Disciplinary Policies & Consequences
Disciplinary Policies and Consequences
Discipline is a community responsibility, and all faculty and staff contribute to maintaining standards for student conduct. However, it is the classroom teacher who is the driving force for school-wide discipline since students spend most of their time in the classroom. Teachers make clear their academic and behavioral expectations for students in their classes, and teachers hold students accountable for those expectations using the best practices of classroom management. The teacher’s unique relationship with each student is the foundation for maintaining discipline in the classroom.
Teachers are expected to use their best judgment when working with students. Issues of classroom management, such as, but not limited to, socializing in class, tardiness, and disrespect to peers or teachers, may be handled by the teacher at his or her discretion. In such cases where the student has not responded to the teacher’s corrective measures, she or he may refer the student to the Middle School Head or Dean of Students.
In the event that an Overlake student commits an infraction or is involved in a disciplinary matter, it is always recommended that s/he come forward and talk to an administrator, coach, teacher or staff member. When a student comes forward and tells the truth, that fact is taken into account when deliberating the appropriate consequences. While a voluntary confession does not mean that a student will not receive consequences for their behavior, it is the most responsible and appropriate response.
Application of Disciplinary Policies to off-campus, non-school activities
Overlake’s disciplinary policies do not normally extend to off-campus, non-school sponsored activities*. However, the school does have a vested interest in the well-being of its students and community. The school reserves the right to inform parents or law enforcement authorities if it has knowledge of illegal actions by an Overlake student. Should illegal behavior be deemed to have occurred, the school may elect to suspend its normal disciplinary process and apply consequences up to and including suspension and expulsion. Such exceptions are at the discretion of the Head of School.
Overlake disciplinary policies do apply to on-campus activities or off-campus activities when part of an organized Overlake group. This includes transportation from Overlake to the event and back to campus.
*Off-campus, non-school sponsored activities refer to those activities that occur outside of school hours, not on the physical campus and/or occur without the presence of Overlake faculty/staff as supervisors.
Any violation of the School’s expected behavior for students at school and during school activities is considered to be an infraction. Minor infractions are deemed to be less offensive than major infractions, but are still considered unacceptable from a member of the school community. Examples of minor infractions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Disrespect toward persons or property
- Inappropriate clothing
- Leaving campus without permission
- Cutting a class
- Driving recklessly to, from, or on campus or at a school activity
- Being disruptive in the classroom, library, assembly, or any other campus activity
- Poor sportsmanship
- Minor cheating or plagiarism
There are certain fundamental policies and expectations at Overlake that, when violated, are considered Major Infractions. A Major Infraction is a very serious offense. The following are examples of Major Infractions (the list is not all-inclusive):
- Violation of the school’s Harmful Substances Policy
- Pervasive abusive language or abusive language that is aimed at another member of the community
- Verbal, physical or sexual harassment or abuse of a student by peers. This includes interactions that are in person, online or via phone. Posting videos/photos of peers without their consent to do harm is considered harassment.
- Major cheating or plagiarism
- Willful destruction of property belonging to Overlake, its personnel or another student
- Possession or use of any kind of weapons on campus
- Lying, deceit, or any other dishonest behavior
In upper school disciplinary cases involving minor offenses, the Dean of Students will determine whether or not that case will be referred to the Student Review Board. In the case of major infractions, the Dean of Students will refer those cases to the Student Review Board. (The exception is harassment. Given the sensitive nature of the issues involved, including the potential reluctance for students to raise concerns about conduct of fellow students, the US Dean of Students will determine if this kind of infraction will be referred to the Student Review Board or will be handled by the administration.)
For infractions that occur outside of the classroom, any faculty or staff member present is responsible for talking to the student and referring the case to the appropriate administrator, if necessary.
Students who violate the behavioral expectations repeatedly could be subject to more serious consequences.
Possible Consequences for Infractions
While it is not possible to list all possible consequences for behavioral infractions, below is a list of possible consequences that have occurred in the past. In each individual case, the Middle School Head or Upper School Dean of Students in collaboration with the Student Review Board considers the individual student and the Overlake community. In all cases, Overlake strives to incorporate transparency, precedents that have been set and principles of “Restorative Justice” into the decision making process.
If a student engages in an illegal activity, the school may report the activity to the local police.
In the event that a consequence for a school discipline issue conflicts with an athletic practice or game, the discipline consequence takes priority.
The Middle School Head or Upper School Dean of Students may assign detentions for various violations of classroom or school policies or expectations:
After-school detentions – to be served when convenient for the school: Students schedules are not considered when scheduling detention.
