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Program Policies

1. Students’ Rights

The goal of the CUNY Catch program is to foster a sense of mutual respect among students and staff for the good of all concerned. The cooperation of all members of the school community will ensure that a rich learning experience and educational excellence can be achieved for every student. All students are guaranteed the right to express opinions, support causes, organize and assemble to discuss issues. Every student has the right to be treated fairly in accordance with the rights set forth in this document. In addition, as a student in the CUNY Catch Program, you have a right to:

  1. be in a safe and supportive learning environment, free from discrimination, harassment and bigotry;
  2. receive courtesy and respect from others regardless of age, race, creed, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, culture and political beliefs;
  3. receive a written copy of your rights and responsibilities as a student as well as the program's rules, regulations, penalties, attendance, academic and other policies and procedures, early in the school year or upon admission to the program;
  4. be informed about the General Educational Diploma (GED)Tests and GED Practice Tests requirements and information on assistance by the program courses and other activities to meet those requirements;
  5. be informed about required health, high school and other documents ;
  6. receive professional instruction in the CUNY Catch classes;
  7. know the grading criteria for each subject area and/or course offered by the program and to receive grades for school work completed based on established criteria;
  8. be informed of educational progress and receive periodic evaluations both informally and through formal progress reports;
  9. access to review your education records in the program upon request. The right to review your records is always accorded to your parent/guardian if you are under the age of 18.
  10. confidentiality in the handling of your  student records maintained by the program;
  11. receive guidance, counseling and advisement for personal, social, educational, career and vocational development;
  12. be represented by your peers in disciplinary actions;
  13. publish school newspapers and school newsletters reflecting the life of the school and expressing student concerns and points of view consistent  with responsible journalistic methods and subject to reasonable regulations. The publications must not be obscene or cause substantial disorder or invade the rights of others.
  14. wear political or other types of buttons, badges or armbands, except where such material is obscene or causes substantial disorder or invades the rights of others;
  15. be secure in your person, papers and effects and to carry in the school building personal possessions which are appropriate for use on the premises;
  16. be free from unreasonable or indiscriminate searches, including body searches;
  17. be aware that corporal punishment is prohibited;
  18. know what is appropriate behavior and what behaviors may result in disciplinary actions;
  19. be counseled by members of the program staff in matters related to your behavior as it affects your education and welfare within the program;
  20. receive written notice of the reasons for disciplinary action taken against you in a timely fashion;
  21. due process of law in instances of disciplinary action for alleged violations of program regulations for which you may be suspended or removed from class by your teachers;
  22. know the procedures for appealing the actions and decisions of school officials with respect to your rights and responsibilities as set forth in this handbook;
  23. be accompanied by parent/adult in parental relationship and/or representative at conferences and hearings;
  24. the presence of school staff in situations where there may be campus  security or police involvement; and
  25. answer or explain in writing any material entered in your student records.

You or an invited guest has the right to advocate positions without having to fear abuse, physical, verbal, or otherwise, from others supporting conflicting points of view.

2. Student Responsibilities

Responsible behavior by each student is the only way in which the rights set forth in this document can be preserved. Violation of some of these responsibilities may lead to disciplinary measures. Students have a responsibility to:

  1. attend classes regularly and punctually and make your best effort to achieve in all areas of your education;
  2. be prepared for class with appropriate materials and completed homework;
  3. help maintain a school environment free of weapons, illegal drugs, controlled substances and alcohol;
  4. behave in a manner that contributes to a safe learning environment and which does not violate other students’ right to learn;
  5. share information with school officials regarding matters which may endanger the health and welfare of members of the school community;
  6. respect the dignity and equality of others and refrain from conduct which denies or impinges on the rights of others;
  7. show respect for school property and respect the property of others, both private and public;
  8. be polite, courteous and respectful toward others regardless of age, race, creed, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, physical and/or emotional condition, disability, political beliefs, and refrain from making slurs based on these criteria;
  9. use non-confrontational methods to resolve conflicts;
  10. work with school staff in developing broad extracurricular programs in order to represent the range of physical, social and cultural interests and needs of students;
  11. observe ethical codes of responsible journalism;
  12. refrain from obscene and defamatory communication in speech, writing and other modes of expression in your interactions with the college community;
  13. express yourself in a manner which promotes cooperation and does not interfere with the educational process;
  14. bring to school only those personal possessions which are safe and do not interfere with the learning environment;
  15. be familiar with the school discipline code and abide by school rules and regulations;
  16. provide leadership to encourage fellow students to follow established school policies and practices;
  17. keep parents informed of school-related matters, including progress in school, social and educational events, and ensure that parents receive communications which are provided by school staff to students for transmittal to your parents especially if you are under the age of 18.

