The Board of Trustees recognizes that learning environments that are safe and supportive can increase student attendance and improve academic achievement. A student’s ability to learn and achieve high academic standards, and a school’s ability to educate students, is compromised by incidents of discrimination or harassment, including but not limited to bullying, taunting and intimidation. Therefore, in accordance with the Dignity for All Students Act, Education Law, Article 2, Oracle Charter School will strive to create an environment free of discrimination and harassment and will foster civility in the schools to prevent and prohibit conduct which is inconsistent with the Oracle’s educational mission.

Oracle Charter School condemns and prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment of students based on actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex by school employees or students on school property and at school-sponsored activities and events that take place at locations off school property. In addition, any act of discrimination or harassment, outside of school sponsored events, which can reasonably be expected to materially and substantially disrupt the education process may be subject to discipline.

Dignity Act Coordinator

The Dean of Students shall be designated as the Dignity Act Coordinator. The Dignity Act Coordinator will be thoroughly trained to handle human relations in the areas of race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (identity or expression) and sex. The Head of School shall appoint the Dignity Act Coordinator and share the name and contact information with all school personnel, students, and parents/guardians.

If a Dignity Act Coordinator vacates his/her position, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending approval from the Board of Trustees, within thirty (30) days of the date the position was vacated. In the event a Coordinator is unable to perform the duties of the position for an extended period of time, another school employee shall immediately be designated for an interim appointment as Coordinator, pending return of the previous Coordinator to the position.

Training

Training will be provided each school year for all Oracle employees in conjunction with existing professional development training to raise staff awareness and sensitivity of harassment and discrimination directed at students that are committed by students or school employees on school property or at a school function. Training will include ways to promote a supportive school environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, emphasize positive relationships, and demonstrate prevention and intervention techniques to assist employees in recognizing and responding to harassment and discrimination, as well as ensuring the safety of the victims.

Rules against discrimination and harassment will be included in the Student and Family Handbook, publicized throughout the Oracle community and disseminated to all staff and parents. An age-appropriate summary shall be distributed to all students at a school assembly at the beginning of each school year.

Reports and Investigations of Discrimination and Harassment

Oracle will investigate all complaints of harassment and discrimination, either formal or informal, and take prompt corrective measures, as necessary. Complaints will be investigated in accordance with applicable policies and regulations. If, after an appropriate investigation, Oracle finds that this policy has been violated, corrective action will be taken in accordance with Oracle policies and regulations, the Student and Family Handbook, and all appropriate federal or state laws.

Oracle Charter School will annually report material incidents of discrimination and harassment to the State Education Department as a separate entity, not part of the Uniform Violent and Disruptive Incident Reporting System (VADIR).

Prohibition of Retaliatory Behavior (Commonly Known as 'Whistle-Blower' Protection)

Any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has been subjected to discrimination or harassment by an employee or student, on school grounds or at a school function, who acts reasonably and in good faith and reports such information to school officials or law enforcement authorities, shall have immunity from any civil liability that may arise from making such report. The Board prohibits any retaliatory behavior directed at complainants, victims, witnesses and/or any other individuals who participated in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination or harassment.[1]

CONDUCT ON SCHOOL PROPERTY

Oracle Charter School has developed and will amend, as appropriate, a written Student and Family Handbook for the maintenance of order on school property, including school functions, which shall govern the conduct of students, teachers and other school personnel, as well as visitors and/or vendors. The Board of Trustees shall further provide for the enforcement of such handbook.

For purposes of this policy, and the implemented Student and Family Handbook school property means in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of Oracle Charter School, or in or on a school bus; and a school function shall mean a school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity regardless of where such event or activity takes place, including those that take place in another state.

PROVISIONS

Oracle Charter School’s Student and Family Handbook has been developed in collaboration with student, teacher, administrator, and parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.

The Student and Family Handbook include, at a minimum, the following:

 a)            Provisions regarding conduct, dress and language deemed appropriate and acceptable on school property and at school functions, and conduct, dress and language deemed unacceptable and inappropriate on school property;provisions regarding acceptable civil and respectful treatment of teachers, school administrators, other school personnel, students and visitors on school property and at school functions; the appropriate range of disciplinary measures which may be imposed for violation of such handbook; and the roles of teachers, administrators, other school personnel, the Board of Trustees and parents/persons in parental relation to the student;

 b)            Provisions prohibiting discrimination and harassment against any student, by employees or students on school property or at a school function, that creates a hostile environment by conduct, with or without physical contact and/or verbal threats, intimidation or abuse, of such a severe nature that:

 1.            Has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being; or

 2.      Reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his/her physical safety.

 Such conduct shall include, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practices, disability, sexual orientation, gender as defined in Education Law Section 11(6), or sex; provided that nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a

person’s gender that would be permissible under Education Law Sections 3201-a or 2854(2) (a) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 USC Section 1681, et seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;

 c)      Standards and procedures to assure security and safety of students and school personnel;

 d)      Provisions for the removal from the classroom and from school property, including a school function, of students and other persons who violate the handbook;

 e)      Provisions prescribing the period for which a disruptive student may be removed from the classroom for each incident, provided that no such student shall return to the classroom until the Head of School (or his/her designated School administrator) makes a final determination pursuant to Education Law Section 3214(3-a)(c) or the period of removal expires, whichever is less;

f)      Disciplinary measures to be taken for incidents on school property or at school functions involving the use of tobacco, the possession or use of illegal substances or weapons, the use of physical force, vandalism, violation of another student’s civil rights, harassment and threats of violence;

g)      Provisions for responding to acts of discrimination and harassment against students by employees or students on school property or at a school function pursuant to clause (b) of this subparagraph;

h)      Provisions for detention, suspension and removal from the classroom of students, consistent with Education Law Section 3214 and other applicable federal, state and local laws, including provisions for school authorities to establish procedures to ensure the provision of continued educational programming and activities for students removed from the classroom, placed in detention, or suspended from school, which shall include alternative educational programs appropriate to individual student needs;

i)       Procedures by which violations are reported and determined, and the disciplinary measures imposed and carried out;

j)       Provisions ensuring the Student and Family Handbook and its enforcement are in compliance with state and federal laws relating to students with disabilities;

k)      Provisions setting forth the procedures by which local law enforcement agencies shall be notified of handbook violations which constitute a crime;

l)       Provisions setting forth the circumstances under and procedures by which parents/guardians shall be notified of handbook violations;

m)     Provisions setting forth the circumstances under and procedures by which a referral to Family Services Team will be filed;

n)      Circumstances under and procedures by which referral to appropriate human service agencies shall be made;

o)      A minimum suspension period for students who repeatedly are substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interfere with the teacher’s authority over the classroom, provided that the suspending authority may reduce such period on a case-by-case basis to be consistent with any other state and federal law. The phrase “repeatedly is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom” shall mean engaging in conduct which results in the removal of the student from the classroom by teacher(s) pursuant to the provisions of Education Law Section 3214(3-a) and the provisions set forth in the Student and Family Handbook on four (4) or more occasions during a semester, or three (3) or more occasions during a trimester, as applicable;

p)      A minimum suspension period for acts that would qualify the student to be defined as a violent student pursuant to Education Law Section 3214(2-a)(a). However, the suspending authority may reduce the suspension period on a case-by-case basis consistent with any other state and federal law;

q)      Guidelines and programs for in-service education programs for all Oracle staff members to ensure effective implementation of school policy on school conduct and discipline, including but not limited to, guidelines on promoting a safe and supportive school climate while discouraging, among other things, discrimination or harassment against students by students and/or school employees; and including safe and supportive school climate concepts in the curriculum and classroom management.

ADOPTION, AWARENESS, AND PRIVACY

Oracle Charter School’s Student and Family Handbook shall be adopted by the Board of Education only after at least one (1) public hearing that provided for the participation of school personnel, parents/ guardians, students, and any other interested parties.

The Student and Family Handbook shall be reviewed on an annual basis, and updated as necessary in accordance with law. Oracle Charter School may establish a committee pursuant to Education Law Section 2801(5)(a) to facilitate review of its handbook and Oracle’s response to handbook violations. The Board shall reapprove any updated Student and Family Handbook or adopt revisions only after at least one (1) public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents/guardians, students, and any other interested parties. Oracle Charter School shall file a copy of its Student and Family Handbook and any amendments with the commissioner, in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner, no later than thirty (30) days after their respective adoptions.

 

The Board of Trustees shall ensure community awareness of its Student and Family Handbook by:

 

a)      Posting the complete handbook on the Internet website, including any annual updates and other amendments to the handbook;

 

b)      Providing copies of a summary of the Student and Family Handbook to all students in an age-appropriate version, written in plain language, at a school assembly to be held at the beginning of each school year;

 

c)      Providing a plain language summary of the Student and Family Handbook to all parents or guardians before the beginning of each school year and making the summary available thereafter upon request;

 

d)      Providing each existing teacher with a copy of the complete Student and Family Handbook and a copy of any amendments to the handbook as soon as practicable following initial adoption or amendment of the handbook. New teachers shall be provided a complete copy of the current handbook upon their employment; and

 

e)      Making complete copies available for review by students, parents or guardians, other school staff and other community members.

 

Privacy Rights

 

As part of any investigation, Oracle Charter School has the right to search all school property and equipment including school computers and issued electronic devices. Rooms, desks, cabinets, lockers, computers, etc. are provided by Oracle for the use of staff and students, but the users do not have exclusive use of these locations or equipment and should not expect that materials stored therein will be private.[2]

 

Adoption Pending


[1] Education Law Sections 10-18 and 801-a. 8 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) Section 100.2(1)(2)

[2] Education Law Sections 801-a, 2801 and 3214. Family Court Act Articles 3 and 7. Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 142. 8 NYCRR Section 100.2(l)(2)