Long-term suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary removals to alternative schools
are allowed only if the student’s continuing presence in school would either:
Pose a threat to the safety of other students, staff or members of the school
Substantially disrupt, impede or interfere with the operation of the school.
Our district or school maintains a protocol to determine whether a student poses a
threat to school safety or would disrupt the operation of the school.
determination of safety threats is based only on actual risks and objective evidence,
and not on stereotypes or generalizations.
150 In making the determination as to
whether suspension or expulsion is warranted, school staff should consider the
The conduct at issue,
The root cause of the conduct and whether it has been addressed,
Age of the student and ability to understand consequences,
Capability of the student to carry out the threat,
Student’s discipline history and the frequency of inappropriate behavior,
Credibility of the student and willingness to acknowledge his or her behavior, and
Effect of the conduct on the school environment.
This is an individualized determination. School staff must make all reasonable
efforts to resolve threats and address disruptions without the use of out of school
suspensions and expulsions.
School staff should minimize the length of suspensions and expulsions to the
Have school staff exhausted alternatives to suspension and expulsion?
No out-of-school discipline should be employed unless available and appropriate
behavioral and disciplinary interventions have been exhausted. Before imposing
discipline, school staff must first consider whether a restorative practice or another
available alternative to suspension or expulsion is an appropriate or available option.
This determination should be made as early as possible following the incident.
Our district or school must also consider whether previous interventions have been
attempted and must document and evaluate their success. For suspensions of four
days or more cumulatively or consecutively, this determination is made by a school-based team composed of, at a minimum, a staff member familiar with the student’s
conduct, one of the student’s teachers, and a staff member with mental health
expertise. If a student has a disability, the team includes a special education teacher
or another staff member who is responsible for implementing the student’s IEP. The
149 See Dewey Cornell et al., supra note 115.
150 Head Start Performance Standards, 80 Fed. Reg. 35430 (proposed June 19, 2015) (to be codified at 45 C.F.R pt.