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1. INTRODUCTION

Every educator is responsible for discipline and has the full authority and responsibility to correct behaviour of learners whenever such a correction is necessary. Any corrective measure of disciplinary action will correspond with and be appropriate to the offence.

2. PREAMBLE

The following issues will be outlined in the discipline policy:

  • Grading of offences
  • Discipline Interventions
  • Suspension/Expulsion of learners
  • Discipline and Tribunal Hearings

The policy was compiled in accordance with the following legislation, circulars and guidelines:

  • National Education Act
  • SA Schools Act 84 of 1996
  • Departmental circulars
  • Department of Education: Procedures of Handling Learner Misconduct
  • Protocol and Procedures Manual: The Proactive Education Group

3. PURPOSE OF THE POLICY

To create a school environment that will promote the academic development and performance of every learner in and organized structure.

The discipline system will emphasize that the self-discipline of every learner in not only the responsibility of the school but it is a partnership between the school, the parent and the community.

The demerit/and merit system and the procedures put in place to take disciplinary measures is a fair system to take action towards learners that transgress the Code of Conduct for Learners of Alberton High and to make sure that learners that want to learn, receive quality education.

The policy is also to make sure that the learner and the parent, that has to provide guidance to the learner, support the system to ensure that the learners’ right will be respected and protected. Every learner and parent will sign a Learner Commitment in the beginning of the year and this will be kept in a file in the office of the Discipline Officer. (Annexure A)

4. POLICY REGULATIONS

4.1 Grading of offences

  • Grade 1 Offences: A written warning, followed by a final warning, then a disciplinary hearing
  • Grade 2 Offences: A final warning, followed by a disciplinary hearing, then a tribunal hearing
  • Grade 3 Offences: A disciplinary hearing, then a tribunal hearing (depending on the severity of the particular offence)
  • Grade 4 Offences: Offence to be immediately reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS) and a tribunal hearing

4.1.1 Grade 1 Offences

  • All grade 1 offences will be dealt with by educators who must keep a written record of the offence and disciplinary measures taken.
  • Councillor members will immediately scan the offence.
  • When a grade 1 offence occurs the third time, the educator will scan the learners and issue him with a warning.
  • Should the particular grade 1 offence recur after the warning issued, the educator will refer the learner to the Discipline Officer with a record of the offences.
  • The Discipline Officer will enter the offence on the system, take disciplinary measures and communicate the problem to the parents/guardian.
  • Should the particular grade 1 offence reoccur after referral to the Discipline Officer, it will be treated as a grade 2 offence.

4.1.2 Grade 2 Offences

  • All grade 2 offences will be referred immediately to the Discipline Officer. A Final warning will be issued and discipline action applied.
  • When a second grade 2 offence occurs after the final warning has been issued the matter will be referred to the Discipline Committee for a disciplinary hearing.
  • The parent/guardian will be advised in writing within a period of five (5) days before the designated date, that an internal disciplinary hearing has been convened.
  • Should the particular offence reoccur after the issuing of a final warning and a disciplinary hearing has occurred, the matter will be referred to a tribunal hearing.
  • The parent/guardian will be advised in writing within a period of five (5) days before the designated date, that a tribunal hearing has been convened.

4.1.3 Grade 3 Offences

  • All grade 3 offences will be reported immediately to the Disciplinary Officer 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 within a period of five (5) days before the designated date, that a hearing has been convened.

4.1.4 Grade 4 Offences

  • All grade 4 offences will be reported immediately to the Discipline Officer who will, immediately file a report with SAPS and convene a tribunal hearing.
  • The parent/guardian will be advised in writing within a period of five (5) days before the designated date, that a tribunal hearing has been convened.

4.2 List of offences per grade of offence

  • Refer to Annexure B

4.3 Assistance to Educators

  • All newly appointed staff will receive in-service training on how to deal with discipline
  • Frequent class visits to help/guide/lead educators with classroom discipline.
  • Group meetings to find innovative ways to manage discipline will take place.
  • Educators are encouraged to use a positive behaviour reward system for learners.

5. DISCIPLINE INTERVENTIONS

5.1 Interventions and corrective measures aimed at correcting the behavior 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
  • De-merit detention
  • Referral for counseling
  • Fines to compensate for damages, to cover the cost of repair or replacement of the lost or damaged item, smoking, prohibited items of clothing and/or accumulated fine
  • Temporary suspension of any school related privileges
  • Exclusion from school activities and functions
  • Temporary suspension from class/school, pending disciplinary hearing
  • Disciplinary Hearing
  • Tribunal Hearing

5.2 Failure to comply with interventions and corrective measures

  • 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 4 offence.
  • High demerit points will lead to disciplinary hearing or tribunal hearing (depending on the amount of minus points)
  • Learner will be placed on detention in the case of continuous late coming or high demerits (-80)
  • Learner with high demerits might not be allowed to become a member of the Representative Council of Learners
  • A Grade 12 learner with - 25 or more will not be allowed to attend the Matric Farewell function at the end of the year.
  • A Grade 10 - 11 learner with -80 or more will not be allowed to attend the grade 10 or 11 camps or any excursion during the year
  • Depending on the type of infringement, a learner with very high demerits will be excluded from receiving colours for sport, academic etc. Should the demerit points decrease the Principal may decide to award the colours at another time.
  • A bursary awarded to a learner with more than -70 will lose the bursary during the academic year it was awarded.
  • Learners with more than -70 will be excluded from taking part in any school activity until such time that the points decrease again.

5.3 Conduct that may lead to suspension/expulsion

  • Conduct that violated the rights and safety of others
  • Criminal behavior of any kind
  • Defacing or destroying school property
  • Disrespectful or objectionable conduct and verbal abuse directed at educators, 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 behavior or profanity
  • Processing, using or displaying evidence of use of any narcotics, unauthorized drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicant
  • Repeated infringement after grade 1 offence has been dealt with
  • Possession of dangerous weapons (guns, knives and other objects which may threaten the life of learners/educators
  • Also refer to schedule 1 and schedule 2 as published under General Notice 2591 of 2001 (PG 72 of 9 May 1996)

5.4 List of possible disciplinary sanctions to be applied for Grade 1 – Grade 4 offences respectively.

  • Refer to Annexure C

5.5 Daily Report

  • A learner may be placed on a daily report, either requested by an educator or parent.
  • The Discipline Officer, Deputy Principals or Principal will be the only persons that can put a person on daily report.
  • The Grade Tutor must just control, sign and report any problems on daily report to the Discipline Officer to follow up.
  • All subject related problems must be referred to the School Based Support Team.

5.6 Demerit System

  • Detention will be awarded for minus 80
  • If a learner attended detention a merit of 20 will be awarded
  • If a learner miss detention a demerit of -20 will be awarded
  • A disciplinary hearing will be held in the case of -130
  • A tribunal hearing will be held in the case of -150

5.7 Smoking

  • According to legislation, no smoking is permitted in a public place. Learners who are found guilty of such an offence will be liable to pay a fine of R200. Further it should be noted that should a learner be caught with cigarettes in their possession, the same fine of R200 will apply. All monies received will go towards the welfare fund. If a learner is caught standing along with smokers, he/she will too be liable to pay a fine of R100 for being Associated with Smokers. Procedures to be followed: ? If a learner is caught Smoking (-30) or Associated with Smokers (-20) the councillor or educators who caught him / her will inform them about the offence. ? The name(s) of the learners caught will be given to the Principal who will then enter it onto the Disciplinary System and issue the learner with a fine. ? Should the learner involved have a dispute regarding the matter he/she needs to appeal the fine within three (3) days by bringing the councillor or educator to the Principal who will make a decision. ? The fine has to be paid within two (2) weeks from the date issued unless other arrangements have been made with the responsible HOD. ? If the fine has not been paid by the due date, the learner has to attend Break Detention until the fine has been paid. If the learner cannot pay the fine, the learner may do community service until the value of the fine has been worked off. ? Once the fine has been paid, the Principal will enter it on the Disciplinary System. (+30) ? The money collected from the fines will be paid into the Welfare Fund of the school.

5.8 Late comers to school/class

  • Late comers to school will enter via the front gate and assemble in the bottom foyer to be scanned and sent to class/assembly.
  • Record is kept and late coming to school will be dealt with as a grade 1 offence. (Procedures for grade 1 offence to be followed.)
  • Learners arriving very late, after responsible HOD’s have left the foyer, must report to the front office where the information will be recorded and handed to the responsible HOD for further action.
  • Grade 12 learners that arrive late for school will be placed on detention after the second time being late for school.

5.9 General

  • The Executive members of the Representative Councillor Body may hold disciplinary hearing for members of the councillor body that does not abide by the Code of Conduct for councillor body members or any learner that is constantly disobeying the councillors.
  • 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 Provincial Department of Education.
  • A tribunal hearing will be convened with a view to recommend expulsion. In such instances the recommendation for expulsion will be submitted to the Provincial Head of Education to approve the decision.
  • Where approval for expulsion is not granted, learners will attend counseling or the relevant life skills program before they may return to class. Homework must be collected by parents and tests must still be written otherwise a “0” mark will be given to the learner.

