School Rules & Expectations
The Wyoming Seminary Upper School is a large community consisting of students, faculty members, staff and constituent families. As in any functional community, an atmosphere of cooperation, respect for self and for others and good judgement are essential for healthy operation. It is expected that students who choose to enroll at Wyoming Seminary make a good faith commitment to respectful, responsible and honest standards of citizenship. Our students may be held accountable for any actions that reflect negatively upon Wyoming Seminary, regardless of time or place. These behavioral expectations apply to all Sem students unless otherwise stated. Sem students and their families are expected to understand and embrace the spirit as well as the letter of the school’s standards of conduct.
Each class at Wyoming Seminary is governed and advised by a Class Dean. These school leaders, in coordination with the Academic Dean and the Dean of the Upper School, are responsible for managing academic affairs, programs and issues associated with students in their designated grade. On matters of student social and academic affairs, Sem’s parents and students should view the Class Dean and the student’s faculty advisor as their primary resource people. Class Deans and important contacts >
A member of the Wyoming Seminary community must expect to be held accountable for his or her behavior. When students do not live up to established expectations, one of the administrators listed above will intervene. The Dean’s office endeavors to deal with behavior reasonably and fairly. Our students should grow to understand that although there are times when we cannot support their behavior, we do care about them as maturing members of this community. Violations of school rules are dealt with on a case-by-case basis with due regard for both specific circumstances and the welfare of the entire school community. The model that Sem utilizes in dealing with major rule violations is intended to serve as a teaching tool as well as an accountability plan. Our approach emphasizes consistency in process rather than in outcome. Thus, although precedent serves as a guideline, it will not always be our governing principle.
The Class Deans and the faculty, with the support of the Dean of Upper School, have the responsibility for managing the disciplinary system. A Wyoming Seminary student determined to be in violation of a major school rule will be summoned to appear before a Disciplinary Board. This committee consists of the Dean of the Upper School, the appropriate Class Dean and two at-large faculty representatives, as well as two student representatives. The Director of Residential Life will attend if a boarding student is involved. The student’s faculty advisor will be asked to attend, serving as a resource for all involved. The parents or guardian of the student involved have the option of attending the meeting. A parent or guardian may request the exclusion of student representation on the Disciplinary Board if concerns exist regarding the sensitive nature of the issue being addressed.
The Class Dean will personally direct, or delegate to others, the responsibility for making a thorough review of the facts surrounding any case(s) being brought before a Disciplinary Board. From this fact-finding effort, the Class Dean will develop a statement describing the specifics of the issue in question, citing a specific violation(s) of school rules to share with the Disciplinary Board members. A school representative will contact the parent(s) or guardian of the student(s) involved and apprise them of the situation prior to and following the Disciplinary Board meeting.
A Disciplinary Board is not an adversarial, legalistic procedure, but rather an educational, administrative process which results in a recommendation to the president. The President reserves the right to uphold or modify the recommendation.
When behavioral transgressions occur, our school culture expects that students will be fully cooperative and honest in their responses. Anything less will escalate the seriousness of the situation. When appearing before a Disciplinary Committee, a student is obligated to provide a full and accurate report of the event(s) in question. Failure to cooperate with fact-finding efforts concerning his/her own personal behavior will result in more serious discipline including the possibility of separation from the school.
MAJOR SCHOOL RULES
Infractions in the following areas, on the part of students enrolled at Wyoming Seminary, are considered violations of Major School Rules and will likely result in referral to a Disciplinary Board:
1. any behavior that infringes upon the safety and well being of another member of the school community. Harassment, bullying, hazing and other forms of disrespect will not be tolerated. Incidents of racial or sexual harassment are considered violations of Major School Rules. This includes the transmission of disrespectful text messages, e-mail messages, photographs and postings on social network sites.
2. dishonesty in any form: for example any act of lying, deceit or cheating, accessing computer files that are not your own, unauthorized use of another person’s credit card, telephone calling card, cell phone, forgery of any type (including improper weekend sign-outs), fraudulent excuse notes, and use of false identification cards are forms of dishonesty. Students are accountable to the Academic Honor Code.
3. the willful destruction or theft of personal or school property. Students found to be in the possession of another person’s property without permission or who are caught in the act of stealing are in violation of Major School Rules. Vandalism of any type is unacceptable and will be subject to high level consequence.
4. the possession, providing, and/or use of any quantity of illegal drugs (including synthetic drugs), drug paraphernalia or alcohol. Being in the presence of illegal drugs or alcohol is a major rule violation, as is the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medication. Boarding students must report all prescription medication to the nurse. Note: Any student misusing prescription medication, will, in all likelihood, be separated from the school. Please review the Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Policies below and the Athletic Department’s Drug and Alcohol Policy that is included in the Permission Forms section of My Sem.
