This section of the handbook is addressed to all the children of BH-BL. It is a joint effort of the teachers, staff and administration and is designed to help you understand and remember some important things about living and working together at BH-BL.
School is a place where children can learn the importance of following rules. By knowing what we should and should not do, all of us will have a safer and happier school life.
Your teacher or your parents will be able to help you if there are any ideas in this booklet that you do not understand. If you have any suggestions for making this guide better, let us know and we will consider those changes the next time the handbook is reviewed.
Education Law Section 3214 – Chapter 16, Title IV, Article 65, Part I
The principal has the power to suspend a pupil who is insubordinate or disorderly or violent or disruptive, or whose conduct otherwise endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. The principal shall have the power to suspend a pupil for a period not to exceed five school days. In the case of such a suspension, the suspending authority shall provide the pupil with notice of the charged misconduct.
If the pupil denies the misconduct, the suspending authority shall provide an explanation of the basis for the suspension. The pupil and the person in parental relation to the pupil shall, on request, be given an opportunity for an informal conference with the principal at which the pupil and/or person in parental relation shall be authorized to present the pupil’s version of the event and to ask questions of the complaining witnesses.
The aforesaid notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place prior to suspension of the pupil unless the pupil’s presence in the school poses a continuing danger to persons or property or an ongoing threat of disruption to the academic process, in which case the pupil’s notice and opportunity for an informal conference shall take place as soon after the suspension as is reasonably practicable.
No pupil may be suspended for a period in excess of five school days unless such pupil and the person in parental relation to such pupil shall have had an opportunity for a fair hearing, upon reasonable notice, at which such pupil shall have the right of representation by counsel, with the right to question witnesses against such pupil and to present witnesses and other evidence on his behalf. Where a pupil has been suspended in accordance with this subdivision by the superintendent of schools, the superintendent shall personally hear and determine the proceeding or may, in his discretion, designate a hearing officer to conduct the hearing. The hearing officer shall be authorized to administer oaths and to issue subpoenas in conjunction with the proceeding before him. A record of the hearing shall be maintained, but no stenographic transcript shall be required and a tape recording shall be deemed a satisfactory record. The hearing officer shall make findings of fact and recommendations as to the appropriate measure of discipline to the superintendent. The report of the hearing officer shall be advisory only, and the superintendent may accept all or any part thereof. An appeal will lie from the decision of the superintendent to the board of education who shall make its decision solely upon the record before it.
Prohibited Student Behavior
Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they engage in conduct that is:
- Disorderly, including using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive, or engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.
- Insubordinate, including failing to comply with the reasonable directions of staff members or otherwise demonstrating disrespect, tardiness, missing and/or leaving school without permission.
- Disruptive, including failing to comply with the reasonable directions of school personnel in charge of students.
- Violent, including committing an act of violence such as hitting, kicking, punching, biting and scratching upon a staff member or student; possessing a weapon; displaying what appears to be a weapon; threatening to use any weapon or what appears to be a weapon; and intentionally damaging or destroying school property or property belonging to another student or staff member.
- Endangering the safety, health, or welfare of others, including (but not limited to) lying to school personnel, stealing the property of others, discrimination as a basis for treating another in a negative manner, harassment which is intended to be perceived as ridiculing or demeaning, making statements that put an individual in fear of bodily harm, cursing or swearing, smoking, wagering, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal substances, using or sharing prescription and over-the-counter drugs inappropriately, indecent exposure, initiating a report warning of fire without valid cause, or discharging a fire extinguisher.
- Misconduct while on school bus, including excessive noise, pushing, shoving, fighting, and actions prohibited in school.
- Any form of academic misconduct, including plagiarism, cheating, copying, altering records, or assisting another student in any of the above actions.
- Any form of bullying.
Corporal punishment as a means of discipline shall not be used against a student by a teacher, administrator, officer, employee or agent of the school district, per Board of Education Policy P5300.55.
