Discipline Policy

St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Tulla, Co. Clare:

Discipline Charter, Courtesy Code and Code of Behaviour.

Revised, May 2009 Amended 19th November 2015

Policy Development

Following consultation with Education Partners during the academic year 2005-2006 this policy has been developed.

Principles underpinning our code of behaviour:

  • Creating a climate that encourages and reinforces good behaviour
  • Creating a positive and safe environment for teaching and learning
  • Encouraging students to take personal responsibility for their learning and their behaviour
  • Providing strategies to help students to manage/change unacceptable behaviour
  • Helping young people to mature into responsible participating citizens
  • Building positive relationships of mutual respect and mutual support among students, staff and parents
  • Ensuring that the school’s high expectations for the behaviour of all the members of the school community are widely known and understood

Scope

This policy applies to students of the school at the following times:

  • During school time, including before and after class and at break-times.
  • While wearing the school uniform.
  • While representing the school.
  • While travelling to or from school using school transport.
  • While on school trips, tours or exchanges.
  • While supporting school teams or activities.

Relationship to Mission Statement and Aims

The school’s mission and aims are facilitated by a code of behaviour and discipline policy which fosters a sense of belonging and self-worth while creating the environment through which academic and personal fulfilment can be achieved.

Rationale for a discipline policy and code of behaviour:

  • They are required under the terms of the Education Act, 1998 and the Education Welfare Act, 2000.
  • They enable the school to function as a community in a structured, organised way.
  • They assist in the fulfilment of the school’s Mission Statement and aims
  • They help create a safe working environment in which staff and students can feel secure and protected.

Goals

The school’s discipline policy and code of behaviour aim:

  • To encourage each student to develop a respect for self, parents/guardians, peers, teachers, the community in general and respect for school property;
  • To promote standards of behaviour which model those life skills necessary for adulthood such as: respect, punctuality, co-operation, application and pride in their work;
  • To enable each student to acquire and develop a set of moral values, promoting at all times, responsibility for her or his own behaviour and honesty while in the school.
  • To promote the fair, consistent and equal treatment of all students irrespective of age, gender, class, race etc.
  • To ensure that the student, his/her parent/guardian are both fully informed and agree at the outset about the code of behaviour on admission to the school and updated as required on any changes and/or review of the code.

 

Context

This policy should be read in conjunction with the school’s stance on substance abuse together with its anti-bullying and internet access policies.

Content
A. Discipline Charter

St. Joseph’s discipline charter aims to promote a happy and safe environment.

Teachers can expect students to:

  • Be courteous and well mannered
  • Be honest and truthful to themselves and others
  • Be respectful of themselves, others and their environment
  • Strive for excellence in all activities-‘be the best that you can be
  • Be punctual, neat and in correct uniform at all times
  • Be considerate, helpful and supportive of each other
  • Students can expect other students to:

Allow them to work to the best of their ability. No student should be mocked, isolated,belittled or called names because of their desire to achieve to the maximum of their potential.

Be pleasant, friendly and supportive. No student should feel threatened, insulted, tormented or be physically harmed

Be sympathetic towards the feelings of others. No student should feel that they are ignored or ridiculed, or that their feelings are unimportant

Treat others fairly and as individuals. No student should be targeted because of their looks, gender, colour, sexual orientation, accent, religious beliefs, family back-ground or ability.

Respect others beliefs, customs, opinions and tastes. No student should feel unhappy or uncomfortable because of these differences.

Treat everyone’s property with respect. No student should have their possessions stolen or damaged in any way.

Class Rules

  • Be in class on time, in your place and leave the classroom only when given teacher’s permission. 
  • Have your journal and required books/equipment on the desk and ready for class
  • Co-operate with teachers by paying attention, looking, listening and following class instructions.
  • Do your work well, on time and allow others do theirs.
  • Raise your hand for attention or help and wait quietly
  • Confine eating and drinking to break times in designated areas.
  • Chewing Gum is strictly forbidden within the school.

