DC Public Schools


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Attendance and Behavior

Our goal is to help students interact with the learning environment and school community in positive, responsible and productive ways.

As schools begin to work with the new Student Discipline Code, they will create school and classroom rules to guide student behavior. 

In May 2018, Council passed the Student Fair Access to School Act, which was reviewed by the Mayor and enacted on July 12. View the full Act here.

All components of Chapter 25 which are not superseded by this Act remain in effect.

To help schools do this, DCPS has written a set of guidelines: DCPS Philosophy and Approach to Student Behavior and Discipline. This document describes the things that are most important to the DCPS community as we strive to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all students. The document is divided into four sections:

Intentional School Culture 
All people in schools will help create a positive, welcoming, safe, and productive learning environment. We will not simply post rules and punish students; we will be thoughtful about how we develop systems and procedures in schools, so that both students and adults are expected to show respect for each other, and are allowed to feel respected in return.

Comprehensive Student Support
 We recognize that some students need help to behave the way we expect them to behave. School staff will attempt to correct misbehavior first by making sure students are aware of what they are supposed to be doing, then by calming situations down before they get out of control, and finally by giving consequences. We will give extra support to students who repeat misbehavior.

Instructional Approach to Behavior and Discipline
 It is our responsibility to tell students clearly how we expect them to behave (“What are the rules?”). We must then teach students how to meet those expectations (“How am I supposed to behave in school?”). Before discipline situations become serious, we will work with students to calm down anger, talk through disagreements, and avoid problems. Finally, when students break the rules, we must give consequences that fit the misbehavior and allow the student to learn from the mistake (“What happens if I break a rule?”).

Consistent, Progressive Discipline Responses that Minimize Disruption of Instructional Time 
The entire school community must work together to support positive behavior, and the community must recognize that students of different ages need to have support and structure that matches their age. Overall, we must be respectful of individuals, take into account the needs of the whole community, and always keep our attention on the primary goal – to enable students to learn as well and as much as possible.