Amendments to the Education Act will move students, teachers and schools closer to a new school Code of Conduct.
The proposed amendments will replace all school codes of conduct on Sept. 1, and allow a Ministerial Policy on Code of Conduct to be adopted provincewide.
The new code will help address concerns heard from 19,000 Nova Scotians who responded to the Minister’s Panel on Education about the amount of disruptions in classrooms and inconsistencies in discipline. It will ensure the safety of staff and students, and that unacceptable behaviour is responded to appropriately.
“These changes will make every classroom a positive learning environment where students can learn and teachers can teach,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey.
Under the new code, schools and school boards will provide support for student learning during a suspension. They will track incidents of the unacceptable behaviour and implement the new policy.
“The safety of our students and staff is an important priority of the department,” said Ms. Casey. “We all share responsibility for creating safe and inclusive environments in our schools. These changes that are part of the Action Plan for Education will help all of us work together to achieve this goal.
“I am pleased that teachers, administrators and school board members worked with us to develop the new code and I thank them for their time and contributions.”
Highlights of the new code of conduct include:
— clear definitions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
— appropriate responses for unacceptable behaviour
— increasing the time a principal may suspend a student without board approval from five to 10 days
— clear roles and responsibilities of the department, school boards, and schools to support a proactive approach to creative positive learning environments
— information that must be reported by principals through the incident referral form
Once the Education Act is amended, the department will provide professional development on the code and reporting structure for principals and administrators until June.