Code of Conduct

Section XX: Appendix A – Glossary of definitions

Absence means failure to attend or appear at school.


Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism; copying another’s work; altering records and cheating by providing, receiving or viewing answers to quiz or test items or independent assignments; or using texts, documents, notes, or notebooks during tests without permission from a staff member.


School agent means any person(s) and/or entity who, at the moment of the alleged incident, was acting on behalf of the City School District of Albany and/or under direction of the district, including but not limited to, volunteers, speakers/presenters and chaperones for school events or on school property.


Arson means starting a fire or destruction of property as a result of starting a fire.


Attack means setting upon a person or persons in a forceful, hostile or aggressive way with or without provocation.


Bomb threat means the making of threats or providing false information about the presence of explosive materials or devices on school property without cause in writing, in person or by phone, including text messaging.


Bullying See harassment or bullying.


Change in placement if a child with a disability is suspended for more than 10 days, then a “change in placement” is said to have occurred. This 10-day limit does not have to be reached by a single suspension. If your child with a disability has been suspended multiple times, for similar conduct or similar lengths of time, then these suspensions may be added together and if greater than 10 days, could be equal to a change in placement.


Child pornography means sexually explicit images of children.


Classroom distraction means behavior that is disruptive or disturbing the class.


Controlled substance means a drug or other substance identified under schedule I, II, III, IV, or V in section 202 (c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. section 812[c]) (United States Code, 1994 edition, volume 11; Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402-9328: 1995 – available at the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, Room 1624, One Commerce Plaza, Albany, NY 12234).


Cyberbullying shall mean harassment or bullying as defined below, where such harassment or bullying occurs through any form of electronic communication.


Damage to property means damage, destruction of or defacement of property belonging to the school or others.


Dignity Act Coordinator means an employee designated by the board who ensures full compliance with the Dignity for All Students Act. It also refers to designated Dignity Act Coordinators in every school who coordinate and manage all written documentation, processing, school actions and interventions involved in enforcing the Dignity for All Students Act.


Disability includes the use of actual or perceived race, color, height, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, gender/gender identity sexual orientation or disability as a basis for treating another in a negative manner.


Discipline means a system of rules of conduct, training, practice and instruction that supports and sustains positive behaviors and self-discipline. Student discipline and support policies and practices must be implemented in ways that are perceived to be fair, equitable and differentiated. Students need different amounts of time, attention, tasks, interventions and supports to behave responsibly and achieve at high levels. Differentiated responses must occur within a larger framework of fair and equitable practices under which all students are treated fairly without favor toward or prejudice against any one group of students according to ability, talent, age, gender/gender identity developmental and acquired disabilities, race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious and spiritual orientation, national origin and home language, sexual orientation and indigenous heritage.


Disruptive student means an elementary or secondary student under the age of 21 who is substantially disruptive of the educational process or substantially interferes with the teacher’s authority over the classroom or activity.


Distribution means transferring possession of alcohol, drugs or inhalants to another person with or without an exchange of money.


Electronic devices means technology and equipment such as cell phones, computers and tablets.


Emotional harm means in the context of harassment and bullying, harm to a student’s emotional well-being through the creation of a hostile school environment that is so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably and substantially interfere with a student’s education.


Employee/school personnel means any person receiving compensation from a school district or employee of a contracted service provider or worker placed within the school under a public assistance employment program, pursuant to title 9-B of Article 5 of the Social Services Law, and consistent with the provisions of such title for the provision of services to such district, its students or employees, directly or through contract, whereby such services performed by such person involve direct student contact. (Education Law. Sec. 11(4) and 1125(3)).


Entering a class without permission means entering a class a student is not enrolled in or had been removed from for that class period.


Extortion means theft using coercion, which includes obtaining money or property from another student through coercion, intimidation or threat of physical harm.


Failure to clear security/bypassing security shall mean entry upon school property without submitting to the requisite security procedures and protocols.


False activation of a fire alarm means the activation of a fire alarm when there is no fire or emergency warranting such activation.


Fighting means displaying or engaging in violence, combat or aggression.


Forgery means false and/or fraudulent making or altering of a document of the use of such a document.


