Student and Parent Handbook 2018- 2019

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Student and Parent Handbook 2018 - 2019

St. Mary’s High School

555 15th Street East

Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 1X2

(519) 376-4278   Fax (519) 376- 0793

Web Site:

Principal:  Alex van Wieringen

Vice-Principals:  Brad Lacey, Michael Murphy

Trustee:  Norman Bethune

Superintendent of Education:  Michael Bethune

Director of Education:  Jamie McKinnon

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Bound by Respect

Bound by Acceptance

Bound by Faith


Blue Week

Period 1

9:05 - 10:20

Period 2

10:28 - 11:43


11:43 - 12:33

Period 3

12:33 - 1:48

Period 4

1:55 - 3:10

Grey Week

Period 1

9:05 - 10:20

Period 2

10:28 - 11:43


11:43 - 12:33

Period 4

12:33 - 1:48

Period 3

1:55 - 3:10

Week 1 is a Blue Week, weeks alternate starting the first week of school.

School News and School What’s Happening

We do not distribute a paper newsletter.  We post news items on our school webpage at the News tab.

We also provide a weekly What’s Happening for Parents, highlighting events for the coming week.  This is distributed Sundays to families who have signed up.  To subscribe please call and provide your information to our main office secretaries Ms. Martin or Mrs. Duncan.  Or email us at 

The online location of What’s Happening is:

Mission Statement

St. Mary's High School is a Christian community which promotes excellence and strength in individuals spiritually,  intellectually, socially and physically, caring and growing with one another in partnership with families, parish and the community.


September 2018                                

Dear Students and Parents:

Welcome to St. Mary's High School!

 We are very glad that you and your family have chosen St. Mary’s High School.

St. Mary’s is not just a high school.  We are a Catholic High School and as such we endeavor to live out the message of Christ which is to love one another. In that message we note that Jesus calls each of us; staff, students, parents, and clergy to work together to build a community that is built on respect, acceptance, and faith. Building a community is never easy and it requires a commitment from everyone.

The contents of this Student & Parent Handbook are meant to provide students and parents alike with a guide to the expectations and policies which govern our actions on a daily basis.  They are meant to be shared and clearly understood so that our school community continues to be one which is safe, caring and true to the traditions of Catholic education.

We are confident that by working together that the school year ahead will be a very successful one for you.  This requires your full participation in school activities and a commitment to your personal, academic, spiritual, social, and physical growth and success.  When students, parents and staff have a clear understanding of the expectations and day-to-day policies and procedures of the school, a safe and healthy learning environment can be maintained for everyone.

May God bless you and our entire school in the year ahead.  While each new school year may give us some nervousness and anxiety for what lies ahead, know that our staff and students are here to help.  We are  extremely confident that through the collaborative participation and support of committed students, talented staff and enthusiasm from our parent community that this will be another wonderful year.  Our experience tells us that those who live the values of Justice, Love and Peace will continue to grow in God’s love and flourish in all that He provides.

Have a GREAT 2018 - 2019 school year!

Alex van Wieringen        Brad Lacey        Michael Murphy

Principal        Vice-Principal        Vice-Principal

Using Your Student Handbook

The purpose of this handbook is to provide you with the necessary information relative to your responsibilities as a student, the school routines, and life at the school.  Students should discuss the contents of this handbook with their parents/guardians.  Use the guidelines to follow the school’s rules and procedures to have a truly successful year.

Table of Contents (online or pdf, simply click and it will take you to that section of the handbook)

Section I: Catholic High School Rationale


Section II:Student Requirements at St. Mary’s High School

1. The Law of Ontario  (Regulation 262) states:

2. Compulsory Religious Education Courses

3. Liturgical Celebrations

4. Dress Code Policy

Section III: Student Services Provided by the School

1. Chaplaincy Program

2. Guidance Program

3.  Special Education

4.  Student Success

5.  Library/Arboretum

Section IV: Attendance Practices

1. The Attendance Policy

2. Daily Attendance Procedures

3. Returning to school after an ABSENCE

4.  Truancy

5.  Late for Class

6. Work Missed Due to Absence

7. Test/Assignment Due Date Missed Due to an Absence

8. Early Dismissal Slips

Section V: Timetable Changes

1. Changing Timetables

2.  Transfer/Retirement from School

Section VI: Final Examinations and Evaluation Practices

1. The Writing of Examinations

2.  Appealing Final Evaluation in a Course

3.   Level of Achievement

4. Plagiarism/Submission Of Another  Student’s Work As Your Own

5.   Missed Oral Presentations:

Section VII: Guidelines Relating to Student Deportment/ Behaviour



3.  Harassment Policy


5. Concussion Management Planning

6. Prescribed Medication

7. Detentions

8. Suspensions

9. Smoking

10. Electronic Equipment - cell phones, iPods, iPads, Laptops

11. Supervised School Activities (Dances, etc.)

12. Visitors

13. Telephone Calls and Messages

14. Lockers

15. Transportation

16. Skateboards/ Scooters

17. Rollerblades

18. Bicycles

19. Vehicles

20. Computers

Section VIII: Special Student Programmes

1. Field Trip Behaviour

2. Co-curricular Activities (S.A.C., etc.)

3. Student Athlete Code of Conduct

4. Special Event Days

5. Late Bus Service

6. Driver Education Program

7. Co-operative Education Program

8. Ski Program

9.  Student Casualty Insurance

10.  When you need EXTRA HELP in a Course

Section IX: Guidelines Relating to School Facilities

1. Cafeteria

2.  Hallways and Corridors

3.  Identification of Property

4.  School Property

5.  Fire Alarm

6.  Peanut Sensitive School

Section I: Catholic High School Rationale

It is our aim and we believe it is yours as well, to draw on our faith traditions to develop a Christian atmosphere in our school where each person's uniqueness is respected and encouraged, and where Christian values are exemplified in the routine of school life.

