Disciplinary Due Process

 

For the complete Code of Conduct and Procedures, please view the entire Student Handbook link on this webpage.

 

RULES OF BEHAVIOR AND DISCIPLINE OF STUDENTS

The Melrose Public Schools Code of Conduct serves to support our goals and our mission to provide a safe and educationally stimulating environment for all students.  Students should come to school ready to learn with a clear understanding of what is acceptable behavior in a school setting.  The common threads of our rules are respect of all people (students, teachers, staff, visitors, guests, etc.) and responsibility for one’s actions. Adolescents sometimes make mistakes based on poor judgment, peer pressure, or distractions in their personal lives.  Minor infractions are handled by classroom teachers.  A teacher will often make a verbal reprimand, contact parents, and/or assign a teacher detention.  Teachers will refer more serious infractions or persistent infractions to an administrator.

The principal or assistant principal assigns disciplinary consequences for infractions which occur outside the class setting, chronic problems in the classroom or misbehavior which is a serious breach of our code, especially student misbehavior involving safety issues or threats.  Assigning office detention and/or suspension is the responsibility of the principal or the assistant principal.  Expulsion procedures are the responsibility of the principal, superintendent and/or their designees, in accordance with Massachusetts General Law.

  1. Disciplinary Procedures and Due Process

No student shall be disciplined without being afforded appropriate due process. Prior to discipline which does not involve exclusion from school or school related activities, the student should be orally informed of the charges against him/her and given an opportunity to present his/her side of the story. For discipline involving exclusion, the following procedures will be followed. The procedures that will apply, and the rights of a student in connection with those procedures, will vary based on the requirements of the different state laws which apply to different types of student conduct.

The Melrose Public Schools adheres to the Student Discipline Laws and Regulations as set forth in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Sections 37H, 37 H1/2 and 37H 3/4 and 603 CMR 53.00 et seq.

  • Massachusetts General Laws Charter 71 Section 37H: applies to student possession (on school premises, or at school sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games) of controlled substances or dangerous weapons, or a student’s assault (on school premises, or at school sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games) on a member of the educational staff.
  • Massachusetts General Laws Charter 71 Section 37H ½: applies to the issuance of a criminal complaint charging a student with a felony or the issuance of a felony delinquency complaint against a student, as well as to a student’s conviction of, or adjudication or admission in court of guilt with respect to, such a felony or felony delinquency.
  • Massachusetts General Laws Charter 71 Section 37H ¾: applies to other disciplinary offenses, not covered by either Section 37H or 37H 1/2.

Discipline Definitions

Expulsion: the removal of a student from the school premises, regular classroom activities, and school activities for more than ninety (90) consecutive school days under M.G.L c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H 1/2.

Long-Term Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4: the removal of a student from the school premises and regular classroom activities for more than ten (10) consecutive school days, or, for those offenses under for more than ten (10) school days cumulatively for multiple disciplinary offenses in any school year. Removal solely from participation in extracurricular activities or school-sponsored events, or both, shall not count as removal in calculating school days.  Except for students who are charged with a disciplinary offense set forth in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H or M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H ½, no student may be placed on long-term suspension for one or more disciplinary offenses for more than 90 school days in a school year beginning with the first day that the student is removed from school. No long-term suspension shall extend beyond the end of the school year in which such suspension is imposed. The amount of days suspended under §37H or §37H 1/2 do not count toward the 90-day limit on suspensions in a school year. Section 37H 3/4 addresses only offenses not addressed in §37H or §37H 1/2. The 90-day time limit applies only to days of school lost due to a 37H 3/4 offense.

Short-Term Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4: the removal of a student from the school premises and regular classroom activities for ten (10) consecutive school days or less.  A principal may, in his or her discretion, allow a student to serve a short-term suspension in-school.  Removal solely from participation in extracurricular activities or school-sponsored events, or both, shall not count as removal in calculating school days.

