"The change is mostly in the language," says Charles Bergman with Community Organizing and Family Issues, which has been advocating against the district's zero tolerance policies for years. "It's emphasizing more strongly that out-of-school suspensions is meant to be used as a last resort not for any old misconduct."
COFI's initial victories came in 2006 and 2007 when CPS officially removed the term "zero tolerance" from its student code of conduct. This year again, COFI members helped the district draft new language for the code.
Bergman said that while the group would have liked the policy to go further and say restorative justice should be used to determine discipline for the more serious violations, the new policy is "a step in the right direction."