The Fairfax County schools chief expanded on his proposals to change discipline policies Friday and said the reforms would cost more than $450,000.
In a written statement , Superintendent Jack D. Dale put forth a plan that would bring supportive services into a disciplinary process that has been criticized as too punitive by some parents and school activists.
Under the proposal, case managers would be assigned to students who are on suspension more than 10 days to ensure they are able to keep up with their work.
Students disciplined for first-time substance-abuse offenses would go to a five-day alcohol and drug program, which also would provide academic support and time for assignments.
Screening would be done for emotional issues, and if necessary support would be provided by school social workers, psychologists or counselors, Dale said.
Dale’s expanded proposals come as the Fairfax County School Board is set to deliberate on discipline issues again Monday afternoon.
His statement did not directly address concerns about using school transfers as disciplinary consequences.
The plan would allow the recording of disciplinary hearings to which parents could listen; it did not provide for getting copies of recordings, as previously suggested by a school official. Exit surveys would be conducted to track satisfaction with hearings.
The plan proposed “quick guides” to student conduct and video presentations for students about likely consequences of disciplinary infractions. Dale said the school system would collect and analyze data related to the disciplinary system and its impact.
Dale’s recommendations include bringing to administrators at all middle and high schools training in disciplinary practices that, instead of focusing on punishment, seek to repair harm caused by infractions through a process called “restorative justice.” The recommendations envision more staff training for proceedings involving students with disabilities and new guidelines to help principals as they encounter students who have their own prescription drugs.
Fairfax officials did not respond to calls for comment late Friday.