Gang activities or acts that intentionally further gangs or gang-related activities include but are not limited to: tagging or otherwise defacing school property with gang or gang-related symbols or slogans; requiring payment of protection, insurance or otherwise intimidating or threatening any person related to gang activity; inciting other students to intimidate or to act with physical violence upon other person related to gang activity; and soliciting others to gang membership.


Gambling means participation in games of chance, including, but not limited to, card playing for money and/or other things of value.


Gender shall mean actual or perceived sex and shall include a person’s gender identity or expression.


Gender expression means the way in which we each we express gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, haircut, voice and other forms of presentation.


Gender identity means the way in which people self-identify and present their masculinity and femininity to the world. Gender identity is an individual’s sense of being a man, a woman, a boy, or a girl, or sometimes outside of these binaries. Gender identity is internal and is not necessarily visible to others.


Harassment or bullying means the creation of a hostile environment by verbal and non-verbal conduct, intimidation, verbal threats or abuse, including cyberbullying, that has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits; or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being; including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such acts of harassment and bullying include those that occur on school property; at a school function or off school property where such acts create or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. Harassing and bullying behavior may be based on any characteristic including but not limited to actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender/gender identity. Bullying is an intentional act or the repeated intentional acts done willfully, knowingly and with deliberation, by individuals or an individual that target and harm another person physically or emotionally. Bullying is characterized by an imbalance of power between two students. If two students are equally engaged in an altercation, this is not a bullying situation, but instead considered a “conflict” between the two students.


Hallway misbehavior means willful acts that impede normal operations and navigation on school grounds outside of buildings and in public spaces within any school building including, but not limited to, hallways, stairwells, cafeteria, library, auditorium, all offices and all spaces not designated as classrooms. Hallway misbehavior includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bringing in unauthorized pets or animals;
  • Shoving, horseplay, play-fighting;
  • Clustering in groups in ways that impede the movement of students from one place to another;
  • Making unreasonable and excessive noise;
  • Obstructing vehicular traffic or pedestrian movement;
  • Running in hallways;
  • Running away when school staff member is asking a direct question or making a direct request to a student;
  • Unauthorized presence in any prohibited school area.

Hazing is a specific form of harassment among students defined as any humiliating or dangerous activity expected of a student in order to join a group or be accepted by a formal or informal group, regardless of the student’s willingness to participate. Hazing produces public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule, or creates a situation where public humiliation, physical or emotional discomfort, bodily injury or public ridicule is likely to occur. Hazing behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following general categories:

  • Humiliation: socially offensive, isolating or uncooperative behaviors;
  • Substance abuse: abuse of tobacco, alcohol or illegal/legal drugs;
  • Dangerous hazing: hurtful, aggressive, destructive and disruptive behaviors.

The term “hazing” as used in this Code of Conduct, means any conduct or methods of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, before, during or after school hours, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student. Consent of the victim of hazing shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution of hazing under this Code of Conduct. Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing and is at the scene of such a hazing shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to himself/herself or others, report such activity to an appropriate official as soon as responsibly possible. Any person who knowingly and unreasonably fails to report hazing activity shall be guilty as an accomplice in such activity. Employees who fail to report an incident of hazing may be subject to disciplinary action.


Illegal behavior means any behavior that is considered a violation against municipal, state, or federal laws.


Illegal drug means a controlled substance which is illegal in certain situations (meaning a person is not allowed to have them). This does not include a controlled substance legally possessed or used under the supervision of a licensed health care professional or a substance that is otherwise legally possessed or used under the authority of the Controlled Substances Act or under any other provision of federal law.


Inciting or participating in a disturbance means causing a large disruption to the atmosphere of order and discipline in the school that is necessary for effective learning, outside of general classroom disruption, such as a riot.


Indecent exposure means a student who appears in a public place in such a manner that the private or intimate parts of their body are unclothed or exposed.


Inhalant means medicine or illegal drug that is breathed into the lungs through the mouth or nose. Students will only be penalized for possession of illegal drugs or medicine they are not legally authorized to possess.


Instigating means behavior which is likely to incite or produce aggressive or physical conflict between two or more individuals.


