Policy

Policy

Educational policies within a school represent the shared values, commitments and priorities of a school community. Each school community exists within larger local, regional, and national communities that create overarching policy frameworks that are applicable to schools and must be taken into account.  Notably, those frameworks are often created without directly engaging an individual school's stakeholders and therefore may be inadequate or even contrary to the needs and goals of individual communities. Therefore, larger state and federal policy frameworks, regulations, and laws must be integrated, and likely expanded upon, to be relevant and effective for each unique school community. 

 

In keeping with previous research, the CST approach includes several specific recommendations with regard to the development and execution of school policy.

(1) CST calls for the inclusion of enumerated identity categories in school anti-bullying and nondiscrimination policies;

(2) Students’ policy knowledge is essential to their perception of personal safety and school climate (O’Shaughnessy et al., 2004) and the adoption of policy in no way guarantees that students will be aware of its existence or that it will be enforced by everyone within the school (Szalacha, 2003).  In the CST approach, students’ policy knowledge, and to some extent policy implementation, is ensured through the involvement of both students and teachers as key stakeholders in all aspects of school transformation;

(3) The CST framework endorses that restorative discipline be incorporated into policy in place of zero tolerance and exclusionary approaches to discipline that may negatively and disproportionately affect LGB/T, African American, Latino/a, and disabled students; and

(4) The development, revision, and enforcement of all school codes, from those that govern acceptable attire to those that address disciplinary procedures must take student experiences and provide for them a safe and supportive environment in which to learn and grow.