The Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution
(SFUSD Board Policy 5144)
The most effective alternative to suspension is the prevention of concerning behaviors through the intentional creation of a positive, relationship-based school community. In spring of 2014, the Board of Education adopted the Safe and Supportive Schools Resolution (SSSR). Through this resolution, SFUSD has committed to providing staff with tools to positively engage students through full implementation of School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (SWPBIS) and Restorative Practices (RP), including Trauma-informed Practices that establish high behavior expectations of students in a bias free and culturally competent school community. These practices are designed to create safe and supportive schools and to address the disproportionate suspension of African American and Latino students, as well as any other group of students that is disproportionately disciplined.
SWPBIS is a research-based, highly-effective behavioral framework that is defined within SFUSD as the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework for teaching and reinforcing students’ social, emotional, and academic learning skills in order to sustain academic achievement, as well as support the mental and emotional well-being of all students. Restorative Practices is integrated into the SWPBIS framework at all levels and engages staff and students in creating safe spaces for developing supportive relationships, establishing class and school community agreements, and building social and emotional skills. When school staff understand the impact of trauma as they implement SWPBIS and Restorative Practices, they are better able to depersonalize student reactions and behaviors and deescalate incidents, support students’ social and emotional development, and prevent re-traumatization. Our mission is to ensure these strategies are implemented with a culturally responsive lens that looks at the individual strengths of students and families and respects their cultural background and heritage.
The District is committed to supporting students through behavior interventions and alternatives to dismissal, suspension or other sanctions that require removal from the educational setting in all cases except those where the immediate safety of students or staff is threatened or the behavior in question is such that the disruption to the educational environment can only be remedied by removal. See SFUSD Board Policy 5144 (Discipline) and 5144.1 (Suspension and Expulsion Due Process).
Some of the most significant policy changes adopted by the SSSR include the requirements to:
- Implement School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) and Restorative Practices (RP) in all schools;
- Provide training and support for schools in the areas of trauma informed practices, behavior deescalation support, implicit bias and stereotype, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer sensitivity and other cultural competency training;
- Develop a Tiered Behavioral Discipline Matrix that provides positive and supportive interventions that must be exhausted and documented prior to issuing a suspension (except in limited circumstances involving safety);
- Prohibit suspension or recommendation for expulsion solely on the basis of willful defiance/disruption under CA Education Code48900(k);
- Prohibit “undocumented suspensions,” which means that students cannot be sent home for disciplinary reasons without the required suspension documentation;
- If a student is suspended, allow him/her to serve out of school suspension at the Counseling Center to the extent feasible; provide a re-entry conference after suspension to develop an intervention plan; and create a process for appeal of suspension;
- Provide credentialed intensive supervision, behavioral counseling and schoolwork completion for students who receive a teacher suspension;
- Collect and analyze discipline data to inform disciplinary practices and procedures, and report aggregate data to the school community on the District website and in the Student and Family Handbook;
- Provide extra support and intervention to schools with significantly greater disproportionate suspension, and require that principals consult with their Assistant Superintendent to ensure that alternative interventions in the Matrix have been exhausted and documented prior to suspension of African American students (or other student group identified by data as the most disproportionately disciplined group);
- Develop a process for students and parents to appeal for redress if SWPBIS or RP have not been implemented at their school site.