Are there non-punitive approaches outlined as alternatives to suspension or expulsion?

School Discipline

Are there non-punitive approaches outlined as alternatives to suspension or expulsion?

August 2018

Alabama Not specified in statute or regulation.
Alaska Non-punitive supports are available: conflict resolution, and mental health/substance use programs. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.33.120
Arizona Alternatives to discipline: Community service Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-841
Arkansas Alternatives to discipline encouraged: each district student services plan must reflect the use of alternative methods of classroom management, including--behavioral contracting, dispute resolution, classroom meetings, logical consequences, assertive discipline, behavior modification, career and academic counseling. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1004
California Alternatives to discipline: Community service
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Conferences, counselor referrals, study and guidance team plans, anger management/prosocial behavior programs, restorative justice, positive behavioral interventions and supports, after school programs.
Cal. Educ. Code § 48900.5
Cal. Educ. Code § 48900.6
Colorado Alternatives to discipline: Parents attend class with the student to avoid removal.
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Discipline codes must include plans for the use of prevention, intervention, restorative justice, peer mediation, counseling or other approaches to address student misconduct. School districts are encouraged to consider context prior to suspension or expulsion.
Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-32-109.1
Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-33-106
Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-33-105
Connecticut Alternatives to discipline: completion of an administration-specified program could result in waiving a suspension for students who are suspended for the first time. Conn. Gen. State. Ann. § 10-233c
Delaware Non-punitive supports are available: prior to referring for alternative placement, the following interventions must be utilized--school-based interventions, counseling services, development and implementation of a behavior support plan, mentoring, referral to mediation. Schools that meet certain thresholds of exclusionary discipline use must review their discipline policies and assure proper implementation of restorative justice practices.  Code Del. Regs. 14 616
Delaware Senate Bill 85-1 (2018)
District of Columbia Non-punitive supports are available: at all stages of the disciplinary process these interventions must be utilized in addition to punitive measures--conflict resolution, positive behavior supports, restorative justice strategies and parent conferences. D.C. Mun. Regs. tit. 5-B, § 2500
Florida Alternatives to discipline encouraged: schools are encouraged to use alternatives to expulsion by addressing behavior through restitution, civil citation, teen court, neighborhood restorative justice or similar programs. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1006.13
Georgia Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Multi-tiered Systems of Support and Response-to-Intervention programs are required for students in prekindergarten-3. Local boards of education are encouraged to implement Response-to-Intervention and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in their schools and the State Board of Education is authorized to provide funds to support those programs. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-742
Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-741
Hawaii Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Individualized instruction related to student's problem behaviors and interventions to teach appropriate behaviors are encouraged. Haw. Code R. 8-19-6
Idaho Non-punitive supports are available: district policies must include graduated consequences for violations concerning harassment, intimidation or bullying. Those consequences may include referral to counseling, restorative practices and on-site suspension, among others. Idaho Code Ann. § 33-1631
Illinois Alternatives to discipline encouraged: It is recommended that school officials consider forms of non-exclusionary discipline prior to exclusionary discipline. School districts must make an effort to provide personnel with ongoing professional development on the adverse consequences of school exclusion, justice system involvement, classroom management, culturally responsive discipline, and healthy school climates. For bullying violations, districts must include interventions such as restorative measures, counseling and social-emotional skill building. 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/10-22.6
105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/27-23.7
Indiana Alternatives to discipline encouraged: counseling, parent conferences, community service. Grants are available for school wide training on alternatives to suspension and expulsion including classroom management, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, restorative practices and social-emotional learning. Ind. Code Ann. § 20-33-8-25
Ind. Code Ann. § 5-2-10.1-2
Iowa Not specified in statute or regulation.
Kansas Not specified in statute or regulation.
Kentucky Alternatives to discipline encouraged: districts must implement Response-to-Interventions systems for grades kindergarten-3 that includes multi-tiered systems of support to address academic and behavioral needs. 704 Ky. Admin. Regs. 3:095
Louisiana Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Students in Kindergarten and Elementary grades may be offered alternative classrooms, intervention or prevention programs. For violations related to bullying, disciplinary action may include referral for counseling on conflict resolution, social and family responsibility, peer mediation and stress management. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 17:416
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 17:416.17
Maine Alternatives to discipline encouraged: School Boards must consider disciplinary policies that focus on positive and restorative interventions and evidence-based practices--avoiding zero tolerance policies. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 20-A § 1001
Maryland Alternatives to discipline: Schools serving students in prekindergarten-2 must provide non-punitive interventions, including positive behavioral interventions and supports, behavior intervention plans, student support teams, individualized education plans, referral for community-based services, and restorative practices.
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Elementary schools with higher than standard suspension or truancy rates must implement positive behavioral interventions and supports or an alternative behavior modification program.
Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-305.1
Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-304.1
Massachusetts Alternatives to discipline: mediation, conflict resolution, restorative justice and positive interventions and supports.
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Expulsions may only be used with discretion, after alternative strategies have been employed.
Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. 71 § 37H 3/4
603 Mass. Code Regs. 53.05