However, if alternative procedures and methods which would not involve physical force are not effective, then the use of reasonable physical force is not prohibited for the following reasons: self protection; protection of others; protection of property; or, restraining/ removing a disruptive student.
Whenever a school employee uses physical force against a student, the school employee shall, within the same school day, make a report to the Superintendent describing in detail the circumstances and the nature of the action taken.
No form of bullying or harassment will be tolerated in the BH-BL Schools. Here is what we mean by “bullying” at BH-BL.
Definition: Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate activity intended to harm in which the bully uses power through actions or intimidation to cause pain and/or misery. It can be verbal, physical, electronic and/or relational. It can include as its focus, but is not limited to, a person’s actual or perceived:
- Physical attributes
- Mental ability/disability
- Religious practice
- Sexual orientation
- Socio-economic status
- Other differences (perceived or real)
Bullying includes all forms of hazing and cyberbullying that may have an effect on our school environment. It can be and often is continuous and repeated over time, but does not have to be. Once is enough to constitute bullying.
BH-BL has invested much time and energy into improving anti-bullying procedures and staff training, and ensuring that our schools were ready to meet the additional requirements of the NY Dignity for All Students Act, which took effect on July 1, 2012.
BH-BL is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality for all students, staff and parents. Our policies condemn and prohibit all forms of discrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying on school grounds, on school buses, at school bus pick-up sites, and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events.
The district needs not only staff but also parents and other students to speak up when they see bullying taking place. As our children grow, mature, and learn to understand the impact of their words and actions on others, they need to receive a consistent message that certain words and certain behaviors are not acceptable.
Our schools cannot effectively address bullying if incidents are not reported. Anyone (including students) who feels that he or she has been bullied or harassed, who wants to report an incident of someone else being bullied, or who has questions on this topic should contact the school Anti-Bullying Coordinator in your child’s school, which is the principal. [MORE INFORMATION]
- I will not bully others.
- I will help students who are bullied.
- I will include students who are left out.
- I will tell an adult at school and at home if someone is being bullied.
Classroom & School Rules and Consequences
The classroom is the prime learning center of the school. It is a pupil’s responsibility to put forth his or her best effort every day and all day. Students should know the expected behaviors and rules for their classroom set forth by their teacher. These rules assist students in making classrooms a good place to learn and a happy place to be.
Each teacher will address age-appropriate rules with his or her class. If you wish to discuss classroom rules, please inform your classroom teacher.
The consequences for inappropriate conduct were developed to help make our elementary schools safe, clean, and happy places to learn, work and play together. The rules apply everywhere in our school including the playground, cafeteria, bus and after school functions.
If a child chooses not to follow these rules, some consequences are:
- Students may lose their free time.
- Students may lose their playground time.
- Students may lose a privilege at a special event.
- Parents may be notified of the problem.
- Students may have to stay for after school detention.
- Students may have a meeting with the principal or administrative assistant.
- Parents may have a meeting with the principal.
- Students may have an in-school suspension.
- Students may have a short or long-term suspension from school.
- I will be respectful of myself and others.
- I will be responsible for my behavior.
- I will actively participate in learning.
- I will follow adult directions and use good manners.
Academic = having to do with school and learning
Integrity = being honest and ethical (doing the right thing)
Academic integrity means for you to be honest and ethical in all of your school work—the work you do in class, your homework, quizzes and tests — and in the way you use information for your school work. Here in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools, we value academic integrity and expect our students to develop and practice good information ethics.
How can you practice academic integrity?
- Your work is your work. Academic integrity means that your work is your own work, your own answers. You do not copy someone else’s work (or let them copy yours). Copying someone else’s work is stealing, and stealing anything is wrong.
- Your words are your words. When you use information from a book or a website, you do not copy it word for word. Copying text from a book or website is called plagiarizing, which means stealing someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own. Instead of copying text, you take notes and then put the information into your own words.
- If you use it, give it credit. During your research, when you use information or images from books and websites, you give credit to your source. You make a list of those books and websites as part of your research report. This list is called a Bibliography (or Works Cited).
What happens if you don’t practice good information ethics?
- Re-Teach: Your teacher or librarian re-teaches the lesson in note taking or bibliography to you.
- Re-Do: You re-do the assignment.
- Re-Grade: Your work is re-graded by your teacher or librarian.
Additionally, the principal and your parents will be contacted to let them know what happened. If this happens to you more than once, you may face more serious consequences.
Student Dress Code
Students and their parents have the primary responsibility for acceptable student dress and appearance. A student’s dress, grooming, & appearance shall:
Be safe, appropriate, and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process. (Belly buttons should be covered, and skirts should be at an appropriate length. Hats and/or bandanas should not be worn unless on special days or with special permission by classroom teachers.)
- Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.
- Include footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard—such as flip-flops, crocs without a back, and retractable roller blade sneakers — will not be allowed.
- Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, libelous, or denigrate others on account of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
- Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal or violent activities.
We request parents’ assistance regarding appropriate student attire so that no one is put in an awkward situation. Our school can get extremely warm in the early fall and spring. However, there can be a balance between comfort and appropriateness. It has been our experience that parents are very good judges of their child’s attire. If you have ANY suspicions that what your child is wearing may not be suitable for school, you can rest assured we would most probably agree and would strongly encourage you to persuade your child to choose something else.
Please discuss this situation, review what he or she is wearing to school daily, and make a logical decision accordingly. (Another helpful tip: sometimes students leave home looking perfectly fine, but when the weather warms up in the afternoon and the sweatshirt, sweater or over-shirt is removed, the undergarment is questionable.)
Our goal is for students to be able to concentrate on what they are really here for: receiving the best education possible.
Each day, weather permitting, there is an outdoor recess. Please make sure that your youngster wears appropriate clothing, including foot gear, hat, gloves, warm jacket and snow pants. Please label all outerwear with your child’s name so that lost items may be returned to the student. Even in early autumn and late spring, the mornings can be chilly or even cold—please be sure your child has a jacket.
Students are encouraged to keep a change of clothes and socks in school for slushy, messy days. The Health Office keeps a small supply of clothing for children who have accidents or spills. If your child needs to borrow clothing from the Health Office, please wash and return these items as soon as possible so that they are available for others to use.
Our Lost and Found bin is located in the cafeteria. Please encourage your child to check it when an item has been lost.
Backpacks are a useful way for children to transport materials to and from school each day. It is important that your child can carry the backpack on his or her back or arms safely and comfortably. Bus aisles and school hallways can be crowded at times, particularly during dismissal. For this reason, backpacks with wheels are discouraged.
Students & Weapons in School
In accordance with district policy #5535, BH-BL does not allow students to have in their possession on school property or on buses weapons, facsimiles of weapons, or models of toy weapons. Prior approval of the building principal is required for any project or learning activity involving weapons or potentially dangerous items.
Students Searches & Interrogations
School lockers, desks, and other such equipment are not the private property of students but the property of the school district, and as such may be opened and subject to inspection from time to time by school officials.
Under special circumstances, school officials may search students and/or backpacks, particularly if there is reasonable suspicion that a student possesses illegal matter, for example, a dangerous weapon or illegal drugs. Students should be aware that such items are forbidden both on school property and at school-related activities.
Bicycles, Electronics & Toys on School Property
Students may ride their bicycles to school; however, they must walk their bicycles on school sidewalks. As soon as students arrive at school, they should park and lock their bicycles in the appropriate area. The school is not responsible for stolen or damaged bicycles.
Skateboards, roller skates, sneaker skates and roller blades are NOT allowed on school property. If a student brings these items to school, they will be confiscated and held until a parent comes to school and picks them up.
Cell phones, beepers, flashlights, laser lights, electronic games, portable music devices, other electronic equipment and trading cards all detract from a suitable academic atmosphere and are prohibited. Such items will be confiscated and turned in to the main office. Items will be returned to the student or a parent as determined by an administrator.