5. the possession or use of knives, firearms or other dangerous weapons. Additionally, the possession or use of fireworks or flammable devices of any type is prohibited.
6. sexual impropriety or sexual harassment.
7. being in an unauthorized area of the school such as locked offices, opposite gender dorm rooms, or another student’s dorm room without permission. Additionally, possession and/or use of an unauthorized school key or access fob or tampering with a school lock is prohibited.
8. creating a fire hazard of any kind. As an example, smoking in a dormitory or other school buildings is a fire hazard and constitutes a major rule violation.
9. tampering in any way with school safety/security systems.
10. boarding student possession and/or operating of a motor vehicle on campus or in the greater Kingston/Wilkes-Barre area without express administrative permission.
11. unauthorized departure from the dormitory after curfew.
12. insubordinate or disrespectful behavior.
13. the accumulation of an unacceptable number of unexcused absences from school obligations or of other less serious violations.
14. behavior which discredits Wyoming Seminary. A student who engages in a major rule violation while on probation from an earlier offense, will, in all likelihood, be separated from school.
Wyoming Seminary reserves the right to refer a student to a Disciplinary Board for any other offense, or trend of inappropriate behavior, regardless of his or her standing with the disciplinary system, if the situation is deemed serious enough by the leadership of the school. Students involved in violations of major school rules will likely be asked to relinquish school leadership positions. In addition, any student whose influence is felt to be injurious to the school or to fellow students may be required to withdraw.
DRUG, ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO POLICIES
Each Sem student and family is accountable to the school’s Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco policy. A student who is in the presence of alcohol, illicit drugs or tobacco products is in violation of school policy. Students who find themselves in such an “at-risk” situation are expected to separate from it immediately. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
The possession, supply, or use of alcoholic beverages by any students enrolled at Wyoming Seminary, whether on campus or off, will jeopardize his/her continued enrollment. Students must avoid or leave gatherings at which alcohol is present for underage drinkers. The school reserves the right to administer (at the family's expense) chemical tests, urinalysis or “breathalyzer” tests in dealing with any student suspected of being under the influence of alcohol.
The possession, supply, or use of any type of illegal drug (including synthetic drugs), misuse of prescription medication or other controlled substances by any student enrolled at Wyoming Seminary, whether on campus or off, will jeopardize his/her continued enrollment. Students are expected to avoid gatherings where such prohibited substances are present. The school reserves the right to administer blood tests, urinalysis or hair follicle testing in dealing with any student suspected of being under the influence of a prohibited or misused substance. Any student found to be involved in any way with the sale, supply or distribution of alcohol, illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia or prescription medication, will, in all likelihood, be separated from the school. The school reserves the right to require a professional evaluation or assessment of any student, at the family’s expense, if there is concern about involvement with drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
With the strong evidence available that links the use of tobacco products to poor health, the school strongly recommends that students avoid using any type of tobacco product. Therefore, the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, while under school jurisdiction is strictly prohibited. Any violation of this expectation will warrant a response from the Dean of the Upper School. Possession of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco or paraphernalia related to the use of tobacco products, is prohibited.
Wyoming Seminary does not tolerate harassment – physical or emotional, verbal or visual. Harassment may include not only direct suggestions or slurs, but also offensive movements or gestures, as well as drawings or pictures which may be interpreted as suggestive or demeaning. This includes posting these messages on social network sites or texting them. Sexual harassment may be considered a major rule violation dealt with through the school’s published disciplinary protocol.
Students, parents, faculty or employees who are concerned about, wish to bring charges concerning, or need to deal with possible harassment may:
1. conference with the Dean of the Upper or Lower School, the Director of Residential Life (at the Upper School), the Academic Dean, the Business Manager, the Director of Physical Plant or the President;
2. seek the guidance of one or more school counselors, Jessica Montrella or Denny Barber.
DISCRETION AND SENSITIVITY
Students are expected to behave in a manner which exhibits respect for others. The school will not tolerate the use of foul language in public. Students are expected to show restraint and good manners in their relationship with other students. For example, students should refrain from public displays of affection throughout campus because this can make others feel uncomfortable and usurp community spaces.
In cases where a student is in violation of a rule other than those considered to be major rules, a Dean’s Meeting (also known as a "mini-board") may be convened. A Dean’s Meeting will include the Dean of the Upper School, the appropriate Class Dean, the student in question and his/her advisor. The purpose of this session would be to address an incident of non-major disciplinary significance and determine a response plan. The student would receive a formal letter clarifying expectations, a copy of which would be forwarded to the parent or guardian. Subsequent or repeated actions that warrant a Dean’s Meeting may be referred to a Disciplinary Board. The following points represent examples of non-major violations:
1. Absenteeism, including low level absenteeism or habitual lateness
2. Possession of a tobacco product
3. Failure to serve an assigned “bell” (detention)
4. Repeated minor infractions
Wyoming Seminary reserves the right to refer a minor violation of a major rule to a Dean’s Meeting, rather than convene a Disciplinary Board.