 

Around School Rules

  • Stay on the premises 
  • Move around the school as directed
  • Please encourage all students to move in an orderly manner on the left hand side of the corridor and to queue in an orderly manner while waiting for class at classroom doors.
  • Show respect for all school property and the property of others
  • Support each other. Be helpful and stop any bullying/abuse/fighting by telling any member of staff or your parents.
  • Adhere to the school’s courtesy code
  • Keep all areas of the school clear of litter and use bins accordingly
  • The school is a smoke/drug free zone

  

 Students who abide by the school’s discipline charter may expect:

 

  • Verbal praise
  • Positive notes in journal
  • Occasional class treats
  • A whole school awards system to recognise achievements in accordance with our mission statement
  • Certificates of Merit for First Years at Christmas and Summer
  • Recognition of out of school achievements in their own parish
  • Certificates to acknowledge achievements in various extra-curricular activities
  • School Tours (First Years)

Students who do not abide by the school’s discipline charter may expect:

  • Verbal warning
  • Name written on board
  • Be moved within class
  • Be detained by teacher after class
  • Supervised clean-up
  • Journal signed
  • White slip issued
  • Penalty sheet to be completed at home
  • Penalty sheet to be completed at home and signed by parents and teacher
  • Weekly report (In consultation with class teacher and Year Head)
  • Lunch-time detention
  • Evening detention (issued by Year Head in consultation with teacher)
  • Meeting with parents to discuss behaviour and appropriate sanction, or
    Consultation between Year Head, parents and Deputy Principal with a view to asking the Principal to suspend the student.


B. Courtesy Code

  • Say Please, Thank You and Excuse Me
  • Be generally pleasant and sincere
  • Put hands over your mouth when coughing, sneezing or yawning
  • Allow staff members and others to pass on the corridors
  • Knock before entering
  • Apologise when interrupting class
  • Be helpful and co-operative
  • Speak in a polite tone
  • Do not disturb staff during break or lunchtime except in an emergency
  • No pushing, shoving or horseplay
  • Treat classroom visitors with respect. Stand when they enter.
  • Pass books, pens etc. to other students by hand. Never throw articles, or ask for articles to be thrown.


C. Code of Behaviour

Attendance and Punctuality

For a student to develop his/her full potential both personally and academically, regular attendance at school and punctuality are essential.
The Education and Welfare Act 2000 imposes statutory duties on parents and schools regarding attendance. The duty of the school is to inform the National Educational Welfare Board when a pupil is absent for 20 or more aggregate days in a school year, for whatever reason.

 

Attendance, punctuality and participation in class activities:

  • Regular attendance is required from all students unless prevented from doing so by illness or other exceptional circumstances
  • We recommend that family holidays take place outside the school term
  • Unauthorised absence from school/class shall be considered a serious offence
  • The school reserves the right to investigate all unauthorised absences
  • Students are expected to be in class for 9.00a.m. and be in attendence until the completion of the school day
  • Students who arrive late for school in the morning are expected to furnish a note of explanation to the office and in return receive a late slip to produce to their teachers
  • It is a statutory obligation that where a student is absent from school during part of a school day or for more than a school day , the guardian/parent of such a student notify the principal of the school, in writing, for the reasons of the students absence. (Education and Welfare Act. 2000).On the day the student returns to school, after an absence, a note of explanation must be written for the student, stating (A) Date(s) of absence (B) Reason for absence and it must be signed by parent/guardian
  • A student who is unable to participate in a particular class activity - on an ongoing basis - for medical reasons, must present a doctors certificate to the relevant teacher
  • A student who is unable to participate in a class activity needs a written explanation, in the student journal, signed by a parent/guardian for the teacher of that class. The student must, nevertheless, present herself for that class except where other arrangements are made for him/her by the teacher

Leaving the School Premises 

  • In the interests of the safety of the student, a pupil may not leave the school premises during school hours, without the explicit permission of the school authorities
  • Leaving Certificate Students may leave the school premises only at Break and Lunchtime
  • All other students must remain on school premises at all times, unless they are going home for lunch. In this situation a permisssion slip must be signed by the parent /guardian at the beginning of the school year.
  • In the event of accident /illness, the parent/guardian or nearest contact will be informed by the school authorities, so that arrangements can be made to collect the student

  • We recommend that medical/dental appointments be made outside of school hours.
    If  that is not possible, prior notification, signed by a parent/guardian, must be given to the school office.


School/Classroom Behaviour (See class rules) 

  • Good classroom behaviour is essential for a healthy learning environment in which each student may develop his/her full potential
  • Students are expected to be respectful and courteous to their teachers and fellow students and act in a co-operative manner at all times.
  • Students must be punctual and have necessary books, copies and other equipment as required.
  • Locker use must be limited to before 9.00a.m., at break time, during lunchtime and after school.
  • Students must have all homework completed. The school journal is used to record homework and reasons for not completing same.
  • Students are not allowed to have mobile phones in usage at school.  Any mobile phones found in use by students will be confiscated and held for a minimum of one week.  The phone and sim card should be placed in an envelope, write the date, time, students name and staff members name on the outside and hand into the office.
  • Students must put desks and chairs in neat rows and pick up all litter before leaving the classroom
  • Students must not deface school property.

