In 2012, a student group, the Voices of Youth in Chicago, noted that students were missing a significant amount of instructional time as a result of out of school suspensions and expulsions. That led to Senate Bill 100 being signed into law in August of 2015.
The new legislation made out of school suspensions and expulsions only feasible if all other disciplinary measures have been exhausted.
“They can include activities that you would provide through our regular education curriculum, SEL, health, character education, classroom management, assemblies, in-schools, detentions. All of those are just a small example,” said Louis Lee, Assistant Superintendent of High Schools.
Any out of school suspension lasting more than four days must include a written statement of disciplinary actions that have already been exhausted, and suspensions between five and ten days must provide a statement of available support services.
“Every student must be afforded the opportunity for make up work if they’re suspended, in any of those three categories of suspensions, they also all must have a reengagement plan upon returning back to the school,” added Lee.
The purpose of the law is to eliminate a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to consequences, and instead, look at each instance on an individual basis; a practice District 204 already has in place.
“We have always tried to look at our discipline on a case-by-case basis. We will have to make some subtle changes at the middle school and high school to make sure that we’re in full compliance with that, but again, we have always looked at student discipline on a case-by-case basis,” said Brad Hillman, Assistant Superintendent of Middle Schools.
The law aims to shift schools from a punitive to restorative system and will be effective in September of this year.
Naperville News 17’s Rachel Pierson reports.
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