All too often our schools use suspensions for behavioral problems, especially with repeated issues. Unfortunately, such unthinking reactions do not help find the reason or address the underlying issues for the child. And, to that end, our Discipline Code, called the Citywide Behavioral Expectations to Support Student Learning, allows for such creative problem-solving solutions.
Citywide Behavioral Expectations to Support Student Learning
The CBESSL is age specific as the needs of children change as they age. Specifically, there is one set of rules for grades K-5, and then, updated rules for grades 6-12. This includes a Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities for K-12 students. In each section, it outlines the New York City standards of behavior for each age group at public schools.
Most importantly, it describes the disciplinary responses available to schools, which include support systems and intervention strategies. It also describes student and parent appeal decisions when they believe these policies are not followed, or they are not treated fairly.
The stated policy for these rules is to ensure that all New York schools are inclusive, supportive and, most importantly, safe. Therefore, the policies focus on prevention, positive reinforcement, conflict resolution and intervention strategies. And, it was the culmination of input from students, parents, advocacy groups, educators and administrators.
What to do when disciplinary issues pop up
Parents should immediately talk with school administrators about supportive and intervention options. This is usually done through the Parent Coordinator at the school, or the Family Support Coordinator in the District Office. Do not just accept whatever punishment your school wants to dole out. They often do not have time to create individualized options unless forced to by parents.
In addition to contacting the Parent Coordinator and Family Support Coordinator for help, you have options if your child has violated school policy. You can ask for a Principal’s Hearing, Superintendent’s Hearing, Individualized education program manifestation hearing, disciplinary hearing or due process hearing. Though, when you must take your child’s case to a hearing, it is usually a promising idea to contact an attorney.