As a responsible member of the educational community of this province, our school accepts that its major purposes are:  

  1. to facilitate the intellectual, physical, social, cultural, emotional and moral growth of each student, and
  2. to develop more fully the knowledge, skills, and aptitudes that each student brings to the school.

In addition to the development of all the human faculties of the student, we as a Catholic school will strive:

  1. to live the moral values found in the Gospel with a view to forming strong and responsible individuals who recognize God in their lives, and
  2. to present Catholic Christian values not as a set of abstract objectives to be admired but as values to be lived.

To achieve these purposes, we must ensure that our school is a privileged place for the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments and that it is a place of order and discipline.


The provincial expectations of the Ontario Catholic School Graduate as identified by the Institute for Catholic Education are as follows:

  1. A Discerning believer formed in the Catholic Faith community:

1a. illustrate a basic understanding of the saving story of our Christian faith; 1b.          participates in the sacramental life of the church and demonstrates an understanding of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Catholic story; 1c. actively reflects on God’s Word as communicated through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures;1d. develops attitudes and values founded on Catholic social teaching and acts to promote social responsibility, human solidarity and the common good; 1e.        speaks the language of life..."recognizing that life is an unearned gift and that a person entrusted with life does not own it but that one is called to protect and cherish it"; 1f. seeks intimacy with God and celebrates communion with God, others and creation through prayer and worship; 1g. understands that one’s purpose or call in life comes from God and strives to discern and live out this call throughout life’s journey; 1h.respects the faith traditions, world religions and the life-journeys of all people of good will; 1i.integrates faith with life; 1j. recognizes that “sin, human weakness, conflict and forgiveness are part of the human journey” and that the cross, the ultimate sign of forgiveness is at the heart of redemption.

2. An effective communicator:

2a. listens actively and critically to understand and learn in light of gospel values; 2b reads, understands and uses written materials effectively; 2c. presents information and ideas clearly and honestly and with sensitivity of others; 2d. writes and speaks fluently one or both of Canada’s official languages; 2e. uses and integrates the Catholic faith tradition, in the critical analysis of the arts, media, technology and information systems to enhance the quality of life.

3. A reflective and creative thinker:

3a. recognizes there is more grace in our world than sin and that hope is essential in facing all challenges; 3b. creates, adapts, evaluates new ideas in light of the common good; 3c.        thinks reflectively and creatively to evaluate situations and solve problems; 3d. makes decisions in light of gospel values with an informed moral conscience; 3e.        adopts a holistic approach to life by integrating learning from various subject areas and experience; 3f. examines, evaluates and applies knowledge of interdependent systems (physical, political, ethical, socio-economic and ecological) for the development of a just and compassionate society.

4. A self-directed, responsible, life long learner who:

4a. demonstrates a confident and positive sense of self and respect for the dignity and welfare of others; 4b.        demonstrates flexibility and adaptability; 4c.        takes initiative and demonstrates Christian leadership; 4d. responds to, manages and constructively influences change in a discerning manner; 4e. sets appropriate goals and priorities in school, work and personal life; 4f. applies effective communication, decision-making, problem-solving, time and resource management skills; 4g. examines and reflects on one’s personal values, abilities, and aspirations influencing life’s choices and opportunities; 4h.participates in leisure and fitness activities for a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

5. A collaborative contributor who:

5a. works effectively as an interdependent team member; 5b. thinks critically about the meaning and purpose of work; 5c. develops one’s God-given potential and makes a meaningful contribution to society; 5d.finds meaning, dignity, fulfillment and vocation in work which contributes to the common good; 5e. respects the rights, responsibilities and contributions of self and others; 5f. exercises Christian leadership in the achievement of individual and group goals; 5g. achieves excellence, originality, and integrity in one’s own work and supports these qualities in the work of others; 5h. applies skills of employability, self-employment and entrepreneurship relative to a  Christian vocation.

6. A caring family member:

6a. relates to family members in a loving, compassionate and respectful manner; 6b. recognizes human intimacy and sexuality as God given gifts, to be used as the creator intended; 6c. values and honours the important role of the family in society; 6d. values and nurtures opportunities for family prayer; 6e.ministers to the family, school, parish, and wider community through service.

7. A responsible citizen:

7a. acts morally and legally as a person formed in Catholic traditions; 7b.        accepts accountability for one’s own actions; 7c. seeks and grants forgiveness; 7d. promotes the sacredness of life; 7e. witnesses Catholic social teaching by promoting equality, democracy, and solidarity for a just, peaceful and compassionate society; 7f. respects and affirms the diversity and interdependence of the world’s peoples and cultures; 7g.        respects and understands the history, cultural heritage and pluralism of today’s contemporary society; 7h. exercises the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship;7i. respects the environment and uses resources wisely; 7j.contributes to the common good.

Section II:         Student Requirements at St. Mary’s High School

1. The Law of Ontario  (Regulation 262) states:

"A pupil shall:

  1. be diligent in attempting to master such studies as are part of the program in which a pupil is enrolled;
  2. exercise self-discipline;
  3. accept such discipline as would be exercised by a kind, firm and judicious parent;
  4. attend classes punctually and regularly;
  5. be courteous to fellow pupils and obedient and courteous to teachers;
  6. be clean in person and habits;
  7. take such tests and examinations as are required by or under the Act or as may be directed by the Ministry; and
  8. show respect for school property.”