Written Notice:  Written correspondence sent by hand-delivery, certified mail, first-class mail, email to an address provided by the parent for school communications, or any other method of delivery agreed to by the principal and the parent.

Principal:   The primary administrator of the school or the Principal’s designee for disciplinary purposes.

Superintendent: means the chief executive office employed by the school committee or board of trustees to administer a school system, or his or her designee appointed for the purposes of conducting student disciplinary appeals.

In-School Suspension (10 school days or less consecutively or cumulatively)

In-School Suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4: the removal of a student from regular classroom activities, but not from the school premises, for no more than (10) consecutive school days, or no more than ten (10) school days cumulatively for multiple infractions during the school year.  * Removal solely from participation in extracurricular activities or school-sponsored events, or both, shall not count as removal in calculating school days.

Notice of In-School Suspension: The principal or his/her designee shall inform the student of the disciplinary offense charged and the basis for the charge, and provide the student with an opportunity to dispute the charges and explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident. If the principal or his/her designee determines that the student committed the disciplinary offense, the principal or his/her designee shall inform the student of the length of the student’s in-school suspension, which shall not exceed ten (10) days, cumulatively or consecutively, in a school year, unless the student has been provided with the appropriate due process for long-term suspension consistent with this policy, M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4 and 603 C.M.R. § 53.08..

On the same day as the in-school suspension decision, the principal or his/her designee shall make reasonable efforts to notify the parent orally of the disciplinary offense, the reasons for concluding that the student committed the infraction, and the length of the in-school suspension.

On the day of the suspension, the principal or his/her designee shall send written notice (by hand-delivery, certified mail, first class mail or email) to the student and parent including the reason and the length of the in-school suspension, and inviting the parent to a meeting if the meeting has not already occurred. The notice shall be in English and the primary language of the home if another language is identified in the home language survey, or by other means, as appropriate.

Parent Meeting: The principal or his designee shall also invite the parent to a meeting to discuss the student’s academic performance and behavior, strategies for student engagement, and possible responses to the behavior. Such meeting shall be scheduled on the day of the suspension if possible, and if not, as soon thereafter as possible. If the principal or his/her designee is unable to reach the parent after making and documenting at least (2) attempts to do so, such attempts shall constitute reasonable efforts for purposes of orally informing the parent of the in-school suspension.

An in-school suspension of more than 10 cumulative days in a school year will be subject to the procedures for Out-of-School Long-term Suspension.

Out-of-School Suspension

The following procedures shall be implemented for disciplinary offences pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 37 H3/4, including offenses not covered by either Section 37H or 37H ½ which involve a) possession of a dangerous weapon; b) possession of a controlled substance; c) assault on a member of the educational staff; or d) a felony charge or felony delinquency complaint or conviction.

Notice: The student and parents will be given oral and written notice of the disciplinary offense with which the student is charged and the opportunity to participate in a hearing prior to the imposition of an out-of-school suspension.

Written notice will be provided in English and in the primary language of the Student’s home and will identify: the disciplinary offense with which the student has been charged, the basis for the charge, the potential length of the student’s suspension, the opportunity for the student to have a hearing with the principal or his designee concerning the proposed suspension, including the opportunity to dispute the charges and to present the student’s explanation of the alleged incident, the date and time for the hearing, and for the parent to attend the hearing, and shall inform the parent and student of the right to interpreter services if necessary to participate in the hearing.

Where a student may be subject to a Long-Term Suspension (more than 10 days consecutively or cumulatively), the Principal will also notify the student and parent of: the student’s right to legal representation (at private expense), the right to present and examine witnesses, the right to review the student record and documents that may be relied upon by the Principal, and the right to request that the hearing be audiotaped.

Efforts to Involve Parent. The administrator will make reasonable efforts to notify the parent of the opportunity to attend the hearing. To conduct a hearing without the parent present, the administrator must be able to document reasonable efforts to include the parent. The administrator is presumed to have made reasonable efforts if the administrator has sent written notice and has documented at least two (2) attempts to contact the parent in the manner specified by the parent for emergency notification.

Principal’s Hearing. The purpose of the hearing with the principal or his/her designee is to hear and consider information regarding the alleged incident for which the student may be suspended, provide the student an opportunity to dispute the charges and explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, determine if the student committed the disciplinary offense, and if so, the consequences for the infraction.

Short-Term Suspension: At the Principal’s hearing, the student and parents (if participating) may dispute the charge(s) against the student and present information, including mitigating facts, for the principal’s consideration in determining consequences for the student. The principal or his/her designee shall discuss the disciplinary offense, the basis for the charge, and any other pertinent information. The student also shall have an opportunity to present information, including mitigating facts that the principal or his/her designee should consider in determining whether other remedies and consequences may be appropriate as alternatives to suspension. The principal or his/her designee shall provide the parent, if present, an opportunity to discuss the student’s conduct and offer information, including mitigating circumstances, that the principal should consider in determining consequences for the student. The parent and student have the right to interpreter services at the hearing if needed to participate.

Long-Term Suspension: In addition to the rights afforded a student in a short-term suspension hearing, the student will have the following rights: (a) the right to be represented by counsel or a lay person of the student’s choice, at the student’s/parent’s expense; (b) the right to review the student’s record and the documents upon which the Principal may rely in making a determination to suspend the student or not; (c) the right to produce witnesses on his or her behalf and to present the student’s explanation of the alleged incident, but the student may not be compelled to do so; (d) the right to cross-examine witnesses presented by the school district; and (e) the right to request that the hearing be recorded by the Principal, and to receive a copy of the audio recording upon request.  Additionally, the principal shall provide the parent, if present, an opportunity to discuss the student’s conduct and offer information, including mitigating circumstances, that the principal should consider in determining consequences for the student.

Principal’s Decision. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, the Principal will determine whether the student committed the disciplinary offense and the remedy or consequences to be imposed. The Principal shall exercise discretion in deciding the consequence for the offense and, in cases not involving possession of a controlled substance, a weapon, an assault on staff or felony charges, shall avoid using long-term suspension from school as a consequence until alternatives have been tried.

Short-term Suspension: If the Principal decides to suspend or expel the student for short-term (10 days or less consecutively or cumulatively in a school year), written notice of the Principal’s decision will be sent to the student and parents in English and the primary language of the home identifying: the disciplinary determination, the reasons for it, and, if the student is suspended, the type and duration of the suspension and , the student’s opportunity to make up assignments and such other school work as needed to make academic progress during the period of removal from school in accordance with M.G.L. c. 76, § 21.

Long-term Suspension: If the Principal decides to suspend a student for long-term (more than 10 days consecutively or cumulatively in a school year), the written notice will also: identify the disciplinary offense, the date on which the hearing took place, and the participants at the hearing; set out the key facts and conclusions reached by the principal; identify the length and effective date of the suspension; as well as a date of return to school; include notice of the opportunity to make up assignments and such other school work as needed to make academic progress during the period of removal from school in and, if the out-of-school suspension is for more than ten (10) consecutive days, notice of the opportunity for the student to receive educational services during the period of removal as provided in 603 C.M.R. §  53.13; and  the right to and process for appeal of the Principal’s decision to the Superintendent as identified below.

Appeal Process. If a decision by an administrator results in a long-term suspension (10 days or more consecutively or cumulatively), the student may appeal the decision to the Superintendent. In order to do so the student or parent must file a written notice of appeal with the Superintendent within five (5) calendar days with a seven (7) day postponement option. The Superintendent must hold the hearing within three (3) school days of the student’s request, unless the student or parent requests an extension of up to seven (7) additional calendar days. If the appeal is not filed within this time frame, the Superintendent may deny the appeal, or may allow the appeal in his or her discretion, for a good cause.

In the event of an appeal of a long-term suspension to the Superintendent, the following apply:

The Superintendent will make a good faith effort to include the parent in the hearing. The Superintendent will be presumed to have made a good faith effort if he or she has made efforts to find a day and time for the hearing that would allow the parent and Superintendent to participate. The Superintendent will send written notice to the parent of the date, time, and location of the hearing.

