Changes to the Student Code of Conduct
- Now called “the Student Handbook”
- Inclusion of the 7 factors required by new legislation
- Inclusion of an Elasticity Clause that covers additional consequences for behaviors not listed on the document
- Additional statements about the rights of students and the importance of positive culture and climate
- The removal of the word “shall” and replacement with “will” for issues relates to rules and rights
- Inclusion of rights and responsibilities related to health and wellness
- Change in the Attendance Policy to reflect best practices rather than punitive consequences for absenteeism such as “failing classes after 10 or more absences”
- New attendance codes based on positive attendance
- Inclusion of Restraint and Seclusion requirements per legislation
- Changes in ranges of behaviors (rather than including letters for level of intervention for behaviors, the document labels them as numbers i.e. False Alarms (level 2-5)—representing the level of consequences or intervention
- Inclusion of examples for Sexual Harassment from student perspectives
- Definitions for “Suspension” and “Expulsion”
- Definition of “Rebuttable Presumption”
- Removing “Disorderly Conduct” and “Disruptive Behavior” and replacing them with “Disorderly Behavior”
- Creating new codes for “Possession or Use of Toy Gun/Facsimile” and “Possession or Use of an Airsoft Gun” due to these items being different
- Inclusion of additional alternative strategies for discipline
- 2nd Possession of Drugs or Paraphernalia will be sent to Office of School Culture; 1st will be addressed in the school with referral for Substance Abuse Assessment and 3-10 day suspension
- 3rd fights will be referred for consideration for Expulsion
Q&A: New Legislative Changes for Suspensions and Expulsions
What was the previous legislation?
Zero Tolerance was the previous legislation, which was a requirement that a district expel students for the following behaviors: 1) Assault to Staff, 2) Arson, 3) Sexual Assault, and 4) Possession/Use of a Weapon. This law also included consideration for a Bomb Threat and Physical Assault on a Student.
How is it different from the new legislation?
New legislation now allows for more flexibility on the part of school districts and school boards. Schools now have the ability to consider 7 factors before suspension or expulsion, which includes interventions such as restorative practices or other alternatives to suspension, while considering student demographics such as age/grade and discipline history.
What is the purpose of the new legislation?
The new legislation aims to keep students in school. More flexibility to districts is recognized as an important aspect to determining the best outcomes for the student based on his/her behavior. Michigan's expulsion rules — like those in many other states — go above federal guidelines that only mandate that students who bring firearms to school be expelled for at least a year. In Michigan, schools are allowed to expel for additional reasons such as those mentioned above (e.g. Physical Assault, Arson, and Sexual Assault), yet with an ability now to determine if seven other factors might allow for a different decision (see factors below).
What is the current vision of the district concerning culture and climate?
The Lansing School District opened the Office of School Culture with a continued focus on improving culture and climate and reducing suspension and expulsion rates district-wide through restorative practices, alternatives to suspensions, and a commitment to progressive discipline. The focus of the district remains on improving student engagement through high instruction, project-based learning, and leadership opportunities for students. In instances where engagement is not maintained, trauma informed and restorative-minded progressive interventions will be considered as we continue to build a positive district culture.
To support this vision, in partnership with Hanover Research, we hope to develop a climate index or rating system, which will assign schools a numerical climate score based on several measures of school climate including: academic climate, community and relationships, safety, and institutional environment. This measure will help us continue to move in the direction of data-based decisions and supports to have proactive approaches to discipline, to assess climate and culture and classroom management, and to improve and enhance student engagement.
What current practices in LSD help to support compliance with this legislation?
The district is committed to improving culture and climate through several initiatives, services, and programs such as iCollaborate support and training, Project-Based Learning coaching, Adaptive Schools training, CRPBIS (CHAMPs/DISC, Restorative Practices, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support), Encircle, Graduation Alliance, Project PEACE, PASS, APEX, the Lansing Pathway to Promise, Student Support Specialists, Public Safety Officers, and School Resource Officers, and Collaboration/Partnerships (Resolution Services, Community Mental Health CEI, Child and Family Charities), Professional Development/Training (Trauma Informed/Restorative Practices, Peace Talks, Mental Health Summer Summits)
How is the Lansing School District’s vision for culture and climate in line with this new legislation?
