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School Discipline

School Discipline

As outlined in the Strategic Plan adopted March 6, 2014, the Davis Joint Unified School District holds the following beliefs:

  • We believe that every human being is unique and has inherent value.

  • We believe that education is a fundamental right.

  • We believe we are connected and have responsibility to ourselves, one another, and the whole.

  • We believe that a community has responsibility for the well-being of its members.

  • We believe that trust is essential to healthy relationships.

  • We believe that diverse perspectives enrich our community.

  • We believe that every person deserves to be treated with respect.

As a result of these beliefs, DJUSD has adopted a restorative practice approach to discipline that concentrates on the needs of the entire school community. Rather than seeking to punish unwanted behavior, the objective of the restorative process is to help repair harm, build relationships and develop strategies to avoid future incidents. We understand that students will make mistakes. DJUSD is dedicated to helping our students learn from their mistakes so that all of our students can thrive and contribute in our society. 

 

In addition, the District has developed a Dress code that endeavors to avoid bias against female students.

 

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE STANDARDS OF STUDENT BEHAVIOR
 

Philosophy and Purpose

DJUSD is committed to ensuring that school is a safe learning environment for every student. Beyond academics, school can be a place where students learn valuable life skills that will serve them well as adults and serve our society in beneficial ways. To that end, DJUSD takes a comprehensive approach to matters involving rights, responsibilities, discipline, and restoration.

There are two purposes for standards of student behavior in a school discipline plan: to promote learning and growth for students as they develop self-discipline, and to provide a caring and respectful environment for all.

In this context, teachers and administrators are legally considered “parent/guardians on location.” This defines the relationship between school staff and their students.  Students are young people and it is expected that their behavior will sometimes test boundaries of school rules; therefore, it is age-appropriate for young people to behave in ways that are inappropriate for the school environment. We also recognize that all behaviors serve a function and have complex origins. This is an ongoing process that requires communication and support between students, staff, families, and the larger community. 

Break in relationships
School staff regard all students as their responsibility to teach, guide, and support.  Thus, just as in a home with parents/guardians, all students at school deserve to be treated consistently with care, hope, and positive attitudes.  Our goal in responding to harms to others or the community, including breaches of rules or policies, is to have students understand the effects and impacts of their actions, to be accountable for those actions, and to take the opportunity to make things as right as they can be.   Clear and appropriate consequences are part of this effort by school staff to educate and to encourage positive, productive student behavior. 
 
The rights of all students are part of this philosophy.  All students deserve to be psychologically and physically safe at school.  These rights also mean that students who are accused of wrongdoing have a right to be heard, treated respectfully, and to understand the process as the school staff determine the appropriate response.

Rights and Responsibilities
The rights inherent in a democratic society are maintained only if each individual understands and assumes responsibility for his or her own behavior.  Students have both rights and responsibilities.

 

Student Rights

  • To be safe
  • To be respected and treated with compassion regardless of actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or based on his/her association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics
  • To be respected and treated with compassion regardless of actual or perceived wrongdoing
  • To express opinions, ideas and feelings, without infringing on the rights of others
  • To be heard
  • To have their person and property respected (including during a search)
  • To be informed of school rules and procedures and what is expected of them as students
  • To have confidentiality
  • To be academically supported and challenged
  • To be treated in a restorative way
  • To learn and grow from incidents of conflict or harm

 

Students Responsibilities

  • To take advantage of the academic opportunities offered
  • To strive for high achievement
  • To support and participate in school activities
  • To be knowledgeable regarding student rights and responsibilities
  • To attend school regularly and punctually
  • To be knowledgeable of school rules and follow them
  • To respect private and school property
  • To be considerate and non-disruptive in all spaces on campus and on buses
  • To be dressed in compliance with the District dress code
  • To be considerate to students, teachers, and staff
  • To be respectful of all students, and staff regardless of actual or perceived characteristics of race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information, or based on his/her association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics
  • To keep language and gestures respectful and free of profanity or obscenities
  • To not use/possess alcohol, tobacco, or drugs on school campuses or school events
  • To take responsibility for harm done and work to repair it to the extent possible


Procedures
At the beginning of the school year the principal or designee meets with students to review and discuss the importance of a positive school climate, the positive purposes of school discipline and restorative practices, and the importance of respectful and caring behavior.  This may be accomplished through school assembly, visits to individual classrooms, and the school’s student handbook.  The presentation includes an understanding of the school district’s restorative principles, the values of respecting each individual’s dignity, and of supporting healthy relationships.  Students are provided examples of behaviors that support the school community’s goals and those that are nonsupportive.  The categories of disrespectful behaviors or offenses outlined in the attached table provide examples of which behaviors undermine a strong, respectful community.
 
When a more serious misbehavior or breach of community standards or relationships occurs, as listed in the “Guidelines for Responsive Discipline in Elementary/Secondary Schools”, the principal, teacher or designee conducts an investigation.  The fact-finding process includes interviewing the students involved (both those who may have caused harm and those who may have been harmed.), student and adult witnesses, collecting written or physical evidence related to the incident, and reviewing the records of the involved students. This process includes review of past incidents and other relevant information about the students involved.  
 
