Beyond Suspension:
Using the Disciplinary Process as an
Instructional Opportunity to Improve
Student Behavior and Build Character
PBIS Team Training for Middle Schools
The Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt - July 20, 2010
Dr. Alan F. Hill, Appeals & Mitigation Officer/Supt. Designee
Character education is intentionally and
proactively providing opportunities for
students to learn what it means to be a
good citizen.
How can this be done?
Modeling positive behaviors/attitudes
Instilling the habits of civility and kindness
Using polite words of respect and tolerance
Creating a climate of moral and social excellence
Having students reflect on what they are doing or
have done and need to do
Demonstrating pride in self and others
Develop a sense of justice and fairness
Discipline & Character Building
One of the most important and effective
ways to manage student behavior and build
character while maintaining safe and orderly
schools that promote high standards of
student achievement is to _____ students.
11 Things You Won’t Learn
in School
Rule 1 - Life is not fair, get used to it!
Rule 6 - If you mess up, it’s not your parents fault,
so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from
Rule 8 – Your school may have done away with
winners and losers, but life has not. They’ll give
you as many times as you want to the get the
answer right! This bears no resemblance to
anything in real life!
Attributed to a speech by Bill Gates
High School – 1957- vs. 2010
Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after
1957- Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark
shake hands and end up buddies.
2010 – Police called and SWAT team arrives—they
arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged
with assault and both expelled even though Johnny
started it.
High School – 1957 vs. 2009
Scenario 4:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to
1957- Mark shares his aspirin with the principal out on
the smoking dock.
2010- The police are called and Mark is expelled from
school for drug violations. His car is searched for
drugs and weapons.
Source: Unknown Email
Discipline comes the Latin root of the word
disciplina which means to “teach.”
Are you using the disciplinary process as an
opportunity to teach?
“Accepting responsibility for the
consequences of one’s actions is one of
the essential lessons of life.”
Core Belief Statement:
The purpose and focus of the disciplinary
policies and procedures in BCPS is designed
to help and encourage all students to take
responsibility for their actions and to respect
the rights of others.
On the continuum of interventions, suspension
from school should be the last step, not the first
Continuum of Disciplinary Actions
Minimum actions start here:
1. Student talks with the teacher about behaviors
Last school disciplinary actions ends here:
25. Principal may suspend the student to the
Superintendents Designee
There are least 23 other interventions in between.
What do you do?
Alternatives/Options to
There are numerous options beyond suspension. Some of these need special
supervision and previous agreement from parents and administration. Possible
alternatives include the following:
Writing a letter of reflection and apology to appropriate parties
Attending individual meeting on harassment and bullying
In school time out/suspension (supervision must be provided)
Reassignment to another classroom or teacher (discuss with teacher)
Modification of school schedule of classes as appropriate
Modified school day insuring attendance is beyond half day and core
subjects are provided. (Especially for IEP/504 students)
7. Student works with counselor/speech teacher to develop appropriate school
language skills. Eliminate four letter expletives etc.
8. The student develops a list of actions or strategies to express frustration
9. Make up class work after school or before school (weekends)
10. Make restitution: pay for damages, clean up*, repair*
11. Loss of privileges: hall pass, last out, first out, lavatory with
12. Adult supervision during transitions between classes
13. Preferential seating in selected classes/lunch
14. Parent supervision during the school day to monitor behavior
15. Participate in conflict resolution/ peer mediation meeting
16. Meet with SRO and counselor to discuss behaviors and potential
outcomes via suspension and juvenile justice system
17. Supervised assigned seating in classroom, cafeteria, and on bus
18. Spend time volunteering (service learning) at school: tutoring
helping other students as appropriate
19. Confiscation of electronic devices- inform students/ publish actions
20. Assign mentor who monitors student’s action hourly/daily
This is how it starts………..
“He was trying to bank me!”
“Don’t do me dirty!”
“It was all he said, she said!”
“He/she called me a B!”
“He/she dissed me!”
“I had no other choice!”
“She bucked me and then I bucked her!”
“He/she mugged me!”
“We were only play fighting!”
……….and suspension from school is how it ends!
How would you handle this referral?
Situation: You are an administrator and received a
Discipline Referral and Feedback Form from
the teacher. The student is outside your office
waiting to see you.
What actions do you take?
Outcome: What do you think should happen to the
Discipline Referral Form
Nature of Offense: Teacher’s Report
Davon was going to hit another student
with a clipboard and I stepped in between
him and the other student and was shoved
into a desk
Janice Martin, 12/18/2008
Actions Taken By The Teacher
Actions Taken By The
And now the rest of the story…..
1. The student was suspended to the
Superintendent’s Designee*
2. The A-1 team found no manifestation*
3. The student was found guilty of all charges
4. The student was removed from school for two
terms by the designee and assigned to an
alternative placement
*P.S. The case was overturned on appeal to Board of Education
Could this situation have been
handled differently?
1. don’t assume guilt – there are two sides to every
2 let the student speak and you actively listen
3. interview others who witnessed actions
4. consider any of the 23 other options available
prior to suspension to designee
5. think about how this incident could provide an
opportunity for learning (impromptu lesson)
6. do what is fair and just and promotes the
opportunity to change the behaviors of those
Resources Available to Schools
School Resources:
Use these resources at the beginning of the
disciplinary process
Local Human Resources:
Use these resources as needed and in conjunction with
school resources
Print Resources:
Use these resources at all levels of the disciplinary
Character Building through
Teaching Students to Reflect
Using Story Boards – Core Values
(Critical inquiry, responsibility, truth, honesty,
objectivity, reasoned argument)
Adults promote these values by:
Asking Open Ended Questions
Listening Actively
Respecting the rights and feelings of others
Providing “due process”
Understanding the dynamics at play
Looking for “win-win” solutions
Using the disciplinary process as a learning experience
Perception is Reality
Until Proven Otherwise
Dr. Alan F. Hill, Appeals & Mitigation Officer/Superintendent’s Designee
Student Support Services at Cockeysville Middle School
10401 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
Office- 410-887-7656
Fax – 410-666-0025

Beyond Suspension: