New West Secondary School’s pupil behaviour policy is designed to foster a friendly co-operative atmosphere so that staff and pupils alike may work together in harmony, at the same time as upholding high standards of discipline.
Pupils and parents need to understand our aim of creating a caring atmosphere and a sense of community so that we can all work together with common purpose and in a consistent manner.
To this end this document will outline the school ethos, the detailed arrangements which regulate school life, the ways in which staff support pupils, the way in which pupils are rewarded for their efforts and achievements and the consequences which follow the unacceptable behaviour of a minority.
We believe that clarity about these matters on the part of pupils, parents and staff will assist us in working together for the greater good of all the young people attending New West Secondary School.
THE THREE Cs: CARE, COURTESY AND CONSIDERATION
AT NEW WEST SECONDARY SCHOOL
The most important matter in any community is the creation of an atmosphere in which all its members can feel happy and secure. The nature of this atmosphere will depend very much on the way we treat each other, our property and our environment. If we regard matters with respect then we are well on the way to creating a school to which it is pleasant to belong.
Care for and look after your own property, including school books and vital equipment such as pens, pencils, rulers and rubbers which you must bring to school with you.
Care for other people’s property. Things do get left around in a school. Don’t mistreat them, they belong to someone else. If you know who they belong to, return them. If you do not, hand them in for safe-keeping. Remember, it helps if all clothing and personal belongings are clearly marked. Care for the school environment by keeping it clean and tidy. Use the waste bins, pick up litter and dispose of it as you proceed about your business. Treat the fabric of the building and the furniture gently. In particular, look after and think of ways to improve your particular areas of the school.
Good relationships between all people are vital to the atmosphere in a school and the language we all use play a vital part in this. Speak to people in polite and respectful tones, taking care not to use words that are offensive. Above all do not use bad language. Words such as please, thank you, and excuse me, do a lot to create good relationships, as does the use of the people’s names or titles.
Manners do not just concern speech: they also involve physical movements and gestures. Pushing, unruly queuing, turning away from people, shrugging the shoulders and making facial grimaces, are amongst those things which can cause offence. Do please avoid them. Always try to be helpful. Let people with heavy piles of books go in front of you, open doors for people who are laden down and remember that orderly movement is much more efficient. Don’t forget there are clearly marked stairways for entry and exit.
If there is a key to courtesy it is probably something to do with behaving in a way calculated to make people like you.
Consideration is all about looking at matters from the point of view of others and then behaving in a way that helps them rather than hinders them.
Primarily we have all come to school to learn. The teachers wish to teach and the pupils wish to be taught. Consideration here involves getting into lessons on time with the right equipment, settling down quickly and carrying out what is required by teachers in a diligent way. To do otherwise affects the opportunities of other children and is quite the opposite of the considerate behaviour expected at New West Secondary School.
There are many different areas at school and each one is designed for a specific purpose. Consideration involves using those areas in an appropriate manner. The school buildings and their immediate environment including the quadrangle area, are places for quiet social activities. They are not places for running, jumping and generally rushing about. Similarly car parks are quite inappropriate places in which to be, except when leaving or entering the school. The school field, weather permitting, is the place to go for more robust activities.
For very good reasons certain buildings are not available to pupils at certain times. In particular, the hall which is open to the public as well as being available to the school, can only be used for timetabled lessons and specially arranged activities. It is not a social area.
In your dealings with everyone in our community always try to moderate your actions by the thought of what that person’s viewpoint might be. Considerate behaviour will be the result and that will be to the benefit of all.
CODE OF CONDUCT
• At New West Secondary School everyone is treated equally.
• We will respect and make every effort to understand and accept each person’s individuality, religion, culture and background; this entails freedom of expression and thought.
• We will oppose racism, sexism and all other forms of prejudice.
• We will work to ensure that there is no open or hidden discrimination in our school.
• We will provide an environment in which all members of the school community can make the best use of their educational opportunities.
• We are committed to innovation, to diversity of positive teaching and learning styles, and to the development of the whole person.
• We will conduct ourselves in such a way that we bring credit to ourselves and to our school.