Attendance, Affirmative Action and Sexual Harassment Policies

1. Attendance and Punctuality

For the program to prepare you to pass all five- (5) areas of the GED tests, you would need every minute of every class to increase your chances.  It is therefore of the utmost importance that you attend classes every scheduled day on time. If you miss three- (3) consecutive days without contacting the office at (718) 482-5391, the program will assume that you have withdrawn from the classes and you will not be allowed to continue in the program. Our position is that if we could work so hard to provide these free services for you p- the least you could do is give us a call. You should expect the same response if you fail to show up for a job and do not call in. It is important that you do not schedule appointments to see doctors, probation officers, etc. during school time. If you need help in this matter, speak to a Counselor in the office to help you reschedule an appointment. 
If you miss more than one day in any week of classes, your absence will send up a red flag, which will say to our staff that you are no longer as interested in preparing to earn a GED. Or your absence may tell us that although you still want a GED, you may have to take care of personal business before you could benefit from our program. It may be in your best interest to speak with the Guidance Counselor or a Transitional Counselor.
If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must approve your leaving classes early.  If you miss classes for more than a day because of illness, you must bring in a doctor’s note.  For absences because of other reasons, you must bring in the appropriate documents.  It is recommended that you secure the telephone number or e-mail addresses of other students in your classes so that you may know about any missing class work or homework if you are ever absent.
Your class schedule will include a 10-minute break between classes.  You should use this time for any personal matters. However, it is your responsibility to be in the next scheduled class on time.  Failure to follow the program's attendance and punctuality requirements will jeopardize your status in the program.

2. Affirmative Action Policy

LaGuardia Community College is committed to the principles and spirit of affirmative action and equal opportunity. LaGuardia Community College recognizes its obligation to provide students with equal consideration when seeking admission, financial aid, and access to student services, academic and athletic programs.
The Affirmative Action Program encourages positive practices and ensures equitable disciplinary procedures for any member of the college community who engages in harassment on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation or disability, or any individual who reports such an incident.

The President, as Chief Executive Officer, has overall responsibility for the Affirmative Action Program. The President has designated the responsibility for the Affirmative Action Program to the Affirmative Action Officer, Jemma Lacaille, Affirmative Action Officer/Equal Employment Officer, Room E-513, (718) 482-5050.

3. Policy against Sexual Harassment

LaGuardia Community College does not condone and will not tolerate sexual harassment. Sexual harassment occurs when “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” are made a condition of employment or student status, are used in decisions affecting an employee or student, affect an employee’s work performance or student’s academic performance or create an overall intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment or student environment.

Sexual harassment is illegal under Federal, State, and City laws, and will not be tolerated within the College. The College has establish procedures to ensure that investigations of allegations of sexual harassment are conducted promptly, fairly, thoroughly, and as confidentially as possible under the circumstances, and that appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action is taken as warranted by the circumstances when sexual harassment is determined to have occurred. Members of the College community (including CUNY Catch students) who believe they are harassed under this policy are strongly encouraged to report the allegations of sexual harassment as promptly as possible. Delay in making a complaint of sexual harassment may make it more difficult for the college to investigate the allegations.

The President, as Chief Executive Officer of the College is committed to and supportive of the Affirmative Action Program. The Affirmative Action Officer has overall responsibility for ensuring compliance with Sexual Harassment rules and regulations. Information, complaints, and concerns from students and employees should be directed to the Coordinator of the Sexual Harassment Panel, Irma Lynch Patterson, Room E-114, (718) 482-5628, or to the Deputy Coordinator, Maria Riggs, Room E-509C, (718) 482-5074, or to any other member of the Sexual Harassment Panel. All inquiries, complaints and concerns will be kept confidential. For detailed information visit:  http://www.lagcc.cuny.edu/policies

4. Expected Classroom Behavior

In the classroom you are expected to

  1. come to school physically and emotionally prepared for classes
  2. bring a notebook and a sharpened pencil or a pen to classes every day
  3. share notes (when asked to do so by the teacher),
  4. agree to disagree
  5. not laugh at the answers of others
  6. allow others to speak without interrupting them
  7. avoid any cross talking
  8. try to stick to the subject
  9. raise your hands when you wish to ask questions
  10. not bring in any food, drinks
  11. not use cell phones, walkman, beepers or electronic games

See also the General Rules and Regulations below.

5. School’s Dress Code:

While you in school, you must comply with the following dress code:

  1. Shirts and blouses must be continuous from neckline to waist. The entire mid-section cannot show.
  2. Clothing with vulgar language, obscene pictures, weapons, drug/alcohol or drug paraphernalia and tobacco products is prohibited.
  3. No see-through clothing is allowed.
  4. Pants should be secured at waist: there will be no toleration of pants sagging below the waist to expose undergarments.
  5. No hats unless for religious or health reasons.
  6. No sunglasses unless prescribed.

