122 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 36:2 2016]
teaming process. The schoolwide team should be responsible for delivering, evaluating, and
monitoring a prevention-oriented system-wide discipline system. The discipline system should be
instructional rather than punitive in nature and focus on prevention of undesirable behaviors and
addressing behaviors through instruction in a tiered fashion. The tiered fashion is organized by
what is delivered to all students in the building (tier 1), followed by provision of additional
behavioral supports and interventions for groups of students (tier 2) and individual students with
the most intensive needs (tier 3) ascribed within models such as Schoolwide Positive Behavior
116 with documented effects in reducing discipline referrals, unwanted
suspensions and successfully teaching students desirable behaviors.
Disproportionality and Implicit Bias: The toolkit aims to bring together resources aimed
at combatting the disproportionate impact of school discipline on the sub-groups previously
identified: African-American students, students with disabilities and LGB/T students. This
includes resources regarding implicit bias and how it can be understood and remedied in the school
117 Additionally, the toolkit suggests that school administrators and leaders should
disseminate federal documents to their school that help facilitate conversations around using data
to drive interventions that reduce exclusionary discipline and inequities. For example, the resource,
“Addressing the Root Causes of Disparities in School Discipline: An Educator’s Action Planning
118 was recently released as a companion document to the USDOE’s “Guiding Principles:
A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline.”
119 Taken together, these federal
resources provide access and instructions for using publicly-available tools, including an Excel
spreadsheet where school districts can enter and analyze data disaggregated by race/ethnicity to
evaluate the equity and effectiveness of school discipline practices, answer “big risk questions”
using their data and create action plans for prioritizing school and district level prevention-oriented
discipline practices with priorities for keeping students in school.
Restorative Approach: Although not every school will have the capacity to implement
restorative practices, they are identified in the toolkit as a key strategy for implementing an
instructional and corrective approach to school discipline. The toolkit will provide background
regarding the implementation and use of restorative practices in resolving student conflicts and
addressing other behavioral incidents at schools.
121 Restorative practices are a model that is
increasingly being advocated for use in schools as an alternative to traditional exclusionary
practices.122 Rather than addressing behaviors through punishment and exclusion, restorative
practices focus on helping parties involved with discipline concerns restore impacted relationships
and repair harm.
123 Restorative practices works best when a schoolwide approach is used in which
116 Robert H. Horner et al., Examining the Evidence Base for School-Wide Positive Behavior Support, 42 SCH. FOCUS
ON EXCEPTIONALITY 8, 1–14 (2010).
117 See, e.g., STAATS, supra note 16.
118 AM. INSTS. FOR RESEARCH, ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF DISPARITIES IN SCHOOL DISCIPLINE: AN
EDUCATOR’S ACTION PLANNING GUIDE (July 22, 2015),
121 Transforming School Discipline Collaborative, The Restorative Approach and Its Strategies (Last updated Mar. 4,
2016) (unpublished materials) (on file with authors).
122 Jessica Ashley Burke & Kimberly Burke, Implementing Restorative Justice: A Guide for Schools, ILLINOIS
CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFORMATION AUTHORITY 5 (Oct. 2009),