such as the Dignity in Schools Campaign,45 the Council of State Governments Justice Center,46
and other state and local groups engaged in discipline policy work, with adaptations to the local
practices and context.
In this Article, we highlight the major components of the state-level model code of conduct
under development. The code builds upon and integrates research-based and prevention-oriented
strategies for addressing students’ academic and behavioral needs in a manner intended to reduce
the need for disciplinary referrals.47 The code also highlights best practices with respect to due
process protections for students, procedures following suspension and expulsion, and procedural
protections for students with disabilities.48 It is intended to serve as a reference for schools and
districts in order to comply with the recently passed legislation.49 The collaborative work described
in this Article is highlighted as an example of the types of contributions that attorneys, professors,
school administrators and school psychologists can bring to a state-level task of this nature. In the
appendices we provide some examples of this work together with guiding questions that cross-disciplinary teams who are forming similar discipline reform initiatives can use to model their
initial efforts and goal setting in the arduous task of modifying discipline practices at the state and
II. OVERVIEW OF CROSS-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION
During stakeholder dialogues convened by youth advocates and partner organizations in
early 2014 to discuss statewide school discipline reform, part of the conversation centered on the
lack of coherent school district policies related to discipline throughout the state of Illinois. There
are over 800 school districts in Illinois,50 and each has its own code of conduct. While some school
districts, like Chicago Public Schools, have already revised their codes of conduct to become less
punitive,51 many school district and charter school codes contain remnants of the zero tolerance
policies that have long been seen as contributing to the significant disparities in discipline and
overuse of ineffective exclusionary practices.52 A number of organizations and institutions
discussed pooling their expertise and building upon the national-level efforts to develop a model
code of conduct for Illinois, with the goals of seeking endorsement for the code from the state-
level education agency and using the code as a training tool for districts to incorporate best
A working group was convened that included attorneys, school psychologists, policy
advocates and community organizers. After solidifying its goals and objectives, the group decided
45 DIGNITY IN SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN, A MODEL CODE ON EDUCATION AND DIGNITY: PRESENTING A HUMAN RIGHTS
FRAMEWORK FOR SCHOOLS (2012), http://www.dignityinschools.org/our-work/model-school-code (proposing
recommended policy language to implement alternatives to exclusionary school discipline).
46 MORGAN ET AL., supra note 19.
47 Transforming School Discipline Collaborative, Model Student Code of Conduct (forthcoming Spring 2016)
(manuscript at 9–23) (on file with authors) [hereinafter Model Code of Conduct].
48 Id. at 13–20.
49 Id. at unnumbered cover letter.
50 ILL. STATE BD. OF EDUC. ILL. REP. CARD 2014-2015, (2015), http://illinoisreportcard.com/State.aspx.
51 Sarah Karp, Student Code of Conduct Set to Change as District Aims to Curb Discipline, CATALYST CHICAGO (June
13, 2014), http://catalyst-chicago.org/2014/06/student-code-conduct-set-change-district-aims-curb-discipline/.
52 Am. Psychol. Ass’n Task Force on Zero Tolerance Policies, Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?
An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations, 63 AM. PSYCHOL., 852, 854, 856 (2008) [hereinafter APA Task Force];
Skiba et al., The Color of Discipline, supra note 11, at 318.