CODE OF CONDUCT FOR LEARNERS AND SCHOOL RULES

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

A.F.Louw Primary School is committed to providing an environment for the delivery of quality teaching and learning by:

  • Promoting the rights and safety of all learners and teachers and parents.
  • Ensuring learners’ responsibility for their own actions and behaviours.
  • Prohibiting all forms of unfair discrimination and intolerance.
  • Eliminating disruptive and offensive conduct.

The Code of Conduct spells out the rules regarding learner behaviour at A.F.Louw Primary and describes the disciplinary system to be implemented by the School concerning transgressions by learners. The Code of Conduct applies to all learners while they are on the School premises or when they are away from the School representing it or attending a School function.

 

Section 8(4) of the SA Schools Act provides that all learners attending a School are bound by the Code of Conduct of that School. The administration of the Code of Conduct is the responsibility of the Disciplinary Committee  of the School.

 

2. SCHOOL RULES

 

The School rules are intended to establish a disciplined and purposeful environment to facilitate effective teaching and learning at the School. Nothing shall exempt a learner from complying with the School rules. Ignorance of School rules is, therefore, not an acceptable excuse.

2.1 General Principles

2.1.1 Learners are expected at all times to behave in a courteous and considerate manner towards each other and all members of staff and visitors to the School.

2.1.2 Learners are expected to abide by the School rules with regard to appearance and behaviour when representing the School both during School hours and after School hours, at School and away from School.

2.1.3 Learners may not say or do anything that will discredit themselves or the School.

2.1.4 No learner has the right at any time to behave in a manner that will disrupt the learning activity of other learners, or will cause another learner physical or emotional harm.

2.1.5 The School will contact parents/guardians when a learner’s behaviour becomes a cause of concern and will endeavor, in a spirit of constructive partnership, to resolve the problem.

2.2 School uniform and general appearance

Learners are expected to wear the official School uniform and appear neat and tidy at all times.

2.2.1 No additions to the uniform that are not in accordance with the regulations will be allowed, except for navy blue beanies, scarves and plain navy blue gloves.

2.2.2 No earrings (except studs, sleepers ), jewellery, accessories, coloured contact lenses or visible tattoos are allowed.

2.2.3 No colouring of hair or wearing of exotic hairstyles, wigs and hair pieces is allowed.

2.2.4 Fingernails must be kept trimmed short and clean at all times.

2.2.5 During events that allow the wearing of casual wear, learners should wear neat, presentable clothes. Beachwear, tight-fitting clothes, and clothes that is see-through and/or too revealing are not allowed. Hair, shoes and accessories should be neat at all times.

2.2.6 Only learners that have applied, submitted relevant supporting documents and received the necessary permission from the School Governing Body, may deviate from official School uniform for religious and cultural reasons.

2.2.7 No learner is allowed the use of a cell phone on the school premises. Written permission of the principal is needed.

2.3 Valuables and personal belongings

2.3.1 The School will not be held responsible for theft of or damage to personal belongings on School premises (e.g. cell phones,  money, bags, books and clothing).

2.3.2 Arrangements should be made with the teacher in charge for safekeeping of valuables, etc. during sports practices and matches.

2.3.3 Learners may not bring computer games, iPods or similar electronic devices to School.

2.3.4 All personal belongings must be marked, e.g. clothing

2.4 General Rules

2.4.1 Loitering and/or playing in and around the corridors, stairwells and toilets is forbidden.

2.4.2 All litter must be placed in refuse bins or wastepaper baskets.

2.4.3 Willful damaging, vandalizing or neglect of School property and the property of others, either by writing or by a physical act, is prohibited. Theft of School and private property is also prohibited.

2.4.4 Any act of cheating in class work, homework, informal and formal tests or internal or external examination is prohibited. Furthermore, copying of and/or borrowing another learner’s work is forbidden (homework, plagiarism).

