Student Discipline

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provides guidance to parents and districts regarding questions about student discipline.

The Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Decision on Student Expulsion Matter - August 2016
On August 3, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its decision addressing the expulsion of a Minnesota student.

MDE Staff and St. Paul School Leaders Participate in White House Event Focused on Trauma-Informed Approaches in School (September 2016)
On September 19, 2016, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Department of Education, the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality, and The National Crittenton Foundation jointly hosted a conference titled Trauma-Informed Approaches in School: Supporting Girls of Color and Rethinking Discipline. MDE Staff members Sarah Knoph, Alex Migambi, and Nancy Riestenberg, together with St. Paul Public School leaders, participated in the day-long event, which included an opportunity to collaborate and share practices from fourteen other states.

On that same day, the U.S. Department of Education debuted an interactive, online toolkit for teachers, administrators, and others called, Safe Place to Learn: Prevent, Intercede, and Respond to Sexual Harassment of K-12 Students. In conjunction with the new toolkit, the U.S. Department of Education released its companion document regarding school policies: Considerations for School District Sexual Misconduct Policies.

Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism (June 2016)
The United States Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice, sponsored the Every Student, Every Day National Conference, held in June 2016. Chronic absenteeism is a primary cause of low academic achievement and a powerful indicator of those students who may eventually drop out of school. It is also an equity issue, and is particularly prevalent among students who are low-income, students of color, students with disabilities, students who are highly mobile, and/or juvenile justice-involved youth.

Access the Every Student, Every Day resources: U.S. Department of Education: Every Student, Every Day. Included is the following toolkit: Every Student, Every Day: A Community Toolkit to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism.

The Disciplinary Incident Reporting System (DIRS)

DIRS data includes all reported in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions and exclusions, dangerous weapon incidents, referrals to law enforcement, and school-related arrests. Interim alternative educational placements for special education students and withdrawals or transfers related to a school disciplinary incident for all students are also reported in DIRS. Enter your disciplinary incident information on MDE’s DIRS page. Enter your disciplinary incident information on MDE’s DIRS page.
Effective for the 2018-19 school year: in-school suspensions  and school-related arrests must be reported for all students.

MDE prepares the Dangerous Weapons and Disciplinary Incidents legislative report each year and posts them on our Legislative Reports page.

  • Pupil Fair Dismissal Act (PFDA) - 8/29/16
    This is a copy of Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.40 to 121A.56. The PFDA sets out the procedures that districts must follow when suspending or expelling/excluding a student from school. Minnesota law provides that among other things, “a copy of sections 121A.40 to 121A.56, shall be personally served upon the pupil at or before the time the suspension is to take effect, and upon the pupil's parent or guardian by mail within 48 hours of the conference.” Minn. Stat. § 121A.46, subd. 3. School districts may choose to reproduce the statutes in alternative formats.

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