6.2.5 Matrix for Behavior Requiring Intensive Intervention

Refer to the matrix in response to high risk behaviors

High risk behaviors require intensive intervention and pose serious safety risks, and may include:

Behavior category: High Risk

Please note: The California Education Code (CA Education Code) is a collection of laws created by California state legislators. All local school boards throughout California are responsible for complying with these codes. The code citations are helpful reference points for you to understand the source of the rule.

High Risk behaviors

CA Education Code 

Causing serious physical injury to another person.


Possession of knife or other dangerous object of no reasonable use to the student.

Possession, use or sale of weapons or dangerous objects.

Incidents involving firearm possession, brandishing a knife or possession of explosives require mandatory suspension and referral for expulsion.




Committed or attempted to commit robbery or extortion (i.e. obtaining the property of someone else through force or intimidation).



Assault or battery of a school employee.


Hazing (i.e. a process of initiation into a student organization or body, whether or not the organization or body is officially recognized by a school, that is likely to cause serious bodily injury, personal degradation, or disgrace resulting in physical or mental harm. “Hazing” does not include athletic events or school-sanctioned events.)


Hate violence (i.e. to willfully injure, intimidate or threaten a person in their free exercise of their rights by force or threat because of the person’s actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity) (grades 4-12 only).


Terroristic threats (i.e. a statement that threatens death, great bodily injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000; suggests an immediate prospect of executing on the threat; and causes the threatened person sustained fear for their safety, their family’s safety or damage to property.) 


Unlawful possession of any controlled substance except (i) first offense for possession of not more than one ounce of marijuana other than concentrated cannabis or (ii) possession of over the counter medication for use by the student or medication prescribed for the student by a physician.

Incidents involving sale of controlled substances require mandatory suspension and referral for expulsion.






Sexual assault or battery.

Incidents involving sexual assault or battery require mandatory suspension and referral for expulsion.



High risk behaviors may result in suspension on a first offense

High risk behaviors may result in suspension on a first offense: 

This Matrix lists mandatory interventions that must be exhausted before issuing a suspension, except in cases where suspension is permitted or required on a first offense. The high-risk behaviors listed in the Matrix above may result in suspension on a first offense in the following circumstances: 

  • If the principal determines that the student violated Education Code 48900(a)(physical injury/violence),(b)(weapons),(c)(drugs),(d)(look-alike drugs) or (e)(robbery/extortion), or if the principal determines that the behavior causes a danger to persons. 

  • If state law requires the principal to immediately suspend and refer for expulsion.  Suspension and expulsion referral are mandatory for possession of a firearm or explosive, brandishing a knife, selling drugs or sexual battery or sexual assault. (CA Education Code 48915(c)). 

However, even if a student is suspended or referred for expulsion for the high risk behavior, the comprehensive or county community school serving the student should still refer to this Matrix  to identify appropriate interventions and supports.  The school and Coordinated Care Team may also refer to the Matrix for Serious Behaviors to identify appropriate interventions and supports.

How to Use this Matrix

After a student incident, the school principal or designee is responsible for making sure the student is on the Coordinated Care Team’s (CCT) agenda for the next available CCT meeting, and leading and partnering with other school staff, students, and families (the term family is used to include parents, caregivers and guardians) in the support and intervention process. A CCT exists at each school and focuses on school climate, family partnership, attendance, and student / family services. 

The Coordinated Care Team will meet as soon as possible after an incident to create a long term plan based on data review and utilizing research-based interventions. Some of these offenses require mandatory suspension and expulsion referral.  These include possession of a firearm or explosive, brandishing a knife, selling drugs or sexual battery or sexual assault.

The school administrator or CCT will:

  1. Connect with families: The school Principal or a designee has a conversation with the student’s family. 
    The family’s unwillingness to speak does not prevent the CCT from attempting to move forward with interventions and support for the student.
  2. Convene the CCT and relevant teachers: The principal or designee should contact the representative of the CCT to place the student on the agenda for the next available CCT meeting. The relevant teacher(s) should also be invited to attend this meeting, along with the principal and/or designee. 
  3. Select appropriate supports/interventions: The CCT should then, in collaboration with teachers, families, and students involved in the incident, select appropriate supports/interventions from the relevant section of the matrix (see below) to implement. The CCT should review the student’s academic and behavioral data to determine the need for intervention or modification to current interventions.
  4. Document plans: The CCT, in conjunction with relevant teachers, should document the selected supports/interventions and any plans developed in the appropriate place in Synergy, alerting any additional teacher(s) to review the plan/interventions. The CCT should provide guidance to teachers/staff on how to store information related to student incidents and interventions in Synergy. The CCT can reach out to the Resource Link at sflink@sfusd.edu or 415-340-1716 (during hours of operation) for consultation as needed.
  5. Implement plans: The selected support/intervention should be implemented for a minimum of 4–6 weeks. 
  6. Follow-up actions: After 4-6 weeks of implementation, the CCT should return to the goals set with the student and assess the extent to which each goal has been met. Based on this assessment, the CCT should decide whether to maintain, intensify, or phase out the intervention. Additional interventions should be attempted if the first intervention was not successful. Families should be informed of progress and any changes made to intervention plans.

Please see chapter 6.2.6 to understand additional supports needed by special populations (students with IEP, foster youth, youth experiencing housing transition or homelessness, students on probation, African-American students, and families requiring translation services).

For families: 

The school administration and the CCT will work with the student’s family to learn about the student’s needs and what they feel will help to resolve it. Any intervention and support plans made by the CCT should be shared with families. 

For additional information about how to access any student related records, families can connect with their school’s administration office at any time.

Matrix of Supports/Interventions for High Risk Behaviors

Interventions with an asterisk (*) have definitions in the glossary in chapter 6.2.1.

For the CCT: Pick at least one support/intervention to implement per incident and document in the appropriate place in Synergy. For technical assistance on any of these interventions, please reach out to to sflink@sfusd.edu.

Note: The school site is also free to utilize additional interventions and alternatives available at their specific school site that are not listed in the matrix. 

Matrix: Support/Intervention options for 1st incident

Social-Emotional Supports

Behavioral Response to Intervention (Behavioral RTI) and Restorative Practices (RP) 


  • Intensive Skills Group * (select appropriate skill groups)
  • Peer Mediation (Grades 6-12) *
  • Individual counseling (school site or off-site)
  • Contact Department for Public Health (DPH) for wrap around services
  • School site School Social Worker (SSW) to coordinate and case manage multiple student and family services
  • Home Visit *
  • Restorative Practice Conference * with family/families and outside agencies
  • Corrective feedback: De-Escalate *, teach/reteach appropriate skills, and facilitate reentry
  • Check fidelity of established intervention plan and make modifications if necessary
  • Saturday school
  • Behavior support plan
  • Direct teaching and practice of functionally equivalent replacement behavior
  • Consider change of classroom or more intensive in class supports
  • Classroom Consultation * with the Coordinated Care Team

Printable PDF version of the matrix

Printable PDF version of the matrix

A printable PDF version of this matrix can be found at this link:

This page was last updated on August 19, 2022