Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, co-sponsor of a law amending Colorado’s zero-tolerance school discipline policies, spoke at Thursday’s celebration at North High School in Denver. (From EdNews Colorado)From an article titled "Bills influencing school disciplinary policies head to governor via EdSource Today:

Seven bills that collectively will shift thinking on how California schools discipline students will likely land on the governor’s desk at the end of the current legislative session on Friday.

Although the bills no longer mandate changes that their authors originally envisioned, “they start to lay out alternatives to suspensions and expulsions,” said Erika Hoffman, a lobbyist for the California School Boards Association (CSBA). “These bills set out a process for how teachers, administrators, and school board members can begin to think about discipline differently.”

The new laws emphasize a more constructive approach to discipline, such as working with students and parents to tackle the root causes of the disruptive behavior and requiring students to make amends instead of simply removing them from school.

At least one of the bills recommends options including "participation in a restorative justice program in which the student makes amends to anyone he or she has harmed."

From Colorado I also see this piece, "Zeroing out school zero-tolerance policies" by Rebecca Jones on August 30, 2012 in EdNewsColorado.

School officials around the state returned to their classrooms this fall with far greater discretion about when to involve police in discipline issues.

And at Denver’s North High School – home of one of the nation’s premiere restorative justice programs – students and legislators marked that fact Thursday with a celebration.

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for how these changes, and promise of change, impact schools across the country this year.

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