If you are using “Restorative Discipline” do you need to change the Code of Conduct?  


Many districts are embracing Restorative Discipline or at least moving in the direction of restorative practices in connection with student discipline.  One question that comes up is about the relationship between a restorative approach and the district’s Code of Conduct.

Chapter 37 of the Education Code requires a Code of Conduct, and spells out some of the required content.  The Code does three main things.  First, it notifies the students and their parents of what kind of conduct is expected in the school setting.  Second, the Code lays out the types of misconduct that might lead to exclusionary discipline, such as suspension, expulsion, or DAEP.  Third, the Code spells out some of the due process requirements.

The law makes only a vague reference to the methods you choose to use.  T.E.C. 37.001(a)(8) requires your code to provide the “methods, including options” for 1) managing students; 2) disciplining students; and 3) preventing and intervening in student discipline problems.

So some general statement about your classroom management techniques is probably appropriate for the Code, but this is not the place to go into detailed descriptions of RD or any other program.  Some districts are using (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). Some employ MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support).  Some are now moving toward RD (Restorative Discipline). Many are seeking to find the best mix of all of these practices, each of which is designed to create a healthy campus climate.  It’s very important that any such plan be implemented faithfully with plenty of training for staff.

Your Code of Conduct will very likely require revision this summer based on new legislation.  In that context, some general statement about “methods” that you use would be appropriate.  But save the detail for the training and implementation.