The Superintendent will conduct a hearing to determine whether the student committed the disciplinary offense of which the student is accused, and if so, what the consequence will be. The Superintendent will arrange for an audio recording of the hearing, a copy of which will be provided to the student or parent upon request. The Superintendent will inform all participants before the hearing that an audio record will be made of the hearing and a copy will be provided to the student and parent upon request.

The student will have all the rights afforded the student at the administrator’s hearing for the long-term suspension as described above.

The Superintendent will issue a written decision within five (5) calendar days of the hearing which meets the requirements for a long-term suspension as described above. If the Superintendent determines that the student committed the disciplinary offense, the Superintendent may impose the same or a lesser consequence than the administrator, but will not impose a suspension greater than that imposed by the administrator’s decision.

The decision of the Superintendent constitutes the final decision of the school district.

Emergency Removal for an Offense

Nothing in the applicable regulations shall prevent a principal from removing a student from school temporarily when a student is charged with a disciplinary offense and the continued presence of the student poses a danger to persons or property, or materially and substantially disrupts the order of the school, and, in the principal’s judgment, there is no alternative available to alleviate the danger or disruption.

The temporary removal shall not exceed two (2) full school days following the day of the emergency removal, during which time the principal shall:

  1. Make immediate and reasonable efforts to orally notify the student and the student’s parent of the emergency removal and the reason for emergency removal;
  2. Provide written notice to the parent and the student, no later than the next school day following the imposition of the emergency removal of the disciplinary offense, the basis for the charge and the reasons for the imposition of the emergency removal. Additionally, the Principal must schedule a short-term or long-term suspension hearing, as applicable, no later than the second (2nd) full school day following emergency removal, with written notice provided to the parent and the student consistent with the short-term suspension or long-term suspension rights, as applicable, as set forth above.
  3. The short-term or long-term suspension hearing described above shall take place before the expiration of the two (2) school days, unless an extension of time for hearing is otherwise agreed to by the principal, student, and parent.
  4. Render a decision orally on the same day as the hearing, and in writing no later than the following school day.
  5. The days that a student is removed from school on an emergency basis do not count as days of suspension under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H 3/4. Days of emergence removal must be counted and documented as an emergency removal. If the student is suspended for additional days following the discipline hearing, the days out-of-school count as days of suspension.

Procedures Applicable To Offenses Covered by M.G.L. C. 71, §§ 37H and 37H ½

The following procedures shall be implemented for disciplinary offences pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 71, Sections 37 H and 37H ½, involving a) possession of a dangerous weapon; b) possession of a controlled substance; c) assault on a member of the educational staff; or d) a felony charge or felony delinquency complaint or conviction.

The student will be given oral notice of the violation with which the student is charged and an opportunity to respond thereto prior to the Principal’s imposition of a short-term/interim suspension ten (10) consecutive school days or less pending formal disciplinary proceedings. Upon imposition of a short term or interim suspension or an interim suspension of ten (10) consecutive days or less pending further disciplinary proceedings, the student and parents will be provided with written notice of the suspension and the date and time of any formal disciplinary proceedings. For a suspension in excess of ten (10) consecutive days, the student will have the right to a formal hearing at which the student may have representation, along with the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses at said hearing before the principal. Nothing in this policy shall limit the Principal from proceeding directly to a formal hearing so long the parent and student have been provided with prior written notice of the formal hearing in accordance with this paragraph.

For exclusions imposed pursuant to M.G.L. c.71 § 37H1/2, the student shall have five (5) school days from the effective date of the exclusion to file a written appeal of a long-term suspension with the superintendent. Where the student is excluded in accordance with M.G.L. c.71 § 37H, the student shall have ten (10) calendar days from the effective date of the exclusion to file a written appeal of a long-term suspension with the superintendent of schools.

Academic Progress

Any student who is serving an in-school suspension, short-term suspension, long-term suspension, or expulsion shall have the opportunity to earn credits, as applicable, make up assignments, tests, papers, and other school work as needed to make academic progress during the period of his or her removal from the classroom or school.  Any student who is expelled or suspended from school for more than ten (10) consecutive days, whether in school or out of school, shall have an opportunity to receive education services and to make academic progress toward meeting state and local requirements, in accordance with the school’s education service plan. M.G.L. c.76, §21 and 603 C.M.R. § 53.13.

  1. Discipline of Students with Disabilities

The following procedures apply to suspension of students with disabilities when suspensions exceed 10 consecutive schools days or when a pattern has developed for suspensions exceeding 10 cumulative days. These procedures include the responsibilities of the team and the responsibilities of the district.

  1. A suspension of longer than 10 consecutive school days or a series of short term suspensions that exceed 10 school days and constitute a pattern of removal and are considered to constitute a disciplinary change in placement.
  2. Prior to a suspension that would result in a disciplinary change in placement of a student with a disability, the building administrators, the parents and relevant members of the student’s IEP/504 Team will convene to determine whether the violation for which the student is subject to a disciplinary change in placement was caused by or directly and substantially related to the student’s disability or was the direct result of a failure to implement the student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan. If the Team determines that the behavior is NOT a manifestation of the disability, the student may be disciplined in accordance with the policies and procedures applicable to all students except that students eligible for special education services shall be entitled to a free appropriate public education as of the eleventh (11th) day of disciplinary exclusion in the school year.
  3. If the team determines that the behavior IS a manifestation of the disability, then the district will conduct a functional behavior assessment or review any existing behavior intervention plan and takes steps (with the consent of the parent) to correct the IEP, the placement, or the behavior intervention plan and the student will not be suspended for the violation found to be a manifestation of his/her disability.
  4. Regardless of the manifestation determination, the district may place the student in an interim alternative setting (as determined by the Team) up to 45 school days if:
  • The student is in possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds or at school-sponsored events;
  • The student is in possession of or using of illegal drugs on school grounds or at school-sponsored events;
  • The student engaged in solicitation of a controlled substance on school grounds or at school-sponsored events; or
  • The student inflicted serious bodily injury to another at school or at school-sponsored events.

The interim alternative setting must enable the student to participate in the general curriculum, progress toward the goals in the IEP, and receive the special education and related services contained in the student’s IEP.  The interim alternative setting must also provide services and modifications designed to address the behavior giving rise to the removal and to prevent the behavior from reoccurring.  At the conclusion of the forty-five (45) school day period, the student shall be returned to his/her previous placement unless the parent (or student if 18+) consents to an extension of the interim alternative setting or an Order is obtained from the Bureau of Special Education Appeal authorizing the student’s continued removal.

If the conduct does not involve a dangerous weapon, controlled substance, or serious bodily injury.  In such a case, the school may remove the student to an interim alternative setting for 45 days only: 1) with parental consent or 2) by obtaining authorization from a court or BSEA Hearing Officer.  In order to obtain an order from the a court or BSEA Hearing Officer, the school must prove that maintaining the student’s placement is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or others.

The parent shall have the right to appeal the manifestation Team’s determination, the imposition of a disciplinary change in placement, and the student’s placement in an interim alternative educational setting. The student will remain in the disciplinary placement imposed by school authorities pending a decision on the appeal or until the expiration of the disciplinary sanction, whichever comes first.

Note:  For more information, please see the following relevant Massachusetts laws.

M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H Dangerous Weapons, Assaults on Staff, and Possession of a Controlled Substance

M.G.L. c. 71, §37H1/2 Felony Complaints and Felony Convictions

M.G.L. c.71, §37H ¾; 603 C.M.R. § 53.00 All Other Offenses Not Covered by M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H and 37H 1/2

M.G.L. c.76, §21

M.G.L. c.71, §37L

 

  1. Range of Consequences:

Verbal Warning:  Administrative or teacher conference with student.

Written Warning:  Written report to be entered into student records.

Teacher Detention:  A teacher detention is held after school by the teacher with or without an office referral.

Office Detention:  An office detention is held after school for 45 minutes and is assigned by the principal and/or assistant principal.

Diversion:  Diversion is designed to work with students as an alternative to formal discipline.  The diversion program allows a student the opportunity to complete an individually tailored remedial program which may include a combination of conditions such as an educational program, counseling, community service, letter of apology, and restitution.  Participation in the program is completely voluntary and requires the student to accept responsibility for his or her conduct and engage in the program with a positive attitude.

Input regarding whether or not to divert a particular student is always sought from teachers, administrators, the victims/and other parties involved, and the school resource officer.  The assistant principal will monitor the student’s compliance throughout the student’s participation in the program.  If the school administration determines that the student has satisfied all requirements of his or her diversion contract, there will be no further action taken by the school.  If the student withdraws or does not successfully complete the diversion program, the school administration may impose more traditional disciplinary sanctions after appropriate due process is provided.

Diversion Goals:

  • Acceptance of responsibility and consequences
  • Reform and educate
  • Individual and community accountability and restitution
  • Prevent future discipline infractions

Eligibility:

  • Any student that is referred for discipline
  • No prior criminal involvement in the Commonwealth or any other jurisdiction
  • The student must be willing to accept responsibility for his or her actions and conduct
  • The student must be willing to participate and engage in the Diversion Program

Eligible Circumstances:

  • Most discipline infractions as stated in the student handbook
  • Infractions constituting harassment based on the victim’s membership in a protected class if the victim consents

Ineligible circumstances:

  • Infractions involving serious assaultive or threatening behavior
  • Infractions involving possession of a weapon or felony charges
  • Repeat offenders

Note: The determination of a student’s eligibility for the diversion program is within the sole discretion of the Melrose Public School system and may be based on additional factors not specifically included within these guidelines.

Process:

  • Referral – After a student is referred to an administrator for discipline, the circumstance will be evaluated for diversion by the assistant principal.
  • Evaluation – The assistant principal’s evaluation will consist of a factual review of the information involved in the situation; consultation with the appropriate parties involved, teachers, students, and or victims. A student with a history of poor behavior or rules violations may not be considered for this program.
  • Diversion Meeting – If the student is found to be eligible, the student and parent(s) will meet with the assistant principal to discuss a remedial behavioral plan. To be accepted into the Diversion Program, the student must accept full responsibility for their actions and display a positive attitude. Negative influences, problematic behaviors and decision making skills are identified. The student and parent(s) will sign a written diversion contract which includes agreement to a remedial plan as identified in the agreement. The remedial plan may include, but is not limited to, educational programing, community service, letter of apology, restitution, essay writing, and/or other case specific conditions. The duration of a diversion agreement and the date by which conditions must be met is generally five (5) to ten (10) weeks.
  • Conclusion of Case – Student successfully completes conditions in diversion contract and the case is closed without any further penalty. Student withdraws from the diversion program and formal traditional discipline will be imposed. Student violates conditions in the diversion contract and formal traditional discipline will be imposed.

Social Probation: A student on social probation will be unable to attend any co-curricular activities during the probation period.

Social Probation may apply to any appropriate offense in lieu of or in conjunction with any other disciplinary sanctions. Violation of Social Probation may result in further disciplinary consequences.

Academic Probation (Melrose High School): A student on academic probation will be unable to attend any co-curricular activities during the probation period.

