Code of Conduct

O’Rourke Middle School Code of Conduct

The following Code of Conduct is designed to create and maintain a school climate in which all can work and learn effectively. The Code of Conduct summarizes items of law, Board of Education policies, and administrative regulations. It is intended to ensure that each student has the opportunity to achieve as much as possible, that the educational program is free of interruptions, and that the rights and personal property of all individuals in the building will be respected.

Discipline is the positive direction of behavior toward established standards of conduct, fully understood and based on reason, judgment, and the rights of others. Ideal discipline is self-directed and self-controlled. The school, community, and parents share the responsibility for helping students develop self-discipline. Discipline is necessary to ensure an orderly environment in which each person may live and learn to his/her full capabilities in harmony with society.

Those acts of an individual which are illegal in society are subject to the same penalties and procedures when they occur in school. School authorities will request police assistance and will cooperate in the investigation of incidents occurring on school premises. The school authorities’ effectiveness in detecting and penalizing any responsible person(s) depends heavily on the willingness of responsible student citizens to provide information and to assist authorities when needed.

The effectiveness of any set of rules is limited in any society by the degree of acceptance by the members of the society and their cooperation in observing and enforcing them.

Student Rights | Committee of Student Freedoms & Responsibilities | Attendance | Dress & Appearance | Bus Transportation | Locks & Lockers | Cafeteria | Backpacks & Bags | Cell Phones | Electronic Devices | Prohibited Student Conduct | Drugs & Alcohol | Weapons in School | Bullying & Harassment

Student Rights

All children have the right to:

  • An appropriate education that fits their individual needs with equal opportunities regardless of gender, ethnic, race, sexual orientation, disability and religious background.
  • Be educated in an atmosphere that targets their intellectual, emotional, physical, social and moral development. This applies to all aspects of the middle school environment, including the school bus, school grounds, hallways, classrooms, cafeteria and all school-sponsored events.
  • Access school rules and, when necessary, receive an explanation of those rules from school personnel.
  • Confidentiality of records and student information according to school policy and the Federal and Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  • Express their point of view in a responsible manner and in compliance with guidelines established by the Burnt Hills–Ballston Lake School District

Committee on Student Freedoms and Responsibilities.

  • The Board of Education is the only group that may take a stand representing the school institution.
  • The right to use the school avenues of communication including newspapers, announcements and bulletin boards that are limited to student or staff personnel. (The restrictions in section 3 below also apply to bulletin boards.)
  • Students have the right to publish materials provided they are:

a. free of obscene language and reference
b. accurate in fact
c. free of personal attack
d. not advocating illegal action or violation of school regulations
e. free of derogatory references to people of any race or religion
f. not designed for the purpose of commercial adventure or financial profit of any individual or non-school organization.


  • Students should not be in the school or on the school grounds prior to 7:15 a.m.
  • If a student is absent, the parent/guardian should call the attendance office at 518.399.9141, ext. 84002 prior to 8:30 a.m. to report student illness or other reason for absence. Please leave the student’s name, grade, homeroom, and a brief message.
  • A written excuse is required explaining the student’s absence upon return. It should be given to the attendance secretary. The excuse should include student name, date(s) absent, reason for absence, and parent/guardian’s signature.
  • If a student has accumulated 10 absences or tardies, a letter will be sent home. At 15 absences or tardies, another letter will be sent home, and a parent conference may be requested. Should a student accumulate 20 absences or tardies, a letter will be sent home and legal action in the form of a PINS (Person in Need of Supervision) or referral for educational neglect MAY be instituted.
  • If a student has a chronic illness, and is therefore unable to attend school for an extended period of time, a PHYSICIAN’S NOTE and call from the parent/guardian is required. Consultation with school personnel on meeting the needs of medically fragile students is advised.

Excused Absences

  • Personal illness or injury
  • Trips for educational purposes
  • Emergency illness or death in the family
  • Quarantine due to contagious disease
  • Requirement to be in court
  • Obligatory religious observance
  • Medical or dental appointment

Unexcused Absences

  • Vacation
  • Shopping
  • Skipping Classes
  • Missing the bus/sleeping late (over sleeping)
  • Babysitting while parent work, shops, etc
  • Working

Students who are late to school with unexcused or excused absences will be responsible to make up the work they missed.

