Our Philosophy

School Code of Conduct

It is very important that all students feel valued, respected and connected within their school community. Noah’s Ark School has a responsibility to protect students from discrimination, bullying, abuse, harm or the threat of harm. The goal is to ensure all Noah’s Ark students enjoy a positive school culture and learning environment. As such, the BC Ministry of Education has developed a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy to address bullying and enhance threat and risk assessment protocols in all British Columbia schools called the ERASE Bullying Strategy, which builds on the current work of Provincial Boards of Education and communities. Online resources for parents is available at http://www.erasebullying.ca.

I. What does the ERASE Bullying Strategy look like in Noah’s Ark School?

The Ministry of Education’s ERASE Bullying Strategy builds on our commitment to creating a safe, caring and respectful school by focusing on student connectedness. Our staff team has worked to establish school-wide behavioural expectations, through teaching and reinforcing socially-responsible understanding and choice-making. Consistent, firm modelling and application of these key concepts in effective practice have demonstrated positive outcomes. The indicator of success is a student population that feels safe, highly connected to peers, teachers and their own school.

The following information is designed to assist parents, guardians and students in better understanding the ERASE Bullying Strategy and how it has been implemented at Noah’s Ark School. As is always the case, parents and guardians are encouraged to talk with their child’s teacher(s) whenever they have a concern. It is hoped that this document helps to provide some information to help guide that conversation should it ever become necessary.

II. Code of Conduct - Regulations

All members of our school communities are expected to conduct themselves in a positive, safe and healthy manner as outlined in the Noah’s Ark School Code of Conduct. Misbehaviours, from inappropriate to bullying, can be responded to using the Code of Conduct as a reference for what expected schoolwide behaviours are. The following regulations are in place as a guide to help schools with its use. It is the responsibility of the school principal and staff present to ensure that the members of the school community while at school or a school function, conform to the Code of Conduct.

Noah’s Ark School Code of Conduct

Noah’s Ark recognizes its responsibility to provide a positive, safe and healthy climate so that effective teaching and learning may take place. It is expected that all members of the Noah’s Ark School (staff, students, parents and guests) shall uphold the Code of Conduct, on the school premises, vicinity and at school functions.  The Code of Conduct outlines that the school community will:

  • Respect the rights of others as individuals, as well as the rights of the group.
  • Respect the health and safety of others.
  • Respect private and public property.
  • Respect the legitimate authority of the school administration and staff.
  • Respect and take pride in the school’s physical facilities.
  • Respect the diversity of the school community, and uphold values that protect others from any form of discrimination.
  • Respect and provide a safe, accepting environment for students dealing with gender identity.
  • Respect the non-smoking nature of the school and surrounding property.
  • Behave in an ethical and lawful manner.
  • Behave in a considerate and courteous manner.
  • Behave in a safe and responsible manner at all times.
  • Comply with the purpose and spirit of the BC Human Rights Code, including not engaging in discriminatory conduct on the basis of gender, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.
  • Not threaten, harass, bully or assault in any way, any person within the school community directly or indirectly, through print or electronic media; and
  • Not be in possession of weapons, dangerous articles, alcohol or illegal drugs while at school or at school functions.
(Revised January 2017)

Furthermore;

  1. We recognize that as children grow and mature, they are increasingly able to make appropriate decisions and be responsible for their actions. Thus, when determining consequences, consideration will be given to the maturity as well as the intellectual, social and emotional capacity of the individual, along with the severity and frequency of the misbehaviour. Special consideration shall be given to students with special needs if these students are unable to comply with codes of conduct or other policies due to a disability of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional or behavioural nature. Young children are just beginning to learn the boundaries of expected behavior and it is understood that social growth is developmental and may take time to fully grasp. Personal space is a new concept to little ones, as is the concept of social responsibility, accountability and the relationship between cause and effect. Furthermore, language development is newly emerging along with increasing degrees of self-control.
  2. Parents/legal guardians of students whose behaviour is inconsistent with a Code of Conduct will be informed and asked to work with the school in responding to improve the student’s behaviour. Other members of the school community may be informed of individual misbehaviours if those behaviours are deemed to pose a threat. The school community may also be informed about patterns of misbehaviour and the response to those patterns of behaviour if that is deemed necessary to reassure the community that appropriate action is being taken or to involve them in addressing the behaviour. Criminal misbehaviour may be reported to the police.
  3. All reasonable steps will be taken to prevent retaliation against a person who has made a complaint of a breach of a code of conduct.
  4. The Code of Conduct shall be posted on the website and displayed in the school, communicated to students, staff and parents at regular intervals.
  5. The code of conduct shall be reviewed annually in order to assess the appropriate effectiveness.

III. Bullying (ERASE Resource)

“Bullying ... is a pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour, with negative intent, directed from one child to another where there is a power imbalance.”

Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do - Olweus, D. 

This definition by Dr. Dan Olweus, the leading researcher in the field, identifies three critical conditions that distinguish bullying from other forms of aggressive behaviours:

POWER

  • Children who bully acquire their power through physical size and strength, by status or by recruiting support of a peer group.
  • Bullying is not a random act. Rather, it is characterized by frequent and repeated harassment. This is what differentiates bullying from more common conflicts.
  • Children who bully generally do so with the intent to either physically or emotionally harm the other child.

