Russell Byers Charter School

Student Code of Conduct

Carol Domb, Chief Executive Officer

Kellie Porter, Principal

Abby Baker, Assistant Principal

Nadeen Herring, Dean of Culture and Climate, Lower Division

Eli Johnson, Dean of Culture and Climate, Upper Division

2019-2020 School Year

Student Code of Conduct

The following Code of Conduct for Russell Byers Charter School has been developed to secure the safety and well-being of the entire school community. Russell Byers is committed to creating an environment conducive to learning and emotional development, reinforcing the 4 Rs (Respect, Responsibility, Reflection, Resilient). Students are expected to conduct themselves in a responsible manner during school and at all school functions. Further, when the student is dressed in the Russell Byers uniform, s/he is considered to be a representative of Russell Byers to the greater community and is, therefore, accountable to the Code. In addition to the list of possible consequences listed, restitution may be required for any violation at the discretion of the administration.

Purpose

The purpose of the Code of Student Conduct is to define the rights and responsibilities of student and parent members of the school community, the standards for acceptable conduct of students, and the consequences for failure to meet those standards. In doing so, the School seeks to provide a safe environment in which students can learn and thrive individually and as members of a larger community.

Scope of Code of Student Conduct
The Code of Student Conduct applies to conduct of the Russell Byers students that occurs:

Responsibilities of Students

General:

Student responsibilities include regular school attendance, conscientious effort in classroom work and homework, and conformance to school rules and regulations. Most of all, students share with the administration and faculty the responsibility to develop a climate within the school that is conducive to wholesome learning and living.

                

RBCS Roots and Wings Norms

Be respectful      Be responsible    Be reflective      Be resilient

Always track the speaker

Apologize when you are wrong

Say, “please” and “thank you”

Greet when you enter the room

Leave no trace (Clean up after yourself)

Sit straight and tall

Wait your turn

Respect your elders

Treat others the way you want to be treated

Be mindful of your words

Set priorities

No student has the right to interfere with the education of fellow students. It is the responsibility of each student to respect the rights of administrators, teachers, support staff and fellow students, and all others who are involved in the educational process. All students are expected to reflect on their behavior and academics in order to ensure the growth process and promote resilience.

It is the responsibility of the students to conform to the following:

  1. Be aware of all rules and regulations for student behavior and conduct themselves in accordance with them. Students should assume that, until a rule is waived, altered or repealed in writing, it is in effect.

  1. Dress and groom to meet standards of the school’s dress code.

  1. Exercise proper care when using school facilities and equipment.

  1. Attend school daily and be on time to all classes and other school functions.  

 

  1. Follow classroom norms during instruction, complete all assignments, and make up work when absent from school.

School Wide Norms

Russell Byers has the right to impose consequences for acts or behaviors that are not specifically delineated within this Code, if those acts or behaviors threaten the health, safety and/or welfare of members of the school community, or if those acts or behaviors disrupt the learning environment. 

Dress Code

 All students are required to be in proper uniform every day. Families are responsible for the purchase and maintenance of the uniform.  A student’s family will be notified immediately if the student is not in uniform. Families will need to bring the student’s change of uniform.  Should school personnel be unable to reach the family or the family cannot bring a change of clothes, we will:

1) Access donated clothing items that the student can borrow for the day; however, recurring incidences of dress code violations will result in In-School Suspension and a Mandatory Parent Meeting with the Dean/and or Administration.

Attendance

Children must be in class every day, if they are going to prosper and receive the preparation for promotion to the next grade, college, and beyond. As such, Russell Byers Charter School requires regular attendance. When students are late for school, they miss valuable learning and potentially cause disruption to the learning environment for peers. Please make every effort to ensure students arrive to school every day and on time.

                        Best Practices to Support Consistent Student Attendance

  • Establish reasonable, age-appropriate curfews and bedtimes
  • Make personal appointments for your child outside of the school day hours or during school breaks as often as possible
  • Ensure that your child receives well-checkups/health examinations required by law
  • Schedule family vacations to coincide with school recesses
  • Call the school when your child is absent
  • Provide a written excuse for every absence and for every late arrival/early dismissal
  • Keep school abreast of correct, current addresses, phone numbers and emergency contacts

In the event of ongoing absenteeism and/or tardiness, school administration or the school counselor will be in contact to develop a support plan with the student and his/her family.

Disciplinary Interventions

If students violate school norms, consequences and/or interventions will be implemented. Prior to application of disciplinary measures, teachers, families, and students are expected to engage in direct communication and avoid, if possible, the need for punitive measures. When a student fails to respond to non-punitive measures, disciplinary action is required. The purpose of disciplinary interventions is to determine the root cause of misbehavior and develop solutions to prevent distractions to the learning environment in the future.

(For the student to be admitted to school, the parent/guardian is required to attend a conference with the Dean/and or Administrator, on the following day of the infraction. If the student is sent to school without a parent/guardian to engage in the development of an action plan, the student will be issued a one day suspension for the following day. The student will need to be reinstated, in-person with Dean and/or Administrator)

(Student is assigned a project that relates to the offense to demonstrate an understanding of how his/her actions’ affect the community -  i.e., research paper, interview of persons associated with such actions or volunteer work.)  

In all cases, the disciplinary action is intended to gain the attention of the student and discourage future misbehavior. It should be noted that consistent with the Code, repeated behavior requiring disciplinary measures may result in action being initiated to effect expulsion from Russell Byers.

Level One -- REFERRAL –  Students may receive referrals from faculty and staff members, depending on severity or other circumstances surrounding an event. The Referral will be completed by the issuer. The student will be given one copy to share with his/her family, while the Dean will receive the other. The teacher/staff member who issued the referral will contact the family of the student informing them of the infraction.                

Level One Behaviors - Classroom Level

  • Refusal to follow directions
  • Talking back
  • Disruption of class
  • Possession of cell phone
  • Offensive Language
  • Dress Code Violation
  • Destruction of Property
  • Misuse of Technology
  • Chewing Gum
  • Late to class

Level Two -- SHORT-TERM SUSPENSION – In all cases, the school administration will review the incident and consider the circumstances, severity, premeditation, etc.  In-school suspensions are issued for Kindergarten - Grade 5 Only; however, depending on the severity of the infraction and age of student, an out of school suspension may be given.  After a student has completed an at-home suspension, a parent must accompany the student to school for reinstate with the Dean and/or Administrator. The following is a list of violations that will result in suspension and possible expulsions.

Level Two Infractions - School Level

  • Verbal Intimidation / Physical Threats
  • Bullying / Intimidation
  • Physical Aggression / Fighting
  • Inappropriate Display of Affection
  • Elopements
  • Property Damage  / Vandalism
  • Cutting Class
  • Forgery and Cheating
  • Use / Possession of Drugs /Alcohol/Weapons
  • Theft of Property
  • Violations of the school’s Acceptable Use Policy for Computers and the Internet
  • Smoking or possession of tobacco products
  • Leaving school property without permission
  • Swinging on electrical lines or structure from ceiling
  • Tampering with fire extinguishers/pulling fire alarms

Level Three Infractions - Administrative Level

  • Theft of school/personal property
  • Fighting/assault or battery
  • Repeated acts of severe insubordination and/or acts that egregiously impede the learning environment  
  • Repeated intimidation/harassment or bullying

Infractions include, but are not limited to, the following types of behavior and may result in expulsion or an alternate placement.

Level Four - Expulsion- Administrative Level/Board of Trustees

  • Arson
  • Possession and/or use of a weapon as defined in Section 1317.2 of the Public School Code including, but not limited to any firearm, bomb or incendiary device, or unauthorized cutting instrument; or possession of a replica of a weapon and/or look alike objects on school property, school vehicle, at any school function or en route to and from any school function
  • False fire alarms and bomb threats
  • Extortion
  • Social media threats/harassment, excessive bullying or slander
  • Assault and/or terrorist threats upon any Russell Byers Charter School employee or any other person on school property
  • Possession and/or use of a controlled substance
  • Sale and/or distribution of controlled substances
  • Any criminal offense substantially interfering with or negatively affecting the health, safety, and/or welfare of the school community
  • Sexual harassment and/or assault
  • Any offense of such a serious nature, as determined by the administration where expulsion is justified

DEFINITIONS: RULES & INFRACTIONS Violations of this Code of Student Conduct are defined below. Students who are determined to have engaged in violations of this code may be subject to interventions and consequences

Possession or use of tobacco or electronic smoking devices: Students shall not use or possess tobacco or any electronic smoking device in school buildings, school buses, or on any school district property. This includes but is not limited to products containing tobacco, electronic cigarettes, cigars, vaping kits, and hookah.

