XII. DISCIPLINE


Purpose of Discipline

Discipline at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is to be considered an aspect of moral guidance. The purpose of discipline is to promote genuine pupil development, to encourage respect for authority, to promote the growth of self-discipline and to provide a situation conducive to learning. School rules are established so that all may live comfortably in the school community in an atmosphere of respect and concern for others. The desired result of discipline is the increase of self-discipline within the child. The School realizes that discipline is a necessary part of the learning environment.

School Rules

The following rules have been established and are to be followed by all students.
  1. Students are expected to follow the standards of behavior set by the school while in class, on the playground, and during all school related activities. In behavior and attitude, students are expected to respect God, self, others, (adults and children); to respect school property and the property of others; and to use appropriate language.
  2. Students are to wear the standard school uniform daily and may not enter class unless the shirt/blouse is tucked into the waistband.
  3. Students are to walk when inside the buildings and in the hallways, when going to the hall for lunch, and when moving to line up.
  4. On the playground, students are to freeze in place when the bell rings signaling the end of recess. When yard supervisors blow their whistles, students may then walk to line.
  5. Students are to remain in the back play area and avoid all restricted areas as designated by their teachers and supervisors.
  6. When using a ball, it may NOT be thrown against or toward the buildings or used near building windows.
  7. Gum is not allowed on campus at any time, before or after school, for any event, or occasion. Students who bring or use gum on campus will be given an automatic 60 minute detention.
  8. Students may NOT bring iPods, radios, tape recorders, DVD players, pagers, cell phones, electronic games/toys, or any other electronic device to school. Toys, games, trading cards, etc. are NOT permitted. All such items will be confiscated and appropriate action taken.
  9. Bicycles and skateboards may not be ridden on the school grounds.
  10. Students are to follow the rules of the playground as explained to them by their teachers each year, e.g. NO wrestling, tackling, rough physical play. No contact games.
  11. Students are to care for their textbooks and keep them covered adequately at all times. Charges for lost or damaged textbooks and/or library books will be billed accordingly.
  12. Restrooms are not appropriate areas for play and/or socializing. Students are to exit immediately after use.
  13. All litter should be disposed of properly in a trash can.
  14. Students are to follow the lunchroom rules and cooperate with the supervising personnel.
  15. Students are expected to keep their desks in order at all times.
  16. No eating or drinking is permitted in the classroom unless the teacher has granted permission for a special occasion.
  17. Public displays of affection, e.g. hugging, kissing, handholding, between students is not considered appropriate school social behavior.
  18. Soda is not permitted on our school campus.
  19. At 7:55 a.m. a bell rings. This bell signals that students are to begin moving to their respective class lines outside each classroom. Students are to be quiet and have their belongings to show they are ready to enter the classroom. At 8:00 a.m. the final bell rings. The teacher will promptly invite the students into the classroom. Any student not in line at the 8:00 a.m. bell is tardy and the teacher must send the student to the school office for an Admit slip before going to class.


Discipline Procedures and Referral Process

1. When discipline difficulties and/or academic difficulties begin to arise, teachers will generally use these steps to initiate correction of misconduct and/or lack of progress:
  • Hold a conference or conferences with the student. The teacher will state the nature of the problem to the student, expectations and consequences if continued.
  • Make adjustments in the classroom that may help the student, e.g. change seat, providing extra help, etc.
  • Detain student for part of the recess, lunch, or P.E. time.
  • Assign tasks as consequence, e.g. yard clean up, writing of lines, etc.
  • Call and/or conference with parents to inform them of the conversations with the student and the actions of the student.
  • Send notes, tests, assignments home that require a return signature.
  • Assign detentions (an accumulation of 2 detentions means an automatic Disciplinary Referral which places the students on probation).
  • Send a Progress Report
  • Other appropriate interventions

2. When the above interventions have been utilized without the desired result, teachers will issue a Disciplinary Referral Form. This form tells parents and administration that the student has now demonstrated a pattern of behavior that is unacceptable and continuing. This form officially places the student on probation.

