DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM ) – A year ago, critics of the Dallas school system complained about the suspension of too many students.

Six schools are trying a new approach this year in dealing with students who find themselves in trouble.

Francisco Medrano Middle School in Northwest Dallas is trying a new discipline plan. Bullying, disruptions and fighting all have consequences there. But suspension is no longer first on the discipline list where 900 students attend.

With a student body so large, conflict disruption and bullying is bound to happen. But when a student faces discipline based on conduct, they also face in-school suspension, or sometimes worse.

Sixth-graders, for example, may face a resolution meeting first; a meeting that includes adults, and sometimes fellow students. This approach is called restorative discipline. It’s a way for to test if student conflict can be resolved before a tougher sanction is used.

“We are trying to build relationships with our students to get to the root of the problem,” said Medrano Middle School Principal Theresa Sigurdson. “When you send a kid down the hall you don’t find out why they’re misbehaving in class.”

Thus, instead of moving misbehaving students out of the classroom, the restorative plan moves students in a circle to discuss their actions, conduct and consequences. But restorative discipline is only applicable for the younger kids.

Seventh and 8th graders have a different standard.

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