The Toolbox is an all day training program designed to help educators serve students with disabilities well and in compliance with the law, even when those students engage in disruptive or violent behavior.  The Toolbox is based on our existing framework for discipline, and thus includes all of the traditional tools of student discipline, such as out of school suspension, in-school suspension, and removal to DAEP.

But the Toolbox is completely consistent with the use of proactive, positive measures designed to reduce our reliance on the more traditional, exclusionary practices.  It’s very clear that public policy is pushing schools to move away from “exclusionary” practices by increasing the effectiveness of proactive and positive measures. In the Toolbox, we talk a lot about the most important tool in your arsenal—the use of a Behavior Improvement Plan (BIP).

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify the ways in which they will help local school districts to reduce “the overuse of discipline practices that remove students from the classroom.”  On July 26th, 62 members of Congress wrote to Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, urging her to continue to assist states and schools to move away from exclusionary practices.  The letter to Ms. DeVos asks for specific information about how the Department plans to implement this portion of ESSA.

It’s a good thing that 62 members of Congress are pressuring DOE on this issue. It’s unfortunate that all 62 are Democrats and thus, the issue could become another political football in which the “previous administration” is compared with the “current administration.”  I wonder if the Democrats even tried to get some Republicans on board with them. This seems like a very good issue to bring the parties together. Keeping kids in the classroom is not something that should divide the Dems from the GOPers.

Nor should it divide educators.  The lawyers in our firm are eager to train your staff on the Toolbox, with an emphasis on the positive things we can do for kids to keep them in the classroom.  If you are interested in a Toolbox training, please let us know.


Tomorrow: a new bill that should help your career and technology program….