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WELCOMING, CARING, RESPECTFUL AND SAFE TEACHING AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT POLICY - PARKLAND SCHOOL

OVERVIEW

In keeping with Alberta Regulations; this policy is put in place as of June 1, 2015. Inclusion and the sense of belonging for all students and staff members is the result of the creation of an environment and a culture where the focus is on all the ways in which we are similar, not on the things that make us different. Each student has the right to learn and each staff member has the right to work in an environment that promotes equality of opportunity, dignity and respect.

POLICY
PART 1

Consistent with our mission, Parkland School Special Ed is committed to a safe, caring, respectful, equitable and welcoming learning and teaching environment for all students.

All students have the right to learn and work in an environment free of discrimination, prejudice and harassment. This right is guaranteed under the
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  • The Alberta Human Rights Act as amended March 10, 2015. In addition, the Alberta Human Rights Act includes the right not to be discriminated against by reason of race, national origin, color, religion or gender identity or gender expression. Legislation also provides as a fundamental right the “right of parents to make informed decisions respecting the education of their children”, and,
  • Requirements of the Alberta School Act (and upon Proclamation the Education Act, Section 35.1) that provide for measures that support the equality and non-discrimination of students who may belong to minority groups, including sexual orientation.

PART 2

Parkland School Special Ed will not tolerate harassment, bullying, intimidation or discrimination on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived differences or gender identity or gender expression.

Parkland School Special Ed believes that all students have the right to:
  • be treated fairly, equitably, and with dignity and respect;
  • have their confidentiality protected and respected;
  • self-identification and determination;
  • freedom of conscience, expression and association;
  • be fully included and represented in an inclusive, positive and respectful manner by all school personnel;
  • have equitable access to the same supports, services and protections provided to heterosexual students and their families;
  • have avenues of recourse (without fear of reprisal) available to them when they are victims of harassment, prejudice, discrimination, intimidation, bullying, and/or violence; and
  • have their unique identities, families, cultures, and communities included, valued and respected within the school environment.

PART 3

Parkland School Special Ed is committed to implementing measures that will:
  • Define appropriate expectations, behaviors, language, and actions in order to prevent discrimination, prejudice, and harassment through greater awareness of, and responsiveness to, their harmful effects.
  • Ensure that all such discriminatory behaviors and complaints will be taken seriously, documented, and dealt with expeditiously and effectively through consistently applied policy and procedures.
  • Improve students’ understanding of the individual lives of minorities, their families, cultures and communities.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate educational strategies, professional development opportunities, and administrative guidelines to ensure that minorities including gender minorities and their families are treated with respect and dignity in all aspects of the school community in a manner consistent with the school’s mission and vision.

APPENDIX


STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT
Parkland School Special Ed acknowledges its responsibility to ensure welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning and teaching environments for all students. It recognizes the importance of students’ emotional, social, intellectual and physical wellness to their success in school and expects students to adhere to the Code of Conduct.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Education Act requires that the student code of conduct include a statement of purpose that provides a rationale for the code of conduct so that students, parents, and staff understand why a code of conduct exists. The statement of purpose reflects the values and principles set out in the foregoing policy:
  • to establish and maintain a welcoming, caring, respectful, and safe learning environment for all students and school staff.

ALBERTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
The Alberta Human Rights Act states it is recognized in Alberta as a fundamental principle and as a matter of public policy that:
  • all persons are equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities without regard to race, religious beliefs, color, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation;
  • the importance of the multiculturalism that describes the diverse racial and cultural composition of Alberta society is recognized;
  • all Albertans should share in an awareness and appreciation of the diverse racial and cultural composition of society and understand that the richness of Alberta is enhanced by sharing that diversity.

ACCEPTABLE AND UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT
Acceptable conduct that reflects the responsibilities in the Alberta Human Rights Act:
  • Respect yourself and the rights of others in the school.
  • Make sure your conduct contributes to a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment in a school that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging for all students.
  • Refrain from, report and refuse to tolerate bullying or bullying behavior, even if it happens outside the school/school hours or electronically.
  • Inform an adult you trust in a timely manner of incidents of bullying, harassment, intimidation or other safety concerns in the school.
  • Act in ways that honor and appropriately represent you and your school.
  • Be ready to learn and engage in your education to the best of your ability.
  • Comply with the rules of your school.
  • Cooperate with all school staff.
  • Be accountable for your conduct.
  • Contribute positively to your school and community.
Discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds in the Alberta Human Rights Act is unacceptable behavior and these grounds are not open to adaptation by any school board due to section 33(3)(d) of the Education Act.
Unacceptable behaviors that may negatively affect a member of the Parkland School Special Ed community or the school’s learning environment, whether in or outside of the school or school hours or electronically, include, but are not limited to:
  • Discrimination. In keeping with the Alberta Human Rights Act, no student or person may discriminate against another student on the basis of an individual student’s race, color, ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs, gender, physical disability, mental disability, family status or sexual orientation.
  • Acts of bullying, harassment or intimidation. As defined in the School Act, bullying is defined as the “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 or more individuals in the school community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation”.
  • Physical violence.
  • Acts of retribution against an individual who has intervened to prevent bullying or informed about bullying or other unacceptable behavior.
  • Illegal activities including those involving illegal or restricted substances, possession or use or threat of use of weapons, and theft and damage to property.

