Student Handbook

students in a classroom

Father Don MacLellan Catholic Secondary School

458 Fairall Street, Unit 7
Ajax, ON  L1S 1R6
Phone: 905-666-1146
Fax: 905-683-9436

Principal: Mr. C. Gardner

Board Website 

Board's Mission Statement

We are called to celebrate and nurture the God-given talents of each student as we serve with excellence in the light of Christ.


Father Donald MacLellan's Mission Statement

The Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School community, with compassion and mercy, strives to instill hope and empower our students as they maximize their potential to succeed.


Our School's History

Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School was named in honour of the late Rev. Donald MacLellan, C.Ss.R. Father Don, as he was known throughout the Durham Catholic District School Board, worked with schools in the DCDSB as a Retreat Leader before being named Chaplain of Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School in 1992.  He served as Chaplain there until his retirement in 1992, a period of time as he often described as the best 10 years of his life.  

Father Don's passion for working with students who faced challenges, adversity and daily struggles was evident throughout his time at Msgr. Pereyma.  His favourite saying was, "Be Not Afraid is written 365 times in the Bible - once for every day of the year."  He helped students find their inner strength to face the world in which they lived, rather than allowing them to hide from it.  He reminded them that they were never alone; that they always had God with them.  He taught them that feeling fear was not wrong, but living in fear limited their ability to be the full human beings that God wanted them to be. He was a priest, counselor, teacher and friend.  His belief in the value of Catholic Education in developing the whole person was evident in the way he welcomed and interacted with all students.

Father Don died on June 15, 2008.  Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary is a tribute to his time working with the many students who have been touched by him.


Programs available through Father Donald MacLellan 

The Durham Catholic District School Board is proud to provide a continuum of programs and services to students in the Durham Region. Course and support services available through Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School have been designed to meet the needs of those students who, for whatever reason, experience challenges achieving success in a traditional school setting. Each of the programs described below can lead to an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Through the provision of alternate settings, smaller class sizes, opportunities for independent study, co-op placements, dual credits, as well as options for both part and full time programs, the staff at Father Don MacLellan Catholic Secondary School are able to tailor programs to meet individual learning needs. When combined with academic and non-academic support, these programs have helped many students in Durham to achieve success and graduate!

Reconnect Program (Learning to18)

458 Fairall Street, Unit 7, Ajax, ON  905.666.1146, Ext 0

This program is for students 16 to 17 years of age who may be credit deficient and/or have or had attendance issues and/or may be experiencing difficulty completing their OSSD requirements in a traditional secondary school setting.

Program Description

  • Small, supportive class setting
  • Full and part-time programming includes teacher-led classes, credit recovery, experiential learning, independent learning
         and Supervised Alternative Learning (SAL)
  •  Restorative practice philosophy
  • Support from Child and Youth Counsellor and Social Worker to network with community agencies
  • Guidance support for post-secondary pathway


The Centre for Success - Durham College (DCDSB Students only) 

A dual-credit alternative learning opportunity for students in their final year of high school, the Durham Catholic District School Board's Centre for Success is a unique program that allows students to complete their secondary school graduation requirements in an adult learning environment with support and encouragement from their teachers.

Students who are accepted to the program attend Durham College for one semester.  During that time they will complete their high school graduation requirements and take a college course taught by a Durham College faculty member, and supported by a secondary teacher, which will also count as a high school credit If successful, two credits are recorded: one on the high school transcript and the second on the college transcript.  

Students apply for this program through their home school.  Please contact your home school Guidance Department for more information.

The Catholic Return Ticket Program (Long-Term Suspension/Expulsion Program)

This program is designed to provide academic and non-academic support for students of the Durham Catholic District School Board who have been expelled or who are on a long-tem suspension.

If you have any questions, please contact Fr. Donald MacLellan C.S.S. at 905-666-1146. 


Durham Catholic District School Board - Safe, Caring and Healthy Secondary Schools 

The Durham Catholic District School Board recognizes that a school should be a place that promotes responsibility, respect, civility, and academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment. A positive school climate exists when all members of the school community feel safe, comfortable, and accepted. It is the responsibility of all members of the school community to work together to create a positive learning environment where all members feel supported. 

Access to Premises

We are always pleased to have parents/guardians visit the school to discuss an issue with teachers or administrators.  In keeping with the Board’s Access to School Premises Policy, please remember that anyone coming into the school must first sign in at the office and obtain a Visitor’s badge.   All staff members will be wearing photo ID and will question anyone whose presence is not expected. 

If a parent/guardian needs to pick up his/her son/daughter during the school day, this must be facilitated at the office.  Members of the office staff will call the student down to the office to be signed out.  If parents need to send a friend/relative/designate to pick up their child, please advise the school in advance and ask the designate to provide photo identification at the office.  If the student returns to school before dismissal, he/she must sign back in at the office so his/her attendance can be monitored.


Attendance Matters

Did you know?

  • Students should miss no more than 9 days of school each year to stay engaged, successful and on track to graduation. 
         That means no more than 4 ½ days per semester.
  • Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or
         facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
  • Research shows that by grade nine, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than grade eight
         test scores.
  • Missing 10 percent of a school year (or about 19 days), can drastically affect a student’s academic success. 
  • žStudents can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.
  • žGood attendance is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college or university and keep a job.


Make School Attendance a Priority

  • Talk about the importance of showing up to school every day, make that the expectation in your family.
  • žHelp your child maintain daily routines, such as finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • žTry not to schedule dental and medical appointments during the school day.
  • žDon’t let your child stay home unless truly sick. Complaints of headaches or stomach aches may be signs of anxiety.
         Talk to your physician or ask someone at the school (guidance counsellor, principal or vice principal,  school social worker
         or child and youth counsellor) where to go for help.


Help Your Teen Stay Engaged

  • Find out if your child feels engaged by his/her classes and feels safe from bullies and other threats. Report any concerns to
         the teacher or principal or vice principal.
  • Stay on top of academic progress and seek help from teachers or tutors if necessary. Make sure teachers know how to
         contact you. 
  • Stay on top of your youth’s social contacts. Peer pressure can lead to skipping school, while students without many friends
         can feel isolated.
  • Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.


Communicate With the School

  • Talk to teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
  • žCheck on your child’s attendance to be sure absences are not piling up.
  • žAsk for help from school officials, afterschool programs, other parents or community agencies if you’re having trouble getting
         your child to school.

Safe Arrival - Automated Attendance System

In June 2018, The Durham Catholic District School Board adopted a new automated attendance system, called Safe Arrival, for reporting student absences. Safe Arrival reduces the time it takes to verify student attendance making it easier for you to report your child’s absence and easier for staff to respond to unexplained student absences. Parents are able to report their child’s absence quickly and conveniently using three different methods:

1. Parents can log into a website: to report student absences.

2. Parents can call into the automated interactive telephone system using the toll free number 1-844-288-7628 through which
    absences can be reported.

3. Parents can download the SafeArrival app for iOS and Android smartphones.  Search for the keyword school messenger in the
    Google Play store or the Apple App store.  Select Canada, select sign up, enter your email address that is on file with the school,
    enter a password. 

All three methods are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Future absences, like doctor’s appointments can be reported ahead of time. For more information, please visit the school website.


Restorative Schools

We believe that safety begins with positive connections between the students, staff and parents.  To foster these relationships, staff in the Durham Catholic District School Board use restorative practices, including classroom circles and small group conferences to build community within the classroom and the school.  Restorative Practice is rooted in the same philosophical approach as Canada’s Native Aboriginal communities.  It rests on the belief that it is best to do things with people, rather than to them.  When conflict arises, using restorative practice engages students in a fair process that responds to behavior in ways that strengthen and repair the relationship.  It is collaborative rather than adversarial in nature.  The aim of restorative practice is to hold individuals accountable for their actions while restoring and repairing any relationships amongst each other and within the community that may have been harmed. 

Catholic Restorative Schools will:

  • ž   Provide opportunities for someone who has done harm to determine the effect of his/her actions and make reparations
  • ž   Provide a voice for the victim
  • ž   Use a common set of restorative questions both in and out of our classrooms to give the victim a voice and enable the
            perpetrator to determine the effect of his/her actions. “How do you think your actions had an impact on others?”  “What do
            you think you need to do to make things right?”
  • ž   Use circles, or small group conferences to build community, develop empathy and understanding, and when needed,  to
            repair relationships
  • ž   Celebrate our Catholic community through the Catholic virtues and Catholic Graduate Expectations
  • ž   Use think papers and reflective discussion papers aligned with the restorative questions 

School Code of Conduct

All schools base their individual school Code of Conduct on the Ministry of Education Code of Conduct.  As per Board Policy and the Ontario Safe Schools Act, a school’s Code of Conduct will be developed in consultation with parents, teachers and the Catholic School Advisory Council.  All members of the school community will be responsible for adhering to the expectations as outlined in this Code of Conduct. 

Schools within the Durham Catholic District School Board will focus on prevention, early intervention and progressive discipline as the key to maintaining a positive school environment in which students can learn and educators can teach. When inappropriate behaviour occurs, all staff members will utilize a range of interventions, supports and consequences that are developmentally appropriate, that include opportunities for students to learn from mistakes, and that focus on improving behaviour. In some circumstances, short term suspension may be the method of progressive discipline utilized. In the case of a serious incident, long-term suspension or expulsion, which is further along the continuum of progressive discipline, may be the response that is required. 

Statement of Purpose

The provincial Code of Conduct sets clear provincial standards of behaviour. These standards of behaviour apply not only to students, but also to all individuals involved in the publicly funded school system whether they are on school property, on school buses, at school-related events or activities, or in other circumstances that could have an impact on the school climate. 

The purpose of the Provincial Code of Conduct and the School Code of Conduct is:

  • ž   To ensure that all members of the school community, especially people in positions of authority, are treated with respect
            and dignity.
  • ž   To promote responsible citizenship by encouraging appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community.
  • ž   To maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be addressed in a manner characterized by respect and
  • ž   To encourage the use of non-violent means to resolve conflict.
  • ž   To promote the safety of people in the schools.
  • ž   To discourage the use of alcohol, cannabis and illegal drugs.


Guiding Principles

  • žResponsible citizenship involves appropriate participation in the civic life of the school community.
  • žActive and engaged citizens are aware of their rights, but more importantly, they accept responsibility for protecting their
         rights and the rights of others.
  • žMembers of the school community are expected to use non-violent means to resolve conflict.
  • žPhysically aggressive behaviour is not a responsible way to interact with others.
  • The possession, use or threatened use of any object to injure another person endangers the safety of oneself and others.
  • ž Alcohol, cannabis and illegal drugs are addictive and present a health hazard.
  • The school will work cooperatively with police, drug and alcohol agencies to promote prevention strategies and, where
         necessary, respond to school members who are in possession of, or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • žInsults, disrespect, and other hurtful acts disrupt learning and teaching in a school community.
  • Members of the school community have a responsibility to maintain an environment where conflict and difference can be
        addressed in a manner characterized by respect and civility.


Standards of Behaviour  

I) Respect, Civility, and Responsible Citizenship

All members of the school community must:

  • Respect and comply with all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal laws;
  • žDemonstrate honesty and integrity;
  • žRespect differences in people, their ideas, and their opinions;
  • žTreat one another with dignity and respect at all times, and especially when there is disagreement;
  • žRespect and treat others fairly, regardless of, for example, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship,
         religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability;
  • Respect the rights of others;
  • žShow proper care and regard for school property and the property of others;
  • žTake appropriate measures to help those in need;
  • Seek assistance from a member of the school staff, if necessary, to resolve conflict peacefully;
  • žRespect all members of the school community, especially persons in positions of authority;
  • žRespect the need of others to work in an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching;
  • žNot swear at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority.

II) Safety

All members of the school community must not:

  • Engage in bullying behaviours;
  • žCommit sexual assault;
  • žTraffic weapons, illegal or illicit drugs;
  • žGive alcohol, cannabisor illegal drugs to a minor;
  • žCommit robbery;
  • žBe in possession of any weapon, including firearms;
  • žUse any object to threaten or intimidate another person;
  • žCause injury to any person with an object;
  • žBe in possession of, or under the influence of, or provide others with alcohol or illegal drugs;
  • žInflict or encourage others to inflict bodily harm on another person;
  • žEngage in hate propaganda and other forms of behaviour motivated by hate or bias;
  • žCommit an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property or to property located on the premises of the

Consequences for Student Behaviour

Commensurate with the Durham Catholic District School Board’s Progressive Discipline Policy, when inappropriate behaviour occurs, schools are required to utilize a range of interventions, supports, and consequences that are developmentally appropriate, provide opportunities for students to learn from mistakes, and focus on improving behaviour. In some circumstances, short-term suspension may be the appropriate consequence while in more  serious incidents, long-term suspension or expulsion  may be the response that is required. 


The infractions for which a suspension may be considered by the principal include:

  • Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person;
  • žPossessing alcohol, illegal drugs or cannabis (unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user);
  • žBeing under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or cannabis (unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user);
  • žSwearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority;
  • žCommitting an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the pupil’s school or to property located
         on the premises of the pupil’s school;
  • žBullying
  • žUttering a racial slur or comment;
  • žSexual slurs or harassment;
  • žPossession and/or use of tobacco products;
  • žDisrespect towards or desecration of the religious dimension of the school;
  • žConduct deemed to be unacceptable: e.g.,
  • žFighting/Violence
  • žUse of profane or improper language
  • žPersistent opposition to authority
  • žPersistent tardiness and/or truancy including “skipping” classes
  • žTheft
  • žInappropriate use of Social Media
  • žAny other behaviours deemed to be contrary to the school Code of Conduct.

A student may be suspended for a minimum of one (1) school day and a maximum of twenty (20) school days.


The infractions for which a principal shall suspend and may consider recommending to the Board that a pupil be expelled from the pupil’s school or from all schools of the Board include:

  • žPossessing a weapon, including possessing a knife or a firearm;
  • žUsing a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person;
  • žBullying, if the pupil has previously been suspended for engaging in bullying, and the pupil’s continuing presence in the
         school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person;
  • žCommitting physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner;
  • žCommitting sexual assault;
  • žTrafficking in weapons or restricted or illegal drugs;
  • žCommitting robbery;
  • žGiving cannabis to a minor;
  • žGiving alcohol to a minor;
  • žAny activity listed in the Code of Conduct for which a suspension must be considered that is motivated by bias, prejudice or
        hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual
        orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other similar factor;
  • Engaging in activities or patterns of behaviour on or off school property that cause the pupil’s presence in the school to
         create an unacceptable risk to the physical or mental well-being of other person(s) in the school or Board;
  • Engaging in activities on or off school property that have caused extensive damage to the property of the Board or to goods
         that are/were on Board property;
  • žConduct deemed to be unacceptable:
  • žAny act considered by the Principal and Family of Schools Superintendent to be a serious violation of the Board or school
         Code of Conduct. 

Mitigating Factors

Before the principal or vice principal makes a decision to suspend or recommend an expulsion he/she must consider all mitigating circumstances.

  • Whether the student has the ability to control his or her behaviour;
  • žWhether the student has the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behavior; and
  • žWhether the student’s continuing presence in the school does or does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any
         person in the school.

Other Factors to be Considered

  • The student’s academic, discipline and personal history
  • Whether a progressive discipline approach has been used with the student;
  • žWhether the activity for which the student may be or is being suspended or expelled was related to any harassment of the
         student because of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation or to any other harassment;
  • žThe impact of the discipline on the student’s  ongoing education;
  • žThe age of the student;
  • žIn the case where the student has an Individual Education Plan(IEP) or disability-related needs:
    • ž     Whether the behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the student’s Individual Education Plan;
    • ž     Whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided, and
    • ž     Whether the suspension is likely to result in aggravating or worsening of the student’s behaviour or conduct.


Roles and Responsibilities 

School Boards

School Boards provide direction to their schools to ensure opportunity, academic excellence, and accountability in the education system. It is the responsibility of the School Board to:

  • ž Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • ž Develop policies that set out how their schools will implement and enforce the provincial Code of Conduct and all other
          rules that they develop that are related to the provincial standards that promote and support respect, civility, responsible
          citizenship, and safety;
  • Review these policies regularly with students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the community;
  • žSeek input from school councils, their Parent Involvement Committee, their Special Education Advisory Committee, parents,
         students, staff members, and the school community;
  • Establish a process that clearly communicates the provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Codes of Conduct to all
         parents, students, staff members, and members of the school community in order to obtain their commitment and support;
  • Develop effective intervention strategies and respond to all infractions related to the standards for respect, civility,
         responsible citizenship, and safety; and
  • Provide opportunities for all of the staff to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to develop and maintain
         academic excellence in a safe learning and teaching environment; and wherever possible, Boards should collaborate to
         provide coordinated prevention and intervention programs and services, and should endeavor to share effective practices.



Under the direction of their School Boards, principals take a leadership role in the daily operation of a school. They provide this leadership by:

  • Modeling Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • žDemonstrating care for the school community and a commitment to academic excellence in a safe teaching and learning
  • Holding everyone under their authority accountable for his or her behaviour and actions;
  • žEmpowering students to be positive leaders in their school and community; and
  • žCommunicating regularly and meaningfully with all members of their school community. 

Teachers and Other School Staff Members

Under the leadership of their principals, teachers and other school staff members maintain order in the school and are expected to hold everyone to the highest standard of respectful and responsible behaviour. As role models, teachers and school staff uphold these high standards when they:

  • Model Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • žHelp students work to their full potential and develop their sense of self-worth;
  • žEmpower students to be positive leaders in their classroom, school, and community;
  • žCommunicate regularly and meaningfully with parents;
  • žMaintain consistent standards of behaviour for all students;
  • žDemonstrate respect for all students, staff, parents, volunteers, and the members of the school community; and
  • žPrepare students for the full responsibilities of citizenship. 


Students are to be treated with respect and dignity. In return, they must demonstrate respect for themselves, for others, and for the responsibilities of citizenship through acceptable behaviour.

Respect and responsibility are demonstrated when a student:

  • Models Christian behaviours founded in Catholic tradition;
  • žComes to school prepared, on time., and ready to learn;
  • žShows respect for himself or herself, for others, and for those in authority;
  • žRefrains from bringing anything to school that may compromise the safety of others; and
  • žFollows the established rules and takes responsibility for his or her own actions.



Parents/Guardians play an important role in the education of their children, and can support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all students. Parents fulfill their role when they:

  • Support the values of our Catholic school system;
  • žConduct themselves in an appropriate manner;
  • žTake responsibility and support the efforts of school staff in maintaining a safe and respectful learning environment for all
  • Show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress;
  • žCommunicate regularly with the school;
  • žHelp their child be neat, appropriately dressed, and prepared for school;
  • žEnsure that their child attends school regularly and on time;
  • žPromptly report to the school their child’s absence or late arrival;
  • žShow that they are familiar with the provincial Code of Conduct, the Board’s Code of Conduct and school rules;
  • žEncourage and assist their child in following the rules of behaviour; and
  • žAssist school staff in dealing with disciplinary issues involving their child.


School Code of Conduct on School Bus Vehicles

All school bus vehicles are considered an extension of the classroom and all school policies such as Safe Schools, and School Code of Conduct apply to the school bus. All transported students whether on a field trip or home to school transportation are expected to behave in a manner on the bus that ensures that everyone remains safe.  Since the bus is an extension of the school, students are accountable to the school principal who has the authority to ensure that student conduct on the school bus is appropriate.

Due to the nature of the activity of riding a bus, the following are expectations for all methods of school transportation as per the School Code of Conduct.

All students must:

  • Respect other people’s property and belongings while waiting for the school bus;
  • Treat the driver with respect and follow his/her instructions;
  • Be courteous and respectful to others on the bus at all times;
  • Act appropriately in a manner that does not endanger the safety of oneself or others including, but not limited to:
    • Not engaging in any activity that interferes with the safe operation of the bus
    • Remaining seated at all times, facing forward while the bus is in motion
    • Keeping hands, arms, feet, head and belongings inside the vehicle until the student has exited at his/her stop
    • Not distracting or speaking to the bus driver except in the case of emergency
    • Refraining from inappropriate behavior on the bus, e.g., throwing items, swearing, fighting, or bullying
    • Not bringing alcohol, drugs or weapons onto the school bus
    • Not touching safety equipment or emergency exits except in the case of an emergency
    • Not eating or drinking on the bus


Safe and Caring Schools Report It – Non-Emergency Report System

Parents and students are encouraged to report incidents of bullying or other school safety concerns as soon as they happen by contacting their teacher and/or school administration.  We recognize that bullying affects a student’s sense of safety and security, and some people may not feel comfortable reporting bullying or other school safety incidents.  To help ease this worry, students and parents are welcome to use the Report It page available on the school website to report incidents of bullying or other safety concerns that have not already been reported. School safety concerns can be reported anonymously or contact information can be given so that appropriate follow-up can occur. The information provided will be forwarded to the school principal for action and a follow-up response if requested.


Community Threat Assessment and Intervention Protocol– Fair Notice

The Durham Catholic District School Board is committed to providing safe learning environments for all students, staff, school visitors and community members. When student behaviours pose a potential threat to safety or serious harm to self or others, all schools in the Durham Catholic District School Board follow the Community Threat Assessment and Intervention Protocol

(C-TAIP), which outlines how a school responds immediately to threatening behaviour. This protocol involves supports from various partners, including community agencies, hospitals and police services. Personal information shared throughout this process will always respect and balance each individual’s right to privacy while ensuring the safety of all. For more information, please refer to the school website or ask the principal for more information. 

Search and Seizure

According to the Police/School Board Protocol for Durham Catholic District School Board, it is the right and authority of the Principal or designate to search school and personal property, such as lockers, desks, backpacks, purses, etc., without notice or permission of any person as long as the Principal or designate has reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a breach of school regulations and that the search would reveal evidence of that breach.  Police may from time to time be invited onto school premises to conduct their own searches, also without prior notice to or permission of any member of the school community.

Community Partners

Through outreach, school and community partnerships already in place may be enhanced and new partnerships developed with community agencies and other groups within the community (e.g., Kinark Family and Child Services, Aboriginal Elders). Community agencies are important resources that schools can use to deliver prevention or intervention programs. Protocols are effective ways of establishing connections between boards and community agencies and formalizing the partnership. These partnership agreements must respect all applicable collective agreements and Board policies. 

Durham Regional Police Service Partnerships

The Durham Regional Police Service plays an essential role in making our schools and communities safer. The police investigate incidents in accordance with our Police/School Board protocol. This protocol is based on the provincial model developed by the Ministry of Education.  The Durham Regional Police Service are instrumental in supporting our schools with all emergency preparedness procedures and Safe Schools initiatives.  Each of our schools has regular access to a School Liaison Officer.


Emergency Response Plans

Each September, as part of our Police/Board protocol we practice our emergency response procedures so all staff and students are well prepared in the event of a real emergency.  Using newsletters and the school website, we will provide all families with details of our practices and the role that parents play in supporting a school’s emergency response.Goals of a Lockdown situation

Emergency response practices include:

Fire Drills: Students practise the appropriate way to exit the building when they hear a fire alarm.  Practices are held when students are in class, at recess and where an exit might be blocked.

Lockdown: Students practise the appropriate way to respond to a threat of danger inside the school using the R-SAFE acronym.  Students are taught to get to the nearest and safest location as quickly as possible, what to do when they get there and the importance of remaining quiet.

Hold and Secure: Students practice how to respond to a threat of danger outside the school.  In the case of a Hold and Secure, all exterior doors remain locked and students remain inside, away from exterior doors and windows until the Hold and Secure has been lifted.  In most cases, the need for a Hold and Secure is at the request of the police, based on a situation in the neighbourhood.  In these cases, the school must wait for the police to lift the request for a Hold and Secure

Shelter in Place: Students practice how to respond to an environmental danger, like a hurricane.  In most cases, the response will be a Hold and Secure with specific directions based on the environmental concern.

Bomb Threat: Students are taught the appropriate response to a bomb threat which includes never touching a suspicious package, and listening carefully to the directions of the teacher or the administration if an evacuation is warranted. 

