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Progressive Discipline

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Last updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015.

HWDSB is committed to building and sustaining a positive school climate for all students in order to support their education so that all students can reach their full potential. The Education Act requires school boards to ensure that measures are in place that consequence inappropriate behaviours and at the same time provide support for students to change those behaviours.

Progressive discipline can range from detentions to expulsions, depending on the infraction. There is a requirement for schools and school boards to consider all and any mitigating circumstances before issuing a consequence for inappropriate behaviours. Mitigating circumstances may alter the consequence; however, it does not mean that there is no consequence. We know through research that suspensions and expulsions by themselves further alienate the very youth who are in the most need of developing strong positive relationships. To help change a student’s behaviour and to promote inclusiveness, relationship-building, and problem solving, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is using Restorative Justice practices and a pyramid of interventions to address progressive discipline.

For more information, read the Safe & Caring Pamphlet: Progressive Discipline.

Restorative Justice (Grades 7 – 12)

Restorative Justice is a set of principles and values designed to respond to harm in a different way. In simple terms, restorative action asks: “What is it we want to see happen when someone creates harm in our school or our community?” We would answer that question this way: ‘When harm has been committed, there are three groups whose needs must be meaningfully met.

The groups involved include:

  • Those who have been harmed
  • Those who have caused harm
  • The school or community

Students at both ends of the spectrum need to have greater opportunities to be reintegrated back into school and community as healthy, cooperative members of society while doing this in safe environment. This project is also keeping with our own Character Builds initiative. A focus on character development includes student engagement and supporting youth empowerment, which includes building a student’s capacity to learn and grow while contributing to a positive school climate and a strong community.

The Restorative Justice Program is a partnership between HWDSB, The John Howard Society of Hamilton, Burlington and AreaHamilton Police Services and Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Progressive Discipline – Elementary Model

Prevention/Foundation

  • Clear and Transparent Communication
  • Comprehensive Literacy/ Differentiated Instruction/ Early Identification
  • Student Success
  • Safe Schools (includes Bullying Prevention)
  • Character Development
  • Boys to Men
  • G.O. Girls
  • Physical School Environment and School Climate
  • Classroom Management / Student Engagement
  • Caring / “Go-to” Staff Member

School-wide and In-class Preventions and Strategies

  • Staff Development/ Professional Learning Communities
  • Special Education—Individual Education Plans/ Safe Intervention Plans/NVCI
  • Educational Assistants, Social Workers, Special Education Services
  • Student/Instruction centered timetable
  • School Code of Conduct
  • Communication Tools (e.g. Student agendas)
  • Award Systems, Assemblies, Celebrations of Success
  • Extra-curricular activities, Student leadership/ Peer Mentors/ Co-op students
  • Student/Peer Mediation
  • Empowerment Opportunities
  • Parental Participation
  • Social Models
  • Specialized and Personalized Learning

In-School Interventions and Strategies

  • Problem Solving Model Reflection Activity
  • 1:1 Conference with student or group
  • Contract
  • Temporary Break
  • Attendance Support Strategies
  • Alternative Learning Environment
  • Loss of Privileges
  • In-School Community Service
  • Restorative Justice Strategies
  • Family Strategies
  • HWDSB Student Support Services
  • Referral to a community or medical agency/ program

Board Intervention Programs and Services

  • Special Education Services
  • Communication Services, Psychological Services, Social Work Services,
  • Care Treatment and Correctional Facilities
  • Alternative Education Programs
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Progressive Discipline – Secondary Model

Download the Pyramids of Intervention document.

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