Michigan Alternatives to discipline encouraged: School boards must consider using restorative practices as an alternative or in addition to suspension or expulsion. Consideration must be given to graduated interventions and other context. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.1310c
Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 380.1310d
Minnesota Alternatives to discipline: parent/guardian attendance at school for one day, Saturday school.
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Districts are encouraged to establish schoolwide systems of positive behavior interventions and supports.
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A.575
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A.0942
Mississippi Alternatives to discipline: parent/guaridan attendance at school for an agreed upon time.
Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Prior to exclusion, behavior modification plans must be put in place, including evidence-based practices and positive behavioral interventions and supports. Local school boards must incorporate state-recommended conflict resolutaion and mediation, positive behavior interventions and supports and evidence-based models into their district policies.
Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-18.1
Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-54
Miss. Code Ann. § 37-11-53
Missouri Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Districts are encouraged to use in-school suspension systems and discipline alternatives prior to suspending students for more than 10 days. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 167.164
Montana Not specified in statute or regulation.
Nebraska Alternatives to discipline: Students who are truant or tardy may be given alternatives to suspension or expulsion.
Non-punitive supports may include: counseling, parent conferences, schedule rearrangement, after hours instruction, psychological or psychiatric evaluations.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-258
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-267
Nevada Not specified in statute or regulation.
New Hampshire Not specified in statute or regulation.
New Jersey Alternatives to discipline encouraged: positive reinforcement, supportive interventions and referral services, remediation of problem behavior considering context and response to intervention. Districts must implement systems to identify students in preschool through grade two who are experiencing disciplinary problems and provide behavioral supports. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:6-135
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:37-2b
N.J. Admin. Code § 6A:16-7.1
New Mexico Not specified in statute or regulation.
New York Not specified in statute or regulation.
North Carolina Alternatives to discipline encouraged: conferences, counseling, peer mediation, behavior contracts, conflict resolution, anger management, detention, academic intervention, and community service. N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-390.2
North Dakota Not specified in statute or regulation.
Ohio Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Boards of education may allow students to perform community service in addition to, or in place of, suspension or expulsion. Effective November 2018, the State Board of Education must update its current policy and standards for the implementation of a positive behavioral interventions and supports framework.  Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.661
Ohio House Bill 318 (2018)
Oklahoma Not specified in statute or regulation.
Oregon Alternatives to discipline encouraged: District school boards must ensure that discipline policies are designed to employ prevention and intervention strategies--including those that research shows are effective in promoting safe and productive social behavior. A student may be required to attend school during nonschool hours as an alternative to suspension. Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 339.250
Pennsylvania Non-punitive supports may be available: Office for Safe Schools may make grants to address school violence, including school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports and restorative justice. 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 13-1302-A
Rhode Island Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Local Education Agencies are required to develop discipline strategies that promote positive behavioral choices and ensure the fair administration of discipline. R.I. Code R. 21-2-53:G-14-2
South Carolina Alternatives to discipline encouraged: For certain offenses, students may be referred to an intervention team to establish behavioral management strategies, which may include restorative justice, counseling and service learning projects in addition to an appropriate disciplinary action. S.C. Code Ann. Regs. 43-279
South Dakota Not specified in statute or regulation.
Tennessee Alternatives to discipline encouraged: The legislature requires the department to develop a model policy for alternatives to exclusionary discipline practices for students in pre-kindergarten through kindergarten. Each Local Education Agency must either adopt the model policy or develop their own. Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-6-3024
Texas Alternatives to discipline encouraged: Districts may develop positive behavior programs that provide alternatives to discipline for students below grade 3. The programs may include--positive behavioral intervention and support, trauma-informed practices, social-emotional learning, restorative practices and a referral for services as necessary. Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 37.0013
Utah Alternatives to discipline: Local Education Agencies must implement strategies to assist students through a continuum of interventions, including positive behavior interventions and supports, prior to administrative referral. Utah Admin. Code r. R277-609-6
Vermont Non-punitive supports may be available: Students may receive training in conflict resolution, peer mediation and anger management. Students involved with drugs or alcohol may receive referrals for counseling, treatment and rehabilitation. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1161a
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 16, § 1165
Virginia Alternatives to discipline: The Board of Education must establish guidelines for alternatives to suspension for consideration by local school boards, including: positive behavior incentives, mediation, peer-to-peer counseling, community service, and other interventions. Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-16.6
Washington Alternatives to discipline encouraged: School districts are encouraged to use alternative disciplinary actions in place of suspension for certain offenses. School districts are encouraged to reduce the length of suspensions with the commencement of couseling or other treatment services. Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.600.015
Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.600.410
West Virginia Non-punitive supports may include: student involvement programs, peer mediation W. Va. Code Ann. § 18-5A-2
Wisconsin Not specified in statute or regulation.
Wyoming Not specified in statute or regulation.

© 2021 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education. 700 Broadway #810, Denver, CO 80203-3442

To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please contact the Education Commission of the States’ Communications Department at 303.299.3636 or

Your Education Policy Team