2. Compulsory Religious Education Courses

All students at St. Mary’s High School are required to take one credit in Religious Studies each year of their secondary school programme. (Board Policy).  Masses, Liturgical Celebrations and Retreats are also a mandatory component of the Religious Education Program at St. Mary’s High School. Students are expected to be in attendance for all of these events in each year of their high school journey.

3. Liturgical Celebrations

  1. Liturgies are an essential part of community life at St. Mary's High School.  They help us grow in our knowledge, love and service of God.

b.    Liturgical celebrations are arranged throughout the year and attendance is compulsory.  Failure to

       attend is considered as truancy and will be handled accordingly at the time of the truancy.

c.   Students who are on study period during a Liturgical celebration are required to attend.

4. Dress Code Policy

It is the endeavour of St. Mary's High School to outline a reasonable standard of dress which will mark our school as a special and professional place of learning.  As a Catholic High School, St. Mary's should reflect a distinctive atmosphere within our community.   Education is a professional activity, thus the way staff and students dress must portray this distinction.  For further details review the full policy further in this guide (Page 14-15).

Section III:  Student Services Provided by the School

1. Chaplaincy Program

The chaplaincy program is one of the most important ministries in our school.  It provides the necessary services for faith development of both students and staff by facilitating the sacramental and pastoral needs of the school community.  It also provides counsel, guidance and support, on an individual basis, for those who seek a deeper understanding of the religious journey.

The focus and vision of the entire program is to build Christian community and to celebrate faith.

2.        Guidance Program

A guidance counseling department is available for students for academic and career planning as well as for personal counseling.  It is recommended that students arrange an appointment to see a counselor.   A  slip will indicate the time the appointment was completed and will serve as an admit slip to return to class.

3.  Special Education

A Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT) is available to help students with their academic and learning needs.  During class times, these appointments must be pre-arranged between the classroom teacher, student and Resource Teacher.  Students who would like to have another student tutor them, may request this through the Resource Teacher or a Guidance counselor.  All efforts will be made to provide students with the academic support necessary to achieve success.

4.  Student Success

St. Mary’s High School wants to see all of our students be successful.  Dedicated student success teachers are available in Rm 209 to provide students with additional support in meeting their goals.

5.  Library/Arboretum

The library is open for all students who wish to study, read or research  in a quiet area.  Students must present their student card when signing out materials in the library.  The arboretum is an extension of the library and access is gained through the library.  In keeping with the library policy, no food or drink is allowed in the arboretum.

Section IV: Attendance Practices

1.         The Attendance Policy

Regular attendance is vital to the process of learning.  Normally the plan of a lesson employs a variety of processes including discussion among the students themselves.  A unit of study usually involves the development of a sequence of related understandings.  When the processes and content of learning are disrupted by irregular attendance, both the individual student and his/her classmates suffer a loss of experiences that cannot be entirely regained.  Students who habitually miss class will suffer in the evaluation process because their participation and achievement cannot be fully assessed.

The following policy will be in effect at St. Mary's High School and places the responsibility for subject attendance on the student.  This policy should be discussed with parents and the school staff looks forward to continued cooperation and communication with parents.

When a student accumulates the number of absences specified below in any one course , the following steps will be taken:


FIVE ABSENCES - The school will:

  1. inform and counsel the student,
  2. the parent will be contacted (where the student is under age 18).


TEN ABSENCES - the school will:

  1. bring the student’s name to the school attendance team, inform the student, principal, and parent.
  2. the parents will be notified in writing of the school concern (where the student is under age 18)
  3. a Student Re-engagement Plan will be developed and shared with the student and parent (where the student is under age 18).


FIFTEEN ABSENCES - the school will:

  1. review the Student Re-engagement Plan (School Attendance Team).
  2. Meet with Administrator, Attendance Counsellor, other Attendance team members.
  3. Second letter of concern sent home (where the student is under age 18).


  1. Students involved in school approved co-curricular activities will not have absences due to these activities count toward removal from a course.  These students are expected to be proactive and complete their class work on or ahead of  time, however.
  2. When a prolonged illness is involved and the student has requested work and is able to keep up with classwork then an exception will be made to this policy.
  3. Where a student feels that the absences are not justified, an appeal may be made to the vice-principal/principal.  In any case the decision of the principal in consultation with the vice-principal is final.
  4. 15 unexplained consecutive days missed in one subject area requires that the student be removed from the class list, however, the school continues to try to re-engage the student through a Re-engagement Plan and Student Success Strategies..

2.         Daily Attendance Procedures

  1. A period by period attendance is recorded for each student by the teacher on a daily attendance program.
  2. Any student who is not present for this attendance check will be recorded as late.
  3. Any period missed must be accounted for by the parent and the student.
  4. Automated calls or emails home are done using SchoolMessenger, we need parents to ensure they have valid phone numbers and email address on file.  Calls are made around 10:00 AM and again around 3:00 PM.

3. Returning to school after an ABSENCE

  1. When a student is going to be absent from school the parent must notify the school before

8:55 a.m. (519 - 376 - 4278).

  1. Unaccounted for absences must be followed up with a note indicating the following information:

  1. In all cases of absence from school the student must report to the office with his/her note before 8:55 a.m.
  2. An absence which has not been explained in a note will be deemed as a Truancy.
  3. A parent or guardian is responsible for the note specified in Number 2 above.

4.  Truancy

Absence from class without prior approval given through the office constitutes truancy.

Truancy will normally involve detention time for the time missed.  Persistent truancy may result in a suspension.