2.4.5 Disruptive, unruly, rude and/or offensive behaviour will not be tolerated.

2.4.6 The timeous handing in of work is the responsibility of each learner.

2.4.7 Learners who fail to produce a medical certificate  from parents/guardian on absenteeism during formal examinations/tests/assessment tasks will obtain a mark of “0” (nought) for the particular examination/test/assessment task.

2.4.8 The learner will respect the beliefs, culture, dignity and rights of other learners, as well as their right to privacy and confidentiality.

2.4.9 Language that is seen as pejorative (insulting), discriminatory or racist is prohibited.

2.4.10 Any act that belittles, demeans or humiliates another learner’s culture, race or religion is prohibited.

2.4.11 All learners have the right to an education free of interference, intimidation and/or physical abuse. The learner will respect the property and safety of other learners. Fighting or threatening of other learners is strictly forbidden.

2.4.12 Learners will respect their peers in positions of authority (prefects, class monitors, scholar patrol, library prefects). A learner who is in a position of authority will conduct him/herself in a manner befitting someone in authority. S/he will respect the rights of other learners and will not abuse such authority bestowed upon him/her through his/her position.

2.4.13 The carrying, copying and/or reading of offensive material is prohibited.

2.4.14 Learners must keep clear of areas that are indicated as out of bounds.

These include:

2.4.14.1 The School parking area

2.4.14.2 The office administration area, offices, staffroom, educator’s restrooms, during interval-playing on staircases/stoep, balcony, school hall and in computer rooms.

2.4.14.3 Electrical mains distribution boxes, fire extinguishers and hoses.

2.5 Rules governing public areas

The School is a place of safety where laws pertaining to public spaces are applicable.

2.5.1 No dangerous objects or illegal drugs as defined in the SA Schools Act or the Safety Regulations will be brought onto and/or used on the School property unless authorized by the Principal for educational purposes. Dangerous objects include knives, firearms or any item that could harm a person.

2.5.2 The carrying and/or smoking of cigarettes are prohibited.

2.5.3 Alcohol is not permitted on School premises.

2.5.4 The carrying of and/or consumption of illegal chemical substances and drugs are prohibited.

2.6 School Enrichment Programme

Involvement in activities making up the School Enrichment Programme forms a valuable and integral part of the holistic education of every learner. All learners are, therefore, urged to become actively involved in at least one (1) sport, cultural activity per year.

2.6.1 The learner is expected to adopt the correct etiquette pertaining to the specific activity at all times.

2.6.2 Once a learner has committed him/herself to an activity, s/he will be bound to meet the rules and obligations related to that activity.

2.6.3 Involvement in a particular activity will span the entire term/duration in which that activity takes place.

2.6.4 Attendance of all practices is compulsory. Missing a practice without a valid excuse in writing from the learner’s parents may result in the learner being suspended from participation in one (1) inter-school league fixture/activity.

2.6.5 Appropriate kit/uniform will be worn to practices.

2.6.6 The correct match kit/uniform will be worn to inter-school league fixtures.

2.6.7 Learners travelling to an away fixture will travel in full Sport School uniform, unless other arrangements have been made.

2.7 Accommodation of religious or cultural rights

Religious practices, conduct or obligations that relate to the core values and beliefs of a recognized religion and that are in conflict with any rule contained in this Code of Conduct will be accommodated by a deviation from this Code of Conduct by the Governing Body under the following conditions:

2.7.1 The learner, assisted by the parent, must apply for a deviation from the standard School rules if such rules are in conflict with or infringe on any religious right of the learner.

2.7.2 This application must be in writing and must identify the specific rule/s that is/are offensive to the learner’s religious right/s as contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

2.7.3 This application must include a reasonable interpretation of the religious rights that the learner feels are offended and a suggestion on how the rules may be supplemented by the Governing Body to accommodate such religious rights.

2.7.4 The learner must provide proof that s/he belongs to that specific religion and that the religious practices, rules and obligations that are in conflict with the School’s Code of Conduct is his/her true beliefs and commitments.

