The Langley School Community Contract
The Langley School strives to create a learning environment that is safe and promotes the intellectual and ethical development of each of its members. Ultimately, the community expects children to act as responsible participants in the learning environment. Specifically, the school partners with parents in fostering the development of children with regard to five core values: respect, kindness, honesty, trustworthiness, and citizenship. These values are essential to creating an environment in which students care for themselves, develop a sense of personal integrity and self-discipline, and learn the value of individual and collective responsibility. The Langley School values the unique gifts and strengths of each member of the school community.
The articulation of a Code of Conduct, within the Community Contract, creates community norms for behavior and therefore provides a system of discipline for the school. Philosophically, the Community Contract is a means of promoting the healthy growth and development of young people. Systems of discipline should never demean or condemn, but rather should serve as a tool for developing sound habits and a sense of self-control and self-discipline. Ultimately, this system of discipline is an educational tool, one which helps students to learn that all actions have consequences. Thoughtful community life requires restraints, as well as freedom. Further, The Langley School Community Contract is predicated on the belief that students can learn from their mistakes. This contract guides students toward maturity and stresses the basic values which are essential to the welfare, health, and safety of the learning environment.
Code of Conduct for a Safe Learning Environment
The Langley School believes that a sense of personal and collective responsibility should direct a student’s conduct in all aspects of school life. Students must assume responsibility for their own actions and contribute to a positive learning environment. Further, students are encouraged to seek the support of trusted adults in dealing with the conduct of others, when such conduct threatens the safety of the learning environment.
Five core values comprise the Code of Conduct and are central to the life of the school. These core values are to guide the conduct of students while on school property, during school-sponsored activities and/or trips, or while under school auspices. Any conduct, including behavior that occurs off campus, that threatens the community’s sense of safety, trust, or security is prohibited and can result in a disciplinary response. The following standards of conduct are extremely important for the safety and well-being of the community and all of its members:
- Respect: All students are expected to show a just regard for and appreciation of the dignity and worth of all members of the school community. Students are expected to be polite and courteous. Students are expected to enhance, not detract from, the learning environment. A student may not use obscene, profane, or disrespectful language or gestures.
- Kindness: All students are expected to endeavor to create a welcoming and affirming school environment. Students may not engage in hurtful verbal or physical attention, harassment, abuse, fighting, or threatening behavior. A student may not use pejorative or discriminatory language including, but not limited to, demeaning comments related to ethnicity, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ability, or social or economic status. Teasing and joking are not acceptable excuses for unkind comments and behavior.
- Honesty: All students are expected to be truthful. Lying, i.e., deliberately presenting false impressions, statements, information, or claims, is strictly prohibited. In addition to being honest and truthful, students are expected to ensure that all of their academic work is their own and represents their efforts. Students are expected to take ownership of their learning. Deliberately giving or receiving any unauthorized assistance on a test or assignment is considered cheating and is unacceptable. Cheating includes consulting unauthorized sources. In general, cheating is passing off another’s work as one’s own. Taking the property of another person without prior permission is considered stealing.
- Trustworthiness: Community citizens are expected to display behavioral characteristics that are worthy of trust. Students are expected to obey school rules, be dependable, and respect the property of others.
- Citizenship: As citizens of the Langley community, all students are expected to help maintain a safe and clean school environment, and behave in accordance with all laws and school policies. Possessing, using, distributing, or remaining in the presence of illegal or potentially harmful substances, including alcohol, e-cigarettes, vapes, prescription medications, and illegal drugs, is strictly prohibited. A student may not possess knives, weapons, or firearms of any kind, or use other objects in that manner, at any time. Further, a student who knows that such weapons are in a student’s possession or on campus must report this to an adult immediately. Violent behavior of any kind is prohibited, including threats against individuals or the institution. Students may not deface or misuse school property or the property of others.
Note: The school stresses the ethical and responsible use of all educational material including, but not limited to, technology resources. Telecommunications (including e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, bulletin boards, social networking sites, websites, etc.) are subject to the same standards and rules as verbal and print communications.
When a student breaches the Community Contract, there will be a response from the school. Teachers and/or administrators, based on the developmental needs and characteristics of students, will handle cases within each division. Possible responses to infractions may include, but are not limited to:
- Verbal reminder
- Counseling (informal, formal, and/or psychological evaluation)
- Imposition of restrictions on freedom during the school day and/or participation in school activities
- Loss of privileges
- Written reminder
- Parent conference
- Restorative discipline (Middle School)
- Logical consequences (Primary and Lower School)
Responses to infractions will vary according to the nature of the infraction and will not necessarily follow a prescribed sequential order. Disciplinary matters will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality, keeping the needs of students and the safety of the community at the heart of the school’s response.
Safe School Policy
The Langley School is committed to providing a safe environment free of harassment or any other form of inappropriate physical or verbal behavior and/or abuse. The school does not sanction any conduct from students, parents, volunteers, or employees that interferes with any individual’s academic or professional performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for work or study. It is expected that every member of the school community will treat every other member with dignity, respect, courtesy, and professionalism.
Actions contrary to this policy will be considered grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal or expulsion. The determination of what constitutes harassment is at the sole discretion of the administration and will depend upon the specific facts and the context in which the conduct occurs.
Mental Health Support Policy
In a time of increased rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, The Langley School recognizes that youth go through periods of heightened stress at different developmental stages. The REACH program explicitly teaches a variety of coping mechanisms to deal with intense emotions and our counselors are available throughout the day to help students navigate difficult situations.
If a student is struggling to cope, or particularly if he/she is engaging in or thinking about self-harm, the school will inform parents and discuss necessary supports to ensure the safety of the student and the community. Similarly, if the school becomes aware that a student is exploring potentially dangerous behaviors, the school will meet immediately with the student and also inform parents. In addition, the school may require a mental health assessment from a qualified mental health practitioner in order for the student to be at school.
Substance Abuse Policy
The Langley School is committed to each student’s social, moral, and intellectual development, and recognizes that substance abuse disrupts the educational program and undermines the school community’s moral climate.
Langley views the possession, distribution, and use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs (including steroids and the improper use of prescription medications) as detrimental to individual students as well as to our overall campus environment. Therefore we have implemented the following policy:
- The possession or use of tobacco, alcohol, e-cigarettes, vapes, or illegal drugs by students is prohibited on school property (in the buildings, parking area, or on the grounds) and at all school-sponsored events, including off-campus events. It is a serious offense that will lead to investigation and disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion. Any student who provides drugs or alcohol to classmates may be expelled.
- If a staff member suspects that a student is under the influence of alcohol or drugs during school hours or at a school-sponsored event, the student will be referred to the school administration and the parents will be notified immediately. Disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, may result at the discretion of the administration. In situations where the student is a danger to him/herself or others, administrative action, up to and including expulsion, will be taken to provide a safe environment.
- If student drug or alcohol involvement occurs off campus at a non-school-sponsored event and it is brought to the school’s attention, the school may require an assessment and/or intervention as needed. The administration also may determine, at its discretion, if additional discipline is appropriate, up to and including expulsion. (Please refer to the Community Contract on page 38.)
- The school will make every effort to assist students affected directly or indirectly by alcohol and drug abuse/misuse. A student may ask for help voluntarily, or others may ask for help on the student’s behalf if there is an indication of a substance problem. Strict confidentiality will be observed in providing this assistance, except that the parents and other necessary individuals will be informed. In the event that a student is involved in substance use, the school may determine the need for a professional evaluation. Every effort will be made to enable students who are actively seeking help for themselves to continue their education at The Langley School.
Policy on Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect
By law, educators are mandated to report any suspected child abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services for further investigation. The Langley School adheres to this policy.
The Langley School is comprised of students, teachers, parents, and staff who believe that a diverse school community promotes learning and growth, preparing students for responsible and compassionate citizenship in the global community. We administer all programs and policies without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or any other category to the extent protected by applicable laws.