Tennessee - Alternatives to Exclusionary Discipline: Programs and Services

Programs And Services
Policy Type: 

State law requires districts to use alternatives to out-of-school suspension or expulsion, such as, in-school suspension, behavioral interventions, or restorative practices.

2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3024. Review of laws and policies related to exclusionary discipline of students in pre-kindergarten through kindergarten.

(a) The department of education, in consultation with juvenile court officials, shall review all current laws and policies related to exclusionary discipline practices in public schools for students in pre-kindergarten through kindergarten (pre-K-K). For purposes of this section, "exclusionary discipline" means any type of school disciplinary action that removes or excludes a student from the student's traditional educational setting.

(b) The review shall:

  • (1) Examine the number of exclusionary discipline actions issued by an LEA and the length of each respective disciplinary action;
  • (2) Detail the type of offenses committed by the students that led to the exclusionary discipline action;
  • (3) Review the impact exclusionary discipline has on students;
  • (4) Examine recommendations from lawmakers, juvenile court officials, judges, district attorneys, the Tennessee commission on children and youth, and representatives from LEAs on alternatives to exclusionary discipline;
  • (5) Identify free resources to support teachers and parents in addressing children's social, emotional, and behavioral health, strengthening family relationships, and increasing developmental and behavioral screening; and
  • (6) Research the possibility of:
    • (A) Eliminating exclusionary discipline for non-violent offenses; and
    • (B) Encouraging schools to adopt restorative justice discipline practices.

(c) The department shall develop guidelines and standards for alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices based on the findings of the review required under subsection (b).

(d) The department shall present its findings and a written report to the education committees of the senate, the education administration and planning committee of the house of representatives, and the education instruction and programs committee of the house of representatives no later than May 1, 2018.

(e) After submission of the report required in subsection (d), the department shall develop a model policy for alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices that districts may adopt for students in pre-kindergarten through kindergarten (pre-K-K). If a district does not adopt the model policy developed by the department, the district shall develop and implement a policy that meets the guidelines and standards developed under subsection (c). Each LEA shall adopt the model policy or develop their own policy prior to the 2018-2019 school year.

2017 Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3401. Suspension of students -- Expulsion of students -- Exception for self-defense.

(b) (1) Any principal, principal-teacher or assistant principal may suspend any pupil from attendance at a specific class, classes or school-sponsored activity without suspending the pupil from attendance at school pursuant to an in-school suspension policy adopted by the local board of education. Good and sufficient reasons for in-school suspension include, but are not limited to, behavior:

  • (A) That adversely affects the safety and well-being of other pupils;
  • (B) That disrupts a class or school sponsored activity; or
  • (C) Prejudicial to good order and discipline occurring in class, during school-sponsored activities or on the school campus.
    • (2) In-school suspension policies shall provide that pupils given an in-school suspension in excess of one (1) day from classes shall attend either special classes attended only by students guilty of misconduct or be placed in an isolated area appropriate for study. Students given in-school suspension shall be required to complete academic requirements.
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