How can parents help?

Parents can help by following the procedures associated with each of plans should they be present during a drill or should a real situation occur.  School administration must follow the direction of the police as soon as they become involved in an emergency response.  As such, Parents must understand that schools are unable to release students during an emergency response without the expressed permission of the police.

Parents can also assist the school by emphasizing with their children the importance of closely following the direction of the staff during a drill or a real emergency.  Parents should encourage their children to share any information they may have about a threat of violence toward a school or information they may have after a violent incident. It is everyone’s responsibility to help keep our school safe.


Permission for Photo and Video Sharing at School

As we try to keep pace with social media that is so much a part of our students’ lives, it is important to be reminded of people’s right to privacy.  While taking photos or videos at various school events, please be mindful that it is illegal to post/upload/share photos or videos of anyone other than yourself your child on the internet or anywhere without the expressed consent of the person or their guardian. Sharing photos or videos of others without their consent is a privacy violation.


Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

BYOD allows students to bring electronic devices to school for educational purposes.  Students are expected to use devices responsibly, and only with the permission and direction of teachers or other staff members.  Research indicates that the use of technology increases engagement, which leads to improved student success.  The following are reasons why BYOD works well:

  • ž   Students are usually experts in their own device and can customize it to suit their learning needs
  • ž   Students can use it to learn anytime, anywhere;
  • ž   Students can collaborate and work anytime; before school, after school, and at lunchtime; and
  • ž   Student-owned devices are often more up-to-date than those provided by the school due to the cost of replacing hardware
            for the entire system.

Our students are going to live and work in a world where people use electronic devices regularly.  They need to learn how to use devices in a respectful, responsible and ethical manner.  The Durham Catholic District School Board’s BYOD procedures, School Codes of Conduct and Ontario Graduate Expectations will guide teachers in the process of teaching students what it means to be good digital citizens. 

Not every parent can, or wants to send their child to school with an electronic device.  Teachers will continue to plan lessons that do not require the use of a personally owned device.  Teachers are encouraged to give advanced notice when they plan to incorporate electronic devices into a lesson.  Students without devices will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students or borrow a school device. 

Students are required to use the Board’s wireless network, which they can access at no cost while at school.  They will not be permitted to access their paid data plans while in school.  The Durham Catholic District School Board’s network filter will help prevent students from accessing inappropriate web content while they are logged in at school. 

Schools will have plans in place to help students keep their devices secures.  Ultimately, students are responsible for lost, stolen, and/or damaged personal electronic devices, just as they are for other personal items brought to school.


Secondary School - Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement 

  • ž   I will respect the dignity of others and contribute to the common good.
  • ž   I will only use social media in a manner that respects the dignity of others.
  • ž   I will use the internet, computers and personally owned electronic devices in a manner consistent with the Catholic
           Graduate Expectations.
  • ž   I will respect the intellectual property rights of others and not pirate or plagiarize.
  • ž   I will protect my digital identity, my passwords, and others’ right to privacy online.
  • ž   I will only use personally owned electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, tablets, iPods) during class time when it is allowed
           by my teacher.
  • ž   I will not take pictures, videos or audio recordings of people without their permission.
  • ž   I will not use an electronic device in private areas (e.g., washrooms, change rooms, and administrative offices).
  • ž   I understand that inappropriate use of personally owned electronic devices make me subject to discipline as noted in the
            Board’s Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Administrative Procedure, Code of Conduct Policy
            and Student Discipline Policy.
  • ž   I will remember Jesus’ message do unto others as I would have done to me.


Durham Catholic District School Board Concussion Policy

All school boards in the Province of Ontario are required by law to have a Concussion policy and school board administrative procedures in place so that students, school staff and parents/guardians understand their role in preventing, managing and reporting suspected or diagnosed concussions.

A concussion is the term for a clinical diagnosis that is made by a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner. The definition of concussion below is adapted from the definition provided in the concussion protocol in the Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines. 

A concussion:

  • ž   is a brain injury that causes changes in the way in which the brain functions and that can lead to symptoms that can be
            physical (e.g., headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g., difficulty in concentrating or remembering), emotional/behavioural
            (e.g., depression, irritability), and/or related to sleep (e.g., drowsiness, difficulty in falling asleep);
  • ž   may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck or by a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head
            that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull;
  • ž   can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness (in fact most concussions occur without a loss of
  • ž   cannot normally be seen by means of medical imaging tests, such as X-rays, standard computed tomography (CT) scans,
            or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. 

A specific concussion protocol and tool now exists in all Durham Catholic District School Board schools that includes responsibilities for Board and school staff, students and parents/guardians. Additionally, health units and sports and fitness organizations in Durham are using this protocol to raise awareness to help prevent and manage concussions. 

It is important to note that all suspected concussions must be reported and a medical doctor or nurse practitioner make a diagnosis and participate in the Return To Learn and/or Physical Activity documentation process.

