Behavioral Philosophy and Discipline Guidelines
Teaching and modeling positive behaviors are the primary approaches to discipline at VES. All school policies and student behavior expectations are in effect from the time a student leaves home in the morning until the student arrives home after school. This includes bus trips, lunch hours, and service time.
VES promotes a culture of learning and expects students to accept responsibility for their actions. This culture provides the foundation for individual instructors to develop their own set of behavioral expectations. This self-governing model teaches many of the character values on a daily basis through countless interactions among students and between students and teachers.
Eligibility for participation in activities will be limited by the student’s academic standing, disciplinary record and/or enrollment status. Students with questions about eligibility for participation should contact their advisor. Students not meeting behavior expectations will lose privileges and will have consequences for their behavior and choices.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School firmly resolves that all students have the right to learn in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe and free from unnecessary distractions. Students are expected to respect themselves, respect others and respect school property.
Conflict resolution is crucial to maintaining a positive climate at school. Aggressive or disruptive behavior will be handled in a variety of ways, integrating the needs of the student while teaching and modeling the desired outcome. Whenever possible, those involved will be invited to actively participate in the conflict resolution. Our goals are to protect each person’s rights and to help each person learn to make better choices while ensuring a safe, supportive learning environment for all students.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School Positive Behavior Practices
Voyageurs Expeditionary School staff teaches and models expected schoolwide and classroom behavior during the first weeks of school. During advisory, students participate in initiatives and activities related to expectations. These expectations are revisited with individuals and large groups as needed throughout the year. Advisors will develop classroom contracts, co-written by students and teachers. These contracts explain how all members of the classroom will behave to ensure comfort, safety, and success by all and are publicly displayed in each classroom.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School staff use a common language with all students when discussing schoolwide and classroom expectations.
When students do not adhere to school-wide and/or classroom expectations, staff attempt to determine what has happened and why by asking restorative questions (listed below) and listening to answers
Example Restorative Questions:
- Are you ready to talk right now? What zone are you in?
- What happened, and what were you thinking at the time?
- Who has been affected by what happened and how?
- What do you think needs to be done to make things as right as possible?
- What strategies can you use next time?
- What is your job right now?
- Do you need help doing your job?
In all disciplinary matters, students will be given notice and will have the opportunity to present their version of the facts and circumstances to involve staff or administration.
All responses to inappropriate student behavior include elements of teaching or re-teaching appropriate school behavior and restoration of relationships affected by the student behavior.
Alternatives to removal from instruction will be used unless the behavior of the student places the student or others in danger, or the disruption to the educational environment can only be remedied by an automatic office referral, or the office referral is required by law. These alternatives to removal may include, but are not limited to:
- Reminders of school or classroom rules and behavior expectations
- Redirection of behaviors
- Modification of instruction
- Re-teaching expectations and skills
- Student-teacher restorative conferences
- Self-charting of behaviors
- Small group instruction or lessons on anger management, conflict resolution.
- Parent contacts
Opportunities for students to repair relationships affected or harmed by their behavior will be included in the return to the classroom for any student removed. These opportunities may include, but are not limited to:
- Restorative conference with the teacher or director.
- Apology of action/ Community Service
- Student/Parent restorative conference with school staff.
- Community restorative/ accountability circle
- Reflective Essay
The following disciplinary actions may still be used in extreme cases or when required by law:
- Loss of school privileges.
- Suspension from extra-curricular activities.
- Modified school program
- Removal from class
- Referral to police or juvenile authorities
- Compensation for Property Damage
When Will Automatic Office Referrals Be Used?
The behaviors listed below will result in an automatic office referral. The student will be sent directly to the administrative office. Parents and/or guardians will be contacted directly by the administrator regarding such a referral. The administrator will copy the classroom teacher in these correspondences.
- Physical Aggression with intent
- Bullying, Harassment, and Hazing
- Possession of a Weapon (or look-alike)
- Threats to Injure or Harm
- Gross Disrespect or Defiance
- Possession of Alcohol, Drugs, or Tobacco
- Theft of Personal or School Property
- Vandalism to Personal or School Property
- Leaving School Property Without Permission
- Continuous or Persistent Behavior Adversely Affecting the Learning Environment
What is the Process When the Office is Called?
When a student’s behavior warrants a call to the office, the staff will call the office to request support. The support staff will follow these steps as possible:
- Talk with the student using restorative questions such as What zone are you in? What do you need?
- If they are not ready, give students 1 minute to be ready to talk.
If the student is not in the green or yellow zone at this time, co-regulation strategies will be used. The following strategies can be done independently by the student or in a partnership with the student:
- Ask students what calming strategy they want to use.
- 5-minute timer for quiet solitude
- Deep breathing: five fingers, hot cocoa, belly breathing, etc.
- Walk together
When the student has achieved a green or yellow zone, a reflection sheet will be used to guide a discussion about the problem, what the student needs and how they can solve the problem. The next steps will be as follows:
- Walk students back to class and present reflection sheet to staff for approval
- Staff welcome students back into class and approve reflection sheet
- Administrator takes approximately 5 minutes to assist students in beginning their task
- If there is not time to discuss outcomes with teacher, administrator will send an email explaining the plan made while
student was out of class
- Students removed from class for severe or repetitive actions will remain with either an Administrator or staff member
until a parent picks them up or until the end of the day.
Pursuant to Minnesota statutes, school lockers, desks and computers are the property of the school. At no time does the school relinquish its exclusive control of lockers, desks and storage units provided for the convenience of students. Staff members may conduct an inspection of the interior of these items at any time, without notice, without student consent and without a search warrant.
Students’ personal possessions including, but not limited to, purses, backpacks, personal computers, clothing and vehicles, may be searched only when staff members have a reasonable suspicion that the search will uncover evidence of a violation of law or school rules. VES will provide students a notice of personal property searches unless disclosure would impede an ongoing investigation by police or school staff.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School reserves the right to use canine team or other drug investigators at any time, unannounced.
The school maintains a “No Tolerance” policy in regards to the possession, use or distribution of weapons by students and non-students, including staff and visitors. The consequence for students possessing, using or distributing weapons may include:
- Confiscation of the weapon
- Immediate notification of police
- Immediate out-of-school suspension
- Parent or guardian notification
- Recommendation to the Board Chairperson of expulsion
The purpose of this policy is to assure a safe school environment for students, staff and the public. A weapon is defined as any object classified as a weapon or any object used with the intent to cause harm. This policy is not meant to interfere with instruction or the use of appropriate equipment and tools by students. Such equipment when properly possessed, used and stored shall not be considered in violation of this policy.
Pursuant to Minnesota law, a student who brings a firearm, as defined by federal law, to school will be expelled for a minimum of one year.
Assaultive Behavior/Physical Altercation
Any student who assaults or attempts to assault another person, or engages in a mutual, physical altercation, to include encouraging the assault by instigating, promoting, or videotaping/recording/posting the assault, will be automatically suspended from school for up to four days for the first offense. A second offense will result in a seven-day suspension. A third offense will result in a ten-day suspension with a recommendation for an expulsion hearing before the VES School Board. Law enforcement may be contacted, depending on the severity of the incident. Students involved in assaultive behavior and/or physical altercations will be expected to participate in a restorative action plan.
Insubordination is defined as failure to comply with a reasonable request by any staff member. Any student who refuses to comply, fails to follow the rules or whose behavior interferes with students’ rights to learn or teachers’ rights to teach, will receive a consequence, which can include suspension.
VES is a tobacco-free campus. Students known to be using or possessing tobacco/vaporizer products on campus or off campus during school functions will be suspended from school for a minimum of 1 day.
Alcohol or Drug Use
Students known to be using or possessing alcohol or other drugs on campus or off campus during school functions will be automatically suspended from school for up to four days for the first offense. A second offense will result in a seven-day suspension. A third offense will result in a ten-day suspension with a recommendation for an expulsion hearing before the VES School Board. Students coming to school under the influence or suspected influence of alcohol or drugs will receive the same consequences. Law enforcement will be contacted.
Vandalism and destruction of property will be addressed immediately and may result in loss of privileges, monetary compensation and disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.
Profanity is disruptive and not appropriate in school. Those who continue to curse/swear after warning and redirection will receive a consequence for insubordination.
Students may use electronics, to include cell phones, headphones/earbuds, and gaming devices, before school, during lunch and after school. For the benefit of the entire school community, electronics are to be silenced and out of sight during class time. Students using electronics inappropriately will be asked to bring the electronics to the office. Parents may be required to pick up students’ electronics. Failure to comply with this request will result in a consequence of insubordination.
Parents, please do not contact students via their cell phones during classes. If you need to contact your student, call the office and we will deliver a message. VES Main Office: 218-444-3130
Students are responsible for the choices they make when using technology whether it is a personal device or the property of Voyageurs Expeditionary School. Students are expected to follow the guidelines of:
- Keeping their personal and school devices secure
- Be responsible for what they do on these devices when at school
- Not hurt the ability of others to learn
- Understand that online privacy is important not only to myself but others
- Respect the guidance of staff of when, where and how these devices are used
- Respect the expectations regarding electronics
Clothing that advertises products that are illegal to minors, displays sexual innuendo, offensive language or gang affiliation, or is sized to expose undergarments, is prohibited. Additionally, students’ shirts should cover midriffs and shorts/skirts should be 4 inches above the knee. Clothing should not be a distraction to staff or other students. In addition, sunglasses and hoods are not to be worn inside the school building. Students wearing inappropriate clothing will be asked to change. Failure to comply with the request will result in a consequence of insubordination.
Public Displays of Affection
Students are expected to maintain and project a positive image including appropriate physical contact. School is not the place for public displays of affection. Behaviors in question include, but are not limited to, kissing and inappropriate touching. Failure to comply with the request will result in a consequence of insubordination.
Voyageurs Expeditionary School is a closed campus and students are only allowed to leave campus if signed out by a parent/guardian or parent/guardian designee. Students who are off-campus without permission will be subject to disciplinary consequences or loss of privileges.