Amsterdam High School Code of Conduct

PrefaceStudent Bill of Rights and ResponsibilitiesDiscipline of Students with DisabilitiesDisorderly Conduct | Insubordinate Conduct | Disruptive Conduct | Violent Conduct | School Bus Misconduct | Academic Misconduct

The purpose of this document is to provide a plain language summary of the Greater Amsterdam School District’s Code of Conduct to parents, students, school personnel and community members.  This summary is a guide regarding students’ rights and responsibilities.  In addition, it provides a code of behavior for students, along with a range of potential and/or specific consequences for unacceptable behavior.  The Greater Amsterdam School District Code of Conduct was developed by a Board of Education, appointed committee representing students, teachers, administrators, parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.  The district does not discriminate against any employee or student on the basis of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap or age.  Furthermore, no person shall be subject to any unlawful discrimination.  Provisions in this Code are in compliance with state and federal laws relating to students with disabilities.

In addition, in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act, School District policy and practice must ensure that no student is subject to discrimination or harassment, based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex by school employees or students on school property, on a school bus, or at a school function.

  • “School Property” means 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 (Education Law §11[1]). 
  • “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 (Education Law §11[1] and Vehicle and Traffic Law §142).
  • “School Function” means a school-sponsored extra-curricular event or activity (Education §11[2]).
  • “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[4] and Executive Law §292[21]).
  • “Discrimination” means discrimination against any student by a student or students and/or employee or employees on school property or at a school function including, but not limited 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.
  • “Emotional harm”that takes place in the context of “harassment or bullying” means harm to a student’s emotional well-being through creation of a hostile school environment that is so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s education.
  • “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 9-B of article 5 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]).
  • “Gender” means a person’s actual or perceived sex and includes a person’s gender identity or expression (Education Law §11[6]).
  • “Sexual Orientation” means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality (Education Law §11[5]).
  • “Harassment/bullying” means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying as defined in Education Law §11(8), 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
    • reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety; or
    • reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury or emotional harm to a student; or
    • occurs off school property and creates or would forseeably 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.
      For purposes of this definition, the term “threats, intimidation or abuse” shall include verbal and non-verbal actions. (Education Law §11[7])
  • “Cyberbullying” means harassment/bullying, as defined above, through any form of electronic communication. Acts of harassment and bullying that are prohibited include those acts based on a person’s actual or perceived membership in the following groups including, but not limited to
    • race
    • color
    • weight
    • national origin
    • ethnic group
    • religion
    • religious practice
    • disability
    • sex
    • sexual orientation
    • gender (which includes a person’s actual or perceived sex, as well as gender identity and expression).

This is not an exhaustive list. For example, students with acne or short stature, who are subjected to discrimination, harassment, or bullying are also covered by the Dignity Act.

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Preface

The administration and staff of the Amsterdam High School recognize that the purpose of the district schools is to develop lifelong learners who will contribute to the total community out of personal self-worth and dignity.  The administration and staff also recognize that the enrichment and, in fact, the very survival of any group come about only as its individual members practice self-discipline and demonstrate behavior which does not infringe or intrude on basic rights and freedoms of others.  Responsible exercise of individual freedoms means respect for the democratic process and for the rights of all.  Only in an atmosphere of mutual respect, self-restraint, civility and trust among all can these freedoms flourish.

The administration and staff are committed to the task of school management in a manner consistent with the legal and moral rights of all, but will neither tolerate nor condone actions or conduct in violation of the “Student Disciplinary Code” or any penal statute.  In setting forth the following code, nothing contained herein is intended, nor shall be construed, to limit or restrict freedom of speech, peaceful assembly nor any constitutional or legal individual right.

The Code shall not prevent or limit communication between and among students or relieve the Greater Amsterdam School District of its special responsibility for self-regulation in the preservation of public order.  The Code does not prevent or restrain controversy and dissent.  However, the Code does prevent abuse of individuals and, therefore, maintains the stable environment appropriate to a public school.

