Administrative Procedure 351: Code of Conduct

Legal References

Education Act: Section 265 Duties of Principal; Education Act: Part XIII Behaviour, Discipline and Safety; Guideline - Ontario Schools Code of Conduct; Ministry of Education Policy and Program Memorandum (PPM) 119 Developing and Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario Schools; PPM128 The Provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of Conduct; PPM144 Bullying Prevention and Intervention; PPM145 Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behavior; Cannabis Control Act, 2017; Cannabis Act, 2018

Related References

Board Policy 13 Appeals and Hearings Regarding Student Matters; Administrative Procedure (AP) 138 Positive Workplace Environment; AP 142 Religious Accommodation; AP 160 Access to School Premises; AP 175 Accidents, Incidents and Occupational Illnesses; AP 179 Lockdown and Hold/Secure; AP 266 Field Trips and Excursions; AP 350 Bullying Prevention and InterventionAP 352 Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour; AP 353 Student Suspension; AP 354 Student Expulsion; AP 355 Student Dress Code; AP 356 Substance Abuse by Students; AP 357 Violence Threat and Risk Assessment; AP 359 Police/School Board ProtocolAP 364 Search and Seizure Guidelines; AP 405 Allegations Against Employees and Volunteers; AP 467 Delegation of Authority; AP 495 Volunteer Programs in the Schools 

1. Introduction
A school should be a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility, and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, included, and accepted, and actively promote positive behaviours and interactions. Building and sustaining a positive school climate is a complex challenge requiring evidence-informed solutions. A whole-school approach, which involves all members of the school community, is important in supporting efforts to ensure that schools are safe, inclusive, and accepting. It is an effective approach to making systemic changes that will benefit all students and the broader community.

All students, parents, teachers and other school staff have the right to be safe, and to feel safe, in their school community. With this right comes the responsibility to contribute to a positive school climate. To foster a positive school climate that supports student achievement and well-being, AMDSB focuses on prevention and early intervention strategies to address inappropriate behaviour.

The provincial Code of Conduct sets clear provincial standards of behaviour. These standards of behaviour apply to students whether they are on school property, in a virtual learning environment, on school buses, at school-related events or activities, in before- and after-school programs, or in other circumstances that could have an impact on the school climate. They also apply to all individuals involved in the publicly funded school system – principals, teachers, early childhood educators, other school staff, parents, school bus drivers, volunteers, and members of various community groups.

Responsible citizenship involves appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community. Active and engaged citizens are aware of their rights, but more importantly, they accept responsibility for protecting their rights and the rights of others.

2. The provincial code of conduct Subsection 301(1) of Part XIII of the Education Act states that “the Minister may establish a code of conduct governing the behaviour of all persons in schools”. Subsection 301(2) sets out the purposes of this provincial code of conduct, as follows:

1. to ensure that all members of the school community, especially people in positions of authority, are treated with respect and dignity
2. to promote responsible citizenship by encouraging appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community
3. to maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility
4. to encourage the use of non-violent means to resolve conflict
5. to promote the safety of people in the schools
6. to discourage the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, except by a medical cannabis user
7. to prevent bullying in schools

3. Standards of behavior respect, civility, and responsible citizenship
All members of the school community must:
  • respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws
  • respect differences in people, their ideas, and their opinions
  • treat one another with dignity and respect at all times, and especially when there is disagreement
  • respect and treat others equitably, regardless of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, or disability
  • respect the rights of others
  • demonstrate honesty and integrity
  • show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others
  • take appropriate measures to help those in need
  • seek assistance from a member of the school staff, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully
  • respect all members of the school community, especially persons in positions of authority
  • respect the need of others to work in an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching, including by ensuring that personal mobile devices are only used during instructional time for the educational and other permitted purposes outlined in this Administrative Procedure
  • not swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority

4. Safety
All members of the school community must not:
  • engage in racist and/or hate propaganda and other forms of behaviour motivated by hate or bias
  • engage in bullying behaviours, including cyberbullying;
  • commit sexual assault
  • traffic in weapons or illegal drugs
  • commit robbery
  • be in possession of any weapon, including firearms
  • use any object to threaten or intimidate another person
  • cause injury to any person with an object
  • be in possession of, or be under the influence of alcohol, cannabis (unless the individual has been authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes), or illegal drugs
  • provide others with alcohol, illegal drugs, or cannabis
  • inflict or encourage others to inflict bodily harm on another person
  • commit an act of vandalism that causes damage to school property or to property located on the premises of the school.