The concussion tool noted in this student agenda is a resource for school staff, parents/guardians and students. Parents/guardians and students are encouraged to contact your school principal for more details about the new concussion management and prevention safety protocols that exist to promote student safety and success. 


Father Donald MacLellan Expectations

The staff and students of Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School all work to create a learning environment that is safe, caring, and supportive of the learning styles and strengths of each student. . The following is a brief summary highlighting some of the expectations of students:

Religious Education

The spiritual dimension of our Catholic Secondary School Community shall be respected at all times. By choosing to attend Father Donald MacLellan Catholic Secondary School, students are accepting that we are a Catholic Learning Community, with the knowledge that we are guided in all we do by the Catholic Graduation Expectations. All students intending to participate in Graduation exercises are expected to have completed 40 hours of community service on or before June 1st of their graduating year.

Students are expected to participate in and respect the religious life of the school. Students must:

  1. Attend all school liturgies and participate reverently in the celebrations.
  2. Participate respectively and respectfully in offering prayers in class.
  3. Respect religious symbols throughout the school.
  4. Demonstrate a positive attitude toward religion and faith which make up a part of each student's life 
  5. Demonstrate a caring, respectful attitude toward fellow students, staff and community members.


Patterns of excessive absenteeism may result in loss of credit. Irregular, unauthorized absence and lates for school may result in suspension, with a review of the student's academic program in the school. 

Classroom/Hallway/Common Area Behaviour

Students are expected to respect the nature of the classroom, hallway and common areas. They are expected to clean up after themselves and not interrupt classes that are in progress. The dress code of the site is in effect at all times throughout the day.

Lockers (Centre for Success ONLY) and Personal Property

Students are encouraged to leave valuables at home. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen items. It students choose to bring valuables to school, they should be kept on their person, and not left in common areas or classrooms

CFS Students: Your locker is assigned to you for your convenience, but it remains the property of Durham College. Writing on or inside lockers is not acceptable, and suggestive slogans or pictures posted inside are serious offences and will be treated as such. Your locker must be in the same condition at the end of the year as it was on the opening day of the semester. Your locker is for your use only - do not give anyone else your combination. Only school-issued locks may be used.

Dress Code

While there is no uniform at most sites (the Catholic Return Ticket Program does have a uniform), each site has specific dress code expectations, and will be outlined at the intake meetings. Students who do not respect the dress code will be asked to change, or may be asked to leave.

At sites that do not have a uniform, and on non-uniform days at CRT, the following applies at all times, and in keeping with the values of self-respect and respect for others, students must wear clothes that do not display scenes or words of violence, sex, alcohol, drugs, or with racist overtones. In addition, clothing worn must be appropriate for the school environment; for example, the following items are not acceptable:

  • short shorts, spandex shorts or excessively short skirts
  • bare midriffs
  • visible undergarments
  • low cut blouses/shirts
  • spaghetti strap tops/dresses/tank tops and muscle shirts
  • pants worn below the waist
  • inappropriate symbols, slogans or sayings on any clothing 


Please confirm with the teachers at the individual site. Please note that the school is not responsible for any damage to a vehicle.


Bus passes are provided to full time students who attend the program on a regular basis.  Tickets are provided to part time students and also to students who have had their bus pass privilege revoked due to absenteeism.  Only one bus pass will be provided per month.

Students at the Centre for Success receive a bus pass as part of their Durham College Student Identification Card.  This card is property of the College, and must be returned should the student withdraw or be removed from the program.

Substance Abuse Policy

The Durham Catholic District School Board has established a "Substance Abuse" Policy consistent with the Government of Ontario directives in this area. The possession or use of tobacco, smokeless tobacco, alcohol, or any other illegal drug is prohibited by students on school premises or during school activities.

Students in contravention of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension from school or expulsion from all schools of the Board.

Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2016

The Smoke Free Ontario Act is a provincial law that prohibits any person from smoking or holding lit tobacco on school property at any time. Furthermore, anyone who gives cigarettes to a person under the age of 19, either on or off school property, is breaking the law and subject to a fine. This law applies to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and smokeless chewing tobacco.

Students will be subject to charges and fines by the Durham Regional Health Department/Tobacco Enforcement Officer. Students 16 or older may be charged and given a minimum $305 ticket or issued a summons to appear in court. For students under the age of 16, the student, accompanied by a parent/guardian, must attend and answer to the charge in Provincial Offences Court on predetermined date(s); and a fine of up to $300 for a first offence may be issued. Students will be suspended for smoking on school property including e-cigarettes.


Students are not permitted to participate in gambling activities on school property i.e. dice/poker. Please do not bring dice/chips to school. Students engaged in such behaviour will be dealt with severely. 

Electronic Equipment

Personal electronic entertainment or communication devices such as radios, portable stereos, cell phones, ear phones, electronics, CD/ DVD players, I-pods etc. are not to be used in the class or halls without teacher permission. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Laser Pointers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have stated that laser pointers may be harmful to the retina of the eye. Laser pointers are not allowed on school property and will be confiscated. Students using laser pointers will be suspended from school.


