Code of Conduct and Anti Bullying Policy

At Saplings we believe it is important to address and protect a students’ physical safety, social connectedness, inclusiveness and protection from all forms of bullying, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. We believe in a discipline that is fair and consistent, that provides a positive, purposeful and safe learning environment, and that promotes student self-discipline, cooperation and consideration. We also believe that an effective discipline system requires the support of parents.

Our Code of Conduct is a system of behaviour expectations that is based on four guidelines:

  • Care and Respect for Myself
  • Care and Respect for Others
  • Care and Respect for Learning
  • Care and Respect for our Environment

This code is reviewed with students in early September and throughout the school year. It would be helpful if parents also reviewed the code with their students. Saplings hope that the application of this code will help us to ensure that the school is a happy, safe and productive place for all.

Consequences for misbehaviour will be logical and suit the misbehaviour insofar as is possible. Minor infractions will be dealt with by the educator or educator-aide. Major infractions may require the involvement of parents and perhaps other school personnel. All efforts will be made to help the youngster change their behaviour to an acceptable form.

Although it is necessary to deal with negative behaviour when it occurs, the staff is committed to the notion that the best way to influence students to act responsibly is to acknowledge and emphasize their positive behaviour. Our staff is very resourceful in using techniques for positive recognition.

Parents as Important Educators

Parents are an important educator for their child and a valuable partner to their child’s educators in school. What one does as a parent helps each child to be successful in school and in life. A few suggestions to consider:

  • Always speak of the school and staff in positive, constructive terms. If parents have a concern, share it with staff who can explain it or help to solve it together.
  • Send children to school each morning with a cheerful parting.
  • Show interest in each child’s schoolwork.
  • Provide a special time each day for parents and youngsters to spend a few minutes to talk and to enjoy each other’s company.

Parents are powerful role models – ideally, children should see parents reading, writing, solving problems and enjoying these activities.

Anti Bullying Action Plan

At Saplings we strive to create a safe, respectful, orderly, and welcoming school environment by building and maintaining positive relationships between students, staff and parents, and explicitly teaching the skills involved with conflict resolution and becoming more self-aware. We also recognize that bullying and intimidation have a negative effect on the learning climate of the school and therefore, as a learning community, we prefer to address problematic behaviour rather than label a child as a ‘bully’ or ‘victim’. Our students are actively taught problem-solving skills and appropriate responses to bullying from an early age. It is important for them to know that we take bullying seriously and need to know when it occurs.

The B.C. The Ministry of Education defines bullying as: repeated physical aggression, name calling, threats or exclusion in a context where there is intent to harm and an imbalance of power. The bullying of members of the school community, by physical, verbal, written or electronic means, is not permitted at Saplings. Anyone who witnesses bullying is expected to speak with the school personnel (educator, educational assistant, noon hour supervisor, and counselor, Principal, or Program Director).

Bullying is serious behavior that has three key features –all three must be present for the situation to be considered bullying:

  • Power imbalance –One child clearly has power over the other(s), which may be due to age, size, social status, and so on.
  • Intention to harm –The purpose of the bullying behaviour is to harm or hurt other(s) –it’s intended to be mean and is clearly not accidental. 
  • Repeated over time –bullying behaviour continues over time, and gets worse with repetition. There is a real or implied threat that the behaviour will not stop, and in fact will become even more serious. 

The effect on the child who is being bullied is increased fear, apprehension, and distress. Often by the time adults find out about what is happening, the child has tried many ways to stop the bullying but cannot do so on their own. Adults must address the bullying behaviour and ensure the safety of the student who has been targeted. They also need to reassure the children who may have witnessed the behaviour that adults are taking care of it. 

When schools respond to bullying, staff will also help the child who has been bullying others to take responsibility for their actions, and change their behaviour. They will monitor the situation to ensure the bullying stops, and will support the child who has been bullied to regain confidence and a sense of safety. Staff may follow-up with the students who observed the behaviour to help them learn what help them learn what to do when they see bullying. 

The “conflict resolution” style of bringing the children together is not recommended in bullying situations, until considerable time has gone by and all children are feeling safe enough to talk about what happened so that relationships can be healed.

