Policy change from the top is critical in changing school culture. The Department of Education must change the Discipline Code
- End Suspensions for “Defying or Disobeying Authority”
“Defying or disobeying authority” is the second most common behavior for which students are suspended. It is a subjective catchall infraction, which we know to be hyper-racialized. Many districts around the country, such as Los Angeles, now prohibit suspensions for these types of behavior and instead use Guidance Interventions, such as meeting with a counselor, participating in a mediation session or completing community service.
- Mandate Guidance Interventions in All Schools
DOE needs to require that schools use Guidance Interventions before and in most cases, instead of, suspending a student. These Guidance Interventions, holding meetings with students and parents, counseling, mediation or community circles, are already in the Discipline Code. For the most serious infraction, the DOE must use a Guidance Intervention with the suspension.
In order to do these interventions effectively, we are calling on the DOE to train all school staff and provided the necessary resources for schools to implement restorative justice practices.