New Dist. 214 discipline procedures could mean fewer suspensions, expulsions

 
 
Posted4/8/2016 5:30 AM
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Northwest Suburban High School District 214 is updating its student discipline policies to include a few new rules for students but also attempt to decrease expulsions and out-of-school suspensions as punishments.

The school board approved the new policies on Thursday that include rules against things like flying a drone on school property, joining fraternities, sororities or secret societies, ingesting pure caffeine as a drug in pill or powder form, and more.

The new regulations are not in response to behavioral problems at District 214 but are all updated recommendations from the Illinois Association of School Boards, said Marni Johnson, assistant superintendent of student services.

Most suburban districts take guidance from the state association for policies and will approve, or have already approved, similar disciplinary rules, she said.

The new policies also make it more difficult for the district to levy expulsions and out-of-school suspensions, which is in compliance with a new law, Senate Bill 100, that goes into effect in September.

Johnson said that District 214 has been trying to utilize in-school suspensions more often over the past few years.

"I think it's all about getting rid of exclusionary discipline measures and instead looking at behavior from the perspective of 'how can we support students?'" she said.

During in-school suspensions, students can still get academic support and have access to their counselors and social workers to deal with whatever behavioral issue came up, instead of just giving students a few days off, she said.

"We look at it differently than we used to," Johnson said.

There might still be situations where a student is expelled or suspended out of school, Johnson said, but those would likely include a significant risk to student safety.

The new policies go into effect the first day of school for the 2016-17 school year.

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