- Creating in-school suspension programs, adding “dean of culture” positions, and revising the student code of conduct are a few of the measures that the Detroit Public Schools Community District plans to implement this fall in order to reduce the number of out-of-school suspensions, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- District schools suspended 16,000 students last school year, and like other districts across the country, officials are being expected to reduce those numbers and to try other discipline methods to address behavior problems before removing a student from school.
- Students will attend an assembly this fall where they will learn about the new code of conduct. Eventually, the district plans to create out-of-school suspension “hubs” in several locations where students can continue to work on assignments and teachers can work on addressing behaviors that led to the suspension.
The district is one of many that has been updating its code of conduct to emphasize fairness and to remove ambiguity about consequences for certain infractions. When Metro Nashville Public Schools revised its parent-student handbook, for example, it removed the term “conduct prejudicial to good order.” The phrase seemed to be a “catch-all justification” for suspending students from school, according to an article from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. The district participated in Positive and Safe Schools Advancing Greater Equity, or PASSAGE — an effort by the institute also under way in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago — to reduce discipline disparities by bringing educators and community members together to create more positive school climates.
In 2014, the AASA and the Children’s Defense Fund created a framework for communicating rights and responsibilities of students, parents and school staff members, explaining prevention efforts — such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports — and how warnings and consequences will be implemented. For schools implementing restorative practices or other less-punitive approaches, Teaching Tolerance created a guide that includes a series of questions for educators, school leaders and resource officers about how discipline policies might lead to students being removed from school and might contribute to students’ involvement with law enforcement.