With all of the programs developed and implemented, LSD is making strides toward addressing the growth areas that negatively impact our achievement gaps and graduation rates. LSD is demonstrating the flexibility and resilience needed to keep our students in school and to provide with positive behavior and academic supports to help them experience a pathway to success.
How might the process change when contacting the Office of School Culture with a recommendation for a 10 day suspension?
- Conversations may be more in depth due to consultation and coaching through the process to make sure all factors have been considered before suspending to the Office of School Culture.
- More documentation may be required to support consideration for all factors:
- IEP/504 Plans
- FBA/BIP Information
- Discipline History
- Documentation of Tiered (Progressive) Interventions
What are the 7 factors to consider for suspensions, especially for 10 days or greater?
- Age of Student
- Disciplinary History
- Disability Status
- Seriousness of Behavior
- Whether Behavior Posed a Safety Risk
- Whether or not Restorative Practices can address the behavior
- Whether a lesser intervention might address the behavior as an alternative to suspension
What is rebuttal presumption and how does it apply?
Both in common law and in civil law, a rebuttable presumption is an assumption made by a court—one that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise. For example, a defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proved guilty.
In the case of suspensions, according to new legislation, an assumption that the suspension is not justified unless factors suggest otherwise will be made for suspensions/expulsions above ten (10) school days. This requires the school district to demonstrate a clear consideration for the mandatory factors (see above). For weapons (including firearms), the rebuttable presumption will only apply if the school determines in writing that one of the four exceptions apply and the student has no history of suspension or expulsion: (1) did not possess the weapon as a weapon, or for delivery for use as a weapon, 2) did not knowingly possess the weapon, 3) did not know it was a weapon, 4) possessed the weapon at the suggestion, request, permission of school personnel or police.
Does this document have to be completed for all suspensions or just those referred to the Office of School Culture for 10 or more days?
For any suspension resulting in ten (10) or more school days the seven (7) factors are required for consideration. For suspensions less than ten (10) school days, the seven (7) factors may be considered.
When should this documentation be sent?
Documentation should be sent within the ten (10) day pending investigation period, preferably within 2-3 days. The form used to consider the factors will be completed in collaboration with the Student Services Specialist during consultation.
How should this document be sent?
Documentation can be sent electronically to Nancy Zamiara, Office of School Culture, or faxed to 2809.
If a student is classified as receiving Special Education services (i.e. IEP or 504 Plan) are their limitations on the consequences that can be given? What are the limitations? Who do we contact for support?
An MDR must be completed and reviewed by the Department of Special Education before a meeting can be scheduled with the Office of School Culture. You may schedule a tentative meeting with the Office of School Culture in the case the MDR does not determine the behavior a manifestation of the student’s disability. This meeting will not occur until the MDR is completed. You may contact the Department of Special Education for additional at 755-4000 for additional support.
Before suspending a student for ten (10) days or more, school administration must complete this form in collaboration with a Student Services Specialist to ensure all considerations were made prior to this decision based on section 1310d. (Section 1310d Discipline Factors, MCL 380.1310d)
Goals and Objectives
Closing Scene: Data Review Inquiries
Prior to reviewing your data, what assumptions did you make?
Is this data aligned to my perception of my school culture?
What are strengths about your data?
What are weaknesses in your data?
What patterns, if any, are there in your data?
What's the narrative behind your data?
Why do you think this data looks this way?
What problem statement might you create in response to this data?
What does this data mean for you as the school leader?
What are three goals you might consider after reviewing this data?
Problem Solving with Behavior Data
This handout is designed to support the review of Synergy data to develop precise problem statements, set goals based on behavioral data, and begin generation some solutions based on data.
Matrix for Progressive Discipline