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Handbooks & Discipline

Handbooks & Discipline

Milwaukee Public Schools does not discriminate in its programs, activities, facilities, employment, or educational opportunities on the basis of race, color, age, disability, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation, and does not tolerate any form of discrimination, intimidation, threat, coercion, and/or harassment that insults the dignity of others by interfering with their freedom to learn or work.

The Parent/Student Handbook on Rights, Responsibilities, and Discipline is published annually in August. All MPS households receive a copy via mail. Parents who move during the school year are urged to report the change of address to the Department of Family and Student Services to ensure continued receipt.

For more information on any item in this handbook, please call the Department of Family and Student Services, (414) 475–8448.

What is the due process for a student suspension?

The principal or assistant principal will hold a conference with any student suspected of committing a breach of discipline before a decision to suspend him/her is made. In emergencies, when the principal/assistant principal feels that the student’s presence in the school is an immediate danger or may disrupt the school’s orderly operation, suspension may occur without a conference. In cases of emergency suspensions, the parent/guardian or emergency contact person must be notified before the child is sent home during the day.

Due process during suspensions is as follows:

The school leader attempts to notify the student of the charge(s).

If the student admits the charge(s), the administrator determines the appropriate disciplinary action.

If the student denies the charge(s), the school administrator will:

  • Explain the evidence resulting in the charge(s).
  • Decide if the evidence is to include the names of witnesses.
  • Give the student a reasonable opportunity to state his/her version of the story.

After reviewing the information, the school administrator will decide whether the student committed the offense. If it is decided that the student did not commit the offense, the case is closed. If the administrator decides that the student committed a violation of the Code of School/Classroom Conduct, the administrator determines the disciplinary action according to school district policies and administrative guidelines.

If the discipline action is suspension, it becomes effective following notification of a parent/ guardian or at the end of the school day. A suspension notice is sent home with the student and mailed to the parent/guardian. The notice contains:

• The time, date, length and specific reason for the suspension.

• Information for the parent/guardian on having the student reinstated (returned to school) and a request that the parent call the school to arrange a conference before the student is reinstated.

• Clarification that suspension means the student cannot participate in any school related activities during or after school or on weekends.

Suspended students are not to enter any Milwaukee Public Schools property during the time of suspension without prior authorization of the principal/designee.

School-based suspensions are limited to three days unless other administrative action is recommended, such as referral to Central Services or expulsion. Schools will follow up on all suspended students who do not return after three days.

Suspended students will be given the opportunity to take any quarterly, semester, or grading period examinations, or to complete course work missed during the suspension period.

Appealing a Suspension — If you as a parent/guardian are dissatisfied with a suspension decision, you may appeal to the principal. If still dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Department of Family and Student Services, (414) 475-8448, within five days.

Conference and Reinstatement Following Suspension — Following a suspension, you as the parent/guardian should call the school administrator to set a conference time. If you do not contact the administrator within three days of the suspension, the administrator will contact you. If you find it difficult to come to the school because of work or family responsibilities or distance from the school, the administrator will find an alternative means of conferring such as holding the conference after school hours or by phone.

The student’s achievements as well as difficulties in the school will be discussed with you during the conference. Together you will determine the additional steps that may need to be taken by the school, the student and yourself to guarantee the student’s success upon reinstatement (return to school).

The principal may permit a child to return to school in fewer than three days.

What are the levels of student discipline?

Level 1 - Conference/Intervention

At this level, school staff conducts a conference with any combination of students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators and support staff. The conference may result in a behavior contract with the student, a warning to the student and/or parent/guardian or other action authorized by the school in compliance with school district policies and procedures. Balanced and restorative justice strategies may be used where appropriate and approved by the school administration provided that all participation is voluntary.

Level 2 - Suspension

Suspension is defined as a temporary exclusion from the building including: classes and all school-related activities held during school, after school, or on weekends. Parents or guardians are notified of the suspension and are expected to meet with a school administrator before the child returns to school. School-based suspensions are not more than three days, though suspensions involving a referral to Central Services and the Department of Family and Student Services (see below) may be up to five days. See Disciplinary Due Process Procedures on page 25 for details.

Level 3 - Referral to the Department of Family and Student Services

Serious breaches of discipline are referred to the Department of Family and Student Services at MPS Central Services. A conference with the student, parent/guardian, school administrator and student services coordinator may be held. The student has the right to be represented by legal counsel or by another person of his/her choice. The resulting disciplinary action may range from intervention to a recommendation for expulsion.

Level 4 -Recommendation for Expulsion

This level of discipline is reserved for criminal acts or for the most serious violations of school rules. Students are given a written statement telling them of the expulsion process and their rights during the procedures. The process must be completed within 15 days, during which the student is suspended from school. The student may be represented by legal counsel or by any person of his/her choice throughout the process. The process is as follows:

• A preliminary expulsion hearing is held with the student, parent/guardian, school administrator and student services coordinator. The case can be scheduled for an expulsion hearing, dismissed or directed toward another action.

• If an expulsion hearing is scheduled, the student, parent/guardian, school administrator, and student services coordinator go before an independent earing officer. The officer makes a decision on whether to expel the student as well as the length of the expulsion period. The Milwaukee Board of School Directors reviews the Independent Hearing Officer’s decision to expel within 30 days.

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2017
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