• We commit ourselves to doing our best in all spheres of school life.
• We will respect the rights of others to voice their opinions and we accept the freedom of affiliation and association.
• We will co-operate fully with each other and accept responsibility for our behaviour.
As pupils, we take responsibility for our work and will accept the consequences of not doing curricular work set.
We will look after our text and exercise books and files. Text books are the property of the school and, being on loan to us, we will be responsible for any damage or loss incurred.
We will maintain a high standard of work, giving of our best at all times.
We will maintain a high standard of neatness, taking pride in the appearance of our work.
We will bring the correct books to all lessons and we will not interrupt lessons to fetch books left in another class.
We will endeavour to meet all deadlines and hand in work on time. We acknowledge that homework is an integral part of the education process and we will complete all work that has been set timeously.
We will not copy homework set for us by our teachers from our peers.
If we are absent from school, it is our responsibility to catch up on any work that we have missed in our own time, and not during lessons.
If we are absent from any test or examination, we are expected to write the test or examination upon our return to school at a mutually agreed time, whether the marks will be included in the continuous assessment programme or not.
We will not interrupt the flow of lessons or, through disruptive behaviour, inhibit the opportunity for others to learn.
We acknowledge that copying of work or cheating in tests and examinations is considered by all of us as a serious misdemeanour.
We acknowledge that the breach of the Code of Conduct and Work Ethic will be followed by sanctions such as reprimand, written warning, withdrawal of privileges, notifying parents or legal guardians, suspension and, in extreme cases, a recommendation to the Department for expulsion from school.
Although there are a number of regulations which help in the smooth running of the school, there is really only one guiding principle:
‘At all times use your common sense and do not do anything that will bring you, your school, your family or your community into disrepute.’
The School Rules are designed to ensure that our purpose to educate, learn and develop can be most effectively satisfied. They are guided by the school’s Code of Conduct which underlines the values which we as a school community endorse. The Code of Conduct, Work Ethic and School Rules have been discussed by staff, pupils, parents, the School Governing Body and stakeholders in the community. They are therefore our School Rules which we as pupils, staff and parents will uphold in a spirit of co-operation and responsibility.
PUNCTUALITY AND SCHOOL HOURS
• Pupils must be punctual for school and all classes.
• School commences at 07:50, and pupils should be in school well before that time.
• Pupils who arrive late must report to the Principal’s office first, and then to the form teacher before attending classes.
• Pupils must remain in school for the full duration of the school day, and can only depart early from school if leave has been granted by the Principal.
Full regulation uniform must be worn at all times in school, between school and home, and at all formal functions of the school. Parents must ensure that their children leave home correctly and neatly dressed. Problems with uniform during the course of the year must be discussed, in exceptional cases only, with the Principal, either personally or telephonically.
• Plain white polyester shirt with collar, to be worn with a school tie; or
• Plain white polyester shirt with collar, and school monogram on pocket (ties optional with this shirt)
• School charcoal grey flannel trousers
• Black or grey school socks
• Plain black school shoes (no suede shoes or fancy styles may be worn)
• Plain maroon (in school colours) V-neck pullover or black school blazer or school tracksuit jacket
• Hair Styles: It is essential that hair be kept neat and well-groomed at all times. No extremes of style or length are allowed and, as a guideline, boys’ haircuts should meet the following requirements: hair must be kept well clear of the forehead, ears and collar; sideburns may not extend below the middle of the ear and must be kept short; hair must not be artificially bleached or dyed, nor must it have any contemporary style (e.g. ‘gelled’ and ‘spiked,’ or ‘stepped,’ etc.)
• Sportswear: black or white shorts; white T-shirt; athletic shoes (for sports only); school tracksuit
• The school uniform is available from the appointed stockist; and ties and track suits from the school.
