Public comment open on the updated PPS discipline policy

I attended the school board meeting this evening where they discussed the new discipline policy. Apparently this policy has not been updated since 1977 with the exception of the the drug/alcohol policy. This draft policy is a significantly different and far more uplifting and proactive than the current policy. I believe in positive behavior supports and this is stated in the wording of the policy several times and I could not be happier. I would like to note that Ruth Adkins publicly addressed the use of the word disruptive in the current policy as being a racial code word and also the fact that the data shows inequitable discipline practices. Ruth noted that this draft policy includes the tools and resources that the staff have been requesting.

Public comment will open on this tomorrow and I will post a link in the comments section when it opens. There are only 21 days to comment and then policy will be adopted I believe June 8th.

Some positive highlights of this draft policy:

  • Discipline should be equitable, timely, fair, developmentally appropriate, and match the severity of the student’s misbehavior. (Behavior consultants call this “reasonable response”)
  • A positive, respectful, and inclusive school climate is the mutual responsibility of district staff, who are expected to create and environment for student success using principles of positive behavior support and cultural competency in managing student conduct. It goes on to also include the student, family, and community.

Another board member brought up a point about principals having discretion to make decisions in unique situations. I will comment on needing more clarity here because I do not agree with a principal making decisions that are counter to policy because I believe this is too much of a slippery slope. Positive behavior supports covers unique situations and I am concerned that there are any loopholes that may allow for actions that are questionable or abusive.

Once I post the link be sure to get your comments in and also comment on discipline and behavior in general.

Stephanie Hunter is a behavior consultant and the parent of a student at Ockley Green. She is active in local and statewide advocacy for children and adults with disabilities, which she writes about on her blog Belonging Matters.

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