Student Conduct at BASE
At the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering we aim to create an environment that is safe, positive and respectful for all students. With the support of students, family members and staff, BASE believes that all of our students display a level of integrity not only in school but also within the community.
The standards in this section of the BASE Handbook outline the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors of student conduct. The standards that follow in the discipline code are expected to be met by all students before, during and after school hours. These standards are specific to the BASE community and align with the discipline code of New York City Public Schools.
Promoting Healthy Relationships through BASE Core Values
BASE Core Values are used to drive decision-making, support academic achievement, build community, and promote safety and respect among all members. The 4 BASE Core Values are:
- Valuing Diversity
- Creating Dialogue
- Taking Action
Below, you can see how each of the core values are supported by specific behaviors that successful BASE students demonstrate on a daily basis.
- Demonstrating time management by arriving at least 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.
- Demonstrating preparation by walking into the building every day with a bookbag, pen, pencil, notebooks and folders separated by courses.
- Knowing the amount of credits needed in each course to graduate with a diploma from BASE.
- Becoming aware of personal triggers and having a healthy plan to address them when they come up.
- Recognizing that BASE is a community comprised of staff and students from different racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
- Understanding homophobic, racist, and sexist comments or jokes are unwelcome and hurtful to this community.
- Respecting the physical and emotional boundaries of all community members, recognizing others may not share the same sense of humor or personal views.
- Welcoming new BASE members to the community; offering assistance in locating resources and orienting them to the BASE culture.
- Speaking with others using vocabulary that encourages and strengthens relationships.
- Recognizing gossip and teasing as forms of violence and discrimination.
- Looking to use communication as a tool to lift all up rather than divide or push others down.
- Resolving conflict through healthy communication; sometimes with the assistance of a trusted staff member or peer mediator.
- Keeping the community safe by reporting threats, theft, or any concerns about the health and well-being of another to an administrator, Seminar teacher, social worker or trusted staff.
- Keeping the classroom safe by correcting peers in the event any action or language is observed that may be interpreted as harassment, teasing, or discrimination.
- Owning and correcting offenses as a condition of returning to or remaining in the community.
- Using this academy as a place of business; a training ground for professional development where students practice the skills and discipline needed for achievement in college and career.
Non-Negotiables, as defined by BASE, are harmful behaviors that may result in removal from the classroom and/or from the larger BASE community. As a team, all BASE educators ensure these non-negotiables are dealt with in the same manner across all curricula. BASE non-negotiables include:
- Major verbal disrespect (i.e., insults, putdowns, profanity, ethnic/sexist/homophobic jokes).
- Moderate verbal disrespect despite interventions or invitations to self-correct.
- Any and all discrimination against an individual or group of individuals for any reason.
- Repeated disruptive or off-task actions in class despite interventions or invitations to self-correct.
- Damaging, defacing, taking or misusing property belonging to BASE or community members.
- Violating the physical or emotional space of another community member.
These “non-negotiables” exist to promote the safety and well-being of all community members. At BASE, there is no room for violence or disrespect. Students who violate the BASE Core Values, or do not abide by the “non-negotiables,” jeopardize their place in the program and may have to complete a series of restorative practices before returning to the community.
Transformative Justice at BASE
Transformative Justice (TJ) is a philosophy and community process of responding to incidents. When an incident happens, TJ focuses on the accountability and healing processes of those directly involved as well as the broader community; seeking to divest from oppressive structures that are at the root cause of harm. TJ emphasizes socioemotional learning and liberation.
The Transformative Justice Team is an interdisciplinary group of BASE staff who work together to support our young people and school in finding new, adaptive ways to manage conflict. The TJ Team may coordinate mediations as well as peace circles and family circles. The Young Transformative Justice Crew is a socially-diverse group of students who are trained in Peer Mediation and Justice Panel. Knowing that youth are the solution, Young TJ Crew members volunteer to give back to the BASE community from a peer-to-peer model.
What does it mean to be in a Transformative Justice school?
In a Transformative Justice School all stakeholders in a conflict or disruption are involved in the practice that restores justice to the school community. Transformative Justice often uses Restorative Practices, which is why the terms are sometimes interchangeable. At BASE, we handle the Transformative & Restorative Justice process by:
- Identifying the steps and taking action to repair harm in the community.
- Involving all stakeholders (examples: teachers, students involved, community members)
- Transforming from the traditional relationship of school discipline to responding appropriately to conflict and disruption.
A restorative approach can be used as both a prevention and intervention measure. Restorative processes can help schools build relationships and empower community members to take responsibility for the well being of others; prevent or deal with conflict before it escalates; address underlying factors that lead youth to engage in inappropriate behavior and build resiliency; increase the pro-social skills of those who have harmed others; and provide wrong doers with the opportunity to be accountable to those they have harmed and enable them to repair the harm to the extent possible. When used as an intervention measure, taking a restorative approach to discipline changes the fundamental questions that are asked when a behavioral incident occurs. Instead of asking who is to blame and how those engaged in the misbehavior will be punished, a restorative approach asks four key questions:
- What happened?
- Who was harmed or affected by the behavior?
- What needs to be done to make things right?
- How can people behave differently in the future?
Transformative Justice & Restorative Practices at BASE
Circle Process: A circle is effective as both a prevention and intervention strategy. Circles may be used as a regular practice in which a group of students (or faculty or students and faculty) participates. For example, a circle in Seminar check-in time is an effective way to participate in conversation or share a space as a community. A circle can also be used in response to a particular issue that affects the school. For example, a circle can be used after an altercation in class in order to talk about the problem and restore the community. The circle process allows a group to build relationships and establish understanding and trust, create a sense of community, learn how to make decisions together, develop agreements for the mutual good, resolve difficult issues as well as others.
When engaged in circle processes, students are expected to:
- Observe the “one-mic” rule
- Share personal and private experiences at own discretion, but still contribute to conversation in some capacity
- Respect confidentiality of peers by not sharing anything of personal nature (expressed by fellow students)
- outside of the classroom
- Refrain from inappropriate physical or verbal conduct
- Honor each person’s “share- out” as their own unique experience (even if you can not relate, or disagree)
- Keep an open mind to aspects of the circle (and related activities) that may be new, slightly awkward, or different
- from previous experiences
Peer Mediation: In peer mediation, a person outside of the conflict, someone who is trained in Transformative Justice approaches, actively listens to both of the conflicting parties and helps them in the process of coming to a resolution. Mediation recognizes that there are two sides to the conflict and brings both of those points of view to the table and helps the individuals work out a solution that meets both sets of needs. Disputants must choose to use mediation and must come to the process willingly. Mediation is not used where one individual has been victimized (for example, in cases of harassment or bullying) by another.
Formal Restorative Conference: A formal Restorative Conference is run by an individual who has received specific training in bringing together individuals who have acknowledged causing harm with those who have been harmed. Regardless of the circumstances, the mental, physical health, safety, and welfare of the individual who was harmed is of the most importance when considering this option in a school setting. Both sides of the conflict may bring supporters within the community to the circle who have also been affected by the incident. The purpose of the conference is for the person who caused harm and the harmed individual to understand each other’s perspective and come to a mutual agreement which will repair the harm done to the best of the communities ability.