 

Uniform/Dress Code 

In St. Joseph’s, students are prepared for life, learning respect for self and others. Personal grooming and appropriate dress code are important life skills.
Students are expected to be well groomed at all times and must wear the school uniform as specified ( See School Prospectus). P.E. attire should be worn only for P.E. class. White Soled Runners should be worn for PE Class. Students who are not in full school uniform must have a note of explanation signed by a parent/guardian and must report to the Year Head before 9a.m.

 

Uniform :

The offical school uniform must be worn at all times, except where a particular school activity, (eg field trips) require otherwise.  Students are not normally permitted to wear outer jackets in class.

 

Ear-rings

One stud ear-ring per ear.

 

Facial Piercings

In the interest of Health and Safety, facial piercings of any kind or size are not allowed and may not be worn during the school day.  Students presenting themselves with facial piercings will be asked to remove them, or remain at home until they are in a position to do so.


Health and Safety

In compliance with the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and the Equal status Act 2000, the Board of management and staff at St.JosephsSecondary School are committed to the creation of a safe environment for everyone who uses or works in our school.

  • Smoking is forbidden
  • The possession or consumption of alcoholic drink is forbidden
  • The possession/use/distribution of prohibited substances (not prescribed for medical conditions) is strictly forbidden (See Substance Use Policy)
  • Students must familiarise themselves with fire regulations and never interfere with Safety Equipment/alarms.
  • Students must be especially mindful of the potential hazards of handling chemicals and specialist equipment.
  • Students must protect the school environment from litter and graffiti so that the school will be a pleasant environment for all.
  • Classroom cleanliness and tidiness is every student’s responsibility.
  • We expect our students to behave in a manner that reflects well on themselves and on the school.
  • Students must adhere to the Schools Internet Acceptable Use-Policy.
  • Sexual Harassment and all other forms of harassment are prohibited.

Note: It should be understood that it is impossible to anticipate every single misdemeanour/unsafe action in any given context. The various types of misconduct mentioned are intended to be indicative only and not intended as exhaustive definitions of each category..


D. Sanctions

Sanctions are intended to correct misbehaviour rather than to punish students. The following graded series of corrective measures is in place, depending on the seriousness of the breach of discipline.

  1. Step 1. The teacher speaks to the student, pointing out the manner in which the school’s discipline code has been broken. Depending on the level of minor misbehaviour, the student’s name may be written on the board, moved within the class, have their journal signed or kept back at the end of class to be further spoken to.
  2. Step 2. The teacher may assign extra homework together with a penalty sheet to be completed at home and signed by parents or alternatively given a lunchtime detention or cleanup chores.
  3. Step 3. The teacher issues a ‘white slip’ outlining the nature of the misbehaviour, class disruption or lack of co-operation and gives it to the relevant Year Head. Upon accumulating 2 white slips, the Year Head, in consultation with the Class Teacher, may put the student on report. An ‘On Report’ card is issued to the student each morning which must be presented to every subject teacher for written comment. The student’s parents may be asked to sign the card every night.
  4. Step 4. Evening Detention. Failure to co-operate in any of the previous steps, or persistent breaches of the discipline code, may result in the Year Head assigning an evening detention to a student. Parents are informed in writing in advance of an evening detention so that arrangements can be made to collect the student.
  5. Step 5. In cases of persistent serious misbehaviour, disruption of class, refusal to co-operate with school personnel, the Year Head may request parents to make an appointment to discuss the matter with the Year Head and Deputy Principal, with a view to agreeing on a course of corrective action.
  6. Step 6. In the case of extreme disruptive behaviour in a given class the following procedure will apply. If the behaviour is such that the teacher is unable to conduct his/her class the teacher completes a Disruptive Behaviour Report Form on the student. The student will then be sent to a supervised detention area where they will remain for one class period. In extreme circumstances it may be necessary to send for additional staff support. The student will then attend normal classes for the remainder of that day. Parents/Guardians are contacted immediately and requested to meet with the school authorities as a matter of urgency. The student may only return to school after attending the above meeting[between parents and school authorities] where a contract of good behaviour must be signed and an appropriate sanction decided upon.
  7. Step 7. Where all of the preceding measures have not brought about an improvement in behaviour, where the student refuses to obey reasonable instructions from teachers or otherwise seeks to undermine the authority of the school, the Year Head and Deputy Principal may request the Principal to suspend him or her. Parents will be consulted beforehand and informed of the terms of the suspension in writing.

The above steps are reviewed and evaluated on an ongoing basis as deemed necessary.

