Note: This information is from our manual, Discipline in Public Schools.
Reengagement Planning after Long-term Suspension or Expulsion
- Reengagement Plans
Any time a school suspends or expels a student for more than 10 school days, the school will need to work with the student and family on a Reengagement Plan.
The goals of reengagement plans are to support a student in returning to school as soon as possible, with the supports the student will need to be successful when they return.
Reengagement plans must be culturally sensitive and culturally responsive, which means that they should take into account a student’s cultural background, traditions and strengths.
In developing the plan, districts should consider shortening the length of the suspension or expulsion. The plan should also include steps to support the student’s continued academic progress and keep the student on track to graduate.
Plans should be tailored to the individual circumstances of the student. The plan should take into account the incident that led to the suspension or expulsion and help the student identify and take steps to remedy the situation caused by the student’s behavior.
- Can we ask for an early Reengagement meeting?
Yes. You can ask the school to schedule one right away to start the planning for a successful reengagement.
If you call to ask for an early reengagement meeting, the school should work with you to plan one as soon as possible.
If your student has been out of school for 20 calendar days, it is time to have the reengagement meeting.
If the suspension was for less than 20 days, and there are only 5 days left before the end of the suspension or expulsion, it is time to have the re-engagement meeting.
Reengagement plans are not required if a student is given a short-term suspension or an emergency expulsion. However, many schools do ask families to meet with them after any suspension to talk about what happened, and how to avoid any further problems.
If you do not get an invitation from the school, you can ask the school to meet with you before your child returns from a short-term suspension or an emergency expulsion.
Even a few days out of the classroom can set a student back with their academics. Suspensions and expulsions also affect students’ relationships with their teachers and other students. Taking time to meet and talk through what happened, consider whether an apology would be appropriate, and make sure your child, and their teachers are ready for the first day back can help avoid further problems.
- Who should help develop the Reengagement Plan?
School districts are required to collaborate with you and your child in the development of the Reengagement Plan. Families must have an opportunity to give meaningful input to the plan.
For students with an IEP or 504 plan, it might be helpful to have the IEP or 504 team participate in the reengagement planning.
Reengagement plans should be written, and you should get a copy. It can be a helpful reference and reminder as your child is working toward meeting expectations or goals for getting back to school.
Like other notices or documents relating to student discipline, if you are not able to read in English or require others forms of translation, you can ask for a translation. Look at the Language Access section of our website for tips on asking for translations.
- Reengagement Meetings - Tips for Families
School districts are required to create reengagement plans for every student excluded from school for 10 or more days.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A STUDENT GETS LONG - TERM SUSPENDED OR EXPELLED?
When your student is expelled or suspended for longer than 10 school days, the school district must work with you and your student to create an appropriate, culturally responsive and culturally sensitive reengagement plan. The school district should contact you to invite you to a reengagement meeting. This should happen within 20 days of the suspension or expulsion and no later than five days before the end of the suspension or expulsion. Make sure the meeting is set for a date and time that works for you and your student.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A REENGAGEMENT MEETING?
The meeting gives you, your student, and the school from which your child was suspended or expelled an opportunity to:
- Establish a plan for ensuring safety for all;
- Discuss the possibility of allowing the student to return to their school earlier;
- Collaboratively develop a plan to address and amend the situation that led to your student’s exclusion;
- Help reconnect you to the school thereby improving your student’s ability to succeed in school and life.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE MEETING?
- Talk with your student and think together about your goals for returning to school.
- Reflect on how your student’s behavior might have looked through the school’s eyes.
- Prepare a list of suggestions for support and skills your student might need to prevent future problems.
- Reflect on the facts as you know them and be prepared to share those with the school.
- Review the model meeting template as an option for use at the meeting (see below).
AT THE MEETING
- Acknowledge common goals you may share (see template).
- Hear the administrator out. Let them tell their side of the story. You don’t have to agree.
- Discuss how all parties could repair damaged relationships that led to or resulted from the incident.
- Review how the alternative educational services offered by the school are working for your student.
- Think of ways your student could reconnect socially and academically.
- Think of ways your student may be able to transition back into school with dignity.
- Help the school find positive activities your student could be doing in and out of school.
- With the help of your student, think of trusted adult role models that your student could have contact with regularly once he/she returns.
- Establish a schedule for regular connection/progress assessment with your student and reporting to the school. At least weekly is recommended for the first month back in school.
- Avoid getting defensive.
- Avoid making accusations.
- Remember, you are all looking for ways for your student to be successful in school and in life.
While this publication provides basic information on education law in Washington State, it is not legal advice, and is not in any way intended to be a substitute for legal advice or representation. This document was developed collaboratively with TeamChild, the Office of the Education Ombuds, and Sound Discipline and is intended to provide support to educators, families and students as they implement strategies to reengage student who have been excluded from school.
- Sample Reengagement Meeting Template
SHARE GOALS FOR THE MEETING (choose those that apply)
- Ensure that behavior is not repeated
- Access to education for your student
- Rebuild the connection between you, your student, and your school, school staff, other students
- Additional academic and social support for your student
Possible Questions to Discuss:
WHAT IS YOUR STUDENT’S PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT IS THE SCHOOL’S PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT HAPPENED?
HOW MIGHT YOUR STUDENT MAKE AMENDS (REPAIR DAMAGE TO THINGS OR RELATIONSHIPS)?
HOW MIGHT THE SCHOOL SUPPORT BETTER OUTCOMES AND/OR REPAIR THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE SCHOOL (STAFF) AND YOUR STUDENT AND YOU?
WHAT IS THE SAFETY PLAN FOR THE FUTURE THAT DOES ITS BEST TO HONOR THE DIGNITY OF YOUR STUDENT, YOUR FAMILY, AND THE STAFF OF THE SCHOOL?
HOW WILL YOUR STUDENT RECONNECT ACADEMICALLY AND SOCIALLY AT SCHOOL TO AIM TOWARD SUCCESS?
HOW / WHEN WILL THE ADMINISTRATOR FOLLOW UP WITH YOU AND YOUR STUDENT?