KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools students in kindergarten through fifth grade will now only face out-of-school suspension as a punishment under certain circumstances.
The KCPS Board of Education voted in favor of the new policy, which is included in its revised Code of Conduct, at its meeting Wednesday night.
The district plans to shift from reacting to student behavior with punishment to responding with intervention and support.
"Overall language in the code of conduct changed from punitive language to more positive and restorative language," the district's school discipline transformation document states.
The updated policy goes into effect for the 2021-22 school year and states that out-of-school suspensions across grade levels are reserved for extreme situations.
For K-5 students, OSS is off the table altogether for behaviors which fall below a certain severity level.
Some offenses, including bullying, fighting, causing physical harm to others and more, could still result in a short-term out-of-school suspension for those age groups.
However, the school district's revised policy says OSS should be used sparingly, and staff should instead focus on intervention, support and reintegration of students.
"Restorative justice and trauma informed interventions are provided for all behavior Group Levels, noting that interventions should be implemented at all levels and the out-of-school suspensions should be used sparingly and in most extreme situations," according to the district document.
It also indicates that in-school-suspension will be called the “Recovery Room” going forward.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify K-5 students could still face OSS under certain circumstances.