Saplings anti bullying action plan includes the following: 

In order that the staff member will ensure that the students are safe and supported; they will

  • investigate to determine details of the incident 
  • Staff member will communicate with the Principal/Program Director
  • The Principal/Program Director will investigate further 
  • The Principal/Program Director will review the School Code of Conduct in relation to the violation of another student’s right to a safe and secure learning environment 

The Principal or Program Director will determine the appropriate consequences and course of action, taking into consideration: 

  • Student’s age/developmental level 
  • The seriousness of the incident 
  • The student’s history 
  • The history of the relationship between the students

The consequence(s) for the student who is bullying will range from, but are not limited to: 

  • Discussion with students involved and proactive solutions decided upon 
  • Completion of assignment on social responsibility including problem solving sheets,
  • letters of apology, essays, posters etc. 
  • Completion of school service 
  • Loss of recess or noon hour privileges 
  • Loss of extra curricular privileges 
  • In school suspension with communication to parents
  • Formal suspension with written notification to parents which will be put in the student’s file 
  • Involvement with a Youth Intervention Officer 
  • Or other consequences as deemed necessary

The bullying incident will be documented and there will be a follow up with the parents through text, email, or phone call. Additional supervision, support, and monitoring will be provided as necessary. Saplings will take all reasonable steps to prevent retaliation by a person against a student who has made a complaint of a breach. 

The Saplings Anti Bullying Action Plan is built as a partnership between parents and staff. Bullying should not be kept a secret. It is the secrecy that generally allows bullying to continue unabated and makes dealing with the issue very difficult. As staff and as parents, we need to help all students develop interpersonal skills upon which they build positive relationships with peers. By responding together, we can make a difference.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Behaviours

Students are expected to learn and mature as they move through successive grades, and as such the expectations progress towards increasing personal responsibility and self-discipline, as well as increasing consequences for inappropriate conduct/unacceptable behavior. Unacceptable behaviour includes bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, intimidation, threatening or violent behavior while at school, at a school-related activity or in other circumstances where engaging in the activity will have a negative impact on the school environment.

Student responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

  • Demonstrating commitment to learning by coming to school prepared to learn and by contributing to a safe, caring, positive, inclusive, and peaceful environment;
  • Neither taking part in nor condoning (provoke, encourage or make a spectacle of) any form of violence, including bullying, harassment, threat-making, intimidation, verbal, sexual, physical or online abuse and harassment, or discrimination in any form including discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability or challenge, gender, sexual orientation or age;
  • Seeking to prevent violence and potentially violent situations, and demonstrating their social responsibility by reporting such situations;
  • Not possessing, using or displaying any weapon, replica weapon or toy weapon, on any school property or at any event that is organized or sponsored by a school. Only replica weapons designed for school theatrical production will be permitted for use in productions, drama classes, and rehearsals as authorized and permitted by the Principal or Director of School. Offences involving weapons shall result in significant consequences;
  • Demonstrating, when utilizing the Internet, social media, email or other electronic forms of communication, appropriate digital behaviour;
  • Not attending school or school functions while in possession of or while under the influence of any intoxicating, banned or controlled substances;
  • Showing respect and care for the property of others by refraining from littering, theft, vandalism, graffiti and other inappropriate behaviours related to property;
  • Not smoking any substance, nor use vaporizers or e-cigarettes on school and other District property; 
  • Using respectful language and refrain from using obscenities and derogatory language; 
  • Practicing academic honesty and personal integrity by not participating in or encouraging plagiarism, cheating, theft of evaluation instruments,use of unauthorized aids, or false representation of identity; 
  • Attending school in appropriate dress that is not obscene and does not promote alcohol or drugs, display offensive language or images, encourage discrimination or present a health or safety problem or cause a disruption; and
  • Students must never engage in acts of hate, defined as verbal, physical, written, cyber or social acts of bias, prejudice, and bigotry which incite hatred towards a person or persons based on their membership in a group protected under the provisions of the Human Rights Code, including race, colour, ancestry, ethnic origin, religion, socio-economic status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, or political beliefs. These acts may be carried out by individuals or groups and are directed against specific persons, groups or property. In some cases, acts of hate may constitute criminal offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. Saplings recognizes the serious impact of crimes of hate on individuals and the school community.