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Proposed KCPS code of conduct puts focus on restoration, not punishment

Parents, teachers, trauma experts help with change
STOCK Kansas City Public Schools KCPS 3
Posted at 3:01 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 19:19:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Public Schools board of education will vote on a revised code of conduct this week.

The district's code is reviewed yearly, but the 2021-2022 revision was part of a larger overhaul on school discipline policies.

It was “implemented through a trauma informed and equity-based lens” with input from multiple stakeholder groups, including parents, teachers, trauma clinicians, security, school officials and more, according to KCPS.

READ | Revised 2021-2022 KCPS Code of Conduct

Notable changes include language revisions to be more positive and less punitive, inclusive dress code updates, a learners’ bill of rights and prioritizing trauma-informed interventions and responses over other disciplinary action.

The new code also revises suspension policies, for both in-school and out-of-school suspensions.

Out-of-school suspensions should be used sparingly and only in extreme situations, such as harm to self or others, across grade levels.

For kindergartners through fifth graders, suspensions are off the table altogether for behaviors that fall below a set severity level.

The new code also re-terms in-school-suspension to be called the “Recovery Room,” to indicate it is a “less punitive process being implemented through the restorative justice implementation.”

All students who are suspended will receive "reintegration" meetings with their families to set them up for success upon reentry to school.

Overall, the new code shifts focus from reacting to student behavior with punishment, to responding to behavior with interventions and support.

A district spokesperson said the board will vote on the code of conduct at Wednesday's business meeting.