New code of conduct approved by Pittsburgh Public Schools board

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The board of Pittsburgh Public Schools tonight approved new code of student conduct language aimed at ensuring that students are not cited for disorderly conduct for minor offenses.

The new wording brings the definition of "disorderly conduct" more in line with the legal definition and makes clearer the distinction between that and "disruption of school."

In 2009-10 and 2010-11, the rate of incidents reported as disorderly conduct was about triple the statewide average, according to an audit released by then-state Auditor General Jack Wagner in January.

Over the next year, district officials, with help from the Education law Center, will be working on a major rewrite of the conduct code, which then will be submitted to the board.

The new language mirrors the legal definition of disorderly conduct, which includes the "intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof."

It lists situations such as fighting, threatening, unreasonable noise, obscene language and creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition.

The current language for disorderly conduct states "a student shall not act or behave in a way that substantially disrupts the orderly conduct of the school or learning environment or that poses a threat to the health, safety, and/or welfare of students, staff or others. Causing annoyance, alarm or inconvenience is also unacceptable."

It also lists various situations, including "unruly behavior."

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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