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Discipline Policies: Are Point

Systems the New Zero

Recommendations for Implementation of
Discipline Policy at Independence High
Matt Ysusi

Why Discipline?
As my new school transitions into their

third administrator in three years, our

discipline policy as been determined to be
in need of an update. As part of the
Building Leadership Team (BLT) that was
tasked with a new recommendation, I
thought I would use previous experiences
and knowledge gained from this course to
create a proposal for a new discipline
direction and policies.
Furthermore, behavior and discipline have
always been an interest and passion as I
have worked with students in the mental

Why Discipline Cont.?

As discussed in our BLT meetings, a

discipline policy based on points was

brought up as a viable option. Through past
experiences, I believe this would be a
mistake for a multitude of reasons. In past
experiences, point policies have led to
more segregated settings for all students,
can lead to higher suspension and
expulsion rates, violate rights of special
education students under IDEA, increase
disproportionality, and have an impact on
post-school outcomes.

Current Practices under

Point Policies

For this project, I interviewed Jeff Price

whom is our Secondary Program

Coordinator in charge of 4 high schools and
middle schools for Tri-County Interlocal 607
and oversees our department at
Independence High School.
Mr. Price has a educational background
working as a school psychologist and has
been in special education administration for
almost ten years.

Interview Cont.
As we met to discuss my project. Jeff and I

spoke about many different topics relating

to discipline in schools. Here are some
thoughts we covered.
Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law- Most
of our conversation revolved around this
principle. Jeff stated that it is rare to see
violations of IDEAs six principles, however
he sees manipulations all the time. He
further stated that many schools and our
agency focuses on compliance and can
often miss the mark on the spirit of why
these laws are in place.

Interview Cont.
Some of his biggest concerns centered around the

lack of accountability in Kansas surrounding 504s.

He also believes that students rights without IEPs are
violated the most. An example was the practice that
many administrators do not know the law regarding
students whom might be suspected of having a
disability during manifestation determination or
discipline hearings. Often times these students are
not given the same rights of those with an IEP.
Furthermore, he stated that sometimes administrators
are unaware of the stay-put rule in regards to
changing placement in a school setting when waiting
on manifestation determination meetings.

Interview Cont.
Jeff also brought up our cultural

insensitivity or knowledge in regards to

evaluating minorities in our area. He stated
as a school psychologist, African American
students were referred at a much higher
rate for special education than white peers
at a young age. His view consisted that
many of these students lacked skills in
regards to behavior, like sharing or being
appropriate at lunch and recess. He said
rather than interventions taking place in
the general curriculum, many teachers
pushed for students to get extra assistance

Policy and Practice

This section will look at a point policy used at a
near high school in which Tri-County serves and
which USD 446 is looking at implementing.
This section will also look at potential negative
effects of implementing this point policy.

Point Policy Example

Point Policy Example Cont.

Personal Experiences
Under this policy, I personally saw special

education students removed from the general

education setting and placed in more restricted
environments in order to attempt to avoid
getting more points and face expulsion.
This policy places high point totals on many
infractions and many infractions are
interconnected making it easy for a student to
get 50 points in one or two incidents and face
Furthermore, like my coordinator stated, due
process rights are often disregarded for students
in which a disability is suspected.

American Civil Liberties

ACLU Concerns

ACLU states that lack of resources,

school violence and shootings, and

other issues have lead to the
implementation of Zero Tolerance
and other strict discipline policies.
According to ACLU, suspension rates

have jumped from 1.7 million in

1974 to 3.1 million in 2000.

As harsh penalties for

minor misbehavior become
more pervasive, schools
increasingly ignore or
bypass due process
protections for suspensions
and expulsions. The lack of
due process is particularly
acute for students with
special needs, who are
represented in the pipeline
despite the heightened
protections afforded to them
under law.