E. Suspension


Serious or continual breaches of the schools code of behaviour may result in a student being suspended from school.
Suspension will usually occur after the Principal has:-

  • Ensured all discipline options under the Code of Behaviour have been applied and documented.
  • Ensured all appropriate internal and external support personnel have been involved (class teacher, year head, parents etc.)
  • Ensured that discussion has occurred with the student and parent/guardian regarding specific misbehaviour which the school considers unacceptable and which may lead to suspension.
  • Recommended that diagnostic assessments be carried out where appropriate (except in the case of very serious misconduct) provide a formal written warning detailing these misbehaviours,as well as clear expectations of what is required of the student in the future.
  • Recorded all action taken (and copied all correspondence).

However the Principal may suspend immediately in some circumstances e.g. violence or threats of violence, possession of banned substances/materials, presence of weapons etc.

The terms of a suspension will be appropriate to the gravity of the offence and at the discretion of the Principal with the sanction of the Board of Management.

If a student is suspended for six days or more the Principal must inform the local Educational Welfare Officer.

If a student is suspended for a cumulative total of 20 days or more in one school year the Principal must inform the Education Welfare Officer.


 

 

Procedure for Suspension

The decision to suspend a student will be taken by the Principal (or in the absence of the Principal, the acting or Deputy Principal) on the basis of the reasons set out in the code of behaviour.

  • The student will be informed of the precise grounds which gave rise to a possible suspension and be given an opportunity to respond, before a decision to suspend is reached and formalised.
  • Parents/Guardians are informed by post and invited to come to the school for a meeting.
  • If a suspension is to be immediate (e.g. In the interests of health and safety) Parents/Guardians will be informed by phone - where possible – along with a written follow up.
  • The student will be supervised/in class until the suspension takes effect.
  • A suspended student will never be sent home during the school day unless collected by a parent/legal guardian (or other appropriate arrangements made).
  • Parents/Guardians of the student if he/she is over 18 have the right to appeal a suspension to the Board of Management under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

Procedures for the Formal Re-Introduction of the Student into the School

  • Parents/Guardians may be requested to attend with the student on the day of his/her return to the school
  • Undertakings of good behaviour may be requested in writing.
  • Agreed conditions for the students return should be signed by the parent/guardian and student.

 

 

Grounds for Removing a Suspension 

Grounds for removal may include:

  • The Principal/B.O.M. may agree that another sanction be applied after discussion with parents.
  • Successful appeal to the Board of Management by the parents/guardians or by the student if he/she is over 18,under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998
  • New circumstances come to light.

Appeals 

Parents/Guardians or if the student is over 18, have the right to appeal a suspension to the Board of Management under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

The school may insist that the student remain at home while any appeal on a suspension is in progress.

It is possible that a suspension may already be served before the appeal is actually heard. If the appeal is successful the letter of suspension will then be removed from the students file.

F. Expulsions

Expulsion is the ultimate sanction imposed by the school and is exercised by the Board of management in extreme cases of indiscipline.

In advance of any hearing, which could result in an expulsion, the school will investigate the matter in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

Reasons for the expulsion of a pupil will be linked with the schools Code of Behaviour of which the Parents /Guardian have copies and have signed.

1. Expulsion can only occur after the Principal has:-

  • Ensured all discipline options under the Code of Behaviour have been applied and documented
  • Ensured all appropriate support personnel (internal and external) have been involved
  • Ensured all other procedures,referrals,supports have been exhausted
  • Ensured that discussion has occurred with the student and parent/guardian regarding specific misbehaviour which the school considers unacceptable and which may lead to expulsion
  • Provided formal verbal and written warnings at appropriate times detailing these behaviours, as well as clear expectations of what was required of the student in the future
  • Recorded all previous action taken, and copied all correspondence
  • Informed the Parents/Guardians of his/her intention to recommend expulsion to the B.O.M.
  • Asked the B.O.M to invite the parents/guardians to the B.O.M hearing
  • Invited the Parents/Guardian to make a written submission in advance of the board meeting
  • Provided the Parents/Guardian with a full written description of allegations against the student and the case being made at the Board together with copies of all documentation, statements etc supporting the case
  • Made a formal expulsion recommendation to the Board with full supporting documentation.