Students are considered tardy if they are not in their homeroom by 7:45 a.m. Students arriving after 7:45 for any reason should report to the attendance office to sign in and to get a pass for homeroom. The homeroom teacher requires a yellow admittance pass issued by the attendance secretary to tardy students. Students with chronic tardiness will be referred to administration. Students who are tardy for legal reasons (see list of excused absences above) should turn in a written excuse to the attendance secretary.

Dress and Appearance

Dress and appearance must be within the limits of decency, cleanliness, safety, and appropriateness for school. Clothing should not create a hazard in performance of school activities nor be disruptive of school order. Students may be asked to wear appropriate gear in certain classes (i.e. science, family and consumer sciences, technology, and physical education). If the attire is deemed inappropriate, the students will be asked to modify their clothing or call home for a change of clothes. Students who are chronic offenders will be subject to disciplinary action.

  • Clothing and attire which has an expression (phrase or word) or insignia (picture, symbol, patch or pin) which is obscene or libelous (that is, which contains objectionable language, suggestive comments, including insults, whether directed to themselves or others), which advocates racial or religious prejudice, violence or which depicts drugs, including alcohol, drug paraphernalia, or drug use, is forbidden.
  • Undergarments need to be completely covered with outer clothing. No undergarments should be visible.
  • Pajama clothing, including flannel bottoms, and slippers are prohibited.
  • Very short shorts, skirts, and shirts, tube tops, net tops, halter tops, plunging/low necklines (front and/or back), and see-through garments are not appropriate. No stomachs or backs should be visible with normal movement. Shorts and skirts should be at least knuckle length when arms are down by your side.
  • Dangerous or distracting accessories or jewelry are prohibited (i.e. spiked jewelry, choke/dangling chains, wallet chains, etc.)
  • Hats, hair bandanas, visors, and sunglasses are not to be worn by boys or girls anywhere in the building. Head coverings or sunglasses may be worn for medical or religious purposes only.
  • Jackets and coats should remain off and in lockers unless students are involved in outdoor activities.

Bus Transportation

  • Bus transportation is a privilege extended to students and may be suspended at any time for disruptive behavior. Students are under the authority of the bus driver and must obey his/her direction.
  • Students should be at their stop 5-10 minutes before the bus arrives and board the bus in an orderly manner. Pushing and crowding while loading or unloading will not be permitted.
  • All students must be seated, and are required to properly secure their seat belt.
  • Students are to remain seated while the bus is in motion. Changing of seats is not permitted unless by driver direction.
  • Students are to be courteous to fellow passengers, responsible behavior is expected at all times.
  • The use of profane or abusive language will not be tolerated.
  • Drivers are not permitted to stop at places other than regular assigned bus stops, exceptions can only be made with a school administrator’s authorization.
  • Students are to board/exit via the front door only – side and rear doors are for emergency use only.
  • No eating or drinking is permitted.
  • Large items need to be placed on students’ laps or under their seat.
  • In case of an emergency, students are to remain in the bus until instructed by the driver or emergency personnel.
  • Students wishing to ride on buses other than their assigned bus must present written permission from their parent to the Main Office on a special bus pass form. Forms are available at the Main Office.
  • Any student who becomes a discipline problem will be reported to an administrator. If a major problem arises with a student, the driver may return him/her to school and the parents will be called to come for the student. An administrator may remove students from the bus for a period of time for discipline problems.

Locks & Lockers

All 7th and 8th grade students and most 6th grade students will be assigned a homeroom locker. All students will be provided a school lock for their homeroom locker. In addition, all students will receive a physical education locker. If a lock is not provided, students are responsible for purchasing locks either through the Middle School Office or a store of their choice. The lockers belong to the school. Administration has the right to search lockers. Students should not share their locker or combination with other students. Students should keep the lock on their lockers locked at all times. The school is not responsible for items taken from student lockers. Students are encouraged to use their locker during the day as their schedule permits. Instrumental students will also be issued a locker that should be kept locked.


All students have the right to a peaceful, enjoyable lunch. Discussion during lunch should be kept to a quiet conversational level. Food is to be eaten, not thrown or played with. Once seated, students should remain seated until dismissed. Students need to raise their hand and be recognized before leaving their seat. Each table of students will be responsible for keeping their assigned table and nearby area clean and neat. This will help develop pride in the condition of our cafeteria, and allow later students to eat at a clean table. Dismissal will be done by table sections at the direction of a staff member.

Weather permitting, students may be able to go outside. At no time will inappropriate physical contact be tolerated. Poor behavior may result in student(s) being restricted to stay inside. Table areas should be cleaned before going outside. If a student goes outside, she or he is to remain there until the end of the lunch block. Students should use the restrooms, if needed, before going outside. All students are restricted to the designated areas as assigned by the school personnel in charge. Specific cafeteria guidelines will be reviewed throughout the first week of school. Permission needs to be obtained from a lunch supervisor before leaving the cafeteria. All students must sign out if they have permission to leave.

Backpacks & Bags

Backpacks are to carry your books to and from school only and are not to be used during school hours except for medical purposes as prescribed by a physician.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are to be stored in a student’s locker and should remain turned off while in the building. If a student is discovered with a cell phone, if their cell phone goes off on their person or in their locker, the cell phone will be confiscated and turned in to the Main Office and the following procedures will be followed:

  • 1st Offense – Returned to student at end of instructional day
  • 2nd Offense – Returned to parent only
  • 3rd Offense – Returned to parent only and detention assigned
  • Further Offenses – Returned to parent only and In School Suspension is assigned

Any inappropriate use of a cell phone during the school day will result in further disciplinary action (i.e. texting, picture taking, calling, etc.)

Possession of Electronic Devices

Include but not limited to: cell phones, iPods, mp3 players, electronic games

These items are not required for education and the school is not responsible for their loss. Cell phones and other all other electronic devices should not be used during school hours or during school activities. All school rules apply regarding the use of electronic devices while attending school sponsored activities. Possession and/or use of the above will result in the item(s) being confiscated and turned in to the Main Office. Items will be returned to the student or parent/guardian as determined by an administrator.

Any unauthorized use of electronic devices to gain an academic advantage will be considered a violation of the District Code of Ethics and will be treated accordingly.

Prohibited Student Conduct P5310.4

The Board of Education expects all students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, district personnel and other members of the school community, and for the care of school facilities and equipment. The best discipline is self-imposed, and students must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, as well as the consequences of their misbehavior. District personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline. The Board recognizes the need to make its expectations for student conduct while on school property or engaged in a school function specific and clear. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others. Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior and who violate these school rules will be required to accept the penalties for their conduct. Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they:

Engage in conduct that is disorderly. Examples of disorderly conduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Running in hallways.
  • Making unreasonable noise.
  • Using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive.
  • Obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • Engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.
  • Trespassing. Students are not permitted in any school building, other than the one they regularly attend, without permission from the administrator in charge of the building.
  • Computer/electronic communications misuse, including any unauthorized use of computers, software, or internet/intranet account; accessing inappropriate websites; or any other violation of the district’s acceptable use policy.

Engage in conduct that is insubordinate. Examples of insubordinate conduct include:

  • Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school employees in charge of students or otherwise demonstrating disrespect.
  • Lateness for, missing or leaving school without permission.
  • Skipping detention.

Engage in conduct that is disruptive. Examples of disruptive conduct include:

  • Failing to comply with the reasonable directions of teachers, school administrators or other school personnel in charge of students.
  • Engage in conduct that is violent. Examples of violent conduct include:
  • Committing or threatening an act of violence (such as hitting, kicking, punching, and scratching) upon a teacher, administrator or other school employee or attempting to do so.
  • Committing or threatening an act of violence (such as hitting, kicking, punching, and scratching) upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property or attempting to do so.
  • Possessing a weapon. Authorized law enforcement officials are the only persons permitted to have a weapon in their possession while on school property or at a school function.
  • Displaying what appears to be a weapon.
  • Threatening to use any weapon.
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying the personal property of a student, teacher, administrator, other district employee or any person lawfully on school property, including graffiti or arson.
  • Intentionally damaging or destroying school district property.