Profane or obscene language or gestures. Students who curse, use sexually explicit language, or gestures.

Inappropriate use of an electronic device: Including but not limited to sexting, videotaping someone in a place where they have an expectation of privacy, or posting videos of inappropriate student conduct to a social media site that affect the school community in a negative manner.

Mutual fighting (without serious bodily injury): If one or more students are engaged in a physical confrontation in which, after an investigation is conducted, it is unclear which student is the aggressor and which student is the victim.

Forgery of administrator, teacher, or parent’s/guardian’s signature or cheating: Students who reproduce the signature of another with the intent to deceive or who cheat on any school assignment or test with the intent to copy work that is not their own.

Elopement:  Students who attempt to leave an area without consent.

Alteration of grade reporting, excuse notes, and/or school documents: Students who, with the intent to deceive, alter grade reports, excuse notes, or official school documents.

Harassment (including Sexual Harassment): Harrassment is unwelcome verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct relating to an individual's gender, age, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity expression, national origin, religion, disability, English language proficiency, socioeconomic status and/or political beliefs. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Destruction and/or theft of property (less than $500): Willful and malicious acts of damage or defacement to school property, personal property, including but not limited to graffiti, school pranks that cause a major disruption, or arson.

Bullying/cyber-bullying: Bullying is repeated intentional conduct that is directed at another student or students, in or outside a school setting, that is severe, persistent or pervasive, and that either (1) substantially interfere with a student’s education, or (2) creates a hostile learning environment, or (3) substantially disrupts school operations. Bullying occurs within an interpersonal relationship where there is an imbalance of power (e.g., one person is physically larger, stronger, mentally quicker, or socially more powerful). The conduct may be physical, psychological, verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic. Cyber-bullying occurs through electronic communication devices including but not limited to social networking, email, instant messaging, text messages, tweets, blogs, photo and video sharing, chat rooms, dash boards, or web sites.

Intimidation: Students who induce fear or a sense of inferiority in another student and/or school community member.

Sexual act (consensual): Students who expose or touch their own genitals, breast, or buttocks or those sexual parts of another person, engage in intercourse, oral sex, or simulated sex with the consent of witnesses and/or other participating students.

Threatening students/staff with aggravated assault: Students who threaten, using aggressive verbal or written language or gestures, communicate a terroristic threat, an action that causes serious physical harm or creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to another student and/or school community member.

Destruction and/or theft of property (totaling $500 or more): Students who intentionally damage, deface, or take school property or personal property without permission. Damage or defacement includes graffiti, school pranks that cause a major disruption, and arson.

Robbery: Taking or attempting to take the property of another student or school community member by force, threat of force, or by putting the victim in fear.

Extortion: Students who obtain money, property or services from another student and/or school community member by expressed or implied threat of force.

Mutual fighting (with documented serious bodily injury): When one or more students engage in a physical confrontation in which it is unclear which student is the aggressor and which student is the victim. Serious bodily injury means bodily injury that involves (1) a substantial risk of death; (2) extreme physical pain; (3) protracted and obvious disfigurement; or (4) protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part, organ, or mental faculty

Simple assault on a school community member: Students who intentionally and without provocation, hit, punch, or kick a school community member.

 Possession of alcohol and/or drugs: Controlled substances and illegal substances, as well as “look-alikes”, which are defined as any substance that, by appearance, representation, or manner of distribution, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the substance is an illegal drug or other controlled substance.

Possession and/or use of fireworks, incendiary devices and/or explosives: Students who have physical control over (including contained within the student’s clothing, locker, or bag) fireworks, incendiary devices, bombs, firecrackers, bombshells and/or other explosives.

 Instigation and/or participation in a group assault: Students who initiate or antagonize, by verbal, written, or physical act, a simple or aggravated assault (as defined in this section) by multiple students on one or more other students. This does not refer to a Mutual Fight as defined in this section, but a physical confrontation in which one or more students can be determined to be the aggressors.

Aggravated assault: An intentional act that causes serious physical harm or creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to another student and/or school community member.