When determining if a specific behaviour is bullying, consider whether or not it:

  • involves a power imbalance
  • intention: is it intended to harm?
  • is it repeated over time?

Adapted from: Focus on Bullying: A Prevention Program for Elementary School Communities - Ministry of Education

PHYSICAL: hitting, spitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, poking, pushing or damaging property

VERBAL: name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks

IV. What does BULLYING look like?

SOCIAL/RELATIONAL: use of behaviours to hurt others, harder to recognize, can be carried out behind someone’s back; lying or spreading rumours, playing nasty jokes, encouraging others to exclude someone, damaging someone’s reputation.

CYBER BULLYING: use of digital technologies or social media; harassment through social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, posting photos or video of others without their permission, humiliating or taunting someone during on-line chatting or gaming.

V. Bullying vs Conflict- What’s the Difference?

We need to clearly identify the difference between conflict and bullying in order to appropriately respond to bullying incidents. While the two seem similar in some instances, there is actually a distinct difference:

Bullying or Conflict?

Example # 1

Two females are playing soccer outside on the playground they are arguing with each other over the loss of a recent game. Annie blames Mika for the loss because when Annie was open during the last seconds of the game, Susan didn’t pass the ball to her but instead took the shot herself and missed. Annie calls Mika a derogatory name and then pushes her to the ground and storms away.

Example # 2

A group of primary students are on the playground at recess. Two of the students start to argue when Michael wants Henry to trade recess snacks but Henry doesn’t want to. Michael becomes angry and tells Henry that he can’t play with the rest of them if he won’t share his recess snack. When peers don’t support Henry, he bursts into tears and runs back into the school.


These are both examples of conflict. In the first scenario, Annie may have had an Intent to Harm Mika but there is no discernible Power Imbalance nor has the behaviour been Repeated Over Time. In the elementary example, there appears to be a Power Imbalance with the peers supporting Michael over Henry and there may even have been an Intent To Harm Henry’s feelings but there is no pattern of the behaviour being Repeated over Time.

The fact that one or even two of the elements of bullying exists does not automatically categorize the incident as bullying. Many conflicts include an imbalance of power and or an intent to harm but may be isolated occurrences and, therefore, are examples of inappropriate behaviour. An incident cannot be categorized as bullying unless there is a pattern of the behaviour being Repeated Over Time.

NOTE: Even though an incident does not fit the definition of bullying, it still needs to be responded to Inappropriate Behaviour, if not consistently dealt with by staff, can easily escalate into behaviour Of Concern or Of Serious Concern and can evolve into a pattern of bullying.

(Adapted from: ERASE Bullying website BC Ministry of Education)

Bullying is a persistent pattern of unwelcome or aggressive behaviour that often involves an imbalance of power and/or the intention to harm or humiliate someone. Bullying often results in feelings of distress for the victim.

Conflict, on the other hand, is generally a disagreement or difference in opinion between peers who typically have equal power in their relationships. It’s an inevitable part of a learning to function within a group social dynamic.

VI. A Three Level Response to Inappropriate Behaviour or Bullying

Based on the work of Gail Ryan, University of Colorado Adapted from Focus on Bullying
BC Ministry of Education

Level 1: What to do at the first sign of INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR

Level I Response - inappropriate behaviour is responded to by describing the student’s actions in terms that are clear and direct. Additionally, the impact of that behaviour on others is pointed out and the student is asked what alternative behaviour, that meets school-wide expectations, could be used instead or in the future.

Level 2: What to do when the Behaviour is OF CONCERN

Level II Response - the Describe and Respond steps are followed at this level as well. However, as the behaviour is either of a more concerning nature or is something that the student has been spoken with about previously, the student is confronted about the concerning nature of the situation and it is clearly communicated that the behaviour is prohibited. Typically, the student will receive a natural consequence and some sort of follow up will take place to ensure the behaviour is not continuing and to help the student learn an appropriate replacement behaviour.

Level 3: What to do when the Behaviour is OF SERIOUS CONCERN (including Bullying)

Level III Response -  the previous steps are applied as appropriate. However, when a behaviour is of serious concern, the problem may be significant enough to necessitate not only the assistance of school district personnel but also a referral to community support partners.

Parents/Guardians are important partners in supporting a student who has displayed behaviour that is either Of Concern or Of Serious Concern. Additionally, parents of any student who may have been mistreated should expect to be contacted by the school to explain how their child will be supported.

Reporting

While threats or acts of violence in a school setting are generally few in number and rare in Richmond, these types of incidents have the potential for physical harm and psychological trauma to both students and staff. Having a clear process for appropriately responding to threat-related behaviours, or other behaviours of concern, helps ensure a learning environment for all. Staff team-based threat management protocol is used to assess any potential threat as to its level of concern, determine immediate and timely steps to ensure the safety of all students and staff, develop an appropriate intervention plan that addresses factors that contributed to the threat and considers the emotional and physical safety of all students, staff and parents in the school community.

Fair Notice:

The Noah’s Ark School is committed to creating and maintaining a school environment in which all students, staff and parents are safe. Therefore, we maintain a zero tolerance for not responding to serious violence or threatening behaviours. Anyone with a plausible concern is expected to report that concern to an appropriate member of staff at the school.


Noah's Ark School