Model School Code
The Dignity in Schools Campaign Model Code on Education and Dignity presents a set of recommended policies to schools, districts and legislators to help end school pushout and protect the human rights to education, dignity, participation and freedom from discrimination. The Code is the culmination of several years of research and dialogue with students, parents, educators, advocates and researchers who came together to envision a school system that supports all children and young people in reaching their full potential.
The Model Code is organized into five chapters: 1) Education, 2) Participation, 3) Dignity, 4) Freedom from Discrimination, and 5) Data, Monitoring and Accountability. Each of these chapters addresses a different key component of providing a high quality education and reflects core human rights principles and values. Each chapter includes recommended policies for states, districts and schools.
Because the primary focus of the Code is on providing alternatives to school pushout and zero-tolerance discipline policies, Chapter 3 on Dignity is the most robust section in the Code, laying out detailed policies, practices and implementation guidelines for transforming school climate and discipline models and de-criminalizing our schools.
Read the Model Code
Read the Executive Summary
Read "How Do We Make Schools Safer?" an article by Natalie Chap and Liz Sullivan on the policies suggested in the Model Code as positive and proven alternatives to policies that call for implementing a "law enforcement" approach to school safety and discipline.
Model Code Webinars
Since publishing the Model Code, DSC has hosted a series of introductory webinars, to see and download the power point presentations used for these webinars please click here. To find out about upcoming webinars, please visit our events page here.
Developing the Model School Code
This Model Code is based on the best practices, research and experiences of students, parents, educators, communities, research advocates and policy-makers around the country who particpated in the Model Code Working Group.
Community Engagement Process
In 2011, the Dignity in Schools Campaign launched a community engagement process to gather input into the Model Code from communities 8 states around the country—California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois Louisiana, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania—bringing together students, parents and educators to review the draft of the Model Code and provide comments and input.
Organizations that participated in the community engagement process include: Action Communication and Education Reform (MS), Activists with a Purpose (MS), Advocates for Children of New York, Atlanta Community Engagement Team, Blocks Together(IL), Children’s Defense Fund Los Angeles, Children’s Defense Fund New York, Citizens for a Better Greenville (MS), Citizens for Educational Awareness (MS), Community Asset Development Re-Defining Education (CADRE, CA), COFI/POWER PAC (IL), Concerned Citizens for a Better Tunica County (MS), Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM, NY), Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), Generation Y (IL), Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (GA), Labor/Community Strategy Center (CA), Mississippi Delta Catalyst Roundtable, New York Civil Liberties Union, Nollie Citizens for Quality Education (MS), Parents and Youth United for a Better Webster County (MS), Philadelphia Student Union, Philadelphia Teacher Action Group, POWER U (FL), Public Counsel (CA), Southern Echo (MS), Sunflower County Parents and Students Organization (MS), Teachers Unite (NY), Youth Innovation Movement Solutions (MS), Youth Justice Coalition (CA) and Youth on the Move (NY).
Additional organizations and individuals that have contributed to the Model Code include Access Living (IL), Law Office of Piper A. Paul (CT), Restorative Schools Vision Project (CA) and many others.
August 2010 Presentation to ABA
In August 2010, DSC released a draft of the Model Code that was circulated at the Annual ABA Meeting during the panel "Policies, Policing and Punishment: Legal Strategies to Stop the Criminalization of Youth in Schools." The August 2010 draft was updated based on feedback from a national summit in Chicago in October 2009 where participants were able to review the draft and provide opinions and recommendations.
Summit and Model Code Roundtable October 2009
The Dignity in Schools Campaign co-sponsored the summit, Raising Our Hands: Creating a National Strategy for Children's Right to Education and Counsel, sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Children's Rights Litigation Committee.
For the education track of the conference, summit participants and the DSC worked on a draft model school code that applies human rights standards to promote a human right to a high quality education and dignity in U.S. public schools. As part of the summit, DSC also sponsored the Roundtable Socratic Dialogue - The School to Prison Pipeline: Is it a Human Rights Violation?
Read an Article from Chicago Catalyst on the Model Code Project and Dialogue
"Model discipline code would limit suspensions to keep more kids in school," Chicago Catalyst, November 16, 2009
Watch Video of October 23 Roundtable Dialogue
The School to Prison Pipeline: Is it a Human Rights Violation?
Watch the dialogue featuring speakers from around the country, including:
- Adilka Pimentel - Youth Organizer, Make the Road New York
- Representative Dora Olivo - District 27 Texas House of Representatives
- Judge Brian Huff - Circuit Court Judge, Family Court of Jefferson County, Alabama
- Marcella Diana, Ed.D. - Educator, National Education Association
- Chandra Bhatnagar - Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union Human Rights Project