News and Events: Discipline Disparities

Suspensions and Expulsions Decline as Districts Adopt Alternatives, State says

EdSource

A change of approach to school discipline in California schools has resulted in a decline in the number and percentage of students suspended and expelled in academic year 2014-2015 in comparison to academic year 2013-2014 across ethnic groups. State Superintendent Tom Torlakson attributes the shift toward resolving behavior issues in lieu of classroom removals as the causal mechanism for the decline. Effective solutions, restorative practices, and mediation to regulate emotions have contributed to the 13.9 percent decline in expulsions and the 12.8 percent decline in suspensions, according to Torlakson.

Is 'Zero Tolerance' Failing Iowa Schools?

The Des Moines Register

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.

New York Attorney General Calls for Albany School Reforms on School Discipline

New York State Office of the Attorney General/WYNT

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.

National Youth-at-Risk Conference

The conference trains adults who serve youth to create safe, healthy, caring, and intellectually empowering educational environments that foster the well-being of all children and adolescents. In these presentations, participants learn about current research-based educational programs and strategies, which empower young people to overcome at-risk conditions that may threaten their safety, health, emotional needs, or academic achievement. 

St. Paul School Suspensions Drop, But Racial Disparities Stick Around

Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Despite reducing overall suspensions by 25 percent over four years, St. Paul Public Schools continues to kick African-American and American Indian students out of school at alarming rates relative to their peers.


In 2010-11, the district set an ambitious goal for racial equity in school discipline: that the student demographic with the most suspensions be excluded from school at no more than twice the rate of the racial group with the fewest suspensions -- Asian-Americans.


 

Maine School Officials Say Program Is Helping Raise Test Scores, Reduce Discipline Problems

Portland Press Herald

Noble High School officials said Tuesday they are seeing higher test scores and fewer disciplinary problems two years after launching a multimillion-dollar program aimed at ninth-graders that emphasizes making social and emotional connections with students.

 

Third Grader Handcuffed in School

ACLU

The children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, were so small that the school resource officer, Kenton County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner in Covington, Kentucky, locked the handcuffs around the children's biceps and forced their hands behind their backs, the lawsuit charges. A disturbing video shows the boy, S.R., being shackled and crying out in pain. S.R. has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma. 

Virginia tops nation in sending students to cops, courts: Where does your state rank?

The Center for Public Integrity

Kayleb Moon-Robinson was 11 years old last fall when charges — criminal charges — began piling up at school.


Diagnosed as autistic, Kayleb was being scolded for misbehavior one day and kicked a trash can at Linkhorne Middle School in Lynchburg, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A police officer assigned to the school witnessed the tantrum, and filed a disorderly conduct charge against the sixth grader in juvenile court.

Connecticut Moves to Restrict Suspension and Expulsion in the Early Grades

News America Ed Central

Next week, Connecticut’s legislation to restrict out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for pre-K through second grade students will go into effect. Governor Malloy signed the bill into law last week, after it passed unanimously in the state’s House and Senate. State Representative Andy Fleischmann explained in the Hartford Courant, how the bill received bipartisan support, saying, “A recent report from the state Department of Education showed a disturbingly large number of children getting suspensions. That was one of the things that motivated the General Assembly to act.” In fact, the number of children under the age of seven who were suspended from public schools increased by 22 percent between  2011 and 2014.

Why Are There so Many LGBT Youth in Prison?

ATTN

For the thousands of LGBT youth in the American juvenile justice system, bullying is just the beginning. That’s because, while lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming (GNC) youth makeup five to seven percent of young people in America, they are 15 percent of young people in the juvenile justice system.


Low-income youth and youth of color are also particularly affected: a shocking 60 percent of the LGBT youth arrested and/or detained each year are Black or Latino. Factors ranging from family rejection to school discipline to homelessness—each exacerbating the other—increase LGBT and gender nonconforming youth’s risk of being funneled into the juvenile justice system.

Oakland to Halt School Suspension for Willful Defiance

SFGate

Oakland Unified will become one of a handful of California school districts that restrict suspensions to more serious offenses and eliminate the punishment for willful defiance — a broad category of misbehavior that includes minor offenses such as refusing to take a hat off or ignoring teacher requests to stop texting and more severe incidents like swearing at a teacher or storming out of class. 

Roundtable: Reversing the School to Prison Pipeline for African Americans and Minorities: Comprehensive Programs, Practices, and Policy Solutions

This session aims to provide effective and comprehensive programs and policy alternatives for reversing the school-to-prison pipeline that better address the root causes and systemic trends and factors that minority youth face in and outside of the school system.

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