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Student Fair Access to School Act and DCMR - Chapter 25 Title 5: Discipline Policy


Student and her guardian having a discussion with a teacher

At DCPS, we are committed to educating the whole child by providing rigorous, joyful, and inclusive academic and social emotional learning experiences to ensure all students are college and career ready. A key component of this is work is creating safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for both students and staff. We believe that the focus on educating the whole child will help to ensure an environment where all can grow and learn in order to become our best selves.

Student Fair Access to School Act

In May 2018, the DC Council passed the Student Fair Access to School Act, which was reviewed by the Mayor and enacted on July 12, 2018. This new law requires changes to DCPS student discipline policies over the course of three school years. Most significantly, beginning in school year 2018-2019, the Act places restrictions on the number of consecutive and cumulative days in any out-of-school suspension that students can receive:

  • Students in grades K-5 cannot receive an out-of-school suspension for a single discipline incident that exceeds 5 consecutive days.*
  • Students in grades 6-12 cannot receive an out-of-school suspension for a single discipline incident that exceeds 10 consecutive days.*
  • Students in grades K-12 cannot receive more than 20 cumulative days of out-of-school suspension, unless the Chancellor provides a written justification to the student and parent describing why exceeding the 20-day limit is a more appropriate disciplinary action than alternative responses; or the student's conduct necessitated an emergency removal, and the Chancellor provides a written justification for the emergency removal to the student and parent.*

*The exception to the above requirements is if a student violates the Gun Free Schools Act. This federal law requires all schools to expel a student, who is determined to have brought a firearm to a school, or to have possessed a firearm at a school, from attending school for a period of not less than 1 year. The Chancellor can modify the expulsion requirement.

DCPS Student Behavior Task Force

As part of our commitment to creating joyful learning environments, in school year 2019-2020, DCPS developed a Student Behavior Task Force to ensure that school communities are best positioned to develop safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments.

The DCPS Behavior Task Force includes experienced Deans, In-School Suspension Coordinators (ISS), and Behavior Tech’s who have a pulse of the daily behaviors in our schools. They were identified for a specific skill in either family and community engagement, understanding of legislation, restorative practices, relationship building, and their ability to effectively apply new learning to responsive behavior.

For any questions or concerns please contact:
Dr. Justin McClain, Manager, Student Behavior at [email protected]