so disproportionate to the offense in light of all circumstances as to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness
The King of zero tolerance school boards in Delaware lost a huge appeal with the Delaware Superior Court. After expelling a student in 2017, the student appealed the decision and the State Board of Education ruled in the student’s favor. Not one to take anything laying down, the Smyrna Board of Education filed an appeal against the State Board. They lost and they lost big time!
**Updated**, 1/19/19, 8:05am: Please see below for new information about this article.
The Delaware Met’s code of conduct is very confusing. While it states they are using restorative justice, I am not hearing about it actually being used. Restorative justice is defined as examining the harm done to an individual or a group and using that in lieu of punishment. This sounds good in theory, but certain actions will still warrant suspension or other disciplinary measures.
Where it gets very tricky is if the student may not agree to the harm done to others. If a student believes someone else started something, and they reacted (even if the reaction was stronger than the previous action), they may not see it as completely being their fault. Where Delaware Met is most likely having issues (if they are even following this philosophy) would be what happens after the student disagrees with the restorative justice discussion. The student may be suspended for additional days. Where this becomes a bigger mess is if the student has an IEP. Federal IDEA law states that if a student is suspended for ten days (whether from one punishment or cumulative punishments), a manifestation determination hearing must occur. The purpose of this is to determine whether the behavior or actions are a manifestation of the student’s disability.
A parent commented on an article from yesterday about her daughter being out of school for a month. The shenanigans stemming from this are not surprising given everything I have heard about this school. Even the Delaware DOE is not seeing restorative justice happening at Delaware Met. Even more concerning are allegations of “confinement”. Whether that is an in-school suspension or some other type of disciplinary measure is yet to be determined, but those in authority in the state are looking into this.
To read Delaware Met’s code of conduct, please read the below document: