Policy Information: Student Conduct, Expectations, Bullying and Harassment

Niskayuna Central School District Code of Conduct

The Board of Education is committed to providing a safe and orderly school environment. The Code of Conduct applies to all students, school personnel, parents and other visitors when on school property or attending a school function.

Dignity for All Students Act

New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (the Dignity Act) took effect on July 1, 2012. Just as does the district’s Code of Conduct, the new law seeks to provide the State’s public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying (including cyberbullying) on school property, school buses, and/or at school functions, as well as to foster civility in public schools. Consistent with the Dignity Act, the District prohibits acts of bullying (including cyberbullying), discrimination, and harassment against students by students and/or school employees on school property, on school buses, or at any school function based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (defined to include a person’s actual or perceived sex as well as gender identity and expression), or sex.

Prevention is the cornerstone of the Districts’ efforts to address bullying and harassment. In order to implement this anti-bullying prevention program, the Board will designate, at its annual organizational meeting, individuals at each school to act as the Dignity for All Students Act Coordinator (Dignity Act Coordinator). These individuals shall 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, sex or any other legally protected status.

Niskayuna school principals are the Dignity for All Students Act coordinators for their respective school. Please contact the principal if you have questions, need assistance or need to report any issues.

Prohibition of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, Hazing and Retaliation

The Board of Education is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality. Board policy prohibits all acts of discrimination, harassment and bullying (including cyberbullying), as well as retaliation, by anyone on school property or at school functions. Acts of discrimination, harassment, hazing bullying or retaliatory behavior should be reported to any staff member, administrator, or the Title VII/Title IX Officer (Chief Equity Officer Latisha Barnett) at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50741 or lbarnett@niskyschools.org. Inquiries concerning policies regarding harassment and discrimination should also be directed toward the Title VII/Title IX Officer. Copies of the Board of Education policies are available in the District Office at 1239 Van Antwerp Road, in all school main offices, and on the district website.

Prohibition of Sexual Harassment

The Niskayuna Board of Education has a policy prohibiting sexual harassment in the Niskayuna Central School District. Sexual harassment is generally defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Any student, employee or school district officer who believes sexual harassment has occurred should report the alleged misconduct immediately so that corrective action may be taken as necessary. Students or parents should report any alleged misconduct to the Title VII/Title IX Officer (Chief Equity Officer Latisha Barnett) at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50741 or lbarnett@niskyschools.org, or the building principals. The District recognizes that sexual harassment is a sensitive issue and that students may choose to inform any trusted staff member of suspected discrimination or harassment.

The School District will act to promptly, thoroughly, and equitably investigate all complaints, whether verbal or written, of sexual harassment and will promptly take appropriate action to protect individuals from further sexual harassment. All such complaints will be handled in a manner consistent with the District’s policies, procedures, and/or regulations regarding the investigation of discrimination and harassment complaints.

The sexual harassment policy and guidelines are available in school offices or through Title VII/Title IX Officer (Chief Equity Officer Latisha Barnett) at (518) 377-4666, ext. 50741).

Harassment: A Guide for Students

Attendance Policy

All students are entitled to a sound basic education that will enable them to enjoy life and become effective citizens. This can best be achieved by regular class participation. The basic strategy of the Attendance Policy is to recognize the relationship between participation in class activities and the mastery of course material. Class attendance is recorded and reported to parents at the end of each marking period, or more frequently if needed.

Reasons for excused tardiness or absences are: Personal illness or injury, death or emergency illness in the immediate family, obligatory religious observance, required court appearance, medical and dental appointments, school sponsored events, college visits and interviews, career development or exploration programs approved by the principal, driver’s road test (not permit tests), late arriving bus, impassable roads or weather making travel unsafe, music lessons, or others as authorized by the principal.

Tardiness or absence for any other reasons is unexcused. Students with an excused absence shall be given an opportunity to make up missed work. Students with unexcused absences shall be subject to the sanctions provided by the Code of Conduct. Parents shall be notified by phone or by letter whenever their child is absent, tardy or departs early without a proper excuse. Additional actions shall be taken for students with severe attendance problems, as outlined in the Code of Conduct.

Board of Education Policy 7110: Comprehensive Student Attendance