• Maroon polyester panel skirt, knee-length or below
• White blouse, with maroon and white piping around collar, and monogram on pocket
• Plain black school shoes (with strap or laces)
• Plain white ankle-length socks
• Plain black ribbed stockings (in winter) or maroon school pants (no sheer pantyhose)
• Plain maroon V-neck pullover or black school blazer or school tracksuit jacket
• Hair Styles: short hair must be cut above the collar; hair must be fastened back or preferably plaited if it is shoulder length or longer; hair fastenings must be plain black ribbons; hair must not be artificially bleached or dyed
• Jewellery: Pupils may wear wrist watches, and studded earrings (one pair only). No other jewellery is permitted.
• Sportswear: black tights or black or white shorts; white T-shirt; athletic shoes (for sports only); school tracksuit
• The school uniform is available from the appointed stockist. Track suits are available at school.
• Regular attendance at school is compulsory by law.
• Medical and other appointments should be timed for after school hours and weekends.
• Holiday and weekend arrangements should not interfere with school attendance.
• Pupils should not absent themselves from school for trivial reasons.
• Parents seeking leave for their children, especially girls, are obliged to call at school personally.
• The Principal and form teacher must be informed immediately if the pupil is going to be away from school for any length of time, particularly in the case of illness or infectious diseases.
• Notes explaining reasons for absence must be produced on the pupil’s return to school, and a medical certificate must be submitted in the case of infectious disease.
• Lengthy unexplained absence from school will be investigated.
• A pupil who is absent from school for forty consecutive days without a valid reason or explanation forwarded to the school will be excluded.
• All pupils must take responsibility for their own work and accept the consequences of not doing so.
• Pupils must not interrupt the flow of the lesson or, through disruptive behaviour, inhibit the opportunity for others to learn.
• Pupils must take the correct books, files, equipment, etc. to lessons and will not be permitted to interrupt lessons in order to fetch those items.
• If a pupil is absent from school, it is his/her responsibility to catch up with any work that he/she has missed in his/her own time and not during lesson time, unless otherwise permitted.
• If a pupil is absent from a test, he/she will be expected to write that test upon his/her return to school, whether the marks will be considered for continuous assessment or not.
• Cheating in tests and examinations will be considered a serious misdemeanour.
The following are not allowed at any time:
• Breaking a law of the land
• Theft, fraud or dishonest behaviour of any sort
• Vandalism (i.e. defacing, damaging and tampering with school property, school notices or the property of others at school or anywhere else)
• Smoking or the possession of cigarettes, tobacco, dagga or marijuana
• Drug and substance abuse, or the possession of banned or illegal substance
• Consumption of alcoholic beverages
• Possession of any weapon, dangerous object or anything which endangers the physical well-being of others in the school
• Possession of pornographic or obscene material or anything which endangers the moral well-being of others in the school
• Gambling or playing of cards in school
• Fighting and bullying, and physical or verbal abuse of peers
• Swearing, insolence or disrespectful behaviour towards peers and staff
• Abuse of or lack of respect for staff
• Being guilty of an act or omission which is harmful or dangerous to others
• Racial and gender discrimination
• Absence, without good reason, from school assemblies, teaching periods and co-curricular commitments
• Departure, without permission, from the school premises between the start and finish of the school day
• Climbing over fences bounding the school property
• Behaviour anywhere in the school or its environs which obstructs others from learning
• Playing or running in the classrooms, specialist rooms, Media Centre, corridors or toilets
• Chewing gum in class or on the school premises
• Littering the school and its environment
• Wearing of lapel badges or slogans on the school blazer, track suit or tie, or writing on ties
• Familiar or intimate behaviour and the display thereof between members of the opposite sex in school and to and from school while in school uniform
This list is not exclusive and any conduct which:
a) endangers the maintenance of a proper standard of moral conduct, discipline or social well-being at the school; or
b) constitutes any reprehensible act or omission; or
c) is serious misconduct, including but without being restricted to the behaviour that constitutes serious misconduct as determined by the Member of the Executive Council who is responsible for Education in KwaZulu Natal by notice in the Provincial Gazette from time to time in terms of Section 9(3)(a) of Act No. 86 of 1996 (‘the Act’),
will be the subject of appropriate disciplinary action.
The following are expected of all pupils:
• obeying school rules;
• an acceptable standard of behaviour;
• return of all text and library books, and other equipment given on loan to the pupil by the school, in good condition, and all losses made good;
• payment of school fees; and,
• upholding the good name of the school.
REWARDS AND SANCTIONS
The infringement of school rules can be identified by the Principal, staff members, prefects and parents; pupils will be punished according to the severity of the transgression of the Code of Conduct, Work Ethic and School Rules. Sanctions can include reprimand, ‘litter detail’, detention, written warnings, withdrawal of a privilege and other punishment and/or rehabilitative measures, and where appropriate, suspension by the Governing Body or expulsion by the Head of Department (as defined in ‘the Act’) for serious misconduct. Subject to the Law of South Africa, every pupil shall be entitled to a fair hearing for transgression of the Code of Conduct, Work Ethic and School Rules before being suspended or expelled.
A) GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION
Pupils shall be guilty of non-attendance if they:
• are absent from school without a valid reason;
• are repeatedly late for school or lessons; and,
• play truant or abscond from school or from lessons.
2. DISRESPECT AND DISOBEDIENCE
Pupils shall be guilty of disrespect and disobedience if they:
• refuse to carry out valid instructions;
• are impudent and insolent towards teachers and pupils; and,
• show disregard for school rules and regulations.
Pupils shall be guilty of negligence if they:
• fail to do classwork, homework, projects and other curricular work;
• show disregard for standards, textbooks, library books and equipment;
• are sloppy in appearance and attire; and,
• do not conform to the school’s dress code.
4. TARNISHING OF SCHOOL’S IMAGE
Pupils shall be guilty of tarnishing the school’s image if they:
• in or outside the school buildings, or on or off the school premises, conduct themselves in a manner which, in the opinion of the school, is or could be detrimental to the good name of the school or to the maintenance of order or discipline at the school;
• infringe any regulation or rule for the control of tests and examinations;
• wilfully destroy, damage or appropriate to themselves any property of the school, its pupils, members of staff or visitors; and,
• furnish the school with false information.
Pupils shall be guilty of misconduct if they:
• smoke, sell or are in possession of cigarettes, tobacco, dagga, marijuana or such substance;
• use, sell or are in possession of alcohol, drugs or illegal or banned substances;
• verbally abuse, assault or sexually molest any individual(s) in school, or outside school whilst in school uniform; and,
• gamble in school, or outside school whilst in school uniform.
6. PHYSICAL CONTACT BETWEEN PUPILS (PAIRING OFF)
Pupils shall be guilty of misconduct if they:
• display intimacy towards each other through any form of physical contact, including holding hands, embracing, kissing, petting, etc.
7. MISBEHAVIOUR DURING CO- AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Pupils shall be guilty of misbehaviour during co- and extra-curricular activities if they:
• manifest behaviour that does not conform to the standards expected by the school and which tarnishes the image of the school before, during and after the said activity;
• violate the rules and regulations of the venue which they are visiting; and,
• display disrespect, arrogance, insolence, aggression, unsporting conduct or threaten the well-being of any person(s) before, during or after the said activity.
Any pupil guilty of the above shall be:
• liable for exclusion from all co- and extra-curricular activities at and of the school, with the duration of the censure being commensurate with the severity of the offence; and/or
• barred from being present at the said venue even in his/her personal capacity; and/or
• liable for suspension or recommended for exclusion from school.
8. OUTSIDERS ENTERING SCHOOL PREMISES
If it is established that any outsider(s) (viz. anyone who is not a bona fide pupil, member of staff or parent of a pupil at school) has entered the school premises at the request or encouragement of a pupil or pupils, the school reserves the right to:
• institute legal action against the aforesaid outsider(s); and/or
• suspend, transfer or recommend the expulsion of the aforesaid pupil(s),
if the presence of the outsider(s) has contributed to a violation of the Code of Conduct and School Rules at school or has threatened or endangered the well-being of pupils of members of staff at school.