5.  Late for Class

When a student is late for class it disrupts the normal teaching process in that class.  The process of coming into class and setting up for class can be distracting and disruptive.

  1. Students will be marked as late if they enter class after the class has begun.  
  2. Students are still considered late if they arrive before a teacher’s attendance has been completed but after the bell has rung.  The teacher will mark the student late.
  3. Students who have attained fewer than 16 credits will receive counselling and possiblay a detention for being late.  Persistent lateness may result in progressive discipline, up to and including a suspension.
  4. Valid Lates may be given when a student has an appointment in Guidance, Resource, Co-operative Education, and so on or a parent has notified the school the student will be arriving late due to a family commitment or appointment.

6. Work Missed Due to Absence

When you have been absent from school the regular program continues.  Any work missed during an absence is the responsibility of the student(s) and must be completed.  Students should make use of a friend or peer in a class to help them keep up with work missed.

7. Test/Assignment Due Date Missed Due to an Absence

At the beginning of each course, teachers will outline the in-class policy and practice for student evaluation.  Absences for tests/assignments are included in this.  In keeping with the ministry and board guidelines, late assignments will only be accepted if the student has made mutually agreed upon arrangements with the teacher prior to the due date of the assignment.  Writing of a test missed because of a legitimate absence will take place at a time arranged by the teacher.    Teachers may assign a mark of “0" for an unexplained absence for a test or assignment.  

All assessment and evaluation activities are due on the assigned date or within the time frame specified by the teacher.

If a student’s absence is valid, the missed evaluation will normally be due or completed on the day of the student’s return to school.  Extenuating circumstances may warrant:


Tests and assignments will normally be returned to students no later than 10 school days following the due date.

Where a student has failed to complete an evaluation activity after the steps outlined above have been taken, the teacher will record a “0" to indicate incomplete/missed assignment.  The number of accumulated “0"s will be considered at report times when determining the student’s most recent/most consistent level of achievement.

Students who are truant for a summative evaluation activity will be assigned a mark of zero (0).

Students who are under suspension are required to complete and submit assignments as per the deadline indicated.  It is the responsibility of the student to obtain their work from their classmates.  Any in class summative activity must be completed within 5 school days of his/her return.  The teacher will determine the due date of the summative evaluation activity.

8. Early Dismissal Slips

  1. If it is necessary to leave school during school hours for a legitimate reason, the student must get an early dismissal slip from the main office before classes begin in the morning, or during the lunch hour.  
  2. The Early Dismissal Slip should be given to the teacher immediately at the start of class and the student should remind the teacher about the slip at the time indicated on the slip.  The student is then excused at the stated time and the early dismissal slip is returned to the office by the classroom teacher at the end of the day.  

NOTE:  Students who find themselves unable to resume their schedule while on their lunch period should have their parent or guardian notify the school office by phone.  Under no circumstances should a student leave the school during scheduled (class) time without informing the office.

Section V: Timetable Changes

1. Changing Timetables

  1. The timetable issued on the first day of school is the beginning of the individual's official school record for the year; all other documents such as report cards and the final OSR records stem from the timetable.    
  2. Each semester a specific change  date will be set after which no course changes will be made.  The last date on which you may Add a course is 14 class days following the start of a semester.  An application must be obtained from a Guidance counselor and it must be approved by the Principal.  Students in grade 11, or 12 may, under special circumstances, be permitted to drop a course with the permission of the Principal.  If a course is dropped, however, more than 5 school days following receipt of mid-term report cards, this must be noted on the Ontario Student Transcript as a withdrawal (W) and the mark at the time of withdrawal as well.
  3. Year one, two and three students will be timetabled into eight courses.  Year four and five students will be timetabled into a minimum of six courses.

2.  Transfer/Retirement from School

When a decision is made that a student will no longer be attending St. Mary’s High School, the parents should advise the Principal as far in advance of the last day of attendance as possible.  These students will be required to complete a withdrawal/transfer form obtainable at the Guidance Office and return all textbooks and school property prior to leaving.

Section VI: Final Examinations and Evaluation Practices

1. The Writing of Examinations

  1. All final exams will normally be written in the classrooms, with the exception of those students who require Resource assistance or specialized  programmes of study such as Technology or Computer Studies.
  2. Students are expected to write their exams on the dates scheduled.  In exceptional situations such as serious illness, extenuating circumstances, or death in the immediate family, students should notify the school as soon as possible so an alternate schedule may be arranged.  Students must provide medical certificates for absences due to illness.  Examinations will not be re-scheduled to accommodate family vacations.
  3. If a student is absent from an exam, the student will receive a mark of zero unless the reason for absence is for illness and a doctor's certificate is obtained indicating that the student was too ill to write the exam.  This certificate must be presented within 5 days of the scheduled exam.
  4. Requests for students to write exams prior to the formal examination period must be submitted in writing to the principal for consideration, no less than 15 school days prior to the examination.

2.  Appealing Final Evaluation in a Course

Students may appeal a final grade by formally requesting in writing a review of the process.  A school appeals committee on evaluation will be convened within a week of the appeal to determine whether the appeal is to be upheld or denied.  The deadline for an appeal will be March 1st for Semester 1 of the academic year and October 1st for Semester 2 of the previous academic year.  The committee will consist of the Principal and four Area Chairs.  The student’s grades, assignments and other evaluations will be reviewed.  The student may make a presentation to the committee on an individual basis.  The teacher of the course may be involved.  The committee’s decision will be final.

3.   Level of Achievement

The following table provides a summary description in each percentage grade range and corresponding level of achievement.


