Thursday, August 18, 2011

National Juvenile Justice Network - Safe and Effective School Disciplinary Policies and Practices

NJJN Policy Platform - Safe and Effective School Disciplinary Policies and Practices

NJJN's latest policy platform includes recommendations on safe and effective school disciplinary policies and practices.  The recommendations focus on:

Law enforcement and discipline policies
Suspensions and expulsions
Student rights and family engagement
Students with disabilities
Data and racial and ethnic disparities (Disproportionate Minority Contact

Click here to see all NJJN policy platforms.

Law Enforcement and Discipline Policies

  • Schools must reject the one-size-fits-all prearranged set of sanctions laid out in zero tolerance policies and instead promote discipline policies that provide individualized assessments and interventions that are appropriate to ensure a safe learning environment.
  • Schools must not use law enforcement as a response to non-criminal adolescent misbehavior. If students engage in criminal behavior on school grounds, schools must have graduated responses in place, reserving law enforcement for only the most serious offenses.
  • Schools must establish clear guidelines for school personnel and on-campus law enforcement officials
    regarding the role of each in responding to youth behaviors and exactly which infractions may lead to court
    referrals. Referrals to court should be reserved for only the most serious infractions.
  • To eliminate or curtail the use of mechanical restraints, chemical restraints, corporal punishment, and isolation, law enforcement and school officials must be trained on the traumatic effects of these practices, as well as child and adolescent development, appropriate methods for de-escalation, and safe and effective responses to youth behaviors.
  • Schools must focus on prevention and effective intervention as responses to disciplinary issues. Positive
    Behavioral Interventions and Supports, peer juries, restorative justice processes, diversion, mentoring, mental health counseling, and restitution can be particularly effective in improving school safety and promoting positive youth development.