MONITORING WEEKEND ACTIVITIES/PARTIES
Parties sometimes take place in homes where parents are away, either for the weekend or just for the evening. Often the teenager invites “a few friends” to the house for what may be an innocent get-together. Unfortunately, the student grapevine is very effective, and word spreads quickly that parents are away. The “host” may then encounter as many as 40-50 teenagers at the door, many of whom he/she does not know. This poses a difficult choice for the host, who may not be able to turn the others away.
We have been extremely fortunate not to have had any serious injuries or fatalities in the aftermath of these parties. We have heard of students driving while under the influence of alcohol or riding with drivers who were, and we want to do everything we can to prevent a tragic situation.
As much as we wish we could prevent these parties from occurring, it is probably unrealistic to count on that. Nonetheless, here are some suggestions we want to make in the hope of deterring these activities.
• Have a straightforward conversation with your teenager, sharing your expectations about attendance or behavior at parties.
• Pose some situations they might face and help them rehearse ways to say “no.”
• If you plan to be away, have a responsible adult stay at your home or, if your child is staying elsewhere, ask him/her for the house key. Don’t put your student in a difficult situation by allowing access to a vacant home.
• Consider a “no guests” policy when you aren’t home.
• Notify the police that you won’t be home and ask them to check the house periodically.
We understand that these suggestions seem overzealous for kids who have been trustworthy; however, many parties have occurred in homes of reliable youngsters who were pressured into making poor choices. Wyoming Seminary takes an aggressive stance with regard to parties, and we will notify parents whenever we learn of possible occurrences. In some cases, our information will be inaccurate and we apologize in advance for calls which may be unwarranted. It is our hope, however, that the benefit which will come from our continued efforts to communicate with parents will outweigh the occasional “false alarm.”
Ultimately, hosting gatherings involving Wyoming Seminary students, at which alcohol is served or illegal drugs are being used, is a Major Rule violation. Such circumstances will, in all likelihood, result in referral of the host and guests to Disciplinary Board proceedings.
Students are permitted to have their cell phones with them while at school, but must have them set to “vibrate” during the school day. Students may use cell phones in ways that are respectful and productive to the academic nature of the school day. All cell phone numbers should be registered during the admission and/or registration process at the start of the school year.
The student and his/her family must meet all financial obligations to the school, including library fines, before final grades or transcripts are released. All seniors and postgraduates are expected to fulfill their attendance obligations by taking part in the Baccalaureate and Commencement exercises. If a student cannot attend these closing ceremonies the diploma will be mailed home at the family's expense.
Excolo is a program which combines community service, physical education, and activities requirements. The program is designed to help in the development of the whole person through these out-of-classroom activities. Each student must complete a certain number of hours in community service. More information can be found on the Excolo and Groups page.
Each building on the campus is equipped with a fire alarm system that is connected directly to the local fire company. The instructions for activating these alarms are on the individual alarm boxes. Evacuation instructions are posted in buildings.
More specific instructions will be provided at the beginning of the school year. For safety reasons, the school considers tampering with fire extinguishers or alarm boxes a serious matter. Firm disciplinary action and possible monetary fines will be imposed for violations of the above.
The possession or use of any form of fireworks, firearms, smokebombs, or explosives by any student while under school supervision is strictly forbidden and will likely lead to serious disciplinary action which may include suspension or dismissal from school.
LOST OR STOLEN ARTICLES
Any articles that are lost or missing need to be reported to the appropriate Class Dean as soon as possible.
SCHOOL SWIMMING POOL
Students must not use the swimming pool without the supervision of a qualified person designated by the school. Under no condition should anyone swim alone in the pool.
The school has a written policy regarding access to student records and procedures for challenging entries in a student’s permanent record. This policy is available from the Registrar’s Office. Student records may be examined by arrangement with the Dean of the Upper School.
CAMPUS LOCK DOWN
In the event that an emergency warrants a campus lock down, the Dean of the Upper School, or a designee, will initiate the transmission of a voice message to all Wyoming Seminary school office and classroom landlines and text messages to all Sem student and adult cell phones registered with our system, announcing the initiation of a lock down. Once students and adults on campus have been notified of the lock down a subsequent message will be transmitted to parents.
Step-by-step lock down instructions are posted in each classroom and office and will be explained to students at the start of the school year.