Grade Range



Summary Description

80 - 100%

Level 4

A very high to outstanding level of achievement.  Achievement is above the provincial standard.  A credit will be granted.


Level 3

A high level of achievement.  Achievement is at the provincial standard.  A credit will be granted.

60 - 69%

Level 2

A moderate level of achievement.  Achievement is below but approaching the provincial standard.  A credit will be granted.

50 - 59 %

Level 1

A passable level of achievement.  Achievement is below the provincial standard.  A credit will be granted.

Below 50 %

Insufficient achievement of curriculum expectations.  A credit will not be granted.

Level 3 (70-79%) is the provincial standard.  Teachers and parents can be confident that students who are achieving at level 3 are well prepared for work in the next grade or the next course.

It should be noted that an evaluation of achievement in the 80-100% range (level 4) does not suggest that the student is achieving expectations beyond those specified for the course, but rather that he or she demonstrates a greater command of the requisite knowledge and skills than a student in the 70 -79% range (level 3).  A student whose achievement is below 50% at the end of the course will not obtain a credit for the course.

4. Plagiarism/Submission Of Another Student’s Work As Your Own

Plagiarism is considered to be:

  1. stealing, or passing off as one’s own the ideas or words of another
  2. using a created production without crediting the source
  3. presenting as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

The potential for plagiarism has increased with the availability of the Internet to most students.  Students must be aware of the issue of plagiarism and the need to cite sources of information.

Should plagiarism occur, the assignment will not be accepted by the teacher and the work will have to be redone and resubmitted to demonstrate achievement of the curriculum expectations.  The occurrence will be dealt with as a behaviour issue under the school’s code of conduct.  These consequences would also apply if a student submits the work of another student (e.g. an assignment from a previous year or one submitted to another teacher).

One or more of the following disciplinary penalties may be imposed after discussion with the Area Chair and Principal:

5.   Missed Oral Presentations:

It is expected that a student be present for their oral presentation.  If an illness occurs on the day of a presentation, a phone call to the teacher that morning is requested.  Illness and other circumstances are often unforeseen, but common courtesy to the group and the teacher is expected.  It is the discretion of the teacher/administrator to assign a mark of zero or arrange a new presentation date, or an alternative evaluation.

Section VII: Guidelines Relating to Student Deportment/ Behaviour


Dress Code is defined as the standard of student dress agreed upon by the school community and in keeping with the Education Act and Regulations.  Dress Code involves all aspects of a student’s physical appearance in terms of safe practice and an undue distraction to others in the learning environment. The following is the Dress Code Policy (established September 2012) that will be in effect for this school year.  The Dress Code Policy will be reviewed every four years.


St. Mary’s High School is a Catholic educational institution that reflects a distinctive atmosphere within the local community.  Education is a professional activity, thus the way students dress must portray this distinction.


  1. Appropriate indoor clothing that reflects the dignity of all individuals and the spirit of Catholicism.
  2. Clothing must be neat, clean, modest, in good repair with no holes or rips, and suitably worn.
  3. Appropriate indoor footwear must be worn.  Bare feet or “socked” feet are unacceptable.
  4. Skirts, dresses and walking shorts must be no shorter than one hand width above the kneecap in the front and back.  Short skirts, short dresses and short shorts are unacceptable.
  5. Leggings and tights may be worn if appropriate clothing is worn over top.  Pyjama pants, and leggings or tights worn as pants, are unacceptable.
  6. Tops must completely cover both shoulders, midriff and back. Necklines must be appropriate and modest.
  7. Clothing that displays illegal substances, negative messages, or that has writing that may be interpreted with a double message, is unacceptable (e.g. racist, sexist, anti-religious, bullying).
  8. All undergarments must be covered at all times.
  9. Hats, hoods and bandanas must be removed before entering school.  Hats, hoods and bandanas must remain off while in school.
  10. Items which could pose a safety hazard should not be worn.



  1. If a student’s clothing is found to be in violation of the Dress Code Policy, the student will be instructed by a staff member to change into more suitable attire.  The staff member will contact the office to inform administration and a record will be kept of the violation.

  1. If the student claims to have no appropriate attire available, the staff member will send the student to the office to see a vice-principal or the principal.  The administrator will assist the student in acquiring appropriate clothing.  The administrator will maintain a record of the incident.  Students who have difficulty adhering to the Dress Code Policy on a regular basis may be subject to further discussion with administration and parent contact.

Final decisions on whether clothing meets the above criteria will rest with the principal or vice-principal.  Any exceptions (e.g. medical conditions) will be approved by the principal or vice-principal.


In October, 2007, the Ontario Government revised the Provincial Code of Conduct for students in all Ontario schools.  The Code of Conduct is summarized below.  In addition to this, the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board has a Safe School Environment Policy for incidents other than those that are specifically mentioned below.

Whose Job is it to Keep Our Schools Safe?

It’s everyone’s job to ensure Bruce-Grey Catholic District Schools are safe and secure.

Standards of Behaviour in Bruce-Grey Catholic District Schools

All school members must:

Physical Safety in Bruce-Grey Catholic District Schools


All school members must:

Alcohol and Drugs

All school members must:

Physical Aggression

All school members must:

Consequences in Bruce-Grey Catholic District Schools

Mandatory consequences are explained in detail in the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board’s Safe School Document.  This document is available for review at your school.


The Ontario Government has deemed that police will be involved (in accordance with the local police protocol) , and a student will be suspended pending possible expulsion or referral to an expulsion hearing by the Principal for:


A student may be suspended for:

In some cases, when  suspension occurs, the police will be involved in accordance with the police protocol and conditions to return to school will be specified in accordance with the board’s policies.  

