118 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 36:2 2016]
Ultimately, we determined that the model code, as a “model,” should go beyond the new
legislation and, when appropriate, take into consideration best practice to reduce the use of
86 We also decided to draft a separate document in the form of a self-assessment checklist that would enable school districts to determine whether their policies were
in compliance with the new law and to identify areas they needed to change, even if they did not
ultimately decide to adopt the model code or adopted only portions of it.
C. Model Code
The following is a summary of the key components of TSDC’s model code:
1. Discipline Philosophy: The district or school’s discipline philosophy should be
developed in coordination with all stakeholders, including students, parents, guardians,
families, district and school staff, school board members, and community members.
Discipline in schools should not be used as punishment but instead be used as an
opportunity for support, learning, growth and community building.
89 Schools and
districts should utilize and harmonize evidence-based, school-wide preventive and
positive discipline policies, which include an emphasis on creating a positive and
inclusive school climate.
2. Rights and Responsibilities: The code of conduct should identify the rights and
responsibilities of students; parents; teachers, principals and school staff; district
administrators; and community-based/local organizations. The development and
identification of the rights and responsibilities for each stakeholder should be a
collaborative process that should involve parents and students, particularly those not
typically in school meetings or whose voices have historically not been included in
90 The code provides a sample rights and responsibilities section
drawn from, in large part, a document developed by AASA, the School
Superintendent’s Association, and the Children’s Defense Fund.
3. Participation and Collaboration: The district or school should develop and revise its
code of conduct in a collaborative manner that encourages input and feedback from all
community stakeholders. The collaborative stakeholder process described in the model
code complies with legislative mandates for a parent-teacher advisory committee to
work with the school board in developing policies on discipline, bullying, and student
4. Prevention, Intervention and Disciplinary Responses: The district or school should
take a positive approach to school discipline that provides early and differentiated
87 Transforming School Discipline Collaborative, Public Act 99-0456 Self-Assessment Checklist (as of January 2016)
(unpublished materials) (on file with authors).
88 Model Code of Conduct, supra note 47, at 1.
91 Id. at 2–3 & n.6 (citing SCH. SUPERINTENDENT’S ASS’N & CHILDREN’S DEF. FUND, FRAMEWORK FOR REVISING
SCHOOL DISTRICT CODES OF STUDENT CONDUCT 1–2 (Sept. 2014),