Discipline: Communication Process and Actions

Huttenpark has adopted an open door policy by which parents are welcome to communicate with the principal, management team and members of staff.  The following guidelines are in place to ensure that communication is done in an orderly manner without disruptions to any part of the school day.

 Parents

Should parents experience any problems with respect to a learner’s happiness, progress, curriculum or how a teacher handles a child, the following steps must be followed.

 

  1. Make sure all the facts are correct.
  2. Encourage your child wherever possible to try and sort the problem out by means of going to speak to the teacher. (Even from Gr R onwards).
  3. Write a letter to the teacher to make him/her aware of the problem.
  4. Make a reasonable appointment with the teacher involved so that there is ample time to discuss the case.
  5. Follow-up on the case should you not be fully satisfied. You can request that the grade head or the departmental head investigate the case or ask that they be present with the follow-up meeting.
  6. Submit the problem in writing and make an appointment with the secretary to see either the grade head or the principal. The teacher involved must also be present.
  7. If necessary the problem can be handled further by the principal.
  8. The principal can refer the case to the governing body.
  9. In extreme incidences the case can be referred to the Department.

 

A friendly request is that you first discuss the case with the relevant teacher before addressing the principal.

 

Preferably the governing body does not get contacted directly with this type of problem.

They do not engage in communication between the parent and teacher before the case has been thoroughly investigated by the principal.

 

The following is not allowed:

  • To quickly talk to a staff member before school. (They are requested to attend a morning meeting commencing at 07:20)
  • To approach the teacher at his/her classroom during class times. First report to the admin office.
  • To directly go and stand in front of a classroom either before or after school to be able to speak to a teacher or meet with your child once the class has been dismissed. (Kindly meet your child by the gate or sidewalk).
  • To discuss the problem with the school secretary, other teachers, neighbours, family or friends instead of following the correct procedures.
  • To engage with any teacher be it at church or at the shop to ask them how your child is progressing.
  • Avoid phoning any teacher or the principal at their home.
  • Anonymous letters

 

School:

Academic problems:

Should a teacher be concerned about a child’s progress, the parent/guardian must be notified immediately.

  • Parents/guardians must be contacted either telephonically or in writing.
  • Proper appointments must be made in advance to enable enough time to discuss all aspects of the problem.
  • Teachers must have proof ready with regards to the problem, as well as, having the learner’s assessment results available.
  • A follow-up appointment can be arranged whereby the subject head or department head can be requested to be present.
  • An appointment must be arranged whereby the parents, teacher, senior management member or principal be present.

Behavioural problems

All learners , parents and teachers must be aware of the contents of the school’s Code of Conduct.

Each teacher has their own system in place whereby warnings are given for transgressions before a detention letter is received.

  • Once a learner has a transgression, the school has a demerit system whereby transgressions are divided.
  • Transgressions are recorded in triplicate in the demerit book.
  • The learner receives the original copy which must be signed by the parent/guardian and must be returned to the class teacher the following day.
  • The yellow copy is sent to the admin office where it gets entered into the computer.
  • A sms gets sent to the parent.
  • A printout of all transgressions are sent home together with your child’s report

 

Actions:

Each learner is encouraged to obey the school rules at all times.

 

One or more of the following corrective materials can be used:

  • A verbal or written warning together with the white copy from the detention book.
  • The detention form must be signed by the parent and returned to the teacher involved.
  • Replacement or compensation of damaged property.
  • A break detention for a level 1 transgression.
  • Two break detentions for a level 2 transgression.
  • A Friday afternoon detention for a level 3 transgression.
  • Should a learner not arrive for his/her break detention, the case gets referred to the deputy principal. After a thorough investigation, the deputy principal may decide on either an extra break detention, Friday afternoon detention or arranging an appointment with the learner’s parent/guardian.
  • Persistent transgressions can be punished with suspending the learner from 1 to 5 days.
  • An interview with members of the School Governing Body Disciplinary Committee will be arranged once a learner has 45 demerits or more.
  • A disciplinary hearing will be arranged should the learner continue to ignore the Code of Conduct.