All-day detentions may be given for more serious infractions. The student will spend the day at school under the auspices of an adult and will work on class assignments. Teachers may visit the student to give guidance in the work. The student will bring his or her own lunch and will not be allowed to socialize with other students for the duration of the detention. Unless approved, s/he will not be allowed the use of cell phones, computers, or any other electronic devices while serving all-day detention. In addition, the student may not participate in any co-curricular activities for the duration of the all-day detention, including the afternoon or evening of the day(s) of the detention.
If a student fails to appear for an assigned detention, a second detention is usually assigned.
In some situations, the Middle School Head or Upper School Dean of Students may recommend mandatory meetings with school counselors. The length and frequency of these meetings is determined by the counselors, student and administrators with a focus on what is best for the student involved.
A student’s history of behavioral infractions determines his or her disciplinary status. There are two different disciplinary statuses that can be assigned when infractions occur, Disciplinary Warning and Disciplinary Probation.
Click on a disciplinary status to learn more:
Students will incur a Disciplinary Warning for committing a major infraction or a pattern of minor infractions. A Disciplinary Warning for minor infractions may be assigned by the Middle School Head or Upper School Dean of Students for a consistent pattern of poor behavior. If a student on Disciplinary Warning incurs an additional behavioral infraction, s/he will receive a second Disciplinary Warning. Students who receive a second Disciplinary Warning during their career in the upper school may be placed on Disciplinary Probation if their subsequent behavior does not improve. Students who have received their first Disciplinary Warning may be placed on Disciplinary Probation if their subsequent behavior is deemed egregious enough to supersede a second warning.
The school’s objective in any disciplinary action is to provide an opportunity for the student to experience growth, learning, and increased responsibility. Thus, the student who incurs a Disciplinary Warning may take steps to restore his or her good standing.
Students who receive a Disciplinary Warning may expunge this status from their student file. This status may be expunged one-year after notification of The Disciplinary Warning if they file an “education plan” within 30 days after notification. (See procedure below.)
Procedure to have disciplinary warning expunged from record
A Disciplinary Warning can be expunged from the student’s record one calendar year after the date the warning was given if the student presents an educational plan to the Middle School Head or US Dean of Students within 30 days of notification of the Disciplinary Warning; the plan consists of the following elements:
- the student proposes an educational plan with a specific timeline that offers restitution for the infraction that was committed as well as tangible steps aimed at providing additional learning through experience;
- the student takes full responsibility for his/her actions. Whether or not this occurs is at the sole discretion of the school.
- Student will submit the plan to the Middle School Head or Student Review Board for review, and if accepted move on to completing the items in the plan.
After Plan has been Completed:
- In writing, the student reflects on how the experience has been a learning experience;
- In writing, the student reflects on how he/she has responded to this challenging situation and how this response will bring about more positive outcomes.
- In writing, the student comments on how they will be able to contribute to the community differently in the future.
- When the student has completed the above steps and has finished their written reflection, they will submit it to the Middle School Head or Dean of Students.
- For upper school students, the Dean of Students will review the report and then bring it to the Student Review Board.
- The Student Review Board will recommend that the disciplinary warning be expunged or not based off of the quality of the report and follow through on the educational plan, and the US Dean of Students will make the final decision and communicate that decision to the student and parents.
- If the warning is expunged, it will no longer be a part of a student’s behavioral record.
It should be noted that the decision made by the Middle School Head or Dean of Students at the end of this process is final and there is not an appeal process. If the student chooses not to address the Warning with such an educational plan, the Disciplinary Warning will remain in the student’s file for the remainder of his or her Overlake career. Only a first or second warning can be expunged. If an educational plan has been filed and further behavioral infractions occur, severe enough to warrant a second Disciplinary Warning, then the educational plan will be voided. At that time, if the student wishes to start the expunging process over again in relation to the second incident, they are free to do so following the same process.
Disciplinary Probation is the most serious disciplinary status that Overlake students can be placed on. This status represents a situation where any further behavioral incidents could result in expulsion from Overlake. Below are the ways that a student can be put on Disciplinary Probation:
- A student commits an infraction after already having been assigned two disciplinary warnings.
- A student commits one major infraction that is egregious in nature and warrants being put on Disciplinary Probation immediately.
- A student incurs one disciplinary warning and then commits an infraction that is serious enough to warrant skipping a second warning and going straight to Disciplinary Probation status.
Procedure to have disciplinary probation expunged from record
Disciplinary Probation may be expunged from a student’s record following the same procedure to expunge Disciplinary Warning. The difference is that the status cannot be expunged until a two-year period has elapsed after notification of Disciplinary Probation.
In the Upper School, Disciplinary Probation is noted on the student’s permanent record and, depending on the nature of questions asked or information requested, may be disclosed to colleges on the School Report form on the student’s application. (See Disclosure Policy below). Students placed on Disciplinary Probation may be restricted from participation in co-curricular activities at the discretion of the US Dean of Students.
Suspension is a possible consequence if a student commits a Major Infraction or exhibits a pattern of violating behavioral expectations. Suspension is also noted on the student’s permanent record and, depending on the nature of questions asked or information requested, may be disclosed to colleges on the School Report form on the student’s application. (See Disclosure Policy below).
In-house suspension: In-house suspension means that the student will spend the day in isolation at school under the auspices of an adult. The student will work on class assignments, and teachers may visit the student to give guidance in the work. The student will bring his or her own lunch and will not be allowed to socialize with other students for the duration of the suspension. Unless approved s/he will not be allowed the use of cell phones, computers, or any other electronic devices while serving suspension. In addition, the student may not participate in any co-curricular activities for the duration of the suspension, including the afternoon or evening of the day(s) of the suspension.
Off-campus suspension: Off-campus suspension means that the student may not be on campus or attend any school-related events for the duration of the suspension. Off-campus suspension for students may have an impact on their academics. Class work missed during a suspension cannot be made up. This includes daily homework, daily quizzes, or tests missed during the suspension. Any work that was assigned before the suspension may be completed during the suspension. This includes long-term projects, research papers, and final exams. To prepare for assignments or tests that occur after the suspension has been served, students will be responsible for learning on their own any of the material they missed during the suspension.
Expulsion is a possible consequence for those situations in which a student exhibits a clear disregard for the behavioral expectations of The Overlake School community. This can be demonstrated by a continuous pattern of infractions, major or minor or it can be a single, egregious act that threatens or violates the community’s shared values, like bringing a weapon to school or distributing/selling drugs on campus. The Student Review Board may recommend expulsion to the US Dean of Students, or the administration may determine without Student Review Board recommendation that a student no longer has the privilege of remaining within the community. The decision to expel a student rests solely with the Head of School.
Expulsion means the student will no longer be enrolled; he or she cannot complete coursework for the term but may receive partial credit for work completed up to the time of the expulsion, cannot attend or participate in any school activities, and cannot participate in commencement ceremonies or graduate from The Overlake School.
The notation “Expelled,” with the date of the expulsion, will be noted on the student’s transcript. Regardless of the timing of the expulsion, the family’s contractual obligation to complete tuition payments for the school year will remain in effect, according to the terms of the Enrollment Agreement.
A student who has been expelled from Overlake cannot reapply for admission.
Disclosure of Disciplinary Records to Colleges and Other Schools
Upon request, Overlake’s College Counseling Office submits student transcripts and Secondary School Reports directly to colleges for admission consideration. Letters of recommendation prepared for students by teachers and the college counselor are usually required as part of the student’s college application. The school submits these forms directly to the college. These recommendations are confidential and are not released to students or parents.
Colleges may consider a student’s disciplinary record as part of their admissions process. The Overlake School’s policy regarding disclosure of disciplinary records is that we will notify colleges that request such information only of infractions resulting in Disciplinary Probation, suspension, or expulsion from Overlake. This includes incidents that occur during the senior year after applications have been submitted. Students are advised to consult with the college counselor in such eventuality.
If a student withdraws from Overlake to avoid disciplinary action, we reserve the right to report the infraction to the colleges. We do not report disciplinary action that occurred at previous schools attended. We do not report academic warnings or probation to the colleges because that is an internal measure to assist students in improving their performance. That performance is reflected on their transcripts.
At the discretion of the US Dean of Students/MS Head the community will be informed about the issues that come before the Student Review Board. The purpose of this communication is to educate the community about behavioral expectations and to be forthright about the processes with which these standards are upheld.
Teachers and advisors will be informed of any students who have received disciplinary consequences on a need-to-know basis.
Some colleges ask schools to disclose the criminal records of students. Overlake does not have access to these records; thus, the school will not report this kind of information to colleges.
Records Transfer from Middle School to Upper School
A student’s disciplinary status may follow a student from the Middle School to the Upper School for a specified period of time. This decision will be made by the Middle School Head in collaboration with the Upper School Dean of Students prior to the start of 9th grade. It should be noted that carrying discipline over from the Middle School to the Upper School is an exception. As a general rule, Middle School students that come into the Upper School start with a clean slate.