9. PUPILS CONVICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
If the continued presence of such person at school is seen to constitute an impediment to the school’s image and to the maintenance of discipline at school or to constitute a danger or threat to the safety and well-being of pupils and staff at school, the school reserves the right to transfer or recommend the expulsion of such person. This clause relates to conviction(s) for criminal offences at or outside school.
In the case of the breach of any of the aforesaid rules, the pupil or alternatively the parent or legal guardian of the said pupil shall forfeit all claim to a refund or rebate of fees paid or payable to the school as a result of any action taken in terms of this policy.
The school reserves the right to discipline pupils for exhibition of behaviour contrary to school policy (Code of Conduct, Work Ethic and School Rules) even if such behaviour occurs outside the perimeter of the school grounds and school times.
B) DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
1. INFORMAL DISCIPLINE
• One of the daily tasks of educators and management personnel is to correct minor behavioural or performance defects and this usually takes the form of informal reprimands or corrective instructions.
• Where the above proves ineffective or if sterner action is warranted, a warning is given by the educator. This consists of:
a) informing the pupil that his/her behaviour is contrary to school policy;
b) instructing him/her to achieve the required standards; and,
c) making him/her aware of possible consequences of repeating the undesired behaviour.
• If the behaviour is repeated in spite of the verbal warning given, the matter will be referred to the Guidance and Counselling Department to resolve the matter through personal counselling. If deemed necessary, referral to counselling services or agencies outside the school may be arranged with the consent of the pupil and parent. All instances of informal discipline will be recorded by the educator at the school and acknowledged by the pupil concerned.
2. FORMAL DISCIPLINE
• Formal action is taken when the pupil fails to respond positively to informal measures or where the conduct or performance is of such a nature as to warrant being recorded and placed on file immediately owing to its seriousness.
• Formal action takes the following steps:
i) This would entail the grounds for discipline, previous action taken and the consequences of the repetition.
ii) This warning (on official letterhead) has to be signed by the principal, parent and pupil concerned. (A copy will be kept on file.)
i) Should the behaviour or act be repeated in spite of the written warning, the pupil will be suspended for a minimum period of one week.
ii) During the period of suspension, an enquiry, hearing and appeal will be instituted by the School’s Disciplinary Committee. During the appeal, suspended pupils may be represented by their parents or legal guardians.
i) Should the Disciplinary Committee recommend lifting the suspension, the pupil will be immediately re-instated after his/her period of suspension.
ii) In this case, a written pledge by the pupil and parent in respect of adherence to school policy will be required.
i) Should the Disciplinary Committee not rule in favour of the pupil, or if the behaviour persists after re-instatement, the pupil may be transferred or a recommendation may be made for expulsion.
3. SERIOUS OFFENCES
• The following offences will result in immediate suspension:
i) Common or indecent assault
ii) Assault resulting in grievous bodily harm
iii) Using or being in possession of drugs, illegal or banned substances, or alcohol
iv) Being in possession arms, ammunition or dangerous weapons
v) Sex offences
vi) Verbal abuse of or defamatory statements about pupils or members of staff
viii) Practical jokes or pranks resulting in negative or disastrous consequences
ix) Possession of pornographic material
• Upon suspension, the matter will be referred to the Disciplinary Committee for investigation (and legal action if necessary).
• If upon the Disciplinary Committee’s findings the pupil is guilty as alleged or charged, the pupil will be given the option of a transfer or a recommendation will be made for expulsion.
• The decision to transfer will be made in accordance with the Disciplinary Committee’s recommendations and Departmental guidelines. Your attention is drawn in particular to the following Departmental regulation:
‘If any pupil conducts himself /herself in such a way that, in the opinion of the Principal, his/her continued attendance of the school to which he/she has been admitted would be detrimental to the welfare or discipline of that school, or to that of any of its pupils, the Principal shall forthwith warn the pupil concerned verbally or in writing that if he/she continues to conduct himself/herself thus or should he/she again conduct himself/herself thus, he/she will be liable to be expelled from the school...’
In order to enhance the maintenance of discipline at school, cognisance must also be taken of the following factors:
1) Where necessary, the school will enlist the assistance of the South African Police Services (SAPS) to aid in resolving misdemeanours and maintaining discipline at school.