3. The teacher or teachers will meet with the parents and/or guardian, and the student for a conference. A written Student Plan for Improvement will be initiated and a time frame set by the teacher.

4. If the student shows improvement as required within the time frame allotted, no further action is taken and the student is removed from probation.

In the event that the student fails to exhibit acceptable improvement after a reasonable length of time, the teacher or teachers will schedule a second conference with the parents and/or guardians, and if appropriate, the student. The Student Plan for Improvement will be reviewed and amended, if needed. A date for reassessment of student program will be set.

5. If the student improves as required, no further action is taken and the student is removed from probation. If reassessment shows that the student is still lacking in acceptable improvement, the teacher will refer the case to the principal.

6. The principal will schedule a conference with the teacher, the parent(s) and/or guardian(s)and if appropriate, the student, to determine further action. This action may include required counseling, recommended transfer, suspension, or other appropriate action.



Probation and Eligibility

Students placed on disciplinary and/or academic probation are required to demonstrate a positive change in behavior and/or academic progress within a specified period of time. Specific guidelines for improvement are developed by the teacher(s) and administration and must be followed by the student. Failure to adhere to the plan developed may lead to suspension, recommended transfer, or expulsion.

A student who is placed on academic and/or conduct probation may NOT participate in any extracurricular or co-curricular activities until released from probation. These activities include, but are not limited to: After school sports, School Assemblies, Non-uniform days, Student Council activities, Student Council, Traffic patrol, Field trips, Class privileges, School Performances.



Detention

Detention is a consequence for infractions of school and classroom rules which requires a student to spend a specified amount of time after school on the designated day. A detention is usually issued after verbal warnings have been given to the student and therefore is considered a serious matter. Depending on the student action, a detention may be issued without other interventions, e.g. student flagrantly disregards the safety of others.

A detention slip is filled out and signed by the teacher giving the detention. The detention slip MUST BE SIGNED by a parent and/or guardian and returned to the issuing teacher the following day. Any student who acquires excessive detentions is liable for suspension and/or other appropriate action. Five detentions are considered excessive.

Once a student has received a second detention, he/she is place on probation immediately.
If a student receives a third detention, he/she is placed on a second probation.
If a student receives a fourth detention, he/she begins a third and final probation.
If a student receives a fifth detention, the student is liable for suspension, recommended transfer, or expulsion.

If a student fails to return the signed detention slip or fails to appear at an assigned detention, or arrives late to an assigned detention—additional detention time will be assigned at the teacher’s discretion.

The teacher who issues the detention to the student decides which option to choose for the serving of the detention. The options include:
  • Serving the detention the next day, or a day of the teacher’s choice following the issue of the detention. (The issuing teacher supervises these detentions individually.)
  • Serving the detention as part of a recess and/or lunch period on the day of the infraction or on the date designated by the issuing teacher. (Supervised by the issuing teacher).
  • Serving a 10-minute detention after school on the day of the infraction with the issuing teacher. If teachers feel a more immediate response is need to deal with an infraction of the rules, they may keep a student for up 10 minutes after school without prior notice being given to the parents.


Disciplinary Referrals (Probation)

This is a written notification sent to parents to inform them that continuing academic and/or behavioral problems exist for their child. It indicates that the student has not responded positively to the interventions of the teacher(s) and officially places the student on probation. A Student Improvement Plan is developed for each student on probation. Students on probation are ineligible to participate in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.



Reasons for Suspension or Expulsion from School

The following offenses committed by students are potential reasons for suspension, or immediate expulsion in serious cases, pending a conference with parents.