Levels of transgressions

Level 1 and 2: Less serious transgressions

  • Transgressions with a total of 1 (level 1) demerits: a long break detention.
  • Transgressions with a total of 5 (level 2) demerits: two long break detentions.
  • Transgressions with a total of 10 to 15 demerits: 3 long break detentions.
  • A decision can be made to rather issue a Friday afternoon detention depending on the circumstances surrounding the transgression.

 

Friday Detention

  • Transgressions with a total of 15 demerits: Friday detention 13:00 – 14:00 for the Junior Phase and 13:30 – 15:00 for the Senior Phase.
  • Transgressions with a total of 30 demerits: a second Friday Detention and an Appointment with parent/guardian and deputy principal.
  • Transgressions with a total of 35 demerits: Parent/guardian appointment. 5 days suspension. All privileges are taken away from the learner. eg extra mural activities, bus transport, tours and excursions, tuck shop, fun activities at school, etc.  Parents are encouraged to seek private or departmental help with regards to the handling of the transgression of their child. Should Departmental help be elected, reference will be made by the school.
  • Transgressions with 40 demerits: A tribunal hearing will be arranged with the disciplinary committee of the SGB. The hearing will be attended by parent/guardian, learner and representatives.  During this hearing it can be decided that the learner be suspended for a further 7 days or any other sanction can be implemented as underwritten in the Code of Conduct.  A recommendation can also be sent to the Departmental Head of the Department of Education for permanent suspension of the learner involved.  In this case the learner gets suspended for a maximum of 14 days until a decision has been received from the Departmental Head.

 

With regards to serious transgressions, the principal may decide to refer the case to the School Governing Body before the learner receives the above-mentioned levels of demerits.  (See attachment A)

 

Merit awards for good behaviour

 

Recognition will be awarded to learners that:

 

  • Show exceptional spontaneous good behaviour.
  • A special reward may be awarded in spite of previous demerits received by the learner.
  • When a learner shows spontaneous good behaviour and thoughtfulness, the management team may decide on a suitable reward. For example this could be a sticker, voucher for the tuck shop, civvies for a Friday, free entry to a presentation or activity held by the school.

Attachment A

Serious Misconduct

(1)      The following offences shall constitute serious misconduct in schools and may lead to the suspension or expulsion of a learner from a school:

(a)      all forms of bullying;

(b)      contravening a school’s cell phone policy;

(c)      use, sale or possession of illegal drugs and intoxicating substances;

(d)      committing any form of irregularity relating to examinations;

(e)      threats or acts of violence towards fellow learners, educators, members of staff and any other person on school property;

(f)      damage to school property;

(g)      deliberate and serious undermining of the authority of the principal, educators and members of staff;

(h)      all forms of harassment;

(i)       racism in any form;

(j)       robbery;

(k)      all forms of theft excluding petty theft and theft that is classified as a minor offence in the school’s code of conduct;

(I)       distribution, possession or viewing of obscene or pornographic material;

(m)     sexual coercion (any acts used or aimed at procuring sexual favours);

(n)      sexual activities (sex related activities amongst learners or between learners and educators, between learners and members of staff or between learners and any other person including those persons involved in a school activity);

(o)      sexual assault (sex related acts including flashing, groping, rape and indecent assault);

(p)      any initiation practices;

(q)      using, selling or being in possession of dangerous objects for non -educational purposes, which can cause harm or be used to threaten or cause harm to others; and

(r)       acts of xenophobia.

 

(3)      Every school’s code of conduct must incorporate the serious offences in clause 4(1).

 

(4)      Minor offences that are contained in a school’s code of conduct, and are contravened more than three (3) times by a learner, shall be dealt with as serious offences.