In order to support students during the interview process, the principal or designee will assess the need for intervention and/or support from the student’s counselor, the prevention and crisis manager, the climate coordinator, case manager, or the school nurse.  In order to maximize instructional time, students will remain in class until the principal or designee is ready to begin the interview.  Students will be told the purpose of the interview and whether the Davis Police Department will be involved.  In cases of more serious misbehaviors, parents/guardians of the involved students are notified about the incident, the fact-finding process, and any consequences their own student receives.  The district’s commitment to student confidentiality, supported by Board Policy and State law, precludes parents/guardians from hearing the consequences that other students receive. 

Administrators will do all they can to prevent any further harm to victims, but there may still be times when students feel that the fact-finding process itself is a negative consequence to them. Acknowledging their feelings and being clear about the purpose of this process can help.  For example, if student victims are interviewed during their recess or privilege time, they may feel that they are being punished.  If the classroom seat of the innocent or aggrieved student is moved, that student may feel s/he is being punished and unfairly treated. Staff will support the recipient(s) of harm in understanding how the process, including staff actions, supports them..
 
Despite strong efforts, sometimes the fact-finding process cannot be conclusive. For example, students may report very different stories about the incident, and interviews of students may or may not be reliable or appropriate.  However, this does not mean that elements of the situation cannot be addressed.  A restorative approach means that the District will do all it can to understand who has been affected, how they have been affected and will do all that it can to make things as right as possible, given each particular circumstance.

DJUSD recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student learning and school attendance and strives to provide safe school environments that protect students from physical and emotional harm.  District employees shall establish student safety as a high priority and shall not tolerate bullying or harassment of any student for any reason.  Allegations of harassment, bullying, hate crimes, or physical assaults, including the use of racial, gender or other identity-based slurs, are referred to the school administrator for investigation and response.   The teacher, principal or designee will address the issues surrounding the incident with those involved and/or the class as appropriate.  Restorative practices, anti-bias lessons, and book-talks using books that discuss pertinent issues, are examples of ways to address issues with students.

Educating Students
Our goal is that all students are given the support they need to expand and enrich their competency in interpersonal skills, decision-making, reasoning, problem-solving and good citizenship. By using a variety of means, students are taught self-control and a respectful regard for others. Strategies include classroom presentations of concepts that are infused through their normal curriculum program, large and small group discussions, and individualized support
 
The following charts frequently refer to “counsel student”, which is a typical instructional element of all consequences.  The principal/designee determines the degree and type of “counsel”.  “Counsel” may include activities that successfully restore respectful relationships and/or conflict resolution/management work with the principal, counselor or psychologist.  In some cases, it may be appropriate for students to participate in a staff or student-facilitated, face-to-face, restorative practice meeting. Such efforts intend to create better understanding and a positive relationship among the students. However, face-to-face mediation may not always be safe or appropriate in all situations. For example, when a student is persistently harassing others, a face-to-face session can reinforce the bullying behavior.  In these types of situations, parent/guardians are consulted to determine whether a restorative meeting should occur.
 
Suspension and Alternatives to Suspension
The more clarity students have about what constitutes a breach of the community, relationships or rules, sometimes called misbehavior, and the more they understand that any misbehavior will be known and responded to in a timely way, the more likely it is that students will behave appropriately.  Consistency in the application of a restorative approach to student development when they have been the cause or recipient of harm, and the taking of responsibility for the harm, is more likely to result in positive behaviors.  Restorative practices will be used to help students understand the impact of their behavior on others and to provide education around the larger issues of acceptance within a diverse community.
 
Home suspension is a severe response that is only used when a student’s behavior endangers themselves or others or the community.  It is a legal declaration that the student has lost, for a maximum of five school days, his/her right to remain on a school campus. Committing an offense that could, or has caused, serious harm to others, can lead to expulsion from the district.
 
California Education Code dictates that alternatives to home suspension will be exhausted before a student is removed from the school environment. Since the purpose of school is to educate, students need to remain in school and in the classroom as much as possible. Any listing of suspension as a possible consequence on the Guidelines for Responsive Discipline in Elementary [English] [Spanish] and  Secondary [English] [Spanish] Schools means that an alternative to suspension can be used instead of a home suspension. 
 
Student Concerns
Students and/or families are strongly encouraged to communicate with teachers, staff, and administrators when they feel harassed, threatened, intimidated, or bullied by another student, or by staff. Students and/or parents should speak with school personnel, and if the issue cannot be resolved, submit a Uniform Complaint Form [English] [Spanish]. The Uniform Complaint Form is available at all school offices and the District Office.  Students and families may also contact the School Climate Office at 530-757-5300 x108.  Communication is key to helping students address concerns and find resolutions with assistance from dedicated individuals at their school site.