• CODE of CONDUCT

    Preface

    The School Board, faculty, staff and administrators of the Upper Merion Area School District are committed to ensuring a safe, secure, disruption-free, yet challenging and relevant learning environment for all of our students. Expectations for student behavior are high in each of our buildings. A clear and specific Code of Conduct is an essential element in developing and maintaining a rigorous academic environment. It also provides a framework for excellence through guidelines for correction and discipline that are firm, fair and consistent for all students. The Code of Conduct presents the categories of student misbehaviors or infractions as well as the prescribed disciplinary responses or punishments associated with each. The district believes that parents role in appropriate student behavior is essential. Home and school must work cooperatively to provide the necessary guidance to students so that they are successful. Parents must partner with schools to insure that their child attends school regularly and follows all of the school rules and regulations. The code serves to inform students, parents, and school staff as to which types of student behavior are unacceptable and to understand the consequences of these acts.

    Introduction

    Upper Merion Area School District students are expected to conduct themselves at all times in ways that are a credit to them, their family and the school. The privilege of participating in the activities and functions of the school carry with it the responsibility to behave in accordance with the standards and expectations of the school and its various organizations. If students fail to do so, they will be subject to the disciplinary consequences. Students may be removed from any school organization if, in the opinion of the appropriate faculty, staff, and/or administrator, their behavior brings discredit to the organization and/or school. 

    This Code of Student Conduct and Discipline applies to conduct that occurs while students are in attendance at school, while students are going to school from home and from school to home, and to all conduct at other times which impacts on the School District. The Discipline Code shall also apply to out-of-school conduct by a student if the District believes that the nature of such conduct indicates that the student presents a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of other students. Such out-of-school conduct shall include, but is not limited to:

    • Acts of violence that are punishable by law
    • Weapon Offenses
    • Sexual offenses that are punishable by law
    • The sale, transfer, or possession of drugs, which would constitute an offense punishable by law
    • Felony charges

    Positive Expectations of All Students

    School is a place for teaching and learning. Therefore, students are expected to:

    • Attend school regularly
    • Arrive at school on time, ready to participate in the learning process
    • Accept responsibility for one’s own behavior
    • Cooperate with school personnel and fellow students
    • Abide by all school regulations
    • Complete all assignments fully and in a timely manner
    • Respect the right of teachers to teach and students to learn
    • Refrain from any activity that hinders other students’ safety, welfare or achievement

    LEVEL ONE MISCONDUCT

    Level One misconduct on the part of the student is misconduct which: (1) impedes orderly classroom procedures, (2) infringes upon the rights of others to learn or teach, or (3) interferes with the orderly operation of the classroom or school. Level One misconduct may occur outside of the classroom and school. This misconduct usually will be handled by the individual staff member unless the behavior is repeated. Examples of Level One Misconduct:

    1. Minor classroom disturbance
    2. Initial classroom tardiness
    3. Initial school tardiness
    4. Initial class cutting
    5. Misuse of electronic devices
    6. Failure to complete assignment
    7. Unprepared for class
    8. Failure to follow established procedures for:
      1. the cafeteria
      2. the halls
      3. on school buses
      4. at bus stops
      5. during field trips
    9. Failure to report to a teacher’s detention
    10. Failure to sign in at school
    11. Failure to follow reasonable directions
    12. Any form of distraction
    13. Violation of Student Dress and Grooming Policy
    14. Inappropriate display of affection
    15. Hall pass or privilege misuse
    16. Initial disruptive behavior

    Disciplinary Options Available for Level One Student Misconduct

    1. Verbal reprimand
    2. Personal conference
    3. Parent conference
    4. Behavioral contract
    5. Peer mediation
    6. Pass Restriction
    7. Involvement with counselor
    8. Withdrawal of privileges within the classroom
    9. Teacher detention
    10. Telephone call to parent or guardian
    11. Confiscation of object or device
    12. After school detention *
    13. Saturday detention (High School only) *
    14. Exclusion from extracurricular activities *
    15. Suspension of transportation privileges * 

    *  After consultation with a building administrator

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL ONE STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level One student misconduct, there is immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct. Repeated misconduct requires a conference with the teacher and student that may involve the principal or principal designee. A proper and accurate written record of the misconduct and disciplinary actions for each student must be prepared by the staff member involved and kept by the staff member to be used in the event that the misconduct continues and moves to Level Two misconduct consideration. 

    LEVEL TWO MISCONDUCT

    Level Two misconduct on the part of the student is misconduct whose frequency or seriousness disrupts the learning climate of the classroom and/or school. Level Two misconduct may also include incidents that occur outside of the classroom at school events or on school property.

    Examples of Level Two Student Misconduct

    1. Continuation of Level One misconduct
    2. Failure to identify oneself correctly
    3. Abusive, offensive and/or obscene language
    4. Possession and distribution of pornography
    5. Gambling
    6. Obscene gestures or actions
    7. Repeated school tardiness
    8. Truancy
    9. Using and/or supplying forged signatures, notes or illegal excuses
    10. Repeated disruptive behavior
    11. Repeated class cutting
    12. Failure to cooperate with staff/insubordination
    13. Smoking and/or possession of tobacco
    14. Leaving school or an assigned area without permission
    15. Occupying an unauthorized area
    16. Violation of driving/parking privileges (High School only)
    17. Reckless driving on school property
    18. Misconduct on the bus
    19. Failure to leave school property when asked
    20. Misconduct at school events
    21. Misconduct at athletic contests
    22. Misconduct going to and from school
    23. Loitering and Trespassing
    24. Violation of the school District Acceptable Use of Technology Policy
    25. Cheating or lying
    26. Aiding and abetting the breaking of a school rule
    27. Using or supplying plagiarized material
    28. Pushing or Shoving
    29. Skateboarding/rollerblading on school property

     Disciplinary Options Available for Level Two Student Misconduct

    1. Any appropriate disciplinary option or response from Level One
    2. Withdrawal of school privileges
    3. Temporary or Permanent removal from class
    4. Referral for counseling
    5. In-school suspension
    6. Parent conference
    7. Suspension from student activities
    8. Out of school suspension
    9. Saturday detention (High School only)
    10. Required punishment for tobacco offense includes referral to District court and fine.

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL TWO STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level Two student misconduct, there is an immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct. The student is referred to the principal, or principal designee, for appropriate disciplinary action. If a suspension is being considered as an appropriate discipline, the student shall be advised of the reasons for the suspension and be given the opportunity to respond before the suspension becomes effective.  A proper and accurate written record of the misconduct and the disciplinary actions for each student must be maintained by the staff member and forwarded to the principal or principal designee.

    LEVEL THREE MISCONDUCT

    Level Three misconduct on the part of the student is misconduct that is directed against persons or property or whose consequences may seriously endanger the health or safety of others. These acts are considered serious. These acts may result in the intervention of the law enforcement authorities.

    Examples of Level Three Student Misconduct

    1. Continuation of Level Two misconduct
    2. Fighting
    3. Stealing
    4. Threat to others
    5. Harassment
    6. Bullying and/or cyber bullying (including digital communications)
    7. Defiance of school personnel
    8. Obscene and/or threatening calls
    9. Alteration or use of school documents w/ intent to defraud
    10. Disruption of in school suspension/detention
    11. Profanity or obscene language directed toward school personnel
    12. Indecent exposure

    Disciplinary Options Available for Level Three Student Misconduct

    1. Any appropriate disciplinary option from Level Two
    2. Temporary/Permanent removal from class
    3. Homebound instruction
    4. Alternative program
    5. Out‑of‑school suspension
    6. Abbreviated schedule
    7. Possible recommendation for expulsion
    8. Saturday detention (High School only)

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL THREE STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level Three student misconduct, there is immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct, provided such intervention can take place safely. The Principal, or designee, initiates disciplinary action by investigating the infraction and conferring with appropriate staff or agencies on the extent of the consequences. If a suspension is being considered as an appropriate discipline, the student shall be advised of the reasons for the suspension and be given the opportunity to respond before the suspension becomes effective.

    The Principal, or designee, meets with the student and confers with the parent or guardian about the student's misconduct and the resulting disciplinary action. A proper and accurate written record of offenses and disciplinary actions is maintained by the Principal, or designee. There is consideration of restitution of property and damages and possible referral to law enforcement officials.

    LEVEL FOUR (A) MISCONDUCT

    Level Four (A) misconduct on the part of the student is misconduct which results in violence to another’s person or property or which poses a direct threat to the safety of others. These acts may be criminal and always require administrative action that may result in the immediate removal of the student from school, the intervention of law enforcement authorities, and action by the Board of School Directors.

    Examples of Level Four (A) Student Misconduct

    1. Continuation of Level Three misconduct
    2. Extortion
    3. Bomb threat, Terroristic threats
    4. Vandalism
    5. Theft/possession/sale of stolen property
    6. Arson
    7. Possession/use of firecrackers, smoke bombs, etc
    8. Endangering the safety of others
    9. Activating false alarms, False 911 calls.
    10. Assault and battery
    11. Causing serious bodily injury to another

     Disciplinary Options Available for Level Four (A) Student Misconduct

    1. Any appropriate disciplinary option or response from Level Three
    2. Required Counseling
    3. Expulsion
    4. Restitution
    5. Alternative Placement
    6. Other Board action which results in appropriate placement
    7. Terroristic threats will result in the suspension of a student’s driver’s license as per Act 23, Section 1532 of the Motor Vehicle Code.

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL FOUR (A) STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level Four (A) student misconduct, there is immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct, provided such intervention can take place safely. The administrator verifies the offense, confers with the appropriate staff or agency and meets with the student. The student is immediately removed from the school environment.

    Parents or Guardians are notified. Law enforcement officials are contacted, unless the discipline is based on continuation of a Level Three Misconduct, in which event the administrator determines if such referral is appropriate. A complete and accurate written report is submitted to the Superintendent who will consider recommending expulsion. The student is given a full due process hearing before the Board, if expulsion is recommended.

    LEVEL FOUR (B) MISCONDUCT

    Level Four (B) misconduct on the part of a student is misconduct that involves the possession, sale, furnishing, use or involvement of any nature with an unauthorized substances, or look-alike. These acts may be criminal and always require administrative action that may result in the immediate removal of the student from school, the intervention of law enforcement authorities, and possible action by the Board of School Directors.   Unauthorized Substance shall include any mood-altering substance, mind-altering substance, alcohol or malt beverage, any substance listed in the Controlled Substance Drug Device and Cosmetic Act, also known as Act 64, as a controlled substance, abused chemical or abused substance, and any medication for which a prescription is required under the law. Also, any substance intended to be mind or mood-altering is encompassed by the term “unauthorized substance”.  Examples of the above include, but are not limited to: beer, wine, liquor, marijuana, hashish, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, LSD, heroin, chemical solvents, steroids, glue and “look-alike” drugs.

    Examples of Level Four (B) Student Misconduct

    1. Use of an unauthorized substance
    2. Being under the influence of an unauthorized substance
    3. Furnishing an unauthorized substance to others
    4. Selling an unauthorized substance
    5. Possession of an unauthorized substance
    6. Involvement of any nature with an unauthorized substance

    Disciplinary Options Available for Level Four (B) Student Misconduct

    1. Out of school suspension
    2. Referral to Student Assistance Team
    3. Expulsion
    4. Alternative school
    5. Requirement of Drug/Alcohol intervention program
    6. Other Board action which results in appropriate placement

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL FOUR (B) STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level Four (B) student misconduct, there is immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct, provided such intervention can take place safely. Any employee not a member of the teaching staff who believes a student is guilty of Level Four (B) misconduct must take reasonable steps to prevent the continuance of such conduct and immediately notify the employee's immediate supervisor and the Principal, or designee, of the building attended by the student in question.  The Principal, or designee, must immediately verify the offense, and if appropriate, meet with the student. The Principal, or designee, is to immediately remove the student from the school environment and suspend the student. The student's parents or guardians and law enforcement officials are to be notified immediately. The Principal is to prepare a complete and accurate written report to be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools within twenty‑four (24) hours. The Superintendent is to file a report with the Board. The school district may expel, for a period of up to one (1) year, any student who brings an unauthorized substance onto any school property, and school sponsored activity or any public conveyance providing transportation to a school or school sponsored activity. The Superintendent may recommend discipline short of expulsion on a case-by-case basis. In the case of an exceptional student, the Superintendent shall take all necessary steps to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Superintendent shall report the discovery of any unauthorized substance  prohibited by this policy to local law enforcement officials and shall report all incidents relating to expulsions for possession of an unauthorized substance on school grounds to the Department of Education. Possession of an unauthorized substance by any person on school property in violation of this policy shall be reported to the Office for Safe Schools on the designated form twice per year, as required, and to the Board of School Directors.

    LEVEL FOUR (C) MISCONDUCT

     Level Four (C) misconduct on the part of the student involves possessing, furnishing, selling or using a weapon or a replica of a weapon on school property. A weapon includes, but is not limited to, firearms or replicas of firearms, knives or replicas of knives, metal knuckles or replicas of metal knuckles, straight razors or razors of any type, razor blades, cutting instruments of any nature including those individually fabricated, explosives, mace, noxious and/or irritating or poisonous gases, poisons, drugs or other items fashioned with the intent to use, sell, harm, intimidate, threaten or harass students, staff members, parents or others legally upon school district premises.

    Examples of Level Four (C) Student Misconduct

    1. Use of a weapon
    2. Furnishing a weapon to others
    3. Selling a weapon
    4. Possession of a weapon
    5. Involvement of any nature with a weapon

     Disciplinary Options Available for Level Four (C) Student Misconduct

    1. Out of School Suspension
    2. Expulsion
    3. Alternative School
    4. Counseling
    5. Other Board Action which result in an appropriate placement.

    PROCEDURES FOR LEVEL FOUR (C) STUDENT MISCONDUCT

    In the event of Level Four (C) student misconduct, there is immediate intervention by the staff member who is supervising the students or who observes the misconduct, provided such intervention can take place safely. Any employee not a member of the teaching staff who believes a student is guilty of Level Four (C) misconduct must take reasonable steps to prevent the continuance of such conduct and immediately notify the employee's immediate supervisor and the Principal, or designee, of the building attended by the student in question.

    The Principal, or designee, must immediately verify the offense, and if appropriate, meet with the student. The Principal, or designee, is to immediately remove the student from the school environment and suspend the student. The student's parents or guardians and law enforcement officials are to be notified immediately. The Principal is to prepare a complete and accurate written report to be submitted to the Superintendent of Schools within twenty‑four (24) hours.  The Superintendent is to file a report with the Board. The school district may expel, for a period of up to one (1) year, any student who brings a weapon onto any school property, and school sponsored activity or any public conveyance providing transportation to a school or school sponsored activity. The Superintendent may recommend discipline short of expulsion on a case-by-case basis. In the case of an exceptional student, the Superintendent shall take all necessary steps to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The Superintendent shall report the discovery of any weapon prohibited by this policy to local law enforcement officials and shall report all incidents relating to expulsions for possession of a weapon on school grounds to the Department of Education. Acts of violence or possession of a weapon by any person on school property in violation of this policy shall be reported to the Office for Safe Schools on the designated form twice per year, as required, and to the Board of School Directors.

    Definition of Terms

    After School Detention – Students must report to the after school detention room by 2:30 PM, any student who is late will have to reschedule the detention.  Students are dismissed from detention no earlier than 4:00 PM and may take the 4:30 PM bus home.  

    Saturday Detention – Students must report to the main entrance of the High School by 8:00 AM where they will be greeted by the teacher on duty.  Students are dismissed from detention no earlier than 11:00 AM. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from Saturday detention.

    In-School Suspension (ISS)– Students report to school at the regularly scheduled time and go directly to the ISS room, C-203. Students will receive assignments from their teachers and are responsible to complete all work assigned and follow the directions of the ISS teacher.  Any student who is disruptive or uncooperative in ISS may be assigned an out-of-school suspension. Students are dismissed at the regularly scheduled time and may take the 2:21 PM bus home. Students may not attend any other school related activity on the day of an assigned ISS.

    Out-of-School Suspension (OSS) - Students are not permitted in school or at school related activities on the day of an assigned OSS.  Students are responsible to make up any work missed due to an OSS.