right to a fair hearing and of the charges against the student.
2. The charges in the notice shall be sufficiently specific to advise the student and his/her counsel of the incidents which have given rise to the proceeding and will form the basis for the hearing.
3. If the student or his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) request a hearing, the Superintendent may personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his/her discretion, designate a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The Superintendent/hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the proceeding before him/her.
4. At the hearing, the student shall have the right:

    • to have his/her parent(s) or guardian at the hearing;
    • to representation by counsel;
    • to question witnesses against him/her
    • to testify on his/her behalf; and
    • to present other witnesses and evidence on his/her behalf.

5. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required and a tape recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record.
6. The Superintendent shall make a determination of guilt or innocence based on competent and substantial evidence regarding whether the student participated in the conduct of which he/she is accused. Thereafter, if the Superintendent finds the student guilty, the Superintendent shall determine the penalty to be imposed. In assessing the penalty, the Superintendent may consider the student’s anecdotal record provided the parent(s) or guardian(s) have been notified of the District’s intent to offer the anecdotal record for consideration on the issue of the penalty to be assessed. The parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be offered the opportunity to review and rebut the contents of the student’s anecdotal records prior to the assessment of a penalty.
7. If the hearing is presided over by a hearing officer, he/she shall make finding of fact and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the Superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the Superintendent may accept all or any part thereof.
8. Any appeal of the decision of the Superintendent shall be made to the Board which will make its decision solely upon the record before it. The Board may adopt in whole or in part the decision of the Superintendent.
9. The decision of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education.

Alternative Instruction

Where a student of compulsory education age is suspended, immediate steps for his/her alternative instruction shall be taken.

Revocation of Suspension

The Board may, on its own initiative, revoke the suspension of a student whenever it appears to be in the best interest of the school and the student to do so.

PINS Petitions

The district may file a PINS (person in need of supervision) petition in Family Court on any student under the age of 18 who demonstrates that he or she requires supervision and treatment by:

a. Being habitually truant and not attending school as required by part one of Article 65 of the Education Law.
b. 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.
c. Knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana in violation of Penal Law § 221.05. A single violation of § 221.05 will be a sufficient basis for filing a PINS petition.

Referrals to Human Service Agencies

When any student need is beyond the scope of the district’s resources, a referral to appropriate human service agencies will be made. All administrators, faculty, pupil services personnel, and other support staff will serve as mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect. They will communicate these and other referrals through the principal or his/her designee.

Juvenile Delinquents and Juvenile Offenders

The superintendent is required to refer the following students to the County Attorney for a juvenile delinquency proceeding before the Family Court:

a. any student under the age of 16 who is found to have brought a weapon to school; or
b. any student 14 or 15 years of age who qualify for juvenile offender status under the Criminal Procedure Law § 1.20 (42).

The superintendent is required to refer students 16 years of age and older or any students 14 or 15 years of age who qualify for juvenile offender status to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

Upon recommendations of staff, additional counseling services can be given to specific students when necessary.

Discipline of Students with Disabilities

If the conduct of a student is related to a disability or suspected disability, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education in the home district. The Building Intervention Team or program administrator will be contacted to work with the teacher, and home school to design a functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan. Discipline, if warranted, shall be administered consistent with the separate requirements of the Code of Conduct for disciplining student with a disability.

The Board of Education recognizes that it may be necessary to suspend, remove or otherwise discipline students with disabilities to address disruptive or problem behavior. The Board also recognizes that students with disabilities have certain protections whenever school authorities intend to impose discipline upon them. The Board is committed to ensuring that the procedures followed for suspending, removing, or otherwise disciplining students with disabilities are consistent with the procedural safeguards required by applicable laws and regulations.

This Code of Conduct affords student with disabilities subject to disciplinary action no greater or lesser rights than those expressly afforded by applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Authorized Suspension or Removals of Students with Disabilities:

For purposes of this section of the Code of Conduct, the following definitions apply:

A “suspension” means a suspension pursuant to Educational 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 learner poses a risk of harm to himself/herself or others.

The District Superintendent, program administrator, or his/her designee may suspend a student with a disability from his or her current educational placement.

  • A suspension without a hearing may not exceed five consecutive school days for any one student and not exceed the amount of time a non-disabled student would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.
  • The District Superintendent may suspend up to five consecutive school days, inclusive of any period in which the learner has been suspended or removed, if the District Superintendent determines that the student engaged in behavior that warrants a suspension and the suspension does not exceed the amount of time a non-disabled student would be subject to suspension for the same behavior.

Change of Placement Rule

A disciplinary change in placement means a suspension or removal from a student’s current educational placement that is either:

  • more than 10 consecutive days; or;
  • for a period of less than 10 consecutive school days if the student is subjected to a series of suspensions or removals that constitutes a pattern because they cumulate no more than 10 school days in a school year and because of such factors as the length of each suspension or removal, the total amount of time the student is removed and proximity of the suspensions or removal to one another.
  • A student with a disability may be ordered into an IAES (Interim Alternative Educational Setting) if so determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE), for the same amount of time that a student without a disability would be subject to discipline. Change in placement to an IAES for behavior involving serious bodily injury, weapons, illegal drugs or controlled substances. (1) A superintendent of schools, either directly or upon recommendation of a hearing officer designated to conduct a superintendent’s hearing pursuant to Education Law, section 3214(3)(c), may order the change in placement of a student with a disability to an appropriate IAES, to be determined by the CSE, for up to 45 days. (See Suspensions for Misconduct Involving Weapons and/or Drugs for further information.) (Pg. 22)

The BOCES may impose a suspension or removal, which would otherwise result in a disciplinary change in placement, because it is for more than 10 school days or because it is based on a pattern of suspension or removals if the CSE has determined that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student’s disabilities.

Building Intervention Team

When a student’s education is disrupted by a suspension of more than 10 days, a Building Intervention Team (BIT) Meeting is to be coordinated with Ulster BOCES staff, the home school district CSE, the student’s parents or guardians and, when appropriate, outside agencies, i.e. Youth Advocate Program, Probation, etc.

The Building Intervention Team Meeting shall:

  • Conduct functional behavioral assessments to determine why a student engages in a particular behavior, and develop or review behavioral intervention plans whenever the Ulster BOCES 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 and/or prescription drugs or controlled substances and in some cases serious threats to cause loss of life to another person.
  • If subsequently, a student with a disability who has a behavioral intervention plan and who has been suspended or removed from his/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 home district’s CSE or Ulster BOCES believe 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.

Manifestation Hearing

Before an IAES may be meted out for a student classified or deemed to be known as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (hereinafter “IDEA”)(a student with an educational disability,) the Committee on Special Education (hereinafter the “CSE) must make a determination of whether the conduct underlying the charges was a manifestation of the disability:

  • If a manifestation is found between the disability and the conduct, the 3214 proceeding must be discontinued (except for weapons, drugs and dangerous behavior) and the matter placed under the jurisdiction of the CSE for any further consideration. The CSE must register a referral and bring about an evaluation in the case of a student who may be deemed to be known as having a disability, or, if the student is already classified under IDEA, it must consider possible program modification and disposition on a non-disciplinary basis.
  • If no manifestation is found, yet nonetheless a disability if indicated or has been identified, discipline may be imposed upon remand to the 3214 Hearing Officer. The relevant disciplinary procedures applicable to children with disabilities may be applied in the same manner in which they would be applied to children without disabilities, as long as the child continues to receive a free appropriate public education during any such term of suspension.
  • Where no manifestation is found and no suspected disability is determined to exist, the matter shall be remanded to the 3214 Hearing Officer for a determination of penalty.

Any penalty imposed may not be based on past behavior for which a manifestation determination was not made.

The school district must continue to provide a free appropriate public education to students who have been suspended from school.

Suspension for Misconduct Involving Weapons and/or Drugs

A student classified or deemed to be known as having as educational disability under IDEA may be suspended and placed in an interim alternative educational setting for up to forty-five (45) days (less if the discipline is for a non-disabled student), if the student carries a weapon to school or a school function, or knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs and/or prescription drugs, or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function and, in some instances, makes serious threats to cause loss of life to another person.

  • In accordance with law, the term “weapon,” means a weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, animate or inanimate that is used for, or is readily capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
  • In accordance with law, the term “illegal drugs” means controlled substances but not those legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health care professional or other permitted authority under the Federal Controlled Substances Act or under any other provision of Federal Law. Controlled substances are drugs and other substances identified under schedules set forth in applicable Federal law provisions.

Before a student is suspended and placed in an interim alternative educational setting for up to 45 days for behavior involving weapons and/or drugs, the CSE must conduct a manifestation determination.

  • Placement in an interim alternative educational setting as a result of conduct involving weapons and/or drugs is not contingent upon a CSE determination that the misconduct is not related to the student’s disability.
  • It is up to the CSE to determine what would constitute an interim alternative educational setting that would meet the requirements of the student’s IEP and enable the student to participate in the general curriculum (although in another setting).

The exception for the suspension/removal of students with educational disabilities for up to 45 days for conduct involving weapons and/or drugs does not apply to students whose disabilities are founded solely upon 504/Title II ADA.

Such an interim alternative education shall be deemed the student’s “stay put” placement during the pendency of any due process proceedings contesting the interim alternative educational setting for the duration of the interim placement.

Searches

Whenever possible, student searches will be conducted in the privacy of administrative offices. If possible, students will be present when their possessions are being searched. Vehicles driven on school grounds are subject to search.

Student Lockers, Desks, and other School Storage Places

The rules in the Code of Conduct regarding searches of students and their belongings apply to students’ lockers, desks, computers 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 the student lockers, desks school storage places, and computers may be subject to search at any time by school officials, without prior notice to students and without their consent.

Documentation of Search

The BOCES official such as the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Program administrator, school nurses, and teachers as the designee of an administrator shall be responsible for promptly recording the following information about each search:

  • name, age and grade of student search;
  • reason(s) for the search;
  • name of any informants (maintain confidentiality);
  • purpose of search (that is, what item(s) were being sought);
  • type and scope of search;
  • person conducting the search and his or her title and position;
  • witnesses, if any, to the search;
  • time and locations of the search;
  • results of the search (that, what item(s);
  • disposition of item(s) found;
  • time, manner and results of parental notification; and
  • any consent to the search by the student or parent.

The program Superintendent or his or her designee shall be responsible for the custody, control, and disposition of any illegal or dangerous item(s) taken from a student. The program administrator or his/her designee shall retain control of item(s), unless the item(s) are turned over to the police. The police shall be responsible for personally delivering dangerous or illegal item(s) to police authorities.

Questioning & Interrogation of Students by School Officials:

School officials have the right to conduct investigations and question students regarding any violations of school rules and/or illegal activity. The student’s parent/guardian may be contacted depending upon the nature and reasoning for the questioning and the necessity for further action which may result. School officials are not required to give students “rights” prior to questioning them. The presence of a school resource officer during questioning as part of routine school discipline procedure does not constitute a formal police investigation.

The questioning of students by school officials does not preclude subsequent questioning by police authorities as otherwise permitted by law.

Police Involvement in Searches and Interrogation 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:

  • a search or an arrest warrant;
  • probable cause to believe a crime has been committed on school property or at a school function;
  • been invited by school officials; or
  • been in pursuit of the person to be searched.

When police have properly entered the school and desire to interview students in the school, the students must be afforded the same rights they have outside the school. They must be informed of their legal rights, may remain silent if they so desire, may request the presence of an attorney and must be protected from coercion and illegal restraint. When a student is under the age of 16 and police are present for an interview or investigations, school officials must make every reasonable effort to notify the student’s parent(s), unless the police indicate that such interview concerns a student’s parent(s) or other household member and it is pursuant to a report regarding suspected child abuse, maltreatment or neglect.

Students who are questioned by police officials on school property or at a school function will be afforded the same rights they have outside the school. This means:

  • they must be informed of their legal rights;
  • they may remain silent if they so desire; and
  • they may request the presence of an attorney.

Drug Detecting Canines

On occasion school officials may allow drug detecting canines on school property. Searches of this nature will be conducted without students present or during a building lock down.

Purpose and Philosophy

To establish a school climate conducive to learning and the prevention of student drug use and abuse.

Under law, student have no reasonable expectation of privacy right in school lockers, desks or other storage places with respect to school authorities. The Superintendent shall give notice to all students that lockers, desks and other school storage places may be subject to inspections at any time by school officials. The Superintendent shall also give notice to all students that lockers and other school storage places may be subject to detection of illegal contraband by dogs.

Child Protective Services Investigations

Consistent with the BOCES’ commitment to keep student safe from harm and the obligation of school officials, as mandated New York State reporters, must report to Child Protective Services when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been abused or maltreated. The BOCES recognizes the obligation of school officials as mandated New York State reporters. The BOCES will cooperate with the local Child Protective Services worker who wishes to conduct interviews of the student on school property relating to allegations of suspected child abuse, and/or neglect, or custody investigations.

All requests by the Child Protective Services (CPS) to interview a student on school property shall be made directly to the program administrator or his/her designee. The program administrator or his/her designee shall:

  • arrange the interview as requested by the CPS worker;
  • decide if it is necessary and appropriate for a school official to be present during the interview, depending on the age of the student being interviewed and the nature of the allegations;
  • if the nature of the allegations is such that it may be necessary for the student to remove any of his/her clothing, the school nurse or other BOCES medical personnel must be present during that portion of the interview; and
  • no student may be required to remove his/her clothing in front of a Child Protective Services worker or district official of the opposite sex.

A Child Protective Services worker may not remove a student from school property without a court order, unless the worker reasonably believes that the student would be subject to danger or abuse if he/she were not removed from school before a court order can be reasonably obtained. If the worker believes the student would be subject to danger of abuse, the worker may remove the student without a court order and without the parent’s consent.

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. The district will file all complaints about the use of corporal punishment with the Commissioner of Education in accordance with Commissioner’s regulations.

Emergency Intervention

In situations where behavioral intervention procedures and methods are not reasonably effective, then use of physical intervention techniques may be used to:

  • protect oneself, another student, teacher or any person from physical injury;
  • protect the property of the school or others; and/or
  • 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 Appeals Process

A formal appeal may be filed with respect to the imposition of a disciplinary procedure or penalty in the following instances:

  • To appeal the imposition of a short-term suspension (5 days or less) parent must:
      • File a written appeal to the Superintendent within five (5) business days of the administrator’s decision, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so.
      • The Superintendent will issue a written decision regarding the appeal within ten (10) business days of receiving the appeal.
      • If the parents are not satisfied with the Superintendent’s decision, they must file a written appeal to the Board of Education with the District Clerk within ten (10) business days of the date of the Superintendent’s decision, unless they can show extraordinary circumstances precluding them from doing so.
      • Only final decisions of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner within thirty (30) days of the decision.
  • To appeal the imposition of a long-term suspension (more than 5 days) parents must:
      • File a written appeal to the Board of Education with the District Clerk within twenty (20) business days of the Superintendent’s decision, unless the parents can show that extraordinary circumstances precluded them from doing so.
      • The Board shall review the record of the proceedings before the Superintendent or his/her Hearing Officer including a review of the transcripts. The Board does not provide the respective parties the opportunity to present evidence not previously in the record or to make arguments in person before the Board. The Board may adopt in whole or in part the decision of the Superintendent.
      • Final decisions of the Board of Education may be appealed to the Commissioner within thirty (30) days.
  • These penalties can be appealed as follows:
      • Detention – can only be imposed after the student’s parents have been notified to confirm that there is no parental objection to the penalty and that the student has appropriate transportation home following detention.
      • Suspension from Transportation – a student is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214, however, the student and the student’s parents will be provided with a reasonable opportunity for an informal conference with the program administrator or the administrator’s designee to discuss the conduct and the penalty involved.
      • Suspension from athletic participation, extra-curricular activities and other privileges – a student is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214. However, the student and the student’s parent 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.
      • In-school suspension – a student is not entitled to a full hearing pursuant to Education Law 3214. However, the student and the student’s parent 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.

Visitors of Ulster BOCES

The Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services (Ulster BOCES) encourages parents, community members and other citizens to visit Ulster BOCES’ programs and classrooms to observe the work of students, teachers and other staff. However, since our facilities are places of work and learning, certain limits must be set for such visits. The building and/or facility administrator or his or her designee is responsible for all persons in the building and on the grounds. For these reasons, the following rules apply to visitors to Ulster BOCES programs:

  • Anyone who is not an Ulster BOCES staff member or an Ulster BOCES student will be considered a visitor.
  • All visitors to the instructional program must report to the office of the program administrator upon arrival at the facility. There they will be required to sign the visitor’s register and will be issued a visitor’s identification badge, which must be worn at all times while in the facility or on the Ulster BOCES grounds. The visitor must return the identification badge to the program administrator’s office before leaving the building.
  • Visitors attending Ulster BOCES functions that are open to the public, such as parent-teacher organization meetings or public gatherings are not required to register.
  • Parents or citizens who wish to observe a classroom while instructional programs are in session are required to arrange such visits in advance with the classroom teacher(s) and program administrator, 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 Ulster BOCES property will be reported to the program administrator or his/her 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 Ulster BOCES property contained in the Code of Conduct.

Public Conduct on Ulster BOCES Property

The Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) 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 Ulster BOCES property and at Ulster BOCES functions. For purposes of this section of the code, “public” shall mean all persons when on Ulster BOCES property or attending an Ulster BOCES function including students, teachers and other Ulster BOCES personnel.

The restrictions on public conduct on Ulster BOCES property and at Ulster BOCES functions contained in this code are not intended to limit freedom of speech or peaceful assembly. The Ulster BOCES recognizes that free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the objectives of the Ulster BOCES. The purpose of this code is to maintain public order and prevent abuse of the rights of others.

All persons on Ulster BOCES property or attending an Ulster BOCES function shall conduct themselves in a respectful and orderly manner. In addition, all persons on Ulster BOCES property or attending an Ulster BOCES function are expected to be properly attired for the purpose they are on Ulster BOCES property. Please note the dress code section herein.

School Programs to Support Positive Behavior

Ulster BOCES currently has various polices in place which allow students the opportunity to be successful. The implementation of various policies and programs will result in fewer disciplinary problems and will help foster positive behaviors.

School Programs and/or policies that foster an expansive, progressive, and a positive approach to discipline may include, but are not limited to:

  • Special Presentations & Assemblies
  • Collaboration with community based programs
  • Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS)
  • Interdisciplinary activities between BOCES divisions
  • College Presentations/visitations
  • Special counseling and psychological services
  • SKILLSUSA for CTE students
  • School Resource Officer
  • Student Leadership Council

Staff Development

Professional Development:

Ulster BOCES is committed both philosophically and by contract to offer a wide-range of in-service and staff development opportunities to all District Employees.

The available supports offered to staff may include but are not limited to:

  • Orientation
  • Mentoring
  • Observations
  • Team Meetings
  • Annual Programs on SAVE, DASA, Blood Borne Pathogens, CPR, and AED
  • On- going professional development

Prohibited Conduct
No person, either alone or with others, shall:

  • intentionally injure any person or threaten to do so;
  • intentionally damage, remove or destroy Ulster BOCES property or the personal property of a teacher, administrator, other employees or any person lawfully on Ulster BOCES property. Such actions include graffiti or arson;
  • disrupt the orderly conduct of classes, Ulster BOCES programs or other Ulster BOCES activities;
  • distribute or wear materials on Ulster BOCES grounds or at Ulster BOCES functions that are obscene, advocate illegal action, appear libelous, obstruct the rights of others, or are disruptive to the Ulster BOCES program;
  • intimidate, harass or discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability;
  • enter any portion of the Ulster BOCES premises without authorization or remain in any building or facility after it is normally closed;
  • obstruct the free movement of any person in any place to which this code applies;
  • violate the traffic laws, parking regulations or other restrictions on vehicles;
  • possess, consume, sell, distribute or exchange alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or be under the influence of either on Ulster BOCES property or at a Ulster BOCES function;
  • possess or use weapons in or on Ulster BOCES property or at a Ulster BOCES function, except in the case of law enforcement officers or except as specifically authorized by the Ulster BOCES organization;
  • loiter on or about Ulster BOCES property;
  • gamble on Ulster BOCES property or at Ulster BOCES functions;
  • refuse to comply with any reasonable order of identifiable Ulster BOCES officials performing their duties;
  • willfully incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited by this code;
  • violate any federal or state statute, local ordinance or board policy while on Ulster BOCES property or while at an Ulster BOCES function; and
  • smoke on school property.

Dissemination and Review

Dissemination of Code of Conduct

The Board will work to ensure that the community is aware of the Code of Conduct by:

  • Providing copies of a summary of the code to all students at a general assembly held at the beginning of each school year.
  • Making copies of the code available to all parents at the beginning of the school year.
  • Providing all current teachers and other staff members with a copy of the code and a copy of any amendments to the code as soon as practicable after adoption.
  • Providing all new employees with a copy of the current Code of Conduct when they are first hired.
  • Making copies of the code available for review by students, parents and other community members.

The Board will sponsor an in-service education program for all Ulster BOCES staff members to ensure the effective implementation of the Code of Conduct. The District Superintendent may solicit the recommendations of Ulster BOCES staff, particularly teachers and administrators, regarding in-service programs pertaining to the management and discipline of students.

The Board of Education will review this Code of Conduct every year and update it as necessary. In conducting the review, the Board will consider how effective the code’s provisions have been and whether the code has been applied fairly and consistently.

The Board may appoint an advisory committee to assist in reviewing the code and the Ulster BOCES response to Code of Conduct violations. The committee will be made up of representatives of student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, Ulster BOCES safety personnel and other Ulster BOCES personnel.

Before adopting any substantial revisions to the code, the Board will hold at least one public hearing at which Ulster BOCES personnel, parents, students and any other interested party may participate.

The Code of Conduct and any amendments to it will be filed with the Commissioner no later than 30 days after adoption.

APPENDIX A

Dignity For All Act

ARTICLE 2 DIGNITY FOR ALL STUDENTS

Section 10. Legislative intent.
Section 11. Definitions.
Section 12. Discrimination and harassment prohibited.
Section 13. Policies and guidelines.
Section 14. Commissioner's responsibilities.
Section 15. Reporting by commissioner.
Section 16. Protection of people who report discrimination or harassment.
Section 17. Application.
Section 18. Severability and construction.

§ 10. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that students' ability to learn and to meet high academic standards, and a school's ability to educate its students, are compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment including bullying, taunting or intimidation. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the state to afford all students in public schools an environment free of discrimination and harassment. The purpose of this article is to foster civility in public schools and to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with a school's educational mission.

§ 11. Definitions. For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings: 1. "School property" shall mean in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot, or land contained within the real property boundary line of a public elementary or secondary school; or in or on a school bus, as defined in section one hundred forty-two of the vehicle and traffic law. 2. "School function" shall mean a school-sponsored extra-curricular event or activity. 3. "Disability" shall mean disability as defined in subdivision twenty-one of section two hundred ninety-two of the executive law. 4. "Employee" shall mean employee as defined in subdivision three of section eleven hundred twenty-five of this title. 5. "Sexual orientation" shall mean actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality. 6. "Gender" shall mean actual or perceived sex and shall include a person's gender identity or expression. *7. "Harassment" shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; such conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse includes but is not limited to conduct, verbal threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. * NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *7. "Harassment" and "bullying" shall mean the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, that (a) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student's educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional or physical well-being; or (b) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or (c) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or (d) occurs off school property and creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. Acts of harassment and bullying shall include, but not be limited to, those acts based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex. For the purposes of this definition the term, "threats, intimidation or abuse" shall include verbal and non-verbal actions. *NB Effective July 1, 2013 *8. "Cyberbullying" shall mean harassment or bullying as defined in subdivision seven of this section, including paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) of such subdivision, where such harassment or bullying occurs through any form of electronic communication. *NB Effective July 1, 2013

§ 12. Discrimination and harassment prohibited. * 1. No student shall be subjected to harassment by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a person's gender that would be permissible under section thirty-two hundred one-a or paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty-four of this chapter and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681, et. seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. * NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *1. No student shall be subjected to harassment or bullying by employees or students on school property or at a school function; nor shall any student be subjected to discrimination based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property or at a school function. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a person's gender that would be permissible under section thirty-two hundred one-a or paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty-four of this chapter and title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681, et. seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. *NB Effective July 1, 2013 2. An age-appropriate version of the policy outlined in subdivision one of this section, written in plain-language, shall be included in the code of conduct adopted by boards of education and the trustees or sole trustee pursuant to section twenty-eight hundred one of this chapter and a summary of such policy shall be included in any summaries required by such section twenty-eight hundred one.

*§ 13. Policies and guidelines. The board of education and the trustees or sole trustee of every school district shall create policies and guidelines that shall include, but not be limited to: 1. Policies intended to create a school environment that is free from discrimination or harassment; 2. Guidelines to be used in school training programs to discourage the development of discrimination or harassment and that are designed: a. to raise the awareness and sensitivity of school employees to potential discrimination or harassment, and b. to enable employees to prevent and respond to discrimination or harassment; and 3. Guidelines relating to the development of nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods, and requiring that at least one staff member at every school be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and sex. *NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *§ 13. Policies and guidelines. The board of education and the trustees or sole trustee of every school district shall create policies, procedures and guidelines that shall include, but not be limited to: 1. Policies and procedures intended to create a school environment that is free from harassment, bullying and discrimination, that include but are not limited to provisions which: a. identify the principal, superintendent or the principal's or superintendent's designee as the school employee charged with receiving reports of harassment, bullying and discrimination; b. enable students and parents to make an oral or written report of harassment, bullying or discrimination to teachers, administrators and other school personnel that the school district deems appropriate; c. require school employees who witness harassment, bullying or discrimination, or receive an oral or written report of harassment, bullying or discrimination, to promptly orally notify the principal, superintendent or the principal's or superintendent's designee not later than one school day after such school employee witnesses or receives a report of harassment, bullying or discrimination, and to file a written report with the principal, superintendent or the principal or superintendent's designee not later than two school days after making such oral report; d. require the principal, superintendent or the principal's or superintendent's designee to lead or supervise the thorough investigation of all reports of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and to ensure that such investigation is completed promptly after receipt of any written reports made under this section; e. require the school, when an investigation reveals any such verified harassment, bullying or discrimination, to take prompt actions reasonably calculated to end the harassment, bullying or discrimination, eliminate any hostile environment, create a more positive school culture and climate, prevent recurrence of the behavior, and ensure the safety of the student or students against whom such harassment, bullying or discrimination was directed. Such actions shall be consistent with the guidelines created pursuant to subdivision four of this section; f. prohibit retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, reports, or assists in the investigation of, harassment, bullying or discrimination; g. include a school strategy to prevent harassment, bullying and discrimination; h. require the principal to make a regular report on data and trends related to harassment, bullying and discrimination to the superintendent; i. require the principal, superintendent or the principal's or superintendent's designee, to notify promptly the appropriate local law enforcement agency when such principal, superintendent or the principal's or superintendent's designee, believes that any harassment, bullying or discrimination constitutes criminal conduct; j. include appropriate references to the provisions of the school district's code of conduct adopted pursuant to section twenty-eight hundred one of this chapter that are relevant to harassment, bullying and discrimination; k. require each school, at least once during each school year, to provide all school employees, students and parents with a written or electronic copy of the school district's policies created pursuant to this section, or a plain-language summary thereof, including notification of the process by which students, parents and school employees may report harassment, bullying and discrimination. This subdivision shall not be construed to require additional distribution of such policies and guidelines if they are otherwise distributed to school employees, students and parents; l. maintain current versions of the school district's policies created pursuant to this section on the school district's internet website, if one exists; 2. Guidelines to be used in school training programs to discourage the development of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and to make school employees aware of the effects of harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination on students and that are designed: a. to raise the awareness and sensitivity of school employees to potential harassment, bullying and discrimination, and b. to enable employees to prevent and respond to harassment, bullying and discrimination; and 3. Guidelines relating to the development of nondiscriminatory instructional and counseling methods, and requiring that at least one staff member at every school be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and sex; and 4. Guidelines relating to the development of measured, balanced and age-appropriate responses to instances of harassment, bullying or discrimination by students, with remedies and procedures following a progressive model that make appropriate use of intervention, discipline and education, vary in method according to the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student and the student's history of problem behaviors, and are consistent with the district's code of conduct; and 5. Training required by this section shall address the social patterns of harassment, bullying and discrimination, as defined in section eleven of this article, including but not limited to those acts based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex, the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias and aggression in educational settings. *NB Effective July 1, 2013

*§ 14. Commissioner's responsibilities. The commissioner shall: 1. Provide direction, which may include development of model policies and, to the extent possible, direct services, to school districts related to preventing discrimination and harassment and to fostering an environment in every school where all children can learn free of manifestations of bias; 2. Provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to local school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines set forth in this section; and 3. Promulgate regulations to assist school districts in implementing this article including, but not limited to, regulations to assist school districts in developing measured, balanced, and age-appropriate responses to violations of this policy, with remedies and procedures focusing on intervention and education. *NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *§ 14. Commissioner's responsibilities. The commissioner shall: 1. Provide direction, which may include development of model policies and, to the extent possible, direct services, to school districts related to preventing harassment, bullying and discrimination and to fostering an environment in every school where all children can learn free of manifestations of bias; 2. Provide grants, from funds appropriated for such purpose, to local school districts to assist them in implementing the guidelines set forth in this section; 3. Promulgate regulations to assist school districts in implementing this article including, but not limited to, regulations to assist school districts in developing measured, balanced, and age-appropriate responses to violations of this policy, with remedies and procedures following a progressive model that make appropriate use of intervention, discipline and education and provide guidance related to the application of regulations; and 4. Provide guidance and educational materials to school districts related to best practices in addressing cyberbullying and helping families and communities work cooperatively with schools in addressing cyberbullying, whether on or off school property or at or away from a school function. 5. The commissioner shall prescribe regulations that school professionals applying on or after July first, two thousand thirteen for a certificate or license, including but not limited to a certificate or license valid for service as a classroom teacher, school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school administrator or supervisor or superintendent of schools shall, in addition to all other certification or licensing requirements, have completed training on the social patterns of harassment, bullying and discrimination, as defined in section eleven of this article, including but not limited to those acts based on a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex, the identification and mitigation of harassment, bullying and discrimination, and strategies for effectively addressing problems of exclusion, bias and aggression in educational settings. *NB Effective July 1, 2013

*§ 15. Reporting by Commissioner. The commissioner shall create a procedure under which material incidents of discrimination and harassment on school grounds or at a school function are reported to the department at least on an annual basis. Such procedure shall provide that such reports shall, wherever possible, also delineate the specific nature of such incidents of discrimination or harassment, provided that the commissioner may comply with the requirements of this section through use of the existing uniform violent incident reporting system. In addition the department may conduct research or undertake studies to determine compliance throughout the state with the provisions of this article. *NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *§ 15. Reporting by commissioner. The commissioner shall create a procedure under which material incidents of harassment, bullying and discrimination on school grounds or at a school function are reported to the department at least on an annual basis. Such procedure shall provide that such reports shall, wherever possible, also delineate the specific nature of such incidents of harassment, bullying and discrimination, provided that the commissioner may comply with the requirements of this section through use of the existing uniform violent incident reporting system. In addition the department may conduct research or undertake studies to determine compliance throughout the state with the provisions of this article. *NB Effective July 1, 2013

*§ 16. Protection of people who report discrimination or harassment. Any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to discrimination or harassment by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who, acting reasonably and in good faith, either reports such information to school officials, to the commissioner, or to law enforcement authorities or otherwise initiates, testifies, participates or assists in any formal or informal proceedings under this article, shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from the making of such report or from initiating, testifying, participating or assisting in such formal or informal proceedings, and no school district or employee shall take, request or cause a retaliatory action against any such person who, acting reasonably and in good faith, either makes such a report or initiates, testifies, participates or assists in such formal or informal proceedings. *NB Effective until July 1, 2013 *§ 16. Protection of people who report harassment, bullying or discrimination. Any person having reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to harassment, bullying or discrimination, by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who, acting reasonably and in good faith, reports such information to school officials, to the commissioner or to law enforcement authorities, acts in compliance with paragraph e or i of subdivision one of section thirteen of this article, or otherwise initiates, testifies, participates or assists in any formal or informal proceedings under this article, shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from the making of such report or from initiating, testifying, participating or assisting in such formal or informal proceedings, and no school district or employee shall take, request or cause a retaliatory action against any such person who, acting reasonably and in good faith, either makes such a report or initiates, testifies, participates or assists in such formal or informal proceedings. *NB Effective July 1, 2013

§ 17. Application. Nothing in this article shall: 1. Apply to private, religious or denominational educational institutions; or 2. Preclude or limit any right or cause of action provided under any local, state or federal ordinance, law or regulation including but not limited to any remedies or rights available under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

§ 18. Severability and construction. The provisions of this article shall be severable, and if any court of competent jurisdiction declares any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this article to be invalid, or its applicability to any government agency, person or circumstance is declared invalid, the remainder of this article and its relevant applicability shall not be affected. The provisions of this article shall be liberally construed to give effect to the purposes thereof.

