Many of the school districts and BOCES we represent are taking time this holiday season to fulfill their obligation to annually review and update (as necessary) their codes of conduct, “…taking into consideration the effectiveness of code provisions and the fairness and consistency of its administration.” (8 NYCRR § 100.2(l)(ii)(3).) While assisting our clients with this process, we have been finding that many Codes of Conduct do not meet the basic requirements set forth in the Commissioner’s regulations. Moreover, they frequently include information or rules better left to board policies or administrative regulations.
The 20 basic requirements for a compliant Code of Conduct can be found in sections (a) through (t) of 8 NYCRR § 100.2(l)(ii)(2). Surprisingly, we find that many Codes do not fully comply with the very first set of requirements set forth in these regulations, namely to include:
• Provisions regarding conduct, dress and language deemed appropriate and acceptable on school property and at school functions; and
• Provisions regarding acceptable civil and respectful treatment of teachers, school administrators, other school personnel, students and visitors on school property and at school functions, including the roles of teachers, administrators, other school personnel, the board of education and parents or persons in parental relations play in addressing these matters. (See 8 NYCRR § 100.2(l)(ii)(2)(a).)
We also frequently see extremely detailed provisions regarding search and seizure, which need not be in the Code of Conduct, and may be better suited to a formal board policy or administrative regulation.
Should you have questions or need assistance as you fulfill your annual obligations to review and update your District’s/BOCES’s Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to contact our Firm.