This list is not considered to be exhaustive:
  • Willful disobedience, insubordination, or disrespect for authority (teachers, staff, yard duty supervisors, or other school personnel).
  • Language (written or spoken) or behavior that is immoral, profane, vulgar or obscene at school or at school sponsored events.
  • Use, sale, distribution, or possession of tobacco, drugs, alcohol, or any other legally controlled substance.
  • Injury or harm to person or property or serious threat of same; fighting or provoking a fight.
  • Unauthorized absence, continued tardiness, or habitual truancy.
  • Assault with, or possession of, a lethal instrument, weapon or harmful object.
  • Theft or acts of vandalism in regard to school property or the property of others.
  • Outrageous, scandalous, or serious disruptive behavior.
  • Habitual lack of effort leading to failure in classroom work.
  • Cheating: dishonesty with teachers or other school personnel.
  • Conduct at school or elsewhere (including the internet) which would reflect adversely on the Catholic school or Church, e.g. sports games, field trips
  • Leaving the school grounds without permission.
  • Defamation of character of a student or school personnel, e.g. gossip, spreading rumors, etc.
  • Unacceptable or inappropriate use of the school computers
  • Any other inappropriate conduct inside or outside of school. If, at the discretion of the principal, any of the above reasons do not warrant immediate expulsion, then suspension procedures may be followed.


Suspension from School

Suspension is a disciplinary punishment to be invoked at the discretion of the principal for a less serious infraction of rules. A pupil shall be suspended for no more than five consecutive days, unless the seriousness of the circumstances makes it absolutely necessary. Aggravated grounds for suspension can become grounds for expulsion.

When a student is suspended from school, he/she may be allowed to complete comparable assignments for the day or days of suspension. However, the teacher or teachers will give the student credit for the completion of the work only if he/she meets the deadlines for turning in the work as set. If the suspended student does not meet the work deadlines set, no credit will be given. It is the responsibility of the student and/or parent to request such work.

Students on suspension may NOT participate in any extracurricular or co-curricular activities until the suspension has ended. These activities include but are not limited to: After School sports, Non-uniform days, Student Council, Field trips, School Assemblies, Student Council activities, Choir, Traffic patrol, Class privileges, School performances



Procedure for Expulsion for Disciplinary/Academic Reasons

When moral or physical safety reasons are not involved, or when there is not a need for immediate expulsion, the following steps will be taken before expulsion:
  1. The principal will hold a conference with the parents and the student to advise the family that the disciplinary/academic probation and that expulsion is being contemplated unless there is immediate improvement in the student’s behavior. At the discretion of the principal, a staff member may be present. The principal will notify and invite the pastor to the conference. If the pastor does not attend, the principal will provide the pastor with a report of the conference as soon as possible.
  2. If the student shows inadequate improvement in general behavior or commits another  infraction which is a cause for expulsion, the principal shall have a conference with the parents and inform them that the student’s record will be reviewed.
  3. After the review with the pastor, the principal shall inform the parents of the decision.
  4. If the parents fail without cause to attend any required conference, such conference shall be deemed waived by the parent. The principal shall notify the parents by letter accordingly.


Recommended Transfer

A recommended transfer terminates attendance but does not have the stigma of expulsion. A school may recommend a transfer when:
  • The student will not profit from continued attendance.
  • The student’s continued attendance will make demands upon the school which the school cannot meet.
  • The parents have failed to meet the obligations to the school which they accepted upon enrolling their child, or have been uncooperative with the school staff, policies, regulations, or programs, or have interfered in matters of school administration or discipline to the detriment of the school’s ability to serve their own or other children.
  • All conditions for expelling a student have been met, but there are extenuating circumstances, the principal may at his/her discretion, offer a recommended transfer as an alternative to expulsion.
  • Principal may recommend transfer.
Procedures for Recommended Transfer

When the school has determined that a recommended transfer is appropriate, the principal shall:
  1. Discuss the student’s condition with the parents and inform them of alternative facilities, if any are found available.
  2. Review the recommendations with the pastor.


