Code of Behaviour 2017/18

Code of Behaviour

St. Mel’s College,
Longford

St. Mel’s is a Catholic Diocesan College under a Board of Management, whose spiritual, academic, athletic and social programme is intended to enable male students to live a full, active, working Christian life. Our value system is based on mutual respect and courtesy along with honesty and integrity in our dealings with one another. We promote an environment where each male student is valued for himself, supported in developing his full potential, learns self-discipline and personal responsibility and where misconduct can be reasonably seen as unacceptable.

Code of Expected Behaviour
Effective and meaningful implementation of our code requires full parental support and cooperation. The vast majority of our students behave in a positive and respectful manner from the time they first come to our school until they leave.
Every effort is made to create a positive and supportive learning environment and to reward and
recognise individual and group effort, achievement and success.
This is done in class through praise and encouragement by teachers, in the daily announcements to the school community, in local papers and radio, school website at school assemblies and through school reports. Students respond positively to praise, encouragement, acknowledgement of effort and fair treatment. The vast majority of students accept the need for positive behaviour and good discipline.

Basic rules of good behaviour
The orderly functioning of our school as a community depends on the observance of certain basic rules of good behaviour, to which each of us must give a personal consent. Pupils are expected to:
• Respect the proper authority of their Principal and teachers.
• Apply themselves seriously to their homework, class work and studies.
• Attend school and be punctual for class
• Abide by school rules when representing the school in activities outside the school. (This also applies to all school tours.)
• Adhere fully to our school uniform code, by dressing neatly and wearing the prescribed uniform at all times.
• Respect school property and that of their fellow students and their teachers.
• Report any damage, deliberate or otherwise, to school authorities
• Work with their teachers in creating a positive learning environment in all classes.
• Respect the good name of the school both within and outside the school.

Student Responsibilities
Students are expected to be familiar with and uphold all rules, regulations and policies that our school promulgates to ensure that school is a safe and happy environment where people can learn together.

Respect for Difference
All Members of our school community have the right to work in an environment free from harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination of any kind. Our school promotes an awareness of
diversity and inclusiveness. Discrimination because of Gender, Marital Status, Family Status, Sexual orientation, Religion, Disability, Race or Colour, or Membership of the Travelling Community is not acceptable.

Discipline Structures
Our Disciplinary Procedures are implemented through the following school structures:
• Class/Subject Teacher
• Year Head
• Deputy Principal
• Principal
• Board of Management

Pastoral Care Team
Where it is deemed appropriate for acts of indiscipline the school may involve a member or members of our pastoral care team to assist the student in resolving issues.

We classify misbehaviour under the following headings
• Misdemeanours
• Serious Misbehaviour
• Gross Misbehaviour

Misdemeanours:
These are minor or isolated breaches of our code of expected behaviour.

Examples of Serious Misbehaviour:
Absence from school or class without permission.
Repeated failure to do homework.
Littering in classrooms and school grounds.
Use of mobile phone during school day.
Presentation of fraudulent note to explain absence from school.
Failure to heed directions/instructions

Examples of Gross Misbehaviour
Insolent, disrespectful, or aggressive, behaviour towards a member of the school community in or out of school.
Bullying or intimidation whether physical, verbal or psychological of any member of our school community.
Violent behaviour, either physical or verbal, towards staff or fellow students or any other member of our school community
Discourtesy or disrespect towards any visitor to the school.
Deliberate damage to school property or that of fellow students or any member of our school
community.
Extortion, intimidation, abusive phone calls, persistent abusive name calling, persistent offensive slagging
Possession or use of illegal drugs, dangerous substances, or alcohol
Possession of weapons or any item that could be classified as such.
Any action that undermines threatens or exposes to danger, any person, element or aspect of school life.
Under Health and Safety Legislation smoking is now illegal anywhere on school grounds and this includes the use of Vapour cigarettes.
Repeated class or study disruption that prevents other students from learning.
Any action inside or outside school which brings our school’s good name into disrepute
Any action, word or deed that is grossly offensive to another student’s race, colour, religion, person or family

Disciplinary Procedures

Misdemeanours and minor breaches:

These will be dealt with by the class teacher and or year head who will apply the appropriate sanction where necessary. The sanctions may include admonishment, verbal warning, additional homework, designated task in class such as tidying classroom, detention at lunch hour or after school, contacting parents through school journal.

