Ethical and responsible student behavior is an essential part of the educational mission of our schools. To that end, the Board has developed this System-Wide Code of Conduct with input from school staff, students, parents and the community. The Code defines our expectations for student behavior and provides the framework for a safe, orderly and respectful learning environment.
Article 1 - Standards for Ethical and Responsible Behavior
We value decisions and actions guided by the principles of:
- Personal integrity
- Respect for self and others
See Policy AD – Educational Philosophy
Article 2 - Code of Conduct
All students are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct and all related Board policies and school rules. The Code applies to students:
- on school property,
- while in attendance at school or at any school-sponsored activity, or
- at any time or place that such conduct directly and substantially interferes with the operations, discipline or general welfare of the school.
Article 3 - General Behavior Expectations
The following expectations for student behavior are fundamental to a safe, orderly and respectful environment in our schools. Each student should:
1. Be courteous to fellow students, staff and visitors.
2. Respect the rights and privileges of other students and school staff.
3. Obey all Board policies and school rules governing student conduct.
4. Engage with the education community.
5. Follow directions from school staff.
6. Cooperate with staff in maintaining school safety, order and discipline.
7. Attend school regularly.
8. Meet school standards for grooming and dress.
9. Respect the property of others, including school property and facilities.
10. Refrain from cheating or plagiarizing the work of others.
11. Refrain from vulgarity, profanity, obscenity, lewdness, and indecency.
Article 4 – Consequences
Violations of the Code of Conduct may result in positive and restorative interventions and/or other consequences. Administrators have the discretion to tailor consequences to the facts and circumstances of the particular case. Consequences for violations will range from a verbal warning for minor misconduct up to and including expulsion for the most serious offenses. Behavior that also violates the law may be referred to law enforcement authorities as described in Article 8.
- JK – Student Discipline
- JKD – Suspension of Students
- JKE – Expulsion of Students
- KLG – Relations with Law Enforcement
Article 5 - Expectations
The following is a summary of the school unit’s expectations for student behavior. In many cases, the Board has adopted policies that address these expectations in greater detail. Students, parents and others should refer to the policies and student handbooks for more information about the expectations and consequences. In case of an inconsistency between Board policies and/or school handbooks, Board policies will prevail.
A. Violence and Threats
Students shall not engage in violent or threatening behavior. Prohibited behavior includes fighting, assault and/or battery, taking hostages, threats to commit violence against persons or property, or threats, intimidation, or harassment. Violations may result in consequences up to and including expulsion.
- JICIA – Weapons, Violence and School Safety
- JICK – Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools
- JICIB – Bomb Threats
Students shall not possess or use weapons of any kind (examples include but are not limited to firearms, explosives and knives). Students also shall not use any object, although not necessarily designed to be a weapon, to inflict bodily harm and/or to threaten, intimidate, coerce or harass another person (examples include but are not limited to bats, lighters, tools and toy weapons). Firearms violations will result in expulsion in accordance with state and federal statutes; other weapons violations may result in consequences up to and including expulsion.
See Policy JICIA – Weapons, Violence and School Safety
Hazing is prohibited. Maine law defines injurious hazing as “any action or situation, including harassing behavior, that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health of any school personnel or a student enrolled in a public school.” No student shall plan, encourage, or engage in such activities in connection with any school program or activity, including extracurricular and co-curricular activities. Students who engage in hazing activities are subject to suspension, expulsion and/or other appropriate consequences.
See Policy ACAD – Hazing
D. Discrimination and Harassment/Sexual Harassment
Students should not discriminate against other students on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability. Nor should students harass one another on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability. Sexual harassment is also prohibited. Harassment is grounds for consequences up to and including expulsion.
- AC – Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
- ACAA – Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students
E. Bullying and Cyberbullying
Bullying includes, but is not limited to, a written, oral or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student or students that:
(1) Has, or a reasonable person would expect it to have, the effect of: (a) Physically harming a student or damaging a student's property; or (b) Placing a student in reasonable fear of physical harm or damage to the student's property; (2) Interferes with the rights of a student by: (a) Creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment for the student; or (b) Interfering with the student's academic performance or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school; or (3) Is based on specified actual or perceived characteristics or association with persons with these actual or perceived characteristics.
Bullying and cyberbullying is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.
F. Use of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco and Other Prohibited Substances
Students shall not consume, possess, furnish, sell, receive, buy, manufacture or be under the influence of prohibited substances as described in Board policy. Violations may result in consequences up to and including expulsion from school.
G. Conduct on School Buses
Students must comply with all Board policies and school rules while on school buses. Students who violate these policies and rules on a school bus may have their riding privileges suspended or revoked, and may also be subject to additional consequences, up to and including expulsion, depending upon the particular violation.
See Policy JICC – Student Conduct on School Buses
H. Computer/Internet Use
Students are expected to practice good digital citizenship. Students may use school computers, networks and Internet services only for educational purposes and other purposes authorized by the school unit. Students shall comply with all policies and rules governing acceptable use. Unacceptable use may result in use restrictions, suspension or cancellation of computer privileges as well as additional consequences and/or legal action.
I. Co-Curricular/Extracurricular Code of Conduct
Students must follow all Board policies and school rules while participating in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. In addition, a separate Code of Conduct governs the behavior of students participating in these activities. Students who violate the Co-Curricular and Extracurricular Activities Eligibility and Code of Conduct may be subject to suspension or removal from the team/activity as well as additional consequences under applicable Board policies and/or school rules.
Article 6 - Removal of Disruptive/Violent/Threatening Students
1. Students who are disruptive, violent, or threatening death or bodily harm to themselves or others may be removed from classrooms, school buses, or other school property when necessary to maintain order and safety. The staff member who orders the student removed should arrange to have the student escorted to the office or other designated location.
2. If a student does not comply with a staff member’s order to leave, the staff member will contact an administrator, or, if not available, another suitable person, who shall respond promptly.
3. The responding administrator will take appropriate action.
4. Any use of physical restraint or seclusion of students must comply with applicable regulations and Board policy.
See 20-A MRS § 4009 – Protection from Liability
See Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
See MDOE Rule Chapter 33 – Physical Restraint and Seclusion of Students
See Policy JKAA/JKAA-R – Physical Restraint and Seclusion of Students
Article 7 - Special Services
1. Referral. The school unit has adopted policies and procedures for determining when a student shall be referred for special services.
2. Review of Individual Educational Plan. The school shall schedule an IEP meeting to review the IEP of a student who has been removed from class when: a) school officials and/or the parent believes the student may present a substantial likelihood of injury to himself/herself or others; b) the class removals are sufficient to constitute a change in the student’s special education program; or c) school officials or the parent believes that the student’s behavior may warrant a change in educational programming.
Article 8 - Assistance of Law Enforcement Authorities
The Superintendent and administrators have the authority to make reports to and/or seek the assistance of law enforcement authorities when there is a substantial threat to the safety, health or welfare of the schools, students or staff.
Article 9 - Dissemination of System-Wide Student Code of Conduct
The System-Wide Student Code of Conduct shall be distributed to staff, students and parents through handbooks and/or other means selected by the Superintendent and building administrators.
Legal Reference: 20-A MRS §§ 254 (11); 1001(15), (15-A)
Cross Reference: Taking Responsibility: Standards for Ethical and Responsible Behavior in Maine Schools and Communities (Report of The Commission for Ethical and Responsible Behavior, February 2001)
ADOPTED: June 10, 2008
Revised: December 11, 2012
November 18, 2014