AISD approves revisions to student discipline

Austin ISD has approved revisions to student disciplinary policies for students enrolled in Pre-K through second grade. As part of the policy, principals and teachers will consult with parents and/or guardians prior to home suspension.

Austin ISD trustees voted Monday night to revise the student disciplinary policy to state that no elementary student prior to third grade shall be home suspended, placed into a disciplinary alternative education program or expelled, unless when required by law or for behavior that represents a clear and present danger of physical injury to the student, other students or school personnel. As part of the policy, principals and teachers will consult with parents and/or guardians prior to home suspension.

In the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, less than 1 percent of AISD's Pre-K through second-grade student population was suspended.

Students may still receive a home suspension when required by law or for behavior that represents a clear and present danger of physical injury to the student, other students or school personnel.

As part of the district's reinvention of the urban education experience, and an equity study undertaken by AISD, this change in policy supports the implementation of non-punitive discipline practices, creating a responsive and supportive learning environment.

The U.S. Department of Education created a policy statement that includes recommendations regarding policy, goal-setting and early intervention and prevention. The statement also suggests the implementation of a policy that eliminates or severely limits expulsion, suspension or other exclusionary discipline for students in early childhood.

Additional staff will support campuses as they address discipline challenges and students' behavior skill development, and will deliver professional learning to campus administrators and teachers.

This policy change comes after Austin ISD implemented SEL in all campuses, focused on restorative practices and proactive interventions as part of multi-tiered systems of support.

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