Serious Misbehaviour
Where a student’s misbehaviour is ongoing and a cause for concern a Complaint Post will be
completed by the teacher and posted on the Behaviour section of the VS Ware and this will then be dealt with by the Year Head.
Teacher sanctions are recorded by the teacher concerned on the VS Ware system . Parents may be contacted by the Year Head. The Year Head may take action including some or all of the following steps;

• Give verbal warning/admonishment, extra work, lunch time detention, Thursday evening detention.
• Initial Report Card in the school Diary to be filled in by all the student’s teachers and signed by the parents.
• Student on Report for 5 days using report Card . Inform parents/guardians by letter or phone.

• If no improvement is shown the student will go on a second Report for 5 further days.

• Inform parents / guardians by Letter or phone.

Call in parents for a meeting with any of the following: Year Head, relevant Teacher, Counsellor, Deputy Principal, Principal.

Gross misbehaviour

The matter is investigated by the school authorities and the following steps taken if warranted:

(a) The student’s parents are contacted and asked to attend a meeting with the Year Head, Deputy Principal or Principal on the matter. The student may be suspended by the Principal for up to 3 days.

(b) His parents are informed in writing of the school’s decision.

On return from suspension parents may be asked to sign in their son at the school and he may be asked to sign a written commitment to abide by the school code, also signed by his parents.
He may be asked to abide by certain conditions.
The student may also be put on report for 5 days initially on his return.

The Principal reserves the right to call an emergency meeting of the Board of Management where it is believed a period of more than three days suspension is warranted. Where immediate action is required and it is not possible to have a quorum for such a meeting, the Chairperson of the BOM may sanction a period of suspension of more than three days.
The Principal reserves the right to bypass the above procedures where he believes the
offence is of such a grave nature that immediate action is required..
Repeated misdemeanours may be considered serious misbehaviour.
Repeated serious misbehaviour may be considered gross misbehaviour.

Acts of Gross misbehaviour warrant immediate appropriate suspension of up to 3 days by the school principal. The Board of Management may suspend a pupil in accordance with the D.E.S Circular 20/90.
For gross misbehaviour and /or persistent breaches of our code of expected behaviour a student may be expelled by our Board of Management.

Sanctions
Our school uses a range of sanctions as part of our disciplinary procedures. The range of sanctions include
• Suspension or Expulsion from school for gross misbehaviour or continuous breaches of our code.
• Suspension from a subject class
• Lunch time Detention
• Evening Detention
Where a student is detained after school parents will be given 24 hours’ notice of such detention. When this sanction is imposed parents/guardians must make arrangements to
collect their son. This normally takes place on Thursday from 4.10pm -5.10pm.
• Withdrawal of privileges e.g. not allowed to leave the school grounds for lunch.
• Not allowed to play or attend games, go on school tour, etc
• Designated task or work such as: Tidy a class hall, tidy school area .
• Extra homework
• Confinement to school grounds during school day.
• Confinement to a particular area in the school grounds

• Students who repeatedly refuse to conform to the school’s dress code will be asked to be collected
by their parents so that they will return in proper dress.
• Full reparation must be made for damage to school or fellow student’s property.

The Principal reserves the right to refuse permission to any student to travel on a school trip/tour.

Appeals procedure
(a) There is a right to appeal to the Board of Management under Section 28 of the Education Act in
relation to any grievance against a decision of a teacher or other member of staff.

(b)There is a right to appeal under Section 29 of the Education Act in relation to any decision to
expel or impose a lengthy suspension.

An appeal against

(i) a suspension of more than 20 days (cumulatively) in any one school year or

(ii) an expulsion,

must be lodged with the Principal within 7 days from the date upon which the parents have been
notified in writing of our school’s decision to suspend or expel.
The Board of Management shall consider within 10 days after the receipt of notification to hear any such appeal.
Parents/guardians have the right to appeal the Board of Management decision to expel a student to the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills.

A student who has reached the age of 18 years may himself make such an appeal.

School Rules and Regulations
School rules are required for the orderly running of a school.

Class
• Class begins each morning at 9.05am and each afternoon at 1.25pm. (The bell rings at 9.00am and 1.20 pm) Students must be in the school grounds no less than 5 minutes before the morning and afternoon classes begin. Students are expected to be punctual for school and for class each day.