Interventions mean specific programs, strategies, restorative conferencing protocols, skill-building sessions and individual and group counseling activities that enable students to reflect on their behavior, attitudes, needs and feelings; learn replacement behaviors and habits; work through personal obstacles; resolve conflicts; and develop goals and plans to get back on track for school success.


Leaving the classroom without permission occurs when a student exits a classroom without the permission of the teacher or staff.


Leveled consequences and interventions communicate an increasing sense of urgency and seriousness to the student and the parent by:

  • Increasing the degree of involvement and communication for the student and parent as consequences and interventions intensify;
  • Involving other teachers, student support team members, and/ or administrators in behavioral conferences and contracts with student and parent; 
  • Increasing the levels of adult supervision and monitoring of the student through daily check-ins, progress reports, and teacher feedback.

Leveled consequences and interventions move from teacher responses to behavior concerns to more intense and comprehensive interventions and consequences when a) the same behavior becomes chronic; or b) the intensity, frequency or severity of cumulative behaviors and incidents continues to escalate or c) a single incident warrants Level 2 or Level 3 consequence.


Long term suspension (See page 18)


Juvenile offender as defined by New York Criminal Procedure Law § 1.20 means 

  1. A person, thirteen years old who is criminally responsible for acts constituting murder in the second degree as defined in subdivisions one and two of section 125.25 of the penal law, or such conduct as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law; and 
  2. A person fourteen or fifteen years old who is criminally responsible for acts constituting the crimes defined in subdivisions one and two of section 125.25 (murder in the second degree) and in subdivision three of such section provided that the underlying crime for the murder charge is one for which such person is criminally responsible; section 135.25 (kidnapping in the first degree); 150.20 (arson in the first degree); subdivisions one and two of section 120.10 (assault in the first degree); 125.20 (manslaughter in the first degree); subdivisions one and two of section 130. 35 (rape in the first degree); subdivisions one and two of section 130.50 (criminal sexual act in the first degree); 130.70 (aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree); 140.30 (burglary in the first degree); subdivision one of section 140.25 (burglary in the second degree); 150.15 (arson in the second degree); 160.15 (robbery in the first degree); subdivision two of section 160.10 (robbery in the second degree) of the penal law; or section 265.03 of the penal law, where such machine gun or such firearm is possessed on school grounds, as that phrase is defined in subdivision fourteen of section 220.00 of the penal law; or defined in the penal law as an attempt to commit murder in the second degree or kidnapping in the first degree, or such conduct as a sexually motivated felony, where authorized pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal law.

Makeup work When students are removed from class because of inappropriate or disruptive behavior, school staff must provide students with missed assignments and the opportunity to make up these assignments without penalty. Students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans have additional protections that may require full IEP implementation, not just homework packets.


Manifestation determination A manifestation determination is a meeting held to decide if there is a relationship between the student’s disability and the behavior that is the subject of the disciplinary action. This meeting should be held immediately, but no longer than 10 days after a student with a disability has been suspended in a way that constitutes a change in placement. This meeting must take place within 10 days of the district’s decision to suspend the child for 10 or more days, or for a period of time that otherwise constitutes a disciplinary change in placement.


Material incident of harassment, bullying and/or discrimination means a single verified incident or a series of verified incidents where a student is subjected to harassment, bullying and/or discrimination by a student and/or employee on school property or at a school function. In addition, such term shall include a verified incident or series of related incidents of harassment or bullying that occur off school property, meets the definition “harassment and bullying” as defined above and is the subject of a written or oral complaint to the superintendent, principal or their designee, or other school employee. Such conduct shall include, but is not limited to threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity or sex; provided that nothing in this definition shall be construed to prohibit a denial of admission into, or exclusion from, a course of instruction based on a person’s gender that would be permissible under Education Law sec. 3201-a or 2854(2)(a) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681, et seq.), or to prohibit, as discrimination based on disability, actions that would be permissible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


National origin means a person’s country of birth or ancestor’s country of birth.


