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Administrative Procedure 340: Student Code of Conduct

Purpose:  The purpose of this Administrative Procedure is:

  • To meet Palliser School Division's responsibility to provide students and staff with a welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environment for all students and school staff that respects diversity, fosters a sense of belonging and a positive sense of self.
  • To help students learn how to address issues of dispute, develop empathy and become good citizens both within and outside the school community.
  • To promote positive learning environments for each student.
  • To outline the roles and expectations related to student conduct.
  • To address the consequences when a student’s negative behavior affects the learning and school environment.

Bullying: repeated and hostile or demeaning behavior by an individual in the school community where the behavior is intended to cause harm, fear, or distress to one more other individuals in the school community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation. Bullying behaviour also includes behaviour that targets a student because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of a student, parents, or family members.  

Bullying can take different forms including:

Physical – pushing, hitting

Verbal – name-calling, threats

Social – exclusion, rumors

Cyber – using digital technology to harass, demean or threaten 

Discrimination: means an action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively for reasons such as race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation.

Harassment: means any behavior or pattern of repeated behavior that disparages, humiliates or harms another person, or denies an individual’s dignity and respect and is demeaning or humiliating to another person. The behaviour does not need to be intended as harassing to be considered as personal harassment. It is sufficient that one knows, or ought reasonably to know, that his/her behaviour is offensive and unwelcome. Harassment is not a relationship of mutual consent. It is any action including, but not limited to, verbal, physical, written and cyber messaging that is unwelcome or intimidating and denies individual dignity and respect.

Harassment occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct because of race, religious beliefs, gender, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, family status, source of income, age, ancestry, colour, place of origin, or sexual orientation. Examples of harassment which will not be tolerated in Palliser School Division include: verbal or physical abuse, threats, derogatory remarks, jokes, innuendo or taunts which allude to any of the above categories. Palliser School Division also will not tolerate the display of pornographic, racist or offensive signs or images, practical jokes that result in awkwardness or embarrassment, whether indirect or explicit.

Scope: This administrative procedure applies to:

  • All students registered in Palliser School Division;
  • All employees are responsible for being aware of the terms of the Student Code of Conduct.

Palliser School Division is committed to providing students and staff with a welcoming, caring, inclusive and safe learning environment that respects diversity, fosters a sense of belonging and a positive sense of self. Students enrolled in a school operated by Palliser School Division are protected from discrimination on the basis of any of the following grounds as provided by the Alberta Human Rights Act:

  • Race;
  • Religious beliefs;
  • Colour;
  • Gender;
  • Gender Identity;
  • Gender Expression;
  • Physical disability;
  • Mental disability;
  • Age;
  • Ancestry;
  • Place of origin;
  • Marital status;
  • Source of income;
  • Family status; and
  • Sexual orientation.

In conjunction with the Alberta Human Rights Act the following principles are also adhered to:

  1. Multiculturalism describes the diverse racial and cultural composition of Alberta society and its importance is recognized in Alberta as a fundamental principle in public policy.
  2. All Albertans should share in an awareness and appreciation of the diverse racial and cultural composition of society and that the richness of life in Alberta is enhanced by sharing that diversity.

Implementing an effective code of conduct is most successful when addressed through a comprehensive whole-school approach that:

  • happens over a sustained period of time;
  • is embedded into curricular and extra-curricular activities, school policies and practices;
  • builds the capacity of the school community;
  • is supported by ongoing professional development for adults; and
  • involves family and community partnerships.

Student Responsibilities for Promoting Positive Behaviors

Students are expected to behave in a manner that complies with the Student Code of Conduct and contributes to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment. In compliance with the School Act (s. 12) a student shall conduct themselves so as to reasonably comply with the following:

  • Be diligent in pursuing the student’s studies;
  • Attend school regularly and punctually;
  • Cooperate fully with everyone authorized by the board to provide education programs and other services;
  • Comply with the rules of the school;
  • Account to the students’ teachers for the students’ conduct;
  • Respect the rights of others;
  • Ensure that the student’s conduct contributes to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging;
  • Refrain from, report and not tolerate bullying or bullying behavior directed towards others in the school, whether or not it occurs within the school building, during the school day or by electronic means;
  • Positively contribute to the student’s school and community.

Students have a responsibility under the Education Act to respect the rights and dignity of others and to proactively participate in promoting and fostering positive relationships with others while:

  • on Palliser School Division property;
  • outside the school building or school hours or where the unacceptable behavior takes place electronically, provided the behavior has an impact on the school or individuals in the school;
  • participating in school-sponsored or authorized activities;
  • on school buses or other forms of approved transportation; and
  • in any other circumstance that may impact the school environment.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:

  • behaviours that interfere with the learning of others and/or the school environment, or that create unsafe conditions;
  • acts of bullying, harassment, intimidation or discrimination;
  • retribution against any person in the school who has intervened to prevent or report bullying or any other incident or safety concern;
  • illegal activity such as:
  • possession and/or misuse of controlled substances,
  • use, possession, sale, distribution of or active contact with a weapon on a student’s person, on or in the vicinity of school board property;
  • theft or damage to property including theft of identity and intellectual property.
  • disruptive or dangerous behavior and defiance of authority;
  • encouraging unacceptable conduct and engaging in conduct that endangers others;
  • any conduct which is injurious to the physical, social or mental well-being of others;
  • use, display or distribution of improper, profane, obscene or abusive language, messages, gestures or pictures;
  • use of technology such as computers, cameras, cell phones, and other digital equipment for purposes that are illegal, unethical, immoral, or inappropriate;
  • use, possession, distribution, or collection of money for illicit drugs, alcohol, or inhalants in school, on school board property or in the context of any school-related activity;
  • involvement in the formation of or affiliation with gangs or other groups which negatively impact the school environment;
  • hazing and initiation activities;
  • criminal activity;
  • failure to comply with Palliser School Division's Code of Conduct;
  • failure to comply with Education Act.

Parent/Guardian Role

Parents and guardians play a vital role in developing student behaviour and conduct. It is the Division’s expectation that a parent or guardian has the responsibility to:

  • take an active role in the student’s educational success, including assisting the student in complying with ‘Student Responsibilities for Promoting Positive Behaviors’ of this policy;
  • ensure that the parent or guardian’s conduct contributes to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment;
  • cooperate and collaborate with school staff to support the delivery of specialized supports and services to the student;
  • encourage, foster and advance collaborative, positive and respectful relationships with students, teachers, principals, and other school staff and professionals providing supports and services in the school; and
  • engage in the student’s school community.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

The primary focus of the code of conduct is on helping students learn how to resolve issues peacefully, develop empathy, and contribute to welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respects diversity, foster a sense of belonging and a positive sense of self.

Staff and parents play important roles in shaping culture, but for meaningful and lasting change to occur, students must be an integral part of the process. Students need to be part of preventing as well as solving problems. They need authentic opportunities to share their ideas regarding safety, inclusivity, leadership and responsibility to and within the school community. This involvement helps create a sense of ownership for the well-being of the school community and encourages students to advocate for themselves and others, personally and collectively.

The Education Act requires that student codes of conduct address consequences for unacceptable behavior and that these consequences take into account the student’s age, maturity, and individual circumstances. Responses to student behavior must reflect a consistent and school-wide approach that ensures a range of fair and predictable responses to unacceptable behaviour. Consequences will typically progress from the classroom, school and system levels and cover a range of possibilities including CSTAG (Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines), suspension, expulsion and involvement of the police, as outlined in Administrative Procedures 351 - Student Discipline and Suspension and AP 317 -  Threat Assessment Protocol.  

The principal and school staff shall support all students impacted by unacceptable conduct, including bullying, discrimination and harassment. Support will be provided to students impacted by inappropriate behavior and to those students who engage in inappropriate behavior. When disciplinary action is required, staff shall, where possible, work with the student’s parents, and may involve district resource staff and, where appropriate, staff from community agencies.

While each situation will be handled in context the focus will remain on restorative principles. Restorative principles are the foundational beliefs that drive restorative approaches and practices. Restorative principles include a focus on relationships, responsibility, accountability, engagement and voice. When embedded into a school's culture, the result is a more supportive learning environment where both students and staff thrive.

Each principal will ensure a School Student Code of Conduct is developed at their school and provided to all students, staff and parents, made publicly available and reviewed each year. The school’s Student Code of Conduct must align with the Student Code of Conduct of Palliser School Division.

Concern/Complaint Procedure

The school shall provide support for students who are impacted by inappropriate behaviour, as well as for students who engage in inappropriate behaviour.

  1. Should a student be subject to or witness of: bullying, harassment, discrimination, unwanted behaviours as described in the Student Code of Conduct (Unacceptable Behaviours) or conduct that interferes with maintaining a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment in the school, that student should contact a classroom teacher, school counselor, or any other staff member with whom they feel comfortable. A parent or guardian may make contact regarding a complaint or concern.
  2. All complaints of discriminatory, harassing, and bullying language and behaviours are taken seriously, documented, and dealt with in a timely manner.
  3. Confidentiality regarding the complaint shall be maintained by all parties as agreed relative to further action.
  4. A complaint or concern may be communicated informally through oral communication or formally in writing with a professional staff member or a principal. Professional staff will inform the principal. Where possible, the complaint should clearly outline the cause for complaint or issue, as well as a description of the specific incident or incidents, the dates, and names of any witnesses.
  5. The principal or designate will investigate the complaint and apply the appropriate consequences as delineated in ‘Consequences of Inappropriate Behaviour’ in the Student Code of Conduct.
  6. The principal will determine whether the level of seriousness requires an investigation and/or police involvement. 
  7. The principal or designate wil document the investigations and outcome, including any disciplinary action and supports. Administrative Procedure 320 - Student Record Portfolio applies for record retention and disposition.
  8. Retaliation. No member of Palliser School Division school community, including students, staff, parents/guardians, and/or volunteers, shall take retaliatory action with the intent of dissuading or punishing an individual for participating in the complaint resolution process. Individuals who retaliate may be subject to discipline and/or legal action.


Alberta Human Rights Act

Education Act

Palliser School Division Board Policy 10 -  Safe and Caring Learning Environment 

Palliser School Division Administrative Procedures: