Safe and Secure Schools

The Waterloo Region District School Board takes all necessary actions to ensure personal safety and security in our schools. We rely on parents/guardians, staff members and the community working together to help students develop the self-esteem, mutual respect and self-discipline they need to grow to their fullest potential as responsible citizens in our society. Our safe and secure school policies support the position that all students require a safe learning environment. These policies are in compliance with the Education Act, the Ministry of Education’s safe schools initiatives and other appropriate legislation.

Safe Schools Act
The Safe Schools Act details many requirements related to safe school issues and consequences for students who do not meet behaviour expectations. Key areas of the Act include: progressive discipline; consideration of mitigating factors; access to school premises; criminal background checks for all staff; a mandatory police protocol; code of conduct; student suspensions; student expulsions and dress code for students.

Code of Conduct
The Ministry of Education requires that all school boards develop a Code of Conduct that communicates the expected standards of behaviour to all members of the school community, including students, parents, guardians, volunteers, staff and visitors. The Waterloo Region DSB recognizes that all members of the school community have the right to be safe and to feel safe in their school. With this right comes the responsibility to contribute to a positive school climate. The Board’s Code of Conduct has been developed in accordance with the guiding principles of the Education Act, Part XIII (Behaviour, Discipline and Safety), in order to create a common philosophy and understanding upon which safe learning and working environments can be maintained for all school community members.

Standards of Behaviour relating to Respect, Civility and Responsible Citizenship
All members of the school community must:

  • respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws;
  • demonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • respect differences in people, their ideas and opinions;
  • treat one another with dignity and respect at all times and especially when there is disagreement;
  • respect and treat others fairly, regardless of, for example, their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
  • respect the rights 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;
  • dress in a manner that is appropriate for school activities with regard to exposure, cleanliness and/or message;
  • 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;
  • not swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority

Standards of Behaviour relating to Safety
All members of the school community must not:

  • 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 under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal/restricted drugs;
  • provide others with alcohol or illegal/restricted drugs;
  • be under the influence of a noxious substance, such as glue or gasoline;
  • be in contravention of the Tobacco Control Act;
  • inflict or encourage others to inflict bodily harm on another person;
  • engage in bullying behaviours;
  • commit sexual assault;
  • traffic in weapons or illegal/restricted drugs;
  • give alcohol to a minor;
  • commit robbery;
  • engage in hate propaganda and other forms of behaviour motivated by hate or bias;
  • commit an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property or to property located on the premises of the school.

Suspensions
The infractions for which a suspension may be imposed by the principal include:

  • uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
  • possessing alcohol, illegal/restricted drugs;
  • being under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal/restricted drugs;
  • swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
  • committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the pupil’s school or to property located on the premises of the pupil’s school;
  • bullying;
  • any act considered by the principal to be injurious to the moral tone of the school;
  • any act considered by the principal to be injurious to the physical or mental well-being of any member of the school community; or
  • any act considered by the principal to be contrary to the Board or school code of conduct

Expulsions
The infractions for which an expulsion may be recommended to the Board’s Discipline Committee by the principal include:

  • possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm;
  • using a weapon to cause or threaten bodily harm to another person;
  • committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner;
  • committing sexual assault;
  • trafficking in weapons, illegal and/or restricted drugs;
  • committing robbery;
  • giving alcohol to a minor;
  • an act considered by the principal to be significantly injurious to the moral tone of the school and/or to the physical or mental well-being of others;
  • a pattern of behaviour that is so inappropriate that the pupil’s continued presence is injurious to the effective learning and/or working environment of others;
  • activities engaged in by the pupil on or off school property that cause the pupil’s continuing presence in the school to create an unacceptable risk to the physical or mental well-being of other person(s) in the school or Board;
  • activities engaged in by the pupil on or off school property that have caused extensive damage to the property of the Board or to goods that are/were on Board property;
  • demonstration through a pattern of behaviour that the student has not prospered by the instruction available to them and that they are persistently resistant to making changes in behaviour which would enable them to prosper; or
  • any act considered by the principal to be a serious violation of the Board or School Code of Conduct.

Review or Appeal Processes
The adult pupil or the pupil’s parent/guardian may choose to request a review/appeal of a student’s suspension or expulsion. The Superintendent of Education will receive all suspension appeals. It is important to note that an appeal of a suspension does not stay the suspension. A person who intends to appeal a suspension must give written notice of their intention to appeal the suspension within ten (10) school days of the commencement of the suspension. For further information on reviews or appeals, please talk to your school principal or the Superintendent of Education.

Bullying
The Waterloo Region DSB recognizes that providing students with an opportunity to learn and develop in a safe and respectful society is a shared responsibility in which school boards and schools play an important role. Bullying is defined as a form of repeated, persistent, aggressive behaviour that is directed at an individual(s) that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear, distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance. Schools have bullying prevention and intervention strategies that foster a positive learning and teaching environment. This supports academic achievement for all students and that helps students reach their full potential. A positive school climate is a crucial component of prevention. Bullying adversely affects a school’s ability to educate its students, student’s ability to learn, as well as healthy relationships and the school climate.

  • Bullying will not be accepted on school property, at school-related activities, or on school buses.
  • Bullying will not be accepted in any other circumstances (e.g. on-line) where engaging in bullying has a negative impact on the school climate.

Working Together
We need to keep working together to prevent unacceptable behaviour and to assist students by encouraging and fostering positive strategies for identifying and handling anger and resolving conflict including preventative measures.

For further information
Please contact your school principal