The Student Discipline Working Group released a report last week outlining a series of recommended changes for the Legislature, Minnesota Department of Education and school sites to better support students and schools.
The Minnesota Legislature in the spring of 2016 commissioned the Student Discipline Working Group to conduct an evaluation of Minnesota’s Pupil Fair Dismissal Act and related student discipline provisions in Minnesota statutes. The committee was comprised of 21 members from a variety of organizations with a role in education. View list of members.
The chairs shared the recommendations Thursday with the Senate E-12 Policy Committee and will present the report Feb. 9 to the House Education Innovation and Policy Committee. View the full report. A few of the key recommendations are outlined below:
Although no changes were recommended in due process and rights for students, the committee recommends that due process language is clarified for all. The goal is to help students and families know their rights in the discipline process and help administrators with clarity in this process.
The committee requested supports to all districts working to improve their numbers of suspensions and specifically those districts that struggle with racial disproportionality in suspensions. Those supports are requested to come through a variety of ways including increases in funding for support services and the establishment of resources at MDE to support communities with racial disproportionality in student discipline.
The committee recommends MDE offer training and supports for schools in mental health, trauma-informed schools and de-escalation strategies. The committee also recommends that MDE become a go-to resource for schools and districts for best practices in programs and strategies to help with de-escalation, restorative practices and other needs outlined as concerns from the legislature.
The committee recommends to districts the formation of site-based student discipline needs assessment team to guide student discipline policies and practices. This would include the development of needed resources to support all staff and students when the safety of either is a concern following an incident.
This report was provided by Paul Schmitz, principal at Willmar Senior High who represented MREA on the Student Discipline Working Group.