Discipline Toolkit: Guidance Documents

Guidance documents regarding the use of suspension/expulsion include those from the:

Federal Technical Assistance Information
USED with the U.S. Dept. of Justice released a school discipline guidance package in January 2014. The components include:

  • The Dear Colleague guidance letter on civil rights and discipline, prepared in conjunction with DOJ, describes how schools can meet their legal obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating against students on the basis of race, color or national origin;
  • The Guiding Principles document draws from emerging research and best practices to describe three key principles and related action steps that can help guide state and local efforts to improve school climate and school discipline;
  • The Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources indexes the extensive federal technical assistance and other resources related to school discipline and climate available to schools and districts; and
  • The Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations, an online catalogue of the laws and regulations related to school discipline in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, compares laws across states and jurisdictions.

Effective Evidence-based Practices for Preventing and Addressing Bullying, Enclosure to the OSERS August 20, 2013 Dear Colleague Letter on Bullying
“There is no one-size-fits-all or simple solution for addressing bullying behavior. Rather, efforts to prevent and address bullying behavior should be embedded within a comprehensive, multi-tiered behavioral framework used to establish a positive school environment, set high academic and behavioral expectations for all students, and guide delivery of evidence-based instruction and interventions that address the needs of students, including students with disabilities. In such a framework, policies and practices would be aligned and consistently implemented school wide; that is, across general and special education, each grade level, and in all school settings and activities.”

Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document, May 2012
The document reiterates the department’s position that positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) is an important preventative framework that can increase the capacity of school staff to support all children, including children with the most complex behavioral needs, thus reducing the instances that require intensive interventions.

Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates; prepared by the United States Secret Service and the United States Department of Education, July 2004

Resolution to Address School Discipline Issues Impacting Student Outcomes, June 12, 2012
The resolution affirms the Board, along with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, remains absolutely committed to policies that preserve the safest environment possible for students, staff, and volunteers in all of the state’s schools. The Board further indicates there is a mounting body of evidence that suggests safety can be maintained, and educational outcomes can be improved, by reducing the number of student suspensions and expulsions.

Policies on Bullying, July 19, 2001, Updated and Approved November 9, 2010
The Board affirms it is the policy of the State Board of Education that public schools and state education programs over which the State Board has policymaking authority should develop a plan designed to prevent bullying, and develop methods to react to bullying when it occurs, as an integral part of a district-wide safety and discipline plan.

Model Anti-Bullying Policy, November 9, 2010
The scope of this model policy includes the prohibition of every form of bullying, harassment, and cyberbullying/harassment, whether in the classroom, on school premises, immediately adjacent to school premises, when a student is traveling to or from school (portal to portal), or at a school-sponsored event, whether or not held on school premises.

Positive Behavior Support Policy, September 12, 2006
An effective behavior support system is a proactive, positive, skill-building approach for the teaching and learning of successful student behavior. Positive behavior support systems ensure effective strategies that promote pro-social behavior and respectful learning environments. Research-based positive behavior support systems are appropriate for all students, regardless of age.

Suspensions and Expulsions, June 2010
This Michigan Recommends document identifies the MDE recommendations specific to suspension and expulsion, due process procedures afforded students who receive a suspension or expulsion, identifies the types of suspensions and expulsions, process for petitioning for reinstatement in school, and the provision for an alternative education for an expelled student.

Expulsions Due to Weapons, Arson, and Criminal Sexual Conduct, June 2010
This Michigan Recommends document clarifies the requirements surrounding expulsion due to weapons, arson, and criminal sexual conduct.

Making the Case, Mental Health Toolkit
The document identifies the relationship between mental health issues and their impact on school success. The commentary provides citations to research used in formulation the position.

Model Code of Student Conduct, July 2001
Adoption of a code of student conduct is one element of a school district’s safe schools plan. There is no singular code of student conduct that meets the needs of every school district, although every school district is required by law to adopt a code, as set forth in The Revised School Code, MCLA 380.1312(8). The Model Code of Student Conduct is provided as a tool to assist Michigan school districts in developing, updating, or revising their local codes.

Addressing the Out-of-School Suspension Crisis: A Policy Guide for School Board Members, 2013
The document poses questions local policymakers should ask, describes 10 action steps to prevent the use of out-of school suspension, and identifies school board strategies that promote student growth through positive school discipline reform models.