Engage in any conduct that endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others. Examples of such conduct include:

  • Lying to school personnel.
  • Stealing the property of other students, school personnel or any other person lawfully on school property or attending a school function.
  • Defamation, which includes making false or unprivileged statements or representations about an individual or identifiable group of individuals that harm the reputation of the person or the identifiable group by demeaning them.
  • Discrimination, which includes the use of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner.
  • Harassment, including computer/electronic harassment, which includes a sufficiently severe action or persistent pervasive pattern of actions or statements directed at an identifiable individual or group which are intended to be, or which a reasonable person would perceive as ridiculing or demeaning.
    Intimidation, which includes engaging in actions or statements that put an individual in fear of bodily harm.
  • Hazing, which includes any intentional or reckless act directed against another for the purpose of initiation into, affiliating with or maintaining membership in any school sponsored activity, organization, club or team.
  • Selling, using or possessing obscene material.
  • Using vulgar or abusive language, cursing or swearing.
  • Smoking a cigarette, cigar, pipe or using chewing or smokeless tobacco.
  • Possessing, consuming, selling, distributing or exchanging alcoholic beverages or illegal substances, or being under the influence of either. “Illegal substances” include, but are not limited to, inhalants, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look-alike drugs, and any substances commonly referred to as “designer drugs.”
  • Inappropriately using or sharing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Gambling.
  • Violation of building dress code including indecent exposure, that is, exposure to sight of the private parts of the body in a lewd or indecent manner.
  • Initiating a report warning of fire or other catastrophe without valid cause, misuse of 911, or discharging a fire extinguisher.

Engage in misconduct while on a school bus. It is crucial for students to behave appropriately while riding on district buses, to ensure their safety and that of other passengers and to avoid distracting the bus driver. Students are required to conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with established standards for classroom behavior. Excessive noise, pushing, shoving and fighting will not be tolerated.

Engage in any form of academic misconduct. Examples of academic misconduct include:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating
  • Copying
  • Altering records
  • Assisting another student in any of the above actions
  • Unauthorized collaboration

Drugs & Alcohol

All school properties are designated as “Drug-Free School Zones.” Legal penalties for violators will be doubled in these zones.

No alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia are to be in the possession of students on school property or at any school-related function at any time.

The term “alcohol and/or other substance” refers to the use of all substances including, but not limited to, alcohol, inhalants, marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, LSD, PCP, amphetamines, heroin, steroids, look alike, and any of those substances commonly referred to as “designer drugs.” The inappropriate use, distribution, and/or possession of prescription, over-the counter drugs, (ex. cold medicines, caffeine pills, herbal supplements, etc.) are also forbidden.

Violation of these regulations will result in an automatic suspension from school for five days. The decision about re-admission rests with the Superintendent of Schools. Upon re-admission, the student will be scheduled for three sessions with the school social worker or psychologist.

This penalty will apply to students who are caught buying, selling, or are determined to be “under the influence” on school property and/or at a school sponsored event and to students who are part of a group where it has been determined that either drugs or alcohol were being used. School property also includes bus transportation.

Depending upon the severity of the incident, police will be notified.
Students should be aware that school officials have the right by law to search lockers or personal possessions when there is reasonable suspicion or violation.

Weapons in School

No student shall have in his or her possession on any school premises any rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, other firearm, knives, explosives, dangerous chemicals, or any object that is not necessary for school activities and could be used as a weapon. Facsimiles of weapons, destructive devices or dangerous instruments are also prohibited on school premises. The building principal will suspend a student who brings a weapon to school and will report the situation to the proper police authorities and the Superintendent of Schools.

In accordance with the federal Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, a student found guilty of bringing a firearm onto school property, or possessing a firearm on school property, after a hearing has been provided pursuant to Section 3214 of the Education Law, will be subjected to at least a one-year suspension from school. However, after this penalty has been determined, the Superintendent of Schools will review the penalty and may modify such suspension on a case-by-case basis.

Bullying & Harassment

Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate activity intended to harm in which the bully uses power to cause pain/and or misery. It can be verbal, physical, electronic and/or relational; may include as its focus but is not limited to:

  • Physical attributes
  • Mental ability/disability
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight
  • Religious practice
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation (or perceived sexual orientation)
  • Social-economic status
  • Other differences (perceived or real)

It includes all forms of hazing and cyber bullying 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

Any student who believes that he or she has been subjected to bullying or harassment, whether by a teacher, other student, or any individual on school grounds or at school activities, should report the alleged misconduct immediately to an administrator or another faculty/staff member. Any form of bullying by, between, or among students will result in disciplinary action. [MORE INFORMATION & DASA REPORTING FORM]

Disciplinary Action
This may include, but is not limited, to the following:

  • Verbal warnings
  • Communication with parent(s)
  • Loss of privileges
  • Internal suspension
  • External suspension
  • Notification and involvement of outside law enforcement agencies
  • Any other consequence or disciplinary action as outlined by the Student Code of Conduct