Discipline and Restorative Practices


In accordance with NRS 392.4644, and passage of the School Safety omnibus bills, Senate Bill 89 and Assembly Bill 168, during the 2019 Session of the Nevada Legislature, each school district shall complete Restorative Discipline Plans, formally known as Progressive Discipline Plans.

Restorative Practices (RP) is an alternative to exclusionary disciplinary practices which removed students from the academic environment; instead, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm done when a standard of conduct is violated.

District Restorative Discipline Plans (formerly Site Progressive Discipline Plans)

As required by NRS 392.4644 (which was amended by AB 168 and SB 89 in 2019):

Per AB 168 (2019), the requirement for establishment of a plan to provide for the restorative discipline of students and on-site review of disciplinary decisions is now at the district Board of Trustees level rather than at the principal level, as it had been previously. The plan must:

  • Be developed with input and participation of teachers, school administrators, and other educational and support personnel, and the parents/guardians of students enrolled in schools within the district; and
  • Include provisions designed to address the specific disciplinary needs and concerns of each school within the district.

Additions to the District Restorative Discipline Plan per AB 168 and SB 89:

  • The plan must provide for placement at a different school in accordance with NRS 392.466 (including all new changes/additions resulting from AB 168 and SB 89).
  • Per SB 89, the plan may allow for assignment to a temporary alternative placement rather than require it.
  • Provide restorative disciplinary practices which include, without limitation: 
    • Holding a pupil accountable for his or her behavior; 
    • Restoration or remedies related to the behavior of the pupil; 
    • Relief for any victim of the pupil; and
    • Changing the behavior of the pupil. 
     

Principal review and distribution of the District Restorative Discipline Plan:

  • • Each principal must review the District Restorative Discipline Plan in consultation with recommendations of teachers, school administrators, other educational and support personnel, parents/guardians, and students who are enrolled in the school; and
  • On or before September 15th of each year, make recommendations for revisions to the district Board of Trustees; and
  • Post the plan on the school’s website; and
  • Distribute a copy of the plan (written or electronic) to each teacher, school administrator, and all educational and support personnel who are employed at or assigned to the school. 

Dates and Deadlines for Districts and Schools
On or before September 15 of each year: The principal of each school must review the district’s Restorative Discipline Plan and, in consultation with teachers, school administrators, other educational and support personnel, parents/guardians, and students who are enrolled in the school, make recommendations for revisions to the district Board of Trustees 

 


On or before November 15 of each year: Each district Board of Trustees shall submit a written report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction that describes the progress made by each school in the district with respect to complying with the requirements of AB 168. The progress report must also be posted on the district’s website.

 
Each quarter of each year (AB 490, 2019): The principal of each school must report data related to student discipline to the district Board of Trustees which must include, without limitation: the number of expulsions and suspensions of pupils and the number of placements of pupils in another school. Such data must be disaggregated into subgroups of students and types of offense.

Definitions in NRS:

NRS 392.4644 (from SB 89, 2019):
“(d) Provide restorative disciplinary practices which include, without limitation:
      (1) Holding a pupil accountable for his or her behavior;
      (2) Restoration or remedies related to the behavior of the pupil;
      (3) Relief for any victim of the pupil; and
      (4) Changing the behavior of the pupil.”
NRS 392.472 (from AB 168, 2019):
“(b) “Restorative justice” means nonpunitive intervention and support provided by the school to a pupil to improve the behavior of the pupil and remedy any harm caused by the pupil.”

 

Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Alignment:

While Restorative Practices (RP) may be used informally by individuals, best practice suggests that a school-wide approach to Restorative Practices should be implemented intentionally and systematically to create culture change and ensure success of all students. Restorative Practices can easily be embedded into a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework. Districts and schools that are already implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), can integrate RP. MTSS provides the backbone for data, systems and practices across a hierarchy of supports for all students.

  1. Tier 1: Focuses on prevention of problem behavior by emphasizing universal supports.
  2. Tier 2: Designed to prevent the development and escalation of problem behaviors for students who are identified as being at risk for developing chronic behavior problems.
  3. Tier 3: Designed to reduce the intensity, frequency, and/or complexity of problem behaviors by providing individualized behavior supports using evidenced-based interventions. 

Source: Restorative Practices Guidance Document for Nevada March 2020, Nevada PBIS Technical Assistance Center, University of Nevada, Reno


Note. Swain-Bradway, Eber, Sprague, & Nelson, 2016

Figure 1: Figure 1 includes a picture of a three-tiered pyramid depicting a continuum of Restorative Practices (RP) on the left side and a continuum of School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on the right side. The bottom left of the pyramid is prevention and skill building which includes peace-keeping circles for morning meetings, social/emotional instruction, and staff meetings. The middle of the pyramid is early intervention and includes restorative conferencing to develop alternatives to suspension such as youth/peer court, peer mediation, conflict resolution training, and restitution. The top of the pyramid for RP is intensive intervention and victim offender meetings, family/community group conferences, and restitution. For prevention and skill building on the bottom right for SWPBIS, define and teach expectations, establish a consequence system, and collection and use of data. The middle of the pyramid is early intervention and includes check-in/check-out and social skills curricula. And the top of the pyramid is intensive intervention including function-based and wraparound support and a “person-centered” approach.

Equity & Discipline Disproportionality:

According to the PBIS Disproportionality Policy Guide: Key Elements of Policies to Address Discipline Disproportionality: A Guide for District and School Teams, “Despite a documented history of inequality and disparate student outcomes, rates of discipline disproportionality have continued to increase over time, primarily for African American students. In 2012, African American students were over 3.5 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers, with disparities beginning at the preschool level (U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, 2014, March). Racial differences in exclusionary discipline are seen even when controlling for socioeconomic status (Anyon et al., 2014). Furthermore, some policies, such as zero-tolerance, are intended to be race-neutral but can exacerbate disparities (American Psychological Association, 2008).”

It is important for districts and schools to be aware of explicit bias and implicit bias and how biases may affect discipline decisions. Explicit racial bias is a conscious form of discrimination against other groups in ways that continue inequities. Explicit bias should be addressed through policy. Implicit bias is a form of unconscious and unintended discrimination that includes an overreliance of stereotypes to make decisions. A way to reduce its effects is to identify situations where biased decisions are more likely to happen and teach equity strategies.

Districts and schools can look at seven key elements for equity policies:

  1. Make a specific commitment to equity by including equity in mission statements, using specific words such as racial, cultural, and ability, and hiring preferences for equitable outcomes.
  2. Include family partnerships in policy development by regularly seeking input from a range of families, recruiting family leaders and including them in district and school decisions, and regular evaluations of effectiveness of family engagement programs.
  3. Focus on implementing positive behavior support practices by adopting a behavior prevention multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) framework, defining and regular teaching of positive behaviors for students and staff, and creating support structures for effective implementation.
  4. Establish clear, objective discipline procedures where the rights and responsibilities for adults and students are defined, prosocial behaviors and problem behaviors are operationally defined, and there are clear delineations of between major and minor behavior incidents.
  5. Remove or reduce exclusionary practices by clearly communicating that suspension or expulsion is limited to behavior incidents that pose a serious and credible threat to the safety of students or staff and describe alternatives to suspension.
  6. Use graduated discipline systems with instructional alternatives to exclusion by using a process to determine appropriate responses to behavior incidents.
  7. Use procedures with accountability for equitable student outcomes through ongoing disaggregated data collection, data analysis through regular team meetings, data-based decision making, action planning, and sharing data with stakeholders.

Statutory Requirements:


The major components of the changes under AB 168 (2019) can be understood as a set of Student-level Changes and Systems Changes.

Student-level Changes:

  • Changes to discipline laws for all students, including restrictions on suspending and expelling students who are not more than 10 years of age; and
  • Changes to discipline laws for students in a program receiving special education services under an Individualized Education Program (IEP), including some additional restrictions on suspending and expelling such students.

Systems Changes:

  • Shift from progressive discipline school-wide plans to restorative discipline district-wide plans; and
  • Changes to data collection and reporting regarding student discipline and attendance.

 Table 1
Examples of a Traditional/Punitive Approach v. a Restorative Approach to Discipline 

Table 1

Traditional/ Punitive Approach

Restorative Approach

What rule was broken?

Who has been hurt/what relationship was damaged?

Who broke the rule?

What are the needs of those harmed and what parties have a stake?

What do they deserve/how will they be punished?

What stakeholders will be involved and what process will put things right again?

Table 1: Table 1 is a table with two headings: Traditional/Punitive Approach on the left side and Restorative Approach on the right side. Under Traditional/Punitive Approach there is a set of three questions which are: “What rule was broken?,” “Who broke the rule?,” and “What do they deserve/how will they be punished?” On the right side under Restorative Approach, there is a set of three questions: “Who has been hurt/what relationship was damaged?,” “What are the needs of those harmed and what parties have a stake?,” and “What stakeholders will be involved and what process will put things right again?” 

NRS 392.462  

Collection by public school of data on discipline of pupils.  Each public school shall collect data on the discipline of pupils. Such data must include, without limitation, the number of expulsions and suspensions of pupils and the number of placements of pupils in another school. Such data must be disaggregated into subgroups of pupils and the types of offense. The principal of each public school shall:

  1. Review the data and take appropriate action; and
  2. Report the data to the board of trustees of the school district each quarter.

NRS 392.472  

Requirement to provide plan of action before expelling pupil; example plans of action; approval of plans of action; guidance document; regulations. 

  1. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 392.466 and to the extent practicable, a public school shall provide a plan of action based on restorative justice before expelling a pupil from school.
  2. The Department shall develop one or more examples of a plan of action which may include, without limitation:
    • Positive behavioral interventions and support;
    • A plan for behavioral intervention;
    • A referral to a team of student support;
    • A referral to an individualized education program team;
    • A referral to appropriate community-based services; and
    • A conference with the principal of the school or his or her designee and any other appropriate personnel.
     
  3. The Department may approve a plan of action based on restorative justice that meets the requirements of this section submitted by a public school.
  4. The Department shall post on its Internet website a guidance document that includes, without limitation:
    • A description of the requirements of this section and NRS 392.462;
    • A timeline for implementation of the requirements of this section and NRS 392.462 by a public school;
    • One or more models of restorative justice and best practices relating to restorative justice;
    • A curriculum for professional development relating to restorative justice and references for one or more consultants or presenters qualified to provide additional information or training relating to restorative justice; and
    • One or more examples of a plan of action based on restorative justice developed pursuant to subsection 2.
     
  5. The Department shall adopt regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.
  6. As used in this section:
    • “Individualized education program team” has the meaning ascribed to it in 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(B).
    • "Restorative justice” means nonpunitive intervention and support provided by the school to a pupil to improve the behavior of the pupil and remedy any harm caused by the pupil.

  • Communities in Schools Nevada, Contact Alex Bybee 702-550-3799, Areas of emphasis: Equity, Family Engagement, Homeless and/or Foster Care Youth, Mentoring, Neglected and/or Delinquent Youth, Needs Assessment, Progress Monitoring, School Improvement, School Safety and Climate, Social Emotional Learning
  • Outlook Equity Center/Outlook University Independent School, Contact Will Killins 601-214-7118 Areas of emphasis: Equity, Family Engagement, Homeless and/or Foster Care Youth, Neglected and/or Delinquent Youth, Needs Assessment, Progress Monitoring, School Improvement, Social Emotional Learning, School Safety and Climate
  • Relationship Building Home Visits Gina Martinez Teddy 562-481-6565, Areas of emphasis: Equity, Family Engagement, Homeless and/or Foster Care Youth, Parent Teacher Home Visit

    Sample Action Plans:

    Restorative Practices Models:

    Additional Resources:

    Contact

    Marie DuFresne, M. Ed.

    Education Programs Professional, Social Emotional and Academic Development
    Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environment's SEAD
    775.687.9134