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U-46 Board approves changes to conduct code


By Seth Hancock
  A unanimous 7-0 vote approved of updates to the Student Code of Conduct by the Board of Education in School District U-46 at its Monday, June 15 meeting which was held electronically due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
  The code is updated annually according to a memo from John Heiderscheidt, director of safety and culture, who stated this year’s updates include 21 placement changes and nine content changes.
  Some changes include additions to the settings in which the district claims authority to enforce the code of conduct on students.
  It states the code is in effect on school grounds while adding “​before, during or after school hours or at any other time when the school is being used by a school group.” It also adds that it is in effect in “Distance/Blended Learning settings” as well as “Traveling to or from school or a school activity, function or event.”
  Another update changes the title of the “Statement on Student Behavior” by adding “and Equity.” The district has stated its belief in equity over equality and defines equity as “supporting each student according to their need” and equality as “giving all students the same support.”
  Under that section, added language states U-46 preference for “restorative” practices over punishment.
  “In conjunction with disciplinary consequences, we use behavioral interventions to help students learn social and emotional skills including self-awareness, self-management and social awareness. Through the use of restorative practices, disciplinary consequences and behavioral interventions, we resolve conflicts, encourage our school community members to take responsibility for their behavior, repair harm done, restore relationships, and reintegrate students into the school community while maintaining a safe and productive learning environment,” the new language states.
  Language is added to state that the district will follow any changes to board policy or federal law with regards to Title IX when the code is in conflict.
  The changes update U-46’s behavioral referral procedures to include an investigation, student meeting, disciplinary alternatives, notice to student and notice to parent/guardian. It also adds language clarifying the threshold for out of school suspensions.
  Heiderscheidt’s memo states that a communication plan will be created along with a video regarding the code, and the teachers’ union will continue discussing the disciplinary process. Additionally, the district will “strengthen the Staff Guide to the Student Code of Conduct to increase effectiveness in our process for all staff” and create “student groups at each secondary school that will be asked to review the Student Code of Conduct and our discipline process so student voice helps to improve our practice together.”

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