ATS – Alternative to Suspension

Alternative to Suspension (ATS) Model:

Research states that students who are home suspended have significant academic and social / emotional setbacks which are often insurmountable. In addition, nationwide statistics show that at home suspensions disproportionately affect students of color, socio-economically disadvantaged and special education students.

Not only do home suspensions discriminate, but they also do little to nothing to positively affect a student’s propensity not to reoffend. From the time a student is kicked out of class, he blames the person who “got him in trouble.” The home suspension is designed as a punitive consequence for wrongdoing in an isolated setting but there is no opportunity for the person who caused harm to examine his behavior and make amends for it. In addition, the loss of instructional time has the potential to negatively impact the student’s academic achievement for the remainder of the course or even the school year!

In January 2013 the California Legislature passed AB 1729 which prohibited administrators from suspending students for first time education code 48900 f-r infractions. Instead, administrators were charged with providing interventions including a decision making course, before home suspending students. In response, districts throughout the state directed administrators not to suspend students. Ironically, however, in most cases, districts gave little to no advice on what administrators should do instead.

The Format:

The Alternative to Suspension (ATS) Program strives to accomplish two primary goals: to support students in completing work from their regularly assigned classes and to guide the students through a specific Restorative Practice Curriculum designed to assist students in owning and recognizing behavior, making amends with those harmed, creating and implementing replacement strategies for behavior and to successfully reintegrate into their schools and classrooms. The five day Restorative Practice Curriculum focuses on a specific goal each day:

· Day One – Self Reflection and Accountability

· Day Two – Strategies for Academic and Social / Emotional Success

· Day Three – Goal Setting

· Day Four – Recognition of Those Harmed

· Day Five – Reintegration Plan

Restorative Practice Curriculum includes: daily student surveys, essays, power point projects, apology letters, commitment cards and more…