Fix School Discipline Toolkit for Educators - Page 13

Moreover, the California Education Code requires that for most offenses, including where a student is threatening to disrupt instruction, suspension shall ONLY be used when other means of correction have been utilized and have failed.26 In addition, as of January 1, 2015, schools may not suspend students in grades K-3 for “disruption” and “willful defiance,” as defined in California Education Code section 48900(k); they also cannot expel students in any grades for such offenses27. In sum, in order to ensure equal and consistent application of discipline, schools must have a clear and consistently applied system for providing interventions prior to out-of-school removals and to ensure that students are not receiving different punishments for the same conduct. The whole-school strategies and systems laid out in this Toolkit are designed to help schools meet the requirements in California law and, several of them, including positive behavior supports (also known as positive behavior interventions and supports) and restorative justice, are explicitly outlined in law as other means of correction that can and should be used across the District.28 In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act discusses consideration of the use of school-wide positive behavior interventions and support (SWPBIS) when data shows disparities related to long-term suspensions and expulsion for students with disabilities, and it provides that federal funding can be used to support SWPBIS implementation for all students.29 26 Cal. Ed. Code § 48900.5(a), which provides: “Suspension, including supervised suspension as described in Section 48911.1, shall be imposed only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.” 27 Assembly Bill 420, 28 Cal. Ed. Code § 48900.5: “(b) Other means of correction include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) A conference between school personnel, the pupil’s parent or guardian, and the pupil. (2) Referrals to the school counselor, psychologist, social worker, child welfare attendance personnel, or other school support service personnel for case management and counseling. (3) Study teams, guidance teams, resource panel teams, or other intervention- related teams that assess the behavior, and develop and implement individualized plans to address the behavior in partnership with the pupil and his or her parents. (4) Referral for a comprehensive psychosocial or psychoeducational assessment, including for purposes of creating an individualized education program, or a plan adopted pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794(a)). (5) Enrollment in a program for teaching prosocial behavior or anger management. (6) Participation in a restorative justice program. (7) A positive behavior support approach with tiered interventions that occur during the schoolday on campus. (8) After-school programs that address specific behavioral issues or expose pupils to positive activities and behaviors, including, but not limited to, those operated in collaboration with local parent and community groups. (9) Any of the alternatives described in Section 48900.6.” 29 See, e.g., 20 U.S.C. § 1465, the Secretary may support and fund activities, including training and implementation that increase behavioral supports and research-based systemic interventions for ALL students, among these positive behavior interventions and supports is explicitly included.; 20 U.S.C. § 1414 (d)(3) (B) (i), “The IEP Team shall-- (i) in the case The California Legislature has made it clear that state policy does not support unequal application of discipline practices or harsh and punitive punishments. Rather, it is state policy to “provide effective interventions for pupils who engage in acts of problematic behavior to help them change their behavior and avoid exclusion from school.”30 In addition, the Legislature has declared that (a) The overuse of school suspension and expulsion undermines the public policy of this state and does not result in safer school environments or improved pupil behavior. Moreover, such highly punitive, exclusionary practices are associated with lower academic achievement, lower graduation rates, and a worse overall school climate (b) Failing to teach and develop social and behavior skills in pupils leads to the depletion of funding through decreased average daily attendance, increased rates of teacher turnover, and increased pupil dropout rates. (c) School suspension and expulsion are disproportionately imposed on pupils of color, pupils with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pupils, and other vulnerable pupil populations. In conclusion, schools and school districts must look closely at their current discipline practices, disproportionate impacts of various student groups, and differential treatment and ensure that they have a uniform, consistent, and clear alternative system that focuses on ways to address unwanted student behaviors and supports positive behavior other than through out-of-class and out-of-school removals. TIP: When you are deciding which alternative strategies you would like to see implemented in your district, it is important to understand the strategies, how they work in practice, and how your school or district can begin to implement them. The following pages are designed to give you a more in-depth understanding of each strategy and help you share this knowledge with your district. of a child whose behavior impedes the child’s learning or that of others, consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior.”; 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(22)(A): “The State educational agency [shall] examine[] data, including data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, to determine if significant discrepancies are occurring in the rate of long-term suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities. . .If such discrepancies are occurring, the State educational agency reviews and, if appropriate, revises (or requires the affected State or local educational agency to revise) its policies, procedures, and practices relating to … the W6R