Restorative Discipline


BP 5144

San Diego Unified’s Restorative Discipline Policy establishes a framework for developing, refining, and implementing a culture of restorative discipline conducive to learning at every school. This framework is built on school-wide positive behavior support, a culture of positive response techniques, and the systemic development of carefully identified guidelines with the necessary structure for fair and consistent implementation. The importance of schoolwide positive behavior supports, and restorative responses are consistent with the principles of safety, responsibility, respectfulness, appreciation of differences, honesty, and life-long learning.

The policy is available online at

Sites will uphold the following principals to successfully implement the Restorative Discipline Policy and maintain restorative communities:

  • Engage students in relevant instruction, with clear agreements about interactions with one another
  • Create safe spaces throughout the campus and in classrooms for all students and use a restorative justice approach after incidents take place that threaten their sense of safety
  • Repair and restore relationships between students and/or adults after harm has taken place to re-establish safe spaces for all
  • Encourage all staff to build positive relationships with students and be actively engaged in their students’ academic lives and learning
  • Increase awareness of student behaviors that are associated with trauma, crisis, disabilities, cultural norms, or medical conditions, and understand the triggers for those behaviors to better address the needs of the student
  • Promote high standards of behavior by teaching, modeling, and monitoring behavior
  • Pair school discipline with meaningful social emotional learning that offers students the necessary guidance to learn from their mistakes and positively contribute to their school community

To ensure effective relationships and adequate communication in student disciplinary matters, there should be consideration and respect for:

  • Parent/guardian rights to be notified when their child faces disciplinary action
  • Student rights to an informal conference with the principal or designee
  • Parent/guardian/student rights to appeal suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to alternative schools

San Diego Unified strives to keep parents/guardians involved and informed. However, it is sometimes appropriate and necessary for school officials and/ or law enforcement officers to speak to students without first notifying their parent/guardian. These officials are not required to obtain parental permission prior to speaking to students regarding school matters.


Suspension from school is a serious and, by its very nature, controversial act to be applied with prudence and restraint after careful investigation and in the absence of reasonable alternatives. For information regarding specific violations that may result in suspension and related procedures, go to BP/AR 5144


California Ed Code specifies five infractions that require a principal to mandatorily recommend expulsion:

  • Possessing, selling, or furnishing a firearm
  • Brandishing a knife at another person
  • Unlawfully selling a controlled substance
  • Committing or attempting to commit a sexual assault or committing a sexual battery
  • Possession of an explosive

All other recommendations for expulsion are at the principal’s discretion and must address additional findings as stated in the California Ed Code. For more information, go to: BP/AR 5144

State law requires a recommendation for expulsion of students who are found to have committed sexual assault or sexual battery; however, it prohibits suspension and expulsion of K-3 grade students. Depending on the nature of the confirmed conduct, the individual facts, and the age of the children involved, there could be a range of sanctions applied. Appropriate discipline will be determined on an individual basis by the school site for conduct involving students in grade 3 and beyond.

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