Student Conduct & Discipline

Section 12 of the School Act of Alberta (the Act) outlines the guidelines for student conduct. In addition, Section 45.1 of the School Act notes that a school has the responsibility to ensure that each student enrolled in the school and each staff member employed by the school is provided with a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging. Each member shares responsibility for the well-being of every other member of the school. One of Clear Water Academy’s (CWA) objectives as a Catholic School of Integral Formation Board is the creation of a safe and caring school. Students must understand that they are responsible for their behaviour and that behaviour which disrupts or distracts from the educational and formative atmosphere of the school is unacceptable. There is an expectation that students will follow reasonable rules and regulations which are in place to benefit all the students in the school community. 
 
Students are expected to comply with Section 12 of the School Act by: (a) being diligent in pursuing their studies; (b) attending school regularly and punctually; (c) cooperating fully with everyone authorized by the school to provide education and formation programs and other services; (d) complying with the rules of the school; (e) accounting to their teachers for their conduct; (f) respecting the rights of others; (g) ensuring that their conduct contributes to a welcoming caring, respectful, and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging; (h) refraining from, reporting, and not tolerating bullying or bullying behaviour directed toward others in the school, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means; and (i) positively contributing to their school and community.
 
The Code of Conduct emanating from Section 12 of the School Act includes, but is not limited, the following lists of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. 
 
1. Acceptable Behaviors – We have the Inclusive Communities Policy, that focuses on building respectful and caring school environment, rooted in Catholic values and virtue. Inclusive Communities align with the School Act’s requirement to provide welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments. Within our school, we are building communities that are inclusive and celebrate respect for one another, community, and diversity. This includes placing a strong value on: Respecting all others, regardless of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, or family status; Respecting the school authority; Respecting the school and district property, as well as the property of others; Respecting yourself and the rights of others in the school; Making sure your conduct contributes to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment in the school that respects the diversity and fosters a sense of belonging of others in the school; Refraining from, reporting, and refusing to tolerate bullying or bullying behaviour, even if it happens outside of the school or school hours or electronically; Informing an adult you trust in a timely manner of incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation or other safety concerns in the school; Acting in ways that honour and appropriately represent you and the school.  Attending school regularly and punctually; Being ready to learn and actively engage in and diligently pursue your education; Knowing and complying with the rules of the school; Cooperating with all school staff; Being accountable for your behaviour to your teachers and other school staff; and Contributing positively to the school and community.
 
 
2. Unacceptable behaviours are behaviours that do not support Inclusive Communities, and therefore interfere with the establishment of welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environments, are considered unacceptable. These include, but are not limited to:  Behaviours that interfere with the learning of others and/or the school environment, or that create unsafe conditions; The use of profanity and language that is not caring, kind, and courteous; Acts of bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, or intimidation; Retribution against any person in the school who has intervened to prevent or report bullying or any other incident or safety concern; Breaches of digital on-line safety; Inappropriate use of mobile devices; Inappropriate student dress; Physical violence or threats; Personal or sexual harassment; Hazing; Illegal activity: Gang activity; Possession or use of weapons; Possession, use or distribution of illegal or restricted substances (including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or e-cigarette products); and   Theft or damage to property.
 
As outlined in the School Act, students can be held accountable for conduct that occurs outside of the school building or school day and electronically (e.g. social media), if the conduct negatively affects a member of the school or interferes with the school environment. Students are held accountable for conduct during curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities both on and off-site of the school campus.
 
3. Bullying – Further to Section 12 of the School Act and the Code of Conduct above, all forms of bullying are unacceptable. There are several criteria used to identify an act of bullying: There is repeated hostile or demeaning behaviour.  The behaviour is intended to cause harm, fear, or emotional distress to another individual in the school community. The harm caused includes physical harm, psychological harm, or harm to the individual’s reputation. It is important to note that: a) no action toward another student, regardless of the intent of that actions will cause harm, fear, or distress to that student; b) no action toward another student within the school community will diminish the student’s reputation within the school community; and c) actions that humiliate or contribute to diminishing the reputation of a student because of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, or family status is deemed to be an act of bullying. This behaviour may occur on school grounds, off of school grounds, during school hours, after school hours, and via electronic means. If it impacts the extent to which a student feels safe and cared for at school, it is within the schools’ purview to address. Bullying often occurs in circumstances where one party endeavors to maintain power and control over another based upon systemic inequalities within a social setting. Bullying must be distinguished from a conflict in relationship, which occurs through single episodic acts of breakdowns in relationship between students. Conflict is an inevitable component of students learning to grow within social relationships. Disagreement and misunderstanding between parties is at the heart of conflict. However, conflict does not constitute premeditated efforts to cause harm, fear, or distress. Parameters for addressing conflict in relationship between students may be dealt with through counseling, administrative intervention, or restorative practices. Regardless of whether school personnel and parents agree that the issue is a confirmed case of bullying or not, school personnel will work constructively to address the issue causing concern. 
 
All allegations of bullying will be thoroughly investigated by school personnel. If bullying is occurring, some or all of the following processes will apply: discipline process, intervention process, restorative justice process, or threat-risk assessment process. All of these processes are dedicated to eradicating the bullying behaviour. Guidance, coaching, and support are also offered to all involved including, when applicable, to the bully, the victim, and the bystanders. In establishing consequences for confirmed cases of bullying, teachers and administrators will use corrective interventions that consider the context of the circumstance, the behavioural history of the students involved, and the age and developmental level of the students. Parents play a primary role in assisting with the resolution of matters pertaining to bullying. The parents or guardians of both the aggressor and the victim should be consulted and informed about the processes used, as appropriate (discipline, intervention, and restorative).
 
4. Students are expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct. 
 
5. Our school discipline process will reflect the following characteristics: (a) parental contact is paramount; (b) parents are respectfully brought into the discipline process and appraised of both consequences and interventions, as appropriate, with the understanding that teachers and administrators are responsible for final decisions; (c) consequences for inappropriate behaviour are logically connected to offenses and to the age, maturity and individual circumstances of the student; (d) consequences for inappropriate behaviour escalate in seriousness; (e) interventions are put in place to prevent further indiscretions whenever possible, and practical; (f) restorative practices are used whenever appropriate and (g) support will be provided for students impacted by inappropriate behaviour and for students engaged in inappropriate behaviour.
 
6. Some or all of the following practices should be applied in both the discipline process and as a response to bullying: Logical Consequences – Logical consequences are proportional, connected to the indiscretion, and instructive in nature. Intervention Processes – Intervention processes are any processes that identify root causes, or triggers, of behaviours and seek to eliminate, avoid, or minimize the triggers. Examples of interventions include behaviour support plans, structured recess, and targeted groups led by Family School Liaison Workers and Connections workers. Restorative Justice – Restorative practice is a strategy that seeks to repair relationships that have been damaged, including those damaged through bullying. The goal of restorative practice is to bring together the person who did the harm and the harmed person, and have them work together to right the wrong. Restorative practices may be conducted with varying degrees of formality that include meeting with just those students most directly involved in bullying to more formal conferences that include others such as families, school staff, peers and police community liaison officers. An important component of restorative practice is restitution which is the agreed upon action to repair the harm that has been done. Threat-Risk Assessment – In circumstances where a threat has been made a threat risk assessment can be initiated, a threat assessment is the process of determining if a threat maker actually poses a risk to a target or targets they have threatened.
 
7. Students are responsible for what they choose to do. Therefore, students must be willing to accept the consequences of their actions. Students who misbehave face various disciplinary actions such as the withdrawal of privileges; detention at lunch or after school; suspension, both in school and at home; and expulsion.
 
8. Serious incidences that adversely impact the safety of individuals or are an affront to the common good of the school community may be addressed through suspension and expulsion. 
 
9. All members of the school staff have a teaching and formation responsibility with respect to student conduct and discipline. 
 
10. Staff members should apply mature judgment in deciding whether or not to inform parents of discipline problems with a student. Serious issues should be communicated to parents, while more minor infractions should reside at the teacher/student level, thereby following the principle of subsidiarity and allowing students to self-regulate their own behaviour.
 
11. Parents who wish to discuss a matter of student conduct or discipline should first contact the child’s teacher.
 
12. Further inquiries or complaints should then be addressed to the principal and/or assistant principal. 
 
13. If the matter cannot be resolved by the principal and/or assistant principal, the parent may contact the Executive Director, or through them, the Board of Clear Water Academy.
 
As per section 45.1(3) of the School Act, this Policy affirms the rights, as provided for in the Alberta Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, of each staff member employed by the Board and each student enrolled in the School. Staff members employed by the School and students enrolled in the School will not be discriminated against as provided for in the Alberta Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the degree the same applies in law to the School.
 
The board will review this policy annually by June 30th of each year.