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ELC Applauds Pittsburgh Public Schools’ New Code of Student Conduct

Aug. 5, 2014 – The Education Law Center applauds Pittsburgh Public Schools’ new code of student conduct, which reduces harmful zero-tolerance policies that disproportionally impact students of color and students with disabilities, while emphasizing greater protections and supports for English language learners, LGBTQ students, and parenting students.  The PPS School Board adopted the changes at its meeting on Aug. 4, 2014.

The new policy will go into effect when school resumes later in the month.

The Law Center worked with parents, students, and community advocates to recommend the new policies to PPS.  “The new code of student conduct reflects national research and best practices for ensuring that all students receive the supports necessary to succeed in school, and promotes restorative practices that actually improve school climate and school safety,” said ELC attorney Cheryl Kleiman.

“What we’ve seen from national data and from our own work here in Pennsylvania is that school discipline policies that emphasize inclusion and appropriate supports ultimately lead to more positive education outcomes for all students. Zero-tolerance policies have the opposite effect – they tend to push out the students already poorly served by the education system – particularly students of color and students with disabilities – and remove them from valuable supports and services, while doing little to improve behavior or academic achievement,” she said.

The Law Center’s work on the PPS Code of Student Conduct is generously supported by the Heinz Endowments and FISA Foundation.