Discipline

Note: This is a section of a larger set of policy and practice proposals before our board and community. Contact our office for additional information and to provide feedback or become involved. Sections will be updated as changes are made.

Highlights of proposed actions: 

  1. Comprehensive supports and a climate of collective accountability vs over-vigilance and surveillance
  2. Evidence-based prevention and intervention structures
  3. Data disaggregation to identify and prevent bias
  4. Prioritizing investing in professional student and family supports
  5. Consistent, multilayered, and age-appropriate system of supports
  6. Partnerships for services beyond school
  7. New comprehensive policy and school-level procedure
  8. Policy (continued)
  9. Language and symbols
  10. Transparency and wide dissemination of new procedures
  11. Required admin presence for discipline
  12. Required set of trainings for non-educators involved in student discipline

Proposed Section in Full

Section 3 (e): Actions Related to Discipline

i.    Commit to moving toward an educational environment characterized by collective comprehensive supports rather than the over-policing and criminalization of students, especially students from minoritized backgrounds and students with disabilities. A culture of punishment and over-vigilance, whether through formal police or school staff, shall be avoided as much as possible through intentional planning, training, and leadership. 
 
ii.    Direct the schools to implement timely programs and interventions that are based on strong evidence regarding psychological trauma, collective trauma, multigenerational trauma, manifestations of undiagnosed or non-physical disabilities, adverse childhood experiences, disproportionality of punishment, discipline bias against students of color and students with disabilities, and holistic behavior interventions.
 
iii.    Regularly, and at least annually for major summative reports, disaggregate discipline data to account for potential systemic bias against some populations and act on this knowledge to redress the effects of this bias, using this policy and consequent implementation documents as a guide.
 
iv.    Redirect funds to support the presence of experts capable of addressing student behavior in a holistic manner, including psychologists, social workers, interventionists, and individuals dedicated to social-emotional and family supports. 
 
v.    Establish a system of support for students that is collaborative, multi-layered, and that involves the family in the planning and implementation of holistic interventions, both at school and at home. This system shall be consistent across school sites while simultaneously accounting for age appropriate and grade-level specific considerations. For example, the system of support available to 11th and 12th graders, will be extensive and consistent with the supports available to all other grades, but accounting for their specific circumstances, needs, and program configuration, such as differences in scheduling, independent access to out of school supports, and the direct involvement of the student in all decision-making related to their individualized supports. Similarly, a student entering the school system in early childhood will benefit from the same system of supports while enjoying additional protections and attention, such as a heightened assessment battery inclusive of shorter progress monitoring measures.
 
vi.    Establish partnerships with community organizations, state agencies, and service providers to guarantee support options for students beyond the schools and to provide ongoing expertise and professional development to the staff related to justice-oriented restorative approaches to safety and discipline.
 
vii.    Adopt a comprehensive policy and procedures that strengthen effective discipline and student accountability practices that are exclusively carried out by well-trained education and mental health professionals. The policy shall be clear enough to allow schools to refrain from involving armed police in educational matters except when necessary to comply with state and federal law and in matters related to immediate threats and danger or when safety cannot be procured by well-trained education staff alone. As with all emergencies, the schools will be prepared to partner with the local police and emergency service providers by maintaining a comprehensive safety plan.
 
viii.    Adopt policy and age-band-specific procedures that minimize the incidence of drastic measures such as the removal of students from the educational program or a significant modification of instruction delivery and placement, paying special attention to cases involving students of color, and students with disabilities. Policy and procedure will comply with existing law, including laws pertaining individuals with disabilities, housing-insecure, and protected classes, and will provide exceptions when manifested behaviors amount to serious and immediate physical danger or acts currently considered illegal under state and federal law, with age-appropriate assessment of gravity.
 
ix.    Adopt clear disciplinary procedure in cases where intimidation, harassment, and discriminatory language or symbols are intentionally uttered or displayed, but where a direct or individual victim is not explicitly targeted, that hold the student(s) accountable for the harm toward the community and for the fomentation of an unsafe climate. Consequences shall be in alignment with existing statute, district policy, and school procedure (including policy revised after the adoption of this clause) but must include additional mandatory measures that are educational, reflective, and restorative in nature. The refusal to engage in additional measures may still result in alternative remedial consequences that are in addition to initial actions.
 
x.    Apply policy and school-level procedure related to discipline consistently and transparently, giving parties involved as much information as legally possible, including, but not limited to, the dissemination of written school discipline procedures and this equity policy at the beginning of the year and during discipline-related processes involving families. 
 
xi.    Require that school administrators be present and share accountability for actions in disciplinary events involving the police within the school premises, except for emergencies, critical incidents, and events in which the police and first-responders are the only qualified bodies to address the matter (e.g. active shooter, illegal actions, life-threatening violence, etc.), and when their absence is absolutely unavoidable or when their presence places them in physical danger.
 
xii.    Should non-educators or contractors without an education-related license become involved in school supports regularly as requested by the school, require that strong, extensive, and well-documented training be satisfied in the areas of psychological trauma, collective trauma, multigenerational trauma, manifestations of undiagnosed or non-physical disabilities, adverse childhood experiences, disproportionality of punishment, discipline bias against students of color, and holistic behavior interventions. Specific agreements that satisfy this requirement shall be established upon the creation of new contracts.