2.7.5 The religious conduct or practice must be lawful.

2.7.6 The Governing Body must consider the application and, if it is satisfied that the application is justified in terms of Constitutional principles, the application will be granted in writing.

2.7.7 When the Governing Body allows for deviations from the standard rules, such deviations must be based on core religious beliefs inherent to the religion, and it must be compulsory for the learner to comply with such beliefs.

2.7.8 The deviation must specify the extent of the exemption from the normal rules and must clearly identify the conduct that will be allowed – e.g. the wearing of a head scarf, including colours and details of design; the growing of a beard; or the wearing of a specific hairstyle or jewellery – and the conditions under which such deviation will be applicable to the learner.

 

3. DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM

 

Every teacher is responsible for discipline and has the full authority and responsibility to correct the behaviour of learners whenever such correction is necessary. Any corrective measure or disciplinary action will correspond with and be appropriate to the offence. All learners will abide by the disciplinary system that has been developed to assist and guide learner behaviour in the School.

3.1 Grading of Offences

Offences are graded according to the nature and degree of seriousness of the offences, of which Grade 4 offences are the most serious.

3.2 Disciplinary Procedures

The grade of an offence will determine the procedure to be followed. Grade Heads play a pivotal role in the administration of discipline within their grades. It is the responsibility of each Grades’ HOD to provide the necessary documentation, e.g. (written warning, notice of disciplinary hearing, etc), to grade heads in order to streamline the administrative process.

3.2.1 Grade 1 offence – a written warning followed by a final written warning, then a disciplinary hearing.

3.2.1 Grade 2 offences – a final written warning followed by a disciplinary hearing, then a tribunal hearing.

3.2.1 Grade 3 offence – a disciplinary hearing or a tribunal hearing (depending on the severity of the particular offence).

3.2.1 Grade 4 offence – offence immediately reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a tribunal hearing.

3.3 Grade 1: Offences

All Grade 1 offences will be dealt with by the educator or prefect concerned who must keep a written record of such offences and the disciplinary measure taken. When a third Grade 1 offence  occurs, the matter is referred to the Grade Head along with the record of all three (3) offences and the Grade Head will issue a written warning. A signed copy of acknowledgement will be kept on record by the Grade Head and communicated to the parent/guardian.

Should the particular Grade 1 offence recur  after disciplinary intervention has occurred and a written warning has been issued, the educator will, in consultation with the Grade Head, arrange an interview with the learner. A final written warning will be issued. A signed copy of acknowledgement will be kept on record by the Grade Head and communicated to the parent/guardian. The Grade Head will keep on record copies of all relevant documentation relating to the offences and the disciplinary measures imposed and provide copies thereof to the learner’s register teacher.

3.4 Grade 2: Offences

All Grade 2 offences will immediately be referred to the Grade Head. The educator will, in consultation with the Grade Head, arrange an interview with the learner. A final written warning will be issued and disciplinary action applied. A signed copy of acknowledgement will be kept on record by the Grade Head and communicated to the parent/guardian.

When a second Grade 2 offence occurs after a final written warning has been issued for the first offence, the Grade Head will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee for a disciplinary hearing. The parent/guardian will be advised in writing, a minimum of five (5) days before the designated date that an internal disciplinary hearing has been convened.

Should the particular Grade 2 offence recur after the issuing of a final written warning and a disciplinary hearing has occurred, the Disciplinary Committee will refer the matter to a tribunal hearing. The parent/guardian will be advised in writing, a minimum of five (5) days before the designated date that a tribunal hearing has been convened.

The Grade Head will keep on record copies of all relevant documentation relating to the offences and the disciplinary measures imposed and provide copies thereof to the learner’s register teacher.

3.5 Grade 3: Offences

All Grade 3 offences will immediately be reported to the Grade Head. The Grade Head will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Committee who will, depending on the severity of the offence, determine whether to convene a disciplinary hearing or a tribunal hearing. The parent/guardian will be advised in writing, a minimum of five (5) days before the designated date that a hearing has been convened.

