Administration, staff, and the Board work diligently to keep St. Thomas Aquinas a safe, learning environment. The Safe School legislation supports positive student behaviours; a safe learning environment; emphasis on the school as a learning community; and intervention to assist students to remedy their behaviour where necessary. St. Thomas Aquinas follows a zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol, drugs and violent behaviour. For additional information on safety, you can visit Threat Assessments.
Select from the topics below to learn more about our school's safety expectations.
Safe School - Bill 212
The Board has four policies to reflect Bill 212 which was passed into law on February 1, 2008:
Suspension, Expulsion and Appeal
Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour
Bullying Prevention and Intervention
Code of Conduct
These four policies with their administrative procedures can be found on the Board website.
Community Partners and the Police
St. Thomas Aquinas' partnerships with parishes, community agencies, and regional police help keep our school and community safer. The police investigate incidents following the protocol developed with the PVNC Catholic District School Board and police services within the jurisdiction. The school creates liaisons with community members and agencies to deliver prevention and intervention programs. These partnerships respect applicable collective agreements.
The Right to Search
Administrators may search students and their personal belongings, such as school/gym bags, to protect student safety and health. This also includes school lockers as they are the property of the school.
Students MUST use the school-issued lock already placed on the student's assigned locker. Lockers are assigned to the student by Administration and students must use the ones assigned. Students are responsible for any items located in their assigned lockers. Students are also responsible for the upkeep of both the inside and the outside of their locker. Skateboards and roller blades must be stored in lockers and not used on school property at any time. Personal electronic equipment is the responsibility of the student and if brought to school should be locked away in a locker. Make sure your lock is properly locked. Turn the dial once you have locked the lock. Do not give your combination to anyone else. Students' backpacks are to be kept in their own lockers throughout the school day and not brought to classes.
All visitors must report to the main office, and students are encouraged to meet their non-St. Thomas Aquinas friends outside school time and off school property. School visitors who do not obey school rules will be asked to leave, and may be subject to the Trespass to Property Act.
Respect for Property
All students are to treat the school grounds, all adjacent private property, the school building, all equipment and materials, and everything in the school, including the personal property of others, with respect.
Lockers are the property of the school, on loan to the students. Lockers must be free of any attached materials that may damage the exterior and interior surfaces.
All posters, notices and advertisements require a Principal's approval.
Students should keep all school property free from graffiti (i.e. books, furniture, etc.).
Students are expected to use the refuse containers provided.
All school materials (i.e. textbooks, materials from the Resource Centre, musical instruments) must be signed out and returned properly.
Every individual has a right to dignity and respect. Any form of harassment or intimidation, whether verbal, online, written or physical is unacceptable. Incidents and allegations will be reported to a Principal. Following an investigation of the allegation, parents/guardians may be contacted and the student may be referred for counseling, suspended, or police may become involved depending on the severity of the incident. Visit Social Media and Computer Usage Etiquette for additional information on cyber-bullying.
St. Thomas Aquinas follows a zero tolerance policy regarding violent behaviour. i.e. fighting, harassing, threats, etc. This includes behaviours on or off school property, including riding school buses to and from school, school trips, dances, during lunch hour, etc. A Principal will interview students who behave in a violent manner, and appropriate disciplinary action will be given. All combatants in a fight will be suspended, and other students involved in inciting violence (i.e. causing a fight to start or continue) will also be disciplined.
A weapon is any object deemed by a Principal to be dangerous to the welfare and safety of students and staff. Students shall not have weapons in their possession or among their belongings when on school property or when participating in any school related activity.
The consequences of possessing any weapon are determined by a Principal, and based on the implied intent of the threat. Consequences may include immediate suspension from school (1-5 days) followed by a meeting with parents/guardians, the student and the Principal before re-admission or criminal charges in applicable cases.
Possession of any type of gun, including realistic replica type guns, will result in immediate suspension from school, a recommendation to the Board for expulsion, and criminal charges in applicable cases.
Safety on Buses
Video surveillance is in effect on some school buses and school properties to support student safety. Video tape surveillance may be used at Appeal of Suspension or Recommendation for Expulsion hearings.
In the event of a fire or a fire drill, both teachers and students have specific responsibilities.
Ensure students evacuate safely and proceed to a safe area away from the scene.
Close all doors and windows.
Keep a copy of the current class list, and take attendance.
Report unaccounted absences to the school administration.
Return to class when it is safe and take attendance again.
Move quickly and quietly to the safe area.
Remain there with their teacher until directed.
Return promptly to class when directed.
Fire drills are held over the course of the year to ensure familiarity with the procedures.
In the event of an external or internal emergency, a lockdown, hold and secure, shelter in place or an evacuation will be called for the safety and security of all members of the school. Students are to comply with their teacher's directions. Failure to do so may jeopardize their personal security and that of other students. On the advice of local policing authorities, cell phone use is prohibited during a lockdown as it interferes with police communications. Parents will be notified if such an emergency arises once the emergency is over and safety is ensured. Lockdown drills are held over the course of the year to ensure familiarity with the procedures. Please refer to the student agenda for additional details.
Digital Video Recording on School Property
The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Calrington Catholic District School Board is committed to the use of video surveillance to monitor Board property, to assist school administration in detecting and deterring unacceptable behaviour or activities, and to provide a historical record to assist in investigations. Security cameras shall be used to enhance the safety of students and staff, to protect school property against theft or vandalism, and to assist in the identification of intruders and of persons endangering the health, well being, or safety of school community members. Information is collected by the PVNCCDSB under the authority of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. For information, contact the Manager of Communications, 705-748-4861.
Protect your property. Items should not be left in unsecured locations
such as change rooms. The school is not responsible for stolen valuables or money.
According to Board policy, the use of electronic devices during instructional activities, unless such equipment is deemed necessary to achieve curriculum expectations of a Catholic school, is not permitted. Students are not permitted to use cell phones, IPODs, MP3 Players or any other electronic equipment in class unless the teacher grants permission. The school is not responsible for the theft or loss of personal possessions.
Public Displays of Affection
Students are expected to act in an appropriate manner that reflects behaviour consistent with Christian values. Expressions of affection such as kissing, embracing and other excessive displays of affection are not considered appropriate behaviour in an educational setting.
Use of inappropriate language or gestures is considered "conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school" as stated in the Education Act. Inappropriate language is not acceptable behaviour for a Christian community. Presence of such material is considered "conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school" as stated in the Education Act. Material which promotes racism, sexism, substance abuse, violence, and pornography, are not acceptable in a Catholic educational community.
Board policy prohibits smoking on school property. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes are not permitted on school property, on school provided transportation, at school functions, or on buses en route to school functions. Smoking is not permitted in vehicles that are on school property.
In conjunction with all high schools in the PVNCCDSB, the school actively discourages the use of tobacco. Students in the smoking section during class time will be suspended.
Students in Grades 11 and 12 must smoke in the designated area and must refrain from smoking and chewing tobacco during class time, spares and between classes.
Grade 9 and 10 students are prohibited from being in the designated smoking area at all times.
Consequences for Misbehaviour
Students will be subject to progressive discipline and may receive a fine of up to $305.00 under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
Drugs and Alcohol
Alcohol and illicit drugs can cause students to jeopardize their own safety and the safety of others. Drug and alcohol use and academic success are not compatible. Board policy prohibits use of alcohol and drugs on school property. Students are forbidden to use or to have in their possession or to traffic such substances on Board property or during any school-sponsored activity.
Students attending a dance or field trip under the influence or in possession of alcohol or illicit drugs will be restricted from similar activities for one calendar year.
Students will be suspended from school.
A parent/guardian will be contacted.
Students will be counselled and may be referred for professional counselling.
The police will be contacted: charges may be laid.
Any student found guilty of trafficking in drugs or alcohol may be recommended to the Board for expulsion.
Students are expected to help make dances positive social experiences.
Students must be in regular attendance on the day of the dance.
Students must present their student card in order to enter.
Students may not leave and return to any dance.
Students are expected to comply with all school rules, i.e., consumption of alcohol and/or use of drugs will not be tolerated.
Students may not go to their lockers during the dance.
You may only sign in ONE GUEST.
NO SIGN-INS ON THE DAY OF THE DANCE OR AT THE DOOR.
The person that you sign in MUST BE A STUDENT OF ANOTHER SECONDARY SCHOOL. (Approval for guests of any other status must be obtained from the Principal or Vice Principal)
The person that you sign in MUST PRESENT STUDENT PHOTO ID in order to gain entry to the dance.
You must accompany your guest to the dance. THEY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GAIN ENTRY UNLESS YOU ARE WITH THEM AT THE DOOR.
You are responsible for your guest throughout the evening.