Campus Conduct Reports

When a student does not comply with the school rules while outside the classroom (e.g. recess, lunch, assemblies) a Campus Conduct Report may be issued by the supervising teacher or yard personnel. The form summarizes the incident and the action taken (benching, time out, detention). Receiving Campus Conduct Reports can affect the student’s conduct grade on the report card. The Campus Conduct Report must be signed by the parent and returned to the office the next day.



Student Conduct—Inside and Outside of School

Each child enrolled at Our Lady of Fatima School is considered a student of the school at all times. Therefore, any student who engages in conduct, whether inside or outside the school, that is detrimental to the reputation of the school, (e.g. using the telephone or computer to send inappropriate/disrespectful/harassing messages to another, vandalism to public or private property, shoplifting) may be disciplined by school officials.



Lunch Room Rules

The supervisory personnel for the lunchroom intend the atmosphere during lunchtime to be pleasant and SAFE for all of our students. It is expected that all students will follow these rules:
  1. Walk at all times.
  2. Each student is required to remain in his/her seat until excused by the supervising personnel.
  3. Students must be seated on the stool, facing the table while eating. NO standing while eating.
  4. Playground equipment (balls, jump ropes, etc.) is to be placed in the designated areas for pick up after being excused.
  5. All food is to be eaten in the lunchroom. NO outside eating.
  6. Use a normal speaking voice when talking; refrain from making loud noises.
  7. Wait in line patiently and be respectful to volunteer parents.
  8. Use the garbage cans appropriately.
  9. Obey and cooperate respectfully with all the instructions of supervising personnel.
  10. Students who are uncooperative and/or disrespectful will be disciplined in one or more of the following ways:
  • Time out isolation from other students
  • Partial loss of play time
  • Assigned clean up duty of the lunchroom and/or grounds
  • Given a Campus Conduct Report or a detention
  • Referred to the principal


Harassment of/By Students

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School is committed to providing a learning environment that is free from harassment. We believe that all persons are to be treated with dignity and respect. The school will treat allegations of harassment seriously and will review and investigate such allegations in a prompt, confidential, and thorough manner.

A charge of harassment shall not, in and of itself, create the presumption of wrongdoing. However, substantiated acts of harassment will result in disciplinary action. Students found to have filed false reports will also be subject to disciplinary action.

Harassment may be verbal, physical, visual or sexual, and occurs when an individual is subjected to treatment that is hostile or intimidating for any reason and may be based on characteristics such as race, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability. Harassment is unacceptable conduct that is severe, pervasive, and deliberate.

It is the responsibility of Our Lady of Fatima School to:
  1. Make all faculty, staff, students, and parents aware of this policy and the commitment of the school toward its strict enforcement.
  2. Remain watchful for conditions that create or may lead to a hostile or offensive school environment.
  3. Establish practices designed to create a school environment free from discrimination, intimidation, or harassment.
It is the student’s responsibility to:
  1. Conduct himself or herself in a manner that contributes to a positive school environment.
  2. Avoid an activity that may be considered discriminatory, intimidating, or harassing.
  3. Consider immediately informing anyone harassing him or her that the behavior is offensive or unwelcome.
  4. Report all incidents of discrimination, intimidation, or harassment to the teacher or the principal.
  5. To discontinue such conduct immediately if informed that he or she is perceived as engaging in discriminatory, intimidating, harassing, or unwelcome conduct.
Complaint Filing and Investigative Procedures:
  1. The student may first choose to tell the individual causing the harassment that his/her conduct is offensive and must stop. If the objectionable behavior does not cease immediately, the student must report the harassment to the principal or to a teacher who will report it to the principal.
  2. The investigation will include a meeting with the person alleged to have harassed, sharing with that person the nature of the allegations, as well as the name of the person bringing the allegations. Parents of both parties may also be included in this meeting.
  3. Once the facts have been gathered, the pastor, principal, vice-principal, and teacher will decide what, if any, disciplinary action will follow. The disciplinary action will relate to the nature, context, and seriousness of the harassment. Suspension or expulsion may be appropriate consequences.