The winter issue of American Educator explores the history of counterproductive zero-tolerance school discipline policies and highlights more positive approaches to ensure that schools are safe and comfortable places to teach and to learn.
News and Events: December 2015
In the state of Iowa the excessive use of suspensions since 2009 has come under much scrutiny. In the last school year, school officials in Iowa suspended students 56,032 times. Though this figure is a reduction from higher numbers in recent times, education advocates see signs of a broken-system.
An overwhelming majority of suspensions were classified as either being caused by disruptive behavior or attendance; 4% of suspensions were the result of ‘fighting without injury’ “By spending time away from the classroom, students are missing out on education and they’re falling behind,” said Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a research analyst for the Sentencing Project, a civil rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
An Investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office found that over a five year period Albany School District suspended one in eight students each school year, disproportionately affecting minority and disabled students. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman came to an agreement with the Albany School District to ensure that school discipline policies are not discriminatory in nature and practice. A. G. Schneiderman took specific aim at the school-to-prison-pipeline which has obstructed vulnerable children from receiving services they need help to succeed.
A new LA Unified police diversion program, which replaces arrests with counseling, is keeping hundreds of students out of the city’s criminal justice system.
“If we didn’t have this program, a lot would have gone into a courtroom and before a judge,” said LAUSD police chief Steven Zipperman, in a presentation yesterday to the district’s school board Successful School Climate: Progressive Discipline and Safety Committee.
Clear the room.
That’s how multiple local law enforcement officials say they would have handled an incident caught on videotape in a Columbia-area high school where a school resource officer forcibly removed a female student from her desk and threw her to the floor across a classroom. Videos of the incident quickly went viral and the officer was fired.