Tomorrow morning, the Council of the District of Columbia will hear testimony on a pair of school discipline bills that would effectively ban non-violent suspensions in grades K–8 and would explicitly prohibit suspensions at the high school level for behavioral infractions, including insubordinate behavior, defiance, disobedience, disrespect, or disruptive or rowdy behavior.
Unfortunately, the findings of Fordham’s recent report on discipline policy reform in Philadelphia suggest that these bills could have unintended and potentially serious consequences, despite their good intentions.
But what do practitioners in Washington think? To find out, we reached out to faculty at two high-performing D.C. charter schools—Robin Chait of Center City PCS and Elaine Hou of Two Rivers PCS—to get their takes on school discipline.
Below is a lightly-edited summary of their responses.
1.) In your school, how do school culture and the discipline code intersect? What are the key ingredients of a strong approach to each?
A restorative and positive school culture minimizes disciplinary incidents. Practically we have a discipline code, but philosophically we are working to minimize incidents of discipline through a restorative, reflective, and positive culture of discipline. The discipline policy is a fall back for when all things...