St. Paul Public Schools’ (SPPS) Black suspension rate dropped only two percent from 2010-11 to 2011-12. Black students there still receive nearly 70 percent of all suspensions. SPPS Chief of Staff Michelle Walker told the MSR that Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and “Courageous Conversations” strategies, used to help teachers respond more positively to student behaviors — especially those of Black students — has played a huge role in the decline in suspensions. “Suspensions as a [disciplinary] strategy doesn’t work,” she points out. St. Paul teacher Aaron Benner says, however, that these strategies haven’t worked, and instead the district is enabling disruptive students by not suspending them when warranted. He adds that because principals get bonuses if they report lower suspensions, school officials have manipulated (in his words, “cooked”) such numbers as a result.