6. Off-Limits Area

You will not be allowed on the third floor of the C-building during CUNY Catch class periods. This rule is an outcome of an agreement between the Division, the College and the Frank Sinatra High School.  Until this agreement changes, the third floor of the C-building is off limits to you.

7. General Rules and Regulations

LaGuardia Community College is committed to ensuring that our school is a place where students learn, and faculty and staff members work in a safe, secure and orderly environment. Standards of behavior with which all students are expected to comply are essential to achieving this end. The standards set forth in this handbook apply to behavior in school during school hours, before and after school, while on school property, at all school-sponsored events and on other-than-school property when such behavior can be demonstrated to endanger the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the College community.  Students who engage in misconduct, which is not listed, are subject to appropriate disciplinary measures by the program based on violation of school rules. Action may be taken against any and all persons who have no legitimate reason for their presence on any campus within the college, or whose presence on any such campus obstructs and/or forcibly prevents others from the exercise of the rights or interferes with the institution’s educational processes, facilities or services.
To ensure that you are aware of standards of behavior, school rules are included in this Student Handbook. Also included is a range of possible disciplinary responses that may be imposed by a teacher, the Director, an adjudicator, a Discipline Committee or the Vice President of the Division of Adult and Continuing Education. Any violations you commit will be noted in your student file.

If you are under the age of 18, the program will notify your parent/guardian if you violate the program's Discipline Code or school rules. However, for more serious violations or if you are believed to have committed a crime the College Security or the police may be summoned.

Complaint and Disciplinary Procedures

1. Procedures for Students’ Complaints
Any charge, accusation, or allegation, which is to be presented against you, and which, if proved, may subject you to disciplinary action, must be submitted to the teacher or the CUNY Catch Program Director or designee by the person making he charge against you.

The teacher or other CUNY Catch representative will try to resolve the complaint by mutual agreement.  If you plead guilty, the representative will consider which penalty is appropriate.  Only the Vice president of the Division, on the recommendation of the Adjudicator or the Disciplinary Committee may penalize you with suspension or expulsions.  If you do not plead guilty of the allegation, then the Program representative will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether disciplinary charges should be preferred or. You will be advised about the charges against you and the staff member will consult other parties who may be involved or who have information regarding the incident, and review other relevant evidence. Following this preliminary investigation, the complaint may be dismissed if there is no basis for the allegation or that the complaint does not warrant disciplinary actions in which case the individuals involved will be notified that the complaint has been dismissed. Based on the investigation, formal disciplinary charges may be made or the complaint may be referred to a Division’s Adjudicator or the Disciplinary Committee  

If formal charges are made against you, notice of this charge will be personally delivered to you or mailed at the address listed in the CUNY Catch Office by the Division’s Adjudicator or Disciplinary Committee. You will be notified of the charge and of the time and place of the hearing, which will be scheduled within a reasonable time following the filing of the charges by the CUNY Catch staff member.  The notice will include a statement of the charge against you and that anything you say at the hearing may be used against you.  The notice will also state that you have the right to represent your side of the story, to present witnesses and evidence on your behalf, to cross-examine the witnesses presenting evidence against you, to remain silent without assumption of guilt, or to be represented by legal counsel or an advisor at your expense.

2. Disciplinary Procedures for ACE Programs

The Division of Adult and Continuing Education (ACE) has established the following procedures to respond to violation of the program’s rules and regulations:

If you violate program standards of procedure or behavior, and said behavior is not considered to endanger yourself or another person, CUNY Catch will follow the procedures as described below:

If the problem occurs in a classroom setting, the teacher should take you aside during or after class for a teacher/student conference.  The purpose of this action is to discuss the problem, attempt to determine the cause of the problem, reiterate the acceptable behavior and to encourage you to mend your ways and not repeat the behavior again. 

The appropriate teacher or staff person involved in or observing the incident will prepare a written record describing the incident.  There will also be a written record of all subsequent formal meetings or discussions related to the incident.

 A second violation might require intervention by a CUNY Catch representative and another effort will be made to get at the cause of the difficulty and perhaps a written warning of further consequences. Depending on the nature of the violation you commit, your third violation could result in a referral for further counseling, attendance to another academic or vocational or other program, referral to a designated ACE Adjudicator or perhaps a direct referral to the Divisional Disciplinary Procedures Committee.
 
If, as a result of your misbehavior, your participation in the CUNY Catch program is temporarily interrupted, your situation will be reviewed as expeditiously as possible in order to limit the disruption of your studies.

 If you behaves in a way which places other students or staff in physical danger, and it is deemed that it is no longer safe for you to remain on the premises of the college or program location, you can be asked to leave the program temporarily while a decision is made about further action to be taken.  If you are unwilling to leave voluntarily, Security (or Public Safety) will be called.

An appeal from the decision of the Non-Credit Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee may be made to the Vice President who may confirm or decrease the penalty but not increase it.  His/her decision shall be final.

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