2. Expulsion can only occur after the Board of Management has:-

  • Heard the Principal’s case against the student (this case should be made in the presence of the parents)
  • Heard the parents’ response
  • Fully examined all the documentation
  • Considered the student’s record in the school
  • Taken legal/expert advice
  • Ensured the Principal is not present for the Board’s discussion on the matter
  • Discussed the case in detail
  • Considered all matters having regard to their responsibilities to the whole school community and to the principles of natural justice
  • Made a final decision to expel
  • Communicated formally, the decision made, to the parents through the secretary to the Board by registered letter
  • Informed the Education Welfare Officer under Section 24(1) of the Education Welfare Act 2000.
  • Parents/Guardians,or the student if he/she is over 18,have the right to appeal the expulsion under section 29 of the Education Act 1998.

3. The formal letter of notification will include:-

  • Notice of the expulsion
  • Effective date of the expulsion
  • Reasons for the expulsion
  • A statement that the Education Welfare Board has been informed
  • A statement that the student is under the care and responsibility of the Parents/Guardians for the period of 20 days as required by the Education Welfare Officer to examine alternative provisions for the education of the student
  • Information and documentation on appeal rights.

G. Procedures

The following are the procedures to be followed in the event of:

Absence: On return to school, students are required to bring a note from parents explaining their absence. Upon receipt of the absence note they will be issued with a ‘return to class’ slip at the school office, which they must present to their subject teachers in class.

Late for school: Students must present a note of explanation at the school office or to the Deputy Principal, in order to receive a ‘late slip’.

Leaving school early: A written request from parents must be presented at the school office before 9.00 a.m. In an emergency, parents may contact the school by phone. The school reserves the right not to allow students leave early if it is not satisfied that a request is genuine. In all events, Parents/Guardians or appointed adults must identify themselves to a member of staff and sign the register at the reception area, when collecting students.

Sudden illness at school: The school will make every reasonable effort to contact parents in the event of a student being injured or becoming ill. The school will endeavour to make the student comfortable until a parent or designated other comes to collect them.

H. Specific breaches of discipline

The following behaviour is absolutely forbidden under the school’s code of discipline:

  • Rough behaviour
  • Obscene or blasphemous language
  • Refusing to obey a reasonable instruction from a member of staff
  • Writing graffiti on desks, walls or school property
  • Chewing gum
  • Deliberately damaging school property
  • Breaching the school’s dress code
  • Refusal or repeated failure to do homework
  • Smoking, selling or procuring cigarettes
  • Being in a specific location where cigarettes are being smoked
  • Consuming, procuring or dealing in illegal or illicit substances
  • Drinking or being under the influence of alcohol
  • Bullying, harassing ,engaging in intimidating behaviour and procuring and disseminating offensive text messages, e-mails and camera/video phone images
  • Stealing
  • Engaging in lewd, indecent or sexual acts, or being in possession of pornographic material
  • Being in possession of an offensive weapon


 

I. Complaints and Appeals

Complaints by students or their parents regarding implementation of this discipline policy can be made in writing to the Principal. They in turn will investigate the complaint in an even handed way as quickly as possible with due regard for the principles of natural justice.

Where the complaint concerns the Principal, the complaint may be addressed to the Board of Management.

Students or their parents may appeal a disciplinary sanction if they feel that it is excessive or unwarranted.

Such appeals must be made in writing to the Principal, who shall decide on the appeal as quickly as possible, having due regard to the facts of the case, the terms of the school’s disciplinary procedures and the principles of natural justice.

Where the Principal has been previously involved in the disciplinary sanction, the appeal will be made to the Board of Management.

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998, parents may appeal a suspension in excess of 20 days, exclusion from a school or refusal to admit a student to a school.

J. Support for Students, Parents and Staff

Our school has formal and informal structures – tutor systems, pastoral care teams, guidance teams and student council - which mobilise and concentrate expertise and support. Teachers who have management responsibilities or other named roles in the school may provide support to class teachers in addressing behaviour issues with an individual or a class group.

Students, parents and staff should be aware that help is available should problems arise.


K. Review

This policy is subject to annual review in accordance with the NEWB guidelines.

 

Amendments to the code of behaviour 19th November 2015

Attention Parents/Guardians

Please note the following ammendment to the school's code of behaviour and in particular to the rule that prohibits students from leaving the school premises during lunch except in very limited and specific circumstanses. Any breach of this rule will give rise to a sanction of an evening detention.  Where it has been found that a student has failed to attend the assigned evening detention, and the student concerned subsequently breaches the rule about not leaving the school premisis during lunch time the student concerned will be subject to a one day suspension and not to an evening detention as provided for in the code of behaviour.

 

If any student misbehaves during an evening detention the student will be suspended for one day.  Parents are given written notice of an evening detention one week in advance. Two weeks is considered sufficient time for any parent/guardian to ensure that a student evening detention.  If the student fails to turn up within the fortnight, the sanction is one days suspension.