CONSEQUENCES OF UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT
Parkland School Special Ed will investigate each instance of unacceptable conduct and pursue disciplinary action in a manner consistent with the principles of fundamental justice and the school’s student discipline policy. In grave circumstances, an individual found to have engaged in unacceptable conduct may be subject to possible suspension or expulsion. The special circumstances of the situation and of the student must be taken into account when determining appropriate consequences (for example: any special needs including physical, intellectual, behavioral, communicational, trauma-based etc.) and must be carefully considered.

REMEDIATION AND SUPPORT
In order to foster a positive learning environment, Parkland School Special Ed will engage in reasonable and caring efforts to support both the individual(s) who may have been the subject of or victim(s) of unacceptable behavior(s) and to support perpetrators of unacceptable conduct to improve their behavior through mentoring, restorative processes and/or counselling.




POLICY re: Parent Concerns
(Taken from Special Education Programming, Consultation, Planning and Problem Solving Policy - Feb/07)

  1. Parent concerns will be dealt with in the following manner:

    1. All concerns must be received in writing from the parent - any such concerns must be immediately brought to the attention of the Director.
    2. A meetng will be arranged between the parent and teacher (Director will be present if required).
    3. If resolution is not found, a meeting will be arranged between parent and Director.
    4. If resolution is not achieved at school level, the Guardian Grievance and Appeal Process (Parkland Community Living and Supports Society Policy V:1:7 (seen below)) will be given to the parent. The process will allow the parent to grieve through the Divisional Director (Level 1) and the Executive Director (Level II).
    5. If no resolution is found in Level II, the parent will be instructed to utilize Levell III of the Appeal process. Level III of this process is appeal to an alternative regional or government authority. This authority is the home school jurisdiction of the student. Their appeal procedure will then be utilized.

    NOTE: Parents are advised that they may write to the Minister of Education following the district's board decision if they are not satisfied with the results. However, there is no guaranteed right to a review. The Minister has the authority to determine if the matter will be reviewed, and the manner in which the matter will be reviewed. Under the School Act of the Government of Alberta, the Minister may review a board decision on:
    • placement in a special education program
    • Francophone Charter 23 issues
    • explusion decision
    • home education matters
    • the amount and payment of fees
    • the accuracy or completeness of a student record

Individual/Guardian Grievance and Appeal Process (V:1:7)

PROCEDURES:

  1. Level I - Coordinator, Program Manager or Divisional Director Responsible for the Residence or Program

    The compainant, either an individual who receives services or their guardian, raises a concern relative to the individual's service, the treatment of the individual, or a decision made by an employee of the Agency.

    1. When made aware of a problem, meet with the individual and/or guardian and attempt to resolve the problem.
    2. For reference purposes, advise the affected individual that all concern(s) should be stated in writing.
    3. Ensure the information presented is handled supportively in an effort to effectively resolve the issue.
    4. Respond to the individual and or guardian in writing within fifteen (15) working days.
    5. File the written individual/guardian grievance and response in the individual's master file, with a copy being provided to the Executive Director.

  2. Level II - Executive Director

    In the event that the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome at Level I, a formal appeal can be made to the Executive Director within seven (7) working days of receiving the Level 1 response from the Coordinator, Program Manager or Divisional Director.

    1. Ensure the information presented is handled supportively in an effort to effectively resolve the issue.
    2. Ensure all decisions and responses to grievances or appeals are determined according to the Agency's philosophy, policies, procedures, systems and the individual's and/or guardian's needs and requests.
    3. Receive the written grievance or concern within seven (7) working days after the Level I response, investigate and review all written concerns or grievances submitted as part of Level II.
    4. Provide a written response to the individual and/or guardian within fifteen (15) working days.
    5. Forward the written individual/guardian concern or grievance and the Executive Director's response to the appropriate Divisional Director, Program Manager or Coordinator to file on the individual's master file.
    6. Provide the individual and/or guardian with a copy of the PDD, Community and Provincial Boards' Dispute Resolution Process, or the applicable dispute resolution process of other regional or government authorities.

  3. Level III - External Review of Decisions

    In the event the complainant is dissatisfied with the Executive Director's response at Level II, an appeal to this decision may be made to the Home School Board in accordance with their formal Dispute Resolution Process, or as an alternative to another regional or government authority pursuant to their established procedures and processes. The External Review board will submit their recommendations to the individual and/or guardian with a copy being forwarded to the Executive Director.

  4. Level IV - Consideration of External Review Board Recommendations

    The Executive Director will fully review all recommendations offered by an External Review Board and, if necessary, will discuss these recommendations with Parkland's Board of Directors prior to coming to a final decision in the matter being grieved or appealed.

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