These cases include:

* Expulsion/Suspension is not mandatory in circumstances prescribed by Reg 306(5) Mitigating     Factors.

Safe and Secure ...Bruce-Grey Catholic Schools

A Catholic school is a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe, faith-based, learning and teaching environment.  Violent or disrespectful behaviour is contrary to our Gospel and Catholic values.

We believe that everyone - students, parents/guardians, teachers, staff, and volunteers - has the right to be safe and feel safe in our schools.

With this right comes a very large responsibility:  to be law-abiding citizens and to be accountable for actions that put at risk the safety of others or oneself.

Under the Board’s Safe School Environment Policy, the following infractions may result in suspension:

1.         Physical assault on another person not requiring treatment by a medical practitioner.

2.         Sexual, racial or ethnocultural harassment.

3.         Verbal abuse.

4.         Possession of sexually explicit material.

5.         Theft.

6.         Conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school.

7.         Habitual neglect of duty.

8.         Persistent opposition to authority.        

3.  Harassment Policy

Students at St. Mary’s High School do not have to tolerate being victims of harassment.

What can you do?

Say Stop!

If you or a friend is being harassed, inform the harasser you do not like the behaviour and want it stopped.

Tell Someone!

Talk to a teacher, the vice-principal or principal.  It is possible that harassment can be stopped by educating the offender or mediating the conflict.

Keep Records!

If the harassment persists, write down what happened, dates, times, places, names of witnesses, and any other information that will verify what has happened.

Take Action! Get Help!

If the harassing conduct continues, use the formal complaint procedures as follows:

Step 1:        Present a written complaint to the Vice-Principal or Principal.  If you are uncertain of how to write the complaint make an appointment with the Vice-Principal and he will help you.  The complaint should include your name, address, phone number, dates and description of the harassment.

Step 2:        The Vice-Principal or Principal will investigate the complaint, notify the person who has been accused of the harassment, arrange meetings to discuss the complaint with all concerned parties and report the results of the investigation to all parties as soon as possible.  The principal may discipline the students, employee or volunteer if he feels harassment has occurred.  Police may be contacted.

Step 3:        If you are not satisfied with the result of the investigation by the Vice-Principal or Principal, then contact the Superintendent of Education explaining your disagreement with the decision.

Sanctions: If a student commits harassment or retaliation for complaint procedures, he/she will be subject to disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion, consistent with the student code of conduct.


St. Mary’s High School and its bus operators utilize video surveillance equipment.

The equipment is utilized for the purpose of:

The following sign is posted in our school:

“The use of video surveillance is in effect.

The personal information is collected under the authority of the

Education Act S. 170 and will be used to

reduce/prevent property vandalism, theft and violence

and to ensure the safety of students.

Questions about this collection should be directed to:

FIPPA Coordinator

Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board

Catholic Education Centre

799 - 16th Avenue

Hanover, Ontario

N4N 3A1         (519) 364-5820

5. Concussion Management Planning

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head (or by a blow to the body) that causes the head to move quickly back and forth. This movement can cause the brain to move around or twist in the skull, stretching and causing damage to brain cells and chemical changes in the brain.

Return to Learn is our priority then Return to Play.  If you cannot manage your school day due to head trauma, you should not continue to play or participate in athletic activities.

Children and adolescents are at the greatest risk for concussions and take longer to recover than adults. Traumatic brain injuries affect up to 2 percent of the population each year.

As a school we cannot assist with recovery from a concussion if we are not aware of an incident involving brain trauma.  Repeated concussions are an extremely high risk for a student so your assistance is mandatory.

When we are included in your child’s concussion management plan, as a school we can help with timetable, academic load, assignment timelines, learning accommodations, and more.

When in doubt sit them out!

6. Prescribed Medication

The Bruce Grey Catholic School Board has  a specific policy concerning the taking of prescribed medication by students at school (Policy #85-123).  Parents of students who are required to take such medication are to contact the Principal for an explanation of the policy and a procedure for administering the medication with the policy set-up.

Students requiring the use of an epi-pen must notify the office.  Students are encouraged to keep their  Epi-pen with them at all times.

7. Detentions

Detentions assigned by the main office and individual teachers take priority over all extra-curricular, extra-help and “out of school” activities.  Detentions are assigned to students who choose not to cooperate with the school community expectations.  Outstanding detentions will preclude a student’s participation in supervised school activities/co-curricular activities.

8. Suspensions

A student who has been suspended from school may not participate in any school activities,  may not  ride the school bus, and they may not be on school property or the surrounding property during the period of the suspension.

9. Smoking and Vaping

NO SMOKING or Vaping will be permitted at any time, in the school buildings, on school grounds or during supervised activities. Violation of this regulation could result in suspension.  In dealing with substance abuse concerns, the policy of the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board will be followed.

Students may also be fined by the Grey County-Owen Sound Health Unit Tobacco Enforcement Officer.  

10. Electronic Equipment - cell phones, iPods, iPads, Laptops

Cell phones, iPods,  iPads, Laptops and other forms of electronic equipment may be brought to school and used appropriately as directed by your classroom teachers.  That means practice may vary slightly according to what room you are in.

Any electronic equipment (student or school owned) may be used under the direction of the classroom teacher.

The school is not responsible for the damage or loss of such items brought onto school property. Items found will be in the main office for a period of 1 week then they will be passed over to the Owen Sound Police Services for the purpose of recovery.

11. Supervised School Activities (Dances, etc.)

Attendance at Supervised School Activities is a privilege not a right.  The adults in charge have every right to refuse admission to those whom they determine do not meet the criteria for admission.  Students attending supervised school activities must be in regular attendance the day of the activity.  Students will be reminded about expectations prior to each event via announcements and/or an address by an administrator.  

