What Parents Need To Know

From the Ontario website www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/safeschools.html

Ontario has a new approach to making schools safer. It focuses on:

  • Promoting positive student behaviour
  • Providing early and ongoing intervention
  • Preventing inappropriate behaviour
  • Addressing inappropriate behaviour with appropriate consequences

Ontario has shifted away from an approach that is solely punitive towards progressive discipline, a new approach that corrects inappropriate behaviour and offers multiple supports.

Progressive discipline means:

  • Principals will consider the most appropriate way to respond to each situation
  • Students will have more opportunities to learn from the choices they make.
  • Parents will be made aware sooner and will have more opportunities to be involved.
  • More social workers, counsellors and psychologists will be working with school boards to offer support and counselling to students

What is the code of conduct?

Every school board has a code of conduct based on the Provincial Code of Conduct. It promotes respect and sets clear standards of behaviour for the school community

The code of conduct applies:

  • To everyone – students, school staff, parents, community partners and the police
  • At school or school-related events, and to activities that happen outside of school but might have an impact on the school climate. This includes cyber-bullying.

What are schools doing to prevent bullying?

Bullying is a serious issue and is not acceptable on school property, at school activities or online (cyber-bullying).

  • Students can be suspended from school for bullying, including cyber-bullying.
  • Every school board has a policy and every school has a plan to help prevent bullying at school.
  • Every school has a safe school team. the team includes the principal and at least one student, parent, teacher, support staff member and community partner.
  • Parents can find out what to watch for, what to do, and where to get help. This information is available in 22 different languages through your school or on the Ministry of Education website.

What happens when a student behaves inappropriately?

With progressive discipline, parents will be more involved and principals will respond to each situation in the most appropriate way.

  • The principal will consider a range of options to address the behaviour and help students learn from their choices. This could include a meeting with parents, a detention, suggesting the student talk with someone about anger management, or suspension or expulsion.
  • The principal will consider factors like the student’s age and academic, personal and discipline history.
  • Parents will be more involved in finding solutions to deal with the behaviour.

What happens if a student is suspended or expelled?

Suspensions and expulsions now more effectively combine discipline with opportunities for students to keep learning.

  • Only the principal can suspend a student. Students who are suspended are removed from school temporarily for a specific period of time, between 1 and 20 school days. Suspended students cannot attend school or take part in school activities.
  • The principal can recommend expulsion but only the school board can expel a student. Students can be expelled from their school or from all schools within the board.
  • Students who are expelled only from their school must be assigned to another school within the board.
  • Students who are expelled from all schools within the board are allowed to re-enter when they have successfully completed appropriate programming. Expulsion occurs only in the most serious situations.
  • The principal will make every effort to let parents know within 24 hours that a student is suspended.
  • Students who are suspended for more than 5 school days are offered an academic program that will help them keep learning. This program could be run in the school or at another location.
  • Students who are suspended for more than 10 school days are offered academic programs, as well as non-academic services like anger management or career counselling that help develop more positive behaviour.
  • Students who are expelled will be offered both academic and non-academic programs, including services like anger management or career counselling.

What else is happening in Ontario to help make schools safer?

Programs like character development are helping to promote positive student behaviour. The government’s partnership with Kids Help Phone offers students counselling and support. Find out what else Ontario is doing to make schools safer, including information on bullying prevention, at www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/parents/safeschools.html

Safe Schools – Information for Parents and Students

Waterloo Region’s Catholic Schools: Safe & Secure

A Catholic school is a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility and academic excellence in a safe, faith-based, learning and teaching environment. Violent or disrespectful behaviour is contrary to our Gospel and Catholic values.

We believe that everyone – students, parents/guardians, teachers, staff and volunteers – has the right to be safe and feel safe in our schools.

But, with this right comes a very large responsibility: to be law-abiding citizens and to be accountable for actions that put at risk the safety of others or oneself.

The Progressive Discipline and School Safety Act, 2007, and the new provincial Code of Conduct are now in place to make Waterloo Region’s Catholic schools even safer and more secure.

What is the Progressive Discipline and School Safety Act, 2007?

The Progressive Discipline and School Safety Act, 2007, was introduced by the Ontario government to promote respect, responsibility and civility, to set clear province-wide standards of behaviour. It requires that schools use a variety of options when giving consequents to students, depending on the severity of the incident.

What are Codes of Conduct?

Provincial, board-level and school-level codes of conduct set clear, consistent, minimum standards of expected behaviour for students, teachers, staff, parents/guardians and volunteers in Ontario schools. They also set clear consequences for those who choose not to meet these standards.

Whose job is it to keep our schools safe?

It’s everyone’s job to ensure Waterloo Region’s Catholic Schools are safe and secure.

  • The School Board provides direction to schools in developing safe schools policies, working with staff, parents and school councils to ensure the policies are effective and making the safety of everyone in our schools our top priority.
  • School Principals, under the direction of the School Board, are responsible for the day-to-day operation of their schools. This includes holding everyone in the school accountable for their behaviour and actions and communicating regularly and effectively with their school communities regarding policies, practices, and programs dealing with the safety and security of the school.
  • Teachers and School Staff, under the direction of their Principal, maintain order in our schools and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour.
  • Students, in return for being treated with respect and dignity must, in turn, demonstrate respect for themselves, for others and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Students, regardless of age, are expected to take responsibility for their actions.
  • Parents/Guardians play an important role in the education of their children and have a responsibility to support the efforts of school staff in keeping our schools safe and secure. It is expected that all parents/guardians will become familiar with the school’s Code of Conduct and school rules.
  • Police & Community Members are essential partners in keeping our school communities safe. Community members need to support and respect the rules of their local schools. The Waterloo Regional Police Service will assist school staff in maintaining a safe school by investigating and responding to illegal activities and by assisting in the delivery of crime prevention programs.


All school members must:

  • Respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal laws;
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • Respect differences in people, their ideas and opinions;
  • Treat one another with dignity and respect at all times – and especially when there is a disagreement;
  • Respect the rights of others and treat them fairly — with no exceptions;
  • Show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others;
  • Take appropriate measures to help those in need;
  • Respect people in positions of authority.



All school members must:

  • Not be in possession of any weapon;
  • Not use any object to threaten or intimidate another person;
  • Not cause injury to another person with any object.

Alcohol & Drugs

All school members must:

  • Not be in possession of, or under the influence of, or provide others with any form of alcohol or illegal drugs.

Physical Aggression

All school members must:

  • Not inflict in any way — or encourage others to inflict in any way — bodily harm on another person;
  • Seek staff assistance, if necessary, to resolve conflicts or disagreements peacefully.


Progressive Discipline is explained in detail in the Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s Administrative Procedures Memoranda as is information on suspensions, expulsions and the Code of Conduct. These documents are available for review at your school or on the Board’s web site (www.wcdsb.ca).


The Ontario Government has deemed that police will be involved (in accordance with the local police protocol), and a student will be immediately suspended pending investigation or referred to an expulsion hearing by the board of Trustees based upon the results of trustee investigation and the school principal:

  • Possession of any weapon;
  • Trafficking in drugs or weapons;
  • Robbery;
  • Use of any weapon to cause bodily harm, or to threaten serious harm;
  • Physical assault causing bodily harm requiring professional medical treatment;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Providing alcohol to minors.


A student will be considered for suspension for:

  • Bullying
  • Swearing at a teacher or other person in authority;
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug;
  • Threatening to seriously hurt another person;
  • Having, using, giving or selling alcohol, illegal drugs, or a hazardous substance to another person;
  • Acts of vandalism causing extensive damage to school property or property located on school premises.

In some cases, when a suspension occurs, the police will be involved in accordance with the police protocol and conditions to return to school will be specified in accordance with

  • Threatening to seriously hurt another person;
  • Having, using, giving or selling alcohol, illegal drugs, or a hazardous substance to another person;
  • Acts of vandalism causing extensive damage to school property or property located on school premises;
  • Being involved with a gang at school or near a school;
  • Harming someone because of their skin colour, religion, culture, gender or beliefs;
  • Continuing to harass someone after they tell you to stop.