Alternative Discipline & Restorative Justice
In most cases your school must try these alternatives before a suspension and expulsion:
Peer Counseling or Student-teacher Conferences to resolve conflicts in the classroom
Detention: This should be used as an opportunity to provide you educational support (so you can do homework while in detention) are to be no more than one hour after or before school each day for up to 3 school days. Your parents must be notified.
Loss of School Privileges: Temporarily losing school privileges, such as field trips or after school activities, unless the field trip/activity is required by your class or will be graded. Your parent/guardian need to be notified in writing. Your privileges can only be denied for up to a week at a time, and a total of three weeks in a marking period, unless your school holds a hearing.
Probation: You can be placed on probation (meaning that if you commit another offense it will lead to a disciplinary measure) until the end of a marking period. Your parent/guardian must be informed in writing or through a student, parent conference.
Restitution: You can be required to repair, restore, replace, or pay for damaged, vandalized, lost or stolen school property.
Adjustment of Class Schedule: If there is an ongoing conflict between you and a teacher or another student your class schedule can be adjusted after you and your parent/guardian has been notified and a mediation session (with your parent/guardian present) has been conducted.
Denial of School-provided transportation (including MBTA pass): Only for severe or repeated offenses that endanger yourself or others. You can only be denied transportation for up to 4 days at a time, after 4 consecutive days and 6 cumulative days there must be a hearing. Your parent/guardian must always be notified.
Student Planning Centers: After “positive and responsible” approaches have been tried in your classroom you may be referred to a student planning center where your behavior will be “assessed” and a plan will be made for more “responsible behavior”. Time at a planning center does not count as a suspension, but you should still have the opportunity to keep up with school work.
Behavior Management Contracts: Agreements between you, school staff, and others (your parents, other students) that identify certain problem behaviors, clearly lay out the expectations, and describe the consequences for violating the contract while in school.
Re-teaching of expectations and skills
Training around a skill or behavior such as conflict resolution
Writing a reflective essay on the incident
Outreach to your parents
Referral to a community-based service
Self Charting of Behaviors: Working with your teacher to manage and improve your behavior.
Restorative justice is a set of ideas and practices that focus on identifying the harm caused to individuals and the community by an incident and how those responsible can repair that harm and improve/restore relationships.
Restorative justice always has to be voluntary (you can’t be forced into doing it) and must respect the dignity of everyone involved.
Examples of Restorative Justice Practices:
Restorative Practices Dialogue Circle: A circle in which you talk with others involved in an incident in order to resolve conflicts and restore harm done to individuals and the school community. Everyone gets an equal chance to speak in circle and there is an emphasis on building relationships within a community.
Restorative Group Conferencing: A conference led by a trained facilitator that involves face-to-face contact among the people impacted by the harm of an incident (or their representatives), the person who committed the harm, and others who were affected.