Upon issue of a report card, a student failing two or more subjects or has two or more incompletes or a combination of a failure and incomplete will be placed on Academic Probation.   Academic Probation will begin on that date and extend until the next progress report is issued. At that time, if it is determined that the student is no longer failing two or more subjects (based on term grades in each subject, not final grades), eligibility to participate will be restored. Violation of Academic Probation will result in one day suspension and/or a personal growth project. (Restrictions are the same as Social Probation.) Any student who fails two or more subjects for the year will be on Academic Probation through progress reports of term one the following school year, or completion of summer school with passing grades. Academic Probation will not be used as a disciplinary sanction except in circumstances involving Academic Honesty

Public Service: Service as a consequence for misconduct may be imposed in two ways. When appropriate to the offense, a student may be required to perform school service during and/or after school hours as a consequence of his/her actions.  Such service would be performed under the supervision of an administrator, appropriate school staff and/or designee.  Depending on circumstances, a student may be required to perform service within the community under the supervision of local authorities.  Assignments to school service are at the discretion of the administration.

Peer Mediation:  Peer mediation is a form of conflict resolution in which trained student co-mediators help other students work together to resolve a conflict or a dispute.  The process involves a private session in close proximity to a teacher, school resource officer, assistant principal, principal, or other person designated by the principal.  During the peer mediation session, the students who have the conflict are guided by the co-mediators, and the students give opening statements, discuss confidentiality issues, actively listen to each other, reflect deeply on the issue, summarize, build an agreement, brainstorm solutions, and work toward reaching a consensus.  The session(s) usually ends with a written or verbal agreement.  Participation in the peer mediation is voluntary on all parties. An alleged victim of sexual harassment should not be requested to participate in peer mediation.  With the exception of information that is illegal or life-threatening, all matters discussed in mediation remain confidential.  Student mediators do not make judgments or offer advice, and they do not force decisions upon the participants.   The designated staff member will be responsible for arranging peer mediation sessions on a case by case basis and may offer a peer mediation session(s) in addition to disciplinary procedures.

  1. Guidelines for Responses to Breach of School Rules

In response to infractions of the Code of Conduct, Melrose High School Administration may use the practices of restorative justice that include:  acceptance of responsibility, education, prevention, counseling, and a range of consequences including diversion.

The infraction consequences listed are not exhaustive nor are they meant to be; rather these are guidelines for addressing inappropriate conduct and suggested disciplinary consequences at both the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School and Melrose High School.  It should be noted that a range of discipline is possible within these guidelines, and school administrators have the discretion to impose more severe consequences including, but not limited to, suspension or expulsion from school, depending on the individual circumstances presented.  In some instances, consequences may carry over from one year to the next. For example, MIAA consequences, long term suspensions and exclusion. Please be aware that some behavior warrants police investigation as the breach of conduct may also be a criminal offense.

Restorative Practices at MVMMS (with credit to Community Matters)

Description:  Restorative Practices is a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve recognizes the importance of prioritizing the relationships and connections between all people within a school community and provides a framework for creating positive school culture and climate.

Much of Restorative Practices occurs in the classrooms and as entire school community to build positive relationships with one another.  This represents 80% of the actions for restorative practices.

However, about 15-20% of the practices occur when there has been damage done to those relationships.  Some of this can be done less formally through impromptu work by staff and students.  However some, which focus on restoring community, require a more formal process.  Beyond building the foundation for building community, The Melrose Public Schools are committed to providing a fair and balanced system for students when they have caused harm by breaking those social expectations to take responsibility for their actions, acknowledge the harm and impact it has created and take steps to make it right.

A formalized process for Restorative Justice will be developed to engage students in this restorative process when they have demonstrated a willingness to participate in this.  Not all code of conduct.  However, both will be considered by school administration when reviewing corrective actions and investigating reported incidents.

Traditional vs. Restorative

Punitive – Traditional Discipline Restorative – Possibility for relationship repair
What rule has been broken Who has been harmed and how?
Establish guilt or innocence Identify needs and obligations
Accountability = Punishment Accountability = Understand impact, take responsibility, make amends
Suppress misbehavior and conflict Recognize misbehavior and conflict as a learning opportunity
Authority driven disciplinary actions Those impacted determine resolution collectively with guidance
Uses fear of punishment and exclusion as motive for positive behavior Positive behavior results from opportunity to make amends and honorably reintegrate