3.6 Grade 4: Offences

All Grade 4 offences will immediately be reported to the Grade Head. The Grade Head will refer the matter to the School Principal who will immediately file a report with the SAPS and convene a Tribunal Hearing. The parent/guardian will be informed immediately of the offence and be advised in writing, a minimum of five (5) days before the designated date that a hearing has been convened.

 

4. DISCIPLINARY INTERVENTIONS

 

The following list of interventions and corrective measures used by the School are aimed at correcting behaviour before suspension and expulsion:

  • A verbal warning/reprimand to express disapproval.
  • Written warning.
  • Final written warning.
  • Written punishment.
  • Community service to improve the physical environment within and around the School property.
  • Homework detention.
  • Supervised schoolwork.
  • Referral for counseling.
  • Attendance of a relevant life skills programme.
  • Fines to compensate for damages, to cover the cost of repair or replacement of the lost or damaged item, and/or the accumulated fine.
  • Temporary suspension of School-related privileges
  • Exclusion from School activities and functions, e.g. camps, grade farewells, outings and excursions, sport and culture.
  • Withdrawal of recognition, e.g. award.
  • Temporary suspension from class or School, pending disciplinary hearing.
  • Disciplinary hearing.
  • Tribunal hearing.

4.1 Failure to comply with interventions and corrective measures will lead to further interventions and may lead to the offence being categorized at a higher grade. Expulsion may be recommended for a Grade 3 and a Grade 4 offence.

4.2 Conduct that may lead to suspension/exclusion includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Conduct that violates the rights or safety of others.
  • Criminal behaviour of any kind.
  • Defacing or destroying School property.
  • Disrespectful or objectionable conduct and verbal abuse directed at teachers, other School employees or fellow learners.
  • Outright defiance of lawful requests or instructions issued by persons in authority.
  • Indulging in harmful graffiti, racism or “hate speech”.
  • Sexual harassment or sexual assault.
  • Immoral behaviour or profanity.
  • Possessing, using or displaying evidence of use of any narcotics, unauthorised drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicant.
  • Repeated infringements of the School rules or the Code of Conduct.
  • Possession of dangerous weapons (guns, knives and other objects which may threaten the lives of learners/teachers).

4.3 Should a learner be found guilty by a court of law for breaking the law of the Republic of South Africa, the School has the right, after a fair hearing through the Governing Body, to recommend expulsion to the Western Cape Education Department.

4.4 A tribunal hearing will be convened with a view to recommending expulsion. In such instances the recommendation for expulsion will be submitted to the Provincial Head of Education to approve the decision.

4.5 Where approval for expulsion is not granted, learners will attend counseling or  relevant life skills programmes before they may return to class.

 

5. SUSPENSION OF A LEARNER BY THE PRINCIPAL OR DEPUTY PRINCIPAL AS A  PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE

 

The Governing Body authorizes the Principal or Deputy Principals to institute suspension, as a precautionary measure, with regard to a learner who is charged with a serous misconduct offence as contemplated in section 8 of the SA Schools Act.

 

The suspension of the learner will however only be valid if the following procedures are followed: Before a learner is suspended, the learner and his/her parents must be given an opportunity to indicate why the suspension should not be considered.

5.1 The disciplinary proceedings must commence within one (1) week after the suspension. If the proceedings do not commence within one (1) week, approval for the continuation of the suspension must be obtained from the Head of Department.

5.2 This suspension will be applicable until a finding of not guilty is made or, in the case of a finding of guilty, until the appropriate sanction is announced.