APPENDIX B

Eleven Named Classes in the Dignity Act & Plain Language Reference

Eleven Named Classes in the Dignity Act

1. Race: The groups to which individuals belong, identify with, or belong in the eyes of the community. National Center for Education Statistics
Elementary Language: Grouping people by how they look (this could be skin color, hair texture, face shape, etc.) or people choosing what group they think they belong. For example, when students go to a school for the first time, they are asked to choose from being an Hispanic/Latino; American Indian or Alaskan Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; White; or two or more races.

2. Color: In this usage, the term refers to the apparent pigmentation (coloring) of the skin, especially as an indication or possible indication of their race. Oxford Dictionary
Elementary Language: The color of a person’s skin.

3. Weight: A person’s size or the amount someone weighs.
Elementary Language: A person who is heavy or light in weight.

4. National Origin: A person’s country of birth or their ancestors’ country of birth. Wisconsin Civil Rights publication
Elementary Language: Where you or your relatives were born.

5. Ethnic Group: Some of the criteria by which ethnic groups are identified are ethnic nationality (country or area of origin as distinct from citizenship or country of legal nationality) race, color, language, religion, customs of dress or eating, tribe or various combinations of these characteristics. United Nations
Elementary Language: A way to connect to people because of your race, color, language, religion, way people dress or eat or where you or your relatives were born.

6. Religion: Either religious or spiritual belief of preference, regardless of whether this belief is represented by an organized group or affiliation with an organized group having specific religious or spiritual tenets. United Nations
Elementary Language: What people believe. Religion is different for different people and cultures and it can be a way of explaining the mysteries of life, how to live a good life or something that is beyond what we can see, hear or touch…what some people call God, Allah, Huwa, Waheguru, Yaweh/Adonai, etc.

7. Religious Practice: Religious observances or practices include attending worship services, praying, wearing religious garb or symbols, displaying religious objects, adhering to certain dietary rules, proselytizing or other forms of religious expression or refraining from certain activities. Determining whether a practice is religious turns not on the nature of the activity, but on the person’s motivation. The same practice might be engaged in by one person for religious reasons and by another person for purely secular reasons. Whether or not the practice is “religious” is therefore a situational, case-by-case inquiry. One individual may eat a certain diet for religious reasons while another may eat the exact same identical diet for secular (health/environmental) reasons. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Elementary Language: How you show what you believe in through dress, food, symbols and practices.

8. Disability: (a) a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques or (b) a record of such an impairment or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment, provided, however, that in all provisions of this article dealing with employment, the term must be limited to disabilities which, upon the provision of reasonable accommodations, do not prevent the complainant from performing in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held. Education Law §11[3] and Executive Law §292[21]
Elementary Language: A person that is not able to do things with their body or think with their mind as most other people can because of how they are born or had an illness or an injury

9. Sexual Orientation: A person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. Education Law §11[5]
Elementary Language: A man who romantically likes a woman or a woman who romantically likes a man; a man who romantically likes another man or a woman who romantically likes another woman; or when a man romantically likes a woman or another man or when a woman romantically likes a man or another woman.

10. Gender: A person’s actual or perceived sex and includes a person’s gender identity or expression. Education Law §11[6]
Elementary Language: This can be the way a person is physically born, being a boy or a girl; or how a person feels about being a boy or a girl.

11. Sex: The biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. World Health Organization
Elementary Language: A person being born either a boy or a girl.

Other Definitions

Prejudice (includes elementary language): Thinking unfairly about someone or a group of people or treating them badly often because they may look or act different. Thoughts and feelings may be inaccurate or wrong because there is not enough information or understanding about why they may look or act different.

Discrimination (includes elementary language): Treating a person or a group of people differently usually because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or sex.

Harass (includes elementary language): Keep bothering or attacking somebody: to persistently annoy, attack, or bother somebody.

Gender Identity: An individual’s internal, deeply felt sense of being either male, female or something other or in-between. Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network (GLSEN)
Elementary Language: How a person feels inside about being either a male or female.

Gender Expression: An individual’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions that are perceived as masculine or feminine. It may include the ways in which people regularly communicate their gender identity through behavior, clothing, hairstyle, voice and emphasizing, de-emphasizing or changing their body’s characteristics.
Elementary Language: How a person shows others through how they look and act whether they are a male or female.