Sexual act (non-consensual): Students who touch their own genitals, breast, or buttocks or those sexual parts of another person, engage in aggressive sexual behavior, intercourse, oral sex, or simulated sex without the expressed consent of witnesses and other participating students (including compelling or forcing another to engage in sexual conduct).

Possession of a weapon: Any object, device, or instrument, which, in its inherent and functional purpose is intended to be a weapon, including any firearms, whether loaded or not, cap guns, pellet guns, BB guns, knives, box cutters, cutting instruments, nunchaku, or mace. This does not include ordinary objects such as pencils.

Reckless endangerment: Taking any action that creates a substantial risk such that serious bodily harm could result to any person. These include, but are not limited to, use of weapons of any kind for any purpose, jeopardizing the physical or emotional safety of oneself or another, or throwing objects, (i.e. snowballs.

Inappropriate Touch: Unwarranted or unwanted touching of a student, personally or with an object

The School and the Law -- It shall be the policy of this school to report all violations of the Code of Student Conduct which are also violations of the law to the Philadelphia Police Department. The School will provide authorities with information related to any crime or any suspicion of criminal behavior.

Discipline of Students with Disabilities

Russell Byers Charter School shall comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) and any applicable federal and state statutes or regulations when disciplining students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who engage in inappropriate behavior, disruptive or prohibited activities, and/or conduct injurious to themselves or others shall be disciplined in accordance with their Individual Education Programs (IEP), behavioral intervention plan, Title 22, Chapter 711 and relevant portions of Chapter 12 of the State Board of Education Regulations, IDEA 2004, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and any other applicable federal or state law.

Due Process - All students are to be treated with fairness and respect. Students have a right to be heard and are to be provided the opportunity to explain their version of events to administrators.

Procedures for In-School Suspensions

A student may not receive an in-school suspension unless the student has been informed of the reasons for the suspension and has been given an opportunity to respond before the suspension becomes effective.

Communication to the parents or guardian shall follow the suspension action taken by the School.

When the in-school suspension exceeds 10 consecutive school days, an informal hearing with the principal shall be offered to the student and the student's parent or guardian prior to the 11th school day in accordance with the procedures in this Code.

The School shall make provision for the student's education during the period of the in-school suspension.

Procedures for Imposition of Exclusions from School

Education is a statutory right, and students shall be afforded due process if they are to be excluded from the School. In a case involving a possible expulsion, the student is entitled to a formal hearing.

Suspension

Suspension is exclusion from school for a period of from 1 to 10 consecutive school days.

(i) Suspensions may be given by the principal or person in charge of the School.

(ii) A student may not be suspended until the student has been informed of the reasons for the suspension and given an opportunity to respond. Prior notice of the intended suspension need not be given when it is clear that the health, safety or welfare of the school community is threatened.

(iii) The parents or guardians and the Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer of the district shall be notified immediately in writing when the student is suspended.

(iv) When the suspension exceeds 3 school days, the student and parent shall be given the opportunity for an informal hearing consistent with the requirements of this Code.

(v) Suspensions may not be made to run consecutively beyond the 10 school day period.

(vi) Students shall have the responsibility to make up exams and work missed while being disciplined by suspension and shall be permitted to complete these assignments within guidelines provided in this Code.

Expulsion

Expulsion is exclusion from the School by the Board of Trustees for a period exceeding 10 school days and may be permanent expulsion from the School. Expulsions require a prior formal hearing consistent with the requirements of this Student Code of Conduct.

During the period prior to the hearing and decision of the Board of Trustees in an expulsion case, the student shall be placed in his normal class except as provided below.

If it is determined after an informal hearing that a student's presence in his normal class would constitute a threat to the health, safety or welfare of others and it is not possible to hold a formal hearing within the period of a suspension, the student may be excluded from school for more than 10 school days. A student may not be excluded from school for longer than 15 school days without a formal hearing unless mutually agreed upon by both parties. Any student so excluded shall be provided with alternative education, which may include home study.

Students who are under 17 years of age are still subject to the compulsory school attendance law even though expelled and shall be provided an education.

The initial responsibility for providing the required education rests with the student's parents or guardian, through placement in another school, tutorial or correspondence study, or another educational program approved by the district's superintendent.