This Code is adopted in compliance with Section 2801 of the Education Law and is in compliance with the Rules and Regulation for Maintenance of Public Order on Premises and in Buildings of Greater Amsterdam School District as filed with the Commissioner of Education.

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Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

With every right comes a responsibility.

  • It is the student’s right: To attend school in the district in which one’s parent or legal guardian resides.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To attend school daily, regularly and on time, perform assignments, and strive to do the highest quality work possible and be granted the opportunity to receive a good education.
  • It is the student’s right: To expect that school will be a safe, orderly and purposeful place for all students to gain an education and to be treated fairly.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To be aware of all rules and expectations regulating student’s behavior and conduct oneself in accordance with these guidelines.
  • It is the student’s right: To be respected as an individual.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To respect one another and to treat others in the manner that one would want to be treated.
  • It is the student’s right: To express one’s opinions verbally or in writing.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To express opinions and ideas in a respectful manner so as not to offend, slander, or restrict, the rights and privileges of others.
  • It is the student’s right: To dress in such a way as to express one’s personality.
    • It is the student’s responsibility:  To dress appropriately in accordance with the dress code, so as not to endanger physical health, safety, limit participation in school activities or be unduly distracting.
  • It is the student’s right: To be afforded equal and appropriate educational opportunities.
    • It is the student’s responsibility:  To be aware of available educational programs in order to use and develop one’s capabilities to their maximum.
  • It is the student’s right: To take part in all school activities on an equal basis regardless of race, color creed, religion, religious practice, sex, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, ethnic group, political affiliation, age, marital status, or disability.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To work to the best of one’s ability in all academic and extracurricular activities, as well as being fair and supportive of others.
  • It is the student’s right: To have access to relevant and objective information concerning drug and alcohol abuse, as well as access to individuals or agencies capable of providing direct assistance to students with serious personal problems.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To be aware of the information and services available and to seek assistance in dealing with personal problems, when appropriate.
  • It is the student’s right: To be protected from intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, or religious practice, sex, gender/gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability, by employees or students on school property or at a school-sponsored event, function or activity.
    • It is the student’s responsibility: To respect one another and treat others fairly in accordance with the District Code of Conduct and the provisions of the Dignity Act. To conduct themselves in a manner that fosters an environment that is free from intimidation, harassment, or discrimination. To report and encourage others, to report any incidents of intimidation, harassment or discrimination.

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Discipline of Students with Disabilities

In the event a student with a disability violates the discipline code of the school the student attends in which the district employee in charge feels he/she cannot properly handle, that person shall then confer with the building principal.  The principal and teacher, in consultation with the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education, and following review of the student’s individualized education program (IEP), shall determine if the behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disabling condition and that the student does not understand the discipline rules or cannot control the inappropriate behavior.

If the student’s behavior is not a manifestation of the student’s disabling condition and the student is capable of understanding and following the school’s discipline code, then the student may be disciplined in the same fashion as a non-disabled student.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, where the student’s IEP contains specific provisions pertaining to such student’s discipline, the provisions shall be strongly considered in determining the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken.  Anytime a student with a disability is suspended from school, the chairperson of the Committee on Special

Education and the individual building Child Study Team shall be notified in writing of such suspension.

If the student’s behavior is a manifestation of the student’s disabling condition and the student is unable to understand the rules and follow the school’s disciplinary code, the student may only be subjected to disciplinary action expressly identified and set forth in the student’s IEP and only after a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) has been conducted.  If the student’s behavior is determined to be violent or dangerous to the student or others, then the student may, among other actions or penalties, and after consultation with the chairperson of the Committee on Special Education, be suspended from school for a period of five (5) school days and referred to the superintendent to conduct a superintendent’s hearing in accordance with Education Law Section 3214.

The Committee on Special Education may revise and modify a student’s IEP to address violations of the student discipline code.  Such modifications may include alternatives and options for dealing with inappropriate behavior such as being sent to a time-out area, in-school suspension, loss of privileges, and other actions with the Committee on Special Education feels are appropriate. Such modifications shall be made in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.  The Committee on Special Education will communicate directly with the building principal, teacher and other school employees to inform them of any modification to a student’s IEP for dealing with the student in future discipline cases.

Appendix A

The Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education expects all students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner per the District Code of Conduct, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, personnel and other members of the school community, and for the care of facilities and equipment. These expectations also apply to internships and student work experience.

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. District personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to develop self-discipline.

The Board recognizes the need to be clear and specific in expressing its expectations for student conduct while on District property or engaged in a District function. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others.

Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior or who violate these school rules will be required to accept the consequences for their conduct. Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school or removal from a program, when they engage in conduct that is disorderly, insubordinate, disruptive, violent, endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others, engage in misconduct on the school bus, or engage in academic misconduct including work/internship sites.

  1. Engage in Conduct That is Disorderly

    1. Examples of disorderly conduct include, but are not limited to:

      1. Engaging in any act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community, running in hallways, making unreasonable noise, and using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar, abusive, intimidating, or that incite others.

      2. Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

      3. Trespassing. Students are not permitted in any area of the school building, other than the one they regularly attend, without permission from the administrator in charge of the building.

      4. Misusing computer/electronic communications devices, including any unauthorized or inappropriate use of computers, software, or Internet/intranet account; accessing inappropriate websites; evading the District’s content filter; using an outside wireless network; or any other violation of the District Acceptable Use Policy.

      5. Unauthorized use of personal electronic devices/equipment (i.e., cell phones, MP3 devices, cameras, and other personal electronic devices deemed inappropriate by the administration):

        1. Electronic devices are defined as any paging device, mobile telephone, cellular telephone, laser pointer or pen or any other type of telecommunications or imaging device. Use of these devices during instructional time is prohibited, except as expressly permitted by an instructor or administrator. While students are permitted to possess such devices during the school day, they are prohibited from using them in any manner which invades the privacy of students, employees, volunteers or visitors. Students are not permitted to use any form of information technology, including their own personal electronic devices, to intimidate, harass or threaten others. This type of harassment is generally referred to as cyber bullying. If a student violates this prohibition, then he/she is subject to discipline under this provision and/or any other provision in the District 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 in a concealed manner.

        2. Teachers and all other Board personnel should exemplify and reinforce acceptable behavior (including possession/use of electronic devices) and help students develop an understanding of appropriate appearance and conduct in the school setting.

      6. Unauthorized use of personal computer, laptop, tablet or e-reader and/or other computerized information resources through the District computer system is prohibited.

      7. Smoking:  For the purposes of this policy, tobacco is defined to include any lighted or unlighted cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, pipe, bidi, clove cigarette, spit tobacco (smokeless, dip, chew and or snuff) and any other tobacco product in any form.  Also included is any paraphernalia relating to tobacco use such as lighters, matches, rolling papers etc

        1. Possession or use of tobacco or related paraphernalia by students at any time on school property or at school-sponsored events at off-site facilities is prohibited.  This includes, but is not limited to, inside all school buildings, surrounding outdoor grounds within school property boundaries, in school owned or leased vehicles, in vehicles on school property and at all school-sponsored events that occur off school property.

      8. Excessive Display of Affection

  2. Engage in Conduct That is Insubordinate

    1. Examples of insubordinate conduct include, but are not limited to:

      1. Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other District employees or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.

      2. Missing or leaving school or class without permission.

      3. Closed Campus:  Students are not permitted to leave school grounds for lunch.  Students are not permitted to order food for delivery to school unless they have specific permission from the principal.

      4. Class or School Tardiness.

  3. Engage in Conduct That is Disruptive

    1. Examples of disruptive conduct include, but are not limited to:

      1. Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, District administrators or other District employees or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.

      2. Endangering the health and safety of other students or staff or interfering with classes or District activities by means of inappropriate attire or behavior as per District Code of Conduct.

