Discipline Code

It’s the principal’s responsibility to maintain security, safety and discipline, and you have a right to insist that misbehaving students are disciplined.

The guidelines the school must follow are established by the Department of Education’s systemwide Discipline Code, which:

  • Establishes a ladder of consequences with specific mandatory disciplinary responses to match the severity of various student infractions.
  • Sets minimum and maximum penalties for each degree of severity.
  • Varies penalties by grade level, either K-5 or 6-12, so that the age and general maturity of the student are considered. Some infractions may not apply to students in grades K-3.
  • Specifies that whenever possible, interventions should begin with the lowest level of disciplinary response.
  • Provides graduated penalties for students who engage in repeated misbehaviors despite the prior imposition of appropriate disciplinary measures.

What the principal must do:

  • While in most cases the principal has some discretion about what action to take, he or she must impose minimal or mandated disciplinary actions.
  • If a principal has not followed the steps required by the code — for example, if he or she has allowed a student who should have been suspended back in your classroom — you should speak to your chapter leader and UFT borough safety representative for advice about how best to resolve the matter.
  • The use of force against a staff member mandates a superintendent’s suspension.

Examples of Discipline Code

ACTION GRADE LEVEL SEVERITY LEVEL RANGE OF RESPONSES
Engaging in scholastic dishonesty (e.g., cheating, plagiarism) K-5 2 7 responses, ranging from teacher admonishment to parent-teacher conference to principal’s suspension.
Insubordinate behavior K-5 3 9 responses, the above plus inschool suspension, removal from classroom by teacher.
Disruptive behavior in the classroom or falsely activating a fire alarm 6-12 3 11 responses, ranging from admonishment by staff to superintendent’s suspension.
Assault/using force against school personnel K-5 and 6-12 5 Mandatory superintendent’s suspension with possibility of removal to a special setting or school.

Discipline code is updated annually, as required by state law.

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