12. Visitors

St. Mary's High School is a welcoming community. Therefore, all school visitors must check in at the school office.  

Students not registered at SMHS are not permitted to be in our school or on our school grounds during the school day.  

Visitors who persistently disregard this will be issued a Trespass Notice in accordance with the “Trespass to Property Act”.

13. Telephone Calls and Messages

The office staff cannot possibly provide personal secretarial service for all students and consequently it is not provided for any student.  Only in cases of real emergency will an attempt be made to deliver personal messages during the school day.   

Parents are also asked not to call their child on their cellphones during class times.  Please call when it is a natural school day break.  This includes lunch time (11:45 to 12:30), before school (before 9:05 AM) or after school (after 3:10 PM), or between classes 10:22-10:27 AM or 1:48-1:53 PM.

14. Lockers

  1. Lockers have been assigned to all students.  New students who don’t have one on their timetable, can see a Vice-Principal for assistance.  Typically lockers will stay the same from grade 9 through grade 12 unless a change is requested.
  2. The lockers are on loan from the school to the individuals to whom they have been assigned for the year.  The lockers belong to the school and thus the Principal/Vice-Principal have the legal right to enter a locker when necessary at the user’s expense.  If the correct combination has not been submitted to the office, the lock will be removed.  Lockers are designed for the storage of clothing and school supplies; they must not be defaced in any way and the person to whom the locker has been assigned will be held responsible for any damage/vandalism. All locker changes during the school year must be approved by a Vice-Principal.
  3. The locks belong to the student.  It is absolutely essential that you safeguard your combination from everyone.  It is in your best interest to leave valuables or sums of money at home.  The school cannot be responsible for replacing items reported as missing from a student's locker or from the gymnasium change rooms.  The care of the locker and the security of its contents remain your responsibility.
  4. During the last days of the school year, students are expected to clean out their locker and remove their locks.  Once examinations are finished all locks remaining will be removed so that a general cleaning of all lockers can take place.

15. Transportation

Transportation is available for students who live within the transportation boundary of the Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board.  Please note that school buses are regarded as extensions of the school.  Accordingly, student behaviour is to be governed by the same sense of cooperation and charity as it is on school property and will be dealt with in the same manner.  Transportation privileges may be suspended or removed for misconduct.

16. Skateboards/ Scooters

As there is not a safe area for skateboarding on school property, skateboards/scooters are prohibited at St. Mary’s High School.  Bus regulations also prohibit the transportation of skateboards/scooters on the bus.

17. Rollerblades

Students who wear rollerblades to school must remove them before entering the school building.  Rollerblades must be stored in the student’s locker.

18. Bicycles

Students bicycling to school are provided with a bike rack at the back of the school and are expected to provide their own locking devices.  This area may be used at the student’s own risk.  It is not the responsibility of the school.

19. Vehicles

Students driving vehicles to school are expected to adhere to safe driving practices while entering and leaving the parking area.  The parking lot is for staff and student use.  Smoking in vehicles on school property is prohibited.

20. Computers

All students and staff must comply with the board’s policy on the use of telecommunications, including the use of computers.  

A form agreeing to abide by the conditions set out in this policy must be signed in order to have access to the computer.  Consequences for failing to abide by these conditions can include the withdrawal of privileges and/or suspension from school.

Section VIII: Special Student Programmes

1.        Field Trip Behaviour

  1. All guidelines for student behaviour in effect at St. Mary's High School also apply to students when participating in field trip activities.
  2. Students attending field trips must be in regular attendance prior to departure on the field trip.

2.        Co-curricular Activities (SAC, etc.)

a.        Co-curricular activities are a very important part of student life at St. Mary's.  

b.        Those who choose to participate must maintain their regular class work and must follow similar guidelines given in the following section..

c.        To participate, a student must be in regular attendance on the day of the activity.

3.        Student Athlete Code of Conduct

Being a member of a school team should be a rich and rewarding experience.  Far more than victories or defeats, a student will reap the rewards of building a strong character and making lasting relationships that will remain with the student for life.  Success will result when a student exhibits sportsmanlike behaviour and maintains sound grades.  Athletes will respect firstly themselves; they also must respect their teammates, coaches, officials, fellow students, spectators and opponents.

The following information comes from our Coaches’ Handbook:

Player Status: Student in Good Standing, Attendance, Passing, Transfer Students, Student-Athlete Code of Conduct

ii.         In order to play on a team, an athlete must be a student at St. Mary’s High School taking a minimum of two courses/semester and they must fall under the age restrictions of the B.A.A.

iii      Athletes must be in good standing.  Poor attendance will affect their academic performance and should this happen, administration will suspend the athlete from further participation.  Student-athletes who are absent without good reason (ie- appointment) the day of competition will not be allowed to participate in that day’s game/match.  As a coach, please stress the importance of attendance to your student-athletes.

iv      All athletes must maintain a passing grade or at least be working to the best of their abilities, in each of the courses that they are taking.  Should a student be struggling in a class, they are to be referred to student success in order to acquire extra help.  

V          All athletes who are registered on your roster MUST complete a Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.

vi    Students above grade 9 who have transferred to St. Mary’s for the current school year are not eligible to play on school teams.  These students must make themselves eligible by completing a C.W.O.S.S.A. ELIGIBILITY FORM which can be found in the guidance or the physical education office.  The process of determining an athlete’s eligibility takes time and must be completed and approved before transfer athletes can play.  Please be diligent with this as SMHS may face OFSAA sanctions.  Transfer students who are deemed ineligible for certain sports CANNOT participate in any team activities/competitions.  This includes exhibition play at any level.

4.        Special Event Days

  1. There are many occasions during the school year when different events or activities lend themselves to a variation from the regular dress code (spirit days, dress up or dress down days).

b.                Requests for such days from student groups such as the SAC must be submitted to the Principal through the staff member responsible for the activity, at least one week in advance of the day.  At all other times, the dress code is to be observed.

c.                It must be remembered that these days are regular instructional days and not play days.  They can provide a welcome break from the regular dress code and certainly have a beneficial effect on school climate and spirit.   In order to do this successfully, it is essential that everyone comply with the spirit of the day and that individuals do not attempt to stretch the meaning to include inappropriate attire or irresponsible behaviour.

d.   All cases where special days will be held, the nature of the day and rules for attire will be announced well in advance so that all may respond in the appropriate manner.  The alternate for an individual who does not wish to participate is always to simply follow the regular dress code.

5.         Late Bus Service

  1. Students must sign for late buses before 12:30 p.m.  (no exceptions).  The late taxis generally leave the school around 5:30 pm.
  2. Inter-school Activities - Students who are engaged in inter-school activities may sign for late transportation.
  3. Students involved in School Club activities such as Yearbook, Math and Business clubs, etc. may sign for late transportation.

6. Driver Education Program

Classes in Driver's Education are offered in both semesters through a local driving school and are open to those who are 16 years and older.  The course has an in-school as well as an in-car component.  Fees are charged.  No late busing is available for this program.

7. Co-operative Education Program

Courses designed as Co-operative Education Courses contain both an in-school and out-of-school component.  Students are exposed to on-the-job training in these courses.  Co-op applications, interviews and placements are arranged in February, March and April of each year.  Students entering their sixth to tenth semester are eligible to request a Co-op placement.  Students participating in Co-op must purchase Student Insurance.

8. Ski Program

Each year we try to arrange a downhill ski program for students.  The cost is kept as low as possible.  No late busing is available for this program.

9.  Student Casualty Insurance

Information regarding student insurance has been sent home with all students.  Whether or not you subscribe to this insurance policy, is entirely your decision.  All students, especially students involved in co-curricular activities, are encouraged to purchase this insurance.  All Co-op students must purchase the insurance in accordance with Board Policy.

10.  When you need EXTRA HELP in a Course

If you need assistance in a subject, be certain to ask your teacher for it as soon as possible.  Guidance may be able to refer a student to a tutor. 

Section IX: Guidelines Relating to School Facilities

1. Cafeteria

Our school cafeteria is operated by Chartwells and is open on all regular school days.  The space available is adequate and hopefully can be made to function in the best interest of students and staff.  

The use of the cafeteria is a privilege:  misbehavior that creates undesirable conditions will result in the loss of the privilege and subsequently the loss of the convenience of eating at school at all.  The cafeteria and other areas are to be kept clean.  Students are responsible for placing their garbage and recyclables in the receptacles provided.

2.  Hallways and Corridors

  1. Students who are not in a scheduled class or in a teacher supervised activity must remain out of instructional areas--they are to be in the resource centres ( ie. guidance, resource or library) for quiet study or in the Cafeteria.
  2. For safety (and legal) reasons, students are not permitted to use the classrooms or gymnasium unless they are under the supervision of a staff member.
  3. The staff room and teacher work areas are for staff only.  Students will wait in the school office while the receptionist contacts the teacher who will then meet the student in the office.
  4. Students should have all required working materials with them before their a.m. classes and before the p.m. classes begin so that they need not go to their lockers during the seven minute travel period between classes.  Coats and/or gym bags/backpacks are to be left in the locker and not brought to class.
  5. Students and staff are expected to do their part to help keep the school tidy.  Please clean up after yourself.

3.  Identification of Property

Write your name and homeroom in ink in the space provided in all your textbooks and workbooks immediately upon receiving them.  All gym wear should be clearly marked with ballpoint pen, marker or other means.

4.  School Property

Throughout the school year, school property such as textbooks, library books, team uniforms, etc. will be assigned to students.  Students are expected to return this property in the same condition as it was when it was issued.  Failing this, students must reimburse the school the replacement cost of the item(s) so that damaged or missing articles may be re-purchased.

5.  Fire Alarm

Everyone is required to vacate the building immediately when a fire alarm sounds.  Fire drills will be held regularly during the school year.  Anyone causing a false alarm will be subject to suspension and criminal charges.

6.  Peanut Sensitive School

St. Mary’s High School is a peanut sensitive school.  Peanut allergies are potentially life threatening.  As a result, absolutely no peanut products are permitted within the school.  Everyone’s compliance and cooperation is required.

Updates to the Student and Parent Handbook

A copy of this handbook is provided to all NEW students in grades 9-12.

This handbook is available on our webpage under the Student Info tab at

This document may be updated from time to time by adding or removing information.  Emails notices will be provided to all families as changes happen.


Loving and gracious God,

we thank you for our lives,

our families, our education and

our ability to love as a community

and to reach out to those in need.

May your holy Mother Mary always

inspire us with her obedience,  

·        humility, courage and strength to put

Your will first in our lives.

Teach us to accept the uniqueness  

and imagination of every person.

Provide us with patience and give us strength

to endure each day with its joys, struggles  and pains.

Through  each moment, we are bound by respect.

Through  our strength  we are bound by acceptance.

Through  times of weakness  we are bound by faith.

In our loving community let us continue to do your work

as the way to answer  the call to holiness.

Saint Mary.

Pray for us.

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