For the orderly conduct of class students are expected to
• enter and leave classrooms in an orderly fashion,
• respond immediately to teacher’s requests,
• obey the directions of their teachers,
• pay attention during class,
• have their diary, all books, copies and materials required for class,
• dress in accordance with the standard set down in our Uniform Code,
• act responsibly and with self-discipline at all times

Student property

• Each student is responsible for looking after his own property and ensuring it is identifiable to him.
• Students who store their books and other materials in the Lockers must have a strong lock on the locker to protect their materials and collect what they require before 9.00am in the morning and 1.20pm in the afternoon after which times the locker rooms are closed.
• Students may not leave their belongings lying around the College.
• Lockers are provided at a reasonable fee and should be used for storing books and items not
immediately required.
The lockers should be locked.
• The lockers are the property of St. Mel’s College at all times and are provided for the convenience of students. The College reserves the right to open and search lockers, where this is deemed necessary by the school authorities.
• The College does not accept responsibility for loss of student’s property. Students’ must take reasonable care to ensure that loss of property does not occur.

Student movement between classes
A one-way system operates in certain areas of the school for ease of movement and prevention of congestion/ clashing. Student must adhere to the one-way system and walk at all times.

The following are not permitted in the school grounds
Tipp-ex
Chewing Gum
Baseball Caps
Hoodies

Student Responsibilities
Pupils who infringe rules must take responsibility for their actions and accept whatever sanction their misbehaviour incurs.
The school reserves the right to invoke our disciplinary procedures for breaches of our school code while participating in external school related activities: school tours, games, quizzes etc. outside the school grounds during lunch hour
Any breach of state law by a student within our school grounds may be notified to the appropriate authorities.
Students are expected to give a clear commitment to these rules and to recognise that they are in place for the common good.

School Uniform
The uniform of St. Mel’s College is very much part of our identity as a school community and reflects the personal attitude of the student towards himself and our school community. All students are expected to attend school wearing the full uniform properly and to be neat and tidy in appearance. Students must be in full uniform before being admitted to class. The wearing of the correct and complete uniform is a most important part of school discipline.
The school uniform consists of the following:

• School Jacket (or plain Black or Navy Jacket)
• Blue Jumper with school crest
• Blue Shirt
• School Tie
• Grey Trousers
• Black Footwear (100% Black)

Hoodies are not to be worn in the College.

The onus is on parents and students to ensure that the proper and complete uniform is worn at all times.

Students should present a neat and tidy appearance in school. Hair must be worn in a manner that presents an overall clean, neat and tidy appearance.

Please note:
T-shirt or other multi-coloured items of clothing will not be permitted. No part of the uniform may be defaced in any way. Jackets may not be worn in class.
Full school uniform must always be worn in school and any school event or trip such as debates, quizzes, football games, school tours etc. Any variances are at the discretion of the Principal.
Students who present themselves without full uniform will be sanctioned. In the case of repeat
offenders parents will be contacted and asked to bring the student home and return him to school in the proper uniform.
The following are not permitted; dyed hair, body piercing jewellery, decorative chains, necklaces.

School Journal /Diary
The School Journal is a very important school document and is used for the following purposes:
• As a school diary for recording homework for each subject each day
• As a means of parent/teacher communication through the Parent /Teachers Remarks
• To record and explain student absences through the Absence Forms
• To record and explain students legitimate reasons for leaving school during the school day through the Permission to Leave Forms.
• It provides useful information about the school, Time Management. Study Skills, Exam Information, Code of Expected Behaviour, Uniform/Dress Code
• To record how a student is performing by means of the Weekly Report Sheets.

Each student is required to have his school Journal/Diary with him in all classes and to bring it home each evening for parental inspection. .The Diary must be signed by a parent every weekend. Parents are to bring their son’s Diary to Parent Teacher Meetings.

Absence from school.
On the morning of his return from legitimate absence from school a student must present the completed Absence from School Form, duly signed by his parents/guardians, to the office before the first class in the morning. The form must explain the reason for the absence.

Permission to Leave
Reasonable requests for a student to leave school will be accommodated by the school, for example medical appointment, student illness etc. A student must present a request on the Permission to Leave Form outlining the reasons for leaving the school, the times of departure and return. The Permission to Leave Form will be signed by the Year Head before 9.05am or at lunch time. A student cannot leave the school grounds without the permission of the Principal, Deputy Principal, Class Teacher or Year Head.
All students in 1st,2nd and 3rd year must be collected by a Parent/Guardian or nominated adult. In emergency situations a parent may have their son released to leave the school alone through consultation with the Principal.

Mobile Phones and Electronic Recording Equipment.

Mobile Phones must be switched off at all times on the school grounds and in class. Any student caught using a mobile phone will have the phone confiscated.
(Please see Mobile Phone Policy for details)

Students who need to contact home urgently can do so through the school office. If parents need to contact their son they can call the Office and leave a message.

Headphones are not to be worn on the College Campus.

The Principal has the authority to decide on the interpretation of all rules in the school’s Code of Conduct and Uniform Code. The Principal’s interpretation shall be final.