Skateboarding/rollerblading are not permitted on school property.


Students may not have friends visit them during school hours. If a visitor must come to the school for some reason, then he or she must report directly to the office.

Police Liaison

At Father Donald MacLellan, we are fortunate to have an excellent partnership with the Durham Regional Police Department. A Community Police Officer has been assigned to Father Don in conjunction with the other Oshawa secondary schools. The function of this officer is to provide support to school and community officials with regard to legal and safety issues.

Student Crime Stoppers

A student who wishes to anonymously report information about a crime in the school may call the Durham Regional Crime Stoppers community telephone hotline1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). This line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Crime Stoppers does not use call display. You never have to give your name. You never have to meet police, go to court or be hassled in any way. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward. Do the right thing, call Crime Stoppers and put a stop to crime in your school. It's your school - it's your call. 

Student Supports

Program Support

If, at any time, you are in need of academic or moral support, the program support teacher and educational assistant are available to assist you . The department offers long-term programs to many students but it also offers the following services to individual students on a short-term basis: academic assessment, remedial activities, reading and writing improvement, enrichment opportunities, and strategies for academic success.


Guidance Counsellors are teachers who assist students in acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes to:

  • Design a personalized educational plan
  • Demonstrate effective personal and social skills
  • Develop a framework for realistic life and career planning in a constantly changing world

The following supports are available for all students:

  • Access to the Internet as well as other support software, interest inventories
  • Labour trends
  • Job search resources
  • Personal Counselling

Child and Youth Worker/Social Worker

Every site has the services of a Social Worker and/or a Child and Youth Counselor to assist students and/or families in identifying and managing the barriers that are/have been negatively affecting the student's ability to benefit from the educational process.


40 Hours of Community Involvement 

"As part of the diploma requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities. These activities may be completed at any time during their years in the secondary school program. The community involvement requirement is designed to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play in supporting and strengthening their communities."

Ontario Secondary Schools students in Grades 9 to 12 mus complete the following key elements as provided by the Ministry of Education:
  • Must be completed outside scheduled class time
  • Must not be part of a credit course
  • Must be unpaid activities
  • Must not be for work done for wages by another person
  • Must be completed by the end of Grade 12
  • Must not be for a workplace for commercial business 

All community involvement activities must be approved by a guidance counsellor before your begin the activity or the hours will not be approved.  

Post-Secondary Requirements

Educational planning is vital; thus it is never too early for students to begin their research into post- secondary destinations. It is the responsibility of all students to be fully aware of program requirements at post- secondary institutions. Students are encouraged to check specific University and College Admission Calendars to determine course requirements, cut off grades, scholarship and award programs, as well as any additional admission criteria such as interviews, auditions, portfolios. Other post- secondary destinations also have specific requirements which must be met. 

Academic Honesty

It is essential that students demonstrate academic honesty in all aspects of school work. That means that when you gather information and ideas for a project, essay or other assignment, you must cite each source you use. This can include statistics, charts, images, quotes, paraphrasing and music, film and other media. By citing you show that you are honest and accountable for your own work. It is important that you consult with your teacher regarding proper formatting of your work and proper documentation of all research.


If you do not give credit to the person who creates a work or expresses an idea, you are suggesting that the words or ideas are your own. That is plagiarism and it is cheating. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, submitting a piece of writing such as an essay or an oral presentation which has been created by someone else, copying a short passage without crediting the author, and paraphrasing another person's ideas without acknowledging the author. Plagiarism is a serious offence and may result in a mark of zero.

Paraphrasing is representing the author's thoughts and ideas in your own words.

This also constitutes plagiarism unless the author is acknowledged. When paraphrasing you must introduce the material (i.e....according to Smith...) so that the reader knows where the cited information begins. Do not use quotation marks. End the paraphrased section with an in-text citation.

Sometimes you will include in your writings information that is understood to be common knowledge (for example, the fact that World War II ended in 1945). In this case, you do not need to cite a source. However, what is held to be common knowledge in your Religious Studies class may not be common knowledge in History or English; there may even be discrepancies between different courses within a given discipline. Use your classroom experience as a guide. If a piece of information would be understood without a reference in a classroom discussion, consider it common knowledge. If in doubt, cite your source.

Agenda Review Sign Off 

By signing below you are indicating that you have reviewed the information contained in the student agenda and that you agree to abide by them.  For further information, the related Board policies are available on the Board’s website:, and in the school office

  • School Code of Conduct (PO 431)
  • Fair Notice of Community Threat Assessment and Intervention Protocol
  • Acceptable Use of Information and Communication Technology Policy (PO431)
  • Concussion Policy (PO614) 

Student Signature:_____________________________________________




If student is younger than 18 years of age: I have discussed the information contained in this handbook with my child.


Parent/Guardian's Full Name (Please Print):_______________________________________


Parent/Guardian's Signature:_____________________________________



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