Dear CPS Parents and Families,
As CEO of Chicago Public Schools, we know the importance of maintaining safe, supportive schools. But to be effective, disciplinary practices must be equitable and contribute to the social-emotional development of our students. Since 2012, CPS has made a dedicated effort to reform disciplinary practices and better support students by working to align the district’s Student Code of Conduct (SCC) (Spanish, Polish) with our values. As a result, out-of-school suspension have been reduced by 76 percent and expulsions have dropped 59 percent -- a reduction seen among every demographic subgroup.
To continue this progress, we are revising the SCC to expand student supports while providing additional clarification on the use of disciplinary practices. These revisions build on the district’s restorative approach to discipline, promote equitable practices, and ensure all students have access to safe and supportive learning environments.
I am pleased to share some updates to the SCC for the coming school year — changes that will build on the district’s restorative approach to discipline, promote equitable practices, and ensure all students have access to safe and supportive learning environments.
These updates include:
- A more inclusive Anti-Bullying Policy, which protects children from being harassed for any reason, including race, religion, or immigration status.
- A step-by-step guide for school leaders on how to document and respond to incidents of bullying, including contacting all families of involved students about the outcomes of any bullying investigations.
- Additional guidance on Out-of-School suspension practices to ensure that the use of suspensions is appropriate, equitable, and employed as a last resort.
- A more sensitive approach to address student behavior, especially when the students involved may have been exposed to trauma.
- Additional language to explicitly prohibit zero tolerance policies that have been shown to be ineffective at increasing school safety, or correcting student behaviors, and builds on the district’s continued commitment to restorative approaches to discipline.
- Clear guidelines for involving the new CPS Office of Student Protections and Title IX in investigating incidents of bullying, inappropriate sexual conduct, and other infractions.
This updated SCC is part of our commitment to strengthening the district’s restorative approach to discipline. Appropriate and equitable disciplinary practices help create safe and supportive learning environments that empower our students to develop the communication, relationship-building, and conflict-resolution skills they will need for success in school and in life.
I thank you for your support and wish you an enjoyable summer break. I look forward to kicking off another successful school year on September 4, 2018.
Janice K. Jackson, Ed.D
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Public Schools