Within 30 days of action by the Board of Trustees, the parents or guardians shall submit to the School written evidence that the required education is being provided or that they are unable to do so. If the parents or guardians are unable to provide the required education, the School shall, within 10 days of receipt of the notification, make provision for the student's education. A student with a disability shall be provided educational services as required by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400--1482).

If the approved educational program is not complied with, the School may take action in accordance with 42 Pa.C.S. Chapter 63 (relating to the Juvenile Act) to ensure that the child will receive a proper education.

Informal Hearings

The purpose of the informal hearing is to enable the student to meet with the appropriate School official to explain the circumstances surrounding the event for which the student is being suspended or to show why the student should not be suspended.

The informal hearing is held to bring forth all relevant information regarding the event for which the student may be suspended and for students, their parents or guardians and school officials to discuss ways by which future offenses might be avoided.

The following due process requirements shall be observed in regard to the informal hearing:

(i) Notification of the reasons for the suspension shall be given in writing to the parents or guardians and to the student.

(ii) Sufficient notice of the time and place of the informal hearing shall be given.

(iii) A student has the right to question any witnesses present at the hearing.

(iv) A student has the right to speak and produce witnesses on his own behalf.

(v) The school entity shall offer to hold the informal hearing within the first 5 days of the suspension.

Formal Hearings

A formal hearing is required in all expulsion actions. This hearing may be held before the Board of Trustees or an authorized committee of the Board, or a qualified hearing examiner appointed by the Board. When a committee of the Board or a hearing examiner conducts the hearing, a majority vote of the entire Board of Trustees is required to expel a student. The following due process requirements shall be observed with regard to the formal hearing:

(1) Notification of the charges shall be sent to the student's parents or guardians by certified mail.

(2) At least 3 days' notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be given. A copy of the expulsion policy, notice that legal counsel may represent the student and hearing procedures shall be included with the hearing notice. A student may request the rescheduling of the hearing when the student demonstrates good cause for an extension.

(3) The hearing shall be held in private unless the student or parent requests a public hearing.

(4) The student may be represented by counsel, at the expense of the parents or guardians, and may have a parent or guardian attend the hearing.

(5) The student has the right to be presented with the names of witnesses against the student, and copies of the statements and affidavits of those witnesses.

(6) The student has the right to request that the witnesses appear in person and answer questions or be cross-examined.

(7) The student has the right to testify and present witnesses on his own behalf.

(8) A written or audio record shall be kept of the hearing. The student is entitled, at the student's expense, to a copy. A copy shall be provided at no cost to a student who is indigent.

(9) The proceeding shall be held within 15 school days of the notification of charges, unless mutually agreed to by both parties. A hearing may be delayed for any of the following reasons, in which case the hearing shall be held as soon as reasonably possible:

(i) Laboratory reports are needed from law enforcement agencies.

(ii) Evaluations or other court or administrative proceedings are pending due to a student invoking his rights under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400--1482).

(iii) In cases in juvenile or criminal court involving sexual assault or serious bodily injury, delay is necessary due to the condition or best interests of the victim.

(10) Notice of a right to appeal the results of the hearing shall be provided to the student with the expulsion decision.

                           STUDENT PLEDGE

As a student of Russell Byers Charter School, I pledge to follow the Student Code of Conduct, to respect others and myself, and to treat everyone in my school community with fairness and consideration.

I understand and agree that school must be a positive and cooperative environment so that everyone can learn.

I understand that my daily attendance is the key to my success.

I understand that violence, disruptive behavior, and abusive language are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

By signing this pledge, I understand and accept the responsibility of the Student Code of Conduct, for as long as I am a student at Russell Byers Charter School.

Student’s Signature ________________________________________________________

               PARENT/GUARDIAN PLEDGE

As a member of my child’s school community, I have read and understand the Student Code of Conduct, and agree to support its purpose for as long as I am a member of this school community.

I understand that I play a critical role in maintaining an environment where learning is celebrated.

I will emphasize to my child, the importance of good behavior and the possible consequences if s/he violates the Student Code of Conduct.

I understand the importance of, and expect open communication with Russell Byers Charter School when my child’s behavior and discipline at school are involved.

I pledge to provide positive support for my child to encourage her/his daily attendance, and to promote a positive learning environment for all.

Parent/Guardian’s Signature _____________________________________________________