Toys and hobby materials coming to school also present a number of problems, including loss, breakage, theft, and most important, disruption of the educational process. We would prefer that parents discourage children from bringing toy and hobby items to school. The school district is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items. Your child’s teacher may permit certain types of toys, games, or equipment to be brought to school in certain circumstances. Please follow your teacher’s instructions.
Student Conduct in the Hallways
- For the safety of all, students in hallways are expected to:
- Remain silent and walk in a straight line.
- Keep your eyes forward and your hands to yourself.
- Maintain your personal space.
Student Conduct in the Cafeteria
To make lunch time more enjoyable for everyone at school, the cafeteria/lunchroom staff asks that all students:
- Respect the staff.
- Walk in the cafeteria.
- Talk in quiet, conversational voice.
- Eat food in an acceptable manner.
- Keep hands and feet to yourself.
- Clean up area after eating.
- Keep uneaten food on trays and empty trays carefully.
- Remain seated until dismissed by the staff.
- For safety purposes, no glass containers are permitted in the cafeteria.
Students who misbehave during lunch time will be reminded of the rules after their first offense. Students who continue to misbehave will have their parents contacted and may be disciplined under the district’s Code of Conduct.
Student Conduct at School Assemblies
A good citizen attends all school assemblies and:
- Sits where an adult in charge instructs, and remains seated during assemblies. If a need arises, the student leaves only with permission from the supervising adult.
- Watches and listens politely to performances and speakers.
- Claps after performances and at other appropriate times to show appreciation. Whistling, cheering, screaming, feet stomping, booing or other noise making is not an appropriate way to show appreciation.
- Leaves at the end of the assembly in an orderly fashion, following the directions of the adult in charge.
Recess & Playground Rules
Students may be given the privilege to go outside for recess throughout the school year. It is important that students are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.
For the safety and enjoyment of all pupils at recess, students are expected to:
- Stay on designated playground or area with their teacher/monitor.
- Respect others, take turns, share and allow others to play.
- Maintain a safe distance from playground equipment while it is being used by others.
- Refrain from throwing snowballs, playing King of the Mountain, or throwing objects (sticks, stones, dirt, rocks, etc.).
- Stay away from icy areas.
- Refrain from using foul language, offensive names, or put-downs.
- Refrain from roughhousing and keep hands to themselves.
Failure to follow playground rules can result in a loss of playground privileges and disciplinary measures consistent with the school’s code of conduct.
Student Conduct on the Bus
Students are expected to:
- Always listen to the school bus driver, who is in charge of getting students to school and home safely.
- Show respect. No “horseplay,” talking back, or any form of defiance is allowed on the bus or at the bus stop, including abusive language, fighting, yelling, whistling, or throwing snowballs.
- Keep heads, hands, feet and property inside the bus windows. Students will sit properly and use the seat belt. They will also open or close windows only with the driver’s permission.
- Keep hands, feet and belongings out of the aisle while on the bus.
- Keep the inside of the bus clean. Damaging the bus in any way will not be allowed.
- Not eat or drink on buses.
- Never tamper with the emergency windows or door.
- Remain seated without pushing, changing seats, or throwing things in the bus or at the bus stop.
- Wait to cross the road until the driver signals that it is okay. Cross far enough in front of the bus so that he or she can make eye contact with the driver.
- Wait for the bus without standing too close to the road. Stand 10 feet back from the edge of the road. Wait until the bus stops completely before getting on or off.
Discipline problems will be referred in writing by the bus driver to the Building Principal. The penalty for continued misbehavior may range from suspension from riding the bus to suspension from school. All school rules apply while students are riding the buses. All students riding school buses are expected to maintain good conduct while traveling.
Students should not bring anything on the bus that is bigger than they can hold. Parents should arrange to transport very large musical instruments, school projects, and so forth. This is important for the safety of all children on the bus. It is also extremely important that students do not eat on the bus due to the growing number of children with severe allergies.
New York State law prohibits passing any school bus with flashing lights. Please be mindful of this requirement at all times, especially when you are in the school driveway.