 

6. DISCIPLINARY AND TRIBUNAL HEARINGS

The following official forms will be used for misconduct and disciplinary hearings:

  • Written warning (disciplinary warning form) (Annexure C)
  • Final written warning (Annexure D)
  • Notice of disciplinary hearing (Annexure E)
  • Record of disciplinary hearing (Annexure F)
  • Review form (lodging of appeal) (Annexure G)

6.1 Written notice of a disciplinary or tribunal hearing will be given at least five (5) School days before the hearing, which could imply temporary suspension from classes.
6.2 When a notice is issued to a learner the learner must acknowledge receipt of notice by signing for it. This is not an admission of guilt.
6.3 If a learner does not appear at a hearing, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence.
6.4 A written verdict of the hearing will be issued to the offender. The offender must acknowledge the content by signing the document.
6.5 A learner has the right to request a review of the disciplinary action taken against him/her if sufficient grounds exist. Disregard of punishment of the Disciplinary Committee will lead to temporary suspension pending a hearing.
6.6 The Disciplinary Hearing Commission will consist of the following members:

  • a Governing Body representative/s – preferably parent members;
  • the School Principal or Discipline Officer delegated to oversee this function;
  • the Grade Head; and
  • the register teacher.

6.7 The hearing will also be attended by the learner, and any other learner she/he may need for his/her defense.
6.8 Disciplinary measures that a Disciplinary Hearing Committee may impose include:

  • Suspension from School for a minimum of two days up to a maximum of five (5) days, ratified by the Governing Body, to be effective immediately. This will be put in writing and a copy kept on record.
  • Recommendation with respect to counseling/attendance of a life skillsprogramme.
  • Progress monitoring process initiated for a minimum of two (2) weeks, followed up with a progress report.
  • A written conduct and behaviour warning issued. A signed copy of acknowledgement will be kept on record.
  • Payment to cover the cost of repair or replacement of the damaged, lost or stolen item.

6.9 The Tribunal Hearing Commission will consist of the following members:

  • the Governing Body Chairperson;
  • two (2) parent representatives from the Governing Body;
  • the School Principal or Discipline Officer delegated to oversee this function; and the Grade Head.

6.10 The Principal/Discipline Officer will keep on record copies of all documentation relating to the offence, the conducting and findings of the hearing, and the disciplinary measures imposed.
6.11 The Principal/Discipline Officer will furnish the relevant Grade Head and register teacher with all the information necessary for their records.

7. PROCEDURE DURING HEARINGS

7.1 The Chairperson of the Committee must lead the proceedings and:

  • Introduce those present and state their functions.
  • Ensure that witnesses are present only while giving their evidence.

7.2 The Chairperson must inform the learner of his/her rights:

  • The right to a formal hearing.
  • The right to be present at the hearing.
  • The right to be given time to prepare for the hearing case.
  • The right to be given advance notice of the charges.
  • The right to be represented at the hearing by one (1) internal representative.
  • The right to be accompanied at the hearing by parents/guardian.
  • The right to ask questions on any evidence produced, or on statements of witnesses.
  • The right to call witnesses to testify on his/her behalf.
  • The right to an interpreter, to be requested 24 hours prior to the hearing.
  • The right to appeal within five (5) days against any penalty imposed by the Disciplinary Committee.
  • If the learner does not attend, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence.

7.3 The Chairperson is to explain the nature of the alleged breach or misconduct  to those present at the hearing.
7.4 The procedure of enquiry is to be explained by The Chairperson. The evidence of the complainant and his/her witnesses will be heard first. The learner and  panel may ask questions about the evidence. The learner and his/her witnesses may then give evidence and the complainant and Committee may ask them questions.
7.5 When all the evidence has been heard, The Chairperson must close the enquiry, dismiss the complainant, the accused, their representatives, the Parent/guardian and all the witnesses.
7.6 The Disciplinary Committee must discuss and weigh the evidence and come to a decision.
7.7 The Chairperson must reconvene all interested parties.
7.8 The Chairperson is to communicate the decision of The Committee.
7.9 The Chairperson must explain the decision of The Committee and the reasons for the penalty (if any) that has been imposed.
7.10 The learner must be advised of his right to appeal (Annexure E).
7.11 The complainant and learner must sign the disciplinary form and a copy must be handed to the learner. (If the learner refuses, a witness must sign in the presence of the learner).
7.12 The signing of the document by the learner does not imply an acknowledgement of guilt.