Criticisms of Zero Tolerance

and Point Policy Approach

Suspension/Expulsion Data

Source: Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap. (2015) The

Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

Suspension/Expulsion Data

Source: Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap. (2015) The

Center for Civil Rights Remedies.

Suspension/Expulsion Data

Source: Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap. (2015) The Center
for Civil Rights Remedies.

School to Prison Pipelines

Source from PBS.org Fact Sheet: How Bad is the School-to-Prison


Office of Civil Rights

Source: Office for Civil Rights: Civil Rights Data Collection.

Revealing New Truths About Our Nations Schools

Statistics and Potential Negative

I have included these statistics to show the trends

in education nationwide as we have implemented

new, strict discipline policies and zero tolerance
policies. The potential negative effects of
implementing a point system could be devastating
for our school for several reasons. This discipline
policy would most likely lead to:
Higher suspension and expulsion rates
Disproportional Representation among minorities and

special education students in regards to

suspension/expulsion rates
Possible violations of due process rights, especially
those not yet identified
Impact post-school outcomes for students
Negatively impact school climate and culture

Statistics and Potential Negative

Effects Cont.
In the Turnbull et al. it speaks about IDEA

and the need to prevent discipline-based

exclusion. I think IDEAs reasons for
discipline should be afforded to all students
in our school to create a positive climate
and culture(86).
Furthermore, increased
suspension/expulsion rates and increased
discipline issues could lead to more legal
matters in regards to violations of FAPE and
Least Restrictive Environment.

Statistics and Potential Negative

Effects Cont.
With a discipline point policy I am afraid it

could lead to more discipline-based

exclusion, which Turnbull et al. discuss in
relation to the principle of Zero Reject(86).
Lose sight of a strengths-based approach
which is critical in providing a free,
individualized and appropriate education
(Turnbull 166).
Possibly violate LRE in regards to change
in settings and placement due, as well as
extracurricular due to discipline policy
based off points.

Remedies and

In the McLaughlin and Ruedel text, the

authors talk about the need to create

policies that are proactive and
preventative. Schools can use
interventions, strategies and teaching
alternate behaviors in order to provide
positive behavior supports for all students.
It goes further and recommends some
policies to implement (53):
Write clear rules
Provide supports to implement rules
Develop policy with input from all


Implement MTSS structure with

instructional and behavioral system of

Instructional interventions for all tiers to

reduce any behavior stemming from

Research and implement Positive

Behavioral Support system

PBIS, SIT, CHAMPS for Classroom Policy and

Interventions, Look into Dr. Spricks literature

about changing climate and culture

Create new discipline policy based off PBS

that focuses on strategies and

interventions for all students provided by
McLaughlin and Ruedel text (54)
Classroom Prevention
Schoolwide Prevention
Parent and Resource Partnerships

Purchase new information system to track

discipline data. Infinite Campus does not

allow administration to track this data

As we enter an important crossroads in
regards to a new discipline policy, I think it
is critically important to thing about the
potential negative impacts a discipline
point policy could have on our students and
their families. I think a positive, proactive,
strengths-based system is the direction we
should be headed as evidenced by
remedies and my recommendations.

American Civil Liberties Union. What is the School-toPrison Pipeline? Retrieved from https
://www.aclu.org/fact-sheet/what-school-prison- pipeline
Amuraro, Carla. (Mar. 28th, 2013) Fact Sheet: How Bad is
the School-to-Prison Pipeline? PBS.org. Retrieved from
Losen, D., Hodson, C., Keith II, M. A., Morrison, K., &
Belway, S. Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap.
(2015) The Center for Civil Rights Remedies. Retrieved

Sources Cont.
Office for Civil Rights: Civil Rights Data
Collection. Revealing New Truths About Our
Nations Schools. (March 2012). Retrieved
McLaughlin, M.J., & Ruedel, K. (2012) The
school leaders guide to special education.
Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.
Turnbull, H.R. (1990) Free appropriate public
education: The law and children with
disabilities. Denver, CO: Love Pub.