Code of Conduct


For all purposes of this Code of Conduct, the reference to the “Elmwood School community” includes students, teachers, staff, parents and guardians, administration and volunteers.


Elmwood School’s Code of Conduct is based on principles that promote teaching and learning and the highest standards of academic excellence and personal behaviour. These principles include the values of respect, innovation, collaboration, responsibility, and integrity in a safe school community. As an International Baccalaureate school, the Code of Conduct is also based on the principles outlined in the Learner Profile. All IB learners strive to be inquirers,, thinkers, communicators and risk-takers who are principled, knowledgeable, open-minded, caring, balanced, and reflective. These standards of behaviour apply to all members of the Elmwood community—whether on school property or at school authorized events or activities. 

All members of the Elmwood community are to be treated with respect and dignity. Active and engaged citizens are aware of their rights, but more importantly, they accept the responsibility for protecting their rights and the rights of others. Violence and physically aggressive behaviour are entirely unacceptable. The possession, use, or threatened use of any object to injure another person is equally unacceptable. 

Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to services, goods, and facilities, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability. 

Elmwood recognizes that inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour towards another member of the community requires a serious response.

In the following articulation of policies and procedures, Elmwood School reserves the right to apply a full range of sanctions, including expulsion, to any offence. Further, policies and procedures are subject to review and may be changed or amended at an appropriate time without notice. All community members are responsible for following both the letter and the spirit of school policies and procedures.

Roles and Responsibilities

Elmwood recognizes that all members of the Elmwood community, including the Head of School, Deputy Heads of School, teachers, administration, staff, students, parents, and volunteers, have an obligation to comply with the behaviour standards outlined in this Code of Conduct. Members of the Elmwood community have the following roles and responsibilities: 

The Head of School, under the direction of the school’s Board of Governors, takes a leadership role in the daily operation of the school. The Head provides this leadership by: 

  • demonstrating care for the school community and a commitment to academic excellence and a safe teaching and learning environment; 
  • holding everyone under their authority accountable for their own behaviour and actions; 
  • empowering students to be positive leaders in the school and community; and
  • communicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of the school community.

Faculty, staff, and administration, under the leadership of the Head of School, maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standards of respectful and responsible behaviour. As role models, they uphold these high standards when they:

  • support and inspire students to work to their full potential and develop their self-worth; 
  • empower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community;
  • communicate regularly and meaningfully with parents; 
  • maintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students; 
  • demonstrate respect for all students, employees and parents; and 
  • prepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship.

Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others, and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour. Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:

  • comes to school prepared, properly dressed, on time, and ready to learn; 
  • refrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others;
  • models a positive attitude in all facets of school life, including daily excursions and exchanges;
  • respects boundaries of personal space and the privacy of individuals;
  • demonstrates accepting body language that includes, rather than excludes others;
  • chooses positive words to communicate facts, ideas, and opinions, whether verbal or written;
  • engages in active and constructive problem solving rather than redirecting blame to others; 
  • follows the established rules and takes responsibility for their own actions.

Parents play an important role in educating their children and have a responsibility to support the efforts of school employees in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Reference to parents includes, where applicable, custodial and non-custodial parents and/or guardians. Parents fulfill this responsibility when they:

  • show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress; 
  • communicate regularly with the school; 
  • help their child be neat, appropriately dressed, and prepared for school; 
  • ensure their child attends school regularly and on time; 
  • promptly report their child’s absence or late arrival to the school; 
  • become familiar with the Code of Conduct; 
  • encourage and assist their child in following the Code of Conduct; and 
  • assist school employees in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child.
Standards of Behaviour

By enrolling at Elmwood, students automatically assume the obligation to comply with the provisions of the Code of Conduct. Central to the Code of Conduct is the understanding that each student will follow certain standards of behaviour. Self-discipline and a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions and conduct are fundamental to the Code of Conduct.

The standards of behaviour apply to all members of the Elmwood community, whether on school property or at school-authorized events or activities.

All members of the school community must: 

  • comply with the Code of Conduct; 
  • demonstrate honesty and integrity; 
  • respect differences in people, their ideas and their opinions; 
  • treat one another with dignity and respect at all times, especially when there is disagreement; 
  • respect and treat others fairly; 
  • show proper care and regard for school property and the property of others; 
  • take appropriate measures to help those in need; 
  • seek assistance from a member of the school staff, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully;
  • respect all members of the school community, especially persons in positions of authority; and,
  • respect the need of others to work in an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching.
Inappropriate Behaviour

Examples of inappropriate behaviour include, but are not limited to: 

  • unexcused absence from class or school activities; 
  • unauthorized absence from campus; 
  • academic dishonesty; 
  • swearing at a teacher or other person in authority;
  • acts of vandalism causing damage to school property or property located on school premises; 
  • smoking or vaping on school property and/or in school uniform; 
  • possessing, or being under the influence of, alcohol or illegal drugs; 
  • trafficking in weapons or illegal drugs; 
  • selling alcohol or giving alcohol to a minor; 
  • harassment of any kind; 
  • bullying, intimidating or threatening another person; (Please see Relational Aggression Section of Handbook)
  • fighting; 
  • possessing or using a weapon to cause or threaten bodily harm to another person; 
  • physically or sexually assaulting another person; 
  • committing theft, robbery or extortion; 
  • distributing hate material; 
  • hate-motivated violence; 
  • inappropriate use of electronic communications/media, including accessing inappropriate materials on the internet, and posting offensive comments; and,
  • conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school or to the physical or mental well-being of others.
Failure to Comply with the Code of Conduct

All Elmwood community members are responsible for observing both the letter and the spirit of the school’s policies and procedures. As a general principle, Elmwood School reserves the right to apply a full range of sanctions, including expulsion, to any offence committed by a student. Although the specific provisions set out in this Code of Conduct outline steps that Elmwood School normally will take in the event that a student contravenes, or attempts to contravene, the requirements of a Code of Conduct, they do not take away from the ultimate discretion of Elmwood School to apply any sanction deemed appropriate in the particular circumstances of an offence, including the expulsion of a student. 

In addition, it is not necessary that a student succeeds in actually committing an offence for the full range of sanctions to be applied. For example, an attempt to cheat on a test may be just as serious as actually cheating on a test.

When applying sanctions, the following process will be used. For more serious incidents, these steps may be skipped in favour of direct communication with the Middle/Senior School Deputy Head and parents.

Academic Warnings (AW)

These are given for incidents that hinder a particular student’s academic progress. Fair warning and understanding of circumstance should be given to a student before they are distributed. 

Examples of Academic misdemeanours include, but are not limited to: 

  • Forgetting homework or repeated failure to bring the appropriate equipment to class. 
  • Failure to complete the homework set to an acceptable standard, or failure to hand in homework on the day it is due. 
  • Lack of punctuality or failure to attend an activity where attendance is expected.
  • Lack of adherence to the Academic Integrity Policy (see Academic Integrity Policy).
  • Poor classwork.

If a student has received an AW for a missing homework, they are still expected to produce that piece of work at the earliest opportunity (at the teacher's discretion). Failure to do so may result in another AW.   

Conduct Warnings (CW)

Conduct Warnings will be given for inappropriate behaviour when a student breaks school rules, the Code of Conduct, or behaves in a way that is unacceptable to the school. 

Examples of Conduct misdemeanours include, but are not limited to: 

  • Consistent lateness to class
  • Unauthorized absence from a lesson (student may be in school but did not attend)
  • Rudeness to staff
  • Rudeness to peers
  • Repeated disruption to the class
  • Poor manners
  • Unauthorized use of cell phone during school hours
  • Unauthorized use of technology while in a lesson
  • Consistent uniform infractions
  • Other examples listed above in “Inappropriate Behaviour” .
Process and Procedure

In determining whether an offence has been committed and what sanction should be applied, Elmwood School will employ procedures that: 

  • reflect the severity of the offence alleged, including the intention of the student, the frequency of occurrence and the impact on the school; 
  • ensure that a student, and their parents, are aware of the complaint against the student; 
  • ensure that a student, and their parents, have the opportunity to present fully and fairly their version of events and explanation and to have these taken into account by the decision-maker; and 
  • ensure that the decisions will be made in a fair and impartial way.

The range of sanctions that Elmwood School will apply to offences include: 

  • issuance of Conduct and Academic Warnings (see above guidance)
  • meeting with appropriate person(s) (such as fellow students, faculty, administrators)
  • lunchtime detention
  • contact with the parent(s) of the student involved 
  • removal from a school activity, special program or recess to complete work or special assignment designated by the teacher
  • removal from class for a period of time
  • conference involving student, teacher, homeroom teacher, parent, Director of Health, Safety and Wellness and/or the Deputy Head
  • arrangement of a behaviour or performance contract with the involvement of the student, teachers and parents
  • financial restitution, reparation or service in a case where damage is caused or maintenance work made necessary
  • formal suspension from school for one or more days
  • expulsion from the school.

The school reserves the right to dismiss a student when the continued attendance of that student would not be in the best interests of that student or the school. The school also reserves the right to dismiss a student when their behaviour seriously jeopardizes the school’s ability to guarantee the dignity and safety of its students, interferes with learning, represents a breach of the Code of Conduct, or involves conduct that is injurious to the moral tone of the school or to the physical or mental well-being of others.  

The general procedure Elmwood School will observe to investigate and deal with any reports of breaches of the Code of Conduct is as follows. 

Where the incident is not of a serious nature, the teacher will give an Academic or Conduct Warning.  If the incident is serious, the following procedure will be observed:

  • The teacher who observes the incident/behaviour or to whom it has been reported will, where possible, complete a Serious Incident Report within 24 hours and submit it to the Deputy Head of School or designate.
  • The Deputy Head will investigate.
  • The Deputy Head will question those with alleged involvement to determine involvement, facts and related issues.
  • As part of the investigation, the Deputy Head will provide the student with an opportunity to explain their conduct, respond to the allegation and be heard regarding their position with respect to the incident in question.
  • After these initial interviews, the Deputy Head will inform the parents as required.
  • In serious cases, where there is potential for lengthy suspension or expulsion, the Deputy Head will obtain from the student and their parents a written acknowledgement of the allegations.
  • The school will document any conversations by its employees, including those in which allegations are communicated to the student and/or parents.
  • Communication with the student and parents will clearly indicate Elmwood School’s policies and the consequences for infractions.
  • If a student denies an allegation and a matter of credibility arises, the student and their parents will be given an opportunity to meet with the person who will make the discipline determination (the Deputy Head or designate) so that they can:
    • (i) present their version of events, including mitigating circumstances;
    • (ii) test or challenge the evidence against the student; and 
    • (iii) make submissions as to possible sanctions. 
  • If the offence is one that might result in a serious sanction (e.g. suspension for more than one or two weeks, or expulsion), the student and their parents will be given an opportunity to meet with the person who will make the discipline determination (Head of School) so that they can: 
    • (i) present their version of events including mitigating circumstances; 
    • (ii) test or challenge the evidence against the student; and 
    • (iii) make submissions as to possible sanctions.

The policies and procedures contained in the Code of Conduct are subject to review and may be changed or amended from time-to-time.

Entitlement to Access and Search

By enrolling at Elmwood School, both the student and their parent(s) acknowledge and agree that where Elmwood School has reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a breach of a school rule, a school administrator or designate may access and search a student's locker, person and/or possessions in order to maintain a safe school environment and/or to ensure that the student is complying with the requirements of the Code of Conduct.

Bullying and Relational Aggression

Inclusion and mutual respect are essential components of a welcoming, dynamic, and functional school community. Elmwood is committed to providing a physically, emotionally, and psychologically safe environment for all our students. Bullying, including cyber-bullying, will be dealt with seriously and result in possible suspension. 

Relational aggression is a behaviour that is intended to harm someone by damaging or manipulating an individual’s relationship with others and the aggression occurs through body language, words, and relationships.

Examples of Relational Aggression:

  • spreading rumours and gossip
  • passing notes about another student
  • making fun of someone in a class by rolling eyes or making disparaging sounds
  • bumping, poking, or pinching someone on purpose 
  • taunting someone
  • damaging someone’s property
  • knocking someone’s books on the floor
  • excluding someone
  • making mean jokes and then saying “just kidding”
  • making fun of someone’s appearance, weight, or clothes

Students who are being bullied physically, emotionally, or psychologically are encouraged to seek help from someone who is in a position of authority. At that point, an assessment or investigation of the situation will begin to determine the level of seriousness of the behaviour.

Possible solutions and consequences may include an informal resolution, mediation, or formal disciplinary action.