5. Roles and Responsibilities

5.1 School Boards
The board, Director of Education, and system and school administrators provide direction to the schools that promotes equity, opportunity, excellence, and accountability in the education system by:
      • developing policies that set out how their schools will implement and enforce the provincial Code of Conduct and all other rules that they develop that are related to the provincial standards that promote and support respect, civility, responsible citizenship, and safety
      • establishing a process that clearly communicates the provincial Code of Conduct and school board codes of conduct to all parents, students, principals, teachers, other school staff, and members of the school community in order to obtain their commitment and support
      • reviewing these policies regularly with those listed above and revise them as necessary
      • seeking input from school councils, as well as from the board's Parent Involvement Committee, Special Education Advisory Committee, and Indigenous Education Advisory Council
      • developing effective intervention strategies, responding to all infractions, and reporting to the Ministry as directed related to the standards for respect, civility, responsible citizenship, and safety
      • providing opportunities for all of the staff to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to promote student achievement and well-being in a safe, inclusive, and accepting learning environment.

5.2 Principals
Under the direction of their school boards, principals take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school. They provide this leadership by:
      • demonstrating care for the school community and a commitment to student achievement and well-being in a safe, inclusive, and accepting learning environment
      • holding everyone under their authority accountable for their own behaviour and actions
      • empowering students to be positive leaders in their school and community
      • communicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community

5.3 Principals, Teachers and other school staff
Under the leadership of their principals, teachers and other school staff maintain a positive learning environment and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour. As role models, teachers and other school staff uphold these high standards when they:
      • help students work to their full potential and develop their sense of self-worth
      • empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community
      • communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents
      • maintain consistent and equitable standards of behaviour for all students
      • demonstrate respect for one another, all students, parents, volunteers, and other members of the school community
      • prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship

6. Students
Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others, and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when students:
  • come to school, so we can meet them where they are at
  • show respect for themselves, and for others, and for those in positions of authority
  • refrain from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others
  • follow the established rules and take responsibility for their own actions
  • use personal mobile devices during instructional time only as permitted under the following circumstances:
    • for educational purposes, as directed by an educator
    • for health and medical purposes
    • to support special education needs
    • not permitted to use mobile devices to record video or audio of others and/or posting to social media without their express permission

7. Parents
Parents play an important role in the education of their children and can support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe, inclusive, accepting, and respectful learning environment for all students. Parents fulfill their role when they:
  • are engaged in their child's schoolwork and progress
  • communicate regularly with the school
  • ensure that their child attends school regularly and on time
  • promptly report to the school their child's absence or late arrival
  • become familiar with the provincial Code of Conduct and the board's Code of Conduct
  • encourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour
  • assist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child
  • remind children to use personal mobile devices during instructional time only as permitted by the educator

8. Community partners
Through outreach, existing partnerships may be enhanced and new partnerships with community-based service providers and members of the community (e.g., Elders, Senators, Knowledge Keepers) may also be created. Community-based service providers are resources that boards can use to deliver prevention or intervention programs. Protocols are effective ways of establishing linkages between boards and community-based service providers and of formalizing the relationship between them. These partnerships must respect all applicable collective agreements.

9. Police
The police play an essential role in making our schools and communities safer. The police investigate incidents in accordance with the protocol developed with the local school board. These protocols are based on the Provincial Model for a Local Police/School Board Protocol, 2015, developed by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Education.
Please refer to pdf attached for Appendix A - Code of Conduct and Appendix B - Cultivating Character

Revised June 2022