Non-authorized or inappropriate use and misuse of school equipment, school materials and electronic devices including:

  • Misuse of technology: Any situations in which a student or students deliberately tamper with, damage, alter, access, crash or corrupt the computer or communications system for a class, school or the district, resulting in the loss or corruption of information, or the ability of the system to operate, or in any way disrupts or degrades the school or district’s technology infrastructure.
  • Computer misuse: Any unauthorized or inappropriate use of computers, including the Internet, specific programs or hacking (i.e., sharing of obscene, pornographic [including transmission of child pornography], lewd or illegal images or photographs, unauthorized use of computers, software, or Internet/intranet accounts, accessing inappropriate websites).
  • Non-authorized use and misuse of electronic and other devices: This includes the non-authorized use of any of the following on school premises during the school hours of any school day: electronic communication devices, cellular phones, pocket pagers, laser pointers, personal music devices (Walkmans, MP3 players, etc.), electronic games and other materials designated by staff as disruptive or potentially disruptive. Misuse includes, but is not limited to, texting, sexting, blogging, verbal comments, graphic and symbolic communication, written communication via email, instant messaging, blogging and posting in web sites. Students may not engage in electronic communication which demeans or ridicules on the bases of actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, or any other legally protected status (electronic bullying).

Non-compliance means failure to follow established and identified school policies and procedures, failure to follow the directives of staff, failure to respond to staff (i.e.: stop horseplay, return to class, repeated foul language, etc.)


Offensive touching means an intentional act taken against a student with a part of the body or with an instrument, including, but not limited to, shoving, pushing, and striking, thereby causing offense, alarm, or minor physical harm.


Parent means parent, guardian or the person in a parental relationship to a student.


Persistent means repeated over a period of days after interventions have been implemented and given ample time to be effective.


Physical aggression means behavior causing or threatening physical harm towards others, including but not limited to, hitting, kicking, biting, and shoving.


Physical contact means the act of touching physically.


Positive behavior means socially appropriate behavior (verbal and non-verbal) that does not interfere with the learning environment.


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a school-wide, three-leveled framework of universal expectations, shared language and common policies and practices that support a safe, civil, disciplined and orderly school climate and positive student behavior through the promotion of social and emotional competence and habits of self-discipline and prevention of inappropriate, unacceptable and unskillful behaviors (Level 1); targeted interventions for students who meet specific criteria and conditions associated with specific interventions (Level 2); and more intensive and individualized interventions for students with high needs who are at greatest risk for healthy development and school success (Levels 3 and 4).


Public space misconduct Willful acts that impede normal operations and navigation on school grounds outside of buildings and in public spaces within any school building including, but not limited to, hallways, stairwells, cafeteria, library, auditorium, all offices, and all spaces not designated as classrooms. Public space misconduct can be classified as serious and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Bringing in unauthorized pets or animals;
  • Shoving, horseplay, play-fighting;
  • Clustering in groups in ways that impede the movement of students from one place to another;
  • Making unreasonable and excessive noise;
  • Obstructing vehicular traffic or pedestrian movement; 
  • Unauthorized presence in any prohibited school area.

Race A group of persons related by a common descent or heredity; For purposes of enumeration, the U.S. Census Bureau uses terms such as: “White/Caucasian,” “Black/African American/ African-descent,” “Asian,” “Biracial,” “Hispanics/Latinos,” etc. to describe and classify the inhabitants of the United States.


Repeatedly substantially disruptive means engaging in conduct that results in the student being removed from the classroom by teacher(s) pursuant to Education Law § 3214 (3-a) and this code on four or more occasions during a semester. If the proposed penalty is the minimum five-day suspension, the student and the student’s parent will be given the same notice and opportunity for an informal conference given to a student subject to a short-term suspension.


Reportable to police Certain offenses require police reports while reporting of others depends on whether the activity is considered criminal behavior. Police reports are required when an offense is illegal or causes injury to persons.


Robbery means obtaining or attempting to obtain money, goods, services or information from another by physical force or violence, coordinated violence or intimidation using a dangerous instrument or weapon.


School bus means every motor vehicle owned by a public or governmental agency or private school and operated for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity, to or from school or school activities, or, privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity, to or from school or school activities, or, privately owned and operated for compensation for the transportation of pupils, children of pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to or from school or school activities.


