Code of Conduct

When a student violates the Code of Conduct, the following steps are taken:

  • The teacher completes a log entry in Powerschool.
  • The administrator reviews the entry and contacts the reporting teacher for clarification of information if necessary. 
  • The administrator meets with the student and asks him/her to fill out a “student statement” form.
  • When necessary, the administrator will interview witnesses to the violation.
  • Upon completion of the investigation, the administrator will assign consequences that address the violation.
  • The administrator will contact the referring teacher and the student’s parents with the outcome. Communication with the parents of other involved students will occur when needed.
  • Depending upon the infraction, a student may need to be sent home while an investigation is carried out (see “Emergency Removal” on following pages).
Definitions: 
  • Conference: Teacher/administrator speaks with the student regarding his/her behavior in order to help him/her improve.

  • Reflective writing/Improvement plan: The student is required to complete a writing assignment designed to help him/her understand why the behavior is problematic and/or create a plan to avoid repeating the same behavior.

  • Lunch PM: The student is restricted from the cafeteria, and instead eats lunch in a classroom or the office. Conferencing or writing as described above may take place during this time.

  • After school PM: The student is required to stay after school under the supervision of school personnel. Conferencing or writing as described above may take place during this time.

  • Emergency Removal: Temporary removal from the school pending investigation of code of conduct violation or impending suspension. See Disciplinary Regulations and Guidelines for more information.

  • In-school suspension: The student remains in school in a supervised location where he/she will complete academic work and/or conferencing or writing as described above. This alternative to Out-of-school suspension will be designed to limit students’ social interactions and maximize student focus on learning. See Disciplinary Regulations and Guidelines for more information.

  • Out-of-school suspension: The student is removed from the school environment and not allowed to attend school or any school-related events or be present on school grounds for a period specified by the school administration. The school will provide academic work to be completed at home. See Disciplinary Regulations and Guidelines for more information. 

  • Expulsion: The student is removed from the school environment for an extended, indefinite period of time or permanently.


Examples of the levels of behavior as outlined in the OMS Code of Conduct (this list is by no means exhaustive and administration reserves the right to use professional judgment in determining the final consequence administered for poor behavior):

Level Behaviors Typical Range of Consequences
Level 1
  • Being unprepared for class
  • Lack of academic work production and/or failure to complete/turn in homework
  • Rude or inappropriate language
  • Electronic device violation
  • Informal conference with a teacher and/or an administrator
  • Reflective writing assignment and/or plan to remedy the problem
  • Lunch detention/after school detention to complete missing work or reflection
Level 2
  • Disrupting the learning environment
  • Teasing/inappropriate joking
  • Defying authority
  • Cheating/plagiarizing/forging signature
  • Falsely reporting an incident
  • Being truant (missing school or class without permission)
  • Violating the technology acceptable use policy
  • Repeated and/or flagrant Level 1 violations
  • Lunch detention
  • After school detention
  • In-school suspension (Typically students will be required to do reflective writing and/or make a plan to remedy the problem while serving this time)
  • Restricted access to electronic devices
Level 3
  • Bullying/harassment (MGL, Chapter 71, Section 37O)*
  • Pantsing
  • Stealing/destroying property/defacing property
  • Fighting/threatening violence/acting violently (MGL, Ch 71: Section 37H)
  • Possessing a weapon (MGL, Ch 71: Section 37H)
  • Possessing, using, and/or being under the influence of tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping materials, alcohol, dangerous substances, or illegal drugs (MGL, Ch 71: Section 37H)
  • Threatening and/or assaulting school personnel
  • Repeated and/or flagrant Level 2 violations
  • In-school suspension
  • Out-of-school suspension
  • Expulsion

(Typically, students will be required to do 
reflective writing and/or make a plan to 
remedy the problem while serving this 
time).

Disciplinary Regulations and Guidelines   (back to top)
(as of 5/2014)
In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws:
M.G.L. c. 71,37H
M.G.L. c. 71,37H ½
M.G.L. c. 71,37H ¾
M.G.L. c. 76,21
603 CMR 53.00

Oak Middle School values a respectful and safe school community. In order to encourage the development of self-discipline and a respect for the rights of others as well as to maintain an atmosphere that is conducive to learning, rules and regulations are necessary.  To assist in the maintenance of an orderly educational system, disciplinary regulations have been established and apply to all students.  

Disciplinary procedures range from an informal conference to expulsion from school.  The procedure to be used in a particular instance depends upon the infraction, specific circumstances, and the individual’s overall pattern of behavior. 

The principal, or his/her designee, may also remove a student from privileges, such as extracurricular activities and attendance at school-sponsored events, based on a student’s 
misconduct.  This type of removal is not subject to the procedures for suspension and expulsion outlined below.

Suspension
Suspension from school is regulated under Massachusetts General Law Sec. 71 Chapter 37H ¾. The principal, or his/her designee, may suspend students on a short-term or long-term basis. Unless a student poses a danger to persons or property, substantially and materially disrupts the order of school, possesses a firearm, controlled substance, or assaults a school staff member, the student will receive the following prior to a short-term suspension or long-term suspension:

Short-term suspension (period of 10 school days or fewer)
  1. Oral and written notice of the charges in English and the primary language of the home if other than English. This notice shall include:
    • The disciplinary offense;
    • The basis for the charge;
    • The potential consequences, including the potential length of the suspension; 
    • The opportunity to have a hearing with the principal/designee and the parent concerning the proposed suspension, including the opportunity to dispute the charges and to present the student’s explanation of the alleged incident;
    • The date, time, and location of the hearing; 
    • The right of the parent and student to interpreter services at the hearing; and
    • If the student may be placed on a long-term suspension following the hearing with the principal:
      • The rights set forth under “Long-Term Suspension”; and
      • The right to appeal the principal’s decision to the superintendent.
  2. At the hearing, if the student and/or parent elects to attend, the student shall have the opportunity to present his/her version of the relevant facts and any mitigating circumstances.
  3. The principal/designee shall make reasonable efforts to notify the parent orally of the opportunity to attend the hearing. To conduct the hearing without the parent, the principal/designee must be able to document reasonable efforts to include the parent.  The principal/designee is presumed to have made reasonable efforts if the principal/designee sent written notice and has documented at least two (2) attempts to contact the parent in the manner specified by the parent for emergency notification.
  4. Based on the available information, the principal/designee shall make a determination as to whether the student committed the disciplinary offences and what remedy shall be imposed.  The principal/designee shall notify the student and parent in writing of his/her decision, the reasons for it, and, if applicable, the type and duration of the suspension and the opportunity to make up assignments and other academic work.   
  5. Written notice may be made by hand delivery, first-class mail, certified mail, email, or other delivery method agreed upon by the principal/designee and the parent.

In-School Suspension

In-school suspensions may be used as an alternative to short-term suspensions.

  1. The principal shall make reasonable efforts to orally notify the parent on the same day as the in-school suspension decision as soon as possible of the disciplinary offense, the reasons for concluding the student committed the offense, and the length of the in-school suspension. The principal shall offer the parent an opportunity to meet to discuss the student's academic performance and behavior, strategies for student engagement, and possible responses to the behavior. If possible, such a meeting shall be scheduled on the day of the suspension, or otherwise as soon as possible thereafter. If the principal, after two documented attempts to reach the parent, is unable to reach the parents, such attempts will be considered reasonable efforts for purposes of orally notifying the parents.
  2. The principal shall provide written notification to the student and the parent about the in-school suspension, the reason and length of the suspension, and offer the parent an opportunity to meet to discuss the student's academic performance and behavior, strategies for student engagement, and possible responses to the behavior.  
  3. Written notice may be made by hand delivery, first-class mail, certified mail, email, or other delivery method agreed upon by the principal/designee and the parent.

Long-term Suspension (period of more than 10 school days): 
All of the same procedures as outlined in short term suspensions (1-4) including the following:

  1. In advance of the hearing, the student shall have the right to review the student’s record and the documents upon which the principal/designee may rely in making a determination to suspend the student.  
  2. The student shall also have the right to be represented by counsel or a lay person at the choice and expense of the student/parent.
  3. At the hearing, if the student and/or parent elects to attend, the student shall have the opportunity to present his/her version of the relevant facts and any mitigating circumstances. The student shall also have the right to produce witnesses and the right to cross-examine witnesses presented by the school.  The student may request that the hearing be audio recorded by the principal and may request a copy of the recording.  All parties must be made aware that the hearing is recorded in advance of the hearing.
  4. The parent, if present, shall have the opportunity to discuss the student’s conduct and other information, including mitigating circumstances, that the principal/designee should consider in determining consequences for the student.
  5. The principal/designee shall make a determination as to whether the student committed the disciplinary offenses and what consequences shall be imposed.  The principal shall notice the student and parent in writing of his/her decision, including the following information: 
    • The disciplinary offense, the date on which the hearing took place, and the participants in the hearing;
    • The key facts and conclusions reached by the principal;
    • The length and effective date of the suspension and the date of return to school;
    • The notice the student’s opportunity to receive education services to make academic progress during the suspension;
    • The student’s right to appeal the principal’s decision to the superintendent or his/her designee if a long-term suspension has been imposed.  This notice of appeal shall include the process for appealing the decision, which requires the parent or student to file a written notice of appeal with the superintendent within five (5) calendar days of the effective date of the long-term suspension.
  • As indicated above, the student or parent must file a notice of appeal with the Superintendent in writing within five (5) calendar days of the effective date of the long-term suspension. A student and a parent/guardian may request an extension of up to seven (7) calendar days to make the appeal.
  • The superintendent shall hold the hearing within three (3) school days of the student’s request, unless an extension is mutually agreed to.
  • The superintendent shall make a good-faith effort to include the parent in the hearing.
  • The hearing shall be conducted to determine whether the student committed the disciplinary offense and, if so, what the consequence shall be. The hearing shall be audio recorded and a copy of the recording shall be provided to the student or parent upon request. 
  • All the same rights as are afforded in the above long-term suspension principal’s hearing shall apply to the student in a superintendent’s hearing. 
  • The superintendent shall issue a written decision within five (5) calendar days of the hearing.  If the superintendent determines that the student committed the disciplinary offense, the superintendent may impose the same or lesser consequence than the principal. 
  • The decision of the superintendent shall be the final decision of the school district. 

Academic Progress During Suspension
Any student who is serving a short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion shall have the opportunity to make up assignments, test, papers, and other school work as needed to make academic progress during the period of his or her removal from the classroom.

Procedures for Emergency Removal
If the student’s continued presence poses a danger to persons or property, or materially and substantially disrupts the order of the school and, in the principal/designee’s judgment, there is no alternative available to alleviate the danger or disruption, the principal/designee shall temporarily remove the student from the school.  This temporary removal shall not exceed two (2) school days following the day of the emergency removal and the superintendent shall be immediately notified of the removal.  Additionally, during the removal, the principal/designee shall make immediate and reasonable efforts to orally notify the student and student’s parent of the emergency removal, the reason for the emergency removal, and the other information required in a short-term suspension notification.  The short-term suspension notification shall be provided in writing to the student and parent.  The opportunity for a hearing with the principal/designee shall occur within two (2) school days, unless otherwise extended by the principal, student, and parent.  A decision regarding the student’s continued suspension or other removal shall be rendered the same day as the hearing and written notice shall be provided no later than the following school day. This written notice shall include all the information required based on the type of discipline imposed (short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion).

The school shall insure the student's safety and adequate transportation before removing the student from school on an emergency basis for a disciplinary offense.

Additional Procedural Protections for Special Education Students
In general, special education students may be excluded from their programs for up to ten (10) school days per school year just as any other student. However, when the district seeks to exclude a special education student from his/her program for more than ten school days in the school year, the student’s special education Team must first determine whether the student’s behavior was caused by, or was directly and substantially related to his/her disability or whether the conduct in question was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the student’s IEP (a “manifestation determination”). If the Team determines that the behavior was a manifestation of his/her disability or was caused by a failure to implement the IEP, it must conduct a functional behavioral assessment and develop a behavior plan (or review and modify an existing plan, if necessary), and return the student to his/her current program, unless the student’s parents and the district agree to a change in placement.

If the Team determines the behavior was not caused by, or directly and substantially related to the student’s disability or failure to implement the IEP, the school may discipline the student according to the school’s code of student conduct, except that during the period of suspension or expulsion, the district must continue to provide the student with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and, if appropriate, conduct a functional behavior assessment and provide intervention services and modifications to prevent the conduct from recurring. If the conduct involves weapons, drugs, or serious bodily injury, a special education student may be removed to an interim alternative educational placement for up to 45 school days regardless of the behavior’s relationship to his/her disability.

Additional information regarding the procedural protections for students with disabilities can be obtained from the Director of Pupil Services at 508-841-8660.

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