6.2.2 Overview of the Three Tiered Behavioral Matrices

Overview of the Three Tiered Behavioral Matrices

The District has worked with school and community stakeholders to develop three tiered behavioral matrices, required by Board Policy 5144 (Discipline) and 5144.1(Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)  to offer alternatives to suspension referral. These matrices outline interventions for students that can be used to address unwanted student behaviors, and were designed to address disproportionate suspension of African American and Latinx students by helping school sites to identify appropriate and effective alternative approaches to punitive discipline. 

In summary, suspensions are generally a last resort and shall not be utilized except in the following circumstances:

  • A student may be suspended on a first offense if the principal determines that the student violated CA Education Code 48900(a)-(e)(physical injury, violence, weapons, drugs/alcohol, robbery/extortion) or that the student’s conduct causes a danger to persons. 
  • Immediate suspension and expulsion referral are mandatory for offenses listed under CA Education Code 48915(c)(possession of gun or explosive, brandishing a knife, selling drugs or a sexual assault or battery).
  • Suspension is otherwise only permissible if the school team has exhausted and documented the mandatory interventions listed in the relevant Matrix and determines that suspension is the appropriate response. Additionally, prior to suspension of an African American student, the school must contact the Assistant Superintendent or designee, who will ensure that the Matrix interventions have been exhausted and documented.  

School sites may have their own additional interventions and strategies with the same goals:

  • Supports should be productive and educational, not punitive. 
  • Practices should ensure that students are not removed from the classroom or school.
  • Students should be engaged in their school community.
  • Students should have the chance to reflect upon and learn from their mistakes.

Organization of the Matrices

There are 3 different matrices included in this Handbook.  They are organized based on the types of student behavior being addressed. Refer to following chapters for the 3 matrices to see details of the behaviors:

Each matrix has supports/interventions divided into different categories: Social-Emotional Supports, Behavioral Response to Intervention (Behavioral RTI) and Restorative Practices (RP), and Environmental. 

How to Use the Matrices

The matrices should be used to identify interventions and supports that can address unwanted student behaviors instead of using punitive measures such as suspension, except in the limited circumstances outlined below (see Student Suspensions). 

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. 

They should locate the matrix that addresses the specific student behavior at issue, and follow the steps under “How to Use this Matrix” in carrying out the support and intervention process.

Although the matrix interventions are used primarily in response to incidents, there are additional ways in which they can be used:

  • With students in a proactive and preventative way, before an incident. In addition to the matrices, teachers can use Tier 1 environmental recommendations in this google document: link

  • As part of suspension/expulsion via a rehabilitation or re-entry plan. If the student is returning to their original site, the CCT should begin interventions upon their re-entry. If the student re-enters at a new site, the CCT at the new site should convene to discuss reentry (this may include connecting with the original site to review intervention recommendation). 

Student Suspensions

Suspensions are a last resort in SFUSD. The purpose of the matrices is to offer appropriate alternative interventions and supports that will address unwanted student behaviors and limit the loss of instructional time. Suspensions should only be used in the following circumstances:

  • A student may be suspended on a first offense if the principal determines that the student violated CA Education Code 48900(a)-(e) or that the student’s conduct causes a danger to persons. This includes:

CA Education Code 48900(a)-(e)

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.

Behavior

CA Education Code

Caused, attempted to cause, or threatened to cause physical injury to another person.

48900(a)(1)

Willfully used force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense.

48900(a)(2)

Possessed, sold, or otherwise furnished a firearm, knife, explosive, or other dangerous object, unless, in the case of possession of an object of this type, the student had obtained written permission to possess the item from a certificated school employee, which is concurred in by the principal or the designee of the principal. 

48900(b)


 

Unlawfully possessed, used, sold, or otherwise furnished, or been under the influence of, a controlled substance, an alcoholic beverage, or an intoxicant of any kind. 

48900(c)

Sale or furnish look-alike controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant of any kind.

48900(d)

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

48900(e)

 

Student Suspensions

  • Immediate suspension and expulsion referral are mandatory for offenses listed under CA Education Code 48915(c):

CA Education Code 48915(c)

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.

Behavior

CA Education Code

Possession, sale, or otherwise furnishment of a firearm; does not apply to imitation firearms.

48915(c)(1)

Brandishing a knife at another person.

48915(c)(2)

Unlawfully selling a controlled substance. 

48915(c)(3)

Sexual assault or battery.

48915(c)(4)

Possession of an explosive.

48915(c)(5)

 
 

Student Suspensions

  • Beyond these behaviors, a student may only be suspended if the school-site staff has exhausted and documented the mandatory interventions listed in the relevant matrix and determines that suspension is the appropriate response.   
  • Before an African American student (a group that has been disproportionately referred for discipline) can be suspended, the school must contact the Assistant Superintendent or designee. This person will ensure that the matrix interventions have been exhausted and documented and work with the site to identify additional supports and interventions.
  • Before considering suspension, 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, and families requiring translation services). 

This page was last updated on September 16, 2022