School function means any school-sponsored extracurricular event or activity.


School property means in or within any building, structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking lot or land contained within the real property boundary line of a public elementary or secondary school, or in or on a school bus, as defined in Vehicle and Traffic Law §142.


Serious bodily injury means bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ or mental faculty. Serious impairment of one’s physical condition.


Serious public space misconduct See public space misconduct. 


Sexual Offenses:

  • Inappropriate sexual behavior includes, but is not limited to, physical touching of intimate body parts of another or one’s self. Consensual acts of intimacy are not appropriate in an educational setting and are prohibited.
  • Sexual harassment means unwelcome acts, including, but not limited to, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, requesting, taking, or sending sexually explicit videos, pictures or auditory recordings or other inappropriate verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature, directed toward others. The sexual harassment offender suggests, solicits, requests, commands, demands or otherwise attempts to induce another individual to have sexual contact or sexual intercourse or unlawful sexual penetration knowing that it is likely to cause annoyance, offense or alarm to that individual.
  • Sexual assault means physical sexual act by force or threat of force against a staff member or another student, including inappropriate touching.
  • Rape or attempted rape includes forced or attempted forced sexual contact without the consent of the victim.

Sex means the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women (male and female denote “sex”).


Sexual orientation the sex to which a person is sexually attracted.


Student support teams includes but is not limited to school building and/or district-wide personnel operating in the role of social worker, behavior specialist, school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse, attendance teacher, homeless liaison, school administrator or other titles engaged in the work of supporting student social-emotional-behavioral wellbeing.


Short-term suspension (See page 18)


Tardiness means arriving late to school or class.


Theft means taking or attempting to take property of another person or institution without permission or knowledge of the owner, with the intent to deprive the owner of its use.


Threat means an actual declaration of an intention or determination to inflict injury or cause harm.


Threat against school personnel written or verbal means stating an intention to cause school personnel harm whether in writing or verbally. Tone and perceived threats are not sufficient; the student must actual threaten harm or injury against the school personnel or the family of school personnel.


Tobacco violations mean possession, use, sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape devices, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco or smokeless tobacco.


Trespassing means being on school property without permission, including while suspended or expelled; includes breaking and entering.


Verbal aggression against school personnel hall includes misleading or giving false information to school staff; confrontational and aggressive arguing; name-calling, insults, making inappropriate gestures, symbols or comments; or using profane or offensive language.


Under the influence means altered physical and/or mental state after consuming alcohol, drugs or inhalants.


Unintentional means not intentional or deliberate; accidental.


Using or possessing means consuming alcohol, drugs or inhalants or in possession of these substances on school property or at school functions. 


Violent or disruptive incident shall include, but is not limited to, the following categories of incidents that occur on school property of the school district: 

  1. Possession of a weapon, as defined below; 
  2. Use of a weapon; homicide;
  3. Personal injury and/or intimidation; 
  4. Assault; and
  5. Criminal harassment.

Violent student means a student under the age of 21 who while on school property or at a school function:

  1. Commits an act of violence upon a school employee or attempts to do so;
  2. Commits, an act of violence upon another student or any other person lawfully on school property or at the school function or attempts to do so;
  3. Possesses a weapon;
  4. Displays what appears to be a weapon;
  5. Threatens to use a weapon or threatens physical harm;
  6. Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys the personal property of any school employee or any person lawfully on school property or at a school function;
  7. Knowingly and intentionally damages or destroys school district property; or
  8. Is otherwise defined under Education Law §3214 (available at www.nysed.gov).

Weapon means a firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. §921 for purposes of the Gun-Free Schools Act. It also means any other gun, BB gun, pistol, revolver, shotgun, rifle, machine gun, disguised gun, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, switchblade knife, gravity knife, brass knuckles, sling shot, metal knuckle knife, box cutter, cane, sword, electronic dart gun, Kung Fu star, electronic stun gun, pepper spray or other noxious spray, explosive or incendiary bomb, loaded or blank cartridges or other ammunition, or other device, instrument, material, or substance that can cause physical injury or death when used with the intention of causing physical injury or death.