A code of conduct is a set of written principles regarding conduct and behavior of any person/organisation. Code of conduct is different from law. It is a set of rules outlining the social norms and religious rules and responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an individual, party or organisation. Related concepts include ethical, honour, moral codes and religious laws. A code of conduct is something that people live by. Schools are formal educational institutions and exhibiting a good code of conduct is very important. Right from teachers to students and support staff, everyone in school is expected to display a right and positive attitude. In case of violation of code of conduct by somebody, the school administration may also take disciplinary action against the violators. Each school can set its own code of conduct and code of ethics.
Teachers have a daily influence on the lives of children, and they are often held responsible for maintaining good standards and behavioural patterns in students. In the midst of all of their responsibilities, they’re required to serve as strong role models and demonstrate ethical behaviours as they interact with students, colleagues, parents and others. A teacher’s job is to provide quality education to all students. A professional code of ethics must address this fact, stating that teachers must not show favouritism or discriminate against students. Teachers should not treat any one student over another, on the basis his/her religion, caste, creed or ethnicity. Teachers also must interact with students appropriately, not taking advantage of students in any way, bullying students or putting them down.
A professional code of ethics also addresses a teacher’s responsibility to keep students safe in all respect – physical, mental and emotional. It’s also a teacher’s responsibility to report instances of bullying and harassment. If a teacher suspects cases of abuse or neglect, or a student confides in a teacher in cases of abuse or neglect, the teacher is required to report it to the appropriate authorities, even if the student requests otherwise.
At the same time, students are also expected to make a full contribution to the school and support its positive endeavours. Children should behave in a responsible manner and are expected to do what they are told, when they are told, while under teachers/authority’s care. Consideration, courtesy and respect should be shown for elders as well as peers, at all times. Children are expected to make the school atmosphere as easy as possible for each other and for the teacher to teach. Children should always show friendship, kindness and care towards others. Children should be sensible and quiet when in school. Children should always speak politely to each other and all adults. Children should make every effort to attend classes everyday and be punctual.
A school’s mission and vision should reflect the overall code of conduct. A well-written student code of conduct should be simple and cover basic expectations that each student should meet. It should serve as the proposal that allows every student to succeed. A well-written student code of conduct is simple in nature including only the most critical expectations. The needs and limiting factors in each school are different. As such, schools must develop and adopt a student code of conduct that is tailored to their specific needs. Any code of conduct is intended to promote and enhance a positive learning environment and contains important information that students and parents must know to ensure a safe, successful and rewarding school year for their child. The contents of the student code of conduct shall apply to all students, employees, parents, guardians, visitors and all other persons associated with or having business with a specific school campus or other location including the school’s district offices.
School committee sets the code of conduct for both teaching and non-teaching staff. But what happens when that code of conduct is not followed properly or not followed at all? Depending on the severity of the violation, the student code of conduct has established procedures to handle the student’s prohibited behaviour. Student code of conduct varies from school to school because each school possesses its own distinctive mission and objectives, hence schools may react differently with student violations. Moderate violations may just get a warning prior to taking rigorous actions. For example, a student who continuously disrupts classes may receive a certain amount of warnings before being suspended from school. However, some schools keep more strict policies and resort to stringent disciplinary actions immediately.
While pretty much everyone agrees that it’s important to abide by what’s right and to avoid what’s wrong, not everyone always agrees on what’s right or what’s wrong in any given situation. Therefore, defining a code of conduct or code of ethics gets difficult, as it may mean different for all students and staff. Ultimately, the way students respond to what they believe is right and wrong provides insight into code of conduct.