Policy Agenda Item 4

Reduce use of disciplinary practices that remove children from school in Chicago Public Schools and promote restorative justice practices that foster supportive school climates.

  • Policymakers can recognize that adolescents’ brains are not fully developed and adopt policies that view a child’s behavioral health needs as an opportunity for intervention to prevent further delinquent behavior.
  • Parents can model good behavior and teach children how to resolve conflict appropriately.
  • Everyone can get involved in community organizing with Community Organizing and Family Issues

SCY’s current policy initiatives include working across sectors to support school climate and identify more restorative approaches to school discipline. In 2018-19, SCY began staffing the CPS Task Force on Addressing Alcohol and Substance Use in Schools in partnership with CPS and Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE). The task force is charged with guiding CPS in revising policies, identifying training needs, and developing new resource materials for schools to address student alcohol and substance use. The Task Force will develop school policy and program recommendations that align with the CPS multi-tiered system of support and will make recommendations for the Guidelines for Effective Discipline: An Administrator’ Addendum to the CPS Student Code of Conduct and the CPS Student Code of Conduct. At the conclusion of the Task Force, the committee will accomplish the following:

  • Provide guidance on the resources and available interventions that administrators may use when addressing infractions involving alcohol and other drugs, including improving and using in-school skill-building opportunities that incorporate social and emotional learning. To effectively address alcohol use in schools, the Task Force will identify responses and interventions focused on healing and supporting students.
  • Develop protocols for addressing alcohol infractions that can guide students and their parents in developing an individualized care plan within a seven day period following the incident. A care plan can be instrumental in helping a student, with the support of their parents/caregivers, school officials or other caring adults, to explore possible solutions to addressing their behavior. The individual care plan can include activities or agreed upon interventions such as:
  1. Completing a Student Reflection Assessment within 24 hours of the infraction.
  2. Meeting with a school counselor within 48-hours.
  3. Attending # of days of skill-building in-school suspension.
  4. Community Service hours or other volunteer opportunity that interests the student.
  • Create a document that will help guide a weekly reflection between the student and school staff that will cover checking in on their emotional, social, and academic health progress and goals, whether or not they have made contact with an outside resource for mental/behavioral/substance support system, etc. This will include creating a Student Reflection Assessment that will focus on alcohol and substance use.

Update on task force:

On June 26, 2019, the Chicago Board of Education approved the task force recommendations related to revising the Student Code of Conduct provisions related to alcohol and substance use.

  • The use or possession of drugs, controlled substances, or any substance used for the purpose of intoxication, previously captured in Section 5-17, has been moved to Section 4-14 to reflect the City’s path toward the decriminalization of marijuana use and possession and to shift focus to therapeutic responses for drug use. Section 5-17 is now left intentionally blank.
  • Section 5-18, for repeated Section 4-14 behaviors, has been left intentionally blank in order to shift focus to therapeutic responses for repeated alcohol and drug use. Section 5-18 is now left intentionally blank.
  • The Guidelines for Effective Discipline will provide additional guidance and support to schools for supporting students and responding to alcohol/substance use incidents. Pending Legislation 2019: House Bill 2084 would establish new school discipline reporting requirements to ensure school disciplinary practices are aligned with the mission of the school.

Community Organizing and Family Issues


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