    2. This attire includes, but is not limited to:

      1. low, off-the-shoulder dresses, blouses, tank tops, cropped tank tops, mesh tank tops, camisole tank tops, and sweater tank tops

      2. see-through garments

      3. short shirts allowing bare midriffs

      4. skirts, jackets or dress apparel, etc., displaying or advocating profanity, obscenity, vulgarity, etc.

      5. clothing, jewelry, etc., advertises, promotes and/or endorses the use of illegal drugs or tobacco, the use of alcohol and/or encourages other illegal or violent activities

      6. items (clothing or jewelry) that are vulgar, obscene, libelous or denigrates others on account of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability

      7. short shorts

      8. bare feet – shoes must be worn at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard will not be allowed

      9. underwear is to be completely covered with outer clothing

      10. sunglasses worn in doors without a note from a physician

      11. heavy chains hanging off clothing

      12. head coverings in instructional settings

  4. Engage in Conduct That is Violent

    1. Engage in Any Conduct That Endangers the Safety, Morals, Health or Welfare of Others

      1. Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to:

        1. Stealing District property or the property of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or while attending a school function.

        2. 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.).

        3. Discrimination, based on a person’s actual or perceived race, age, sexual orientation, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, color, creed, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, marital or veteran status, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner on school property or at a school function.

        4. 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 wellbeing based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, political affiliation, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, marital or veteran status, use of a recognized guide dog, hearing dog or service dog, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.

        5. Bullying and intimidation, which includes engaging in actions or statements that put an individual in fear of bodily harm and/or emotional discomfort; for example, “play” fighting, extortion of money, overt teasing, etc.

        6. “Internet bullying” (also referred to as “cyber-bullying”) including the use of instant messaging, email, websites, chat rooms, text messaging, or by any other electronic means, when such use interferes with the operation of the school; or infringes upon the general health, safety and welfare of students or employees.

        7. sexual harassment, which includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, taking, sending or receiving sexually explicit videos, pictures or auditory recordings and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.

        8. Displaying signs of gang affiliation or engaging in gang-related behaviors that are observed to increase the level of conflict or violent behavior.

        9. Hazing, which includes any intentional or reckless act directed against another for the purpose of initiation into, affiliating with or maintaining membership in any District or school sponsored activity, organization, club or team.

        10. Selling, using, possessing or distributing obscene material.

        11. Possessing, consuming, selling, attempting to sell, distributing or exchanging alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tobacco products or illegal and/or controlled substances, counterfeit and designer drugs, or paraphernalia for use of such drugs or be under the influence of any such substances on school property or at a school function. “Illegal substances” include, but are not limited to, inhalants, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look-alike drugs, drug paraphernalia and any substances commonly referred to as “designer drugs.”

        12. Inappropriately using, sharing, selling, attempting to sell, distributing or exchanging prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

        13. Possessing, consuming, selling, attempting to sell, distributing, or exchanging “look-alike drugs”; or, possessing or consuming (without authorization), selling, attempting to sell, distributing or exchanging other substances such as dietary supplements, weight loss pills, etc.

        14. Gambling and gaming.

        15. Inappropriate touching and/or indecent exposure.

        16. Initiating or reporting warning of fire or other catastrophe without valid cause, misusing 911, or inappropriately discharging a fire extinguisher.

        17. Violating gender privacy when using school restroom facilities.

        18. Lying, deceiving or giving false information to school personnel.

  5. Engage in Misconduct While on a School Bus

    1. It is crucial for students to behave appropriately while riding on District buses to ensure their safety and that of 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 for classroom behavior. Excessive noise, pushing, shoving, fighting, harassment, and discrimination will not be tolerated.

  6. Engage in Any Form of Academic Misconduct

    1. Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to:

      1. Plagiarism.

      2. Cheating.

      3. Altering records.

      4. Accessing other users email accounts or network storage accounts and/or attempting to read, delete, copy, modify, and interfere with the transferring and receiving of electronic communications.

      5. Violation of the District Acceptable Use Policy for technology.

      6. Assisting another student in any of the above actions.

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