2) The school reserves the right to search pupils or their possessions on the understanding that such searches, when deemed necessary, will be conducted by male educators in the case of male pupils and female educators in the case of female pupils.
3) The school reserves the right to take action in the event of any other negative act or behaviour displayed by a pupil, even if the that act or behaviour is not stipulated in the ‘School Rules’ or ‘Grounds for Discipline’ sections of this policy document. Punitive measures adopted in such instances would be commensurate with the severity of the deviant act or behaviour.
4) In the event of a pupil (or pupils) damaging the possessions or property of the school, pupils or members of staff, the said pupil(s) or the parents of said pupil(s) can be held accountable for all expenses in respect of repairs or replacement. A pupil or his/her parents will also be liable for medical and other expenses in the case of harm or injury caused to pupils or members of staff.
5) Pupil(s) not in attendance at New West Secondary School also become liable for disciplinary action, where practical, and the school reserves the right to refuse admission to such pupil(s) should the said person(s) seek admission at a subsequent time.
6) Parents or legal guardians who are summoned to school must do so within two (2) days of the date of notification. In the event of the parents or legal guardians not responding within the stipulated time period without valid reason, the pupil alleged to be guilty of a misdemeanour may be suspended from school until his/her parents or legal guardians call at school. Parents or legal guardians will be required to produce proof of identity when calling at school with regard to disciplinary matters.
7) Any pupil who is suspended from school is subject to the following conditions:
a) The suspended pupil is not allowed to enter the premises of the school unless prior consent has been obtained from the Principal (e.g. suspended pupils will be granted permission to enter the school campus if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the purpose of attending counselling sessions);
b) the suspended pupil is not allowed to communicate in any way with pupils who are on the school premises , including communication across the school fence, gates, etc. Any pupil who communicates with a suspended pupil in this way will render himself/herself liable for disciplinary action;
c) during the period of suspension, the said pupil(s) will also be excluded from all co- and extra-curricular activities of the school.
D) MISDEMEANOURS AND SANCTIONS
In the interests of uniformity and consistency, the following would serve as a broad guideline for the Disciplinary Committee in dealing with disciplinary matters at school.
Fighting, bullying, teasing Warning
Call in parents
Smoking of cigarettes
Confiscation and warning
Call in parents
Playing truant, absconding from lessons or school
Call in parents
Disruption of lessons
Referral to counsellor
Call in parents
Call in parents
Vandalism Call in parents and police
Call in parents and police
Use of alcohol and/or drugs
Call in parents and police
Possession or sale of alcohol and/or drugs Call in parents and police
Academic work not done regularly Detention
Call in parents
Carrying of dangerous weapons Confiscation
Call in parents and police
Late coming to school and/or class Warning
Call in parents
Possession of pornographic material Confiscation
Call in parents and police
Crimen injuria Warning
Call in parents and police
Pairing off/kissing/petting etc. Warning
Call in parents
Call in parents
Misbehaviour on excursions
Commensurate with seriousness of offence - may range from suspension from excursions for a specific period (e.g. one year) to total exclusion from all excursions.
Misbehaviour at sports meetings or matches Commensurate with seriousness of offence - may range from suspension from sports activities for a specific period (e.g. one year) to total exclusion from all sports activities
Please take note of the following:
1) Sanctions will vary according to the circumstances and seriousness of offences.
2) All of the above misdemeanours carry the possibility of suspension and recommendation for expulsion from school if the undesirable behaviour persists or if parents and pupils take no initiative in correcting the undesirable behaviour.
3) In the interest of remedying deviant behaviour, the school would assist pupils and parents with Counselling and Psychological Services.
4) Any item(s) confiscated from pupils will be promptly handed in to the Principal and labelled as follows:
Name of Pupil; Date; Description of Item; Signatures of Principal and Pupil
Confiscated items will be returned to parent or legal guardian at the end of the disciplinary process.
5) The school reserves the right to withdraw a privilege at any time.
6) Please be informed that the sanctions for the various misdemeanours have been agreed to by all the school’s stakeholders.