5.10 Detention Procedures to be followed:

  • The learner will receive notice at least two days before the detention that he/she must attend detention.
  • Detention time will be from 14:15 to 16:15 on a Tuesday, 13:45 to 15:45 on a Wednesday and 13:15 to 15:15 on a Friday.
  • Learners will either write out the school rules, times table etc.
  • Learners that miss detention will attend detention for two days the Monday and Wednesday immediately following the Friday detention.
  • Should the learner persist in not attending detention, a disciplinary hearing may follow.
  • Detention takes preference above any other school activity.

5.11 Merit System

  • Learner can earn positive points according to the merit/demerit table (Annexure D)

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

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

  • Before a learner is suspended, the learner and his/her parents must be given an opportunity to indicate why the suspension should be considered.
  • The disciplinary proceeding 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.
  • The 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.

7. DISCIPLINARY AND TRIBUNAL HEARINGS

7.1 Composition of different Hearing Commissions

7.1.1 RCL Executive Hearing Commission Consist of the following members:

  • The two (2) Presidents of the RCL
  • The eight (8) Deputy Presidents of the RCL
  • A Deputy(s) that act as the liaison educators

7.1.2 Disciplinary Hearing Commission Consists of the following members:

  • A Governing Body Representative
  • The School Principal or Discipline Officer
  • The Grade Tutor
  • Secretary to take minutes

7.1.3 The Tribunal Hearing Commission Consists of the following members:

  • The Governing Body Chairperson
  • Two (2) parent representatives from the Governing Body
  • The School Principal or Discipline Officer
  • Secretary to take minutes

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

  • Notice of disciplinary Hearing (Annexure E)
  • Review form (lodging an appeal) (Annexure F)
  • Record of offences (Annexure G)
  • Written Warning (Annexure H)
  • Daily Report Form (Annexure I)

7.3 Written notice of disciplinary hearing

  • Notice must be given at least five (5) school days before the hearing, which could provide for temporary suspension from classes. Formal tests and/or exams will still be written.
  • When a notice is issued to a learner the learner must acknowledge receipt of notice by signing it. This is not an admission of guilt.
  • If a learner does not appear at a hearing, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence.
  • The written finding of the hearing will be issued to the offender. The offender will acknowledge contents by signing the document.
  • A learner has the right to request a review of the disciplinary action taken against him/her if sufficient grounds exist.
  • All hearings may be attended by an educator witness, and any other learner(s) he/she may need for his/her defence.
  • 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. Secretary to keep file with minutes.

7.4 Disciplinary measures that a Disciplinary hearing Committee may impose

  • Suspension from school for a minimum of two (2) days to a maximum of five (5) days, ratified by the Governing Body, to be effective immediately.
  • Recommendation with respect to counseling/attendance of a life skill program
  • Progress monitoring process initiated for a minimum of two (2) weeks, followed up by a progress report.
  • A written conduct and behavior warning issued, a signed copy of acknowledgement will be kept on record.
  • Community Service

7.5 Procedure during hearings

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

Introduce those present and state their function ? Ensure that the witnesses are present only while giving evidence

7.5.2 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
  • The right to be given advance notice of the charges
  • The right to be represented at the hearing by (1) internal representative
  • The right to be accompanied at the hearing by parent(s)/guardian if the learner is a minor
  • The right to ask questions on any evidence, 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 an appeal within five (5) days against any penalty imposed by the Disciplinary / Tribunal Committee
  • If a learner does not attend, the hearing will be conducted in his/her absence

7.5.3 The Chairperson is to explain the nature of the alleged breach or misconduct to those present at the hearing

7.5.4 The procedure of enquiry is that the complainant and his/her witnesses will be heard first. The learner and panel may ask questions to them. The learner and his/her witnesses may then give evidence and the complainant and Committee may ask them questions.

7.5.5 When all evidence has been heard, the Chairperson must close the enquiry, dismiss the complainant, the learner, their representatives, the parent(s)/guardians and all the witnesses

7.5.6 The Disciplinary / Tribunal Committee must discuss and weigh the evidence and come to a decision

7.5.7 The Chairperson must reconvene all interested parties

7.5.8 The Chairperson is to communicate the decision to all the interested parties

7.5.9 The Chairperson must explain the decision of the Committee and the reasons for the penalty (if any) that has been imposed

7.5.10 The learner must be advised to his right to appeal (Annexure F)

7.5.11 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)

Alberton High School

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